They gave us the idea of the English nation

BBC History Magazine - - The Anglo-saxons -

From New­cas­tle Cen­tral train sta­tion, it’s a short jour­ney on the Metro down the Tyne to Jar­row and the re­mains of the An­gloSaxon monastery that once stood over the ti­dal la­goon of the Slake.

Founded in AD 685, Jar­row was the sis­ter house to Wear­mouth (674) – and, for an ex­tra­or­di­nary 50 years, the dou­ble monastery trans­formed Euro­pean civil­i­sa­tion. It

trans­mit­ted key texts in re­li­gion, cul­ture, history and sci­ence from the lost li­braries of Italy. It even pop­u­larised the AD dat­ing sys­tem now in use world­wide. It was here too that Bede wrote his Ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal History of the English Peo­ple, the defin­ing text of the English peo­ple – a history of Bri­tain as it looked in AD 731, with its English, Ir­ish, Welsh, Pic­tish and Latin speak­ers.

Bede set out to write an ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal history but in the end it widens out to be “the story of our is­land and its peo­ple”. At the heart of that story was a cru­cial idea: the gens An­glo­rum, the ‘English nation’.

A deta de­tail from a 12th-cen­tury manusc man­u­script de­picts a scribe – prob­a­bly Bede, who pro­duced ““the th defin­ing text of the English peo­ple”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.