Word and Example: Columba in Northern Britain

James E. Fraser

in From Caledonia to Pictland Scotland to 795

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print January 2009 | ISBN: 9780748612314
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748672158 | DOI:
Word and Example: Columba in Northern Britain

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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The story of Columba and the Picts is nothing like as straightforward as conventional narratives have long held. Its place in Scottish history requires careful rethinking. A fine scholar, a committed advocate of a certain kind of monastic life, and a close relative of mighty kings, Columba may have visited Moray. He may have founded monasteries there. He may have evangelised in their neighbourhoods. On balance, however, the thin evidence is rather better that Columba went to Atholl and that he behaved there much as Columbanus did in Burgundy. There can be no doubt that he consorted with kings, and that he did have a strong message for Pictish ears, if monastic ones.

Keywords: Columbia; missionary; Picts; Scottish history; monastic life

Chapter.  8620 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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