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Alexander III, 1249-1286

First Among Equals

by Norman H. Reid

£30.00

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ISBN: 9781910900383
Published: 06 Apr 2023
Format: Paperback
Extent: 416
Publisher: Birlinn Ltd
Imprint: John Donald
Categories:
History / Medieval history
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About the Book

Winner of the Saltire Society Scottish History Book of the Year

Presiding over an age of relative peace and prosperity, Alexander III represented the zenith of Scottish medieval kingship.  The events which followed his early and unexpected death plunged Scotland into turmoil, and into a period of warfare and internal decline which almost brought about the demise of the Scottish state.

This study fills a serious gap in the historiography of medieval Scotland. For many decades, even centuries, Scotland’s medieval kingship has been regarded as a close likeness of the English monarchy, having been ‘modernised’ in that image by the twelfth- and thirteenth-century kings, who had close relationships with their southern counterparts. Recent research has cast doubt on that view, and this examination of Alexander III’s reign is based on a view of Scottish kingship which depends on much firmer continuity with its earlier, celtic past. It challenges accepted truth, revealing that the nature of state and government, and the relationships between ruler and subject, were quite different from the previous ‘received view’.

On the cusp of a dynastic catastrophe which led to economic and political disaster, Alexander III’s reign captures a snapshot of Scotland at the end of a period of sustained peace and development: a view of the medieval state as it really was.


The Author

Norman H. Reid

Norman Reid is an Honorary Research Fellow at the School of History, University of St Andrews. He was previously Head of Special Collections and Assistant Director of Library Services, University of St Andrews.

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