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Would you call your new baby boy 'Louis'?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Ancientpencil, 27 Apr 2018.

  1. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,410

    The Chronica Gallica, about the closest contemporary source being within about a decade, strongly suggests Britain and several other Roman territories were given over to and deliberately settled by the Anglo-Saxons, under the Roman authorities, rather than being completely abandoned as the Empire was in the process of withdrawing.

    Subsequent works also speak of Saxons being brought in and set up with land in key areas, precisely for the defence of the Britons. The Saxons were one of the Foederati, as the Romans called them, ie a bunch of fighty types with whom they had agreements and gave benefits (usually settlements within the Empire) for their military service.
    Bede paints quite the picture of the Anglo-Saxons, almost as the God-given saviours of the filthy heathen Brits... or even their divine punishment/retribution.
    Once established, a great many more Saxons hopped over to join the settlements and thus began the peaceful migration.

    The strongly supported suggestion that the land was given to them anyway gives them no reason to take it... because they already have it.
    There was meant to be something in the foedus treaty about Rome sending food supplies, which the Saxons didn't get and so there was a bit of a kick-off over that which culminated in the Battle of Badon Hill and gives rise to various King Arthur stories. Nothing quite the same as a military invasion, though. More like a change of management after a company is sold off.
     
  2. Chris Wilson

    Soldato

    Joined: 28 Nov 2003

    Posts: 6,720

    Location: Shropshire


    Excellent, it's a shame some others haven't realised the class system is alive and well and fighting it is both tiresome and pointless. Hierarchy exists in the animal kingdom and within our (perceived) superiority above it, it will always be so. I went through a rage stage, but quickly saw that I utilised hierarchy to my own advantage and it was disingenuous to criticise others higher up the tree for doing the same :)
     
  3. Angilion

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 5 Dec 2003

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    Location: Just to the left of my PC

    I'll hunt down the full text of the Chronica Gallica (both of them, but especially the 452 one) tomorrow. A quick look shows references to something rather less peaceful than you portray, e.g.:

    So between 410 and 440 we go from Britain being devastated by Saxon raids, being conquered by Saxons after various disasters and finally surrendering to the Saxons and being lost to Rome. According to the Chronica Gallica, apparently. Not a peaceful gift.
     
  4. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,410

    Generally the Angeln and Saxons moved into areas that had been Roman authority centres and were quite welcome by those who'd hated being Romanized. It was mostly the wilder areas where any kind of authority was ignored, especially Briton's tribal kings, that gave rise to minor violence... that and anything the Jutes got involved with, it seems.


    Can you find me any academic/dictionary sources for this exact word? I can't find anything even vaguely similar, aside from a few forum pages all quoting the exact same three lines you have.
    Best I have is dēvastātae, meaning devastated, but wherever I look this quite specific spelling is used... I also note that this is just one incursion - Surely a whole nation cannot be utterly destroyed by a three boat force of mercs making just one attack?


    "The Britons, which to this time had suffered from various disasters and misfortunes, are reduced to the power of the Saxons".
    In other words, the Brits kept getting invaded and couldn't get their own act together because of internal squabbling and corruption, so rather than get Rome direct to help out and suffer Roman re-occupation, they got three boats of Saxons in.

    Not quite.
    We go from Britain being left by Rome, suffering raids by numerous Picts and northern tribes, suffering greatly under the tyrrany of their own corrupt leadership... then inviting mainly Jutish (plus a few Saxon) mercenaries to settle in Kent, who seemingly did a good job... They were given that land by the Britons. Britain then loses the entirety of Kent to the Jutes when a drunk and horny Vortigern fell for the Jutish chieftain's daughter and they demanded Ceint as the price for Vorty marrying her.
    The Britons don't take too kindly and Vorty's son kicks off against both, starting a war and giving rise to more Jutes and Saxons coming over. Vorty Jnr dies, but Britain cannot keep up the promised payments as Rome has now decided the place is a lost cause and stopped responding to their calls for help, so the Jutes and Saxons have some more war, do the Badon thing, but still prosper afterward and eventually dominate: Britanniae a Romanis amissae in dicionem Saxonum cedunt.
    The Britains, lost to the Romans, yield to the power of the Saxons.
     
  5. Heinz57

    Gangster

    Joined: 27 May 2008

    Posts: 376

    It's for very good reason 400-600 is known as the "Lost Centuries" in Britain - no-one knows anything for certain and so many of the sources conflict. You could argue all day and make no progress.

    Bede, Gildas, Tacitus, Sidonius and others, they don't exactly agree or are all even contemporary. Much of the timeline is unknown too, some dates and timings are certainly incorrect.

    It seems unlikely the Saxons, Angles or Jutes came peacefully (at least a first). According to the sources I know of, they either simply invaded, or they were hired by the Romans in defence against other barbarians but ended up mutinying and invading anyway. They may also have mutinied, gone home and come back again at a later date in the 5th C. Some of them may have come over and settled peacefully later, when sea levels rose in some parts of northern Europe (but there again, there are arguments over where Jutes even came from).

    We don't even know who was in charge in Britain after the Romans left. It was most likely Briton families who had attained power during Roman rule and the descendants of Roman artistocrats. We don't know when power passed over from the remaining Britons in places like East Anglia, might have been as late as the 6th C. The last Britons weren't defeated until 1282 by Edward I though.

    Wouldn't be surprised if it's misspelt or corrupt though. Most of the Latin I deal with is corrupt... irritating...


    Also, I don't particularly like the name Louis.
     
  6. Angilion

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 5 Dec 2003

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    Location: Just to the left of my PC

    I find it implausible that Britons who lived in the most Roman areas, who were Roman citizens decended from Roman citizens for generations, all hated being Roman and welcomed being conquered by Angles and Saxons. If anything, those would be the people who would be least likely to welcome being conquered.

    Who said it was "a three boat force of mercs making just one attack"? An incursion can be anything from a single small scale raid to a full scale invasion by a dozen armies.


    Those are indeed other words, since they're not the ones stated.

    Also some other words.

    You'd do a fairly good job as a writer for a later English king, writing history for the victors, but I think you're too obviously biased. It's too much spin, enough to be implausible. Good spin is more subtle.
     
  7. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

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    There are some relative consistencies, some inconsistencies. But dates aside, most present a fairly similar picture. The hardest part is trying to guess at the contemporary ideas and thinking of historians rather than interpreting it as modern historians (or audiences) with modern methods and ideas.
    That and separating out the religious leanings from some of them.

    They'd raided before quite a lot, being Norsey Vikingey types... but once properly hired they came over quite nicely (by comparison).

    Seemingly, that was just the Jutes in Kent who got all rebellious... but only after Vortigern's son kicked off, which itself was only in response to them tricking Vortigern into giving them all of Kent. That seems to be the common tale of Hengist and Horsa.
    I believe the Romans had some level of oversight or authority in said hiring, as Vortigern was a Briton but the Saxons were still described as Foederati at the same time as other groups and nations being 'foedussed' by Rome directly.

    One would think Jutland..... you know, from the name, and all.... It was all about the same area, really.

    Whoever could take and keep power, I imagine. Kings are spoken of, in the same way as are tribal chiefs, so I'd go with that as an assumption. Likely varied between areas.

    Yeah, not helpful.

    But who do they rule? What sort of people were these most Roman of Romans governing? Why did they kill Marcus and Gratianus, before choosing Constantine... and then later booting out his Roman magistrates, if they so loved being Roman?
    The likes of Gildas speak of the Britons' self-indulgence without Roman taxation, suggesting that without Roman rule things went somewhat awry. Those areas most thoroughly Romanised would also be where their own political and military power were weakest, as they had previously depended so heavily on Roman rule... and more so as Honorius basically told them they were on their own now.
    So on one hand you'll have those glad of some authorty to bring people back in line, while on the other you'd have those who never liked the Roman ways in the first place - Both prime supporters of Saxon rule and both in no real position to argue either.

    One of those commonly cited details, usually about Hengist and Horsa, but generally about any migrating Saxon ships is that they typically arrive in up to three longships, each carrying 40-60 men. This usually prompts debates at how such small forces supposedly militarily conquered the larger populations that outnumbered them by several to one, hence arguments for (largely) peaceful migration.
    But in addition, this line was supposedly Gallia Chronicled for 409 AD, before Theodosius and still during Honorius, before Vortigern had even invited the Saxons as Foederati, so nothing to do with the migration at this point.

    OK, so exactly as stated, "Reduced to the power of the Saxons" meaning what exactly?
    What pegs this as proof of any Saxon violence, particularly in light of the supposed hiring of the Saxons by either Rome or the Britons?

    Mostly paraphrasing existing sources. I'm sure they're all wrong, though...

    Not my spin. This was Bede and Nennius, mainly, neither of whom paint the Saxons in a particularly favourable light but still are unable to peg them as hideously violent ravagers of the poor defenceless Britons.
     
  8. Heinz57

    Gangster

    Joined: 27 May 2008

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    Much of this period is (educated) guesswork. The source material is flakey, to the extent that I've seen historians unable to decide whether it's still Ancient history or counts as Early Medieval. I think most modern historians are trained to be reasonably delicate with how they approach source material. The writer and audience ar key as ever. Even the source material for my current research is somewhat bias in what they tell us (mid/late medieval court rolls), as they weren't written for people 700 years later and they assume you already know what they're talking about... I wish...

    I believe the archaeology (and the name) supports this, although I recall reading an article or two disputing this (they might have been older articles).
     
  9. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,410

    Certainly there's a lot of salt to be had when going through this. The key is in figuring out what the writer's words meant back then rather than putting a modern and/or literal interpretation on it (it's not The Bible, after all!), as well as figuring the writer's motivation in writing down whatever it is they wrote.

    Well they certainly didn't come from The Japans, or anything... Generally people peg the Anglo-Saxo-Jutey lot as coming from around this middle-ish band between general Germania and the Norse lands, with a fair bit of intermingling along the way, not helped by the term Saxon often being used to describe all of them.

    But still - "Vee vere invited. Punch vaz serfed. Check viz Polandt!"
     
  10. Heinz57

    Gangster

    Joined: 27 May 2008

    Posts: 376

    Well that is just basic historical analysis. Although working out the intricacies or subtle bias can be complex. My experience with older documents like this is that even when the author/audience/any bias are determined, any corroborating evidence is sparse or equally flakey turning the whole thing into conjecture, ifs, buts and maybes.

    But then again, I'm a naturally quite a negative researcher. Managed to write an entire disseration chapter about things you'd expect my source material to contain, but does not...Although the things which aren't said can be as telling as things which are. Ahh, medieval history seems so clearcut on TV and at school -we actually know so little!
     
  11. ttaskmaster

    Capodecina

    Joined: 11 Sep 2013

    Posts: 11,410

    I'd have thought anything but basic, myself.
    Author bias is the easy part - Knowing the differences in language seems to be the more important part, and what most people stumble on.
     
  12. Heinz57

    Gangster

    Joined: 27 May 2008

    Posts: 376

    I meant that necessity to look for such things is basic historical analysis, as I said actually working them out can be something else.

    Author bias can be easy if you know the author, the circumstances, or have a close idea of who/what these may be. There's a lot of anonymous history.

    Language can indeed be difficult and seeing subtleties in another (dead) language can be especially tough. With people like Gildas though it's fairly apparen he's dower about some things

    But I'm far from an expert such source material. One reason I've found my little niche in corrupted shorthand medieval ecclesiastical Latin - some of them write it as badly as I can read it. Don't know the name for cat? It's clearly a catus. Forgotten the word for Wednesday, it's okay "the day immediately after Tuesday". But it's nearly all set legal phrasing, if you can read the letters...

    Just have to accept that you'll likely me left wanting to know more from sources. Some of them were written for the future, but probably not intended for over 1000 years later, when nearly all cultural memory and contemporary understanding was gone.