Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 December 2019
This book spans one thousand years of historical writing and thought in England, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. It begins, at its early limit, with Gildas (fl. 500–550 ce), whose De excidio Britanniae (The Ruin of Britain) took the demise of the Roman empire as its beginning point for a history of the Britons. It charts, at its outer chronological limit, the transition from manuscript to print and from medieval to Reformation historiography.
Like the medieval histories that comprise its subject, this volume seeks to give a shape – or many shapes – to the past. One of the challenges, however, of describing medieval historical writing is the capaciousness of historia as a premodern concept. In the Middle Ages history writing did not belong to any particular genre, language, or class of texts.
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