Alcuin of York on Radio 3

Posted on 25 January 2013

Dr Mary Garrison from the Department of History tells the story of one of York's most influential sons, Alcuin, on Radio 3's Anglo Saxon Portraits on Monday 28th January.

Mary Garrison

Alcuin, though a scholar not a warrior, was one of the most influential men of the early Middle Ages.  He was remembered by contemporaries as 'the most learned man anywhere to be found' and his far-reaching legacy shaped handwriting and spelling, liturgy, the text of the bible and even astronomy. His love of books created one of most remarkable libraries of the middle ages here in York and he was one of the finest teachers of the eighth century. 'The light of understanding is natural to human minds', he said, 'just as flint has a spark within it by nature, but the understanding remains dormant like the spark in the flint without the frequent attention of the teacher.'

Mary's talk is part of the Radio 3's The Essay series of Anglo-Saxon Portraits. This major series rediscovers the Anglo-Saxons through portraits of thirty key individuals.

The talk will be broadcast on Monday 28th January at 10.45pm and will subsequently be available for online listening at: