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Milton's History of BritainRepublican Historiography in the English Revolution$
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Nicholas von Maltzahn

Print publication date: 1991

Print ISBN-13: 9780198128977

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198128977.001.0001

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Culture and Conquest: Milton and the Saxons

Culture and Conquest: Milton and the Saxons

(p.166) 7 Culture and Conquest: Milton and the Saxons
Milton's History of Britain

Nicholas von Maltzahn

Oxford University Press

The final three books of the History of Britain cover the period from the Saxon invasions to the Norman Conquest. They have often disappointed students of Milton. Milton's position on the Saxons needs situating in the longer history of Saxon studies. His failure to achieve more stems in part from his characteristic response to the study of Saxon history as it had developed in the preceding century. This is the first subject tackled in this chapter, after a preliminary note on the date of the later books of the History. Milton's greater difficulties in addressing the complexities of constitutional reform in the 1650s are also explained. He is sceptic about the Saxons' religious and civil discipline. It is stated that the Milton of the History and poetry finds little to cheer in Saxon history and culture.

Keywords:   History of Britain, John Milton, culture, Norman Conquest, Saxon invasions

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