The Celts were a group of peoples that occupied lands stretching from the British Isles to Gallatia. The Celts had many dealings with other cultures that bordered the lands occupied by these peoples, and even though there is no written record of the Celts stemming from their own documents, we can piece together a fair picture of them from archeological evidence as well as historical accounts from other cultures.
Under Caesar the Romans conquered Celtic Gaul, and from Claudius onward the Roman empire absorbed parts of Britain. Roman local government of these regions closely mirrored pre-Roman tribal boundaries, and archaeological finds suggest native involvement in local government.The native peoples under Roman rule became Romanised and keen to adopt Roman ways. Celtic art had already incorporated classical influences, and surviving Gallo-Roman pieces interpret classical subjects or keep faith with old traditions despite a Roman overlay.The Roman occupation of Gaul, and to a lesser extent of Britain, led to Roman-Celtic syncretism. In the case of the continental Celts, this eventually resulted in a language shift to Vulgar Latin, while the Insular Celts retained their language.There was also considerable cultural influence exerted by Gaul on Rome, particularly in military matters and horsemanship, as the Gauls often served in the Roman cavalry. The Romans adopted the Celtic cavalry sword, the spatha, and Epona, the Celtic horse goddess
They wear bronze helmets with figures picked out on them, even horns, which made them look even taller than they already are...while others cover themselves with breast-armour made out of chains. But most content themselves with the weapons nature gave them: they go naked into battle...Weird, discordant horns were sounded, [they shouted in chorus with their] deep and harsh voices, they beat their swords rythmically against their shields.
Their aspect is terrifying...They are very tall in stature, with ripling muscles under clear white skin. Their hair is blond, but not naturally so: they bleach it, to this day, artificially, washing it in lime and combing it back from their foreheaads. They look like wood-demons, their hair thick and shaggy like a horse's mane. Some of them are cleanshaven, but others - especially those of high rank, shave their cheeks but leave a moustache that covers the whole mouth and, when they eat and drink, acts like a sieve, trapping particles of food...The way they dress is astonishing: they wear brightly coloured and embroidered shirts, with trousers called bracae and cloaks fastened at the shoulder with a brooch, heavy in winter, light in summer. These cloaks are striped or checkered in design, with the seperate checks close together and in various colours.
What we do know is that the people we call Celts gradually infiltrated Britain over the course of the centuries between about 500 and 100 B.C. There was probably never an organized Celtic invasion; for one thing the Celts were so fragmented and given to fighting among themselves that the idea of a concerted invasion would have been ludicrous.
From what we know of the Celts from Roman commentators, who are, remember, witnesses with an axe to grind, they held many of their religious ceremonies in woodland groves and near sacred water, such as wells and springs. The Romans speak of human sacrifice as being a part of Celtic religion. One thing we do know, the Celts revered human heads.Celtic warriors would cut off the heads of their enemies in battle and display them as trophies. They mounted heads in doorposts and hung them from their belts. This might seem barbaric to us, but to the Celt the seat of spiritual power was the head, so by taking the head of a vanquished foe they were appropriating that power for themselves. It was a kind of bloody religious observance.The Iron Age is when we first find cemeteries of ordinary people’s burials (in hole-in-the-ground graves) as opposed to the elaborate barrows of the elite few that provide our main records of burials in earlier periods.
TheAnglo-Saxonswere the population inBritainpartly descended from theGermanic tribeswho migrated fromEuropeand settled the south and east of the island beginning in the early5th century. The Anglo-Saxon period denotes the period of English history after their initialsettlementthrough their creation of theEnglishnation, up to theNorman conquest; that is, between about 550 and 1066.The term Anglo-Saxon is also used for the language, today more correctly calledOld English, that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons in England (and parts of south-easternScotland) between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century, after which it is known asMiddle English.
TheBenedictinemonkBede, writing in the early8th century, identified the English as the descendants of three Germanic tribes:
Christianisation of the Anglo-Saxonsbegan in 597 and was at least nominally completed in 686. Throughout the 7th and 8th centuries, power fluctuated between the larger kingdoms. Bede recordsAethelbert of Kentas being dominant at the close of the 6th century, but power then seems to have shifted northwards to the kingdoms ofMerciaandNorthumbria.
Aethelbert and some of the later kings of the other kingdoms were recognised by their fellow kings asBretwalda(ruler of Britain). The so-called 'Mercian Supremacy' dominated the 8th century, though again it was not constant. Aethelbald andOffa, the two most powerful kings of this period, achieved high status.
This period has been described as theHeptarchy, though this term has now fallen out of academic use. The word arose on the basis that the seven kingdoms of Northumbria, Mercia,Kent,East Anglia,Essex,SussexandWessexwere the main polities of south Britain. More recent scholarship has shown that theories of the 'heptarchy' are not grounded in evidence, and it is far more likely that power fluctuated between many more 'kingdoms'. Other politically important 'kingdoms' across this period include:Hwicce,Magonsaete,Kingdom of LindseyandMiddle Anglia.
In the 9th century, the Viking challenge grew to serious proportions. Alfred the Great's victory at Edington, Wiltshire, in 878 brought intermittent peace, but with their possession ofJorvik, the Danes gained a solid foothold in England.
Some of the earliest arrivals of invaders came in the form of small groups or companies of Danish heritage. It is widely believed they left their homelands for more religious freedom as they did not like Christianity being forced upon them. There was no prior indication for them being there before their arrival and thus little resistance if any at all from locals. They attacked various locations in England, and they were seemingly sporadic. For example these raiders attacked three different locations; Hampshire, Thanet, and Cheshire around 980, but no raids were recorded afterwards for another six years. The most notable event to come from these raids however was, that it was the first time that England came into contact with any form of diplomacy from Normandy.
They became hostile towards one another by summer in the year 990. Their feud became so great that Pope John XV had to send an envoy with a treaty in order to settle their quarrel. It was a Christmas Day in the year 990 the commission was presented to KingÆthelred the Unready, and soon the council drew up a set of terms which were sent to the Duke of Normandy. The doctrine stated that neither shall befriend the others enemies, and that they should accept a reparation from any damage which either could sustain from the other nation.
An important development in the 9th century was the rise of the Kingdom ofWessex; by the end of his reign Alfred was recognised as overlord by several southern kingdoms.Æthelstanwas the first king to achieve direct rule over what is considered "England".
Near the end of the 10th century, there was renewed Scandinavian interest in England, with the conquests ofSweyn of Denmarkand his sonCnut the Great. By 1066 there were three lords with claims to the English throne, resulting in two invasions and the battles ofStamford BridgeandHastings. The latter, which heralded theNorman conquest of England, resulted in the overthrow of the Anglo-Saxon polity and its replacement withNormanrule.
Old English, sometimes called Anglo-Saxon, was the language spoken underAlfred the Greatand continued to be the common language of (non-Danelaw)Englanduntil after the Norman Conquest of 1066 when, under the influence of theAnglo-Norman languagespoken by the Norman ruling class, it changed intoMiddle Englishroughly between 1150–1500.
Old English is far closer to earlyGermanicthan Middle English. It is less Latinised and retains many morphological features (nominal and verbal inflection) that were lost during the 12th to 14th centuries. The languages today which are closest to Old English are theFrisian languages, which are spoken by a few hundred thousand people in the northern part of Germany and the Netherlands.
The indigenous pre-Christianbelief system of the Anglo-Saxons was a form ofGermanic paganismand therefore closely related to theOld Norse religion, as well as other Germanic pre-Christian cultures.
Christianity gradually replaced the indigenous religion of the English around the 7th and 8th centuries.Celtic Christianitywas introduced into Northumbria and Mercia bymonksfromIreland, but theSynod of Whitbysettled the choice forRoman Christianity. As the new clerics became the chroniclers, the old religion was partially lost before it was recorded, and today historians' knowledge of it is largely based on surviving customs and lore, texts, etymological links and archaeological finds.
One of the few recorded references is that a Kentish King would only meet the missionarySt. Augustinein the open air, where he would be under the protection of the sky god, Woden. Written Christian prohibitions on acts of paganism are one of historians' main sources of information on pre-Christian beliefs.
Despite these prohibitions, numerous elements of the pre-Christian culture of the Anglo-Saxon people survived the Christianisation process. Examples include the English language names for days of the week:
TheNorman conquest of Englandwas the invasion and occupation ofEnglandby an army ofNormansand French led by DukeWilliam II of Normandyin the 11th century. William, who defeated KingHarold II of Englandon 14 October 1066, at theBattle of Hastings, was crowned king atLondonon Christmas Day, 1066. He then consolidated his control and settled many of his followers in England, introducing a number of governmental and societal changes.
William's claim to the English throne derived from his familial relationship with the childless KingEdward the Confessor, who may have encouraged William's hopes for the throne. But when Edward died in January 1066, he was succeeded by his brother-in-law Harold, who not only faced challenges from William but also another claim by the Norwegian king,Harald Hardrada. Hardrada invaded northern England in September 1066 and was victorious at theBattle of Fulfordbefore being defeated and killed by King Harold at theBattle of Stamford Bridgeon 25 September 1066. William, however, had landed in southern England, and Harold quickly marched south to confront William, leaving many of his forces behind in the north. On 14 October Harold's army confronted William's invaders nearHastingsand after an all-day battle, was defeated and Harold was killed.
Despite this submission, resistance continued to erupt for several years. In 1067 rebels in Kent launched an abortive attack on Dover Castle in combination withEustace II of Boulogne.In the same year theShropshirelandownerEadric the Wild, in alliance with the Welsh rulers ofGwyneddandPowys, raised a revolt in westernMercia, fighting Norman forces based inHereford.In 1068 William besieged rebels inExeter, including Harold's motherGytha; after suffering heavy losses William managed to negotiate the town's surrender.Later in the year Edwin and Morcar raised a revolt in Mercia with Welsh assistance, whileEarl Gospatricled a rising in Northumbria, which had not yet been occupied by the Normans. These rebellions rapidly collapsed as William moved against them, building castles and installing garrisons as he had already done in the south.Edwin and Morcar again submitted, while Gospatric fled to Scotland, as did Edgar the Atheling and his family, who may have been involved in these revolts.Meanwhile Harold's sons, who had taken refuge in Ireland, raidedSomerset,DevonandCornwallfrom the sea
TheRoman Empire(Latin:Imperium Romanum) was the post-Republicanperiod of theancient Roman civilization, characterised by anautocraticform of government and large territorial holdings around theMediterraneaninEurope,Africa, andAsia.The 500-year-oldRoman Republic, which preceded it, had been destabilized through a series ofcivil wars. Several events marked the transition from Republic to Empire, includingJulius Caesar's appointment as perpetualdictator(44BC); theBattle of Actium(2 September31BC); and the granting of thehonorificAugustustoOctavianby theRoman Senate(16 January27BC).
Rome had begunannexingprovincesin the 3rd century BC, four centuries before reaching its greatest territorial extent, and in that sense was an "empire" while still governed as a republic.Republican provinces were administered by formerconsulsandpraetors, who had been elected to one-year terms and heldimperium, "right of command".The amassing of disproportionate wealth and military power by a few men through their provincial commands was a major factor in the transition from republic to imperial autocracy.Later, the position of power held by the emperor was expressed asimperium.The Latin word is the origin of English "empire," a meaning it began to acquire only later in Rome's history
The Roman Empire was one of the largest in history, and the only empire to have encompassed territories in northern Europe, the Middle East, and North Africa.The Latin phrase imperium sine fine ("empire without end") expressed the ideology that neither time nor space limited the Empire. In Vergil's epic poem the Aeneid, limitless empire is said to be granted to the Romans by their supreme deity Jupiter. This claim of universal dominion was renewed and perpetuated when the Empire came under Christian rule in the 4th century
The language of the Romans was Latin, which Vergil emphasizes as a source of Roman unity and tradition. Until the time of Alexander Severus (reigned 222–235), the birth certificates and wills of Roman citizens had to be written in Latin. Latin was the language of the law courts in the West and of the military throughout the Empire, but was not imposed officially on peoples brought under Roman rule. St. Augustine observed that Romans preferred for Latin to be adopted per pacem societatis, through a social pact This policy contrasts with that of Alexander the Great, who aimed to impose Greek throughout his empire as the official language. As a consequence of Alexander’s conquests, koine Greek had become the shared language around the eastern Mediterranean and into Asia Minor.The "linguistic frontier" dividing the Latin West and the Greek East passed through the Balkan peninsula, creating a bilateral monolingualism in the Roman Empire.
The Roman Empire was remarkably multicultural, with "a rather
astonishing cohesive capacity" to create a sense of shared identity
while encompassing diverse peoples within its political system over a
long span of time. The Roman attention to creating public monuments and communal spaces open to all—such as forums, amphitheaters, racetracks and baths—helped foster a sense of "Romanness"
According to the jurist Gaius, the essential distinction in the Roman "law of persons" was that all human beings were either free (liberi) or slaves (servi).
The legal status of free persons might be further defined by their
citizenship. In the early Empire, only a relatively limited number of
men held full rights of Roman citizenship that allowed them to vote, run
for office, and enter state priesthoods. Most citizens held limited
rights (such as the ius Latinum,
"Latin right"), but were entitled to legal protections and privileges
not enjoyed by those who lacked citizenship. Free people not considered
citizens, but living within the Roman world, held status as peregrini, non-Romans. In 212 AD, by means of the edict known as the Constitutio Antoniniana, the emperor Caracalla
extended citizenship to all freeborn inhabitants of the empire. This
legal egalitarianism would have required a far-reaching revision of
existing laws that had distinguished between citizens and non-citizens.
The Latin word ordo (plural ordines) refers to a social
distinction that is translated variously into English as "class, order,
rank," none of which is exact. One purpose of the Roman census was to determine the ordo to which an individual belonged. The two highest ordines in Rome were the senatorial and equestrian. Outside Rome, the decurions, also known as curiales (Greek bouleutai), were the top governing ordo of an individual city.
The three major elements of the Imperial Roman state were the central government, the military, and provincial government.
The military established control of a territory through war, but after a
city or people was brought under treaty, the military mission turned to
policing: protecting Roman citizens (after 212 AD, all freeborn
inhabitants of the Empire), the agricultural fields that fed them, and
Without modern instruments of either mass communication or mass
destruction, the Romans lacked sufficient manpower or resources to
impose their rule through force alone.
The dominance of the emperor was based on the consolidation of certain
powers from several republican offices, including the inviolability of
the tribunes of the people and the authority of the censors to manipulate the hierarchy of Roman society.The emperor also made himself the central religious authority as Pontifex Maximus, and centralized the right to declare war, ratify treaties, and negotiate with foreign leaders While these functions were clearly defined during the Principate, the emperor's powers over time became less constitutional and more monarchical, culminating in the Dominate.
An annexed territory became a province in a three-step process: making a
register of cities, taking a census of the population, and surveying
the land. Further government recordkeeping included births and deaths, real estate transactions, taxes, and juridical proceedings. In the 1st and 2nd centuries, the central government sent out around 160 officials each year to govern outside Italy. Among these officials were the "Roman governors", as they are called in English: either magistrates elected at Rome who in the name of the Roman people governed senatorial provinces; or governors, usually of equestrian rank, who held their imperium on behalf of the emperor in provinces excluded from senatorial control, most notably Roman Egypt. A governor had to make himself accessible to the people he governed, but he could delegate various duties. His staff, however, was minimal: his official attendants (apparitores), including lictors, heralds, messengers, scribes, and bodyguards; legates,
both civil and military, usually of equestrian rank; and friends,
ranging in age and experience, who accompanied him unofficially.