2King Alfred against the Danes Spread of Christianity Celts in BritainNorman InvasionAnglo-Saxon InvasionKing Alfred against the DanesRoman Occupation300 B.C.55 B.C. – A.D. 409449A.D. 8781066Spread of ChristianityA.D
3Celtic InvasionBetween 800 and 600 BC, two groups of Celts moved into the British isles:The Britons (Tribe: Brythons) settled in Britain.The Gaels settled in Ireland.Julius Caesar described the Celts as:Light-skinned, fair-haired, and blue eyedShepherds, farmers, fierce fightersArtistic, imaginative, loved beautySkilled with tin and iron
4The Celts Farmers and hunters Organized into tightly knit clans Skilled artisansIntroduced the use of iron to EuropeHighly developed religion, mythology, and legal system that specified individual rights
5Based on the picture below, what can you assume about the religious beliefs of the Celts?
6Celtic Religion Animism: From the Latin word for “spirit” Saw spirit everywhere: in rivers, trees, stones, ponds, fire, and thunderSpirits or gods controlled all aspects of existence and had to be constantly satisfied.Druids acted as intermediaries between the gods and people.
7The Celts : DruidsDisputes were settled by a class of priests known as DruidsDruids presided over religious rituals (sacrifices and prayers)Druids also memorized and recited long, heroic poems to preserve the people’s historyCeltic legends are full of strong women, like Queen Maeve of Connacht in Ireland.
8The Roman ConquestIn 55 BC and 56 BC, Julius Caesar made hasty invasions.True conquest, however, occurred 100 years later under the Roman emperor Claudius in 43 AD.Roman rule of Britain lasted for nearly years.A.D. 409 Romans evacuate their troopsBritain is left vulnerable to attacksCentral government breaks down
9Roman Rule Constructed a system of well-paved roads and founded cities Erected Hadrian’s Wall to protect from Picts and ScotsBrought skills in the art of warfareIntroduced Roman law and orderUsed LatinIntroduced Christianity (597 AD)Failed to teach the Britons much about self-defense
10Roman Rule (con’t) Roman Roads: 5,000 miles of stone roads Linked tribal capitals and towns, especially London, York, WinchesterFacilitated trade, the collection of taxes, and the movement of troopsHadrian’s Wall:Linked the North Sea and the AtlanticHeld back the Picts and Scots for 250 years
11The Anglo-Saxons push the Celts into the far west of the country.
12Early Anglo-Saxon Life The next invaders of Britain were the Anglo-Saxons: the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes.The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes came from Denmark, Holland, Germany, and Scandinavia.The Celts resisted the invaders for a number of years under the leadership of a great king, possibly the inspiration for the legendary King Arthur.
13Dispersal of the Britons To flee the Anglo-Saxons, the Britons fled to other parts of the island:CornwallWalesSome join the Gaels in Ireland and formed a splinter groups known as the Scots (This group later settled in what is now Scotland).In all areas, the people spoke the Celtic languages (Cornish, Welsh, Irish, and Scottish Gaelic). All but Cornish are still spoken today.
14Anglo-Saxon Society highly organized tribal units (kingdoms) Each tribe ruled by a king chosen by a council of elders (witan)Thanes: the upper class, earls, or free warriorsThralls: slaves who did the farming and domestic workFreemen: small group who earned possessions and special favors
15Anglo-Saxon Society (con’t) The Anglo-Saxons farmed, maintained local governments, and created fine crafts, especially metalwork.Eventually, the small kingdoms developed into seven large ones: Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, Sussex, Essex, East Anglia, and Kent.This development produced a new language: Old English.Lived close to their animals (to protect animals and provide warmth)Lived in single-family homes surrounding a communal hall and protected by a wooden stockade fence
17Characteristics of the Anglo-Saxons Hard fighters and bold sea warriorsPhysical strength, bravery, loyalty, fairness, and honesty – gained men fame and successGreat love of personal freedom (protection from enemies)Boastful, reckless, cruel, and bloodthirstyEnjoyed conflict, swimming matches, horse races, banqueting, drinking mead, singing songs, and storytellingAlso flyting, a conflict of wits between two warriors where each praises his own deeds and belittles the other’s
18Role of WomenThe wife of an earl or thane supervised weaving and dyeing of clothes, the slaughter of livestock, the making of bread, beekeeping, and the brewing of mead (fermented honey).Women inherited and held property.Married women retained control over their property.With the coming of Christianity, many women entered religious communities, and some became powerful abbesses.
20The ScopsThe communal hall offered shelter and a place for council meetings.The communal hall was also a place for storytellers or bards (scops) who shared (orally) the stories of the Anglo-Saxons and their gods and heroes.The Anglo-Saxons valued storytelling as equal to fighting, hunting, and farming.A line of Anglo-Saxon or Old English poetry is characterized by four main stresses and is divided in half by a pause (caesura).
21Why were the “scops” important? Anglo Saxons did not believe in an afterlifeWarriors gained immortality through songs preserved in the collective memoryScops either told heroic poetry or elegiac poetry. Elegiac poetry was a sorrowful lament that mourned the deeds of loved ones and the hero
22Based on the information presented, what characteristics do you expect to see in the story of Beowulf?
23The Beowulf LegendBeowulf is an epic, a long, heroic poem, about a great pagan warrior renowned for his courage, strength, and dignity.Beowulf is the national epic of England, because it is was the first such work composed in the English language.The poem includes references to Christian ideas and Latin classics but also present are the values of a warrior society, dignity, bravery, and prowess in battle.
24Anglo-Saxon Beliefs Pagan, polytheistic Very pessimistic view of life (due to the ever-present dangers of death by accident or warfare)Human life in the hands of fate (wyrd)Did not believe in an afterlifeImmortality only earned through heroic actionsSharp contrast to the Christian belief in an individual’s free will
25Anglo-Saxon Beliefs (con’t) The early Anglo-Saxons worshipped ancient Germanic or Norse gods:Odin/Woden: chief of the gods, god of death, poetry, and magicFria: Woden’s wife and goddess of the homeTiu: the god of war and the skyThunor/Thor: god of thunder and lighteningFrijz/Frigga: queen of the heavensThe names of these gods survive today in our words Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and FridayThe dragon: personification of evil and death and the protector of treasure (the grave mound); also associated with the Vikings
26Christianity impacted the Anglo-Saxon way of life drastically Christianity impacted the Anglo-Saxon way of life drastically. What changes do you think Christianity brought forth?
27The Coming of Christianity In 432, the whole of Celtic Ireland was converted by Patrick, a Romanized Briton.In 563, a group of Irish monks led by a soldier and abbot named Columba established a monastery on the island of Iona off the West coast of Scotland.Later, the Roman church began to send missionaries throughout Europe.In 597, Saint Augustine converted the King of England and establish a monastery at Canterbury.By 650, most of England was Christian in name, if not in fact.
28Christianity and Literature The church brought education and written literature to England.Monks established churches, monasteries, and libraries.Monks recorded and duplicated illuminated manuscripts, at first only written in Latin.Oral literature was transcribed into written form.Monks preserved not only Latin and Greek classics but also popular literature (Beowulf).
29The Venerable Bede (673-735) A monk Considered the “father of English history”Wrote A History of the English Church and People: the clearest account we have of Anglo-Saxon times
31The Danish InvasionDue to rising population and limited farmland, many Scandinavians (the Norse and the Danes) took to the seas—the Vikings.In 800, Danish raiders attacked Britain.The Norse settled in Northumbria, Scotland, Wales, and Ireland.The Danes targeted eastern and southern England.
33Viking Raids: “From the Fury of the Northmen, O Lord, Deliver Us” Sacked and plundered monasteriesStole sacred religious objectsBurned entire communitiesMurdered villagersHalted the growth of learningBy the middle of the ninth century, most of England had fallen. The Vikings called their territory Danelaw.
34Alfred the GreatOnly the Saxon kingdom of Wessex managed to fight the Danes to a standstill.In 871, Alfred ascended to the Wessex throne.Alfred resisted further Danish encroachment.A 886 truce formally divided England: the Danish ruled the east and north; the Saxons ruled the south.Alfred translated the Bede’s History and other works from Latin into English to make them more accessible, as well as instituted the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a history of England from the earliest days through 1154.
36Danish ContributionsBuilt their Danelaw communities as military fortresses and trading centersGenerated growth of English townsExpanded English vocabulary as Norse words crept into the languageFor example, law is Danish, and its use reflects the Danes’ interest in legal procedures.
37The Norman ConquestToward the end of the tenth century, the Danes increased attempts to recapture and widen Danelaw and eventually forced the witan to select a series of Danish kings.In 1042, the throne returned to a descendant of Alfred, King Edward the Confessor, a Christian.Edward’s association with the Normans weakened Saxon power.Upon his death in 1066, Edward was succeeded by Harold.William of Normandy challenged Harold’s right to the throne and defeated Harold in the Battle of Hastings.William was crowned King on December 25, 1066.