The political narrative for Scotland in the eighth to eleventh centuries has had to be written principally from Irish and English sources. This has led to a southern bias in the story told and almost nothing has been said about either the islands or the mainland north of Ardnamurchan in the west, or the Moray Firth in the east. This chapter discusses Icelandic sagas written between the late twelfth and the early fourteenth centuries; the character and course of Scandinavian settlement in northern Scotland; Gaelic as a significant language in the course of the Viking Age; the earldom of Orkney; Earl Thorfinnr; and the conversion of Scandinavian Scotland from Norse paganism to Christianity.
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