Early Kingdoms, Pre-Conquest England and the Normans



Otázka: Early Kingdoms, Pre-Conquest England and the Normans

Jazyk: Angličtina

Přidal(a): Alen



The Romans in Britain: Gaius Julius Caesar, Tiberius Claudius, Boudicca, Gnaeus Julius Agricola;

The Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings: The Dark Ages, Religion, Whitby Synod, Alfred the Great, The Danelaw, The Danegeld, Edward the Confessor;
The Normans: William I, The Domesday Book


The Original Inhabitants

Stonehenge (approx. 2000 – 3000 BC (no written record), Salisbury Plain)

  • it took approx. 1000 years to build
    • built in three stages: circular bank,
      wooden parts added to the interiors, …
  • huge, heavy stones
    • brought there from Wales, by land and rivers
  • purposes
    • religious reasons: druids worshiped gods
    • astronomical reasons: solstice, calendar
    • healing centre: complicated, 1 main temple, 16 other around
  • modern age: until 1877 no reconstractions
    • today it is reconstracted, cant go inside



  • rich in: gold and tin mining, trade with the Mediterranean
  • invadors: red hair is common in the UK = fair and dark people
    • from Mediterranean (dark skin – omg, racism)
    • from Rhineland (Bronze-Age people)
    • from Eastern Europe – the Celts (Iron-Age people), (fair hair, skin → Áda)
      • Scottish, Welsh language – Celtic origins


The Romans in Britain

Gaius Julius Caesar

  • pretext for the invasion:
    • to gain glory of victory (like Mr Gru, kind of)
    • to show his power
    • first one to occupy the country
  • 55 BC: first expedition, not succesful (tdddm)
  • 54 BC: succesful mission! yay!, but Ceasar didnt get gold so he wasnt satisfied
    • boats – unsuitable for stromy english channel


Tiberius Claudius 43 AD

  • 1. needed to consolidate his power
    • he sent general Vespassian to invate in 43 AD → victory
      • he never really conquered Highlands
  • in his time – Ceaser s maxim: „Divide and Rule“
  • Methods of pacifying Britannia:
    • co-operation withlocal chieftains (marrige)
    • imigration – veteran s colonies
    • humilitation
  • Problems: taking land illegaly, humilitating treatment


Boudicca 61 AD

  • woman, queen from a tribe called “Iceni”
  • after her husband died, she was suppose to be the queen and rule
    • the romans refused a woman queen
      • she gathered an army and killed every roman she found (RIOT)
        • not susses, defeated, lack of unity
        • she and her daughters poisened themselfs
      • a statue of her is in from of the Big Ben


Gnaeus Julius Agricola

  • the governor of Britannia, AD 74 – 84
  • completed the conquest of north-west Britannia
  • established a system of roads and forts (some still remains)
    • placed garrisons on importnat sites
  • educated the sons of British chiefs in the Roman curriculum – so they are under the right influence
  • official language: written – Latin, spoken – ?
  • the landscape was transformed → new towns, open spaces


The Roman Spa/Bath in the town of Bath

  • the system of heating – air
  • frigidarium – the cool pool
  • water came from springs
  • statue of godness of wisdom and healing – Minerva


Building walls

  • he never defeated Scottland
  • AD 122 Hadrian s wall – defensive wall
    • 6m high, 3m wide
    • every few miles a fort
    • milecastle – soldiars waited there (for some action I suppose)
  • Antonine Wall
  • other protection – holes in ground → fall and die!


The End of the Province

  • 3rd century – terrories slipped out of their control (yolo)
    • they wanted their own king doms
  • the migration period (The Great Migration of Tribes)
    • „Huns“ migrated → they pushed, defeated other tribes
      • The Visigoths and The Ostrgoths asked to stay in the Roman Empire (was it empire?), wanted to be federed 375
        • problems: want their own power
  • in AD 402 soldiars were needed in the continent
    • meanwhile Bratain attacked by: Picts (north), Scotts (Hibernia=Ireland), Saxons (across sea)
  • AD 410 – ruling problems – the civitates of Britain sent a letter to the emperor, asking for help → response: „look to your own defences“ → OFFICIAL END


The Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings:

The Dark Ages: term that describes the period of time between 500 – 1000 AD, after the invasion of the barbarians → urban population declined, lack of central power, development of feudal system → decline in Church structures bacuse of the feudalic pressure

– Angles, Saxons, Jutes – germany tribes, wanted to invade England

  • no contemporary written sources: language Old English, the Venerable Bede, The Anglo Saxos chronicle, Law codes, charters, Beowulf, biographies
  • after the Roman withdrawal
    • The Picts and Scots could have a full advantage
      • but no, they were in a war with each other, until the 9th century
    • in 5th century Britain was invaded by Angles, Saxons, Jutes (northern Europe) (AD 300-700 general movement of Germanic people around Europe)
      • invaded to protect a territory against the Picts, reward-land in Kent – settled
        • only one, temporary check – King Arthur won over the Saxons
      • thousands of native britons and Celts fled to Wales, Scotland, Cornwall, Ireland, but almost destroyed
  • Anglo – Saxons: small farming cummunities, strong family and tribal units, loyal to the king
    • the chief deitis – Woden the god of war, Thor the god of thunder
    • Brittannia replaces by England (Angle-land)
  • 7th century – start to build towns, increasing trade, new order of kingdom:
    • deptarchy = divided into 7 proncipal Anglo-Saxon kingdoms: East Anglia, Kent, Essex (East of London, east of saxons), Sussex (coastal south east brittain), Northumbria7th, Mercia8th, Wessex9th → these 3 competed for supremecy


Religion: official religion of the Roman Empire was Christianity

  • Celtic deities continued to be worshiped alongside Christ
  • the heal then Saxons almost completely erased Christianity from England
    • only in Corneal and Wales Christianity survived
  • later Roman, Scottish and Irish missionaries brought Christianity back
    • 597 Canterbury – ecclesiastical capital, conversion to christianity
    • Witby synod 664 at Whitby Abbey – the Roman rites were adopted by English Church
      • northern Celtic Church + southern Roman Church = united, started to follow the Roman model


The Vikings 860 – 1066

  • new invaders, from the present-day Norway, Sweden, Denmark
    • skilled in sailing and fighting (scandivanian seafarers), traiders, adventurers, germanic language (Saxons+vikings – tongues formed basis of English)
    • cruel gods: Odin and Thor (sacrificing to reach the after life – killed lots of people)
  • reached Britain and Ireland (end of 8th century)
  • 865 began the Great Invasion in Northumbria, East Anglia
    • within 10 years nearly all of Anglo Saxon kingdoms under Viking control – East Anglia, Northumbria, York, Mercia, NOT WESSEX
  • The Danegeld – set of legal term (Saxons, Vikings) tax
    • to stop the Viking raids (paid to Viking from English kings, it increased)
      • Alfred the Great – defeated Vikings, Wessex succesful under him, (871 – 899)


  • revived learning (+ he was literate – could read, write)
  • insisted that clergy should learn Latin properly
  • estamblishment of a strong army, navy
  • constructing fortresses
  • building up fleets of ships


  • fortified towns (burghs) → flourishing trading centres
    • taxes → protection
  • updated the West Wessex Laws (prisons, judges were forced to learn to read, write – or resign)
  • burried in Winchester
  • Anglocynn = the English folk
    • Alfred captured London 886, was accepted as king in all the 7 kingdoms


  • England was partitioned between Saxons and Vikings
    • East Anglia + a part of Northumbria = the Danelaw (Viking sector)
    • accepted christianity → easier fusion with the local population
  • 982 new Danish army invade again
  • until 1013 the country was ruled by the Anglo-Saxons
    • Vikings attack again, Saxons weakened
      • King of the Vikings – Canute, ruler 1016 of England, Viking Scottland, Denmark, Scandinavia → the first Viking King of of all the England
        • after his death empire fell into pieces
          • England still ruled by his sons till 1043
            • when the Danish Royal line died out, Edward the Confessor became king
          • the last Anglo Saxon king
          • saint, supported the Normans (mom)
          • founded Westminster Abbey (burried)
          • his family has to exile, Edith (wife) was locked up in monastary
            • no kids, died in 1066


The Normans 1066 – 1154

  • in 1066 3 men claimed the throne
    • William, Duke of Normandy,
    • Harold, Earl of Wessex, Anglo-Saxon, the comettee „witum“ decided he was fit
    • Harond Hardrada, King of Norway, the next one in line to the Danish throne
  • Harald Hardrada invaded the North of England, Viking
    • a the Battle of Stamford Bridge – was defeated (Harald * Harold) 28th September
      • some soldiars them joined the Abglo-Saxon army to go fight to south with the Normans
    • couple of days later – William (duke of Normandy) invaded Pavensey Bay, Sussex
    • the Saxons – foot soldiars armed with axes and spears
    • Normans had advantage – calvalry, descended from Vikings (from northern France)
    • The Normans defeated the Saxons at the Battle of Hastings 14th october 1066
      • Harold died on the battlefield
      • William was crowned at Westminster Abbey
    • Bayeux Tapestry: embroidered cloth, 70 m * 50 cm, depicts the events of the Battla of Hastings


William I

  • William subdued England
    • many saxon nobles refused to accept him as a king → rebelled
    • unprisings until 1071, last rebelation was put down
  • William wanted to make raids on Scottland, was never accepted as their overlord
    • had control over Wales by 1100 (some heavy uprising there though)
  • French aristrocracy: new language, strong central government
    • top of the sociaty – king, nobles, barons
    • then – lords living in manors / castles
    • the rest
  • new social system – feudalism: based on a complex chain and duties, holding of lands and the resulting relationship between the lord and the vassal
    • socially governed – ownership, army service, taxes
  • after 1066: castles became frequent, important = strongholds, control the country from
    • early castles – wooden, later rebuilt from stone
    • the Tower of London
  • The Domesday Book, domesday = the day of judgement
    • 1086, record of population, counted every weapon, summary of everything, showed how rich each area was → demand taxes accordingly
    • William the Conqueror ruled Normandy and England
      • difficult to divide attention between scattered, diverse possessions
      • after he died: split inheritance: left Normandy to son Robert
        • England to son William II- after his death, brother Henry I. took over
          • tried to annex Normandy → Robert was beaten, condemned to imprisonment until his death
            • Henry was the master of Normandy and England
            • powerful government – most centrally organized government in Europe
          • died → his son drowned → 20 years impovise → Henry II
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