When did Scots first think of Scotland as an independent kingdom? What did they think was Scotland's place in Britain before the age of Wallace and Bruce? The answers argued in this book offer a fresh perspective on the question of Scotland's relationship with Britain. It challenges the standard concept of the Scots as an ancient nation whose British identity only emerged in the early modern era, but also provides new evidence that the idea of Scotland as an independent kingdom was older than the age of Wallace and Bruce. This leads to radical reassessments of a range of fundamental issues: the fate of Pictish identity and the origins of Alba, the status of Scottish kingship vis-a-vis England, the papacy's recognition of the independence of the Scottish Church, and the idea of Scottish freedom. It also sheds new light on the authorship of John of Fordun's chronicle, the first full-scale history of the Scots, and offers an historical explanation of the widespread English inability to distinguish between England and Britain. All this is placed in the wider context of ideas of ultimate secular power in Britain and Ireland and the construction of national histories in this period.
The book concludes with a fresh perspective on the origin of national identity, and the medieval and specifically Scottish contribution to understanding what is often regarded as an exclusively modern phenomenon.
Dauvit Broun teaches medieval Scottish history from the 6th to the 15th centuries at the University of Glasgow. He is an Editor of the Scottish Historical Review.
Preface and Acknowledgements; Abbreviations; Map; INTRODUCTION; Chapter 1: Writing about Scottish aspirations to independence before the age of Robert Bruce and William Wallace; I: THE IDEA OF BRITAIN; Chapter 2: Ancient kingdoms and island histories: the historiographical portrayal of ultimate secular authority from the eleventh to the thirteenth centuries; Chapter 3: Alba as 'Britain' after 900 and the Pictish antecedents of the kingship of the Scots; II: INDEPENDENCE; Chapter 4: The Church and the first struggle for Scottish independence: from the Council of Windsor and the submission of Abernethy (1072) to Cum universi and the Quitclaim of Canterbury (1189); Chapter 5: Whose independence? Bishop Jocelin of Glasgow (1175-99) and the achievement of ecclesiastical freedom; III: SOVEREIGN KINGSHIP; Chapter 6: The inauguration of Alexander III (1249) and the portrayal of Scotland as a sovereign kingdom; Chapter 7: From client king to sovereign: royal charters and the status of Scottish kingship in the reigns of William I (1165-1214) and Alexander II (1214-49); IV: NATIONAL HISTORY; Chapter 8: The principle source used by John of Fordun for his Chronicle of the Scottish People; Chapter 9: The Scots as ancient and free: 'Proto-Fordun', 'Veremundus' and the creation of Scottish History; CONCLUSION; Chapter 10: The idea of Britain and the origins of Scottish independence.