Anglo-Saxon England and the European Union

It is a time of weighty decisions in this part of the world right now. I don’t just mean in the Academy, although today and tomorrow much of the UK one is on strike because of pay that has not kept pace with inflation for some years and personally I am in the middle of quite a lot of marking, some of which will affect people’s fates in ways I can’t foresee but can still worry about. No, I mean that on June 23rd the UK will be turning out to express its opinion about whether it should be in the European Union any longer, even on the rather specialised terms we currently enjoy. As with every political issue these days this has become a matter of men in suits insulting each other and making up random stuff to frighten their electorates, and in some cases other people’s electorates: the President of the USA and the Prime Minister of Canada have both weighed in effectively to threaten Britain, apparently not realising how much of the ‘Leave’ campaign is being driven exactly by a resentment at other countries seemingly intervening in Britain’s decisions. Perhaps they’re actually trying to make sure the ‘Leave’ vote wins. In any case, it all has me wondering what perspective a historian can take on it all. Sheffield’s excellent History Matters blog has a Brexit category but so far only one post under it, and I feel as if more can be said.

Map of the Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne

Map of the Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne

It seems to me that this is one of the rare episodes where the most relevant parallels are from the early Middle Ages, because there is really only one point prior to the twentieth century when Europe could be considered a single political entity and, importantly, its ruler had not declared an intent to add the British Isles to that (as in the times of Carausius, Napoleon or the guy with the moustache and the painting qualification). That time is the period of the Carolingian Empire, albeit with some pre-echoes under the Carolingians’ Merovingian predecessors, and actually there are some thought-provoking parallels. There’s nothing really new in what follows except its application to now, but I still think that’s worth doing.1

A silver penny of King Offa

Obverse of a silver penny of King Offa of Mercia, struck in London by Ethelwald around 785

For a start, we can look at English-European relations in a time of breakdown here and see what happened. In around 796 Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Lombards and Patrician of the Romans, had a letter sent to King Offa of Mercia.2 At this point in time Offa was pretty much number one king in England; not only did his Midland kingdom stretch from the Welsh border and the Hwicce (around Gloucestershire) to Lindsey (modern Lincolnshire) but he also held control over Essex, East Anglia (just about), the south-eastern Home Counties and the city of London and had marriage alliances with both King Beorhtric of Wessex and King Æthelred of Northumbria.3 This put him in charge of quite a chunk of the Channel coast and its ports, and whether either side liked it or not that put him in contact with Charlemagne.

A Mayen quernstone

A Mayen quernstone, of the sort that Charlemagne probably refers to in his letter to Offa

In that letter Charlemagne was responding to one of Offa’s that we no longer have, and had a number of queries to answer. The letter is thus very revealing about the kind of things that kings dealt with in this era: the free movement of pilgrims from England through Francia, and how to distinguish them from merchants who disguised themselves as pilgrims to escape paying toll; the proper treatment of merchants who admitted as much, and should be protected by the Frankish king according to an old agreement; a renegade priest whom Offa feared had come to Charlemagne to spread accusations about Offa at the Frankish court, but whom Charlemagne had sent on to the pope at Rome; and black quernstones which had until recently been imported into England and which would now be again, as long as Offa would make sure that those exporting English wool cloaks to Francia made them at the old, full length rather than a new shorter one that the Franks didn’t like.4 Charlemagne also sent ceremonial clothing to both Offa and Æthelred with which their churchmen could hold memorial services for the recently-deceased Pope Hadrian I, whose death had, we know, grieved Charlemagne deeply.5

Charlemagne's epitaph for Pope Hadrian I, on display in San Pietro di Roma

More black stone, Charlemagne’s epitaph for Pope Hadrian I, still on display in San Pietro di Roma

A lot of this doesn’t seem too far from the modern day, suggesting that some issues keep coming up: we have a kind of Schengen Agreement for certain kinds of travellers, but not those with goods to declare; a certain sort of acceptance of responsibility for foreign nationals; some controversy over appeals to the European court system (here manifest as the king and the pope, but still); and fine-detailed specifications of goods with which, just like the fabled EU regulations on the curvature of certain vegetables, one is surprised and even dismayed to see the European world’s top legislators wasting their time when warfare, migrants and agricultural crisis all needed dealing with.6 We know from other letters that Offa and Charlemagne had at one point been sufficiently at odds for Charlemagne actually to close the Frankish Channel ports to traders from Offa’s territories, which will hopefully remain unparalleled whatever happens but reminds us that access is not guaranteed, and Offa was also persistently bothered about Charlemagne playing host to powerful exiles from England, either from Kent or from Northumbria (where King Æthelred would be killed later in 796, making Charlemagne extremely cross with the Northumbrians).7 Offa himself would die later that year, indeed, which reminds us that the people who make such treaties tend not to last as long as the consequences, but if you remember the furore about Julian Assange taking refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London you can probably understand that people being protected from vengeance by foreign powers is not a phenomenon that’s stopped nowadays.

Map of England in the time of Offa's rule, c. 795

Map of England in the time of Offa’s rule, c. 795; I think we could argue about Sussex, but it gives you the idea…

There are also plenty of things that damage the comparison, of course. One of the other things that Offa and Charlemagne seem to have argued about was a possible marriage pact between their children, in which the problem was which side got the other’s daughter for their son.8 The UK still has its royalty, of course, but if one of them married into a European royal line (if they could find one with whom they aren’t already consanguineous) it would no longer make a massive difference to the UK’s relations with Europe. That should serve to remind us that whatever the things the early medieval situation shares with the current one, democracy was not one of them; not only would Offa and Charlemagne both have been bewildered by the concept of a referendum, but once you’d explained it they would have thought it subversive and dangerous, and maybe even illegal, and there the modern parallel is really elsewhere in Europe. There’s also important differences in the scale of trade revenue involved, which for our kings might have been significant but was still only a tiny part of their kingdoms’ economy.9 And finally, of course, among many other objections that could be raised, the England of Offa was a patchwork of uncomfortably allied rival kingdoms of varying size and strength, all of whom could negotiate with the Franks separately as our letters show, and so is almost more like the European Union of now in structure than like the unified, monarchic and hardly-devolved kingdom of Charlemagne, despite the rough territorial match.

So does the parallel I’ve set up actually tell us anything about the current situation? I think that it does, at least, bring some particular aspects of the situation out that are perhaps not as obvious as they should be. The first of these has already been mentioned, that whatever the outcome is on June 23rd it’s hard to believe the arrangement it sets up will last for long before being modified; all the people who made it will be out of power before very long, and the new lot will have a choice about how much continuity they want. The UK has tinkered with its relationship to Europe every few years for as long as I can remember, after all. The second thing we might take from all this is the reminder that even if the UK does leave the EU, relations with Europe will not just stop dead; the migrant crisis, the continuing importance of NATO, and the simple fact of Europe’s being right there and linked to the UK by a tunnel and high-speed rail link all mean that some kind of relationship between the UK and most of the Continental European states must continue. The referendum will help decide what kind of relationship that will be, but it won’t end it any more than Charlemagne closing the Channel ports ended trade relations between the two powers. That did, however, apparently make quernstones impossible to get for a few years and some parallel to that is very easy to imagine. What European foods do you currently eat you’d be sorry to go without?

Buffalo mozzarella cheese

My personal candidate: looks horrible, tastes magnificent. By Luigi VersaggiFlickr, CC BY-SA 2.0,

But the last thing we might not think of without this prompt is the rôle of Northumbria. Obviously, now that’s part of England, but Scotland is not, and while in Charlemagne’s time the Picts were a whole separate quantity (albeit also in contact with the Continent) now we might be reminded by Offa’s rival kings that Scotland may yet be in a position to reach its own agreements with Europe, when the current alliance falls apart as did that between Mercia and Northumbria and the campaign for secession heats up again.10 What would that mean? When Scotland looked like devolving properly last time many people talked about moving there to benefit from various more friendly aspects of its fiscal system and so on; if the UK left the EU and then a subsequently separated Scotland rejoined, I think a lot of businesses might look to relocate, and Scotland’s economic case for devolution start to look a lot more survivable. I can’t quite imagine it doing to England what Wessex eventually did to Mercia, but this, and the other points above, might all serve to remind the uncertain voter that there are more voices in this dispute than just UK voters and Brussels.11 Whatever your own priorities are, it might be worth thinking before you vote about Offa, Charlemagne, pilgrims, exiles and even quernstones, and considering just which bits of history we’re about to repeat.

1. There are two obvious books that cover this theme, Wilhelm Levison, England and the Continent in the Eighth Century: the Ford Lectures, 1943 (Oxford 1946) and Joanna Story, Carolingian Connections: Anglo-Saxon England and Carolingian Francia, c. 750-870 (Aldershot 2003); both of them offer much more context for all of what follows than I can give here.

2. The letter was probably written by the Northumbrian cleric and teacher Alcuin, since it survives in collections of his other letters, but it went out in Charlemagne’s name. It is printed in Ernst Dümmler (ed.), “Alcuini sive Albini Epistolae” in Dümmler (ed.), Epistolae Ævi Karolini II, Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Epistolae in quarto) IV (Berlin 1895, repr. Hannover 1994), online here, pp. 1-481 at no. 100, and translated in Steven Allott (transl.), Alcuin of York, c. A. D. 732 to 804: his life and letters (York 1974), ep. 100, and in Dorothy Whitelock (transl.), English Historical Documents, vol. 1: c. 500-1042, 2nd edn. (London 1979), doc. no. 197.

3. For background on Offa see most quickly Simon Keynes, “The kingdom of the Mercians in the eighth century” in David Hill & Margaret Worthington (edd.), Aethelbald and Offa: two eighth-century kings of Mercia. Papers from a conference held in Manchester in 2000, Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon studies, British Archaeological Reports (British Series) 383 (Oxford 2005), pp. 1-26.

4. On the black stones, see Meinrad Pohl, “Quern-Stones and Tuff as Indicators of Medieval European Trade Patterns” in Papers from the Institute of Archaeology Vol. 20 (London 2010), pp. 148-153, DOI: 10.5334/pia.348, whence the illustration (fig. 1).

5. Charlemagne’s biographer Einhard tells us of the king’s grief at this event in his Vita Karoli, ed. Oswald Holder-Egger as Einhardi Vita Karoli Magni, Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Scriptores Rerum Germanicarum in usum scholarum separatim editi) XXV (Hannover 1911, repr. 1965), online here, trans. David Ganz in idem (ed.), Two Lives of Charlemagne: Einhard and Notker the Stammerer (London 2009), pp. 17-44, III.19. I’m not sure where the memorial is edited, but it is translated in Paul Edward Dutton (transl.), Carolingian Civilization: a reader, 2nd edn. (Peterborough ON 2005), no. 9.4.

6. Admittedly, the obvious migrants, the Vikings, hadn’t really started migrating as yet, though as we have seen here they were a danger; as to the agricultural crisis, 792 and 793 had been famine years in the Carolingian Empire, as is recorded in the Royal Frankish Annals, printed as Friedrich Kurze (ed.), Annales regni Francorum inde ab a. 741 usque ad a. 829, qui dicuntur Annales Laurissenses maiores et Einhardi, Monumenta Germaniae Historica (Scriptores Rerum Germanicum) VI (Hannover 1895; repr. 1950), online here, transl. in Bernard Scholz & Barbara Rogers (transl.), Carolingian Chronicles: Royal Frankish Annals and Nithard’s Histories (Michigan 1972), online here, pp. 35-125, with commentary pp. 2-21, s. aa 792 & 793.

7. In addition to the works in n. 1 above see here Janet L. Nelson, “Carolingian Contacts” in Michelle P. Brown and Carol Ann Farr (edd.), Mercia: an Anglo-Saxon kingdom in Europe (London 2001), pp. 126-143.

8. The source here is the Gesta Abbatum Fontellanensium, printed as Fernand Lohier & Jean Laporte (edd.), Gesta sanctorum patrum Fontanellensis coenobii (Rouen 1936), but I don’t have a detailed cite, only the knowledge that the relevant extract is translated in Whitelock, English Historical Documents doc. no. 20.

9. Opinions differ here, of course: see Chris Wickham, “Overview: production, distribution and demand” in Inge Lyse Hansen & Wickham (edd.), The Long Eighth Century: production, distribution and demand, The Transformation of the Roman World 11 (Leiden 2000), pp. 345-377.

10. On Scotland’s connections to Europe in this era see Patrick Wormald, “The emergence of the ‘Regnum Scottorum’: a Carolingian hegemony?” in Barbara Crawford (ed.), Scotland in Dark Age Britain: the proceedings of a day conference held on 18 February 1995, St John’s House Papers 5 (St Andrews 1996), pp. 131-160; Edward James, “The Continental Context” in Sally M. Foster (ed.), The St. Andrews sarcophagus: a Pictish masterpiece and its international connections (Dublin 1998), pp. 240-249.

11. Simon Keynes, “Mercia and Wessex in the ninth century” in Brown & Farr, Mercia, pp. 310-328.


45 responses to “Anglo-Saxon England and the European Union

  1. Pingback: In Marca Hispanica XXXIII: parts of Vic previously unreached | A Corner of Tenth-Century Europe

  2. “When Scotland looked like devolving properly last time many people talked about moving there”: two of my Scottish friends have declared that they are going to retire to England, so offensive do they find the SNP regime and the antics of its supporters. Behaviour during the referendum campaign was the last straw.

  3. Interesting article: must read it again at least twice.

    Brexit’s in the blood, I suspect: Britain exited the Roman empire allegedly by expelling its Imperial governors. Brittany left around the same time.

    In the period of the article, Brittany would soon forcefully Brexit from the Carolingian empire. Incidentally, if the disparate sources can be trusted, it’s possible to trace the movement of Charles the Bald’s army in those fateful weeks of 851: he entered Brittany in the north, headed for Rennes but was forced south along the road from Corseul by a series of hit and run attacks. He was harried out along the road that runs east into Mayenne and was pinned down at Jengland (not its current name). In the dark of the night before dawn of the third day there, Charles fled his camp and went due south to Angers, where Erispoe, victorious, met him and terms were made.

    • Britannia only expelled its imperial governors after I think four attempts (the Gallic Empire, Carausius, Magnus Maximus, Constantine III?) to set up its own emperor over the rest or part of the rest, though, so if it became disenchanted with the imperial ideal it happened quite suddenly! Could one try to insist that Britain has tried to take over the EU and failed? Or that the EU conquered it by force first? That’s why I settled on Offa and Charlemagne rather than Carausius and Diocletian, which would be an altogether more ominous comparison….

      • Geoffrey Tobin

        Sharp observation about the “British” emperors. One, of course, was wildly successful: Constantine I. If the later contenders “from Britain” had been as successful, I imagine Europe would be complaining of British hegemony.

        Correct if I’m wrong, but decades ago I heard that some of the impetus for the Common Market came from Britain, but De Gaulle (the ungrateful wr*tch) resented British influence, so he opposed British participation. By the time De Gaulle had passed on and Britain was admitted, power was so concentrated in Continental centres that (as we Antipodeans can confirm) the terms were very unfavourable to the Commonwealth. I gather from Boris’s rhetoric that this is a bone of contention in the (not-so-) United Kingdom also.

        The obvious solution is to invite Australia, NZ and Canada to join the EU, with more anglophone nations (the USA) to follow. The British Isles would surely approve, but it seems that Brussels ain’t so keen. Why, oh why don’t they believe in grand western solidarity?

        • Constantine I, 50-odd of whose coins I was cataloguing only today, is indeed one of those people who reminds us of the unspoken maxim: “If you don’t want to be remembered as a usurper, succeed.”

          I had no idea you were in the other half of the globe! That makes the depth of your Breton detail all the more startling, really, it must have been harder to acquire. But as to your question, that is not an area of history in which I have enough grounding; I should ask a colleague…

  4. It seems to me that there are previous examples, ie: Belgian influence in the start of christian aera, but the most curious part to me is how insularity shapes ethnogenetical dinamics!

    • Not by enough to get everybody on the island into the same ethnicity, that’s for sure!

      • I guess size (of societies vs territory), matters, after all… :)
        But on a more serious tone, is curious how alterity works in semi-isolated contexts. The dynamics that defines what external influences become ‘local’ and included in the definition of ‘self’, or not, does not seems to work the same as on fully connected geographies. Curiously enough it seems that a quantitatively minor number of external inputs, results in a stronger qualitatively appreciation/influence.

        • I’m not sure I’ve ever tried to extract the system rules from the British Isles’ internal politics. Typical British exceptionalism! If I were to play along, however, I wonder how much of it is down to the effective closure that insular territories can practice over the subsistence economy. When everything above a certain level has to be shipped in, and shipping is rare or expensive or both, the domination of the areas of plenty (in the UK, the lowland south-east) over the more marginal areas will be hard to surmount. So those areas will always draw people and resources away and leave the marginal areas’ inhabitants feeling as if they have less than they rightfully should, but there will be no external balance by which they can contest the system. Of course, shipping and production becoming cheap only raises this level to the point where the whole island feels that way about its external competitors… How does that sound?

          • Reasonable indeed, but I have doubs on the linearlity of scale change implied in your last sentece, after all, geography sets the playing field. Economics are part of the ‘equation’, that’s for sure, but so are also ethnics (read ‘social identificactions’) and that’s were things go wild I suppouse. For example, continental societies can always resort to the fallacy of ‘being here from the beginning’ to explain his origins, while insular ones have to incorporate to some degree an ‘alienness’ factor (at least on societies were men did not grow from soil or plants…), yet in spite of this, insularity seems to increase the self-perceived uniqueness of those societies.

            • In my experience with the stranger edges of work on the Picts, the contest only shifts from ‘here from the beginning’ to ‘here first‘, which adds a kind of pioneer right of conquest to the complex of feelings about it all, especially if the English (or even the Irish) then came along and took it all over… See also my long-ago post on the first settlement in New Zealand!

              • Logical, aprisio at large, heremo use to mean ‘void of someone like us’ :)
                But in time, locality develops the identificaction of insular societies with his ‘new own’ land, yet it has to retain the fact that they were newcomers. I guess this dicothomy exacerbates the need to erase previous ethnicities. In continental contexts the external contacs are usually multiple and sustained in time, so this emic/etic dialectic is less pronounced…

                • That sounds about right to me. Some traditions are less about erasure and more about aggressive assimilation, but still, in general the new arrivals only come from one or two directions…

                • “void of someone like us” sounds ominously like the “Terra Nullius” pretext for the (technically illegal) British occupation of Australia that I have benefitted from.

                  • Oh yes indeed! See either of my two Early Medieval Europe articles for similar doctrines on the Catalan frontier. Short version: if you can make suitable terms with local Christians after a while no-one objects much if your children start telling a story in which all previous tenure in the area was Muslim and broken by conquest… But also the idea of ruptura, that there was a break in occupation and that you are taking up land that no-one was using, that’s crucial to these areas’ construction under government.

  5. Nearly forgot: the map with “Al-Andalus” gives the mustaken impression that the Moors had conquered Galicia. As far as I’m aware, they tried but were defeated, which is how the real Reconquista began: not due to Carolingian military aspirations but by the relentless efforts of the Spaniards themselves.

    • Hot topic! Many Asturians and Galicians would agree with you, and a certain brand of Asturian would tell you that the Visigoths and the Romans never managed it either. Galicia might have a better claim; the Muslims had a governor in Gijon, even if the legendary rebellion of Pelayo is supposed to have thrown him out. We Hispanists have a much larger quarrel with the word Reconquista, though, and that formulation makes it obvious; if the North was never conquered, then the Northerners conquering the south is no kind of re-conquest, is it? They were never there before…

      • By that token, Wessex never liberated the rest of England from Norse rule.

        • Well, no, it conquered free self-governing Mercia and Northumbria, I thought everyone from north of the Thames who knows any Anglo-Saxon history was already clear on that :-)

          • There’s the thing you see: my paternal grandfather was born in Marylebone, lived in Poplar, worked on the London docks, and only later went to South Shields, but returned to London to sail to Sydney as a “spinner”. His ancestors spent most of their time either in London or in Cork, so that’s their perspective.

            My mother’s father’s family originated in Cornwall. His wife’s was from Cambridgeshire (and Essex and Suffolk) back to the 1400s at least, so you’d think they’d have some appreciation of free, self-governing East Anglia and whoever ruled Cambridge in the early middle ages, but no, they identified with the Welsh. That may have something to do with all those Wal- towns.

            • The Welsh do have a better heroic literature in which to ground yourself than the East Angles, it must be said. There can really only be one king at Sutton Hoo (well, no, but you know what I mean) but there’s many many knights or maidens in the Matter of Britain. As to the question of Cambridge’s earliest medieval rulers, this is actually something that has come up here in the past

      • Alfred the Great: liberator or invader?

        • There are those who argue for Ceolwulf II being more than a ‘silly king’s thegn’, not least as he and Alfred issued a joint coinage, and for Æthelred Lord of Mercia as being the unsung equal partner in victory over the Vikings, at the very least, and who point out that London somehow never got returned to Mercia when Alfred reoccupied it…

  6. If you find yourself missing Italian dairy products, Australia has over 1 million Italians and a largish dairy industry that needs more global market share.

  7. Steve Joyce

    and those Galicians themselves were as proudly ‘British’ as the Bretons?

    • Diocese of Britonia.

      • Which was not all of Galicia, but roughly the modern bishopric of Mondoñedo, as I understand it, where the letters of St Fructuosus of Braga allow us to see that the population of migrant Britons was sufficient that they were allowed their own bishop, who turns up at councils with the other Galician bishops here and there. So I think of them as being a very early expat community…

        • Magnus Maximus was born on Count Theodosius’s estate in Galicia. Coincidence?

        • Steve Joyce

          perhaps a bit more than an expat community. The Council of Toledo in 633 specifically targets the Galicians as having an aberrant, likely ‘celtic’, tonsure…

          • Aberrant, yes, but ‘likely Celtic’? Weasel words, Mr Joyce! The Latin is “comis in solo capitis apice modicum circulum tondunt”, which doesn’t sound to me specifically like a Celtic tonsure (by which, of course, we mean Irish, don’t we, since I don’t think we know how the Britons did theirs?); “in a partial circle only at the crown of the head”? Surely the whole forehead should be clear. My vote is for this being Galicia just being different again. Might as well call it a Suevic tonsure, really… :-)

            • Steve Joyce

              I don’t think anyone really knows what the ‘celtic’ tonsure was: the descriptions vary widely. This one, I believe, is targeting lectors. However, as part of a concerted campaign that specifically targeted the ‘Irish tradition’, this attack could be seen within that context? I’m sure the Sueves were only known for their ‘knots’ :)

              • It’s a good point, the phrase ‘Celtic tonsure’ itself has something of the weasel about it. But what scale of campaign are you envisaging here? The sixth-century Church didn’t really have the level of central direction that you’d need to have something happening in England and Galicia at the same time, and if not to the centre, where’s the connection?

                • Steve Joyce

                  I think things change in the 7th C, post Boniface IV. The clerical campaign against tonsural deviation (not a concern in the 6th C as far as I can tell) – as connected to the Easter issue – appears quite well-coordinated and swift. If we can place the Galician lectors within this, then it is, perhaps, more likely that they are seen to be ‘celtic’ (given Britonia etc), than simply regional/ethnic variations. It is possible that the ‘long hair’ is, perhaps, even more problematic than the ‘micro-circle’.

                  Looking forward to the possibility of seeing you. Are you up for a beer, or will you be impersonating the ‘white rabbit’ given your new role?

                  • Galicians and Gaels have long claimed to be the same people: ever since that legendary prince impossibly spied the enticing green fields of Ireland from the top of the Iron Age lighthouse near A Coruna, which the Romans redeveloped and named the Tower of Hercules. It is still in use, and its light allegedly has always faced out across the Bay of Biscay towards the British Isles.

                    When the Milesian Gaels arrived in fair Eire, it’s said that my paternal ethnic group, the Eireann, met them. Been squabbling ever since.

                    • PS: The Pharos of Rome, the site of which has recently been identified (on TV anyway), was built on a similar model to the Tower of Hercules.

                      In another surprising coincidence, Portus (the port of Rome) is shaped much like Morbihan Bay in Brittany, where Julius Caesar’s navy had their tussle with the leather-sailed, high-sided, ocean-going ships of the Veneti (perhaps among the ancestors of the beloved Tall Ships).

                      On a further tangent, do the supposed Neanderthal cave circles remind anyone else of Henges?

                  • Well, I know all about the social problems of long hair of course :-) The rest certainly needs a beer to settle. I am quite heavily committed for the IMC, as you guess, but apart from two round-tables (!) I should be free or freeish in the evenings. And you’re coming, are you? Well done sir, I hope your fine institution are paying… Beer is certainly possible. We should work out when! Have you got my e-mail?

  8. Pingback: Jonathan Jarrett’s England | personnelente

  9. Map of the Carolingian Empire under Charlemagne joke is not right

  10. Según el mapa la Marca Hispánica existe y el Reino Astur no existe. Algo asombroso.[RESUR]GIT EX PRECEPTIS DIVINIS
    QUI[N] // T[A]QUE

    Reinando Fáffila hijo de Pelayo 737-739 Me temo que ese mapa es como el de los reyes de Cataluña que sólo los conocemos en los naipes.

    • Well, I got the map from Microsoft Encarta long ago, so it’s Microsoft’s mistake, but I have to confess I’d never noticed it. I don’t think it’s a statement of non-existence so much as a lack of interest or information by the cartographer—Eastern Europe has suffered the same way—but it’s a good reason to choose a better map. My only defence is that for once, the Iberian Peninsula wasn’t part of my argument here because this post was specifically about the British Isles. But still, yes, fair point!

  11. thanks friend Jonathan Jarrett

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