A.D. 500 : A Journey Through the Dark Isles of Britain and Ireland, Paperback

A.D. 500 : A Journey Through the Dark Isles of Britain and Ireland Paperback

4 out of 5 (1 rating)


A window on the mysterious world of the Dark Ages by a brilliant young historian AD 500 is written as a practical survival guide for the use of civilised visitors to the barbaric islands of Britain and Ireland.

It describes a journey which begins in Cornwall and continues through Wales and Ireland, then across to Scotland and eventually down to London and southern Britain. The Romans have left, and the islands are now fought over by Irish, British Celts, Picts and Saxons.

It is a dangerous world, full of tribal war. The British Celts are enthusiastic head-hunters, while the Saxon gods require regular blood sacrifices, animal and sometimes human.

There are social pitfals too ('Do not make fun of the Celts' beliefs about Arthur'...'Don't refuse a place in a Welsh collective bed.') Cheviot bandits, bizarre forms of Christianity, boat burials, peculiar haircuts, human sacrifice, poetry competitions, slave markets, the legend of King Arthur - these are the realities of life in the sixth century AD.


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 240 pages, maps
  • Publisher: Orion Publishing Co
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: British & Irish history
  • ISBN: 9780753819463



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Interesting, well-researched overview of life in the British Isles in the 6th century, fictionalized as a guide for travelers from Byzantium. Some of the main text is extrapolated beyond the evidence specifically available for the British Isles, but is not beyond the bounds of plausibility, is based on actual research (e.g. continental and/or later practices), and is flagged as such in the endnotes.