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

  1. Stonehenge (approx. 2000 – 3000 BC (no written record), Salisbury Plain)
    1. it took approx. 1000 years to build
      • built in three stages: circular bank,
        wooden parts added to the interiors, …
    2. huge, heavy stones
      • brought there from Wales, by land and rivers
    3. 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



  1. rich in: gold and tin mining, trade with the Mediterranean
  2. 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
    1. pretext for the invasion:
      • to gain glory of victory (like Mr Gru, kind of)
      • to show his power
      • first one to occupy the country
    2. 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
    3. 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
    1. woman, queen from a tribe called “Iceni”
    2. 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
    1. the governor of Britannia, AD 74 – 84
    2. completed the conquest of north-west Britannia
  • established a system of roads and forts (some still remains)
    • placed garrisons on importnat sites
  1. educated the sons of British chiefs in the Roman curriculum – so they are under the right influence
  2. official language: written – Latin, spoken – ?
  3. 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

  1. 3rd century – terrories slipped out of their control (yolo)
    • they wanted their own king doms
  2. 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:

  1. 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

  1. no contemporary written sources: language Old English, the Venerable Bede, The Anglo Saxos chronicle, Law codes, charters, Beowulf, biographies
  2. 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
  1. 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)
  2. 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
  3. 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

  1. new invaders, from the present-day Norway, Sweden, Denmark
    1. skilled in sailing and fighting (scandivanian seafarers), traiders, adventurers, germanic language (Saxons+vikings – tongues formed basis of English)
    2. cruel gods: Odin and Thor (sacrificing to reach the after life – killed lots of people)
  2. reached Britain and Ireland (end of 8th century)
  3. 865 began the Great Invasion in Northumbria, East Anglia
    1. within 10 years nearly all of Anglo Saxon kingdoms under Viking control – East Anglia, Northumbria, York, Mercia, NOT WESSEX
  4. The Danegeld – set of legal term (Saxons, Vikings) tax
    1. 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
    1. Alfred captured London 886, was accepted as king in all the 7 kingdoms
  1. England was partitioned between Saxons and Vikings
    1. East Anglia + a part of Northumbria = the Danelaw (Viking sector)
    2. accepted christianity → easier fusion with the local population
  2. 982 new Danish army invade again
  3. until 1013 the country was ruled by the Anglo-Saxons
    1. 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
    1. William, Duke of Normandy,
    2. Harold, Earl of Wessex, Anglo-Saxon, the comettee „witum“ decided he was fit
    3. 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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