The word `saint' conjures a variety of associations in our modern minds. Some might connect it with suffering, charity and devotion to Christian values; others with miracles, martyrdom and heavenly gifts like the stigmata, while others still associate them with superstition, fanaticism and the power of the Papacy.
But far from the one-dimensional pious figures we imagine, the saints were the power players, king makers and politicians of the day, and by re-examining their lives - the art and literature that inspired them, the landscape and buildings that surrounded them, the issues that preoccupied them and the symbolic world that mattered to them - this landmark book provides a unique and fascinating lens through which to explore the rich history of the Dark Ages.
Drawing on a wide range of evidence, from art and literature to archaeology, theology and historical data, Oxford art historian and BBC presenter, Dr Janina Ramirez examines the real lives of over a dozen seminal individuals, from the infamous to the obscure, whose effect was felt throughout the Anglo-Saxon world and can still be felt today.
Re-evaluating the role of the saints, taking them from their heavenly status to the human level, and examining their desire for adulation, power, wealth and legacy, Janina offers a unique and discerning study of life in Anglo-Saxon England.