Become a Fan

« 5 Building a New World | Main | 7 The Life and Times of Penda, Pt I »



Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Bob Hanson

Another enjoyable episode but I'm afraid you made a grave and unspeakable error – Bernicia is the kingdom in the north part of Northumbria; Deira is the bit just to the north of the Humber. I quite understand why you got them the wrong way round as I've always thought Deira just sounded closer to a Scottish name and should therefore be the more northerly but it ain't.

Oh, and as for the Agora podcast, you might want to practice pronouncing that word:

(That's the trouble with having history geeks for an audience. They're dreadful pedants.)

john owen

They didn't did they, King Arthur, is not mentioned in any foundation myths of the emerging English kingdoms

The History of England

Darn it! Debra, bernicia...I'll eat crow next time...

But I'll stick to my pronunciation of agora if you don't mind!

John, no, no one mentioned Arthur in their's a long shot there's no argument about that!

Cameron Parker

Thank you for exploring a period of history that I know very little about. I noticed that six of the kingdoms seem to meet a point that is basically London. I wondered if this is because:
1) London was already important at this time
2) This is a reason that London later became important
3) The same geographical reasons that London later became important are the reasons that it hub of these Kingdoms
4) Just a coincidence
5) A misreading of the map and not even a real thing

Thanks Again.


Fascinating episode as always and, in this case, personally useful. My English ancestors came from Norfolk and Suffolk, and now I know that's part of East Anglia. Hail the Angles!

Liz Mooney

Hi, a couple of points - I accept that your podcast is not aimed at experts (I am currently writing a dissertation on the formation of Anglo-Saxon Northumbria) but there were a couple of errors in this podcast which I feel you need to be aware of. Firstly, as Bob Hanson points out, you got the geographical locations of Deira and Bernicia wrong (your pronunciation of Deira is also questionable although this may just be a matter of personal prefernce). Also, the terms heptarchy and bretwalda are inaccurate and now rejected by historians. Bede uses neither (his passage on the 'bretwalda' just refers to imperium and the term bretwalda stems from a later scribal error). The two terms were popularised by the twelfth century Henry of Huntingdon but are in fact inaccurate representations of the period. No king held overlordship over the whole of Britain and histroians spend a lot of time trying to figure out how much power they actually wielded. The term heptarchy hides immense complexity of this period and I was slightly confused as to why you insisted on using this term when you clearly recognised the fact that there were many more than seven kingdoms (for example, my dissertation argues that Northumbria only formed in the very late seventh century and that Deira and Bernicia remained separate in many ways up until this point). Finally, your discussion of the Tribal Hidage was interesting. You are right to point out how much ink has been spilt discussing this document but the fact is historians simply do not know what to make of it and it certainly isn't a reliable and complete enough document to support all that you tried to hang on it. Sorry! I am a bit of a history geek, but hey, that is why I am doing a degree it!

Liz Mooney

Sorry, one more thing - you were incorrect in stating that all the Northumbrian rulers traced their descent from Ida and in fact sort of botched the Northumbrian foundation myth. Ida was the founding father of Bernicia and became the one people claimed descent from following the reign of King Oswald and his brother Oswiu's subsequent marriage to a member of the Deiran royal house. The Deiran dynasty claimed descent from Aelle and in fact Deira appears to have been the earlier of the two kingdoms with Ida conquering Bamburgh in the mid sixth century and forming Bernicia. This is of course all very uncertain and murky but it is certain that King Edwin and others of the Deiran house did not claim to descend from Ida.

The History of England

Ah Liz, How i enjoyed your comments! The next episode's going to be 10 minutes longer with all the retractions and corrections I'm going to have to go with...

Any tips on the Deira pronunciation?
Did you spot that the Thames doesn't in fact run uphill?
I think I'll stick with the Heptarchy; I agree it over simplifies a very complicated story, but I have a cussed love for out of date tags, such as Dark Ages. Where do you stand on that?
Fascinated to hear about Bretwalda, really. I am very much prepared to accept the correction, since I strongly suspect you know a lot more about it that I do, but, is there not a reference in the ASC for 827, 'Ecgbryht..wæs se eahteða cyning, se ðe Bretwalda wæs; and a charter in 934 'Æðelstan, Ongol-Saxna cyning and Brytænwalda eallæs'?
Totally accept the Tribal Hidage point. too, too much fun not to use though.
Thanks for the correction about Ida *sigh*. I shall retract.

Anyway, why not do a guest episode for me? I'd love to hear it. Do let me know - seriously, it would be grand.

Thanks again for listening and being interested enough to comment. Makes it all worthwhile.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)