Who Arthur Fought: The Anglo-Saxons

The Venerable Bede (b. 673, d. 735 CE) writes in his History of the English Church and People:

In the year of our Lord 449…the Angles and Saxons came to Britain at the invitation of King Vortigern in three longships, and were granted lands in the eastern part of the island on condition that they protected the country: nevertheless their real intention was to subdue it. They…sent back news of their success to their homeland, adding that the country was fertile and the Britons cowardly. Whereupon a larger fleet quickly came over with a great body of warriors, which, when joined to the original forces, constituted an invincible army…their first chieftains are said to have been the brothers Hengist and Horsa…They were the sons of Wictgils, whose father was Witta, whose father was Wecta, son of Woden…

SO the beleaguered Britons were up against Gods.

…Public and private buildings were razed; priests were slain at the altar; bishops and people alike, regardless of rank, were destroyed with fire and sword, and none remained to bury those who had suffered a cruel death….

This rapacious folk, so appalling to the gentle monastic, were the Anglo-Saxons. They came originally as members from three more or less distinct tribes, the Jutes, Saxons, and Angles, from what is now coastal Belgium, Netherlands, northern Germany and Denmark.

There is a stunning similarity with the way the invasions by the heathen Anglo-Saxons were recorded by the Romanised Britons and the way the invasions by the heathen Vikings were recorded hundreds of years later by the Christianized Anglo-Saxons. The same violence over the same lands – but this time the Anglo-Saxons were those, who without regard for rank or religious calling, were destroyed by fire and sword.

The Anglo-Saxon period is considered to be from 450 CE to the disaster at Hastings in October 1066, and although the changes thereafter were catastropic for the legal rights of women (and nearly all property owners in general) Anglo-Saxon culture and mores did not completely vanish. Like the language it evolved, adapted, and absorbed invading Norman influences.

See the scholar Alcuin writing about the Viking destruction of Lindisfarne
See Arthur for the little that is truly known about him

{ 0 comments… add one }

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.