Why this book?
This book is not just about Scotland, despite the title. It is a very rich and imaginative study that is both helped and hindered by its remit being modern Scotland, which was never a single political or cultural entity in the early Middle Ages. That means the author has to look at several distinct groups: the English of Northumbria, the Britons of Strathclyde in the southwest, and the Vikings of the north and west, as well as the ‘Scots’ themselves of central Scotland (whose collective identity as Scots was taking shape at this time). All of this is done with insight, imagination, and command of the complicated sources. It is a lesson in how wide-ranging histories of Britain should be written.
From Pictland to Alba: Scotland, 789-1070
Why should I read it?
1 author picked From Pictland to Alba as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.
What is this book about?
In the 780s northern Britain was dominated by two great kingdoms; Pictavia, centred in north-eastern Scotland and Northumbria which straddled the modern Anglo-Scottish border. Within a hundred years both of these kingdoms had been thrown into chaos by the onslaught of the Vikings and within two hundred years they had become distant memories. This book charts the transformation of the political landscape of northern Britain between the eighth and the eleventh centuries. Central to this narrative is the mysterious disappearance of the Picts and their language and the sudden rise to prominence of the Gaelic-speaking Scots who would replace them…
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