2500 bc to 1066 ad l.
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British History & Literature. 2500 BC to 1066 AD. BC. 2500 BC – First Monoliths (megaliths) are constructed for an unknown purpose. 2000 – Invaders from the Iberian (Portugal and Spain) Peninsula come to the main island of Britain.

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  • 2500 BC – First Monoliths (megaliths) are constructed for an unknown purpose.
  • 2000 – Invaders from the Iberian (Portugal and Spain) Peninsula come to the main island of Britain
600 BC – Celts begin infiltrating Britain and eventually become the dominant people.
  • 55 BC – First invasion of the Romans by Julius Caesar
anno domini
Anno Domini
  • 43 – Successful full scale invasion of Britain by the Roman Empire
  • 50 – Celt tribes are prevelant despite Roman invasion
122 -Construction of Hadrian's Wall to keep out the Picts and Scots

184 - Lucius Artorius Castus- commander of a detachment of Sarmatian conscripts stationed in Britain, some believe that this Roman military man is the original, or basis, for the Arthurian legend

410 – Rome grants Britain its “independence” – many years of small battles ensue.
  • 430 – St. Patrick begins converting Celtic Ireland to Christianity.
celtic christianity
  • Romans spread, Celtic areas continued.
  • St Patrick (389-461)
  • Celtic monks walking from village to village
  • Celtic Christianity (anti-hierarchical, rural monasteries)
the world begins to change
The World Begins to Change
  • 450 AD – Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians, and others begin to take over Britain by force.
  • 560 – Aethelbert (Saxon) began his reign as the first Bretwalda
  • 597 – St. Augustine (Not the guy that wrote Confessions) sent by Rome to convert England to Christianity.
    • The mass conversions were achieved after a ruling tribal King converted.
    • Established the first archbishopric at Canterbury.
wait what
Wait! What?!

You mean the English haven’t always just been there?

  • Who were the Angles?
  • Who were the Saxons?
  • Who were the Jutes?
  • Who were the Celts?
  • Who were the Vikings?
  • Who were the Irish?
  • Who were the Danes?
  • Who were the Picts?
  • Who were the Scots?
historical questions
Historical Questions

About the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, Frisians, Celts, Irish, Vikings, Geats, Picts, Scots, and other peoples that got mixed together in Britain.

  • Where did they come from?
  • Where did they go?
  • When did they start moving?
  • What do we know about their culture?
  • Thanes – pledged warriors that would die for their King.
  • Scop (pr: Shope – rhymes with hope) – a singing poet (created lyrics extemporaneously based on tales of battles and heroism)
  • Bretwalda – a ruling king (over other rulers)
  • Kenning – a metaphoric synonym usually hyphenated (Sea = Whale-Road; King = ring giver.)
  • Caesura – a pause in the metrical foot that represents a pause in the sense of the word: marked by two vertical lines.
  • Forest sanctuaries
  • Druids:education, calendar, four festivals, human sacrifices before battles
  • 100BC-50BC rapid development (minted coinage)
  • 2000 BC – Were spread throughout all of Europe including Britain (Irish and Scotish)
  • 600 BC - A second wave of Celts came and settled in Britain. (Welsh, Cornish)
  • 400 BC - Came upon the Roman people in Northern Italy and because of a disgrace, sacked Rome and left.
  • Tribal society (hill forts)
  • From: Modern Denmark
  • they ended up settling in Kent, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.
  • the Jutes in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight vanished, leaving only the slightest of traces.
  • In Beowulf the Jutes appear as the Eotenas in the Finn passage, making them a people distinct from the Geatas
  • after the invasion of Britain the Angles split up and founded the kingdoms of the Nord Angelnen (Northumbria), Ost Angelnen (East Anglia), and the Mittlere Angelnen (Mercia).
  • The Angles are the subject of a legend about Pope Gregory I. As an abbreviated version of the story goes, Gregory happened to see a group of Angle children from Deira for sale as slaves in the Roman market. Struck by the beauty of their fair-skinned complexions and bright blue eyes, Gregory inquired about their background. When told they were Angles, he replied with a Latin pun that translates well into English: "Not Angles, but angels".
  • The Saxons were considered by Charlemagne and other historians to be especially war-like and ferocious.
  • The Saxons gave their names to the kingdoms of Essex, Sussex and Wessex (the lands respectively of the East Saxons, South Saxons and West Saxons), which with the shorter-lived Middlesex eventually became part of the kingdom of England.
  • Many legends exist about the Picts because little can be proven. What is known is that they inhabited Scotland for many hundreds of years and they would use a blue dye to create tattoos to ornament their bodies.
  • They frequently raided neighboring villages, thus the need for Hadrian’s wall.
  • They left many stone carvings, but little else.
  • The Irish are, just as most of England is, a mixture of different peoples.
  • The are probably the combination of Celts, Picts, Scots, Vikings, Angles, and Saxons.
  • A distinctly Irish culture did not emerge until around 1000 AD
  • Inhabited modern Ireland.
  • Fought against the Picts for hundreds of years.
  • Fought with the Picts against the Romans
  • Continued fighting with the Picts after the Romans left.
  • Lost to the Picts, but remained in Ireland until after the Vikings defeated the Picts. The Scots then intermingled with the Picts and slowly became the modern Scottish.
  • AKA

Spear-Danes, Shield-Danes, West-Danes, East-Danes

  • Highlighted in Beowulf and Hamlet
back to the timeline
Back to the Timeline…
  • 450 – Invasion
  • 560 – Aethelbert (Saxon) began his reign as the first Bretwalda
  • 597 – St. Augustine
627 sutton hoo
627 - Sutton Hoo
  • In 1939 archaeologists unearthed an astonishing Anglo-Saxon ship burial in Woodbridge, Suffolk;
  • The find was so important because of everything that was inside the ship….
  • Lots of very expensive stuff in the burial leads to support the claim that….
…. King Raedwald was the person buried in the ship.
  • He fits the timeframe on the coins found;
  • It was tradition for Kings to have a ship burial.
  • Was the most powerful Saxon ruler at that time (a bretwalda).
  • Acknowledged Christianity – all of his successors were Christian.
roman christianity
Roman Christianity
  • Roman Christianity (hierarchical, urban bishoprics)
  • St. Augustine 597 founder of Church at Canterbury
  • Synod of Whitby 663 (dating of Easter)
  • Venerable Bede: Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, 730
750 – Beowulf written
  • 750 – Vikings begin to pillage coastal towns by way of Norway and Denmark
  • 835 – Vikings start making more regular raids and conquests with larger armies.
867 – 877 Vikings invade and conquer most of Eastern Britain
  • 878 – Alfred the Great defeats the encroaching Vikings at Edington; He forces them to retreat to the Danelaw.
alfred the great
Alfred the Great
  • Alfred the Great (849-899) Wessex royal line
  • Except the Danelaw he united kingdom (886)
  • Only English ruler to have the title “the great”
  • Anglo-Saxon cohesion (English language)
  • He translated Bede’s History.
  • Began keeping records in The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
926 – Saxons conquer the Danelaw
  • 975 – The Book of Exeter - also called the “Red Book of Exeter”
edward the confessor
Edward the Confessor
  • 1042 – King Edward the Confessor ascends to the throne as a descendent of Alfred the Great.
  • Deeply Religious (Christian)
  • Had close ties with the ruler of Normandy (France)… his cousin.
  • After Edward died in 1066…
the normans invaded
the Normans Invaded!!!
  • William the Conqueror
  • Captured the beach unopposed.
    • The Anglo-Saxons were in the north fighting the King of Norway

The Battle of Hastings

early english literature
Early “English” Literature
  • Ecclesiastical History of the English People - 731
  • Beowulf – 750
  • The Dream of the Rood 750 – 900?
  • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle - 891
  • Book of Exeter - 975
  • An Epic Poem written around 750
  • Events occur around the time of the death of Hygelac (521)
  • Author wrote down what had been passed down through the generations.
  • The story was lost for nearly a millennia – found on a shelf in a private library.
  • $11.25 at Borders or B&N – Seamus Heaney’s translation.
old english beowulf
Old-English, Beowulf
  • Anglo-Saxon dialects replaced Celtic (Latin letters)
  • vernacular poetry: bards,(harp)
  • A lot of translation problems…