Great Britain

Britannia: One Hundred Documents That Shaped a Nation by Graham Stewart

By Graham Stewart

It is a compellingly unique illustrated chronicle of 2 thousand years of British historical past, stated through the tales of 1 hundred landmark files that modified the face of england. In "Britannia", Graham Stewart strains thousand years of an island's tale - from Roman province to twenty-first century eu countryside - via 100 old records. From the eighth-century Lindisfarne Gospels to the nice testomony of Norman forms, the Domesday publication, and from the designs for the Union Jack in 1606 to Neville Chamberlain's 1938 Munich contract with Hitler, the files chosen embody a variety of nationwide endeavours: politics and faith, war and international relations, economics and the legislations, technological know-how and invention, literature and journalism, in addition to activity and renowned tune. hence the 1st version of "The instances" rubs shoulders with the foundations of the newly shaped Marylebone Cricket membership; the designs for Stephenson's "Rocket with the Catholic Emancipation Act"; Lord Kitchener's iconic First international conflict recruitment poster with Clause 4 of the Labour Party's structure; and, the Beatles' "Sgt. Pepper" album disguise with Britain's accession treaty to the ecu fiscal neighborhood. those are files that not just outlined their very own eras, yet which proceed to resonate at the present time: Magna Carta and the invoice of Rights grew to become very important criminal curtailments of arbitrary royal energy; medieval election writs and nineteenth-century reform acts formed the construction of parliamentary democracy; the nice translations of the Bible, the performs of Shakespeare and Dr Samuel Johnson's Dictionary have left indelible marks at the English language; whereas the effect of Adam Smith's Wealth of countries maintains to lead how we do enterprise. Stylishly written and generously illustrated (including quite a few reproductions of the records themselves, twenty-four of them in complete colour), "Britannia" belongs at the bookshelf of somebody who's curious to benefit extra concerning the ancient roots of our tradition, society, language, spiritual traditions and political associations.

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Costs of a different kind were incurred in the luxurious nature of the materials. The Lindisfarne Gospels were written on 259 folio sheets of vellum, whose quality of calfskin far exceeds that generally found in other important documents of the period. Nor were the pigments exclusively derived from local sources. Among the colours used appears to be lapis lazuli, which was quarried in Afghanistan. The fact that a monk, working on a tiny windswept Northumbrian island, could draw on the resources of much of the known world demonstrates the extent to which this corner of Anglo-Saxon England not only connected itself with the visual remnants of Celtic faith but also fully acknowledged its place within the Roman orthodoxy of European Christendom.

COM/Crown Copyright 2007. The National Archives of Scotland. Second Picture Section Founder’s Charter upon Act of Parliament. The Master and Fellows of King’s College, Cambridge. Mary Rose from the Anthony Roll. The Art Archive/Magdalene College Cambridge/Eileen Tweedy. Monteagle Letter and Guy Fawkes’s Confession. The National Archives, London. SP14/216 (11a). Union Flag design. © National Library of Scotland. Scottish National Covenant. © National Library of Scotland. Third Picture Section Death Warrant of Charles I.

Other editions in the original Latin were exported across a European continent that was at last able to enjoy the fruits of Anglo-Saxon scholarship where previously the literary traffic had flowed only in the other direction. As the first historian to systematically use the anno domini dating chronology, he eventually influenced its adoption across Europe. Meanwhile, in the small corner of England where Bede had spent his entire life, the culture that had nurtured him was under renewed assault.

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