The Hebrides, also known as the Western Isles, are an archipelago located off the west coast of Scotland.
They are divided into two main groups: the Inner Hebrides and the Outer Hebrides. The Inner Hebrides are closer to the mainland and include islands like Skye, Mull, Islay, and Jura. The Outer Hebrides are farther west and include islands such as Lewis and Harris, North Uist, South Uist, and Barra.
According to Wace, they were a part of Arthur’s empire. They may be intended as the home of any number of knights with the sobriquet “of the Isles.”
The Hebrides | 0 – 900 AD
The Hebrides were not directly under Roman control, as the Roman Empire’s influence was limited to the southern parts of what is now modern Scotland and England. The islands were likely inhabited by various Celtic tribes during the first to fourth centuries AD.
The Hebrides, along with other parts of Scotland and the British Isles, experienced changes due to migrations and interactions among various tribes and groups. The Picts, who were an indigenous Celtic people, inhabited parts of the Hebrides and northern Scotland during the fifth to ninth centuries.
During the eight and ninth centuries, Norse Vikings began to exert their influence over the Hebrides. The Vikings established settlements and trading routes in the islands. Many of the islands’ place names have Norse origins, reflecting the lasting impact of Norse culture on the region.
The Hebrides were often part of larger political entities and kingdoms that vied for control and dominance in the region. Different clans and dynasties held influence over various parts of the Hebrides, contributing to the complexity of the island’s history.
The spread of Christianity during this period also reached the Hebrides. Monasteries and religious communities were established on some of the islands. These religious centers played a role in shaping local culture and society. The Hebrides’ location as a crossroads of maritime trade routes facilitated cultural exchanges between Norse, Celtic, and other groups. The islands’ diverse influence are reflected in aspects of language, culture, and local tradition.
Roman de Brut | Wace, c. 1155