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Celt and Saxon : interaction in pre-Viking Britain, c.600-800

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Grimmer, MR (2003) Celt and Saxon : interaction in pre-Viking Britain, c.600-800. PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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Abstract

The thesis aims to present a history of the interaction between Anglo-Saxons and Celts in pre-Viking Britain, c.600-800. The study is organised into three parts which examine, respectively, Anglo-Celtic relations for southern, northern and midland Britain. Part One considers relations between the West Saxons and the Britons of Dumnonia and the south-west. Part Two investigates the Northumbrians and their contacts with the Britons of the north, the Scots of Dalriada, and the Picts. Part Three covers relations between the Mercians and the Britons of Wales. Each part of the thesis begins by presenting the relevant ethnographic material, as well as evidence for the development of kingship within the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic kingdoms under study. This is followed by an examination of the evidence for warfare, conquest and territorial expansion, as well as for military alliances as appropriate. Issues of assimilation, continuity and social exchange are then explored, pertaining in the first instance to the secular world, and subsequently to ecclesiastical interaction.

It is argued that the historian of Anglo-Celtic relations in pre-Viking Britain is confronted with a series of paradoxes. On the one hand, there is no doubt that aggression and antagonism remain central and continuing themes in the primary source material. But on the other, there are equally undoubted instances of alliance and accommodation. In part, the apparent paradoxes in the evidence exist because there has been no broad study in which different data and events are synthesised over a significant period of time, and over a wide geographical area. By providing an integrated and cross-regional study of Anglo-Celtic interaction, it is intended that a more considered and even-handed understanding of relations can be approached.

The thesis seeks to show that Anglo-Celtic relations in pre-Viking Britain cannot be categorised in any simplistic or essentialist mariner. Interaction 'on the border' reveals that the contest between Anglo-Saxon and British kingdoms, and to a lesser extent Pictish and Scottish, was an important stimulus to their own political and economic development in the period. In addition, the degree of social exchange and cultural borrowing that occurred between Celts and Anglo-Saxons was moderated by the relative geographic distance of the different peoples from one another. It is concluded that those Celts who had the greatest intensity of social exchange with the Anglo-Saxons were not the neighbouring Britons but the more distant Scots and Picts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Anglo-Saxons, Civilization, Celtic, Celts, Civilization
Copyright Information:

Copyright 2003 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

Additional Information:

Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Tasmania, 2003. Includes bibliographical references

Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2014 00:08
Last Modified: 01 Jun 2017 23:39
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