The First Kingdom


Publication Date: 2 Feb. 2022
Format: Paperback / softback

ISBN 9781788543484

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    An investigation of the obscure centuries that followed the departure of the Romans from Britain.

    The bestselling author of The King in the North turns his attention to the obscure era of British history known as 'the age of Arthur'.

    Somewhere in the shadow time between the departure of the Roman legions in the early fifth century and the arrival in Kent of Augustine's Christian mission at the end of the sixth, the kingdoms of Early Medieval Britain were formed. But by whom? And out of what?

    In The First Kingdom, Max Adams scrutinizes the narrative of this period handed down to us by later historians and chroniclers. Stripping away the more lurid claims made for a warrior-hero named Arthur, he synthesises the research carried out over the last forty years to tease out the strands of reality from the myth. He reveals how archaeology has delivered evidence of a diverse and dynamic response to Britain's new-found independence, of material and intellectual trade between the Atlantic islands and the rest of Europe, and of the environmental context of those centuries.

    A skilfully wrought and intellectually probing investigation of the most mysterious epoch in our history, The First Kingdom presents an image of post-Roman Britain whose resolution is high enough to show the emergence of distinct political structures in the sixth century – polities that survive long enough to be embedded in the medieval landscape, recorded in the lines of river, road and watershed, and memorialised in place names.

    PRAISE FOR MAX ADAMS:

    'Not just a valuable book, but a distinctive one as well' Tom Holland, Sunday Times

    'Adams' overview is deeply immersed in the landscape of early medieval Britain ... The whole presents a very useful reference, and an enjoyable read' Current Archaeology

    'A worthy synthesis of what little we know' Gerard de Groot, The Times

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