The Smashing Saxons: 600-1066
Time: 15:00 - 17:00
This course will be delivered online. See the ‘What is the course about?’ section in course details for more information.
Course Code: HBH53
Duration: 12 sessions (over 12 weeks)
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.
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 is a lecturer in Medieval and early Modern History at Regents University. She also teaches at Birbeck and Goldsmiths Colleges, University of London. Her expertise in medieval matters means she is frequently called upon to give public lectures and speak on BBC Radio. At City Lit Vanessa teaches London history and offers day schools on all aspects of medieval and early modern history. She also runs bridge courses at all levels. Vanessa's philosophy of teaching is to make history come alive through informative presentations with a good sense of humour. In her spare time, Vanessa enjoys nothing better than talking history over a glass of red wine! For further information why not check out her website.
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.