I. The Celts • The Celts occupied England from about 1500BC-55BC • The Celts originated thousands of years ago and at one time held control over Middle and Western Europe for centuries even into parts of Turkey.Today the Celtic descendants can be found mostly in Ireland,Scotland,Nova Scotia,the United States and other parts of the world.
Celts • The Celts were characterized as a barbaric warlike people who sought the heads of enemies as prizes of war. This is characterization is probably overly simplified.
Followed Druid religion which glorified: • Pursuits of war • Feasting • Horsemanship • Gods of nature • Many historians believed that the ancient Druids performed human sacrifices. All of these references can be traced back to the writings of one individual, Julius Caesar. He may well have been prejudiced against the Celts because of their continual warfare with the Romans.
Pagan/Druid religion worshipped mostly the gods of nature • Pagans were thought by some to be responsible for the building of Stonehenge as a way of observing the summer solstice.
Stonehenge • Many people believe that the Druids constructed Stonehenge, The current formation was completed circa 1500 BCE. This was almost before the start of Celtic civilization. There is no historical proof that they were or were not involved. Even if they did not actually construct these monuments, they may well have performed rituals there, and understood its astronomical meanings and uses.
Julius Caesar • In 55 BC Julius Caesar invades Britain for its tin trade. • Although some have argued that Caesar just wanted to conquer an extra piece of land • Within 40 years, Rome controlled most of Britain (the area that is now England). • The Romans never conquered Scotland (the highlands) or Whales (moorlands) due to the uselessness of the land. • These areas (Scotland and Whales) were the only safe areas for the Celts to retreat.
Roman influence • The English were never fully Romanized • Rome did, however, bring technology to the English and did set up a centralized capital Londonium.
Roman Influence • The heaviest influence from the Roman occupation was the church • Christianity replaces Celtic Paganism
Rome Weakens • Near the end of the 4th century, The Roman Empire is beginning to weaken, due to its large size and diverse population. • Briton is no longer important • Roman soldiers begin to pull out • Few remaining become Romanized Britons and organize local defenses.
Rome Leaves • In AD 410, Emperor Honorius sends an order for Roman soldiers to leave Briton. • According to Honorius, Briton was “unimportant”, and soldiers were needed elsewhere in The Roman Empire. • Honorius, declares that British cities must defend themselves.
Celtics • After the Romans exit, Celtic tribes observe the weaknesses in British cities and begin to attack.
The Britons need help—AD449 • The Britons ask three Germanic tribes for help • Angles • Saxons • Jutes (From this point on, I’ll refer to them as the Anglo-Saxons)
Jutes Angles Saxons
Anglo-Saxons • They win and force the Celts back into Scotland and Whales • At this point, the Anglo-Saxons decide to stay and occupy the defenseless Briton and rename the country “Angle-land” • The modern name is derived from this new name
A New Language • The Anglo-Saxon language begins mixing with the old Britannic language • A German based language begins to form • Today we call this “Old English”—note: Old English is NOT what they spoke in the time of Shakespeare.
A New Era • Beginning of The Dark Ages • Little technological advance • This is the result of little literature and literacy
St. Augustine • In 597, St. Augustine, a Catholic monk, was sent by Rome to convert the Anglo-Saxons • This is the first major push toward Christianity • Many pagans do convert, but most still hold some pagan beliefs and traditions (like our traditions today)
The Venerable Bede • Bede lived from 673-735 • Was an English monk who was troubled that England had no heroes or national pride • Became England’s first and greatest historian
The Venerable Bede • In order to research, was among the first to devise a calendar based on the birth of Christ • Told of past accomplishments and lives of “great” people in England, instilling pride in the country • Wrote with a Christian bias telling of the stages of Anglo-Saxons becoming Christian. Therefore, most “heroes” were religious heroes.
The Vikings “From the fury of the Northmen, O lord deliver us”- Celtic prayer
Although they were also farmers and traders, the Vikings were most commonly know for being seafaring raiders.
In fact, the Vikings were known as the fiercest, most brutal of all the barbarian groups that invaded Europe.
The Vikings conducted guerilla attacks from their longships. Longships were designed to carry warriors and cargo through shallow waters.
In the year 793 Viking pirate raiders sailed across the North Sea to a Christian monastery at Lindisfarne in north-east England. They stole its treasures, murdered the monks and terrified everyone. This was followed by other violent 'Viking raids' all over Britain.
They marched inland and claimed ½ of England, including London • Viking Axes from London
896—Alfred reclaims London. As a result, he becomes the first King of England • Alfred’s secret – he required all his military leaders to learn to read
954—Vikings (lead by Erik Bloodaxe) are defeated at York. Shortly after, Vikings leave England.
The Normans • 1066—Edward, King of England dies. • The Duke of Normandy (France) lays claim to the throne of england
The French Conquest • French begin their political overthrow by buying/claiming the land in England • By 1087 there are very few Saxon landowners. French own and control most of the land. • French influence, laws, and traditions become common in England
The French Influence • Language—French adds 10,000+ new words to Old English. This begins the movement to Middle English • Many words still in use: sacred, holy, legal, lawful. • Chaucer uses French words like “courage” rather than the Anglo-Saxon term “heartness”
The French Influence • Architecture—Castles and cathedrals become a common site in English landscape