British History: Beginnings


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The lecture is delivered in the course of English literature as some historic background.
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  • Fay Weldon “I, Boadicea”
  • The Ruthwell Cross is an important Anglo-Saxon cross , also known as a preaching cross , dating back to the eighth century, when Ruthwell was part of the kingdom of Northumbria .
  • British History: Beginnings

    1. 1. Britain The Beginnings From earliest times to 1066
    2. 2. Britains first inhabitants <ul><li>Ancient Britain inhabited by Iberians </li></ul><ul><li>- left behind barrows, Stonehenge (a mysterious circle of stones) </li></ul><ul><li>Barrow = large mound grave made of earth or stone </li></ul><ul><li>Iron-age Britain – a dynamic, expanding society </li></ul>
    3. 3. Migration of Celts <ul><li>2000-1200 BC – Celts began to migrate to Britain </li></ul><ul><li>Spoke their own Celtic language </li></ul><ul><li>Were known as Britons </li></ul><ul><li>Round wooden huts, small villages, mainly farmers – no towns </li></ul><ul><li>Organised in tribes with a king/queen as leader </li></ul><ul><li>Intertribal wars very common </li></ul>
    4. 4. The Ancient Britons <ul><li>One of the Celtic tribes living in Britain 4 th C BC </li></ul><ul><li>Believed in different gods (in woods) </li></ul><ul><li>Governed by a class of priests – Druids who had great power </li></ul>
    5. 5. The Romans <ul><li>55 B.C. Romans conquered Gaul (France) & came to conquer Britain </li></ul><ul><li>Brought their own civilization </li></ul><ul><li>Taught Britons to build bridges, houses, roads, baths, temples </li></ul><ul><li>Protected Britain for several hundred years </li></ul><ul><li>~4 th C B.C. Romans left Britain </li></ul><ul><li>Fall of the Roman Empire followed </li></ul>
    6. 6. Romans vs Britons <ul><li>Queen Boadicea ( Boudica ) of Iceni tribe (now East Anglia) </li></ul><ul><li>Led an uprising of the tribes against the occupying forces of the Roman Empire </li></ul><ul><li>43 AD – battle lost </li></ul><ul><li>Suicide by poisoning </li></ul><ul><li>In the 3 cities destroyed, 70,000-80,000 people killed </li></ul>
    7. 7. Angles, Saxons, Jutes <ul><li>The Angle, Saxon, and Jute tribes invaded Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries </li></ul><ul><li>Also known as the Anglo-Saxons </li></ul><ul><li>Leaving their homelands in northern Germany, Denmark and northern Holland they rowed across the North Sea in wooden boats </li></ul>
    8. 8. The Anglo-Saxon Period <ul><li>The Anglo-Saxons took control of most of Britain, although never conquered Scotland, Wales and Cornwall </li></ul><ul><li>Divided the country into kingdoms, each with its own royal family </li></ul><ul><li>Liked fighting, drinking, gambling </li></ul><ul><li>Life expectancy not very long </li></ul>
    9. 9. The Anglo-Saxon Period 2 <ul><li>~ AD 600 the 6 main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms constantly at war: </li></ul><ul><li>Northumbria </li></ul><ul><li>Mercia </li></ul><ul><li>Wessex </li></ul><ul><li>Sussex </li></ul><ul><li>Kent </li></ul><ul><li>East Anglia </li></ul><ul><li>Became one nation with king Egbert </li></ul>
    10. 10. Anglo-Saxon Period 3 <ul><li>Letters of their own – runes </li></ul><ul><li>Runes – carved out of wood, stone </li></ul><ul><li>No written literature </li></ul><ul><li>Songs and tales – oral tradition </li></ul><ul><li>“ Thane” – most important man in village </li></ul><ul><li>No prisons </li></ul>
    11. 11. Christianity <ul><li>Britain was Christian under Romans </li></ul><ul><li>Anglo-Saxons were pagans </li></ul><ul><li>Pope Gregory I sent Augustine to bring Christianity back to England </li></ul><ul><li>Augustine became 1st Archbishop of Canterbury </li></ul><ul><li>With Christianity came Latin learning </li></ul><ul><li>Venerable Bede – wrote in Latin 1st history of England </li></ul>
    12. 12. Vikings <ul><li>Vikings from Norway and Denmark </li></ul><ul><li>8-9th century – raids, temporary camps </li></ul><ul><li>Eventually blended in with Anglo-Saxons </li></ul><ul><li>Important contributions to English language – words like skirt, sky, they, them etc. </li></ul>
    13. 13. Norman Conquest 1066 <ul><li>Power of Anglo-Saxons was broken by Normans </li></ul><ul><li>Normans came originally from Denmark </li></ul><ul><li>French customs, dialect of French lg </li></ul><ul><li>Norman king William I = William the Conqueror defeated last Anglo-Saxon king Harold II at Battle of Hastings 1066 </li></ul>