Anglo-Saxon England

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  • #1
Astronuc
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Huge hoard of Anglo-Saxon treasure uncovered in UK
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090924/ap_on_re_eu/eu_britain_anglo_saxon_gold [Broken]

LONDON – It's an unprecedented find that could revolutionize ideas about medieval England's Germanic rulers: An amateur treasure-hunter searching a farmer's field with a metal detector unearthed a huge collection of Anglo-Saxon gold and silver artifacts.

The discovery sent a thrill through Britain's archaeological community, which said Thursday that it offers new insight into the world of the Anglo-Saxons, who ruled England from the fifth century until the 1066 Norman invasion and whose cultural influence is still felt throughout the English-speaking world.

"This is just a fantastic find completely out of the blue," Roger Bland, who managed the cache's excavation, told The Associated Press. "It will make us rethink the Dark Ages."

The treasure trove includes intricately designed helmet crests embossed with a frieze of running animals, enamel-studded sword fittings and a checkerboard piece inlaid with garnets and gold. One gold band bore a biblical inscription in Latin calling on God to drive away the bearer's enemies.

The Anglo-Saxons were a group of Germanic tribes who invaded England starting in the wake of the collapse of the Roman Empire. Their artisans made striking objects out of gold and enamel, and their language, Old English, is a precursor of modern English.

The cache of gold and silver pieces was discovered in what was once Mercia, one of five main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, and is thought to date to between 675 and 725.

. . . .

http://news.yahoo.com/nphotos/Largest-hoard-Anglo-Saxon-treasure-found/ss/events/wl/092409anglosaxon [Broken]

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/england/staffordshire/8272058.stm
A gold strip carries the Latin inscription: "Rise up O Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face." It has two sources, the Book of Numbers or Psalm 67, taken from the Vulgate, the Bible used by the Saxons.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8272848.stm

Quite interesting!
 
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  • #3
DavidSnider
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Amazing that something like this sat "on top of the soil, at the grass" for 13 centuries without anybody noticing.

Correction: Oh, nevermind, they were sitting there because of recent plowing. =)
 
  • #4
Evo
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I can't read or hear "Mercia" without thinking of Monty Python.

Thanks for the article Astro, the "Dark Ages", now considered the early middle ages by some, is one of my favorite eras.
 
  • #5
Astronuc
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I can't read or hear "Mercia" without thinking of Monty Python.

Thanks for the article Astro, the "Dark Ages", now considered the early middle ages by some, is one of my favorite eras.
Yeah - I was thinking of Graham Chapman as Arthur in the "Holy Grail"

Guard: Where'd you get the coconuts?
Arthur: We found them.
Guard: Found them? In Mercia?! The coconut's tropical!
Arthur: What do you mean?
Guard: Well, Mercia's a temperate zone!
Arthur: The swallow may fly south with the sun, and the house martin or the plover may seek warmer climes in winter, yet these are not strangers to our land.
Guard: ... Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?
:rofl:
 
  • #6
Integral
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Bernard Cornwell has a very good series of books (http://www.essentially-england.com/the-anglosaxon-chronicles-by-bernard-cornwell.html" [Broken]) written around the struggles of Alfred The Great to gain and hold England. If you are interested in this era these books give a very good feeling for the life and times.
 
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  • #7
Evo
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I highly recommend Micheal Wood's book "In Search of the dark ages" for anyone that wants a nice summary of the Dark Ages that is understandable and highly readable by laymen. Woods writes with an enthusiasm that is contagious.
 
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Thanks for the book suggestions, I had been looking for a topic to carry me into the winter.
 
  • #9
Astronuc
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One can find some reading material here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declin..._fall.2C_decline.2C_transition_and_continuity

I highly recommend Peter Heather's book, The Fall of the Roman Empire, and there are many others.

I'm curious about the theories of Arnold J. Toynbee and James Burke. Toynbee was a prolific author and Burke has some interesting ideas expresses in his Connections programs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_Ages
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Ages_in_history

Bernard Lewis's The Middle East: A brief history of the last 2000 years is an interesting read in parallel with European history.

I'll definitely have to pick up Wood's book on English history.
 
  • #10
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Some years ago, I took an organized walking tour of Oxford. The tour leader, (an Oxford student from London) said the history of England began with the Conquest (1066) and generally disparaged England's Anglo-Saxon heritage. I've encountered this attitude among other English people also (mostly well educated). They seem to regard the names of the Anglo-Saxon rulers as "....rather strange and foreign sounding, wouldn't you say?" I wonder how widespread this attitude is in the UK.

This is the cross of St George, the flag of England. St George was a Roman soldier who lived in the third and fourth century CE:
http://blog.nawbus.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2009/04/flag-of-england.jpg

Many English also admire the legendary King Arthur (most likely based on a Romano-Celtic warrior who fought the Anglo-Saxons) and the stone age builders of Stonehenge (often mistakenly attributed to Celtic Druids). The Celtic British Queen Boudicca of the Iceni is also highly thought of, although she suffered a terrible defeat at the hands of the Romans. About the only Anglo-Saxons that most of the English seem to respect are Alfred the Great and Beowulf.

Perhaps this recent find will change some minds.

http://www.britannia.com/history/stgeorge.html
http://www.distinguishedwomen.com/biographies/boudicca.html
http://www.britannia.com/history/h12.html
 
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