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Diarmaid MacCulloch investigates where the idea of an English nation originally came from. He starts with Bede, who wrote about the church, the Bible and the history of his people in his book The Ecclesiastical history of the Gens Anglorum (English People). He then explains how it was a succession of Anglo-Saxon kings who took Bede's ideas and used them to bring together one nation, the English.
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First broadcast:
4 May 2012

Classroom Ideas

Before showing the clip, ask students to suggest how they would define the idea of the English as an identity. Record the responses, noting significant similarities and differences. Show students the clip and ask them to: a) note the impact of Bede and Christianity on shaping the idea of the English; b) compare the ideas presented in the clip to their own ideas, offering reasons for their ideas and conclusions.

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