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Additional resources for Vision of History in Early Britain : From Gildas to Geoffrey of Monmouth

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Rome-which is called to the rescuc. As we have noticed, however, Roman virtue is not enough, and Britain is finally abandoned by Rome. 36 In the second Roman section, GiIdas introduces further rhctorical imagery to interconnect the sections of his historical survey. , the "thicket of tyrants" from which Maximus springs. Gildas uses this image with mounting intensity as the work progresses. " Another image applied by Gildas to political and religious worlds is thc common Christian image of the shepherd, the sheep, and the wolves.

Only spiritual criteria provide the basis for judgment and for action in Britain. , of the guidance of history by divine providcnce. Gildas argues for a religious, and against a political, explanation a i d solution of the problems, past and present, of his countrymen. But, as we have seen in the preceding chapter, the history of salvation as expounded in scriptural exegesis involved a multileveled interpretation of the biblical record, concurrently applicable to the life of thc Christian and of the church.

T h e period from the death of Maximus to the arrival of the Saxons is left vague, and the subject of Britain is dropped abruptly, without mention of the v ~ o n sDndoniczis or of growing British corruption. T h e single reference t o St. , at the earliest point possible commensurate with the description of a British victory over them, Genunvo belli dzlce. It is clear that Bede does not singIe out British (or English) history for special considcration in his chronicle. ~' T h e pedagogical purpose of De ten~porunzrntiom is to inculcate theoretical appreciation, not t o impart moral edification.

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