Sutton Hoo and the Ostrogoths
with Dr Sam Newton
at Sutton Hoo, Saturday, 1st November, 2014


An attempt to understand Sutton Hoo in the context of the sixth–century history of Europe in general and of the OstroGoths in particular.

We begin with a look at some of the treasures from Sutton Hoo and the art historical connections they reveal between the Wuffings and the peoples of Europe, especially the Goths. We shall reconsider the epic story of the rise and tragic fall of the Goths, and how their reputation in the history of Christendom has been overshadowed by the propaganda of their greatest enemy, Byzantium, which has led since to their association with darkness. We shall see how differently they were remembered in Old English and related heroic verse, where they were often held in high honour. Through texts such as the extraordinary Old English poem Widsith, we can glimpse something of a lost Gothic golden age. This may point to possible answers to some of the questions raised by the art historical connections revealed at Sutton Hoo.


Provisional Programme

09.50 – 10.15:         Coffee on arrival

10.15 – 11.15:         Sutton Hoo and the Goths

11.15 – 11.45:         Coffee break

11.45 – 12.45:         The Coming of the Goths

12.45 – 14.00:         Lunch break

14.00 – 15.00:         The OstroGoths

15.00 – 15.20:        Tea break

15.20 – 16.20:         The Lost Legends of the Goths

c.16.20:                   Thanks and Close


Some Suggestions for Optional Background Reading

Alexander, M., The First Poems in English (Penguin Classics 2008)
Bruce-Mitford, R., Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Archaeology (Gollancz 1974)
Carver, M.O.H. (ed.), The Age of Sutton Hoo: The Seventh Century in North-Western Europe (Woodbridge 1992)
Graves, R., Count Belisarius (Penguin 1954)
Halsall, G., Barbarian Migrations and the Roman West, 376-568 (Cambridge 2007)
Haymes, E.R., & S.T.Samples, Heroic Legends of the North: An Introduction to the Nibelung and Dietrich Cycles (Garland 1996)
Heather, P., The Goths (Oxford 1998)
Heather, P., The Fall of the Roman Empire: a New History of Rome and the Barbarians (Oxford 2006)
Hodgkin, T., The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire ( Vol. I), The Visigothic Invasion, intro. by P. Heather (Folio Society 2000)
Hodgkin, T., The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire ( Vol. 3), The Ostrogoths, intro. by P. Heather (Folio Society 2001)
Hodgkin, T., The Barbarian Invasions of the Roman Empire ( Vol. 4), The Imperial Restoration, intro. by P. Heather (Folio Society 2001)
James, E., Europe’s Barbarians AD200-600 (Pearson Longman 2009)
Lee, S.D., & E.Solopova, The Keys of Middle-earth: Discovering Medieval Literature through the Fiction of J. R. R. Tolkien (Palgrave Macmillan, 2005)
Turville-Petre, G., The Heroic Age of Scandinavia (London 1951, 1976)
Webster, L., & J.Backhouse, The Making of England: Anglo-Saxon Art and Culture AD 600-900 (British Museum 1991)
Wilson, R., The Lost Literature of Medieval England (Methuen 1952, 1970)

About Dr Sam Newton

samSam Newton was awarded his Ph.D in 1991 and is the author of The Origins of Beowulf and the pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia (1993) and The Reckoning of King Rædwald (2003). He has lectured widely around the country as an independent scholar and has contributed to many radio and television programmes, especially Time Team.. He is also a Director of Wuffing Education, NADFAS lecturer, and tutor for Cambridge University’s Institute of Continuing Education.