The Men Of The North is 4

The Men of the North: the Britons of Southern Scotland
I’m pleased to see my book The Men of the North: the Britons of Southern Scotland back on the online bookshelves after a month or two of being listed as ‘out of stock’. It was recently reprinted by the publisher – Birlinn of Edinburgh – which means normal service has now resumed at Amazon and elsewhere.

The reprint has coincided with the fourth anniversary of the book’s publication, almost to the day. Much has happened since August 2010, not least the inevitable appearance of new research relating to the North Britons. I’ve been able to pick up on some of the latest developments for my new book Strathclyde and the Anglo-Saxons in the Viking Age but this only deals with the period after AD 750. I have no new output in the pipeline for the earlier period (c.400-700), with which The Men Of The North is primarily concerned. My only current publication on the era of Urien Rheged and his contemporaries is a book review of Beyond The Gododdin which appeared in the journal Northern History a couple of months ago. Writing the review necessitated a detailed reading of the book itself, which turned out to be a very valuable exercise. For instance, it enabled me to catch up on the latest research (primarily linguistic and technical) on the poetry attributed to the sixth-century bards Taliesin and Aneirin. It would be useful to add some of this material to The Men Of The North, if only in the chapter endnotes and bibliography, but this will only happen if a second edition appears at some point in the future. I would especially like to cite those parts of Beyond The Gododdin that support my scepticism – expressed in Chapter Four of my book – on the way in which Taliesin and Aneirin are frequently accepted as reliable guides to sixth-century political geography. In the absence of a new edition of The Men Of The North, and with no similar publications on my ‘to do’ list, I may have to use this blog as the place to update my bibliographic references on Rheged, Gododdin and other North British kingdoms.

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The Men Of The North: The Britons Of Southern Scotland

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15 comments on “The Men Of The North is 4

  1. badonicus says:

    Can’t recommend this book enough!

  2. Robert Mellish says:

    It was a cracker Tim. I can’t wait for the new one and also look forward to your updates to the former

  3. You *may* have to use this blog?

    This is what its for!


    • Tim says:

      You’re right, Terry – though sometimes I feel I’ve already done enough blogging on Rheged.

      • Chris Pickles says:

        We can’t have too much about Rheged. I look forward to your continuing thoughts on the topic.

        • Tim says:

          One blogpost I’ve had on the back-burner for a long time is a not-too-serious argument for Rheged’s heartland being in the Peebles area. I should probably wheel this out before the year’s end.

  4. I’d love to see your thoughts on Beyond the Gododdin. Soon, please!

    • Tim says:

      I’ll try and sort something out.

      • badonicus says:

        Another excellent and thought provoking book, So good to read so many diverse opinions and particularly like Dunshea’s theory that Y Gododdin is not about one single battle,

        • Tim says:

          Yes, it’s essential reading for anyone with an interest in the North British kingdoms. On a related note, Phil Dunshea’s new article on the Battle of Strathcarron verse in Y Gododdin is due to appear very soon.

          • badonicus says:

            Apologies for spelling his name wrong!

          • Regarding ‘Beyond the Gododdin’, I’m not sure how these publications work. It is a report of a conference that took place in 2005, so have the contributors had the opportunity to revise their work in the light of new information since then, or is it a crystllisation of their opinions at that time?

            • Tim says:

              In his introduction, the book’s editor (Alex Woolf) acknowledges the very long delay between conference and publication. One reviewer (Andrew Breeze) observed that the most recent reference cited is from 2008. However, while the absence of anything later might seem disappointing, I don’t think it blunts the impact of the book. The warning against casual acceptance of the poems as authentic historical sources is as sharp today as in 2005.

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