‘an approachable introduction to the written sources of early medieval Scotland and the constantly changing kingships and allegiances of the period’ – Elizabeth Pierce (Scottish Archaeological Journal, 2013)
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This is my latest book. It’s similar to the one I wrote on the Picts but covers a wider area and a longer timespan. My intention with Makers Of Scotland is to present a narrative history of the northern parts of Britain in the first millennium AD, using a linear chronology from 0-1000. The book inevitably overlaps with The Picts: a History at many points, and with The Men of the North: the Britons of Southern Scotland at several more, but differs from both of these by looking at all the peoples of early medieval Scotland rather than at one particular group.
The chapter headings give an idea of the structure:
1 – BC to AD
2 – The Later Roman period
3 – Britons, Picts and Scots
4 – Christian beginnings
5 – Celt and Saxon
6 – The struggle for power
7 – The northern churches
8 – The Vikings
9 – Alba
10 – Kings and bishops
11 – The birth of medieval Scotland
Appendix A: Genealogies
Appendix B: Timeline
The above list shows where the straight linear chronology is interrupted at three points (Chapters 4, 7 and 10) when the spotlight falls on religious developments. Chapter 4 looks at the transition from paganism to Christianity, while the other two chart the expansion of the new Faith and the increasing prominence of an ecclesiastical elite.
With Makers I’ve followed the format of Picts by not including footnotes or endnotes. Instead, it has a 7-page ‘Further Reading’ section presented as a bibliography divided by broad topics such as Roman Scotland and Art & Sculpture.
Illustrations include maps and eight pages of plates (a selection of b&w photographs, with some fine old drawings of Pictish stones by John Romilly Allen).
The very striking cover design is by Jim Hutcheson and Victor Albrow.
Makers of Scotland: Picts, Romans, Gaels and Vikings is published by Birlinn Books of Edinburgh under the John Donald imprint. Paperback, 240 pages. UK price: £14.99.
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