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‘Rethinking Scottish Origins’

Inaugural Lecture as Professor of Scottish History at the University of Glasgow by Dauvit Broun Scotland’s beginnings are normally explained in terms of how the kingdom emerged in the early middle ages. A different approach is taken to Scottish origins in this lecture. Instead of asking how the kingdom expanded to its current borders, the first question is when did the kingdom’s inhabitants first thing of ‘Scotland’ and ‘Scots’ in the basic way that we do today? When did they first think that the regions ruled by the king of Scots formed a single country and people? The answer is: the thirteenth century. From this starting point, Prof. Broun goes on to consider what ‘Scotland’ and ‘Scots’ meant before the thirteenth century, and why it changed. Is there any way of tracing what people at large thought about ‘Scotland’ and ‘Scots’, when the written sources are few in number and produced by and for the elite? The lecture dips into other disciplines before returning to discuss what history can offer not only for our understanding of Scottish origins, but our present-day society generally.