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Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2021
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Book description

How did Brittany get its name and its British-Celtic language in the centuries after the collapse of the Western Roman Empire? Beginning in the ninth century, scholars have proposed a succession of theories about Breton origins, influenced by the changing relationships between Brittany, its Continental neighbours, and the 'Atlantic Archipelago' during and after the Viking age and the Norman Conquest. However, due to limited records, the history of medieval Brittany remains a relatively neglected area of research. In this new volume, the authors draw on specialised research in the history of language and literature, archaeology, and the cult of saints, to tease apart the layers of myth and historical record. Brittany retained a distinctive character within the typical 'medieval' forces of kingship, lordship, and ecclesiastical hierarchy. The early history of Brittany is richly fascinating, and this new investigation offers a fresh perspective on the region and early medieval Europe in general.


'This welcome, authoritative study synthesizes the history and archaeology of early medieval Brittany, framed comparatively in terms of its wider west European, Atlantic connections. Not only students of the European early middle ages but anyone fascinated by the Breton landscape and its history will read it with profit and pleasure.'

Marios Costambeys - University of Liverpool

'Subtly interweaving textual and archaeological evidence, this substantial and comprehensive volume convincingly highlights the cultural interdependence of Brittany and Britain in the AD 450–1200 period. Debunking hoary clichés and offering innovative approaches to cross-Channel movements of people and ideas, it makes a major contribution to the history of medieval Western Europe.'

Patrick Galliou - Université de Bretagne Occidentale (Brest)

'Brittany and the Atlantic Archipelago transforms scholarship on relations between Brittany and Britain (and Ireland) from the Breton settlements in Late Antiquity to Brittany’s incorporation into the kingdom of France in 1203. It thereby makes a vital contribution to the history of what began as Gaul and would become France.'

Thomas Charles-Edwards - University of Oxford

'… A highly readable and important contribution to several areas of study … Highly recommended.'

D. M. Hall Source: Choice

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