Ever the optimist I'm looking forward to the BBC's new series on the Normans, which starts tonight. Usually my optimism is misplaced, the most recent example being David Dimbleby's anglocentric series Seven Ages of Britain, which informed us that until a few Irish monks turned up in Scotland in the mid 500s, Britain was pagan ...... heaven knows where he thought St Patrick came from. I used to think that such nonsense was born of ignorance rather than deliberate falsification, now I'm not so sure. As Ieuan Brydydd Hir said of an earlier generation of English historians:
The false historians of a polished age
Show that the Saxon has not lost his rage,
Though tamed by arts his rancour still remains:
Beware of Saxons still, ye Cambrian swains.