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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: October 2019

3 - Our Island Story

from Part I - Rank

Summary

Chapter 3 argues that a particularly powerful ‘legitimising notion’ was that people’s rights, status, and even their ownership of property, derive from the remote past, even if this was often an imagined past. Anglo-Saxon conquest narratives played a very important part in forming an ‘imagined community’, a people’s sense of their common identity, invoked particularly when the country was under threat. The narrative of Gildas’ ‘Downfall of Britain’ recurs throughout the book as legitimising the association of freedom, land, and public obligation.