Anglo-Saxon Thegn 449 - 1066 Ad by Mark Harrison

By Mark Harrison

The cave in of Roman rule in Britain used to be no longer rather a lot a unexpected disaster as a protracted and drawn-out decline. The 'Celtic' Britons retreated progressively to the highland parts of Wales, Cornwall and the south-west of Scotland. keep an eye on of the fertile japanese lowlands was once misplaced to warriors of Germanic beginning who migrated from the Continent. those Germanic conquerors became identified to background because the 'Anglo-Saxons'. They have been to dominate the lowland sector of england till their ultimate defeat at Hastings in 1066. This name provides an perception into the typical existence, gear, costume, conflict strategies and lifestyles on crusade of the common Anglo-Saxon warrior of this era – the thegn.

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It was traditional for those founding a city to assemble a horde of the obscure and lowly-born and then make the fictional claim that these people had ‘sprung from the soil’. Following this tradition, Romulus opened a place of refuge at the enclosed space between the two groves of trees that you find as you go down from the Capitol. This became an asylum for an indiscriminate crowd of freedmen and [escaped] slaves looking to better their lot. This influx was the first source of strength for the newly-founded city.

The biographer Plutarch quotes from a speech attributed to Tiberius Gracchus, which gives some of the flavour of his oratory. The wild beasts of Italy have each a cave or a lair of their own. But the men who fight and die for Italy have no part of it but the sunlight and air. With their wives and children they wander from place to place with neither hearth nor home. So the lips of their generals lie when before battle they exhort the soldiers to defend their family tombs and shrines from the enemy, because not a man of their listeners has an hereditary altar, no, not one of all these many Romans has an ancestral tomb.

Thus: If one focussed on the power of the consuls, the constitution seemed completely monarchical and biased towards royalty. Again, if one concentrated on the senate it seemed aristocratic, and when one looked at the power of the common people [Rome] clearly appeared to be a democracy. 11 The consuls provided the monarchical element, but they were prevented from becoming tyrants by the senate, which represented the aristocratic element. The senate was prevented from becoming oligarchical by the people, whose democracy was prevented from degenerating into mob rule by the monarchical and aristocratic elements, Yet even though this constitution was able to slow the cycle of human governance, Polybius was too cynical (or realistic) to believe that the process could altogether be stopped.

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