AD 500
Simon Young

AD 500

In the sixth century Britain and Ireland had the reputation of being the most dangerous and barbarous parts of Europe, the Congo of their day. AD 500, written from the perspective of Greek explorers, takes the modern reader on a tour around this strangely unfamiliar version of our islands. Along the way you will learn how to nipple-suck correctly (a sixth-century version of shaking hands); how to get married with ‘a native’; how to spot one of the last of the druids; how not to get sacrificed in the Fens; how to deflect the curses of Celtic poets; and even a hangover cure for Saxon beer. Written as a Greek travel guide/ travelogue AD 500 should not be mistaken for fiction. Extensive endnotes ground the book and the details of sixth-century life found there in the scientific work of modern linguists, archaeologists and historians.

Book Details:

  • Author: Simon Young
  • Published Year: 2005
  • Rights Sold
    • UK: Orion

Simon Young

Simon Young graduated from Clare College with a starred first in 1995 winning the Chadwick Prize for Celtic Studies and the Green Prize ‘for learning’. Over the next seven years he worked and lived in several European countries including France, Ireland and Spain. Articles, book reviews and columns by him, for the most part dealing with the Dark Ages, have appeared in publications ranging from History Today to Fortean Times and from the Spectator to the Guardian; he has also had work included in several academic journals such as Cambridge Medieval Celtic Studies and the Irish pe...
More about Simon Young

Book Reviews

  • "This clever and highly informative history...Simon Young writes with an easy style and a wry humour."
    NewBooks Mag
  • "Informative and entertaining, this is popular history at its best."
    Financial Times
  • "First-rate reading"
    Good Book Guide
  • "Simon Young offers nugget after nugget of fascinating detail to paint a colourful portrait of a time when native savagery was being tempered by the arrival of Christianity in a country on the cusp between druidic power and the first cold grip of Church rule... This bawdy , picaresque and high-spirited book... wears its considerable learning lightly and opens a window on a time long neglected..."
    Ireland on Sunday
  • "There is much more in the same entertaining and informative vein.. It certainly succeeds in throwing new light on the mysterious Dark Ages."
    Belfast Telegraph
  • "A kind of Roman Britain version of Mad Max... very funny"
    Yorkshire Evening Press
  • "...their account of the strange and barbaric practices of these islands is hugely entertaining and sometimes harrowing. What a joy to be able to recommend a book about misery, bloodshed and grisly superstition for being funny, compassionate and clear-eyed. It's not historical fiction as such, more a deft and convincing reworking of history in the tradition of Geoffrey of Monmouth. The world is wonderfully evoked. the hand behind these narrators guides them with warmth and fluency."
    A kind of Roman Britain version of Mad Max... very funny
  • "a brilliant idea... extremely enjoyable and informative."
    Peter Jones in the JCT
  • "Enjoyable and ingenious, this breathes life into the period."
    Scotland on Sunday
  • "Simon Young has written a thoroughly enjoyable, witty, atmospheric and very knowledgeable companion to post-Roman Britain, from Kent to Orkney..."
    Oxbow
  • "...put this in your holiday suitcase"
    British Archaeology
  • "an accessible overview of what Britain might have been like after the Romans had left."
    BBC History Magazine
  • "Whether you read AD 500 from cover to cover, or dip in to look up your home region or a place you are visiting, you are bound to find some nugget to fascinate and entertain. From the origins of the duffel coat, to drunken orgies on the South Bank or the sealing of alliances by nipple-sucking in Ireland, this book has something for everyone… A delightful conceit and an entrancing read."
    Historical Novels Review
  • "The wry humour of a new book by an expert on Celtic history had me hooked"
    Western Daily Press
  • "AD500 is a beacon of fascinating insights to light up the Dark Ages for the masses."
    Bridlington Gazette & Herald