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ME4756 Historia Brittonum: Inventing the Past in Ninth-Century Wales

SCOTCAT credits:60
Academic year(s):2017/8
SCQF Level 10
Semester:Whole Year
Availability restrictions:Available only to students in the second year of the Honours programme.
Planned timetable:9.30 am - 12.30 pm Wed

Historia Brittonum was written in North Wales in the 820s. It purports to tell the story of the Britons from earliest times until some point in the 680s. In this Special Subject we shall be looking at the text itself and the context of its production and examining its sources and analogues - including the reworking of known Late Antique sources, some of the earliest versions of the origin legends of the Britons, the Irish, the Picts and the English and various hagiographical and historiographical motifs. The module will look at the modern reception of the text as well as the author's motivations and methodologies and will form a lens through which students can view the construction of histories in the early middle ages.

Place in programme(s) and relationship to other modules


Optional for History, Mediaeval History, Mediaeval History & Archaeology, Scottish History degrees and BA (Intl Hons) History

Learning and teaching methods and delivery

Weekly contact:1 x 3-hour seminar, plus 1 office hour.
Total module hours:
  • Scheduled learning: 63
  • Guided independent study: 537

Assessment pattern

UG As defined by QAA:
  • Written examinations: 60%
  • Practical examinations: 0%
  • Coursework: 40%
UG As used by St Andrews:2 x 3-hour Written Examinations = 60, Coursework = 40%
UG Re-assessment:New coursework: 1 x source exercise (2,000 - 2,500 words) and 1 x 4,000 - 5,000-word essay = 100%


Module coordinator:Dr A Woolf
Module teaching staff:Dr A Woolf