The Age of Gildas

Ref: C2339516

The course will examine how post-Roman Britain finally succumbed to the pressure of the Anglo-Saxon invasions, and consider the arguments for its downfall. We will look closely at the literary and archaeological evidence to reconstruct the history of Britain during the period 540 – 597 AD, and in particular a careful study of authors such as Gildas and Bede, as well as early Welsh poetry, in order to create a picture of the British Isles during the Dark Ages and its apparent transformation in the wake of the Saxon conquest. We will also assess the value of such evidence. You will be introduced to all the major cultural aspects, theology and warfare during the period concerned.

Course aim

A brief but wide-ranging account of Romano-British society and its transformation during the 6th and 7th centuries AD and how that society altered throughout that period.

Do I need any particular skills or experience?

  • No skills or experience needed
  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

By the end of the course I should be able to:

  • Demonstrate an awareness of theories and circumstances surrounding the downfall of Arthur.
  • Provide an outline of the character of early dark-age kingship (Briton and Saxon) and their society
  • Provide an outline of the collapse of urban life in post-Roman Britain

How will I be taught?

  • The WEA tutor will use a range of different teaching and learning methods and encourage you and the group to be actively involved in your learning

What kind of feedback can I expect?

  • A range of informal activities will be used by the tutor to see what you are learning which may include quizzes, question and answer, small projects and discussion
  • You will have opportunities to discuss your progress with your tutor
  • You will be encouraged to share your work with the group and discuss your learning
  • You will be encouraged to consider other students work and give your opinions and suggestions

What else do I need to know?

  • Nothing else is needed
  • It would be helpful if you had access to the internet (Mobile phone, tablet or computer at home or through a library etc.)

Pre-course work, reading and information sources

  • No pre reading is required but research on the subject on the internet or in the library may be helpful
  • “An Age of Tyrants” Christopher A. Snyder (Sutton Press)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full Course information sheet

The Age of Gildas


You can if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • are paying the standard fee or are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • are paying with a credit/debit card or are not paying a fee because of a qualifying benefit
  • have a valid email address
  • have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2017
  • have read and accept the standard terms and conditions
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