The centuries that followed the Roman withdrawal from the British Isles have not been called 'Dark' for nothing; in the sources that survive, fact and legend seem inextricably intertwined, and the work of later medieval writers has only deepened the confusion. Dr. Dumville has done much to help dissect and disentangle these sources, probing the cultural history of the Insular Middle Ages, tracing the channels through which historical knowledge was transmitted and the interaction of political thought and historical writing - ideologically based historiography looms large as evidence in any attempt to grasp how medieval people comprehended their past. In these essays, he concentrates on the historiographical practices of the Irish, Britons and English, which shared much in common. Specific themes are the Insular cultivation of genealogy, the classic British pseudo-history (as in the Historia Brittonum and Geoffrey of Monmouth), the important Cistercian school of historical studies at Sawley, and the traditions of annalistic chronicling. An important section of Addenda is also provided.
(source: the publisher’s promotional abstract)