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07/07/2015

How can history inform debate about Britain's relationship with Europe? Tom Holland and guests look to Caruasius, Aethelwold, Henry II and Historians for Britain for inspiration.

How can history inform the debate about Britain's relationship with Europe? Tom Holland and guests look to Caruasius, Aethelwold, Henry II and Historians for Britain for valuable pointers.

Tom is joined in the studio by Professor David Abulafia from the University of Cambridge and Professor Justin Champion from Royal Holloway University of London.

David Abulafia leads a new pressure group of historians, called Historians for Britain. Members argue that Britain's history gives it a separate character to the rest of Europe and that this should be taken into consideration if we re-negotiate our relationship with the EU. Justin Champion, on the other hand, is part of a loose coalition of historians called Historians for History who argue that Britain's history is a European one. But, how can history help inform the forthcoming referendum?

In the 3rd Century a leading military man, Carausius, led a break with Europe - the Roman Empire in this case - when he made himself Emperor of Britain. Was this a UKIP-styled revolt or just a simpler way of gaining power while still following Roman ideals? Tom talks to Roman historian Guy de la Bedoyere.

And, in Suffolk, Helen Castor visits the magnificent castle at Orford to hear from the most recent biographer of Henry II, Richard Barber, about how Europe was at the heart of his domestic problems.

Email: making.history@bbc.co.uk

Produced by Nick Patrick
A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

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28 minutes

Last on

Tue 7 Jul 2015 15:00

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  • Tue 7 Jul 2015 15:00

Podcast