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On the Ruin of Britain

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On the Ruin of Britain by Gildas is a fascinating and insightful look into the decline of Roman Britain and the subsequent invasion and conquest by Anglo-Saxon tribes. The author, believed to be a monk living in the British Isles during the 6th century, provides a firsthand account of the social, political, and moral decay that led to the downfall of Roman civilization in Britain.

Gildas pulls no punches in his scathing critique of the ruling class and the general population, blaming them for their decadence, corruption, and abandonment of traditional values. He paints a bleak picture of a society plagued by warfare, famine, and disease, with little hope for salvation.

The author's writing style is eloquent and poetic, filled with vivid descriptions and powerful imagery that brings ancient Britain to life. Despite the somber tone of the book, Gildas' message is ultimately one of redemption and renewal, calling on the people of Britain to repent and return to the righteous path.

Overall, On the Ruin of Britain is a thought-provoking and poignant read that offers valuable insights into the downfall of a once-great civilization. It is a must-read for anyone interested in history, politics, or the human condition.

Book Description:
Gildas was a well-informed and definitely opinionated 6th century commentator on the topic of the era of the Roman occupation of Britain beginning in AD 43, the subsequent desertion of Britain by the legions in AD 410, and then invasions by the Scots, Picts and Saxons. Gildas was critical of his fellow Britons, accusing them of unwarranted rebellion against the beneficial rule of Roman law, and of then pusillanimously calling upon Rome to help them defend against the invading Picts and Scots from the north. In colorful language, he calls the Britons “timorous chickens”, in contrast to the courage and nobility of the Roman “eagles”. The Picts and Scots are “like worms come forth from their holes,” while the invading Saxons are compared to dogs. As a Christian critic, Gildas goes on to decry an interlude of peace and plenty as a time of luxury and licentiousness. His greatest praise is given to Christian heroes such as the protomartyr St. Alban. “On the Ruin of Britain” is a rare treasure, a surviving piece of vivid writing that brings us a voice and a viewpoint from the nearly erased years of the 6th century.

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