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HI4347 Kings and Saints in Early Christian Ireland


Module Organiser: Dr Immo Warntjes
Duration: Hilary term
Contact hours: 2 hours per week
Weighting: 10 ECTS
Assessment: 80% examinations, 20% essay

The module takes a thematic approach to the impact of Early Christian Ireland (c.AD 400-800), focusing on the co-operation and interaction between the most important churches / churchmen and kings to their mutual advantage. This theme will principally be explored via primary sources generated in the second half of the seventh century by the cults of Patrick, Brigit, and Colum Cille (Columba). Their cults were so successfully promoted by the churches of Armagh, Kildare, and Iona, in co-operation with particular royal dynasties, that those three saints/churches had secured the highest status in the early Irish church by c. 700, with the church of Armagh eventually asserting an overall dominance or primacy. The seventh-century Lives of Patrick, Brigit, and Colum Cille were sophisticated documents which exploited the new technology of writing introduced by Christianity and addressed a variety of audiences and purposes, and were so skilled in doing so that their impact is still discernible today. The Patrick of popular tradition, for example, is the creation of, and testimony to, the skills of his seventh-century biographers.

Last updated 5 April 2017 History (Email).