The Sea Kings
The Sea Kings
The thirteenth-century kings of Scotland viewed the world from the core of their realm in the valleys of the Tay, the Forth, and the Tweed. Between 1214 and 1286 the kings sought to establish structures of direct and indirect rule beyond these southern and eastern heartlands by negotiation and by force. The ambitions of the kings of Scots brought them into close contact with the men of the Isles. The islands of the west, from Lewis in the north down through the Hebrides to Islay and south to Man in the Irish Sea, lay under the lordship of the king of Norway. The Isles, or the Sudreys as the Norse termed them, formed the core of a different region. Custom and language in this maritime province reflected the merging of Scandinavian and Gaelic populations and cultures since the arrival of the Norsemen in the ninth century. This distinct identity was recognised not simply by the royal titles claimed by rulers in the region, but by the creation of a single diocese covering the Isles in the late twelfth century.
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