Inventing England – Anglo-Saxon and Viking Britain: A Four-Part Course with Jonathan Migliori

Inventing England – Anglo-Saxon and Viking Britain: A Four-Part Course with Jonathan Migliori


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The arrival of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes to Britain 1,500 years ago changed the history of the British Isles. In this course, we’ll explore the history, language, and culture of the early English.

In A.D. 410, the Roman Emperor Honorius rebuffed the province of Brittania’s request for military aid, effectively ending four centuries of Roman rule on the island. Waves of Germanic-speaking settlers and invaders, the Angles and Saxons, came from across the North Sea in the intervening decades and soon controlled much of the island. Along with political dominance came the growth and spread of the language they brought with them: English. One Saxon kingdom, Wessex, would go on to conquer and absorb the rest, and its ruler would be crowned the first King of England in 927. Less than a century and a half later, however, England would be completely remade by new invaders.

Led by an expert on ancient history, Jonathan Migliori, M.A., this course will chart the rise and fall of the early English, from their post-Roman arrival to the Norman Conquest. To enhance this overview, we will also explore the archaeological record and contemporary chroniclers, as well as the unique Anglo-Saxon literary tradition and its profound effect on the language we speak today. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased understanding of this pivotal era in the history of England and the English-speaking world.

Lecture 1: Roman Britain and the Arrival of the English

The Saxons arrived on an island that had just emerged from four centuries of Roman rule. Our first lecture in the series will contextualize Post-Roman Britain and examine the circumstances of the newcomers’ arrival.

Lecture 2: Historical and Archaeological Sources

How do we know what we know? This lecture will investigate the key artifacts, sites, and chronicles that have shaped our understanding of the period.

Lecture 3: Consolidation and Conquest

This lecture will explore the tumultuous 9th through 11th centuries. This period includes Viking raids, Danish settlements, and the foundation of the first Kingdom of England. These soaring heights were soon followed by the fall of the old order with the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Lecture 4: Language and Literature

Although Old English is incomprehensible to speakers of modern English, the language of Anglo-Saxon England is its longest-lasting legacy. We’ll examine the singular characteristics and development of this language, as well as review its unique literary tradition of elegies, riddles, and Beowulf.

Jonathan Migliori is an archaeologist and teacher from Providence RI with a B.A. in Archaeology, Classics, and Medieval Cultures from Brown University and an M.A. in Archaeology from Durham University, where he specialized in landscape studies of Roman Syria. He has participated in excavations in Rhode Island and Ostia Antica, and also worked in the Ancient Art department of the RISD Museum of Art. In addition to his ancient Mediterranean experience, his academic interests include early medieval English literature, the archaeology of the Viking Age, and historical linguistics. Currently, he is a teacher at The Wheeler School in Providence and spends the summers lecturing on history and archaeology as a Resident Historian with Viking Cruises.

How does it work?

This is a four-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background in Anglo-Saxon history, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $140 for four lectures.

Is a recording available?

In general, our courses are not recorded. However, if you need to miss a lecture please let us know in advance and we can arrange for a recording for that session on an individual basis.

This course is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
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A
A.S.
l
l.C.k.
good explanation of a "murky subject"
Q
Q.H.
Born to Explain
J
J.T.
Understanding British origins

Customer Reviews

Based on 4 reviews
100%
(4)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
A
A.S.
l
l.C.k.
good explanation of a "murky subject"
Q
Q.H.
Born to Explain
J
J.T.
Understanding British origins