My eldest and I are reading through a book called "Our Island Story". It is an OLD narrative history book for children. My copy has Queen Victoria on the throne and ends with the Boer War, eldest's copy has George VI reigning and ends after the Great War. The author, HE Marshall, frequently references Jesus and asks what greater thing the Romans did than bring news of him to Britain. I love this book! I'm SURE there is bias in the history, but it's a great story, and each chapter is the right sort of length for eldest's concentration span.
So, to Ethelred the Unready. It is fair to say that I found history very dull at school (perhaps it was, or perhaps nobody ever told me why it was so fascinating, and I was quite a blinkered teenager). However, I now discover that history was anything but boring. For example, today we were reading about Ethelred's foolishness at repeatedly paying the Vikings to leave England. After a time they would come back and demand more money to leave again. The bloody end to Ethelred's unreadiness came when he set a date on which the Anglo-saxons should turn on their (settled) Danish neighbours and kill them all. November 13th. And they did.
I have various home ed plans, and one of them is to practice narration. We read something, and the children narrate back to me what they have heard, in their own words, to help them to log it in their minds. At the moment eldest is 5 and I ask her to tell me one thing she wants to say. Her response today was
I can't say anything. It is too horrible.No doubt Ethelred did a despicable thing. As far as I understand it the settled Danes were living quite peaceably alongside their anglosaxon neighbours, and weren't equivalent to the seafaring VIkings.
The discussion over dinner is that humanity hasn't changed. It was as terrible 1000 years ago as it is now. Not everybody is as bad as Ethelred all at once, but genocide has always been present.
At the time of Ethelred there were people in Britain who knew they needed a Saviour. The Romans brought that wonderful news with them 1700 years ago. And the same gospel remains, that humanity is in need of something more than civilisation: we need a Saviour and a new heart. And the Lord God has given us that.