153 – An Offa You Can’t Refuse

As you might have guessed, today we’re talking mostly about Offa. But before we get into some of the cool things that were going on under Offa’s reign… lets start with something shady.

Click here to be able to read the full rough transcript.

  9 Replies to “153 – An Offa You Can’t Refuse”

  1. Steve Smethurst (Member)
    February 12, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    Three alternative interpretations on a sack-load of document threads; debate and conjecture; on the one had the people and on the other hand the nobility; speculation, baby; bring it on! When you first told us you used to be a lawyer, Jamie, I thought “that’s interesting, a lawyer doing something interesting”. Over these many episodes I have gained respect for your skills in document forensics. Now I have every faith and liking of your new turn as a research historian. Your critic has missed the point entirely.

  2. Tim
    February 13, 2015 at 2:49 pm

    Seconded. Jamie, you’re a great example of why diversity of talents is so important to education. First there are the monks, I mean librarians, who studiously organize, preserve, scan, and copy over all these great sources. Then there are the classical historians, who read the sources with a bit of bias-du-jour, and translate them into digestible synthesis. And then there’s this suspicious lawyer guy, armed with archaeological record and primary source alike, shouting “objection!” and finding all kind of new avenues for interpretation and reasoning. And he’s the one with the show LOL

    Keep up the thoughtfulness and transparency of how you arrived at your conclusions! Not enough people realize how little we know for sure about the past.

  3. Mary
    February 16, 2015 at 10:36 am

    Hi Jamie, I love the depth, including the uncertainties That’s why I listen faithfully.

  4. June 7, 2015 at 11:20 am

    I welcome the depth and reason you put into your arguments – it gives colour, plausibility and likelihood to events in a time that is so often dismissed.

    I was a little surprised at one thing though. Given your thorough pattern of describing the various front running scenarios, I was disappointed when you just brushed the most obvious explanation aside and went with your narrative bias to claim that Offa built the dyke, when it is highly plausible that he actually rebuilt and refurbished the Severin Wall.

    • June 11, 2015 at 7:38 am

      I’m sorry that you felt I wasn’t giving enough competing theories. The idea that the wall is much older is relatively new and hasn’t been universally adopted, so I went with most mainstream historians and Asser. However, I tried to make it clear that there are scholars who suspect that the wall was built earlier but their findings haven’t been conclusive so far and until something more firm comes up I was just going to continue with the current mainstream view on the dyke.

  5. Arnstein Birkeland
    April 17, 2016 at 5:14 am

    Do you write Your own headlines?

  6. Paul
    May 18, 2016 at 11:18 am

    How did you come up with Unfirth as your stock example of the hapless commoner? I’ve been binge-listening at work to catch up and every time you deride Unfirth and his lack of position I burst out laughing. I’m starting to lose face.

    • May 18, 2016 at 11:21 am


      And I’m a beowulf nerd, so I couldn’t resist the opportunity to chuck Unferð under the bus.

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