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History - Ancient History in depth: The Anglo-Saxons

History - Ancient History in depth: The Anglo-Saxons
The term Anglo-Saxon is a relatively modern one. It refers to settlers from the German regions of Angeln and Saxony, who made their way over to Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire around AD 410. The Roman armies withdrew from Britain early in the fifth century because they were needed back home to defend the crumbling centre of the Empire. Britain was considered a far-flung outpost of little value. At this time, the Jutes and the Frisians from Denmark were also settling in the British Isles, but the Anglo-Saxon settlers were effectively their own masters in a new land and they did little to keep the legacy of the Romans alive. They replaced the Roman stone buildings with their own wooden ones, and spoke their own language, which gave rise to the English spoken today. The Anglo-Saxons also brought their own religious beliefs, but the arrival of Saint Augustine in 597 converted most of the country to Christianity.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/ancient/anglo_saxons/saxons.shtml

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Anglo-Saxons: a brief history Publication date: 13th January 2011 King Arthur as one of the Nine Worthies, detail from the 'Christian Heroes Tapestry' This period is traditionally known as the Dark Ages, mainly because written sources for the early years of Saxon invasion are scarce. It is a time of war, of the breaking up of Roman Britannia into several separate kingdoms, of religious conversion and, after the 790s, of continual battles against a new set of invaders: the Vikings. Climate change had an influence on the movement of these new invaders to Britain: in the centuries after 400 AD Europe's average temperature was 1°C warmer than we have today, and in Britain grapes could be grown as far north as Tyneside. Warmer summers meant better crops and a rise in population in the countries of northern Europe.

The Anglo-Saxon kings In the Dark Ages during the fifth and sixth centuries, communities of peoples in Britain inhabited homelands with ill-defined borders. Such communities were organised and led by chieftains or kings. Following the final withdrawal of the Roman legions from the provinces of Britannia in around 408 AD these small kingdoms were left to preserve their own order and to deal with invaders and waves of migrant peoples such as the Picts from beyond Hadrian's Wall, the Scots from Ireland and Germanic tribes from the continent. King Arthur, a larger-than-life figure, has often been cited as a leader of one or more of these kingdoms during this period, although his name now tends to be used as a symbol of British resistance against invasion. The invading communities overwhelmed or adapted existing kingdoms and created new ones - for example, the Angles in Mercia and Northumbria. Ethelberht's law code was the first to be written in any Germanic language and included 90 laws.

Anglo-Saxon Anglo-Saxon, term used historically to describe any member of the Germanic peoples who, from the 5th century ce to the time of the Norman Conquest (1066), inhabited and ruled territories that are today part of England and Wales. According to St. Bede the Venerable, the Anglo-Saxons were the descendants of three different Germanic peoples—the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. By Bede’s account, those peoples originally migrated from northern Germany to the island of Britain in the 5th century at the invitation of Vortigern, a ruler of Britons, to help defend his kingdom against marauding invasions by the Picts and Scotti, who occupied what is now Scotland.

Life in Anglo-Saxon England 1. Introduction The Anglo-Saxon period lasted for some six centuries, from the arrival of Germanic invaders from the continent during the early fifth century AD to the Norman Conquest of 1066. This was a time of immense political and social upheaval which saw major changes in almost all aspects of everyday life. Myths of British ancestry Read Stephen Oppenheimer’s follow-up to this article here, in the June 2007 edition of Prospect, as he answers some of the many comments and queries readers have sent in response to his analysis. You can also find out more about his work here, at the Bradshaw Foundation website. The fact that the British and the Irish both live on islands gives them a misleading sense of security about their unique historical identities.

Anglo-Saxon Culture The Anglo-Saxons were Germanic barbarians who invaded Britain and took over large parts of the island in the centuries following the withdrawal of the Roman Empire. They were initially less gentrified than other post-Roman barbarian groups such as the Franks or Ostrogoths because they had less contact with Mediterranean civilization. The Anglo-Saxons were originally pagan in religion. The main group, from northwestern Germany and Denmark, was divided into Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. German tribal affiliations were loose and the original invaders included people from other Germanic groups as well. Although some of the early Anglo-Saxon invaders had Celtic-influenced names, such as Cedric, the founder of the house of Wessex, the Anglo-Saxons had a pronounced awareness of them-selves as different from the peoples already inhabiting Britain.

Anglo-Saxon Culture Michael Delahoyde Washington State University History: When Rome was weakening early in the fifth century c.e., troops in the outlying regions, including the British Isles, were withdrawn. Walls, roads, and baths remain even now. They also left the native Celts and Celtic-speaking Britons somewhat christianized, and Picts and Scots in the north, but "political" power fell to unstable tribal units.

10 Notable Anglo-Saxon Works Besides Beowulf The heroic tale of Beowulf is the most noteworthy work of the Anglo-Saxon era and is often regarded as a major Germanic work but it is good to know about other notable works of the respective era that are important in their own ways. Anglo-Saxon era is marking of the official beginning of English literature; the literature of the respective era is also termed as the Germanic narrative and is reflective of the ancient Anglo-Saxon community. The literature of Germanic period is largely based on religious stories, lives and works of religious figures and tales composed by drawing inspiration from Biblical accounts. The main reason of it is that Bible was the only source of knowledge available, which acts as a muse for the literary figures of the time. Alongside Biblical references, oral tradition was also a significant influence on the Anglo-Saxon writers. Below are 10 of the remarkable Anglo-Saxon works besides Beowulf, which are quite interesting to know, if not equally important.

Beowulf: Context Though it is often viewed both as the archetypal Anglo-Saxon literary work and as a cornerstone of modern literature, Beowulf has a peculiar history that complicates both its historical and its canonical position in English literature. By the time the story of Beowulf was composed by an unknown Anglo-Saxon poet around 700 a.d., much of its material had been in circulation in oral narrative for many years. The Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian peoples had invaded the island of Britain and settled there several hundred years earlier, bringing with them several closely related Germanic languages that would evolve into Old English. Elements of the Beowulf story—including its setting and characters—date back to the period before the migration. The action of the poem takes place around 500 a.d.

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