Outlaws of Medieval Scotland

by R Andrew McDonald

Outlaws of Medieval Scotland

This book tells the story of rebel leaders based in north-west Scotland and the Isles who opposed the Scottish kings.


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The history of the so-called Canmore kings in Scotland, from the reign of Malcolm lll (1058–1093) down to that of Alexander lll (1249–1286), is marked by an array of insurrections led by discontented dynasts and native warlords with grievances against these kings. Although none of the challenges ultimately proved successful, they nevertheless form a much-neglected theme across a formative era of Scottish history, which they in part define. This book demonstrates that the Canmore kings maintained their grip on power in large measure through crushing rivals and quashing numerous insurrections; their claim to be the founders of the medieval kingdom is valid, but the roles of violence and military confrontations in the consolidation of their power and the formation of the medieval kingdom are given new emphasis here.

From well-known events like the invasion of Somerled of Argyll in 1164 to lesser-known challenges like that from Donald MacWillliam in the 1180s, the book offers a systematic exploration of the leaders of insurrection, their aims and motivations, their military capabilities, and the reasons behind their failure as well as the overall impact of insurrection upon the Scottish kingdom.

R. Andrew McDonald is Professor of History at Brock University, Canada, where he was the founding director of the Centre for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. He is the author of many books, book chapters, and articles on medieval Scottish, Hebridean, and Manx history, including The Kingdom of the Isles: Scotland’s Western Seaboard, c.1100–c.1336, co-editor of The Viking Age: A Reader and co-editor of Alba: Celtic Scotland in the Middle Ages.

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ISBN: 9781910900000

Publication date: 07/03/2016

Format: Paperback

Extent: 202

Publisher: Birlinn Ltd

Stock status: Published

Categories: Birlinn/Polygon , History