history of early medieval europe – fragments

A.D. 449 – Rome falls and its legions withdraw from Britain.”This was an extremely important event because the country was left withouth the defenses it had counted on and was vulnerable to attacks by the Picts from the north and the Saxons from the east.” (Professor Borges, p1)

“English literature starts to develop at the end of the 7th or beginning of the 8th century.” (P.B. p1)

“The British Isles were Rome’s remotest colony, the one farthest to the north, and it had been conquered all the way to Caledonia, part of present-day Scotland, which was inhabited by the Picts, a people of Celtic origin separated from the rest of Britain by Hadrian’s Wall. To the south lived the Celts, who had converted to Christianity, and the Romans. In the cities, educated people spoke Latin; the lower classes spoke various Gaelic dialects. The Celts were a people who lived in the regions of Iberia, Switzerland, Tirol, Belgium, France – and Britain. Their mythology was wiped out by the Romans and the barbarian invasions, except in Wales and Ireland, where some remnants of it were preserved.” (p1)

“The Saxons were thought of as a confederation of marauding tribes, for Tacitus does not refer to them as a ‘people’ in his Germania. They were ‘of North-Sea Germanic stock,’ and were related to the Vikings, who came later. They inhabited the Lower Rhine region and the Low Coundtries.” (P.B. p2)

The Anglos inhabited southern Denmark, the Jutes lived in Jutland, the peninsula that forms northern Denmark. (p2)

“‘Germanic,’ then, is the generic designation of a group of tribes, each with a different ruler, who spoke similar dialects,…they shared some of the same mythologies, though only the Norse one has survived, and then only in the remotest parts of Europe: Iceland. We know of certain connections between them from the mythology preserved in the Eddas: for example, that hte Norse god Odin was the German Wotan and the English Woden.” (p2)

see Borges. the Witness

Anglo Saxon mythology: the Norse worshiped Valkyries – this was a practice in England as well – there are records of a 9th century English trial of a woman accused of being a Valkyrie. Did Christianity transform these carriers of dead souls, these warrior women, into witches? Quite possibly. (p2)

Non-Germans, foreigners, were called wealh, which turned into “Welsh” in England.

“The Vikings were individual adventurers. This is one reason there was never a Norse empire. The Norsemen had no consciousness of race. Each person pledged his loyalty to his tribe and his chief.” (p28)

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