Alba <i>as ‘Britain’ after 900 and the Pictish Antecedents of the Kingdom of the Scots</i>

Dauvit Broun

in Scottish Independence and the Idea of Britain

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print March 2007 | ISBN: 9780748623600
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748653416 | DOI:
Alba as ‘Britain’ after 900 and the Pictish Antecedents of the Kingdom of the Scots

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This chapter argues that another explanation is available to the meaning of Alba: one in which the Britishness of Alba is fully acknowledged without supposing that this meant a claim to be the predominant king of the whole island, and in which continuity with the Picts is seen not as a historiographical device, but as a fundamental facet of the kingship's identity. It notes that Alba was originally a Gaelic word for ‘Britain’, and that it acquired its modern meaning of ‘Scotland’ through its use as the Gaelic term for the kingdom of the Scots since the tenth century. What lies at the heart of both is the compelling logic of the landmass between the Forth and the north coast as a concept that could legitimise the kingship's claim to be the highest secular authority in northern Britain.

Keywords: Alba; Picts; Britishness; kingship's identity; Gaelic; Britain; Scotland; Forth; north coast; secular authority

Chapter.  12443 words. 

Subjects: Regional and Area Studies

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