A window on the mysterious world of the Dark Ages by a brilliant young historianAD 500 is written as a practical survival guide for the use of civilised visitors to the barbaric islands of Britain and Ireland. It describes a journey which begins in Cornwall and continues through Wales and Ireland, then across to Scotland and eventually down to London and southern Britain.The Romans have left, and the islands are now fought over by Irish, British Celts, Picts and Saxons. It is a dangerous world, full of tribal war. The British Celts are enthusiastic head-hunters, while the Saxon gods require regular blood sacrifices, animal and sometimes human. There are social pitfals too (`Do not make fun of the Celts' beliefs about Arthur'...'Don't refuse a place in a Welsh collective bed.')Cheviot bandits, bizarre forms of Christianity, boat burials, peculiar haircuts, human sacrifice, poetry competitions, slave markets, the legend of King Arthur - these are the realities of life in the sixth century AD.
Simon Young was awarded a starred First in Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic from Cambridge University, as well as the Chadwick Prize for Celtic studies. Since then he has lived in Spain, Ireland and Italy, where he is now completing a doctorate at the University of Florence. The author of many academic articles, he has also written about the Dark Ages for History Today, the Spectator, and the Guardian. He combines a commitment to serious history, especially that of the medieval Celts, with a desire to communicate Dark Age history to the general public. He lives in Florence with his Italian wife.