Online Medieval Sources Bibliography

An Annotated Bibliography of Printed and Online Primary Sources for the Middle Ages

Source Details

Godman, Peter, ed., Alcuin: The Bishops, Kings, and Saints of York (Oxford: Clarendon)

Text name(s): 

Number of pages of primary source text: 67


Dates: 732 - 782

Archival Reference: 

Original Language(s): 

  • Latin


  • Translated into English.
  • Original language included.

Translation Comments: facing page

Geopolitical Region(s): 

  • England

County/Region: Northumbria

Record Types: 

  • Chronicle, Annals
  • Literature - Verse

Subject Headings: 

  • Carolingians
  • Clergy - Priests, Bishops, Canons
  • Education / Universities
  • Historiography
  • Philosophy / Theology
  • Royalty / Monarchs
  • Saints


  • Index
  • Appendix
  • Bibliography
  • Introduction


This long historical poem about illustrious Northumbrians was written by Alcuin of York (c. 735-804), famous scholar, poet, and teacher, and from the 780s, Charlemagne’s chief advisor on ecclesiastical matters. The poem extols the political, ecclesiastical, and intellectual history of York, drawing heavily on Bede’s History of the English People, as well as on Vitae of St. Cuthbert.

This edition also includes a select bibliography of both manuscript and printed editions of Alcuin’s works, as well as a bibliography of secondary works.

Introduction Summary: 

The lengthy (130 pp) introduction provides a summary of current historiography on Alcuin and his works. The editor also provides biographical information on Alcuin, and a brief historical overview of the political and ecclesiastical situation at York, as well as a useful synopsis of the themes contained within the poem. From comparison with Alcuin’s metrical Life of St. Willibrord, the editor dates the poem to 780 or 781. The editor also considers the poem’s relation to the School of York, and possible audiences of the poem. He also provides a discussion of the language, style, meter, and prosody of the poem, as well as textual transmission.

Cataloger: MCB