Episode 35: Decline and Fall: A Literary Guide
The Dark Ages, Late Antiquity, the late Roman . . . however you define the years spanning the fall of Rome, the period is rich in stories, real or reimagined. In this episode Dr Andy Merrills, Associate Professor of Ancient History, joins the Slightly Foxed team to cast light on the surviving literature. We begin with Edward Gibbon’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire before delving into 4th-century accounts by the Latin historian Ammianus Marcellinus, a spiritual autobiography by Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, ecclesiastical chronicles by the Venerable Bede, Gallic tales of Christian miracles and relic-looting with Gregory of Tours and an alternative look at the period with the modern-day master of Late Antiquity, Peter Brown. From there we venture into fiction with Rosemary Sutcliff’s adventures inspired by archaeological finds, a retelling of the old British folk ballad ‘The Twa Sisters’ in Lucy Holland’s Sistersong and much more besides . . .