Tim Clarkson


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A biography that delves into the life and influence of the medieval Gaelic monk and missionary known as one of the Twelve Apostles of Ireland.
Who was Saint Columba? How did this Irish aristocrat become the most important figure in early Scottish Christianity? In seeking answers to these questions, this book examines the different roles played by the saint in life and death, tracing his career in Ireland and Scotland before looking at the development of his cult in later times. Here we encounter not only Columba the abbot and missionary but also Columba the politician and peacemaker. We see him at the center of a major controversy which led to his excommunication by an Irish synod. We follow him then to Scotland, to Iona, where he founded his principal monastery. It was from this small Hebridean isle that he undertook missionary work among the Picts and had dealings with powerful warrior-kings. It was from Iona, too, that his cult was vigorously promoted after his death in 597, most famously by Abbot Adomnan, whose writings provide our main source of information on Columba’s career. The final chapters of the book look at the evolution of the cult of Columba from the seventh century onwards, examining the important roles played by famous figures such as Cináed mac Ailpin, and ending with a study of the image of the saint in modern Scotland.
Praise for the works of Tim Clarkson
“Tim Clarkson should be congratulated on producing a book which marries together painstaking and detailed research with common-sense and open-minded analysis. . . . The book that emerges succeeds in cutting through centuries of confusion and complexity in a way that is deeply impressive.” —Undiscovered Scotland on Scotland’s Merlin
“Very interesting and very readable.” —Facts and Fiction on The Picts: A History
“A valuable resource.” —Scottish Genealogist on The Picts: A History
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369 printed pages
Original publication


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