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Environmental Studies
English Language and Linguistics
Private: BA English
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Unit 3

Anglo-Saxons

Learning Outcomes

After completing this unit, the learner will be able,

  •  to familiarise with the Anglo-Saxon Era in British History.
  •  to get a brief account of the basic characteristics that played a predominant role in shaping the then British kingdom.
  • to give awareness about the formation of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom and the peculiarities of its administration.
  • to get a brief description about the kind of society and culture they used to have during this period.
  • to have a glimpse of the sources available from the Anglo-Saxon period through which one could know more about their history.

Prerequisites

The term “Anglo-Saxon” is used to denote the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled in the south and east of Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD. The Anglo-Saxon era marks the period of English History between 450 and 1066 AD. They were originally the inhabitants of Schleswig and the surrounding areas between Germany and Denmark. Two accounts of the Anglo-Saxon conquest and migration were written by authors, Gildas and Bede. Gildas wrote in about 500 AD. He described the departure of the Roman army and coming of “blood thirsty invaders, who killed the native British population or drove them into exile”. Bede gave a precise date (449 AD) for the first arrival of the Anglo-Saxons. The Anglo-Saxons were three kindred tribes namely, Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. These tribes first entered into Britain as part of the invitation by a British Chief named, Vortigern to protect the Britains from the incursions of Picts and Scots. But they never returned to their land and wanted to settle down in Britain, thus starting the AngloSaxon era. The Saxons settled in areas of Essex (East Saxon), Sussex (South Saxon), Middlesex (Middle of Saxon) and Wessex (West Saxon). The Angles settled in East Anglia. The Jutes settled in Kent.

Keywords
Anglo-Saxons, Formation of Kingdom, Administration, Society, Culture Sources

Discussion
The word Heptarchy is used to designate the period between the establishment of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in England towards the end of the 5th century AD and the destruction of most of them by the Danes in the second half of the 9th century. The Heptarchy is a collective name applied to the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms of Southeast and Central England. The term Heptarchy is derived from the Greek words for “seven” and “rule”, which means the rule of “Seven Kingdoms”. As a consequence of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain, the country was broken up into a large number of tiny local kingdoms, each with its own king or sub-king. The seven Kingdoms that emerged after the Anglo-Saxon conquests in Britain were Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Wessex. There were frequent wars with one another for supremacy and leadership, in which various rulers tried their best to conquer and dominate their neighbours. Kings who achieved overall dominance came to be called “Bretwalda” or “Ruler of Britain”. In 828, Egbert of Wessex was recognised as the most powerful “Bretwalda” as “the overlord of the Seven Kingdoms of the Heptarchy”. In the late 9th century King Alfred of Wessex achieved a special status whereby he was the first king to be called a true national leader. Ultimately, Wessex gained the upper hand over the other six Kingdoms.
Alfred the Great (871-899 CE) was the famous King of Wessex, a Saxon kingdom in south western England. He had to take over as king of Wessex in the middle of a year of nine major battles between the Wessex and Vikings (Danes). In 878 he achieved a decisive victory against the Danes at the Battle of Edington. He prevented England from falling to the Danes and promoted learning and literacy. What makes Alfred ‘great’ is that he was interested in learning, and in the promotion of English as a written language.
1.3.1 Administration and the Formation of the Kingdom
Well- defined administrative system was followed during the Anglo Saxon period. Hundred and Shire were the administrative divisions during the Anglo-Saxon period. In the Anglo-Saxon society, an ordinary prosperous freeman generally owned an area of about 60 to 100 acres of land. This land was called a hide, which was sufficient to maintain the owner’s household and family in comfortable circumstances. It was the basic unit of administration. A hundred hides formed a unit known as Hundred. This unit had to supply a sufficient number of trained soldiers to the King when needed. These Hundreds were presided over by a headman known as a reeve. The ‘reeve’ settled local disputes in the Hundreds and had the right to punish for offences against the law. Thus these Hundreds became Hundred Courts. In later days when the large shires or counties began to appear there was a shire-reeve. He was a senior official with local responsibilities functioning under the Crown, and the word has now become “sheriff”. Shire was an administrative division above the Hundred and existed in the time of Alfred the Great and fully developed during the reign of Edgar (959-975 CE). It was administered by an ealdorman and by a Shire-reeve. Shire- reeve presided over the shire court. Witan was the council of the Anglo-Saxon Kings. King ruled through a sort of parliament called Witan or Witenagemot. Members of the royal family, ealdormen and the thegns (Ministers) constituted the witan. Its main duty was to advise the king on all administrative and judicial matters like grants of land to churches or laymen, implementation of new laws, territorial conquests, etc. Sometimes the ‘witan’ proved quite strong enough to depose the king and elect a successor of their own choice.
Alfred the great, the distinguished Anglo Saxon ruler, was successful both in government and in war. He was a wise administrator. He scrutinised the administration of justice and took measures to ensure the protection of the weak from oppression by the corrupt officials. He promulgated an important code of law. He carefully studied the principles of law given in the Book of Exodus and the Codes of Ethelbert of Kent. He gave special attention to the protection of the weak and dependent while preparing Codes. He limited the practice of blood feud and imposed heavy penalties for the breach of oath or pledge.
1.3.2 Anglo-Saxon Society, Religion, Culture and Literature
Anglo-Saxon society was hierarchical. At its top stood the King and members of the royal family followed by the nobility, bishops and other church men. The nobles were called world. The next group in the hierarchy was ceorls or freemen. The last group in the hierarchy includes unfree members of society, or slaves called laets. Substantial details about the organisation of Anglo-Saxon society were obtained mainly from two sources: 1) Ethelbert’s Law Code (Ethelbert was king of Kent who died in 604 AD) 2) Domesday Book. Ethelbert’s law set out a complex system of compensation and punishment, based on the status of the offender and the injured party. The Law Code reveals that women had rights and privileges in the Anglo-Saxon society.
But these were dependent on the individual’s marital status. Compensation wouldn’t be paid to a woman directly, but would instead be given to her father, husband or brother. Anglo-Saxons were not interested in town life. They preferred to live in valleys. They built huts of ‘wattle and daub’ (A construction of interwoven branches and twigs plastered with mud, clay or dung), or mud and straw. The names of Saxon settlements often contained -ing (group of settlers from the same family) or -ton (enclosed agricultural settlement). Examples of such place names originating from the Anglo-Saxon settlement are Hastings, Kensington, and Nottingham. The Anglo-Saxon men spent their days hunting and ploughing. They were expert farmers and when they were not at war they were busily occupied upon the land. Their women stayed at home and engaged in spinning and weaving. The men wore garments like kilts and cloaks fastened onto their shoulders by a brooch. The women wore long tunics down to the ankle and mantles with hoods. Their heads were covered with a light wrap and wore a considerable amount of jewellery like necklaces, bracelets and rings. The wealthy Anglo-Saxon usually wore over his shirt a linen or woollen tunic reaching nearly to the knee. The warrior chiefs were buried with gold-embroidered clothes and gilt buckles and cups. The common man was buried with everyday things like workboxes, beads and knives.
The Anglo-Saxons were polytheistic pagans when they first came to Britain. The evidence about the religious practices comes from their burial customs, and from later Christian writings. Excavation of the earliest Anglo-Saxon cemeteries at Sutton Hoo (Sutton Hoo is the site of two 6th and 7th century AngloSaxon cemeteries excavated in 1939) shows they favoured cremation over inhumation (burial). But their dead were sometimes buried with grave goods. It suggests that they believed in an afterlife. Woden (Chief God), Tiw (the God of War), Thor (God of Thunder), Freya (Goddess of Love) and Saturn (God of fun and feasting) were the prime Anglo-Saxon deities. Temples to Woden or Thor were built by kings or rich landowners. Oxen, horses and pigs were sacrificed and people sprinkled themselves with their blood. After the Gregorian Mission in 597 AD (see Advent of Christianity), conversion of Anglo-Saxons into Christianity started. It was a major turning point in their life. They changed their way of life and became less war-like and more domesticated.
The Anglo-Saxons spoke the language we now call Old English. It is the ancestor of modern-day English. Old English was spoken and written in Anglo-Saxon Britain from AD 450 until 1150 AD. Surviving Anglo-Saxon manuscripts show that there were different dialects spoken in different parts of the country, such as West Saxon, Northumbrian and Mercian. The oldest English poem, Caedmon’s Hymn, was written in Northumbrian dialect of Old English. During the time of Alfred the Great, there was a conspicuous development in the field of Anglo-Saxon language and literature (see Literary contributions of Alfred). Evidence for a central language is first seen during the period of King Ethelred around 1000 AD. During his reign there was a spurt in literary creativity in Latin and Old English.
The Anglo-Saxons brought a specific poetic tradition, the formal character of which remained surprisingly constant until the termination of their rule by the Norman-French invaders six centuries later. Of the origins of Old English poetry we know nothing; the fragments that we possess are not those of a literature in the making, but of a school which had passed through its age of transition from ruder elements. Some thirty thousand lines of English poetry have survived, nearly all of them contained in four manuscripts.
The poetry of the Old English period is generally grouped in two main divisions, national and Christian. The line of demarcation is not, of course, absolutely fixed. The early national poems can be classified in two groups, epic and elegiac. With one or two exceptions they are anonymous. For the most part, they seem to be the work of minstrels (religious singers) rather than of literary men. Much of Old English poetry was probably intended to be chanted, with the accompaniment of a harp, by the Anglo-Saxon bard. This poetry generally emphasises the sorrow and ultimate futility of life and the helplessness of humans before the power of fate. Almost all this poetry is composed without rhyme, in a characteristic line, or verse, of four stressed syllables alternating with an indeterminate number of unstressed ones. Another unfamiliar but equally striking feature in the formal character of Old English poetry is structural alliteration, or the use of syllables beginning with similar sounds in two or three of the stresses in each line.
All these qualities of form and spirit are exemplified in the epic poem Beowulf written, probably between 700 and 750. It is a poem of 3183 lines, which has been preserved in a manuscript of the tenth century. Beginning and ending with the funeral of a great king, and composed against a background of impending disaster, it describes the exploits of a Scandinavian hero, Beowulf, in destroying the monster Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a fire-breathing dragon. The poem opens with a short account of the victorious Danish king Scyld Scefing, whose funeral is described in some detail. His grandson Hrothgar builds a splendid hall, called Heorot. His happiness is destroyed by Grendel, a monster who attacks the hall by night and devours as many as thirty knights at a time. No one can withstand him and when Grendel’s ravages have lasted twelve years, Beowulf, a man of enormous strength, determines to go to Hrothgar’s assistance. The king gives him and his companions a feast and Beowulf announces his determination to conquer or die. Grendel bursts into the hall and devours one of the knights. Beowulf, however, seizes him by the arm, which he tears off after a desperate struggle, and the monster takes to flight, mortally wounded. Hrothgar congratulates Beowulf on his victory and rewards him with rich gifts. During the night Grendel’s mother appears and carries off the king’s chief councillor. Beowulf plunges into the water and reaches a cave, where he has a desperate encounter with the monster. Eventually he succeeds in killing her with a sword which he finds in the cave. He then comes upon the corpse of Grendel and cuts off its head. The head is brought in triumph to the palace, and Beowulf describes his adventure. In these sequences Beowulf is shown not only as a glorious hero but as a saviour of the people.
Beowulf and his companions return to their own land. Beowulf succeeds to the throne and reigns gloriously for fifty years. In his old age his land is ravaged by a fire spitting dragon. Beowulf orders his men to wait as he confronts the dragon which attacks him. One of his companions rescues him but the rest, in spite of his exhortations, flee. As the dragon darts forward Beowulf strikes it on the head; but his sword breaks, and the dragon seizes him by the neck. His follower succeeds in wounding it, and Beowulf finishes it off with his knife. But the hero is mortally wounded and he gives directions with regard to his funeral. The poem ends with an account of the funeral. The Old Germanic virtue of mutual loyalty between leader and followers is evoked effectively and touchingly in the aged Beowulf’s sacrifice of his life and in the reproaches heaped on the retainers who desert him in this climactic battle. The extraordinary artistry with which fragments of other heroic tales are incorporated to illuminate the main action, and with which the whole plot is reduced to symmetry, has only recently been fully recognized.
It is generally thought that several originally separate lays (narrative poems) have been combined in the poem. Another feature of Beowulf is the weakening of the sense of the ultimate power of arbitrary fate. The injection of the Christian idea of dependence on a just God is evident. The extent to which the Christian element is present varies somewhat in different parts of the poem. The Christian element is about equally distributed between the speeches and the narrative. While the poet’s reflections and even the sentiments attributed to the various speakers are largely, though not entirely, Christian, the customs and ceremonies described are, almost without exception, heathen. This fact seems to point, not to a Christian work with heathen reminiscences, but to a heathen work that has undergone revision by Christian minstrels. It is likely that large portions of the poem existed in epic form before the change of faith and that the appearance of the Christian element is due to revision. The Christianity of Beowulf is of a singularly indefinite and non doctrinal type, which contrasts somewhat strongly with what is found in later Old English poetry. Beowulf can be read in many ways: as myth; as territorial history of the Baltic kingdoms in which it is set; as forward-looking reassurance. Questions of history, time and humanity are at the heart of it: it moves between past, present, and hope for the future, and shows its origins in oral tradition.
Apart from Beowulf, the only remains of epic poetry are a short but fine fragment (50 lines) of Finnsburh and two still shorter fragments (32 and 31 lines respectively) of Waldhere. Widsith though not an epic itself, contains much matter in common with poems of that type. A Christian element is present but it is very slight and may be removed without affecting the structure of the poem. The poem seems to be the work of an unknown fourth century minstrel. The elegy of Deor is a much shorter poem than Widsith (42 lines in all) and in its general tone presents a striking contrast to it. While Widsith tells of the glory of famous heroes and, incidentally, of the minstrel’s own success, Deor is taken up with stories of misfortune, which are brought forward in illustration of the poet’s troubles. The Wanderer is a rather long elegy (115 lines), depicting the sufferings of a man who has lost his lord. The Seafarer is a poem of about the same length as The Wanderer and resembles it in several passages rather closely. The other elegiac poems that have survived include The Wife’s Lament, The Husband’s Message and The Ruin.
Most of the poems of the period are preserved in the Exeter Book, one of the four preserved manuscripts. Almost all of what survives in Old English poetry was preserved by monastic copyists. Most of it was actually composed by religious writers after the conversion to Christianity. Only two names emerge from the anonymity which shrouds the bulk of Old English Christian poetry, namely, those of Caedmon and Cynewulf; and in the past, practically all the religious poetry had been attributed to one or other of these two poets. But the majority of the poems should be regarded as the work of singers whose names have been lost.
Caedmon, a humble man of the late 7th century was described by the historian and theologian Saint Bede the Venerable as having received the gift of song from God. Beyond the fact that his name seems to imply that he was of Celtic descent, we have no knowledge of the historical Caedmon other than that to be derived from the often-quoted passage in Bede. Bede reports that Caedmon sang first of the earth’s creation and the beginning of man and all the story of Genesis, and afterwards about the departure of the people of Israel from the land of Egypt and their entry into the land of promise and about many other narratives of the Scripture. Bede’s detailed enumeration of Caedmon’s other achievements must be held responsible for the attribution to Caedmon of a large number of religious poems of a similar character. The most important of the religious poems at one time attributed to Caedmon are Genesis, Exodus, Daniel. Genesis, the most interesting of these, opens with the praise of the Creator and proceeds to relate the revolt and fall of the angels (which, according to ancient theology, necessitated the creation of man to fill the vacant place in heaven), and then the creation of the earth. Exodus is a paraphrase of a portion only of the book from which it takes its name, i.e., the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea and the destruction of the Egyptians. The poem entitled Daniel versifies selected portions of the book of Daniel. Creation-Hymn is the only poem that can safely be attributed to Caedmon.
Cynewulf appears to be the author of at least four well-known poems, since he marked them as his own by the insertion of his signature in runes(carved with alphabets of ancient Germanic). The poems are Crist, Juliana, The Fates of the Apostles and Elene. Crist is the first poem in the Exeter Book. Crist falls into three clearly defined parts: the first dealing with the advent of Christ on earth, the second with His ascension, the third with His second advent to judge the world. The second part contains Cynewulf’s signature. Elene is, undoubtedly, Cynewulf’s masterpiece. The story is that of the discovery of the true cross by Helena, the mother of the emperor Constantine. It is written in a simple, dramatic style, interspersed with imaginative and descriptive passages of great beauty. With Cynewulf, Anglo-Saxon religious poetry moves beyond biblical paraphrase into the didactic, the devotional, and the mystical.
But the poem which, above all others, betrays the spirit of tender yet passionate veneration, of awe and adoration for “the wondrous cross on which the Prince of glory died,” is The Dream of the Rood. The poem is sometimes attributed to Cynewulf. The Dream of the Rood is the choicest blossom of Old English Christian poetry; religious feeling has never been more exquisitely clothed than in these one hundred and forty lines of alliterative verse. It is full of imaginative power and enters deeply into the mysteries of sin and of sorrow. The poet dreamt a dream and in it saw the holy rood decked with gems and shining gloriously. As he watched, it spoke, and told the story of the crucifixion, the descent from the cross, the resurrection. This conception of the cross as being gifted with power of speech lends a charm to the poem. The address is followed by the poet’s reflection on what he has seen: the cross shall be henceforth his confidence and help. The Dream of the Rood is a highly visual text, full of joy and suffering, light and darkness, earthly reality and heavenly bliss.
The work of Cynewulf and his school marks an advance upon the writings of the school of Caedmon. In Cynewulf the personal note is emphasised and becomes lyrical. Caedmon’s hymn in praise of the Creator is a sublime statement of generally recognised facts calling for universal acknowledgment in suitably exalted terms; Cynewulf’s confessions in the concluding portion of Elene or in The Dream of the Rood, or his vision of the day of judgement in Crist, are lyrical outbursts, spontaneous utterances of a soul which has become one with its subject and to which self- revelation is a necessity.
Anglo-Saxon poetry exhibits the limitations of a culturally early age, but it manifests also a degree of power which gives to Anglo- Saxon literature unquestionable superiority over that of any other European country of the same period. It is the personal relation of the soul to God the Father, the humanity of Christ, the brotherhood of man, the fellowship of saints, that the Celtic missionaries seem to have preached to their converts; and these doctrines inspired the choicest passages of Old English religious poetry, passages worthy of comparison with some of the best work of a later, more self-conscious and introspective age. This subjectivity is a new feature in English literature. When Christianity became the source of poetic inspiration, we find the purely epic character of a poem modified by the introduction of a lyric element. The early Christian poet does not sing of earthly love.
There is no evidence of the Anglo-Saxons possessing any literary prose tradition. The development of Old English prose took place wholly in England, and largely as a result of the Christianization of England. The imposing scholarship of monasteries in northern England in the late 7th century reached its peak in the Latin work Ecclesiastical History of the English People (731) by Venerable Bede. This history is divided into five books and the first book records events in Britain from the raids by Julius Caesar (55–54 BC) to the arrival in Kent (AD 597) of St. Augustine as a missionary. The last four books take the history up to 731 AD. The great educational effort of King Alfred of Wessex inspired an Old English translation of this important historical work. The finest passage in the English version is the account of Caedmon, an excellent piece of early prose, and Caedmon’s hymn is inserted in a West Saxon form. English prose begins in the reign of Alfred in an attempt by the King and his associates to bring within the range of the people the most significant aspects of earlier thought. Alfred, known in political history for his achievement in stemming the Danish conquest of England, is even more important in the history of English literature.
Of the many translations attributed to Alfred, the earliest appears to be the Dialogues of St. Gregory, a collection of the lives of saints, intended to provide his people with a literature of exemplary Christian conduct. It is now believed that his friend Bishop Waeferth of Worcester translated it. Gregory’s Pastoral Care which describes the moral and spiritual qualities required of those who govern others was another work that Alfred translated. He also brought out a Code of Law to make his people aware of the laws of the land. It was prefaced by a translation of Chapters 20 to 23 of Exodus, which tell of the giving of the law to Moses and this represents the earliest surviving attempt to translate The Bible. Alfred also translated The Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius. It deals with the fundamental problems of God’s government of the world, the nature of true happiness, and good and evil. It is in the form of a dialogue between Boethius and Philosophy, which explains the consolations associated with the contemplative state of mind. Alfred’s literary achievement is of immense importance. The prominence given to the vernacular during his reign made it possible for English literature to develop on its own lines. He was wise enough to limit himself to the work of translation, since he had not, apparently, great creative genius in letters. But he was able to produce a body of writings impressive in quantity, sufficiently readable and gave prestige to prose writing in English.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (891-1154) is a major prose work of the period. It is a record of contemporary national events and thus an important source of information for Alfred’s and subsequent reigns. It is also referred to sometimes as The Old English Annals and begins with an outline of English history from Julius Caesar’s invasion to the middle of the fifth century and continues (in one of its seven manuscripts) up to 1154. The different manuscripts, each of which was kept and continued at a different locality, diverged considerably after the beginning of the tenth century, often including material of local interest. The beginning of the Chronicle is usually credited to the influence of Alfred. Owing to the number of hands employed in its composition, the literary merit is very unequal. While the narrative rarely rises to the level of literary interest, it is remarkable for its simple style. The continuity of English prose from the Old English period to the Middle English period is demonstrated very clearly by the Chronicle.
If Old English poetry flowered in the late 7th and 8th centuries, Old English prose flowered in the late 10th and 11th centuries and was capable of dealing with any subject. The lucid, powerful sermons of Aelfric and Wulfstan reveal a complete mastery of the medium and show how fifty years before the Norman Conquest southern England especially had, along with a remarkable body of poetic achievement, the most advanced prose literature of any region in Europe. The most notable work of Aelfric is the 120 sermons, written in rhythmical prose in three cycles of 40 each. His Latin Colloquy gives a charming picture of everyday life in Anglo-Saxon England. He also produced an abbreviated version in Anglo-Saxon of the first seven books of the Old Testament (the Heptateuch) and this is the first genuine attempt to translate the Bible into English.
Aelfric wrote with lucidity and astonishing beauty and his alliterative prose, which loosely imitates the rhythms of Old English poetry, influenced writers long after the Norman Conquest. The most important of the homilies written by Wulfstan is ‘Sermon to the English’. Delivered in 1014, it is a ferocious denunciation of the morals of his time and a desperate sense of the imminence of doomsday pervades the sermon. Wulfstan’s eloquent and passionate prose is capable of stirring the heart. By the end of the Anglo- Saxon period English had been established as a literary language with a polish and versatility unequalled among European languages.

Recap

  •  Anglo-Saxon period which ushered in the 5th century CE ushered in a new era in the history of Britain.
  • The period witnessed a series of political and geographical ever since their advent.
  • Anglo-Saxon kingdom and its administration were unique and uniform in their functioning.
  • Rule of this invading community inflicted far-reaching changes in their society and culture.
  • Most of the history pertaining to this particular period was re-constructed using sources spanning not only from history but also from other disciplines.

Objective Type Questions

1. Name the tribes who conquered and controlled Britain in the Anglo-Saxon Period?
2. Which were the three tribes that constituted the inner core of the Anglo-Saxon community?
3. What was the name used to denote the period between the establishment of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdom and the destruction of the same in the second half of the ninth century?
4. What is the meaning of the term Heptarchy?
5. Which are the seven kingdoms that emerged after the Anglo- Saxon conquests in Britain?
6. What was the name given to the administrative divisions in the Anglo-Saxon period?
7. Which is considered the basic unit of administration under the Anglo-Saxon reign?
8. Name one famous ruler among the Anglo-Saxons who made definitive contributions to the formulation of a code of laws in this period?
9. Provide the name of two sources often referred by scholars and historians to know more about Anglo-Saxons?
10. What was the religious affiliation of Anglo-Saxons even before they set foot in the lands of Britain?
11. Name the language used by Anglo-Saxons.
12. Who wrote the magnum opus work of “ Ecclesiastical History of English People” in Latin from the Anglo-Saxon era?

Answers to Objective Type Questions

1. Germanic Tribes
2. Angles, Saxons and Jutes
3. Heptarchy
4. The rule of ‘seven kingdoms’
5. Northumbria, Mercia, East Anglia, Essex, Kent, Sussex and Wessex 6. Hundred and Shire
7. Hide (Land)
8. Alfred the Great
9. Ethelbert’s Law Code and Doomsday Book
10. Polytheistic Pagan Religion
11. Old English
12. Venerable Bede

Self Assessment Questions

1. Describe the formation of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom and the peculiarities of its administration.
2. Write down the basic characteristics that played a predominant role in shaping the then British kingdom.

Assignments

1. Make a comparative analysis of the situations that persisted in Britain prior to the arrival of Anglo-Saxons and those changes that came forth after their arrival.
2. Bring out the territorial expansions that occurred during the Anglo-Saxon period and explain the same with the help of a map.

Suggested Readings

1. Morris, Marc. The Anglo-Saxons: A History of The Beginnings of England, Hutchinson,2021.
2. Allen, Grant. Anglo Saxon Britain, El Paso Norte Pr,2007.
3. Stenton, Frank M. Anglo Saxon England, OUP, 2001.
4. Ryan, M.J. The Anglo Saxon World, Yale UP,2015.
5. Blair, John. Building Anglo Saxon England, Princeton UP, 2018.
6. Fleming, Brian. Britain After Rome: Fall and Rise 400 To 1070, Penguin Books, 2011.
7. Williams, Thomas. Viking Britain: A History, William Collins, 2018.
8. Bede, D.Farmer, Sherley Price (ed.), Ecclesiastical History of The English People: With Bede’s Letter to Egbert and Cuthbert’s Letter on the Death of Bede , Penguin Classics,1990.