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Sun Dancing: A Medieval Vision

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Table of Contents

Author's Note i PART ONE The Tradition ONE AD 588 3 TWO AD 670 17 THREE AD 780 30 FOUR AD 824 47 FIVE AD 950 60 SIX AD 1044 71 SEVEN AD 1222 88 PART TWO The Evidence Fionan 99 Peregrinatio 102 Pagans and Christians 106 St Patrick 110 Brendan the Navigator 116 Irish Monasticism 122 Book Illustration 125 The Scoti 132 Antony and Cassian 134 The Desert Fathers 137 St Antony in Art 144 The Irish Kings and Tara 149 Three Martyrdoms 153 The Curach 157 Fasting 160 Monastic Dress 165 The Gallican Creed 166 Skellig Michael 168 Nature Worship 171 The World View 173 The Buildings 174 Soul-friends 177 The Monastic Horarium 179 Cu Chulainn 182 Two Tonsures 184 The Synod of Whitby 186 Columcille and Iona 188 Mingled Traditions 190 Monastic Feuds 191 Penance 193 Sin 197 Poverty and Sickness 198 Ballinskelligs and the The Vikings 201 Celtic Metalwork 204 Skellig Birdlife 206 The Dancing Sun 207 The Irish Annals 209 Brian Boru 211 Olaf Tryggvason 212 The Culdees 214 Giraldus Cambrensis 216 The Hermitage 218 Origen 220 The Bestiaries 222 Hubris 225 The Withdrawal 227 St Benedict's Rule 231 Arroasians 233 Unanswered Questions 235 MAPS AND DIAGRAMS The Skeilic, 6th-13th centuries 33 South-west Ireland 111 Plan of Monastery 171 Skellig Michael today 236 A Bibliography 238

About the Author

Geoffrey Moorhouse is 'one of the best writers of our time' (The Times), 'a brilliant historian' (Daily Telegraph) and 'a writer whose gifts are beyond category' (Independent on Sunday). He is the award-winning author of eighteen books. In 1982 he was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. His To the Frontier won the Thomas Cook Award for the best travel book of its year in 1984. He lives in a hill village in North Yorkshire.


"Geoffrey Moorhouse has taken his fascination with the Skellig Islands and created from it a unique work... Its distinctive combination of documentary fiction and engrossing scholarship will compel many readers."

* Thomas Keneally, author of Schindler's List and The Great Shame *

"Highly original, gracefully written, and carefully researched ... Moorhouse can go deep, and his scholarship is impressive."

* The Boston Globe *

"Moorhouse writes with eloquence and a quiet humor calculated to charm even the blackest of heathens."

* The Atlantic Monthly *

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