As we go forward in this series, what I hope you’re beginning to get a sense of from both the WelshCast and all the other shows focusing on the so called Dark Ages, is how fragmented life in Britain was at this point in history.
We simply are not dealing with homogenous populations over the whole of britain, or even the whole of Wales. In today’s culture, we have a surprising amount of commonality thanks to the influences of media, travel and national political bodies. But even today, you’ll find distinct cultural differences in different parts of Wales, and definitely in different parts of the UK.
Well, part of what I’ve been trying to show you as we’ve been going through this stuff is that the cultural differences would have been even greater back then. There were different cultural groups, ethnic groups, kingdoms… you name it. Britain wasn’t Britain. It was just an island with a big patchwork of different communities. And that becomes quite an issue for us when we try to look at religion, since our records are generally rather sparse. And that scarcity only serves to heighten the difficulties we have with the diversity of cultures we’re seeing in Britain.
For example, even if we had detailed texts on religious practices in Dyfed, it still wouldn’t necessarily tell us much of anything regarding the remainder of britain. Not even if we’re looking at members of the same religion. As we go forward we’ll find that Christians in one area won’t necessarily practice the same as Christians in another. And when we add paganism into the mix, it really gets complicated.