A very brief Hisory of post-Roman Britain
410 CE - Present
Roman garrison in Britian hailed Constantine III as the
new emperor in 407 CE. He withdrew the remaining Roman legion, the Second
Augusta to fight Goths on the continent in 410 CE. This was the end
of Roman Empire's rule of Britain. After the Romans departed, Britain disintegrated
into a patchwork of petty kingdoms. The Irish, Picts and Scots started
attacking England after the withdrawl of Roman legions.
Vortigern usurps Imperial power in Britain as the High-King
in 425 CE. Historian Nennius wrote that the British king Vortigern
invited groups of Germanic mercenaries to assist him in fighting the Scots
and Picts. Vortigern hired more Saxon mercenaries in 446 CE, known as foederati,
to defend the northern parts against Irish incursions. In 450 CE., Saxon
warrior Hengist arrived with his men in Britain. The Saxons were allowed
to settle in Lincolnshire. This is known as the "Adventus Saxonum," - the
coming of the Saxons. The Saxons revolted around 440 CE. This is the begining
of Anglo-Saxon conquest and settlement of Celtic England. Unlike Roman
conquest, Anglo-Saxon conquest was slow and limited to only England. Wales
never succumbed at all to Anglo-Saxons.
Three differnt Germanic peoples invaded, migrated and
settled in England between 450 - 801 CE. Saxons of lower Germany settled
in Essex, Sussex, Wessex and Northumberland. Angles of Schleswig-Holstein
region of Germany settled in East Anglia and Mercia. And the Jutes
of Denmark settled in Kent and Isle of Wright. However, recent archeological
excavation showed a complex migration pattern and more than three groups
came from continent to England during this period.
The settlement of England by Anglo-Saxons happened in
many stages. Anglo-Saxon conquest completed when Aethelfrid conquered
the area around Bath and Chester in 615 CE. The Anglo-Saxons enslaved the
Romanized celtic population of England in the conquered areas, extinguishing
their culture and history by creating new placenames in the Anglo-Saxon
language (old English language). As the hall mark of Germanic culture,
they settled the countryside. Cities were depopulated. Christianity had
disappeared fron England and Paganism was reintroduced.
Probably no coins were minted or in use in England from
the end of Roman rule in 410 CE., to the rise of Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms in
Anglo-Saxons consolidated their small holdings and
formed into a number of Kingdoms by 600 CE. Large and powerful kingdoms
were Kent, Mercia, East Anglia, Northumberia, Sussex and Wessex.
Christianity was reintroduced. Trade resumed between England and the Continent.
Gold coins called Tremisses of Merovingian France were
imported by Anglo-Saxon kings of Kent. Small quantities of Gold Thrymsas
were produced by copying the Merovingian Tremisses. Silver pennies were
introduced in 675 CE. The use of these silver coins quickly spread to other
Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. These are known today as Sceattas (pronounced "shee-atta").
They were thick and small silver coins. They were produced in a wide variety
of types and designs but without inscriptions. Sceattas of East Anglia
and Northumbria are exceptions. They had name of the King and sometimes
Archbishop of York. Sceattas were the only unit of currency circulated
in England for over a century and a half. Around 770 CE., a thinner
and broader penny was introduced in most Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. It bore
the name and title of the king on the front and name of the moneyer on
the back. King Offa of Mercia (757-96 CE) was the first King to introduce
them. He defeated King of Wessex in 779 CE and became King of All England.
Old type Sceattas were only minted in Northumbria, and by the Archbishops
of York in the latter part of the 8th Century. Debasement of Sceattas increased
at the begining of 9th century. These base coins are now called Stycas
and circulated as currency for almost another hundred years.
Vikings started their intermittent attacks on England
begining in 836 CE.. The viking army resumed their full scale attacks on
England in 865 CE. They captured York (Danish. Jorvik) in 866; the Kingdoms
of East Anglia in 869. Southern Northumbria and eastern Mercia were
conquered and settled by the Danish Vikings. All these kingdoms came under
Danish law, so it was called Danelaw. Viking Kings struck their own coinage
closely imitating English silver pennies.
King Egbert of Wessex became very powerful and was recognized
as Overlord of all English kings in 828 CE. This was the begining of all
of English Monarchy. King Alfred (871-99 CE) declared himself King of all
England outside Danelaw. King Alfred succeeded in gradually pushing back
the Vikings. In several campaigns 917-19CE., the Danelaw was conquered
and thus bringing all of England under Anglo-Saxon rule. King Edward (son
of Alfred) took the title King of the Angles and Saxons. King Eadred was
the first to claim the title King of England in 954 CE. In 959 CE., all
of England permanently united and King Edgar (959-75 CE).
List of English Kings and Queens.
RK. August 26, 2001.