The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century (Paperback)
  • The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century (Paperback)
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The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century (Paperback)

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Paperback 320 Pages / Published: 31/08/2017
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The central argument of The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century is that the English kingdom which existed at the time of the Norman Conquest was defined by the geographical parameters of a set of administrative reforms implemented in the mid- to late tenth century, and not by a vision of English unity going back to Alfred the Great (871-899). In the first half of the tenth century, successive members of the Cerdicing dynasty established a loose domination over the other great potentates in Britain. They were celebrated as kings of the whole island, but even in their Wessex heartlands they probably had few means to routinely regulate the conduct of the general populace. Detailed analysis of coins, shires, hundreds, and wapentakes suggests that it was only around the time of Edgar (957/9-975) that the Cerdicing kings developed the relatively standardised administrative apparatus of the so-called 'Anglo-Saxon state'. This substantially increased their ability to impinge upon the lives of ordinary people living between the Channel and the Tees, and served to mark that area off from the rest of the island. The resultant cleft undermined the idea of a pan-British realm, and demarcated the early English kingdom as a distinct and coherent political unit. In this volume, George Molyneaux places the formation of the English kingdom in a European perspective, and challenges the notion that its development was exceptional: the Cerdicings were only one of several ruling dynasties around the fringes of the former Carolingian Empire for which the late ninth, tenth, and eleventh centuries were a time of territorial expansion and consolidation.

Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 9780198813460
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 492 g
Dimensions: 231 x 155 x 18 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS
This is a seriously impressive piece of scholarship that creates a framework through which we can perceive something of the tenth cenutury's extensive administrative developments, the rationale that underpinned them, and the extraordinary far-reaching consequences they would have. It re-emphasizes the sophistication of late Anglo-Saxon government, and how very strong its interaction was with localities and the individual. In doing so, it reveals much about how England began. * Alex Burghart, The Times Literary Supplement *
George Molyneaux's exciting new book is the most comprehensive rethinking of the tenth century in England for a generation. All Anglo-Saxonists will have to read this book, but so will anyone interested in the development of medieval political power in general. * Chris Wickham, author of Medieval Rome *
The Formation of the English Kingdom presents a meticulously researched and logically argued thesis. Molyneaux draws upon a broad corpus of information in his analysis, offering nuanced examinations of the evidence while acknowledging gaps and silences in the sources. * Dr Nicole Marafioti, Reviews in History *
The Formation of the English Kingdom is an impressive and significant book; significant for the argument it presents that Edgar's reign was central in bringing the kingdom together administratively and ideologically, and significant for its integration of coinage with other sources ... relatively few historians have dealt with coinage as directly or subtly as Molyneaux. * Rory Naismith, Numismatic Chronicle *
Molyneaux's assault on the established position is as systematic and thorough as one could wish * Alex Woolf, The Scottish Historical Review *
Molyneaux's work makes a major contribution to Anglo-Saxon history ... This is a pioneering book and it deserves to be widely read by academics and students looking to understand political power in early medieval Europe. * Andrew Wareham, Journal of British Studies *
Molyneaux has assembled a convincing argument that meticulously justifies the maximalist view of early English royal administration, accounting both for the circumstances of its formation and the limits of its reach. This is a volume that scholars will be returning to (and arguing with) for years to come. * Andrew Rabin, The Medieval Review *
Molyneaux's rich study of tenth-century England is among the most important monographs on the subject to have appeared in decades. Its thesis is meticulously argued, based on profound knowledge of all the critical sources and scholarship. * Journal of Ecclesiastical History *
detailed and readable accounts that help to contextualise Oxfordshire in the later Anglo-Saxon period. * Stuart Brookes, Oxoniensia *
a clear and learned guide to developments in the tenth-century.... George Molyneaux is to be congratulated for his stimulating contribution to the debate. * Barbara Yorke, Early Medieval Europe *
Molyneaux has done an excellent job of revealing the mechanisms of the Cerdicings' power, even where the sources are fragmentary. [translation] * Gernot R. Wieland, Historische Zeitschrift *
Molyneaux's reading of the emergence of 'England' opens the mind to new possibilities and new interpretations - which is surely the mark of good history. * Ann Williams, American Historical Review *

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