The Anglo Saxon Conquest

Anglo Saxon Conquest (455-600AD) 

 ☑️So the Roman legions were ordered to leave Britain by the orders of Emperor Honorius and Britons were now totally free.

 ☑️But Britain had to face the attacks from other tribes like the Picts, Scots, the Angles, Saxons, Jutes and Danes, in course of time. 

☑️These were European tribes who were eagerly waiting for the Romans to leave , for conquering and plundering Britain.

 ☑️Britain also witnessed the attack from the Picts and Scots, who broke through the Hadrian's Wall and plundered and looted the people.

 ☑️Now the Britons were forced to take up arms to protect their motherland from those attacks under the leadership of a Welsh Bishop named St. germanius.

 ☑️In 429 AD, Briton won the battle and it was called the Halleluiah Victory, for it was won by the efforts of the Bishop St. Germanius.

 ☑️But this peace didn't last long. 

☑️They were occasionally attacked by the Picts and Scots. So in 450 AD, a British Chief named Vortigern, decided to seek help from the warriors, Hengist and Horsa to beat down the Picts and Scots. 

 The Conquest and it's impacts 

 ☑️The years after the withdrawal of the Roman legions were a period when civilization itself came to s momentary halt. 

 ☑️Violence and anarchy became the order of the day. 

 ☑️Records of this era can be seen in the writings of the monks Gildas and Nennius.

  ☑️However, the best account of this age can be seen in the works of Venerable Bede, especially in his Eccleciastical History of English Nation"(732 AD) and Anglo Saxon Chronicle which followed after a century.

☑️These works are considered as objective accounts of the incidents of that age. 

 ☑️We can see the impact of Anglo Saxon Conquest in certain British place names too. Ex. Haestingas( Haesta+ingas), which means place where Haesta and his followers lived. 

☑️Modern day Hastings is derived from this name..

 The Jutes; The first invaders

  ☑️So in response to the invitation of Vortigern, warriors Hengist and Horsa, the jute warriors from the Jutland reached Britain with their followers. 

 ☑️It was easy for them to beat back the Picts and Scots .

☑️But things turned topsy turvy, as the Jute warriors planned to stay there even after the completion of the mission. 

 ☑️They had no intention of returning to their infertile, cold homeland. 

 ☑️The fertile countryside and mild climate of Britain attracted the Saxons much. 

☑️ A great Battle was fought in 455 AD Chief Vortigern was killed Horsa was also killed.

 ☑️Hengist became the undisputed king The Jutes settled down in Britain.

 ☑️Their families too arrived and they settled in and around Kent. 

☑️ Thus started the settlement of the Germanic tribes. 

 ☑️The Saxons The next band of invaders, the Saxons came around 477 AD. Aella was their leader. 

☑️ They were agile and energetic group and they defeated those tribes who had already occupied the land. 

☑️ Several battles were fought and victory was with the Saxons. 

 ☑️Many were brutally killed and many fled to the mountainous North. 

 ☑️Those who remained were enslaved .

 ☑️The Saxons too brought their families along with them and settled down in Southern county of Sussex, Essex( where the East Saxons lived) Middlesex ( Middle Saxons lived) and Wessex( home of West Saxons) 


  ☑️Then came the Angles Another important Germanic tribe( N Germany and S Denmark).

 ☑️ Some came from Holland too .

☑️Their leader was Ida. 

 ☑️They got settled in well marked areas like Northumbria, East Anglia and Mercia. 

 ☑️They came in large clusters and we're numerous.

 ☑️Thus Angle- land or land of Angles became England. 

 Ambrosius Aurelius and King Arthur 

 ☑️Though the Germanic invaders found it relatively easy to conquer Britain that was left defenceless, there were British leaders who led the defence against these forces. 

 ☑️Venerable Bede records the name of a great leader- Ambrosius Aurelius. 

☑️But very little is only known about him. 

 ☑️Another historian named Gildas, speaks of King Arthur as the defender of Britain who engaged the Saxons in 12 mighty battles which ended with the Battle of Mons Badonis in 500 AD. 

 ☑️The Saxons were defeated and they dare not fight for atleast 50 years.. 

☑️ It is also believed that King Arthur is the romantic alter ego of Ambrosius Aurelius. 

 The Saxon Rule 

 ☑️Left with no other option, the Britons had to surrender to the Saxons. 

 ☑️By 7 th Century, Saxons emerged as the mighty masters of the land. 

 ☑️But the mountainous North and the swamps of West continued to elude them. 

☑️ Those Britons who couldn't accept the Saxons as their new lords, had to flee to the North and West. 

 ☑️At the same time, many settled down to a life of peaceful submission to the Saxons. 

 ☑️Brittany- the land of self- exiled Britons Some even crossed the English Channel( space between England and France) and settled in France north of River Loire in a place named Armorica. 

 ☑️But this emigration process continued till the whole of Armorica was overrun by the Britons.

 ☑️And the place name got replaced as Brittany- the land of self- exiled Britons… 

 Tales of King Arthur. 

 ☑️The story of King Arthur and his brave knights, who fought against the Saxon invasion , became a popular folk tale during that time. 

☑️ These tales , ie. The tales of Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table form one of the chief myths of Britain and have inspired writers through ages. 

 ☑️These folk tales were sung by the ministers for ages. 

☑️In the 15 th century, these songs were written down by Thomas Malory, under the title, Mort d' Arthur'. 

☑️The story of King Arthur was popular in Brittany too. 


 ☑️The Britons thus retreated to Brittany got settled down in the west of Wales, which was already inhabited by their predecessors, Celts, who were pushed aside by the Romans. 

☑️ Thus , all who lived in the Wales called themselves Cymry, which meant ' comrades'. 

 ☑️The land of Cymry came to be known as Cambria. 

☑️ They were followers of Christianity. They had a passion for literature and music, especially poetry. 

 ☑️They were ardent worshippers of Nature; she was mother , sustainer, protector and reformer to them. 

 The impact of the Conquest. 

 ☑️Impact on Language and place names 

 ☑️The Saxons occupied almost all parts of Britain except the north and the west. 

 ☑️The Romanised Britons, during the reign of Romans, were either slaughtered or enslaved by the Saxons.

 ☑️The Latin language which was brought in by the Romans, were replaced with harsh Germanic accents of the Saxons.

 ☑️Except a few names like River names : Usk, Axe, Exe,( which are forms of the British root word Isca, meaning water), everything Latin or Celtic were wiped off. 

 ☑️But on the other side, Saxon elements can be traced in place names which end in the suffix- ing as in Hastings. 

 ☑️The suffix , -ley or - lea in place names like Alderley or Henley, denotes a clearing in the wood. 

 Destruction in large scale

  ☑️They destroyed Roman Cities of Britain These Anglo Saxons were not interested in a life of luxury. 

☑️They preferred a simple life.

 ☑️So the sophisticated villas and baths constructed by the Romans was of no interest to them.

☑️ Moreover they were afraid of these places, because they believed that these places were haunted. 

☑️ They destroyed most of the Christian churches.

 ☑️They continued to worship the gods of their land like Thor, Woden and Frige. 

 ☑️However they were not a blood- thirsty lot.

 ☑️They settled down to cultivate the land and they considered and preserved the land as if their own. 

 ☑️They were loyal clansmen.

☑️Gradually there evolved a race of men known for their aggressive exploits and lust for conquest along with their sensitive expression of thoughts and feelings. 

☑️Thus the English race was born.