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  • Anglo-Saxon England Before the Norman Conquest

  • The History and Legacy of the Anglo-Saxons During the Early Middle Ages
  • Geschrieben von: Charles River Editors
  • Gesprochen von: Colin Fluxman
  • Spieldauer: 2 Std. und 22 Min.
  • Ungekürztes Hörbuch
  • Kategorien: Geschichte, Europa

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    The famous conqueror from the European continent came ashore with thousands of men, ready to set up a new kingdom in England. The Britons had resisted the amphibious invasion from the moment his forces landed, but he was able to push forward. In a large winter battle, the Britons’ large army attacked the invaders, but was eventually routed, and the conqueror was able to set up a new kingdom.

    Over 1,100 years before William the Conqueror became the king of England after the Battle of Hastings, Julius Caesar came, saw, and conquered part of “Britannia”, setting up a Roman province with a puppet king in 54 BCE. In the new province, the Romans eventually constructed a military outpost overlooking a bridge across the River Thames. The new outpost was named Londinium, and it covered just over two dozen acres.

    Shortly after Emperor Hadrian came to power in the early second century CE, he decided to seal off Scotland from Roman Britain with an ambitious wall stretching from sea to sea. To accomplish this, the wall had to be built from the mouth of the River Tyne - where Newcastle stands today - 80 Roman miles (76 miles or 122 kilometers) west to Bowness-on-Solway. The sheer scale of Hadrian’s Wall still impresses people today, but as the Western Roman Empire collapsed in the late fifth century, Hadrian’s Wall was abandoned and Roman control of the area broke down. 

    Little is known of this period of British history, but soon the Anglo-Saxons - who had been harassing the Saxon Shore as pirates - showed up and began to settle the land, creating a patchwork of little kingdoms and starting a new era of British history. Several early medieval historians, writing well after the events, said the Anglo-Saxons were invited to Britain to defend the region from the northern tribes and ended up taking over.

    The Venerable Bede (AD 672 or AD 673-735) said in his Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (Ecclesiastical History of the English People) that in the year AD 449, “The British consulted what was to be done and where they should seek assistance to prevent or repel the cruel and frequent incursions of the northern nations. They all agreed with their King Vortigern to call over to their aid, from the parts beyond the sea, the Saxon nation. [T]he two first commanders are said to have been Hengist and Horsa.”

    However, they came to control most of England, the Anglo-Saxons became the dominant power in the region for nearly 500 years, and the strength of their cultural influence could be felt even after William the Conqueror won the Battle of Hastings and became the first Norman ruler on the island. In the generations leading up to William’s historic campaign, kingdoms fall, others rose, and the kingdom of England took shape under the guiding hand of kings like Alfred the Great and Æthelstan.

    This period of history was undoubtedly the most famous in Anglo-Saxon England, with countless video games, novels, and shows depicting the Great Heathen Army’s invasion of England in the 860s and King Alfred’s reign in the face of their incursion. At the same time, the Anglo-Saxons forged enough of a national culture that when William did conquer the island, the efforts to consolidate his rule in England were complicated from the start, both due to external enemies and those jockeying for his position while he was still alive. The Normans would manage just barely to cling to power over England, and William remains the last foreign conqueror of the island.

    ©2020 Charles River Editors (P)2020 Charles River Editors

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