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Для добавления текста щелкните мышью LECTURE 2 THE ANGLO- SAXON PERIOD (c.440 – 1066)
Sources The Ruin of Britain by Guildas (540s) The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by the Venerable Bede (731)
Germanic tribes: the Saxons, the Angles, the Jutes The society the invaders introduced was based on two principles: the power of money and the power of lordship.
The foundation of the Germanic system was blood and kin. The family was the unit, the tribe was the whole. In Germany they had no kings. They developed them in Britain. The position of the king continually increased in importance and his supporters and companions gradually formed a new class in society, which carried with it the germ of feudalism, and was in the end to dominate all other conventions.
Over time the invaders set up seven kingdoms - The Heptarchy - in various parts of Britain. Northumbria and Mercia ruled by the Angles and Wessex (West Saxons) ruled by the Saxons were the most powerful. The other four were Essex (East Saxons), Sussex (South Saxons), East Anglia and Kent. That was in the early seventh century.
The Anglo-Saxon kings were elected by the members of the Council of Chieftains (the Witan). By the tenth century the Witan was a formal body, issuing laws and charters.
The Saxons divided the land into new administrative areas, based on shires (counties). Over each shire was appointed a shire reeve, the kings local administrator. In time his name became shortened to sheriff.
The counties were divided into areas called hundreds. At the heart of each early district was a royal manor house or tun, run by a local official but visited by the king at more or less frequent intervals.
That was already a Christian England but not yet a united English Kingdom. In the 8th century it was Mercia that was the most powerful kingdom and its king Offa was reputed to be the first King of the English.
The Viking Age It was probably in summer 789 when the first raid took place. In 865 the Vikings invaded Britain.
By 875 only King Alfred in the west of Wessex held out against the Vikings.
After some serious defeats Alfred won a decisive battle in 878. He was strong enough to make a treaty with the Vikings in 886. Viking rule was recognized in the east and north of England. It was called the Danelaw, the land where the law of the Danes ruled. In the rest of the country Alfred was recognised as king.
Not for nothing Alfred is now known as Alfred the Great. He carried out his programme of education through a circle of court intellectuals. He was the only English king before Henry VIII who wrote books. He learnt Latin and translated works into English (which include Bedes Ecclesiastical History). It is also believed that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle may have been first compiled at Alfreds court.
King Alfreds Book of Laws, or Dooms: he inverted the Golden Rule; Instead of do unto others as you would that they should do unto you, he adopted the less ambitious principle, What ye will that other men should not do to you, that do ye not to other men.
The Laws of Alfred, continually amplified by his successors, grew into that body of customary law administered by the shire and hundred courts out of which the Common Law was founded.
By 950 England seemed to be rich and peaceful again. But soon afterwards the Danish Vikings started raiding westwards. The Saxon king, Ethelred, decided to pay the Vikings to stay away. To find the money he set a tax on all his people, called Danegeld, or Danish money. It was the beginning of a regular tax system of the people which would provide money for armies.
When Ethelred died Cnut (or Canute), the leader of the Danish Vikings, controlled much of England. He became king for the simple reason that the royal council, the Witan, and everyone else, feared disorder. Rule by a Danish king was far better than rule by no one at all. Cnut died in 1035, and his son died shortly after, in The Witan chose Edward, one of Saxon Ethelred's sons, to be king.