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					Anglo, Saxon, Jute Invasion

 Invasion given date of 449 AD – actually took place over several decades
 3 German tribes invaded from North:
       Angles, Saxons, & Jutes
              Angles & Saxons – Germany
                   Jutes – Denmark

 Their arrival signified the beginning of the English language
      Their language became the dominant language – (Angles dominant in the early
         history)
         Angle land         Engla Land       England

           We now call this language Old English

 The Celts and their culture who had dispersed throughout the rest of the islands had all but
  disappeared

 Modern scholars use the term Anglo-Saxon to refer to the people and culture of this period
  of the English history (449- 1066)

Early Anglo-Saxon Life
 AS culture changed over time – they went from invading for plunder to wanting to win
   territory - later they became an agriculture people – less violent, more secure, more civilized
 Angles, Saxons, and Jutes were organized into tribal units
    Each tribe was ruled by a king, chosen by a witan, or council or elders

 Each community had 4 distinct classes
  1. earls: hereditary class of ruling warlords who owed their position to the king
  2. freemen: allowed to own land and engage in commerce
              this class included thanes, early barons, who were granted their status as a
              reward for military service
  3. churls: serfs, lower on the social scale; these were bonded servants who worked the
     land in return for military protection
  4. thralls: lowest of all; slaves; usually military prisoners or people being punished


 Warrior bands took over some of the old Roman towns and government procedures, such
  as taxing, armies, building defensive walls
 These kingdoms began fighting – each claiming to be the ruling king, or bretwalda and
  wanted to unite all kingdoms
 Efforts of achieving unity and peace found aid in the developing power and influence of the
  Christian church

 invading groups set up numerous small kingdoms – kingdoms were gradually absorbed one
  another until 7 larger ones remained
   7 kingdom confederation was called Heptarchy
       southeast was Kent – kingdom of Jutes
       Further west Sussex, Essex, and Wessex – kingdoms of Saxons
       North were kingdoms of the Angeles – East Anglia, Mercia, and Northumbria
 Anglo-Saxon culture reached its peak during the rule of the Mercian bretwalds of the 8th
  century

   Culture during 1st decade in England seems to be recorded in Beowulf
   Tribal society, ruled by warrior kings who led their men into battle
   Always threats of battles
   To protect himself, and his lands, a king gathered around him a group of fighting men called
    thanes
     Thanes pledged to defend the king
     King rewarded faithful service with rings, gold, and weapons
     Battles were fierce
     Bloodshed common
     Any offense of a thane was to be avenged – so endless feuds

 Anglo-Saxon life was dominated by close allegiance between leaders and followers
 The king had an assembly of respected earls that he consulted with called witan “wise men”
 Royal living quarters were small clusters of wooden building surrounded by a stockade
  fence
   Main structure was a mead-hall
      Mead is a fermented drink made from water, honey, malt and yeast
      King, thanes, wives, and servants gathered together and here the warriors slept after
          the king returned to a smaller outbuilding
 King and court entertained by singing poet or storyteller called scop
   Scop preserved a record of their achievements for later generations; recited songs and
     tales
   To the Anglo-Saxons, creating poetry was as important as fighting, hunting, farming, or
     loving

Anglo-Saxon Beliefs
 AS brought to Britain their own pagan beliefs.
 In the world of the 6th century, the ever-present dangers of death by accident or warfare had
   led these people to take a rather grim view of life
 Early Anglo-Saxons believed that every human life was in the hands of fate, or wyrd
       o Wyrd was used to represent one’s fate in life; since the early Anglo-Saxons didn’t
           believe strongly in an afterlife, one lived on or gained immortality through personal
           fame attained through heroic action (fate determines all)
   o Later they became an agriculture people – less violent, more secure, more civilized

 Christianity began being accepted late 6th century
 Despite the influence of Christianity, the old Anglo-Saxon religion with its warrior gods
     persisted
 Had much in common with Norse mythology
  o Norse god Odin (god of death, poetry, and magic) is the Anglo-Saxon Woden – from
     where we get Wednesday or Woden’s day
  o Norse god Thor (god of thunder and lightning) is the Anglo-Saxon Thundor – from where
     we get Thursday or Thor’s day; Thunor’s sign is the hammer and the twisted cross
     (swastika)
   o  Used dragons to be the protector of a treasure; some scholars suggest that the fiery
      dragon should be seen as both a personification of “death the devourer” and as the
      guardian of the grave mound, in which a warrior’s ashes and his treasure lay
 Religion of Anglo-Saxons seems to have been more concerned with ethics than with
      mysticism – with the earthly virtues of bravery, loyalty, generosity, and friendship

Christianity and Literature
 4th century - Romans had accepted Christianity and introduced it to Britain.
 100 years later, when the Celts fled the Anglo-Saxons, they took their Christian faith with
   them. During this period, the faith lived on in Wales. From there it spread to Ireland,
   assisted by the activities of the legendary St. Patrick
 Anglo-Saxon Britain remained pagan until 597, when St. Augustine, sent from Rome to
   convert England, established the 1st archbishopric at Canterbury
 During the next 40 years, missionaries were able to convert most of the Anglo-Saxon kings
   and their people to Christianity. Christianity was considered the uniting force of England
   during the Anglo-Saxon Period.
 Monasteries served as strongholds of Christianity and centers of learning
    The monasteries preserved some of the older traditions; monks probably recorded and
        rewrote the great works of popular literature such as Beowulf
    When the monks recorded the works from the older oral tradition, they wrote in the
        vernacular, or the language of the people
    But, the principal works of learning in the monasteries were written in Latin, the language
        of the church
    Monks wrote in the scriptorium, or writing room
 A Monk the Venerable Bede (673 – 735) - the “father of English history” – wrote A History of
   the English Church and People – a monumental work that offers the clearest account we
   have of early Anglo-Saxon times
 The spread of Christianity was crucial for the development of the Anglo-Saxon culture
    The church
        1. became culturally linked to Europe
        2. brought the essential skills for advanced culture-writing; education
        3. early force for unity and peace, trying to teach new values to warrior kings –
            compassion and cooperation, instead of arrogance and violence
        4. provided a common faith and common system of morality

				
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