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Outlaws of Medieval Scotland

Outlaws of Medieval Scotland: Challenges to the Canmore Kings, 1058-1266

R. Andrew McDonald

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Subject: History
Royal octavo
Paperback £20
ISBN: 1 86232 236 8

 Violence and insurrection in the medieval kingdom

The history of the so-called Canmore kings in Scotland, from the reign of Malcolm lll (1058-93) down to that of Alexander lll (1249-86), 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, the first on its subject, 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 Assistant Professor of History at Brock University in St Catharines, Ontario, Canada. He is the author of The Kingdom of the Isles: Scotlandís Western Seaboard c. 1100-c.1336 and co-editor of Alba: Celtic Scotland in the Middle Ages, both published by Tuckwell Press.