Bede and his World, c.660-740

The seventh and eighth centuries A.D. were a time of tremendous ferment when the conflict of peoples (the Angles, Saxons, Britons, Irish and Picts), the introduction of Christianity and the partial recovery of Classical learning and knowledge were transforming the social and political landscape of the Britain. You will examine this formative period and its social and cultural conflicts as seen through the eyes of its most prolific writer, the Venerable Bede (673-735). The class will read and discuss several of Bede’s writings, especially his Ecclesiastical History of the English People; but these will also be set in their wider political, social, and cultural context through consideration of the rival perspectives of writers such as Adomnan, Aldhelm and Stephen the Priest.