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The Balliol Dynasty: 1210-1364 Paperback – 19 May 2008

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Donald Publishers Ltd (19 May 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 190460773X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1904607731
  • Product Dimensions: 15.9 x 3.3 x 23.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,251,826 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Amanda Beam was born in Fort Smith, Arkansas. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2001 and completed her PhD at the University of Stirling in 2005. She is currently a research assistant in the Department of History at the University of Glasgow.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Extremely insightful and objective investigation into the Balliol's and their motives. Excellent reading for a historical piece and highly recommended for students of medieval Scottish history of all ages.
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Format: Paperback
If you love Scotland and its history, you'll love this wonderful book about one of the most important families from this land; The Balliol dynasty. Amanda Beams has done a good job writting this book. Highly recommended.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Remarkable Dynastic Tale! 28 Mar. 2015
By Raymond V Brown Jr - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my first review of a purchase from Amazon.

I have recently become interested in Anglo-Scottish-Norman-French history, in particular some of the remarkable lord and noble families active during the medieval eleventh through fifteenth centuries. I could not have chosen a better place to start than with Amanda’s study of the Balliol Dynasty. I am a novice in this area, so forgive my naïve review.

Amanda provides an exhaustive and deep evaluation of the Balliol family during the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Most importantly, Amanda provides a new interpretation of the importance and impact that key members of this family had on early Anglo-Scottish history. She offers a convincing view that John Balliol (II) (d.1314) and Edward Balliol (d.1364), both former kings of Scotland, were not merely weak ineffectual leaders, but rather important impactful contributors to the development of the Realm of Scotland. She examines the intricate familial relationships of the dynasty to show the important connections that establish a new way of looking at their role as English lords. This gives a rich new way of evaluating the legacy of the “Tuyme Tabart” and his son and their position within the dynasty.

I walk away with a view that both John II and Edward were reluctant kings of Scotland, yet ambitious progenitors of the Balliol line (although why Edward died, aged 82, without issue remains a mystery – yet certainly a factor in the lack of baronial support garnered). Amanda illustrates the enormous Anglo connections of the family and the role these connections played in building their wealth and importance. She evidently invested a significant amount of time in many of the French archives to uncover the Franco-Norman origins and connections of the family, tracing the likely burial of John II to the ancestral castle in Helicourt. It is interesting how these Anglo and Franco connections served to facilitate and yet undermine their ultimate role in Scotland.

Amanda’s work is thoroughly referenced with extensive footnotes, which I for one prefer, but this does not reduce the fluid story she relates and serves to reinforce the theory she presents. She begins by reviewing, although she would admit a brief survey, of the landed estates of the Balliol’s and how these were acquired over time. She also furnishes the political backdrop through which much of the wealth and power of the dynasty arose. Amanda is clearly a student of the “charters” and the “exchequer” with samples of each in appendix form. One can see some of the approach of her work in “The Paradox of Medieval Scotland” project at the University of Glasgow that leverages the prosopographical method to tease out family network connections and relationships. Amanda also provides a rich interpretation of the chroniclers of the day to illustrate how the more popular historiography of the day evolved. As the dynasty unfolds she highlights crucial elements to support her argument regarding the instrumentality of relationships and landholding in evaluating the history of the Balliol family. I was surprised by the degree to which the Balliol family was anchored within the English courts, having really only thought of the them as failed kings of Scotland.

Amanda also clearly shows the family connections with such important families as the Comyns and the Umfravilles (of which my spouse is a distant descendant), as well as, the underlying political connections with the rulers of England. She opens with a remarkable five pages of genealogical charts on the family, which builds on such charts as provided by Geoffrey Stell in his essay on “The Great Cause” in K.J. Stringer’s edition of “Essays on The Nobility of Medieval Scotland” (1985). It might seem a simple thing, but I seldom encounter such thorough charting. Another excellent example is in her work on Ingram de Umfraville in King & Simpkin, “England and Scotland at War, circa1296-1513” (2012); one gains a new appreciation for proper labeling of generations when family members have the same name.

I have found a similar “non-Bruce” interpretation of Scotland’s history in Alan Young’s book “Robert the Bruce’s Rivals: The Comyns, 1212-1314”. This too, offers a counterpoint view to previous general or popular histories of the time by examining the prosopographical network of the family.

If I was left with one desire, it was for color plates, eleven of which are from Amanda’s own collection. From what I can tell this is the first book form publication Amanda has released, I would look forward to another – I suppose truly the main desire.
Ray From Texas
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