The Age of Chronicles and Sagas

Ref: C2342542

The course will examine how post-Roman Britain 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 520 – 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 post-Roman Britain 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?

  • This course is suitable for beginners and improvers

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

  • State at least two theories and circumstances surrounding the downfall of Romano-British resistance against Anglo-Saxon incursions.
  • Provide an outline of the character of early dark-age kingship (Briton and Saxon) and society
  • Provide an outline of the collapse of urban life in post-Roman Britain
  • Make some assessment of Pictish, Scottish and Irish society during the 6th century AD

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: Britain and the Britons, AD 400-600 Christopher A Snyder 1998 (Sutton Publishing Ltd)

What can I do next?

  • Progress to another WEA course

Download full course information sheet

The Age of Chronicles and Sagas

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This course is not available for online enrolment.


As a registered charity, and to meet our funders’ requirements, we need to check a few things with you before you book. Please could we ask that you check the list below to ensure you meet our basic criteria:

  • You are paying the standard fee (with a credit or debit card) or you are on any of the qualifying benefits
  • You have a valid email address so that you can receive confirmation of your booking
  • You have been resident in the UK, EU or EEA for the last 3 years
  • You are aged 19 years or older on 1st September 2019
  • You have read and accept our standard terms and conditions

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