Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Other Sellers on Amazon
+ $3.99 shipping
+ $3.99 shipping
+ Free Shipping
Warlords: The Struggle for Power in Post-Roman Britain Paperback – June 15, 2009
|New from||Used from|
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top customer reviews
Laycock's central thesis is that there was no national Brittonic identity, but rather only tribal affiliations, and that there was no authority recognized above that of local kingdoms, based around one, or sometimes two, tribal areas / civitates. Ultimately, I was not convinced by his arguments. For example, the existence of memorial stones that name people by their tribe does not prove that there was no sense of Brittonic nationhood. All the relevant contemporary writers I can think of (Constantius, Gildas, Sidonius, Jordanes, Procopius) identify the Britons as a nation and many imply leadership of that nation by an individual (the proud tyrant, Ambrosius, Riothamus, an unnamed king) at least at certain times. Laycock's attempt to localize these individuals to particular tribes is hard to reconcile with what these authors wrote.
As an introduction to post-Roman Britain, "Warlords" is to be recommended above most popular books which concentrate on the doubtful figure of Arthur. However, to be picky, there are a few weak points:
1. Why should we believe that one civitas, Dumnonia, "was quite possibly capable of supplying and equipping twelve thousand men" under the leadership of Riothamus in Gaul, when Leslie Alcock (_Arthur's Britain_) doubts that any of the post-Roman states could have raised even one thousand men.
2. Laycock quotes Roger of Wendover for the relations between Ambrosius and Vortigern even though, as he admits, this is possibly more myth than history. I think this information clearly derives the pseudohistory of Geoffrey of Monmouth.
3. Laycock accuses Bede of "losing the plot" by "allotting Aelle all the territory south of the Humber" but of course Bede ascribes to Aelle only the same authority as he ascribes to the later Ethelbert. There is no reason that a king of Sussex and nearby districts could not have have been held in the same regard as a king of Kent.
So in summary: certainly worth reading, but Laycock's case is not as strong as he makes it out to be.