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Ancient British History

Welcome to the fascinating and mist-shrouded world of Ancient British History. The historian’s task is frustrating but exhilarating, deciphering old manuscripts, exploring Roman ruins, and following the trail of the elusive King Arthur. All these things are found herein–the columns explore Britain from the Bronze Age to the Norman Conquest. Come on and in and enjoy!

Julius Caesar: The Roman Who “Invaded” Britain

The world that Julius Caesar found when he arrived in Britain in 55 B.C. was an evolving landscape full of continental influences. The farms were...

The Sword in the Stone: An Error in Translation?

Where have we heard this before? One word changed by a translator down through the years has made a legend out of what quite...

The Arthurian saga: fairy tale, folktale, mystery, morality play

I think the Arthurian story still fascinates so many people because it has all the good elements of a fairy tale, a folktale, a...

The Gododdin: Heroic Defeat and Arthur

The Germanic “settlers” were pushing the Britons ever westward and northward. The Britons were desperate, having lost their dux bellorum, Arthur. They held out....

Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People

The Venerable Bede, noted scholar at the Jarrow monastery in Northumbria, was the most learned man of his time. His knowledge of the world...

A King Is Burnt to Death: What Caused It?

A curious entry in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle from 687 spurs this question: When is a king not in charge of his kingdom? The entry in...

A Curious Adherence to Hereditary Right

Arthur was barely a teen. He certainly was not a warrior. Yet he was king. Why? Forget the story of the Sword in the Stone...

King Arthur’s Swords: Ancient Water Rites

The previous article examined hoarding and the use of weapons and such as votive offerings in the Bronze Age. This practice continued for hundreds...

Aelle: First of the Great Saxon Kings

When the dust settled after the Battle of Badon Hill, the Saxon migrations had stopped but the Saxon presence in Britain had not evaporated. The...

The Weapons of War in Anglo-Saxon England

War was a way of life to the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes who invaded and settled in Britain. They were fleeing the encroaching Romans,...