Might this be the evidence of the first intellectual contact?




This is a collection of letters by Cyprian, the bishop of Carthage (who died in 258 AD), which were brought from North Africa in the late 4th Century.

They are linked with Abbot Hadrian in Canterbury, who was described as “a man of African birth.”

They may have been brought by Hadrian for use in a school that he and the Archbishop established in Canterbury.

The letters are among the earliest evidence of an intellectual connection between North Africa and Britain.

They are currently on show at a magnifiscent exhibition at the British Library: ‘Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: art, word, war.’

There are plenty of clues to just how intimately Britain was linked to Africa – more than 1,000 years ago.

This map shows the known world in the eleventh century. Africa is on the right – with the Nile clearly marked, flowing into the Mediterranean sea. Britain is bottom left.