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After Rome: C.400-c.800 (Short Oxford History of the British Isles)


After Rome: C.400-c.800 (Short Oxford History of the British Isles)

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    Available in PDF Format | After Rome: C.400-c.800 (Short Oxford History of the British Isles).pdf | English
    Thomas Charles-Edwards(Editor) Paul Langford(Editor)
The period from the departure of the Romans through to the coming of the Vikings saw the gradual conversion of the peoples of the British Isles to Christianity and (with the exception of Ireland) the redrawing of the ethnic and political map of the islands. The chapters in this volume analyse in turn the different nationalities and kingdoms that existed in the British Isles during this period, the process of their conversion to Christianity, the development of art and of a written culture and the interaction between this written culture and the societies of the day. Moving away from the pattern of histories constructed on the basis of later nation states, this volume takes Britain and Ireland as a whole, so as to understand them better as they were at the time and avoid anachronistic divisions from a later era. It is an approach that allows the volume to give greater weight to the important religious, intellectual and artistic developments and interactions of the period, which normally crossed national boundaries at this time.

Thomas Charles-Edwards is Jesus Professor of Celtic at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Jesus College.

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Review Text

  • By reader 451 on 4 July 2008

    After Rome attempts to draw the history of the British Isles from the fifth to the end of the eighth century. Six chapters contributed by five different historians discuss in turn the political history of the period, economic aspects, the conversion to Christianity, the arts, and lastly the written languages and their role in societies in formation. A useful chronology and maps are presented at the end.This manual is detailed about primary sources and strong on their exegesis. It is pointed in showing the interconnectedness between the kingdoms of Britannia and Ireland, while it carefully differentiates the `native' British, Irish, Pict and `English' kingdoms. Finally, it is scrupulous in its aim to avoid misinterpretations based on hindsight. This also means it is very guarded in its conclusions, though, and sometimes comes out as of the `the more we learn, the less we can say for sure,' school of history.The multiple-contributor format also makes the chapters unequal. The chapter on the arts is too long for its limited scope. Conversely, the book says very little on law and the socio-political structures of the various competing societies; it isn't explained whether this is for lack of material (the book does say law codes have been found), nor are tentative or competing theories alluded to. Indeed, for all its caution, After Rome falls foul of its period's perennial problem: disproportionate space is dedicated to religious history because that is what is best documented. The salient fact of the period remains that a ragtag collection of Jute, Angle and Saxon mercenaries took over three-quarters of Britain and established what was culturally the closest thing to a nation in these times. If you are looking for explanations, even speculative, this book will leave you hungry.

  • By Barry J. Tabor on 9 August 2011

    First class and very readable narative and analytical history by a well respected author. The best I have seen for this period, without spending a fortune.

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