Alexander II: King of Scots 1214-1249

Alexander II, King of Scots 1214-1249

Author: Richard Oram | Published: October 2012 | Publisher: John Donald (Birlinn) | Buy from Amazon


By equal measure state-builder and political unifier and ruthless opportunist and bloody-handed aggressor, Alexander II has been praised or vilified by past historians but has rarely been viewed in the round.

This book explores the king’s successes and failures, offering a fresh assessment of his contribution to the making of Scotland as a nation. It lifts the focus from an introspective national history to look at the man and his kingdom in wider British and European history, examining his international relationships and offering the first detailed analysis of the efforts to work out a lasting diplomatic solution to the Anglo-Scottish conflict over his inherited claims to the northern counties of England.

More than just a political narrative, the book also seeks to illuminate aspects of the king’s character and his relationships with those around him, especially his mother, his first wife Joan Plantagenet, and the great magnates, clerics and officials who served in his household and administration. The book illustrates the processes by which the mosaic of petty principalities and rival power-bases that covered the map of late 12th-century Scotland had become by the mid-13th century a unified state, hybrid in culture(s) and multilingual but acknowledging a common identity as Scots.



Richard Oram gained an MA (Hons) in Mediaeval History and Archaeology and a PhD in Mediaeval History from the University of St Andrews. He is Professor of Medieval and Environmental History at the University of Stirling and since 2011 has been Deputy Head of the School of Arts and Humanities. He is author of many articles and books, including The Lordship of Galloway, David I and Domination and Lordship.



Source: Birlinn Limited

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[…] During the power struggle with the Norwegians on the western seaboard, Alexander placed loyal supporters in the West, and the lands of the MacSweens (who appear to have been aligned with the Norwegian King) were given to the Stewarts. Some sources say the Stewarts of Menteith controlled Arran as early as the 1220s, during the reign of Alexander II. […]