Through His Enemy’s Eyes: St. Oswald in the Historia Brittonum
The Heroic Age, Issue 9 (Oct 2006)
This essay explores the content, context, and attitude toward St. Oswald, King of Northumbria in the ninth century Historia Brittonum from Merfyn’s Gwynedd, with particular attention to its Anglophilic viewpoint.
The Britons were an important factor in the life of the historical King Oswald. It was Oswald’s defeat and slaying of the British king Cadwallon—the most militarily successful early British king in the surviving historical record—at the battle of Denisesburna during the summer of 634 that instantly made Oswald the most powerful English king in Britain. Within the previous two years, Cadwallon had slain three northern English kings: Edwin the powerful overlord, and his successors Eanfrith and Osric in Bernicia and Deira respectively.