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On the Ruin of Britain (Parts I and II)

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3.47  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  7 Reviews
Saint Gildas (c. 494 or 516-c. 570) was a prominent member of the Celtic Christian church in Britain, whose renowned learning and literary style earned him the designation Gildas Sapiens (Gildas the Wise). He was ordained in the Church, and in his works favoured the monastic ideal. Fragments of letters he wrote reveal that he composed a Rule for monastic life that was a ...more
Paperback, 48 pages
Published June 1st 2007 by Dodo Press (first published 540)
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Elizabeth
You can tell how dire the state of analyzing/researching post-Roman Britain is if this work is one of the most important primary sources for the "history" of what happened during this time. I put that in quotes because there is little to no objective history at all, and much of it is Gildas sounding a lot like one of those fire and brimstone Book of Revelations dudes you sometimes see in subway stations....

(and btw my kind of low rating doesn't have to do with thinking I was going to get a hist
...more
Daniel Bristow-Bailey
I've seen quite a few reviews on Goodreads and Amazon complaining that On the Ruin of Britain is inaccurate, or biased, or pro-Christian propaganda. It's all three of these things, but to mark it down as such is ridiculous. It's like digging up a sixth-century British helmet and complaining that it's rusty, and the horns look stupid, and it doesn't offer adequate protection against rifle bullets.
If you're looking for a reliable overview of British History in the Sub-Roman period, you're in the w
...more
Jonathan Farley
The work is somewhat interesting, but is not an intellectual appraisal of the destruction of Romano-Britain, rather one christian's rant about Britain's return to paganism. Most of the information provided is clouded with a one-sided 'christian = good, non-christian = evil' viewpoint, which leads Gildas to accuse every pagan king that he mentions of all manner of immoralities, such as uxoricide and incest. Accusations which are not borne out by other contemporary histories and in one case is ...more
Eadweard
" No sooner were they gone, than the Picts and Scots, like worms which in the heat of the mid-day come forth from their holes, hastily land again from their canoes, in which they had been carried beyond the Cichican valley, differing one from another in manners, but inspired with the same avidity for blood, and all more eager to shroud their villainous faces in bushy hair than to cover with decent clothing those parts of their body which required it."


" And again a little further, thus:—"The barb
...more
Terri
Aug 08, 2012 Terri rated it liked it
I feel that when Gildas walked into the room the other monks rolled their eyes and said to each other "Ugh, here comes crazy old Gildas."

Seriously, though. There's a whole lot of crazy ravings going on in this book. As the title says, it's about ruin of Britain and the many faults of the many sinners, with some helpful reminders about what happens to sinners. Some of it is highly entertaining, especially his descriptions of the five "kings" of Britain and their shortcomings. But since Gildas is
...more
Flint Johnson
Jan 02, 2014 Flint Johnson rated it really liked it
This thirty-five year old translation is still the best out there. Latin on one page, translation in the next, a detailed index at the end which is referenced by chapter and line. The book has little discussion and that is the only real flaw. However, there has always been plenty of discussion about Gildas and his writings to be found elsewhere.
sologdin
Jul 28, 2015 sologdin rated it it was ok
early anti-immigrant jeremiad furthermore laments its own inability to foresee the importance of naming dux bellorum arturus rex directly.
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