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By Paul F. State

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Those who were poorer may have worn trousers, tight-fitting and usually accompanied by a short jacket, a form of dress derived from prehistoric central Europe, but little is known with certainty about the sartorial habits of the lower classes. The opportunity of the better off to acquire greater material wealth expanded with development of trading links that followed the rise to the fore of the powerful empire that came to rule much of the island next door. , but then withdrew. , this time they came to stay.

They proceeded to conquer the island up to the Scottish Highlands, building forts along the Forth-Clyde isthmus. ) could see the coast of Ireland clearly in the distance, and contacts with the island’s inhabitants had undoubtedly been made. The historian Tacitus (ca. 56–ca. 120) recorded: “In regard to soil, climate, and the character and ways of its inhabitants . . it is not markedly different from Britain: We are better informed, thanks to the trade of merchants, about the approaches to the island and its harbours” (Tacitus 1914, 211).

After decreeing a limit of 150 monks, he would send off the surplus in groups of 12 and one—in 29 A Brief History of Ireland emulation of Christ and his apostles—to found other congregations. Numbers mounted rapidly, and at his death, communities dotted the mountain heights and rugged coastlines of Scotland, and several dependent communities could be found in Ireland as well, including Durrow, Derry, Drumcliff, Raphoe, and (from 807) Kells. Columba succeeded in single-handedly establishing a Christian society among the Scots and Picts of Scotland, and his greatest spiritual disciple, Aidan (d.

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