The First English Empire (The Ford Lectures Series): Power and Identities in the British Isles, 1093-1343

Overview

The future of the United Kingdom is an increasingly open question. This book traces the issue's roots to the Middle Ages, when English power and control came to extend to the whole of the British Isles. By 1300 it looked as if Edward I was in control of virtually the whole of the British Isles. Ireland, Scotland, and Wales had, in different degrees, been subjugated to his authority; contemporaries were even comparing him to King Arthur. This was the culmination of a remarkable English advance into the outer zones...

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Overview

The future of the United Kingdom is an increasingly open question. This book traces the issue's roots to the Middle Ages, when English power and control came to extend to the whole of the British Isles. By 1300 it looked as if Edward I was in control of virtually the whole of the British Isles. Ireland, Scotland, and Wales had, in different degrees, been subjugated to his authority; contemporaries were even comparing him to King Arthur. This was the culmination of a remarkable English advance into the outer zones of the British Isles in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. The advance was not only a matter of military power, political control, and governmental and legal institutions; it also involved extensive colonization and the absorption of these outer zones into the economic and cultural orbit of an England-dominated world. What remained to be seen was how stable (especially in Scotland and Ireland) this English 'empire' would be; how far the northern and western parts of the British Isles could be absorbed in an English-centered polity and society; and to what extent the early and self-confident development of English identity would determine the relationships between England and the rest of the British Isles. The answers to those questions would be shaped by the past of the country that was England; the answers would also cast their shadow over the future of the British Isles for centuries to come.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780198208495
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 11/28/2000
  • Series: The Ford Lectures Series
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

A former President of the Royal Historical Society, R. R. Davies is Chichele Professor of Medieval History at All Souls College, Oxford, and Chairman of the Modern History Faculty, University of Oxford. His books include The Revolt of Owain Glyn Dwr, Domination and Conquest: The Experience of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales 1100-1300, and Conquest, Coexistence, and Change: Wales 1063-1415.

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Table of Contents

Maps
Abbreviations
Introduction 1
1 The High Kingship of the British Isles 4
2 Island Mythologies 31
3 Orbits of Power 54
4 Political Heartlands and Political Backwaters 89
5 'Sweet civility' and 'barbarous rudeness' 113
6 The Anglicization of the British Isles 142
7 The Ebb Tide of the English Empire, 1304-1343 172
Epilogue: The British Isles and the Identity of England 191
Index 205
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