This volume focuses on Wendy Davies's work on early medieval Breton texts and their implications.
Beginning with core analyses of the Redon and Landevennec cartularies, it continues with papers that tease out some of the key social implications of the 9th-century Redon material - on the nature of political power, on rural communities, on the settlement of disputes, and on transmission of property.
While the Redon charters have long been known as a source of fundamental importance for Breton history, the author's database (established in the 1980s) allowed much greater understanding of the role of individuals - at all social levels, and particularly peasant level - than had previously been possible.
Attention to the detail of the east Breton past also includes papers on some of the results of her fieldwork, on building stone in particular. Early medieval Brittany is not merely interesting in itself (and it is certainly not some Celtic backwater): Breton evidence can usefully be differentiated from the evidence of other Celtic areas and has a significant role in wider issues of European history.
As well as papers on the familiar themes of kingship, rulership, cult sites and cemeteries, the final section highlights the distinctive quality of the Breton evidence for the protection of sacred and personal space, for slavery and serfdom and for village-level courts.