The Roman legionary was a professional heavy infantryman of the Roman army after the Marian reforms. These soldiers, alongside auxiliary and cavalry detachments, would first conquer and defend the territories of the Roman Empire during the late Republic and Principate eras. At its height, Roman legionaries were viewed as the foremost fighting force in the Roman world, with commentators such as Vegetius praising their fighting effectiveness centuries after the classical Roman legionary disappeared. Roman legionaries were recruited from Roman citizens under the age of 45; this meant that while Roman legionaries were first predominantly made up of recruits from the areas surrounding Rome, more legionaries were recruited from the provinces as time went on. As legionaries moved into newly conquered provinces, they served to help romanize the native population and helped integrate the various disparate regions of the Roman Empire into one polity, they enlisted in a legion for twenty-five years of service, a change from the early practice of enlisting only for a campaign.
Not only were legionaries expected to fight, but they built much of the infrastructure of the Roman Empire and served as a policing force in the provinces. Large public works projects such as walls and roads were all built by the Roman legionary; the last five years were on veteran lighter duties. Once retired, a Roman legionary received a parcel of land or its equivalent in money and became prominent members of local society; when Gaius Marius became consul in 108 BC, Rome was at war with the Numidian king Jugurtha. Seeing a need for more manpower, Marius eliminated the property requirements that used to qualify Romans into the army, allowing any Roman citizen to become a legionary. After the war, Marius set out to standardize the Roman legionary, he enhanced the training of the soldiers and uniformly armed them, giving Rome an armed force that did not have to be raised with every new campaign. He further gave his soldiers retirement benefits, such as land or monetary payment. However, because the legionaries looked to their generals for their rewards and benefits, they soon became loyal to generals rather than the Roman senate.
This would factor in to the end of the Roman republic. As Augustus consolidated power in 27BC and founded the Principate, he further professionalized the Roman legionary and sought to break the legionary's dependence on his general. Under him, a legionary's term of service was raised to 25 years and pay was standardized throughout the legions; the Roman legionaries were guaranteed a land grant or a cash payment at the end of his service, making the Roman legionary less dependent on generals for rewards after campaigns. Augustus changed the sacramentum so that soldiers swore allegiance only to the emperor, not to the general. Thus, Augustus managed to end the civil wars which defined the late Roman Republic and created an army, broadly loyal to only the emperor. Legionaries would expand Rome's borders to include lower Britannia, North Africa, more through military campaigns under Augustus and future emperors. From the reign of Septimus Severus onward, the Roman legionary lost his preeminence. Though there were multiple causes for this decline, all pointed to the gradual degradation of discipline.
Septimus Severus unwittingly, began this decline when he lavished his legionaries with donatives and pay increases, recognising that they were his key to becoming and staying emperor. However, this proved detrimental to the discipline of the legionaries, as they began to expect more and more rewards from their emperors. Under Caracalla, Septimus Severus's successor, all freedmen in the Roman Empire became Roman citizens erasing the distinction between auxiliaries and legionaries. This, coinciding with the continued expansion of the Roman army, meant recruits of more dubious standards joined the legions, decreasing the quality of the Roman legionary further. During the 3rd Century Crisis, a more mobile army became necessary, as threats arose across the long borders of the Roman Empire; as such, mounted cavalry became essential to respond to the varied challenges to the empire. Because of this, Roman heavy infantry faded further from dominance. By the 4th century, Roman infantry lacked much of the body armor of the classical legionary and used darts rather than the pila of their predecessors.
Though the legionary was first and foremost a soldier, he provided a variety of other critical functions. Lacking a professional police force, governors would use legionaries to keep the peace and protect critical facilities; as the Roman empire lacked a large civil administration, the army would be given many administrative positions. High ranking soldiers acted as judges in disputes among local populations and the army was an important component of tax collection. Legionaries served to spread Roman culture throughout the provinces where they were stationed; as legionaries settled in the provinces, towns sprang up around them becoming large cities. In this way, as legionaries co-mingled and intermarried with the local populace, they helped Romanize the provinces they protect. Roman legionaries served as a source of expertise as well; as such, much of the infrastructure which connected the empire was built by legionaries. Roads and bridges were built by legionaries as well as more defensive structures such as fortresses and walls.
Hadrian's wall, a monumental example of Roman engineering, was built by the three legions stationed in the area. Legionaries were not just limited to building large-scale engineering projects. Surveyors, artisans, a
South Wales is the region of Wales bordered by England and the Bristol Channel to the east and south, mid Wales to the north, west Wales to the west. With an estimated population of around 2.2 million, three-quarters of the whole of Wales, Cardiff has 400,000, Swansea has 250,000 and Newport has 150,000. The region is loosely defined, but it is considered to include the historic counties of Glamorgan and Monmouthshire, extending westwards to include Carmarthenshire and Pembrokeshire. In the western extent, from Swansea westwards, local people would recognise that they lived in both south Wales and west Wales; the Brecon Beacons national park covers about a third of South Wales, containing Pen y Fan, the highest British mountain south of Cadair Idris in Snowdonia. Between the Statute of Rhuddlan of 1284 and the Laws in Wales Act 1535, crown land in Wales formed the Principality of Wales; this was divided into a Principality of North Wales. The southern principality was made up of the counties of Ceredigion and Carmarthenshire, areas, part of the Welsh kingdom of Deheubarth.
The legal responsibility for this area lay in the hands of the Justiciar of South Wales based at Carmarthen. Other parts of southern Wales were in the hands of various Marcher Lords; the Laws in Wales Acts 1542 created the Court of Great Sessions in Wales based on four legal circuits. The Brecon circuit served the counties of Brecknockshire and Glamorgan while the Carmarthen circuit served Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire. Monmouthshire was attached to the Oxford circuit for judicial purposes; these seven southern counties were thus differentiated from the six counties of north Wales. The Court of the Great Sessions came to an end in 1830, but the counties survived until the Local Government Act 1972 which came into operation in 1974; the creation of the county of Powys merged one northern county with two southern ones. There are thus different concepts of south Wales. Glamorgan and Monmouthshire are accepted by all as being in south Wales, but the status of Breconshire or Carmarthenshire, for instance, is more debatable.
In the western extent, from Swansea westwards, local people might feel that they live in both south Wales and west Wales. Areas to the north of the Brecon Beacons and Black Mountains are considered to be in Mid Wales. A further point of uncertainty is whether the first element of the name should be capitalized:'south Wales' or'South Wales'; as the name is a geographical expression rather than a specific area with well-defined borders, style guides such as those of the BBC and The Guardian use the form'south Wales'. The South Wales Valleys and upland mountain ridges were once a rural area noted for its river valleys and ancient forests and lauded by romantic poets such as William Wordsworth as well as poets in the Welsh language, although the interests of the latter lay more in society and culture than in the evocation of natural scenery; this natural environment changed to a considerable extent during the early Industrial Revolution when the Glamorgan and Monmouthshire valley areas were exploited for coal and iron.
By the 1830s, hundreds of tons of coal were being transported by barge to ports in Cardiff and Newport. In the 1870s, coal was transported by rail transport networks to Newport Docks, at the time the largest coal exporting docks in the world, by the 1880s coal was being exported from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan; the Marquess of Bute, who owned much of the land north of Cardiff, built a steam railway system on his land that stretched from Cardiff into many of the South Wales Valleys where the coal was being found. Lord Bute charged fees per ton of coal, transported out using his railways. With coal mining and iron smelting being the main trades of south Wales, many thousands of immigrants from the Midlands, Ireland and Italy came and set up homes and put down roots in the region. Many came from other coal mining areas such as Somerset, the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire and the tin mines of Cornwall such as Geevor Tin Mine, as a large but experienced and willing workforce was required. Whilst some of the migrants left, many settled and established in the South Wales Valleys between Swansea and Abergavenny as English-speaking communities with a unique identity.
Industrial workers were housed in cottages and terraced houses close to the mines and foundries in which they worked. The large influx over the years caused overcrowding which led to outbreaks of Cholera, on the social and cultural side, the near-loss of the Welsh language in the area; the 1930s inter-war Great Depression in the United Kingdom saw the loss of half of the coal pits in the South Wales Coalfield, their number declined further in the years following World War II. This number is now low, following the UK miners' strike, the last'traditional' deep-shaft mine, Tower Colliery, closed in January 2008. Despite the intense industrialisation of the coal mining valleys, many parts of the landscape of South Wales such as the upper Neath valley, the Vale of Glamorgan and the valleys of the River Usk and River Wye remain distinctly beautiful and unspoilt and have been designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest. In addition, many once industrialised sites have reverted to wilderness, some provided with a series of cycle tracks and other outdoor amenities.
Large areas of forestry and open moorland contribute to the amenity of the landscape. Merthyr Tydfil grew around the Dowlais Ironworks, founded to exploit the locally abundant seams of ir
Allectus was a Roman-Britannic usurper-emperor in Britain and northern Gaul from 293 to 296. Allectus was treasurer to Carausius, a Menapian officer in the Roman navy who had seized power in Britain and northern Gaul in 286. In 293 Carausius was isolated when the western Caesar, Constantius Chlorus, retook some of his Gallic territories the crucial port of Bononia, defeated Frankish allies of Carausius in Batavia. Allectus assumed command himself, his reign has left little record, although his coin issues display a similar distribution to those of Carausius. They are found in north western Gaul, indicating that the recapture of Bononia did not spell the end of the rebel empire on that side of the English Channel. Constantius launched an invasion to depose him in September 296, his forces sailed in several divisions. Constantius seems to have been delayed by bad weather. Another division, under the praetorian prefect Asclepiodotus, took advantage of fog to avoid Allectus's ships stationed at the Isle of Wight, landed near Southampton Water, where they burnt their ships.
Allectus's forces were forced to retreat from the coast, but were cut off by another of Constantius's divisions and defeated. Allectus himself was killed in the battle, having removed all insignia in the hope that his body would not be identified. Archaeology suggests that Calleva Atrebatum was the site of his defeat or the area surrounding the town. A group of Roman troops, separated from the main body by the fog during the channel crossing, caught up with the remnants of Allectus's men Franks, at Londinium, massacred them. Constantius himself, it seems, did not reach Britain until it was all over, his panegyrist claims he was welcomed by the Britons as a liberator. Carausius had deliberately used his coinage for propaganda purposes, some of his slogans, such as a claim to have restored'liberty', were designed to appeal to British sentiment. Constantius answered such claims in a famous medal struck on the morrow of his victory, in which he described himself as redditor lucis aeternae,'restorer of the eternal light.'
Geoffrey of Monmouth included Allectus in his legendary History of the Kings of Britain. Here, Allectus is an officer sent with three legions by the Romans to depose Carausius, a native British king, he does so, but his rule proves oppressive, he is in turn deposed by Asclepiodotus, here the Duke of Cornwall. The last of Allectus's troops are besieged in London, surrender on the condition they are granted safe passage out of Britain. Asclepiodotus agrees, but the surrendering soldiers are massacred, their heads thrown into the river Galobroc, by his allies the Venedoti
Diocletian, born Diocles, was a Roman emperor from 284 to 305. Born to a family of low status in Dalmatia, Diocletian rose through the ranks of the military to become Roman cavalry commander to the Emperor Carus. After the deaths of Carus and his son Numerian on campaign in Persia, Diocletian was proclaimed emperor; the title was claimed by Carus' surviving son, but Diocletian defeated him in the Battle of the Margus. Diocletian's reign marks the end of the Crisis of the Third Century, he appointed fellow officer Maximian as Augustus, co-emperor, in 286. Diocletian reigned in the Eastern Empire, Maximian reigned in the Western Empire. Diocletian delegated further on 1 March 293, appointing Galerius and Constantius as Caesars, junior co-emperors, under himself and Maximian respectively. Under this'tetrarchy', or "rule of four", each emperor would rule over a quarter-division of the empire. Diocletian purged it of all threats to his power, he defeated the Sarmatians and Carpi during several campaigns between 285 and 299, the Alamanni in 288, usurpers in Egypt between 297 and 298.
Galerius, aided by Diocletian, campaigned against Sassanid Persia, the empire's traditional enemy. In 299 he sacked Ctesiphon. Diocletian achieved a lasting and favourable peace. Diocletian separated and enlarged the empire's civil and military services and reorganized the empire's provincial divisions, establishing the largest and most bureaucratic government in the history of the empire, he established new administrative centres in Nicomedia, Mediolanum and Trevorum, closer to the empire's frontiers than the traditional capital at Rome. Building on third-century trends towards absolutism, he styled himself an autocrat, elevating himself above the empire's masses with imposing forms of court ceremonies and architecture. Bureaucratic and military growth, constant campaigning, construction projects increased the state's expenditures and necessitated a comprehensive tax reform. From at least 297 on, imperial taxation was standardized, made more equitable, levied at higher rates. Not all of Diocletian's plans were successful: the Edict on Maximum Prices, his attempt to curb inflation via price controls, was counterproductive and ignored.
Although effective while he ruled, Diocletian's tetrarchic system collapsed after his abdication under the competing dynastic claims of Maxentius and Constantine, sons of Maximian and Constantius respectively. The Diocletianic Persecution, the empire's last and bloodiest official persecution of Christianity, failed to eliminate Christianity in the empire. Despite these failures and challenges, Diocletian's reforms fundamentally changed the structure of Roman imperial government and helped stabilize the empire economically and militarily, enabling the empire to remain intact for another 150 years despite being near the brink of collapse in Diocletian's youth. Weakened by illness, Diocletian left the imperial office on 1 May 305, became the first Roman emperor to abdicate the position voluntarily, he lived out his retirement in his palace on the Dalmatian coast. His palace became the core of the modern-day city of Split in Croatia. Diocletian was born near Salona in Dalmatia, some time around 244.
His parents gave him the Greek name Diocles, or Diocles Valerius. The modern historian Timothy Barnes takes his official birthday, 22 December, as his actual birthdate. Other historians are not so certain, his parents were of low status. The first forty years of his life are obscure; the Byzantine chronicler Joannes Zonaras states that he was Dux Moesiae, a commander of forces on the lower Danube. The often-unreliable Historia Augusta states that he served in Gaul, but this account is not corroborated by other sources and is ignored by modern historians of the period; the first time Diocletian's whereabouts are established, in 282, the Emperor Carus made him commander of the Protectores domestici, the elite cavalry force directly attached to the Imperial household – a post that earned him the honour of a consulship in 283. As such, he took part in Carus' subsequent Persian campaign. Carus's death, amid a successful war with Persia and in mysterious circumstances – he was believed to have been struck by lightning or killed by Persian soldiers – left his sons Numerian and Carinus as the new Augusti.
Carinus made his way to Rome from his post in Gaul as imperial commissioner and arrived there by January 284, becoming legitimate Emperor in the West. Numerian lingered in the East; the Roman withdrawal from Persia was unopposed. The Sassanid king Bahram II could not field an army against them as he was still struggling to establish his authority. By March 284, Numerian had only reached Emesa in Syria. In Emesa he was still alive and in good health: he issued the only extant rescript in his name there, but after he left the city, his staff, including the prefect Aper, reported that he suffered from an inflammation of the eyes, he travelled in a closed coach from on. When the army reached Bithynia, some of the soldiers smelled an odor emanating from the coach, they opened its curtains and inside
Early Christianity covers the period from its origins until the First Council of Nicaea. This period is divided into the Apostolic Age and the Ante-Nicene Period; the first Christians were Jewish Christians, either by conversion. Important practices were baptism, which made one a member of the Christian community, the communal meals, from which the Eucharist developed, the participation in Christ's death and resurrection; the inclusion of Gentile God-fearers lead to a departure from Jewish customs, the establishment of Christianity as an independent religion. A variety of Christianities developed throughout the 2nd and 3rd century, alongside a developing proto-orthodoxy, which defined orthodoxy and heresy. Proto-orthodoxy developed in tandem with the growing number of Christians, which necessitated the devlopment of eccelsiastical structure. Early Christians used and revered the Hebrew Bible as religious text in the Greek or Aramaic translations, but developed their own Canon of the New Testament, which includes the canonical gospels, letters of the Apostles, Revelation, all written before 120.
Early Jewish Christians referred to themselves as'The Way' coming from Isaiah 40:3, "prepare the way of the Lord." According to Acts 11:26, the term "Christian" was first used in reference to Jesus's disciples in the city of Antioch, meaning "followers of Christ," by the non-Jewish inhabitants of Antioch. The earliest recorded use of the term "Christianity" was by Ignatius of Antioch, in around 100 AD. Christianity "emerged as a sect of Judaism in Roman Palestine" in the syncretistic Hellenistic world of the first century CE, dominated by Roman law and Greek culture. During the early first century CE there were many competing Jewish sects in the Holy Land, those that became Rabbinic Judaism and Proto-orthodox Christianity were but two of these. There were Pharisees and Zealots, but other less influential sects, including the Essenes; the first century BCE and first century CE saw a growing number of charismatic religious leaders contributing to what would become the Mishnah of Rabbinic Judaism.
A central concern in 1st century Judaism was the covenant with God, the status of the Jews as the chosen people. Many Jews believed; the Law was given by God to guide them in their worship of the Lord and in their interctions with each other, "the greatest gift God had given his people."The Jewish messiah concept has its root in the apocalyptic literature of the 2nd century BC to 1st century BC, promising a future leader or king from the Davidic line, expected to be anointed with holy anointing oil and rule the Jewish people during the Messianic Age and world to come. The Messiah is referred to as "King Messiah" or malka meshiḥa in Aramaic. In the Synoptic Gospels Jewish eschatology stands central. After being baptized by John the Baptist, Jesus teaches extensively for a year, or maybe just a few months, about the Kingdom of God, in aphorisms and parables, using similes and figurs of speech. In the Gospel of John, Jesus himself is the main subject; the Kingdom is described as eschatological, becoming reality in the near future.
Jesus talks as expecting the coming of the "Son of Man" from heaven, an apocalyptic figure who would initiate "the coming judgment and the redemption of Israel." According to Davies, the Sermon on the Mount presents Jesus as the new Moses who brings a New Law, the Messianic Torah. His ministry was ended by his execution by crucifixion, his early followers believed that three days after his death, Jesus rose bodily from the dead and was exalted to Divine status. Paul's letters and the Gospels document a number of post-resurrection appearances, the resurrection of Jesus "signalled for earliest believers that the days of eschatological fulfilment were at hand." The resurrection was seen as the exaltation of Jesus to the status of divine Son and Lord. His followers expected Him to return in the near future. Since the 18th century, three scholarly quests for the historical Jesus have taken place, each with distinct characteristics and based on different research criteria, which were developed during each specific phase.
Scholars involved in the third quest for the historical Jesus have constructed a variety of portraits and profiles for Jesus, most prominently that of Jesus as a Jewish apocalyptic prophet or eschatological teacher. The first part of the period, named after the lifetimes of the Twelve Apostles as narrated in the Acts of the Apostles, is called the Apostolic Age; the Great Commission is the instruction of the resurrected Jesus Christ to his disciples to spread his teachings to all the nations of the world. After the death of Jesus, "Christianity emerged as a sect of Judaism in Roman Palestine." The first Christians were all Jews, either by birth or conversion, who constituted a Second Temple Jewish sect with an apocalyptic eschatology. The New Testament's Acts of the Apostles and Epistle to the Galatians record the existence of a Christian community centered on Jerusalem, that its leaders included Peter, the "brother of Jesus", John the Apostle; the Jerusalem Church "held a central place among all the churches,".
Christian missionary activity spread Christianity
Saint Alban is venerated as the first-recorded British Christian martyr, for which reason he is considered to be the British protomartyr. Along with fellow Saints Julius and Aaron, Alban is one of three named martyrs recorded at an early date from Roman Britain, he is traditionally believed to have been beheaded in the Roman city of Verulamium sometime during the 3rd or 4th century, his cult has been celebrated there since ancient times. According to the most elaborate version of the tale found in Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, Alban lived in Verulamium, sometime during the 3rd or 4th century, but some authors, on the basis that Gildas says he crosses the Thames before his martyrdom, place his residence and martyrdom in London, he lived in Roman Britain, but little is known about his religious affiliations, socioeconomic status or citizenship. Sometime in the 3rd or 4th century, Christians began to suffer "cruel persecution." Alban met a Christian priest fleeing from "persecutors" and sheltered him in his house for a number of days.
The priest prayed and "kept watch" day and night, Alban was so impressed with the priest's faith and piety that he found himself emulating the priest and soon converted to Christianity. It came to the ears of an unnamed "impious prince" that Alban was sheltering the priest; the prince gave orders for Roman soldiers to make a strict search of Alban's house. As they came to seize the priest, Alban put on the priest's cloak and clothing and presented himself to the soldiers in place of his guest. Alban was brought before the judge, who just happened to be standing at the altar, offering sacrifices to "devils"; when the judge heard that Alban had offered himself up in place of the priest, he became enraged that Alban would shelter a person who "despised and blasphemed the gods," and as Alban had given himself up in the Christian's place, Alban was sentenced to endure all the punishments that were to be inflicted upon the priest unless he would comply with the pagan rites of their religion. Alban refused, declared, "I worship and adore the true and living God who created all things.".
The enraged judge ordered Alban scourged, thinking that a whipping would shake the constancy of his heart, but Alban bore these torments patiently and joyfully. When the judge realized that the tortures would not shake his faith, he ordered for Alban to be beheaded. Alban was led to execution, he presently came to a fast-flowing river that could not be crossed. There was a bridge, but a mob of curious townspeople who wished to watch the execution had so clogged the bridge that the execution party could not cross. Filled with an ardent desire to arrive at martyrdom, Alban raised his eyes to heaven, the river dried up, allowing Alban and his captors to cross over on dry land; the astonished executioner cast down his sword and fell at Alban's feet, moved by divine inspiration and praying that he might either suffer with Alban or be executed for him. The other executioners hesitated to pick up his sword, meanwhile and they went about 500 paces to a sloping hill covered with all kinds of wild flowers, overlooking a beautiful plain.
When Alban reached the summit of the hill, he prayed God would give him water. A spring sprang up at his feet, it was there that his head was struck off, as well as that of the first Roman soldier, miraculously converted and refused to execute him. However after delivering the fatal stroke, the eyes of the second executioner popped out of his head and dropped to the ground along with Alban's head so that this second executioner could not rejoice over Alban's death. In legends, Alban's head rolled downhill after his execution, a well sprang up where it stopped. Upon hearing of the miracles, the astonished judge ordered further persecutions to cease, he began to honour the saint's death. St Albans Cathedral now stands near the believed site of his execution, a well is at the bottom of the hill, Holywell Hill; the earliest mention of Alban's martyrdom is believed to be in Victricius's De Laude Sanctorum, c. 396. Victricius had just returned from settling an unnamed dispute among the bishops of Britain.
He does not mention Alban by name, but includes an unnamed martyr, who, "in the hands of the executioners told rivers to draw back, lest he should be delayed in his haste." The account resembles Alban's martyrdom, many historians have concluded that this may be a reference to Alban, making it the earliest surviving reference to a British saint. There can be no certainty, that the martyr referred to is Saint Alban; the foundational text concerning Alban is the Passio Albani, or the Passion of Alban, which relates the tale of Alban's martyrdom, Germanus of Auxerre's subsequent visit to the site of Alban's execution. This Passio survives in six manuscripts, with three different recensions, referred to as T, P, E, the oldest of which dates to the eighth century; the T manuscript is located in Turin, the P manuscript is found in Paris and the E manuscripts are at The British Library and Gray's Inn, both in London, Autun and Einsiedeln. The Passio is likely the source text of the more well-known accounts found in Gildas and Bede.
Another early tex
Bede known as Saint Bede, Venerable Bede, Bede the Venerable, was an English Benedictine monk at the monastery of St. Peter and its companion monastery of St. Paul in the Kingdom of Northumbria of the Angles. Born on lands belonging to the Monkwearmouth monastery in present-day Sunderland, Bede was sent there at the age of seven and joined Abbot Ceolfrith at the Jarrow monastery, both of whom survived a plague that struck in 686, an outbreak that killed a majority of the population there. While he spent most of his life in the monastery, Bede travelled to several abbeys and monasteries across the British Isles visiting the archbishop of York and King Ceolwulf of Northumbria, he is well known as an author and scholar, his most famous work, Ecclesiastical History of the English People, gained him the title "The Father of English History". His ecumenical writings were extensive and included a number of Biblical commentaries and other theological works of exegetical erudition. Another important area of study for Bede was the academic discipline of computus, otherwise known to his contemporaries as the science of calculating calendar dates.
One of the more important dates Bede tried to compute was Easter, an effort, mired with controversy. He helped establish the practice of dating forward from the birth of Christ, a practice which became commonplace in medieval Europe. Bede was one of the greatest teachers and writers of the Early Middle Ages and is considered by many historians to be the single most important scholar of antiquity for the period between the death of Pope Gregory I in 604 and the coronation of Charlemagne in 800. In 1899, Pope Leo XIII declared him a Doctor of the Church, he is the only native of Great Britain to achieve this designation. Bede was moreover a skilled linguist and translator, his work made the Latin and Greek writings of the early Church Fathers much more accessible to his fellow Anglo-Saxons, which contributed to English Christianity. Bede's monastery had access to an impressive library which included works by Eusebius and many others. Everything, known of Bede's life is contained in the last chapter of his Ecclesiastical History of the English People, a history of the church in England.
It was completed in about 731, Bede implies that he was in his fifty-ninth year, which would give a birth date in 672 or 673. A minor source of information is the letter by his disciple Cuthbert. Bede, in the Historia, gives his birthplace as "on the lands of this monastery", he is referring to the twinned monasteries of Monkwearmouth and Jarrow, in modern-day Wearside and Tyneside respectively. Bede says nothing of his origins, but his connections with men of noble ancestry suggest that his own family was well-to-do. Bede's first abbot was Benedict Biscop, the names "Biscop" and "Beda" both appear in a king list of the kings of Lindsey from around 800, further suggesting that Bede came from a noble family. Bede's name reflects West Saxon Bīeda, it is an Anglo-Saxon short name formed on the root of bēodan "to bid, command". The name occurs in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, s.a. 501, as Bieda, one of the sons of the Saxon founder of Portsmouth. The Liber Vitae of Durham Cathedral names two priests with this name, one of whom is Bede himself.
Some manuscripts of the Life of Cuthbert, one of Bede's works, mention that Cuthbert's own priest was named Bede. At the age of seven, Bede was sent, as a puer oblatus, to the monastery of Monkwearmouth by his family to be educated by Benedict Biscop and by Ceolfrith. Bede does not say whether it was intended at that point that he would be a monk, it was common in Ireland at this time for young boys those of noble birth, to be fostered out as an oblate. Monkwearmouth's sister monastery at Jarrow was founded by Ceolfrith in 682, Bede transferred to Jarrow with Ceolfrith that year; the dedication stone for the church has survived to the present day. In 686, plague broke out at Jarrow; the Life of Ceolfrith, written in about 710, records that only two surviving monks were capable of singing the full offices. The two managed to do the entire service of the liturgy; the young boy was certainly Bede, who would have been about 14. When Bede was about 17 years old, Adomnán, the abbot of Iona Abbey, visited Monkwearmouth and Jarrow.
Bede would have met the abbot during this visit, it may be that Adomnan sparked Bede's interest in the Easter dating controversy. In about 692, in Bede's nineteenth year, Bede was ordained a deacon by his diocesan bishop, bishop of Hexham; the canonical age for the ordination of a deacon was 25.