Historical study of the Gael and Norse in Western Scotland from c.795 to c.1000
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This thesis is an interdisciplinary study with two major objectives, namely to investigate both the cultural and historical developments which took place between c.795 and c.1000 in the West Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Various types of evidence are examined in order to understand the impact of the Norse upon the preexisting population of Western Scotland and vice versa. In Chapter 1, the onomastic evidence is reviewed in order to isolate the total area of Norse settlement, and to find within it areas where this settlement developed in differing ways. In Chapter 2, I survey the archaeological evidence. Chapter 3 examines the linguistic situation pertaining in the west vis a vis Norse and Gaelic, while Chapter 4 reviews the evidence for the survival or otherwise of Christianity. Particular attention is paid to the investigation of the people called Gall-Gaidheil 'Foreign Gael'. Using onomastics and historical sources, the area of their ethnogenesis is isolated and their linguistic and religious affiliation explored. Chapter 5 examines the evidence for their later presence in Galloway. On the historical side, Chapter 6 investigates the Norse raids and settlement and provides a date for these events. Also in Chapter 6, and in Chapters 7 and 8, I focus upon the political links between the West Highlands and Islands and the kingdoms of Scotland and Dublin during the ninth and tenth centuries.