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Elizabeth Sandifer

Elizabeth Sandifer created Eruditorum Press. She’s not really sure why she did that, and she apologizes for the inconvenience. She currently writes Last War in Albion, a history of the magical war between Alan Moore and Grant Morrison. She used to write TARDIS Eruditorum, a history of Britain told through the lens of a ropey sci-fi series. She also wrote Neoreaction a Basilisk, writes comics these days, and has ADHD so will probably just randomly write some other shit sooner or later. Support Elizabeth on Patreon.


  1. Eric Gimlin
    August 22, 2013 @ 12:14 am

    Have not yet read the entry. But have bought the e-book version and am looking forward to it very soon.


  2. David Anderson
    August 22, 2013 @ 1:55 am

    The history of Scotland you're telling is the mythical or ideological history. It's largely derived by taking the England-hegemonic mythical history and reversing the terms. This is perfectly proper given your project; but I think it's a little confusing when you make occasional incomplete detours into the non-mythical history (or the mythical history that is backed up with primary sources if you prefer). I think it's best to make it clear what you're doing and then go for it.


  3. John Nor
    August 22, 2013 @ 3:32 am

    Before saying anything else I will say these first chapters of The Last War in Albion are astoundingly good.

    This comment will be a quibble about "Scotland" and "England".

    You say: "This, however, raises the question of what this lost pagan lore is. This, in turn, requires a general history of Great Britain. Great Britain generally refers to the largest island of the United Kingdom, which contains the individual countries (but not sovereign states) of England, Scotland, and Wales. England is the most populous of these, and in essence consists of the territory seized and held by the Norman William the Conquerer, who invaded Britain in 1066, and previously populated largely by Anglo-Saxon population that dominated mainland Europe. Wales and Scotland consist of territory that at least initially held out against English rule."

    The year 1066 is hugely significant for England, not so much for "Scotland-and-England", which existed a hundred years before that at least.

    Saying "Wales and Scotland consist of territory that at least initially held out against English rule" makes it sound like Scotland was defined by England and eventually ruled by England, (neither of which is correct).

    If it's "pagan lore" or "cultural independence" that is the essence of this chapter, then I would suggest a more significant year than 1066 would be 937.

    The Battle of Brunanburh of 937, a battle between the army of Æthelstan, first King of England and the armies led by Constantine II, first King of Alba.

    By 937 Constantine II had united the various "Celtic" kingdoms of the north of the island of Great Britain into one whole.

    Æthelstan had hoped to conquer the whole of Great Britain during previous battles.

    A Norse-Celtic alliance versus Anglo-Saxon – the invasion of Aethlstan's kingdom did not succeed as a conquest, but what it did was ensure two independent kingdoms, Scotland and England, for centuries after.


  4. Iain Coleman
    August 22, 2013 @ 4:47 am

    Yes, Æthelstan is the key figure here, in that his unification of England set the boundaries that more or less persist to this day. 1066 was devastating to the English, significant for the Welsh, but basically a sideshow to the Scots.


  5. Iain Coleman
    August 22, 2013 @ 5:00 am

    Summerisle may be fictional, but the Summer Isles aren't, and I always assumed that was where the story was set, with a slight name change to lend a fictional veneer.

    That part of Scotland does indeed have palm trees, thanks to the Gulf stream. The Summer Isles are also notable for having a post office that issues its own stamps: in the 90s these were designed by my father, John Coleman.



  6. matt bracher
    August 22, 2013 @ 5:27 am

    I'm not part of your target audience for Albion.

    But, were it a copy of Eruditorum, I'd be rather upset at a difference in content between two copies depending on where I bought them, despite any moral balance for buying the Nook / Kindle version.

    I'd actually buy a same-price book from another seller so that you got a higher percentage, and I'd recommend that they be the same price across the board to avoid confusion.

    (And I'm slightly offended at another small publisher who charges the same price for the print and Nook editions. I appreciate your charging the same income percentage for the different media.)


  7. BerserkRL
    August 22, 2013 @ 5:28 am

    Great Britain generally refers to the largest island of the United Kingdom

    I thought Britain was the main island, while Great Britain was the main island plus various smaller islands (Orkneys, Shetlands, etc.), and the UK was all of that plus Northern Ireland.


  8. BerserkRL
    August 22, 2013 @ 5:32 am

    Capitalism was literally invented by the Scottish

    I've not yet succeeded in figuring out what this means.


  9. Iain Coleman
    August 22, 2013 @ 5:54 am

    No. Great Britain is the largest island. Historically called "Great Britain" to distinguish it from "Lesser Britain", i.e. Brittany.


  10. Matthew Blanchette
    August 22, 2013 @ 7:17 am

    …which makes Brittany historically a part of the United Kingdom, then? Damn those French! shakes fist


  11. Matthew Blanchette
    August 22, 2013 @ 7:18 am

    …I want to say Adam Smith? :-S


  12. Seeing_I
    August 22, 2013 @ 7:19 am

    I think by "invented" he means that the theory behind the widespread practice of trade / mercantilism was codified by a Scot.


  13. Seeing_I
    August 22, 2013 @ 7:20 am

    Also, fun fact, "hillbilly" comes from the Billy Boys.


  14. Seeing_I
    August 22, 2013 @ 7:22 am

    In fact I think you could draw a more or less straight line between the Scottish resistance to / resentment of the English to the lingering "South will rise again" Confederate nostalgia / Yankee resentment here in the US.


  15. David Anderson
    August 22, 2013 @ 8:16 am

    With hindsight another significant date is 1018, when Malcolm II of Scotland successfully invaded the Lothians and annexed the area from Northumberland / England, thus permanently establishing Scots control over the lowlands. At the time of course it was unclear whether Northumberland would push back to the Forth or the Scots push on to the Tyne.

    But that's all part of primary source history. History as remembered is a bit different.


  16. BerserkRL
    August 22, 2013 @ 8:43 am

    Adam Smith wasn't a theorist of mercantilism; the Wealth of Nations is a sustained attack on mercantilism. Whether Smith was a theorist of capitalism is tricky, depending partly on how one defines capitalism and partly on which aspects of Smith's thought one stresses (there being one strand that leads to Ricardo and another strand that leads to Hodgskin). Also Smith wasn't hyper-original; he was heavily dependent on earlier, non-Scottish thinkers like the French/Irish Richard Cantillon (who has better title than Smith to be called the father of modern economist), as well as the Physiocrats.


  17. Elizabeth Sandifer
    August 22, 2013 @ 8:44 am

    I was fairly confident that by "I've not yet succeeded in figuring out what this means" Roderick actually meant "I know exactly what you mean and object to your oversimplification." 🙂


  18. BerserkRL
    August 22, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    I see that Wikipedia asserts both positions. It's like Schroedinger's Britain.


  19. Elizabeth Sandifer
    August 22, 2013 @ 8:47 am

    Actually, royalty parity is impossible with Amazon's numbers. You jump from a 35% royalty at $2.98 to a 70% one at $2.99. I want about a $1.50 royalty ($1.40 is fine). That's a number you can't actually reach on Amazon.

    I might up the Smashwords price to $2.99 and include bonus material in both versions. We'll see. Right now it's really a "do I get enough money through this to amount to some sort of vague justification of the project" question. Fine-tuning the mechanism comes once I've determined that the mechanism is worth fine-tuning.

    And you may well be part of my target audience for Albion. Thinking it's a cool and interesting topic is pretty much sufficient to be the target audience. 🙂


  20. BerserkRL
    August 22, 2013 @ 8:49 am

    Actually no, I sincerely wasn't sure what you meant — didn't realise that by "inventing" you meant "being the first to theorise about," as opposed to "creating."

    Now that I gather you did in fact mean "being the first to theorise about then I hereby "object to your oversimplification." Also, Carthage needs destroying.


  21. BerserkRL
    August 22, 2013 @ 8:51 am

    That's impossible; Scotland is to the north of England. The line would have to flip upside-down.


  22. inkdestroyedmybrush
    August 22, 2013 @ 8:55 am

    it both simultaneously is an empire and isn't an empire, depending upon who is looking at it.


  23. John Nor
    August 22, 2013 @ 11:08 am

    During the 1600s the monarchy lost a lot of power, and then Parliament really was "King" – the Parliament of Great Britain that was formed in 1707 wasn't "English rule".

    Regarding "The Last War in Albion Part 6", I would say this half-paragraph is quite odd: "English rule consisted not only of the racial distinction between the Norman English and the Celtic Scots, but between the largely Christian (and previously Norse) population of England and the Celtic pagan tradition of both Scotland and Wales. These populations were not less Christian by any measure, but they had a different flavor of Christianity that, by British self-mythology, ought be considered an entirely distinct church from the Roman Catholic church, although this claim is historically dubious. The suppressed Celtic religions, however, took on a mythic standing for the eventual material suppression of the Scottish and Welsh populations as the Norman English flexed their political and military muscle over the island."

    I say odd because, apart from the oddness of the use of the phrase "English rule", there was a Norse influence on both Scotland and England, and I'm both intrigued and confused by "suppressed Celtic religions, however, took on a mythic standing". (How exactly is that mythic standing manifested?)

    When reading that, though, I was reminded of the book Any Old Iron by Anthony Burgess, which is partly about Welsh nationalism being entwined with the Excalibur legend – so for the Welsh population myth became politics, at least for that novel.

    Arthurian legends are a mixture of Celtic and Christian culture, so yes I understand some what of Phil is trying to say with that half-paragraph.

    I'm looking forward to this chapter continuing, as this "pagan lore" element is fascinating:

    "The Wicker Man fit into an entire history of 1970s countryside horror that included the early Tom Baker era of Doctor Who, children’s horror serial Children of the Stones, and a wealth of other period horror. These stories typically meshed the pagan history of Britain with the modern day, suggesting a lurking horror or power in the lost pagan lore."


  24. timber-munki
    August 22, 2013 @ 11:50 am

    I think this is a fairly good primer for Great Britain/UK confusion & misconceptions: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNu8XDBSn10


  25. Darren K.
    August 22, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

    I think a really interesting thing that comes out about Captain Clyde is that with it basically unavailable, all that is known about it is essentially what Grant Morrison tells us about it, and he is far from a reliable narrator.


  26. Matthew Blanchette
    August 22, 2013 @ 2:33 pm


  27. Elizabeth Sandifer
    August 22, 2013 @ 2:33 pm

    Already done.


  28. Elizabeth Sandifer
    August 22, 2013 @ 2:35 pm

    This is sort of true. We do have enough strips to piece together a decemt amount of information, and we have Morrison telling us about it repeatedly over time, which means that whatever his unreliability, it's at least unreliable over time, which means it's unreliable in different ways.

    Put another way, I have 4000 words on it, which I wouldn't bother with if I didn't think there were reasonable conclusions to draw.


  29. prandeamus
    August 22, 2013 @ 2:52 pm

    The relationship of Scotland and England is a complex one. The "Auld Alliance" in the middle ages and early modern period by which Scotland and France would join forces and squeeze England from North and South simultaneously. The accession of James VI and I was in some respects a takeover of the English crown by the Scots, yet remaining just a personal union for a century. The disastrous Scots expedition to Panama that bankrupted the country prior to union. The rebellions of the Old and Young Pretender; and the clearing of the highlands… it's all fascinating stuff.

    However, I find it sad that so much that passes for Scots Nationalism merely anti-English sentiment dressed in a kilt. Which is not, I hasten to say, an attach on any specific party or person. But for whatever reasons, some deserved and some less so, there's a lot of Scots who blame London for all the woes of Scottish life.

    I'm an Englishman and am quite neutral on the subject of Scottish Independence. By all means, have an amiable divorce if you wish. But stop blaming the English for everything. Thank you.

    You may now return to discussion about comics.


  30. matt bracher
    August 22, 2013 @ 2:54 pm

    I'll definitely keep reading.

    And your description of Amazon's royalties has me aghast. Reminds me of the tiers in our tax schedules.


  31. Matthew Blanchette
    August 22, 2013 @ 4:37 pm

    Ah. Guess I was behind the 8-ball, then. :-S


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