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Medieval Frontier Societies$
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Robert Bartlett and Angus MacKay

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198203612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198203612.001.0001

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Frontier Arrangements in Fragmented Societies: Ireland and Wales

Frontier Arrangements in Fragmented Societies: Ireland and Wales

(p.76) (p.77) 4 Frontier Arrangements in Fragmented Societies: Ireland and Wales
Medieval Frontier Societies

Rees Davies

Oxford University Press

From the late 11th century onwards — in other words from the period of ‘the awakening of Europe’ and ‘the making of the Middle Ages’ — Ireland and Wales may appropriately be regarded as two of the western frontier zones of medieval Europe. They stood at one of the peripheries of the area of feudal imperialism associated with the Norman conquest and colonisation, and indeed this seemed to slow down and even to frustrate its apparently remorseless advance. They were also frontier lands in cultural terms, where a new, confident, aggressive, north-western European, Latin- and French-dominated aristocratic and ecclesiastical culture came into contact, and often confrontation, with native cultures profoundly different in their economic configuration. The saga of the Anglo-Norman penetration of Ireland began in 1169, almost exactly a century later than that of Wales. After making rapid and impressive initial progress, it was already clearly faltering by the second half of the 13th century.

Keywords:   frontier, Ireland, Wales, feudal imperialism, Norman conquest, colonisation, Anglo-Norman

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