01 the history of the british isles


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01 the history of the british isles

  1. 1. A Brief History of the British Isles Cultural Foundations Mr. Gilliand English IV
  2. 2. The Celts • Arrived around 500 BC from the Apls • Occupied most of the isles byabout 2000 years ago. • Also called “Britons” • When the Romans arrived, the country was dominated by 27 tribes.
  3. 3. The Celts • Each tribe was made up of several smaller clans; each clan had its own chieftain. • No centralized government • Warfare was very common • Brutal • Unified by tribe and chieftan
  4. 4. The Celts • The Celts did not read or write, so our knowledge of them comes from encounters with the Roman Empire. • The Romans were scared of the Celtic Britons who were brutal warriors who often decapitated their victims (ask me why!). • Pagan- The religion of the Celts was a form of Animism • – they saw spirits everywhere; worship of nature gods
  5. 5. The Roman Invasion Socio-Political Unification Socio-Political Unification• Romans invaded in 55 B.C. under General Julius Caesar (heard of him?) • Brought “civilization” to the isles. • Most of the Celts were integrated into the new order. • Founded Londinium Romans
  6. 6. Fall of Rome/Angles and Saxons • As Rome fell, the Legions either withdrew or remained and assimilated. Either way the isles lost the support of the Empire around 409 AD. Britons invited the Angles and Saxons to settle in the isles in exchange for their protection, which didn’t work out well for the English, as the Angles and Saxons became, essentially, invaders rather than guests around 449 AD. Romans Angles/Saxons
  7. 7. Anglo-Saxon Life • Anglo-Saxon life was dominated by the need to protect the clan and home against enemies. • Anglo-Saxons were not barbarians but they were a warring people. • The Importance of the Bard/Scop • The leader was responsible for law and order. He protected his people. • In return the people must be loyal to the leader. (This is the only way fame, success, and even survival could be gained.) Romans Angles/Saxons
  8. 8. Christianity Religious Unification Religious Unification• 430 AD-First Christian Missionaries come • 461 AD-St. Patrick comes to Ireland • Christians bring stability and especially learning t British Isles. Monestaries became the “universities” of the day. • 540 AD-Historical Welsh Romanized King leads many united tribes against invaders from the north (Angles and Saxons).
  9. 9. Vikings • 780 AD-Vikings (Norse) from Scandanavia invade Northumbria, Scotland,Wales, and Ireland • The Danes target eastern and southern England • Plundered monasteries and destroyed manuscripts • Destroyed the communities • By the middle of the 9th century, the majority of England came under their control. Vikings
  10. 10. Vikings • 880ish AD-King Alfred of Wessex unites the Isles under Christianity...a country is born. • National unification follows:We now have the nation of England which continues to fight agains Norse invaders until both the Vikings and the English are defeated by the French at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Vikings
  11. 11. Beowulf? British History Captured in Literature British History Captured in Literature •Originally a Viking story •Oral Traditions and Christian Transcription •Didactic: Meant to teach •Christian Influence/Overlap. Why? •Our manuscript is 1000 years old
  12. 12. • This is the first page of our only existing copy of Beowulf. This is the only document that preserves English storytelling of this era. • And this is an audio sample, read in Old English.