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Conceiving a NationScotland to 900 AD$
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Gilbert Márkus

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780748678983

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748678983.001.0001

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‘I will give you nations as your heritage’ (Psalm 2:8)

‘I will give you nations as your heritage’ (Psalm 2:8)

Trade, Culture and Empire in the Early Centuries

(p.1) 1 ‘I will give you nations as your heritage’ (Psalm 2:8)
Conceiving a Nation

Gilbert Márkus

Edinburgh University Press

Scotland’s first appearance in the historical record comes through its international trading links, and is seen initially through the eyes of those who write about it: traders, and then Roman writers in the context of Roman invasion and imperial administration. This chapter stresses the ambiguities of the experience of Empire among native societies of Scotland, negotiating ‘between fear and desire’. We therefore cannot present this period as a straightforward conflict between ‘Celt’ and ‘Roman’. The various processes of ‘Romanisation’ (or acquisition of romanitas) by native societies are discussed, not merely in terms of the ebb and flow of colonial reach, but in terms of the active agency of native communities in taking what they wanted from the repertoire of romanitas – which in itself was a soup of very varied cultural practices from all over the Empire (including, ultimately, Christianity). The motives and perceptions of all participants in this process are examined critically.

Keywords:   ethnic fallacy, Roman empire, Celtic identitites, inventing the Picts, cultural change, Christianity, Romanitas

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