Includes chapters on the development of artistic and textual cultures as well as on the nations and kingdoms of the British Isles.
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, each written by a leading scholar of the period, analyse in turn the different nationalities and kingdoms that existed in the British Isles during this period, the process of theirconversion to Christianity, the development of art and of a written culture, and the interaction between this written culture and the societies of the day. The first scholarly account to move 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.
Introduction; 1. Nations and Kingdoms; 2. Society, Community, and Identity; 3. Conversion to Christianity; 4. The Art of Authority; 5. Latin and the Vernacular Languages: the Creation of a Bilingual Textual Culture; 6. Texts and Society; Conclusion