I’d like to start with a mild piece of light to renting the dark ages. I love the phrase the dark ages. It’s a phrase first hinted at by a fourteenth century historian cold truck and finally coined in the early seventeenth century by somebody called says out of Baroness. But it’s a phrase holy despised and deplored by generations of fun sucking historians and indeed podcast is that Jimmy who tell us that it is most on farm inhabitants of those times but I seriously seriously doubt the cat a more important of course this is misleading.
And instead I’m instructed to refer to the period in which I’m about to embark as the early Middle Ages as if Middle Ages wasn’t an old enough time and look at these ages well they are dark I mean it’s really really hard to know what’s going on plus in England at least with the withdrawal of the Roman Empire at the time of immense change in dislocation it’s not surprising the medical insurance wasn’t available because it was a time often accompanied by endemic and constant violence.
But the main thing is that from the fifth to the ninth centrist the amount of text you material we have is frankly a disgrace not just chronicles in contemporary history but really any kind of written record so in the words of pole we see through a glass darkly.
Ron Taylor that takes me to describe what evidence we do have I’m something of a fascinating historiography the.. Before that a quick note about nomenclature so we don’t get too confused there was a reason why traditional essentially for the fourth to the 6 centuries I will talk about the existing Celtic peoples who inhabited the majority of Britain speaking Brittonic languages as British all Britain’s. So let’s start with Gilda’s a British monk who ended up dying in Brittany.
They used to be thought that he came from Scotland but actually he was probably writing from southwest England or Wales. Gilda’s probably write his main work around 543 that there are arguments even about that and estimates that run from 490 to 520. His main surviving work his coat on the ruin and conquest of Britain. It’s not really a history or a work intended to inform later generations it’s more of a better rent a sermon I lecture briefly describing the history Britain from the time of the Romans departure and then criticizing the British kings and clergy for their failings and sins which has led to the dreadful punishment that is the advent of saxophone in the coming of the Saxons.
He and he uses history as a stick to beat his people with to demonstrate the link between that sends and the disaster. It’s from Gilda’s that we learn of names that are semi possibly hopefully legendary how much are constantly challenged now. Gilda seems to get many things mixed up the lack or confusion of dates makes folk tab at Harrods and the fact is that his purpose is really to give a detailed and accurate history chronology. Instead it’s to give those responsible for this disaster as he sees it I Ronnie told tongue lashing.
Gilda’s himself is evidence though of the continuing survival in his time of the Roman tradition of learning. It clearly had a Roman style education refers to others as having been similarly educated. There’s no doubt also the guild us writing close to 150 years after the last religion had left still felt himself to be part of the Roman world. Okay it’s a very British fashion Gilda’s fees everything from a British viewpoint but it is in the Roman tradition nonetheless. And go this was not a fan of the Saxons notified a tool. Go just tell the story that sings now with drummer and passion we spoke to my love of history and King Arthur and raise me suck cliff and all that when I was in the Britney high to a grasshopper part of the very fabric of history as far as I was concerned that it has to be said Gildas makes no reference to offer.
Go to story goes that Roman Britain was beset by barbarians the pics from northern Scotland the Scotty from Ireland. After a few expeditions to restore the borders that lost legions leave on the remaining British fighting to survive the peel desperately to the lost effective Roman general in the west I yes yes with these extraordinary evocative and dramatic lines. The barbarians pushes back to the sea the sea pushes back to the barbarians between these 2 kind of desk we are either drowned well slaughtered. It was a bad time. According to Gildas there were enemy assaults and massacres more cruel the pitiable citizens what torn apart by that photo right lands by the butcher.
The life became light bass of the beasts of the field. And so in desperation the British tend to barbarians to defeat the barbarians that attacked them they tend to the Saxons. But the Saxons in that 1010 against the British as far as good as was concerned the Saxons made the pics look like Mother Teresa liking them to wolves dogs lions and savage beasts. Nothing more destructive nothing more beta has ever befallen this land. But I lost the British found there only to a man called embrace yes already on this who defeated the Saxons in a massive battle at a place called mom’s Madonna kiss and created a piece in which Gildas was now writing.
This is a story which has proved very resilient was picked up in large part by the second of our major sources for the period beat. Speed was a historian and theologian I’m without doubt the best source for the period up to his death in 735. But bear in mind that as far as the migration is concerned he even beat is a very remote commentator rising to 300 years after the events. He was a monk based in the north some bring kingdom in the ministry of Jared.
He was a theologian of European reputation with over 30 written works to his name. But the one we’ll focus on is the ecclesiastical history of the English people’s. And do not the title there’s plenty of secular stuff indeed but his focus is Christianity and its triumph. So he’s very much the Northumbrian and this means he has a bias his focus isn’t on the king south of the river Humber I. E. most of the Midlands southern and eastern England it’s on November. Tends to mean that he’s rather dismissive of the other main Anglo Saxon kingdom with which North embryo often struggled for supremacy Messier yeah I’m like Saxon kingdom to the south comprising most of the Midlands.