The book takes a new look at the archaeological and literary evidence and focuses on the fragmenting Diocese, provincial and civitas structures of post-Roman Britain.
The book takes a new look at the archaeological and literary evidence and focuses on the fragmenting Diocese, provincial and civitas structures of post-Roman Britain. It places events in the context of increased Germanic immigration alongside evidence for significant continuation of population and land use. Using evidence from fifth century Gaul it demonstrates dynamic changes to cultural identities both within and across various groups.
Covering the migration period it describes the foundation stories of Hengest and Horsa in Kent, Cerdic and Cynric, first kings of the West Saxons and lle founder of the kingdom of the South Saxons. lle is the first king Bede describes as holding imperium and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle calls Bretwalda. Covering the figures of Ceawlin, thelberht and R dwald it ends with the death of Penda, the last great pagan king.
As life under Roman authority faded into history we see the emergence of a 'warband' culture and the emergence of petty kingdoms. The mead hall replaced crumbling villas and towns as the center of social life. These halls rang with the poems of bards and the stories of great warriors and battles. Arthur and Urien of Rheged. The famous Mons Badonicus and the doomed charge of the Gododdin at Catraeth. A chapter on weapons, armor, warfare and accounts of contemporary battles will help paint a picture of dark age warfare. From the arrival of Saxon mercenaries in the fifth century to the death of Penda, the last pagan king, at Winwaed in 655.