The smashing Saxons: 600-1066

Course Dates: 26/09/23 - 12/12/23
Time: 12:30 - 14:30
Location: Online
Why did Offa build his dyke? Were the Vikings just ‘long-haired tourists who occasionally roughed up the natives’? Was Alfred really that great? These questions and more will be answered as we study the rise and fall of pre-Conquest England.
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
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Full fee £269.00 Senior fee £215.00 Concession £175.00

This course has now started

Course Code: HBH53

Started Tue, day, 26 Sep - 12 Dec '23

Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)

Please note: We offer a wide variety of financial support to make courses affordable. Just visit our online Help Center for more information on a range of topics including fees, online learning and FAQs.

What is the course about?

The political and social history of pre-Conquest England (c. 600 - 1066 CE).

This is a live online course. You will need:
- Internet connection. The classes work best with Chrome.
- A computer with microphone and camera is best (e.g. a PC/laptop/iMac/MacBook), or a tablet/iPad/smart phone/iPhone if you don't have a computer.
- Earphones/headphones/speakers.
We will contact you with joining instructions before your course starts.

What will we cover?

The first half of the course will be devoted to the political fortunes of the seven major kingdoms that were established by c.550 CE. Topics will include: the Age of Northumbria and the so-called Mercian hegemony. The Viking invasions in the ninth century resulted in the survival of only one English kingdom – Wessex. Thereafter we chart the fortunes of the House of Wessex beginning with Alfred the Great. Social studies will include the church; law; medicine and magic; art and literature.

What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...

• Debate on such issues as the existence of King Arthur, the achievements of Alfred the Great and why the English were defeated in 1066
• Describe how the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle affects our perception of events before 1066
• Explain how church reform impacted upon the role of queenship
• Define the meaning of ‘comitatus’ and identify instances in Beowulf
• Read and discuss texts illustrative of Anglo-Saxon medicine.

What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?

This course is for anyone with an enquiring mind and an enthusiasm for medieval history. No previous knowledge is
necessary but a good understanding of English is essential.

How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?

Each week there will be an informative talk, using PowerPoint, during which class discussion will be encouraged.
We shall use small group work to analyse original sources and a range of handouts will be available for discussion
purposes. Occasionally small pieces of homework reading will be distributed to augment your knowledge. You are
encouraged to bring along/describe items you have read in newspapers/heard on radio/seen on TV you think may be of interest to the group. If you wish to purchase a book before the course I would recommend N.J. Higham and M.R. Ryan The Anglo-Saxon World, Yale University Press, 2015.

Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?

There are no additional costs other than note-taking materials.

When I've finished, what course can I do next?

HBH50 The Nasty Normans 1066-1154.

Vanessa King Tutor Website

Vanessa King is a lecturer in Medieval and early Modern History at Regents University, and Birkbeck College University of London. At City Lit, Vanessa offers courses and day schools on London, as well as European history from the Fall of Rome to 1800. She has published widely on the Anglo-Norman period (1066-1154), and is currently writing a book on Early English Queenship 600-1066 for Routledge. You can follow her progress via her website: Vanessa’s expertise in medieval matters means she is frequently called upon to give public lectures and speak on BBC Radio. Vanessa's philosophy of teaching is to make history come alive through informative presentations with a good sense of humour. In her spare time, she enjoys nothing better than talking history over a glass of red wine!

Please note: We reserve the right to change our tutors from those advertised. This happens rarely, but if it does, we are unable to refund fees due to this. Our tutors may have different teaching styles; however we guarantee a consistent quality of teaching in all our courses.