introduction to the anglo saxons 449 1066 a d l.
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Introduction to the Anglo Saxons (449-1066 A.D.). There were 7 groups of peoples who invaded and settled in Great Britain throughout its history:. Iberians (Spain) Celts (indigenous people from British Isles) Romans (Italy)) Angles (Germany) Saxons ( northern Germany & the Netherlands)

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Introduction to the Anglo Saxons (449-1066 A.D.)

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there were 7 groups of peoples who invaded and settled in great britain throughout its history
There were 7 groups of peoples who invaded and settled in Great Britain throughout its history:
  • Iberians (Spain)
  • Celts (indigenous people from British Isles)
  • Romans (Italy))
  • Angles (Germany)
  • Saxons ( northern Germany & the Netherlands)
  • Vikings (Norway, Sweden, and Denmark)
  • Normans (northern France)
the spirit of the celts
The Spirit of the Celts
  • When Greek travelers visited modern Great Britain in the 4 B.C., the group of warriors they found there were called…
    • Celts
    • Brythons - Britons
the spirit of the celts4
The Spirit of the Celts
  • The Celts followed a religion known as

Animism or “spirit”

- They saw spirits in all natural things

--ponds, trees,

fire, & thunder

  • These spirits controlled all aspects of existence & had to be constantly


the spirit of the celts5
The Spirit of the Celts
  • Celtic priests were called Druids
    • Intermediaries between the gods & people
    • Druids memorized the history of their people & the secrets of their faith
  • Ritualistic dances and human sacrifices were also used.
the spirit of the celts6
The Spirit of the Celts
  • Some think a strange, stone-like structure on the Salisbury Plain known as Stonehenge was used by the Druids for religious rites.
  • Some say it is an ancient clock.
the celtic heroes and heroines
The Celtic Heroes and Heroines
  • Sir Thomas Malory was greatly influenced by the legends of Celtic heroes
    • Example: Le Morte D’arthur – based on a Celtic warrior named Arthur
  • Celtic legends are full of strong women
    • Example: Queen Maeve of Connacht


--Legends include fantastic animals, incredible adventures, and magic.

  • Fierce female tribal warrior who rose up against the invading Romans but was ultimately defeated.
    • Boudicawas a striking looking woman. - "She was very tall, the glance of her eye most fierce; her voice harsh. A great mass of the reddest hair fell down to her hips. Her appearance was terrifying." - Definitely a lady to be noticed!
    • The Roman governor killed her husband and publicly flogged and her in addition to her daughters being raped by Roman slaves!
    • Other Iceni chiefs suffered in a like manner and their families were treated like slaves.
    • Not surprisingly these outrages provoked the Iceni, Trinobantes and other tribes to rebel against the Romans- Boadicea led that rebellion
celtic warriors
Celtic Warriors
  • Used a blue dye known as woad to give them such a terrifying appearance in battle.
  • They were very tall and athletically built
  • Fought naked
  • Carried long spears
  • Used a fierce battle cry to intimidate their opponents
  • Fought to show how brave they were, not to gain land or riches
the romans the great administrators
The Romans: The Great Administrators
  • Julius Caesar led the invasion of Briton in 55 B.C.
  • Introduced two architectural additions to Briton
    • Roads
  • Defensive wall – Hadrian’s Wall
    • Approximately 70 mile long wall was built by the Roman Emperor Hadrian to keep the 'barbarian' Picts from Scotland out of Roman Britain.
the romans the great administrators11
The Romans: The Great Administrators
  • Christianity became a unifying force in Britain which caused the “old ways” of the Celts to vanish
  • Romans evacuated Britain in 409 A.D., without leaving a central government there
    • Britain became a country of separate clans or tribes
    • This made Britain so weak after the Roman invasion that it was susceptible to pagan invasions.
the anglo saxons sweep ashore
The Anglo-Saxons Sweep Ashore
  • In the middle of the 5th century Britain was attacked by
  • Angles (Germany)
  • Saxons (northern Germany & Netherlands)
  • Jutes (Denmark)

-Anglo-Saxon became the dominant

language after these invasions

  • The new name of Britain after these invasions
    • Engla land or England
the anglo saxons sweep ashore13
The Anglo-Saxons Sweep Ashore
  • The Celts retreated to Wales as a result of the invasions from the north
  • Arthur – a Welsh chieftain – developed in legend as Britain’s “once and future king”
    • Name of novel about Arthur’s life by T.H. White
unifying forces alfred the great and christianity
Unifying Forces: Alfred the Great and Christianity
  • King Alfred of Wessex was the Anglo-Saxon king who led his people to victory against the invading Danes & established England as one nation.
unifying forces alfred the great and christianity15
Unifying Forces: Alfred the Great and Christianity

They used established pagan holidays to partner with Christian holidays to make the conversion easier.

  • The Irish and continental missionaries were responsible for converting the Anglo-Saxon people to Christianity.
unifying forces alfred the great and christianity16
Unifying Forces: Alfred the Great and Christianity
  • Three things Christianity provided for the Anglo-Saxon people:
    • A common faith
    • A common system of morality/ right conduct
    • A connection to England and Europe
unifying forces alfred the great and christianity17
Unifying Forces: Alfred the Great and Christianity
  • William, Duke of Normandy, defeated the Danes in Britain in 1066 – Battle of Hastings
    • Also known as William the Conqueror
what does anglo saxon mean
What Does Anglo-Saxon Mean?
  • Anglo Saxon society developed from kinship groups led by a strong chief
  • People farmed, maintained local government, and created fine crafts especially metalwork.
  • Christianity eventually replaced old warrior religion, linking England & continental Europe.
  • Monasteries were centers fro learning & preserved works from the older, oral tradition.
  • English – not just the Church’s Latin- gained respect a as a written language.
anglo saxon life as described by the findings at sutton hoo
Anglo-Saxon Life as Described by the findings at Sutton Hoo
  • Warfare was a dominant influence on daily life
  • Law and order was the responsibility of the leader of a group- family, clan, tribe, or kingdom.
  • Fame and survival only came from loyalty to the leader (comitatus)
  • Loyalty grew out of a need to protect the group from the enemy
role of women in anglo saxon culture
Role of Women in Anglo-Saxon Culture
  • They had rights
    • Could inherit & own property.
    • Christian women could join religious communities (convents) & even became powerful abbesses.
anglo saxon religion gods for warriors
Anglo-Saxon Religion: Gods for Warriors
  • Warrior god
  • Dark
  • Fatalistic
  • Believed the greatest honor was to die in battle and go to Valhalla – warrior heaven
  • Important virtues- bravery, loyalty, generosity, & friendship
anglo saxon religion gods for warriors22
Anglo-Saxon Religion:Gods for Warriors
  • Odin (pronounced Woden) was the most important Norse god
  • He represented death, poetry, and magic
  • Thor or Thunor was the god of thunder
    • His symbols- hammer and swastika
anglo saxon religion gods for warriors23
Anglo-Saxon Religion:Gods for Warriors
  • Dragon (firedrake)– Significant figure in Anglo-Saxon mythology personifies “death the devourer”
    • Guards the greave mound of warriors’ ashes and treasure
the bards singing of gods and heroes
The Bards: Singing of Gods and Heroes
  • Scops or bards told stories of Anglo-Saxon history and heroes through

oral tradition – memorizing stories &

passing them along by word of mouth

  • Scops were very important in Anglo-Saxon culture
  • The only thing that could help an Anglo-Saxon’s memory live on after death was to have his story retold in poetry.
a light from ireland
A Light from Ireland
  • Patricus (Patrick) was the man responsible for converting all of Celtic Ireland to Christianity in 432 A.D.
    • Taught pagans the concept of the Trinity using a shamrock (3-leaf clover)
      • Three petals or leaves but one plant
        • God, the Father
        • God, the Son
        • God, the Holy Spirit
  • Known to us as Saint Patrick
a light from ireland26
A Light from Ireland
  • Golden Age in Ireland-
    • Irish monks founded monasteries that became sanctuaries for learning for refugees
    • Monasteries served as centers for learning during the time period
the christian monasteries the ink froze
The Christian Monasteries:The Ink Froze
  • Scriptorium: A writing room used to copy manuscripts by hand
  • Monks wrote in Latin, the language of the Catholic Church
    • as a result, it became the language of serious study in England
the rise of the english language
The Rise of the English Language
  • King Alfred had a c chronical written of England’s history from its earliest days until 1154 A.D.
    • Anglo Saxon Chronicle
    • As a result, English began to gain respect as a language of culture
    • Only then did the Old English stories & poetry preserved by the monks come to be recognized as great works of literature.