Archive for the ‘Poetry’ category

“Seven Ages Of Britain”: BBC’s New Multi-Part History of Britain

January 23rd, 2010
The Alfred Jewel (source:

The Alfred Jewel (source:

BBC presents a new series called “Seven Ages Of Britain” starting on 1/31/2010. Each of the seven episodes represents an era in British history, narrated by David Dimbleby. I’m particularly interested in the first age:

Programme 1: Age Of Conquest (AD 43-1066) – For a thousand years, from Emperor Claudius to William the Conqueror, the British Isles were defined by invasion, each successive wave bringing something new to the mix. The Romans brought figurative art, the Anglo-Saxons epic poetry, the Normans monumental architecture. David Dimbleby travels throughout Britain and beyond – to France, Italy and Turkey – in search of the greatest creations of the age.

Programme includes: bronze bust of Hadrian (British Museum); fragment of triumphal arch commemorating Claudius’ conquest of Britain (Palazzo dei Conservatori, Rome); Roman coin of Britannia (Pantheon, Rome); frieze of Britannia under the heel of Emperor Claudius (Aphrodisias, Turkey); Roman gold brooch (Dolaucothi Gold Mine, Wales); Oceanus Dish (British Museum); Roman mosaic work (Bignor Roman Villa); Beowulf; Sutton Hoo treasure (Sutton Hoo and British Museum); Celtic Cross (Iona); Jarrow Monastery; Codex Amiatinus (Laurentian Library, Florence); Alfred Jewel (Ashmolean Museum); Alfred’s translation of Pastoral Care (Bodleian Library); Caen Castle and the Abbaye-aux-Hommes (Normandy); Bayeux Tapestry (Normandy); the Tower of London.

Thanks to Medieval News for the original blog post.

How will the Staffordshire Hoard impact our understanding of the Anglo-Saxons?

September 26th, 2009

With all the buzz about the Staffordshire Hoard (see also the NYT article on the find), it’s no wonder that people are drooling at the potential for an exponential improvement in our understanding of the Anglo-Saxons. But were the Anglo-Saxons really a bunch of brutes because most people don’t recognize their artistic achievements? Does that say more about their situation or ours? The Dark Ages weren’t “dark” because of them, but because we just don’t know much about them. It’s our ignorance, not theirs, that is demeaning their (and our!) history.

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