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The Britons

ISBN: 978-0-470-75821-2
April 2008, Wiley-Blackwell
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This book provides a fascinating and unique history of the Britons from the late Iron Age to the late Middle Ages. It also discusses the revivals of interest in British culture and myth over the centuries, from Renaissance antiquarians to modern day Druids.

  • A fascinating and unique history of the Britons from the late Iron Age to the late Middle Ages.
  • Describes the life, language and culture of the Britons before, during and after Roman rule.
  • Examines the figures of King Arthur and Merlin and the evolution of a powerful national mythology.
  • Proposes a new theory on the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain and the establishment of separate Brittonic kingdoms.
  • Discusses revivals of interest in British culture and myth, from Renaissance antiquarians to modern day Druids.
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List of Plates.

List of Figures.

List of Maps.

List of Tables.

Preface.

Abbreviations.

1. Who are the Britons?.

Britons and the Great Celtic Debate.

Historiography and Methodology.

Part I: Romans and Britons:.

2. Late Pre-Roman Iron Age.

The Earliest Britons.

Hallstatt and La Tène.

The Belgae.

Oppida and Proto-Urbanism in Britain.

Caesar and the Britons.

British Tribes and the Rise of the Catuvellauni.

3. The Roman Period.

The Claudian conquest.

British Client Kings.

Caratacus.

Boudica.

Military expansion and Romanization.

Organizing the Britons.

Farming and Rural Settlement.

Language in Roman Britain.

Religion.

4. Late Roman Britain.

Military and Political Events.

Towns Great and Small.

Hill-forts and the Native Aristocracy.

Forts and Foederati.

The Picts and the Scots.

Britons Abroad.

The British Tyrants.

Part II: The Brittonic Age:.

5. Britons and Saxons.

Sources and Evidence.

An Historical Narrative?.

A New Model for the Adventus Saxonum.

The Historical Arthur Debate.

Towns and Hill-forts.

Kings and Tyrants.

6. The British Church.

The Origins of Christianity in Britain.

The Late Roman Church.

Pelagius and Pelagianism in Britain.

Patrick.

Gildas.

Monasticism and the Penitentials.

The Age of the Saints.

Postscript: The Synod of Whitby.

Part III: A People Divided:.

7. Brittany and Galicia.

Galicia.

From Armorica to Brittany.

Riothamus and Sidonius.

The Bretons Church.

Bretons and Franks.

Brittany and the Carolingian Empire.

Redon and Local Administration.

Ducal Brittany.

8. Cornwall and the Southwest.

The Southwest.

The Cornovii and the Dumnonii.

Tintagel and Dumnonian Kingship.

Æthelstan and West Saxon Expansion.

The Cornish Saints.

9. Wales and the Isle of Man.

Historical Narrative.

Welsh Kings and Kingdoms.

The Llandaff Charters and Roman Survival in Southern Wales.

Hill-forts and Trade.

The Irish in Wales and Man.

The Welsh Church.

10. Northern Britons.

The Parisii.

The Brigantes.

The Carvetii.

Britons beyond the Wall: the Novantae, the Selgovae, the Damnonii, and the Votadini.

British Survival along Hadrian’s Wall.

Elmet.

Deira and Bernicia.

Rheged.

Gododdin.

Strathclyde.

The ‘Heroic Society’ of the North.

Part IV: Conquest, Survival, and Revival:.

11. Normans and Britons.

Bretons and the Norman Conquest.

The Marcher Lords and the first Welsh Rebellions.

Geoffrey of Monmouth.

Arthur and the Plantagenets.

Gerald of Wales.

Welsh Nationalism and the Two Llywelyns.

Edward I and Wales.

Owain Glyn Dŵr.

12. Language and Literature.

The Development of the Brittonic Languages.

British Latin Writers.

The Bard in the Early Middle Ages.

The Cynfeirdd.

‘The Great Prophecy of Britain’.

The Welsh Triads.

The Mabinogi.

The Breton Lais.

Welsh Chronicles and Histories.

The Last of the Royal Bards.

Dafydd ap Gwilym.

13. Conclusion.

The Loss of Sovereignty.

Antiquarian Revival.

Nationalism, Separatist Groups, and Devolution.

The Britons in Perspective.

Chronology of Events.

Bibliography.

Index.

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Christopher A. Snyder is Associate Professor of European History and Chair of the Department of History and Politics at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland and a frequent lecturer at the Smithsonian Institution. His previous books include Exploring the World of King Arthur (2000) and An Age of Tyrants: Britain and the Britons, AD 400-600 (1998).
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  • A fascinating and unique history of the Britons from the late Iron Age to the late Middle Ages.

  • Describes the life, language and culture of the Britons before, during and after Roman rule.

  • Examines the figures of King Arthur and Merlin and the evolution of a powerful national mythology.

  • Proposes a new theory on the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain and the establishment of separate Brittonic kingdoms.

  • Discusses revivals of interest in British culture and myth, from Renaissance antiquarians to modern day Druids.
See More
"This lucid text cuts a logical swathe through the minefield of current debates, and provides an overview that will be welcomed by scholars and non-specialists alike. Anyone seeking an authoritative and eminently readable account of the early Britons should start with this book. I enjoyed it. Others will too." Lloyd Laing, University of Nottingham

"This book is about a fascinating, crucial and formative period of British History. There are plenty of controversial theories about the so-called 'Dark Ages', and yet Snyder offers a manageable overview that explores not only the latest scholarly works but also popular flights of fancy. This is a really well written book which is interesting, questioning, accessible and often amusing" Abbey's Advocate Newsletter

"Prof Snyder questions the view of historians from Bede onwards that the British were overwhelmed by massive Germanic immigration and a series of bloody wars. He says many historians are now subscribing to the theory that a small number of warrior elites imposed their culture on the Britons in what is now England. The Welsh, however, refused for centuries to accept new trends from continental Europe, even defying the Pope with their own calendar." Rhodri Clark, Western Mail (Cardiff)

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