Anglo-Saxon England lasted from the end of the Roman occupation of Britain and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the 5th century until the Norman conquest of England in 1066. The Anglo-Saxons were a Germanic people who came to Britain during the 5th and 6th centuries and included the Angles, Saxons, Frisii and the Jutes. Their language, which is now called Old English, and the culture of the era, has long attracted popular and scholarly attention.
Until the 9th century, Anglo-Saxon England was dominated by the kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent and Wessex. The Anglo-Saxons were initially pagans, but they converted to Christianity during the 7th century.
Facing the threat of Viking attacks that began in the 9th century, the kings of Wessex became dominant amongst the Anglo-Saxon rulers. During the 10th century, the individual kingdoms unified under the rule of Wessex to become the kingdom of England, which stood opposed to the Viking kingdoms established in the north and east of England. The Kingdom of England fell in the Viking invasion from Denmark in 1013 and was ruled by the House of Denmark until 1042, when the Anglo-Saxon House of Wessex was restored. The last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold Godwinson, was killed in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings.
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The members of the Gregorian mission were Italian monks and priests sent by Pope Gregory the Great to Britain in the late 6th and early 7th centuries to convert and Christianize the Anglo-Saxons from their native Anglo-Saxon paganism. The first group consisted of about 40 monks and priests, some of whom had been monks in Gregory's own monastery in Rome. After a long trip, during which they almost gave up and returned to Rome, they arrived in the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Kent in 597. Gregory sent a second group of missionaries in 601 as reinforcements, along with books and relics for the newly founded churches. From Kent, the missionaries spread to the East Anglian kingdom and to the north of Britain, but after King Æthelberht of Kent's death, the mission was mostly confined to Kent. Another mission was sent to the kingdom of Northumbria when Æthelberht's daughter married King Edwin of Northumbria around 625. After Edwin's death in 633, a pagan backlash against Christianization occurred, and the mission was again confined to Kent; most of the missionaries fled Northumbria because they feared the pagans who returned to power after Edwin's death. (more...)
- ...that in Anglo-Saxon England, pregnant women were warned against eating food that was too salty or too sweet, or other fatty foods, and were also cautioned not to drink strong alcohol or travel on horseback?
- ...that the ship-burial at Snape is the only one in England that can be compared to the example at Sutton Hoo?
- ...that the name Taplow of the burial mound at Taplow, comes from Old English Tæppas hláw ('Tæppa's mound'), so that the name of the man buried in the mound would seem to have been Tæppa?
- ...that the Ordinance Concerning the Dunsaete, which gave procedures for dealing with disputes between the English and the Welsh of Archenfield, stated that the English should only cross into the Welsh side, and vice versa, in the presence of an appointed man who had to make sure that the foreigner was safely escorted back to the crossing point?
The Devil's Dyke (also called Reach Dyke or Devil's Ditch, once known as St Edmund's Ditch) is an earthwork near the village of Reach that is generally assumed to be an Anglo-Saxon earthwork. It is one of the largest and best surviving examples of its kind in England.
Cnut the Great (Old Norse: Knútr inn ríki; c. 985 or 995 – 12 November 1035), also known as Canute, was a king of Denmark, England, Norway and parts of Sweden. After the death of his heirs within a decade of his own and the Norman conquest of England in 1066, his legacy was largely lost to history.
Cnut was of Danish and Slavic descent. His father was Sweyn Forkbeard, King of Denmark and his mother was the daughter of the first duke of the Polans, Mieszko I. Cnut won the throne of England in 1016 in the wake of centuries of Viking activity in northwestern Europe. His accession to the Danish throne in 1018 brought the crowns of England and Denmark together. Cnut held this power-base together by uniting Danes and Englishmen under cultural bonds of wealth and custom, rather than sheer brutality. After a decade of conflict with opponents in Scandinavia, Cnut claimed the crown of Norway in Trondheim in 1028. He had coins struck which called him king there, but there is no narrative record of his occupation.
Cnut's possession of England's dioceses and the continental Diocese of Denmark was a source of great leverage within the Church, gaining notable concessions from Pope Benedict VIII, and his successor John XIX, such as one on the price of the pallium of his bishops. Cnut also gained concessions on the tolls his people had to pay on the way to Rome from other magnates of medieval Christendom, at the coronation of the Holy Roman Emperor. (more...)
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