The Golden Age of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria

Module code: HS3688

The kingdom of Northumbria dominated Anglo-Saxon England between the mid-seventh and mid-eighth centuries, in war, politics, art and culture. This story is revealed primarily by England’s first historian, Bede, whose career at the monastery at Wearmouth and Jarrow culminated with the production of the first synthetic history of the English kingdoms (The Ecclesiastical History of the English People). Bede’s writings are complemented by copious archaeological evidence for Northumbrian cultural hegemony, through fabulous manuscripts like the Lindisfarne Gospels, Codex Amiatinus, as well as the Franks Casket, the relics of St Cuthbert, and the monumental stone crosses at Ruthwell and Bewcastle. This module examines how the kingdom of Northumbria adapted to wider social, political and religious changes to emerge as a leading force within early medieval Britain, and explores the people, cultural influences and international networks that helped to shape this ‘Golden Age’ in its history.

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