Prior to Julius Caesar and the Roman Empire invading in 55 B.C., Britain was inhabited by Celtic tribes…
The Celts built walled farms and hut villages. They used bronze and iron tools and grew crops.
Separate Celtic tribes, each with its own king, battled with each other. They built wood and stone fortresses and rode in two-wheeled chariots.
Celtic priests called druids conducted sacrificial rites. The Celts were Pagans and their religion was known as “animism,” a Latin word for “spirit.” Celts saw spirits everywhere.
Important Cultural and Historical Results of the Roman Occupation - military- infrastructure- language/writing- religion
- Pushed Celts into Wales and Ireland - Prevented Vikings from raiding for several hundred years Military
Infrastructure - Government (fell apart when they left) - Walls, villas, public baths (some remains still exist)
- Latin was official language - Practice of recording history led to earliest English “literature” being documentary Language and Writing
- Christianity begins to take hold, especially after St. Augustine and other missionaries came from Rome in 597 RELIGION
In 410, while Rome was falling to an army of German barbarians, Honorius, the emperor, ordered the Romans to come back home.
From 410 – 450,Angles and Saxons invaded from the Baltic shores of Germany, and the Jutes invaded from the Jutland peninsula in Denmark.
The invaders were vigorous warriors and skilled seamen who often served as mercenary soldiers for the Roman Empire.
The Celtic inhabitants fled into the western highlands of Wales. King Arthur is rumored to be one of these men.
England became a tribal society, ruled by warrior kings just as it was before the Romans conquered it. Neighboring kings and warriors within their own tribes constantly threatened tribal kings.
To protect himself and his lands, a king gathered around him a retinue of fighting men called thanes.
Tribal kings would build a mead-hall, where the warriors would feast, sleep, and…
…be entertained by singing poets called scops. The scop would recount both past history and present events.
Fame and honor was highly important, and the scop preserved a record of the warriors’ achievements for later generations.
In 597, St. Augustine was sent from Rome to spread Christianity across England. During the next 40 years, most of the Anglo-Saxon kings and their people converted.
From the 8th century to 1066 (when William the Conqueror invaded England) the land was divided between Scandinavian groups in the north and east…