Narrators & Historical Memory in the Middle Ages

Tutor: Mary Garrison

Module type: Histories and Contexts

Module Code: HIS00049I

This module will introduce students to a range of medieval historical sources that record the events of late anitiquity and the middle ages up to about the year 1000. The menu will include chronicles, histories, vernacular epics, king lists and genealogies. We will consider the form that memories of the past take in different cultures and the way authors’ circumstances and motivation shape their accounts. Special attention will be given to selected themes: conversion, kingship, conquest and the narrative choices of the authors. The varying contributions of the biblical, classical and vernacular past to the medieval historical imagination will be considered.

The lecture programme is likely to include the following:-

  • Memory and the Horizons of History
  • The Christian Historical Revolution: One Revolution or Many
  • Whose story and why?Origin Myths and Identities
  • Bede and Gregory of Tours
  • Annals, Chronicles, and Crises

Discussion groups will deal with the following:-

  • How does a chronicler legitimize a king?
  • Memory and Forgetting in the successor Kingdoms’ stories
  • The silences of Bede
  • Paul the Deacon’s Interrupted History
  • How to invent a genealogy


For more information, please visit the module catalogue.