Rheged: an Early Historic Kingdom near the Solway

Rheged: an Early Historic Kingdom near the Solway

McCarthy , Mike

Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 132 (2002), 357–381


Rheged has been well known to historians for some time, but it is usually considered from the standpoint of the written sources. This paper seeks to begin the process of wider examination, firstly by discussing salient aspects of the archaeological setting, specifically the Iron Age and Roman background. Secondly, attention is drawn to those elements of the archaeological and written record relating to the location of Rheged, as well as to kingship and power. Earlier assumptions as to the location of Rheged are challenged, and it is suggested that its focus was in the Rhinns of Galloway.

By the late sixth century Rheged, led by its great king Urien, was in existence, but it proved to be transient, and within a century or so of the earliest references in the literature, it had become absorbed into the expanding kingdom of Northumbria. Later, the Men of the North provided the heroic ancestry and models appropriate to kings in Wales, and ultimately found a place in one of the most enduring themes in medieval romantic literature.

Click here to read this article from the Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland

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