This is a study of Ireland's people, landscape, and place in the world from late antiquity to the reign of Brian Borama. The book narrates the story of Ireland's emergence into history, using anthropological, archaeological, historical, and literary evidence. The subjects covered include the king, the kingdom and the royal household, religion and customs, free and unfree classes in society, exiles, and foreigners. The rural, urban, ecclesiastical, ceremonial, and mythological landscapes of early medieval Ireland anchor the history of early Irish society in the rich tapestry of archaeological sites, monuments, and place-names that have survived to the present day. A historiography of medieval Irish studies presents the commentaries of a variety of scholars, from the 17th-century Franciscan Micheal O Cleirigh to Eoin Mac Neill, the founding father of modern scholarship. *** "Bhreathnach draws on archaeological evidence to supply insights into a society that has left only oblique views in the written record, proposing a revised view of the place of Ireland in medieval Europe....the book features eight pages of color plates and many photos, and is a must for academic libraries, particularly those with extensive history or archaeology collections. Essential." - Choice, Vol. 52, No. 4, December 2014 [Subject: History, Medieval Studies, Archaeology, Anthropology, Irish Studies, Religious Studies]
Many Irish scholars, known as 'peregrini', arrived in Continental Europe in the early Middle Ages making a significant cultural impact. This edited collection of brand new essays brings together some of the world's leading experts in the field who synthesise major critical developments, and offer exciting new perspectives on the Irish peregrini.
This impressive survey covers the early history of Ireland from the coming of Christianity to the Norman settlement. Within a broad political framework it explores the nature of Irish society, the spiritual and secular roles of the Church and the extraordinary flowering of Irish culture in the period. Other major themes are Ireland's relations with Britain and continental Europe, the beginnings of Irish feudalism, and the impact of the Viking and Norman invaders. The expanded second edition has been fully updated to take into account the most recent research in the history of Ireland in the early middle ages, including Ireland’s relations with the Later Roman Empire, advances and discoveries in archaeology, and Church Reform in the 11th and 12th centuries. A new opening chapter on early Irish primary sources introduces students to the key written sources that inform our picture of early medieval Ireland, including annals, genealogies and laws. The social, political, religious, legal and institutional background provides the context against which Dáibhí Ó Cróinín describes Ireland’s transformation from a tribal society to a feudal state. It is essential reading for student and specialist alike.
The thousand years explored in this book witnessed developments in the history of Ireland that resonate to this day. Interspersing narrative with detailed analysis of key themes, the first volume in The Cambridge History of Ireland presents the latest thinking on key aspects of the medieval Irish experience. The contributors are leading experts in their fields, and present their original interpretations in a fresh and accessible manner. New perspectives are offered on the politics, artistic culture, religious beliefs and practices, social organisation and economic activity that prevailed on the island in these centuries. At each turn the question is asked: to what extent were these developments unique to Ireland? The openness of Ireland to outside influences, and its capacity to influence the world beyond its shores, are recurring themes. Underpinning the book is a comparative, outward-looking approach that sees Ireland as an integral but exceptional component of medieval Christian Europe.
Between 1169 and around 1240, large parts of Ireland were occupied by members of an Anglo-Norman upper class, which had already advanced into Wales and which was still engaged in acquiring land in Scotland. In their wake came peasants, craftsmen, and traders, to settle mainly in the lowlands of the south and east. English law and forms of government were also transplanted, as the Plantagenet kings asserted their authority, turning Ireland into a lordship where they could reward those around them with lands and rights, and from which they expected financial returns and support in their wars. No part of the island was unaffected by the military and political activities of the Anglo-Normans, who upset existing power-structures and faced Irish rulers with complex pressures and choices. This book examines the processes of conquest and colonization, against the background of economic expansion and seigneurial enterprise apparent elsewhere in Britain and Europe. It also explores the nature and extent of colonial retreat, and the political and cultural adjustments that were evident amid the less favorable conditions of the 14th century. The book, originally published in 1981, has been revised and expanded for the present edition and also contains a guide to more recent work.
A fully documented history of Ireland and the Irish from the fifth to the ninth centuries.
This impressive survey covers the early history of Ireland from the coming of Christianity to the Norman settlement. Within a broad political framework it explores the nature of Irish society, the spiritual and secular roles of the Church and the extraordinary flowering of Irish culture in the period. Other major themes are Ireland's relations with Britain and continental Europe, the beginnings of Irish feudalism, and the impact of the Viking and Norman invaders. The expanded second edition has been fully updated to take into account the most recent research in the history of Ireland in the early middle ages, including Ireland’s relations with the Later Roman Empire, advances and discoveries in archaeology, and Church Reform in the 11th and 12th centuries. A new opening chapter on early Irish primary sources introduces students to the key written sources that inform our picture of early medieval Ireland, including annals, genealogies and laws. The social, political, religious, legal and institutional background provides the context against which Dáibhí Ó Cróinín describes Ireland’s transformation from a tribal society to a feudal state. It is essential reading for student and specialist alike.
Twenty-three contributions by leading archaeologists from across Europe explore the varied forms, functions and significances of fortified settlements in the 8th to 10th centuries AD. These could be sites of strongly martial nature, upland retreats, monastic enclosures, rural seats, island bases, or urban nuclei. But they were all expressions of control - of states, frontiers, lands, materials, communities - and ones defined by walls, ramparts or enclosing banks. Papers run from Irish cashels to Welsh and Pictish strongholds, Saxon burhs, Viking fortresses, Byzantine castra, Carolingian creations, Venetian barricades, Slavic strongholds, and Bulgarian central places, and coverage extends fully from north-west Europe, to central Europe, the northern Mediterranean and the Black Sea. Strongly informed by recent fieldwork and excavations, but drawing also where available on the documentary record, this important collection provides fully up-to-date reviews and analyses of the archaeologies of the distinctive settlement forms that characterized Europe in the Early Middle Ages.
A comprehensive review of the development, geographic spread, and cultural influence of religion in Late Antiquity A Companion to Religion in Late Antiquity offers an authoritative and comprehensive survey of religion in Late Antiquity. This historical era spanned from the second century to the eighth century of the Common Era. With contributions from leading scholars in the field, the Companion explores the evolution and development of religion and the role various religions played in the cultural, political, and social transformations of the late antique period. The authors examine the theories and methods used in the study of religion during this period, consider the most notable historical developments, and reveal how religions spread geographically. The authors also review the major religious traditions that emerged in Late Antiquity and include reflections on the interaction of these religions within their particular societies and cultures. This important Companion: Brings together in one volume the work of a notable team of international scholars Explores the principal geographical divisions of the late antique world Offers a deep examination of the predominant religions of Late Antiquity Examines established views in the scholarly assessment of the religions of Late Antiquity Includes information on the current trends in late-antique scholarship on religion Written for scholars and students of religion, A Companion to Religion in Late Antiquity offers a comprehensive survey of religion and the influence religion played in the culture, politics, and social change during the late antique period.
This is an absorbing study of the main personalities and the influences that molded the history of Western Europe from the late tenth to the early thirteenth century. Southern describes the chief forms of social, political, and religious organization.
How could a community of 2000–3000 Viking peasants survive in Arctic Greenland for 430 years (ca. 985–1415), and why did they finally disappear? European agriculture in an Arctic environment encountered serious ecological challenges. The Norse peasants faced these challenges by adapting agricultural practices they had learned from the Atlantic and North Sea coast of Norway. Norse Greenland was the stepping stone for the Europeans who first discovered America and settled briefly in Newfoundland ca. AD 1000. The community had a global significance which surpassed its modest size. In the last decades scholars have been nearly unanimous in emphasising that long-term climatic and environmental changes created a situation where Norse agriculture was no longer sustainable and the community was ruined. A secondary hypothesis has focused on ethnic confrontations between Norse peasants and Inuit hunters. In the last decades ethnic violence has been on the rise in Eastern Europe, the Middle East and parts of Africa. In some cases it has degenerated into ethnic cleansing. This has strengthened the interest in ethnic violence in past societies. Challenging traditional hypotheses is a source of progress in all science. The present book does this on the basis of relevant written and archaeological material respecting the methodology of both sciences.
This volume contains contributions from leading scholars working at the forefront of Irish medieval studies. It includes essays on archaeology, ecclesiology, hagiography, medieval history, genealogy, language and literature, toponymy and digital humanities. Subjects explored include: Latin and learning in early medieval Ireland; the historical context of early medieval literature; Viking armies and the importance of the Hiberno-Norse naval fleets; Ireland and its connections with the Scandinavian world; recent studies of wooden and Romanesque churches in pre-Norman Ireland; the coming of the Anglo-Normans; hitherto unpublished Anglo-Norman charters; the origin and function of medieval rural deaneries; secular and ecclesiastical histories of later medieval Kilkenny; the 'named son' in 16th-century Ireland; and the contribution of digital humanities to the study of medieval texts.
Of all the Celtic peoples once dominant across the whole of Europe north of the Alps, only the Scots established a kingdom that lasted. Wales, Brittany and Ireland, subject to the same sort of pressure from a powerful neighbour, retained linguistic distinctiveness but lost political nationhood. What made Scotland's history so different?
A concise and accessible overview of Ireland AD 400-1500 which challenges the stereotype of medieval Ireland as a backwards-looking nation.
An authoritative modern portrait of Ireland's patron saint discusses his youth as a Roman citizen and Christian nobleman, his enslavement by Irish pirates, his decision to convert the Irish to Christianity, and the letters that revealed intimate information about his belief system and life in Ireland. Reprint. 17,500 first printing.
The idea that with the decline of the Roman Empire Europe entered into some immense ‘dark age’ has long been viewed as inadequate by many historians. How could a world still so profoundly shaped by Rome and which encompassed such remarkable societies as the Byzantine, Carolingian and Ottonian empires, be anything other than central to the development of European history? How could a world of so many peoples, whether expanding, moving or stable, of Goths, Franks, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, whose genetic and linguistic inheritors we all are, not lie at the heart of how we understand ourselves? The Inheritance of Rome is a work of remarkable scope and ambition. Drawing on a wealth of new material, it is a book which will transform its many readers’ ideas about the crucible in which Europe would in the end be created. From the collapse of the Roman imperial system to the establishment of the new European dynastic states, perhaps this book’s most striking achievement is to make sense of an immensely long period of time, experienced by many generations of Europeans, and which, while it certainly included catastrophic invasions and turbulence, also contained long periods of continuity and achievement. From Ireland to Constantinople, from the Baltic to the Mediterranean, this is a genuinely Europe-wide history of a new kind, with something surprising or arresting on every page.
First written down in the eighth century AD, these early Irish stories depict a far older world - part myth, part legend and part history. Rich with magic and achingly beautiful, they speak of a land of heroic battles, intense love and warrior ideals, in which the otherworld is explored and men mingle freely with the gods. From the vivid adventures of the great Celtic hero Cu Chulaind, to the stunning 'Exile of the Sons of Uisliu' - a tale of treachery, honour and romance - these are masterpieces of passion and vitality, and form the foundation for the Irish literary tradition: a mythic legacy that was a powerful influence on the work of Yeats, Synge and Joyce.

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