Land of the Gods  Published by Frontier Publishing

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visit the store   SYNOPSIS The ancient settlements of Traprain Law, Eildon Hill North, Yeavering Bell and in later years Edinburgh’s Castle Rock are testimony to an Iron Age society that combined religious and social order with kingship – in Edinburgh’s case surviving into historic times.

Despite the absence of written records, the story of the Celtic tribe known as the Gododdin and their immediate ancestors is echoed in the folklore and rituals that continued into the 19th century, whereby worship of the solar deity Lug (or Lleu) was remembered in huge bonfires lit on these ancient hill-tops. To conform to Christianity, it was moulded to fit the life of St Kentigern, a native of Traprain Law, a descendant of Lot, the king who gave his name to the Lothians. Land of the Gods brings to life a hidden dimension of the history and the landscape of a region which bartered its uniqueness with the Romans (and was thus officially not “conquered” by the Romans), a land that holds a unique “mound of creation”, on which it was believed that the Gods – and particularly the sun god – had descended. The Gododdin incorporated the enigmatically shaped hills of the region into their mythology and thus brought the landscape to life, in which hills became temples, accentuated by megalithic monuments, marking key dates in the religious calendar. One part of the landscape would open the key to discover Arthur’s Camelot. The Gododdin had realised that a 90-degree triangle was formed by linking their three main sites: Traprain Law, the Eildon Hills and Yeavering Bell. The Gododdin worshipped this “sacred aspect” of the landscape and made it to form the boundary of their territory – remains of which are still visible in the course of the A1, originally a Roman road, whose path remains just outside this border.

The three locations were pivotal sites in the battles of “King Arthur”. As such, he is able to show that “Camelot”, the magical kingdom of Arthur, is none other than the area of the Gododdin, a land that was overrun at the same time as the “mythical” Arthur lost his kingdom. The twelve battles of Arthur all occurred around this sacred territory. Land of the Gods looks towards the forgotten history of the Lothians and the Borders, most of which can still be seen, but the importance of which was lost. PRAISE “With records of this ancient tribe being almost nonexistent, it was quite a task for Coppens to piece together their history, social mores and beliefs but he’s done an admirable job. […] This fascinating overview, with a section of b&w photographs of landscape features, is a reminder that having a ‘sense of place’ is intrinsic to having an identity.”