Ashe Geoffrey - Kings and Queens of Early Britain

Author : Ashe Geoffrey
Title : Kings and Queens of Early Britain
Year : 1982

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Preface and Acknowledgements. THIS BOOK IS EXACTLY WHAT ITS TITLE IMPLIES. It is not a social Or economic history, and does not aspire to be. It is about individuals who ruled in Britain, or are said to have done so, from the time of the earliest legendary names (Brutus the Trojan and King Lear, for instance) to the time of Alfred the Great in the ninth century A.D. The words 'king' and 'queen' must be understood in a broad sense. Not all these rulers had the precise royal title, or a hereditary claim, or even legitimate power. But all held sovereignty of some sort, in fact or fiction or the borderland that lies between. A word about selection. In the centuries when Britain was divided into small kingdoms, it would be wearisome to list every known sovereign in every fraction of the island. I have chosen those who seem to me to emerge, however dimly, as personalities, or to have done things of importance. The resultant allocation of space may not always please. It may be felt, for instance, that there is too little about Scotland. The reason is not that I undervalue Scotland. The reason - a regretted one - is that Scotland's earliest history furnishes few rulers about whom it is possible to say very much. When clear-cut characters do begin to come forward, they have their place in the story. Geographical terms, I am afraid, are sometimes anachronistic. Thus, the only simple way of defining parts of England in Roman times is by county names which did not come into use till long afterwards. There are problems with personal names as well, because the spellings vary, and with dates, because authorities often disagree by a year or two even in periods when the records look accurate. Here I can only make a choice, with a general warning that such hazards exist. ...

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