Máel Coluim III, ‘Canmore’
An Eleventh-Century Scottish King
in stockBuy E-book
Not just a biography but a fascinatingly detailed picture of the world in which he lived... this is a terrific book. McGuigan writes with a light touch that makes his story a lively and entertaining read.
Lance and Longbow Society
The depth and breadth of McGuigan’s analysis are very impressive throughout. McGuigan leaves no argument uninterrogated nor avenue unexplored'
The Medieval Review
a major achievement... the writing style is engaging, the maps and genealogies are helpful, and the breadth of scholarship and depth of analysis on display across so many disciplinary and temporal divides is impressive
McGuigan has gone beyond the realms of biography to create a tangible vision of eleventh- century Scotland — and that is quite an achievement
Cambrian Medieval Celtic Studies
This is a beautifully written book that tackles a period of profound change in Scottish history with admirable breadth and range
The Frank Watson Book Prize
About the Book
Winner of the Frank Watson Book Prize for the best book published on Scottish History
Shortlisted for the Saltire Society History Book of the Year
The legendary Scottish king Máel Coluim III, also known as ‘Malcolm Canmore’, is often held to epitomise Scotland’s ‘ancient Gaelic kings’. But Máel Coluim and his dynasty were in fact newcomers, and their legitimacy and status were far from secure at the beginning of his rule. Máel Coluim’s long reign from 1058 until 1093 coincided with the Norman Conquest of England, a revolutionary event that presented great opportunities and terrible dangers. Although his interventions in post-Conquest England eventually cost him his life, the book argues that they were crucial to his success as both king and dynasty-builder, creating internal stability and facilitating the takeover of Strathclyde and Lothian. As a result, Máel Coluim left to his successors a territory that stretched far to the south of the kingship’s heartland north of the Forth, similar to the Scotland we know today.
The book explores the wider political and cultural world in which Máel Coluim lived, guiding the reader through the pitfalls and possibilities offered by the sources that mediate access to that world. Our reliance on so few texts means that the eleventh century poses problems that historians of later eras can avoid. Nevertheless Scotland in Máel Coluim’s time generated unprecedented levels of attention abroad and more vernacular literary output than at any time prior to the Stewart era.
Neil McGuigan is a researcher, historian and lecturer, and also works as a historical consultant. He gained degrees from the University of Edinburgh and a PhD in history from the University of St Andrews, where he is a regular lecturer and tutor. His recent research has concentrated on Scotland and Northumbria in the period 800 to 1200.
You may also like…
Paperback | Pub: 13 Feb 2008£16.99
Through most of eight hundred years, Somerled of Argyll has been variously denounced as an intractable rebel against his rightful king and esteemed as the honoured ancestor of the later medieval Lord of the Isles, but he can be recognised now as a...
Paperback | Pub: 20 May 2021£30.00
The archipelagic kingdoms of Man and the Isles that flourished from the last quarter of the eleventh century down to the middle of the thirteenth century represent two forgotten kingdoms of the medieval British Isles. They were ruled by powerful...