Where were the Orcades? Early medieval engagement with the islands at the end of the Earth in texts and maps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

This paper considers the portrayal of the Orcades and the North Atlantic in a range of seventh- to eleventh-century insular sources. It is argued that the content of early medieval insular written sources suggests that Orcades should not necessarily be translated as ‘Orkney’ in every case, and that it is plausible that on many occasions, a territory encompassing a wider range of the island groups of Scotland is intended. Consideration of the depiction of the Orcades on the mappa mundi within British Library Cotton MS Tiberius B.v/1 bolsters this conclusion. New multi-spectral images of the map suggest that, despite apparent adjustments to the extent of the Orcades during the process of the map’s production, a very large archipelago covering an extensive territory off northern Britain was intended from the time of the map’s initial creation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
JournalInnes Review
Volume75
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • Orcades
  • Orkney
  • Shetland
  • Western Isles
  • Cotton Tiberius b. v/1
  • mappa mundi

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Where were the Orcades? Early medieval engagement with the islands at the end of the Earth in texts and maps'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this