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England – The Anglo - Saxon society. The decline of the Romans – the rise of the Anglo-Saxons. By the 5 th c. AD all of the last Roman legions had left the British Isles The Celts were subdued by the new invaders – the Anglo-Saxons

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England the anglo saxon society

England – The Anglo-Saxon society

The decline of the romans the rise of the anglo saxons
The decline of the Romans – the rise of the Anglo-Saxons

  • By the 5th c. AD all of the last Roman legions had left the British Isles

  • The Celts were subdued by the new invaders – the Anglo-Saxons

  • They arrived from the continent in several waves (mixture of people from north Germany, Denmark and northern Holland)

Who were they
Who were they? kingdoms:

  • Little is known about their society and beliefs

  • Most of the historical data date back to the 8th and 9th c., all written down by Christian monks

  • They are described as savage wild warrior tribes

  • They followed the code of bravery and loyalty

Society kingdoms:


High lords



Beliefs kingdoms:

  • Shared beliefs with their Scandinavian cousins – the Norse tribes and the Vikings

  • In contrast to the Vikings` belief system, they believed in female deities rather than male

  • Nerthus – the supreme goddess, the Earth Mother

  • The second face of Nerthus is Freya (Frea, Frija) – the goddess of love, lust, friendship

Sacred animals spirits and monsters
Sacred animals, spirits and monsters kingdoms:

  • The hare

  • The boar

  • Elves

  • Ettins (trolls)

  • Valkyries

Customs and festivals
Customs kingdoms:and festivals

  • The `Wild Hunt` - the travel to Valhalla

  • Wild boar sacrifice – New Year resolution

  • Geola festival – midwinter festival in November, the `blood month`

  • Modranect – the mother`s night, today`s Christmas

Festivals cont priests holy places
Festivals cont., priests, holy places kingdoms:

  • Eostre – in April

  • Halig monap – September, harvest month

  • Holy places: not built (opp. to the Celts), but: ponds, woods, rivers, glades etc.

  • Priests existed, but we know nothing about them. Only certain is the fact that they were forbidden to carry arms, weapons

Establishment of the kingdoms
Establishment of the kingdoms kingdoms:

  • By the end of the 6th c. there were firmly established kingdoms with firm borders

  • The strongest kingdom had the title of the thane

  • By 686 AD Christianity was established in all kingdoms, in a modified semi-pagan manner

Interesting facts

  • Without Roman soldiers to defend them, the Britons were in danger from raids, so some British leaders paid Anglo-Saxons to fight for them against the Picts.

  • Roman sailors wore blue uniforms and Roman navy ships guarding Britain had blue sails. So they would not be mistaken for 'barbarians'.

  • Anglo-Saxons died, their bodies were either cremated or buried in a grave. The objects buried with them tell us about their jobs (hunting, fighting and farming, making clothes).

Favourite passtimes
Favourite Passtimes kingdoms:

  • Feasts, with singing, storytelling, often fights

    Their favourite story was the Beowulf (a heroic prince, kills the fierce man-eating monster Grendel, and Grendel's equally horrid mother)

  • Telling riddles, some of which were written down. Here's one riddle.

    I appear on the ground like a blanket, and melt in the midday sun.

  • Their letters were calledrunes. w/ magical powers

  • Men enjoyed rough pastimes, such as wrestling, weight-lifting (using heavy rocks) and horse-racing, watergames, and games like hockey and cricket.

Silver penny kingdoms:

A grave stone

  • Pots kingdoms:

  • Leather shoes