Contents | Ancient | Early Medieval | Medieval | Renaissance | Modern | Contemporary


Late Antiquity, 410 - 600 AD

Medieval fantasy and the Tolkien touch
John Ronald Reuel Tolkien, Professor of Anglo Saxon Literature at Oxford from 1925, and Merton Professor of English Language from 1945, is perhaps better known as the author of the famed Lord of the Rings trilogy. Margaret Joseph, 1996

The Real King Arthur
It is very difficult to place the time when Arthur existed precisely, because of the lack of evidence. Assuming that there was a real Arthur, one of the possible ways to date his life is to establish a firm date for what is claimed to have been the most decisive battle of the Saxon era, Mount Badon. Ingrid Bean, 1997

King Arthur in history and legend
There are enough primary sources extant to suggest that such a man did exist, even if but a military chieftain, probably in the fifth century, at the time of the Anglo-Saxon invasions. Emma Thomas, 1999

The Execution of Boethius
Boethius was a prominent member of the Western Roman Empire during the early 6th century, and was executed in c.525 by Theodoric the Great, King of Italy. Jack Percival, 2009

Pagan gods of the Anglo-Saxons
The Venerable Bede, an Anglo-Saxon scholar and monk of the eighth century, described his ancestors as a fierce, pagan and warlike people.John Hood, 1999

The Achievements of Pope Gregory 1
Born in approximately 540 A.D. and descending from a religious and noble background, Gregory’s pontificate spanned fourteen years until his death in the year 604 A.D, and has been commended ever since. Lauren George, 2008

Justinian and the Roman Empire
Flavius Petrus Sabbatius Justinianus, otherwise known as Justinian, was one of the most successful Emperors of East Rome. Luke Williams, 1996

Justinian and the Nike riots
In 532 AD the Emperor Justinian saw the outbreak in Constantinople itself of the first and last popular challenge to his leadership. The unrest, known as the nike riots began as a minor disturbance.. Sam Vancea, 2008

Theodora and the politics of sex
Who would have thought that a girl of the lowest class growing up in the slums of Byzantium would later become Empress and one of the most powerful women of medieval history? Claire Thompson, 1999

The character of Pope Vigilius
The character of Pope Vigilius (537-55) is one much maligned by certain historians. He is perceived by some to have been ambitious and easily swayed by public opinion. Muriel Joseph, 2001

European Art in the 6th Century
The decline of the Western Roman Empire revolutionised art as a means of expression. James Batchelor, 2009

The Inheritors of Roman Dominion, 600 - 800 AD

The Byzantine Achievement
Byzantium as it is nowadays known, developed its own achievements, particularly in Roman law, the preservation of Greek texts, and in the spread of Christianity — all of which left an enduring mark on Europe. Christine Ciesniewski, 2006

The enduring legacy of the Byzantine empire
It has been only during the twentieth century that European historians have come to acknowledge its profound influence on Western Europe. Louise Adena, 2008

The Greatness of Charlemagne
Charlemagne, King of the Franks, Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, does not simply deserve his epitaph ‘Great’; he is owed it. Sandra Pantic, 2010

The Age of the Vikings, 800 - 1066

The Viking discovery of America
Known to be the settlers of Greenland and Iceland, it is now believed that the Vikings also discovered North America. Vanessa Reid, 1997

Aethelraed's unhappy reign
King Aethelraed II was the third last Saxon King of England. In the eyes of his contemporaries, his long reign was an unhappy disaster. Rebecca Smith, 1998

The battle of Maldon
In August AD 991, a large fleet of Viking ships, led by the Norwegian Olaf Trygvasson, came to the River Blackwater, near Maldon in Essex, to be met by a smaller force of Englishmen. Imogen White, 1998

Cnut, the Viking King of England
Cnut was a viking warrior who became king of England, Denmark and Norway. Ruth Creelman, 1996

Religious beliefs and rituals of the Vikings
Even after their conversion to Christianity the Norse were accused of being Pagans. The Christians described the Norse as violent. Fiona Wilkinson, 2008