|Bath, England, once called Aquae Sulis or the Spa of Sul (Minerva)|
|Hadrian's Wall, Northumbria, England|
- Mass migrations
- Clashes of cultures and religions
- War and the breakdown of society
- Power within a community shifting from administrators and bureaucrats to warrior-kings
- A new social structure, a new economy, and new values emerge
In England, the legions were withdrawn over 200 years (more or less), but were gone by 407 A.D. Almost immediately, the Picts from Scotland and the Scots from Ireland began harrying the North. Germanic warriors were brought in to help battle them. Within 50 years, the Saxons revolted and the Romanized Britons were on the road to defeat.
|Lindesfarne Abbey on Holy Island|
- Kingship was not hereditary; power was based solely on the king's ability to fight and win battles, gather treasure and slaves, and keep supporters loyal. Any male kin of the king could muster a claim for the crown.
- Academic opinions are split as to the size of the migrations in England (i.e. mass migration vs. band of elite warriors who took over the country) and whether the incoming Germanic groups drove the Britons west or if there was peaceful coexistence. In all likelihood, both happened. Initially, the Angles were invited in to fight incursions from Picts, Scots, and others. Others followed and by the 7th century Anglo-Saxons were the dominant people.
- The country was divided into seven major and minor kingdoms, with smaller kingdoms within the larger ones. There were kings and high kings. Saxon kingdoms: Northumbria, East Anglia, Mercia, Essex, Sussex, Wessex, and Kent. The kingdoms of Mercia and Northumbria fought for dominance throughout the 7th and 8th centuries.
- This struggle ended in the 9th century when the Danish invasions began. If you want an idea of how terrorizing Vikings were, just close your eyes and think of the dragon-headed silhouette of the long ship breaking through the fog. That it’s still seen as an image of terror more than a 1,000 years later is telling. In the past few decades, a new, softer Viking has emerged from the historical records, and much as been written about the Danes as farmers, merchants, and able administrators. True as that might be, Vikings left a lasting and frightening impression on Europe so they couldn’t have been too soft.
- In Europe, the Franks were consolidating power in what is now France. The Franks can be traced to the banks of the Rhine under Roman influence. After the collapse of imperial authority, the Franks moved west and south. The Merovingian dynasty grew out of the ruling elite and eventually replaced Rome as the ruling authority. It developed into the Carolingian Empire and reached its pinnacle under Charlemagne (783-814).
|Dunfermline Abbey in Dunfermline, Scotland|