Here begins the history of Simeon, of holy and pleasant memory, Monk and Precentor of the Church of St.Cuthbert, of Durham, concerning the kings of the Angles and Danes, and their numerous wars, pillages and burnings

In truth less a history and more a compilation of existing historical works sourced as follows;

  • from the work of Bede for the period up until 731
  • for the period from the death of Bede down to the beginning of the ninth century, from some lost Northumbrian annals
  • for the period from the middle of the ninth century down to 1121 a shamelessly plagarising of the chronicle of Florence of Worcester
  • with only the entries for the final few years generally considered possibly to be the independent work of Simeon himself

During the later Middle Ages the work enjoyed a high reputation with Simeon himself enjoying a reputation second only to that of Bede; although these days it is little known and largely ignored. Partly due to nature of the work as a complilation, and because Simeon's exact role in the creation of the work is uncertain. The Catholic Encyclopedia definitively states that he was the author, but others are not so sure and believe he was merely edited the work of others.

But nothwithstanding all this it remains a valuable source of information for the eighth and ninth centuries as it is only through Simeon's work that we know anything of the Northumbrian annals on which this period of his history was based.


NOTES

As J. Stevenson, in his preface to the most readily available (1858) translation of the Historia , says:

It might be doubted, were we disposed to be sceptical, how far ..(it is)... the production of the author whose name the whole now bears.


SOURCES

The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 Volumes (1907–21).

The Catholic Encyclopedia at http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/

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