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The Highland Battles: Warfare on Scotland’s Northern Frontier in the Early Middle Ages (2020)

“The Highland Battles: Warfare on Scotland’s Northern Frontier in the Early Middle Ages” by Chris Peers.

The wars fought in Scotland’s northern and western highlands between the ninth and fourteenth centuries were a key stage in the military history of the region, yet they have rarely been studied in depth before.

Out of this confused and turbulent period came the more settled and familiar history of the region.

The Highlands and islands were controlled by the kings of Norway or by Norse or Norse-Celtic warlords, who not only resisted Scottish royal authority but on occasion seemed likely to overthrow it.

That is why Chris Peers’s ambitious study is of such value for he provides a coherent and vivid account of the series of campaigns and battles that shaped Scotland.

The narrative is structured around a number of battles – Skitten Moor, Torfness, Tankerness, Renfrew, Mam Garvia, Clairdon and Dalrigh – which illustrate phases of the conflict and reveal the strategies and tactics of the rival chieftains.

Chris Peers explores the international background to many of these conflicts which had consequences for Scotland’s relations with England, Ireland and continental Europe.

At the same time he considers to what extent the fighting methods of the time survived into the post-medieval period.

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