From Kings to Warlords

March 1987
202 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Studies in Celtic History
ISBN: 9780851157849
Format: Paperback
Boydell Press
BISAC HIS037010, HIS018000

From Kings to Warlords

The Changing Political Structure of Gaelic Ireland in the Later Middle Ages

Katharine Simms

Native Irish chieftains, not totally subdued after the Norman invasion of Ireland, recovered a measure of their power in the later middle ages; unfamiliar sources illuminate developments.
The Norman invasion of Ireland (1169) did not result in a complete conquest, and those native Irish chieftains who retained independent control of their territories achieved a recovery of power in the later middle ages. Katharine Simms studies the experience of the resurgent chieftains, who were undergoing significant developments during this period. The most obvious signs of change were the gradual disappearance of the title ri (king), and the ubiquitous presence of mercenary soldiers. On a deeper level, the institution of kingship itself had died, as is shown by this study of the election and inauguration of Irish kings, their counsellors, officials, vassals, army, and sources of revenue, as they evolved between the twelfth and sixteenth centuries. Sources such as the Irish chronicles, bardic poetry, genealogies, brehon charters and rentals, family-tract and sagas are all used, in addition to the more familiar evidence of the Anglo-Norman administration, the Church, and Tudor state papers.
Dr KATHARINE SIMMS lectures in the Department of Medieval History, Trinity College, Dublin.


New and exciting — It describes for the first time the way in which Gaelic society changed and developed in the later middle ages. ALBION A pioneering and splendidly intelligent book — Dr Simms has ensured that later medieval Ireland — and not merely Gaelic Ireland — will never look quite the same again. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

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