Early Medieval Northumbria: Kingdoms and Communities, AD 450–1100 – David Petts, Sam Turner
Brepols | 2011 | PDF
Responding to renewed interest in the powerful early medieval kingdom of Northumbria, this volume uses evidence drawn from archaeology, documentary history, place-names, and artistic works to produce an unashamedly cross-disciplinary body of scholarship that addresses all aspects of Northumbria’s past. Northumbria at its peak stretched from the River Humber to the Scottish highlands and westwards to the Irish Sea, producing saints, kings, and scholars with contacts across Europe, from Scandinavia, Ireland, and Francia to Rome itself.
This volume unites papers on all aspects of this major European power of its day, from its origins in the fifth and sixth centuries from British and Anglo-Saxon chiefdoms, through its ‘Golden Age’ as eighth-century Europe’s intellectual powerhouse, to its role as a key element of an international Viking kingdom. Where traditional scholarship has centred on the ecclesiastical high culture of the age of Bede, this work examines the kingdom’s social and economic life and its origins and decline as well. There is a stress on approaching established bodies of material from new perspectives and engaging with wider debates in the field, including monumentality, the development of kingships, and the evolution of the early Church. Areas investigated include the kingdom’s political history, its economy and society, and its wider place within Europe. Its unique artistic legacy, in the form of illuminated manuscripts and a rich sculptural tradition, is also explored.