Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Venerable Bede

Roman Britain is one of my passions.  But I am also a medievalist by academic training, if not by profession.  In my historiography class in graduate school, we had to present an oral report on a well-known historian.  I was assigned The Venerable Bede, also known as the Father of English History.  Who was Bede and why is he known as the Father of English History you ask?

Before I deliver this short history lecture, here is a photo of his tomb, in Durham Cathedral.
 
Bede was a monk in the twin monasteries of Wearmouth and Jarrow from approx 673-735 A.D.  The monasteries are located in the northeast of England.   He was only 7 years old when he was sent to join the monks, where he eventually became "the greatest of all Anglo-Saxon scholars."   He wrote and translated dozens of books on many subjects including nature, astronomy, poetry and naturally, Christianity.  Bede is most famous for writing The Ecclestical History of the English People.  The original work was in five volumes, in which Bede gives some geographical background at the beginning, and then presents his history of England from the time of Caesar's invasion to his own days. 

We visited Durham Cathedral two years ago.  I was particularly thrilled when I opened the guidebook and saw that Bede's tomb was located in the cathedral!  The cathedral was built in 1093 and it took 40 years to complete.  It is an amazing piece of Norman/Gothic architecture. 

Durham Cathedral

I could drone on and on about Bede and Durham cathedral, but for more information, visit this site:
http://www.durhamworldheritagesite.com/history/bede

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