Today, Southampton is a modern port city of a quarter of a million inhabitants. Before the mid 9th century however, Southampton did not exist. Originally, a Roman fort often called Clausentum lay on the east side of the Itchen. After the Roman period in England however, a separate settlement moved to the opposite bank of… Continue reading Hamwic, Anglo-Saxon predecessor of Southampton
Since Ivarr the Boneless and his brothers landed in East Anglia in 865 the Anglo-saxon kingdoms of Britain knew no peace. By 875 only ten years later, East Anglia, Northumbria, Mercia and even Wessex all had new rulers. All but one of these kings had been set up at the instigation of the Danish invaders.… Continue reading 871: The battle for Wessex, or how Alfred the Great came to the throne.
So what did the Anglo-saxons and Vikings fight with? That all depended on what you could afford. If you were a poor ceorl, you fought with whatever you could find: hoes, rakes, sling shots, knives, axes. If you were a little richer you could afford to buy yourself protective body armour, shields and swords. Swords… Continue reading You call that a knife?
The fyrd was the Anglo-saxon fighting force. From the beginning of the Anglo-saxon period around 410AD right through to 1066, the structure of the fyrd evolved but it’s main task was always the same, to fight wars and battles for their chieftain or king when needed. The best evidence for the structure of a fyrd… Continue reading The Anglo-saxon fyrd
A lot of what we know about the history of the Dark Ages comes from written documents of the time such as land grants, wills, sagas, chronicles and annals either written during the period under study or soon after. For the information i need when writing historical fiction and blog posts i try and use… Continue reading Historical sources rundown
Aristocracy Kings As in most traditional western societies, at the pinnacle of the Anglo-saxon social ladder was the king. The king was lord over his kingdom, providing protection through war or diplomacy for his people. He did this through military campaigns, marriage alliances, tributes, the giving of hostages etc. It was through war more than… Continue reading Anglo-saxon social ladder, from kings to slaves
Unlike his brothers Ivarr the Boneless and Ubbe, none of the Viking Sagas mention anything of Halfdan or any other similar name (with the one exception of Hvitserk in the Saga of Ragnar's sons, although this figure died in Russia). We are quite sure that they were brothers, however, as Simeon of Durham, Roger of… Continue reading Historical Figure Profile: Halfdan