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A good edition of a very good text. Gildas' Ruin of Britain is presented both in English translation as well as the original Latin, together with a few other interesting bits from his pen. The notes are thorough, but scanty, and I would hate to approach the text without having read other Chronicles (as Gildas uses few names). A wacky writer, Gildas is fun to read when he's telling history, though the long list of Bible quotes can get tiring to plow through in a sitting.
Historians bemoan his unwillingness to provide us with a clear and concise history of his time. Post-structuralist revisionists decry him as a hystrionic with a vivid imagination because, fifteen hundred years after the events, they wish to claim that they know better than the eye-witness--they promote, without support, the idea that the Anglo-Saxon conquest of Britain occurred without bloodshed, without enslavement, and without oppression--the dark ages, in fact, we're a time of peace and love. ...more
A solid translation, still in use thirty-some years later. Which is important as he and Patrick's two letters are our only two primary sources for the period. Why not a fifth star? One could ask that a person versed enough in the Latin of the period to make such a translation might have added notes on several aspects of the text; the nature of the Bible he used, hazy passages, double meanings, and what not. He did not.
Gildas is an extraordinary historian, but his complaints are legion. He presents a fascinating set of monastic rules which did not inspire as much as St David or St Benedict, but nevertheless they remain interesting. Gildas' historical accounts are well-researched, taken from the writings from predominantly Rufinus and other early historians, and he integrates his own acerbic commentary for vitriolic effect.