By R. J. A. White
This can be an agreeable narrative, effortless to learn, of the background of the English country via twenty centuries. it's meant for the reader who desires a entire survey that brings out the $64000 strains of improvement yet doesn't clog the tale with too many evidence, dates, treaties and battles. Underlying the account is a certified scholar's acquaintance with ancient scholarship, conveyed as a stimulating succession of principles. The reader will get a powerful feel of the evolution of English society: the aggregate of legislations, customized and innovation in its constitutional background; its curious mixture of features. there are lots of vigorous - and occasionally unbelievable - quotations from the resources. Its compass is the total box of English background from the Roman career to the tip of the 19th century; a quick postscript brings the tale as much as the current day.
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Extra info for A Short History of England
L. Myres, who once thought that 'the whole structure of rural society was shattered and reformed by the English conquest', now thinks that 'post-Roman pottery reflects in varying degrees the survival of native populations in different communities'. Dr T. C. Lethbridge claims that the early Anglo-Saxons were mainly half-breeds and octoroons of mixed Teutonic and British blood as a result of the constant intermingling of the foederate Saxons imported from early times to man the Saxon Shore. The traditional stories of monastic historians such as Gildas and Bede are too simple, too moralistic, to be quite true.
Alcuin, the first scholar of the School of York, and the great teacher of the Court of Charlemagne, invented nicknames for himself and his royal pupils, and a question-and-answer form of lesson, founded on riddles, for his adult-education classes. Although Alfred's grandson, Athelstan, was recognized at his death as one of the leading princes of Europe, the Norse warlords were soon on the warpath again. There is no need to dwell on the harrowing years recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and the ignoble payment of the Danegeld.
The most resolute war-leader became the king; most of the early kings were adventurers who relied upon their comitatus or followers, and their swords; their little kingdoms corresponded roughly to the old administrative cantons of Roman Britain because of geographical barriers. The Heptarchy consisted roughly of seven kingdoms, of which Kent, Northumbria, Mercia or the middle kingdom, and finally Wessex were the most important. Their kings, once established, all claimed descent from the gods and dwelt in great wooden halls, like that recently excavated at Old Yeavering in Northumbria, drinking and eating the plenty provided by their followers during the long winter months, armed with splendid swords and knives from which they derived their name 'Saxon' (seax), above all loving gold and fine jewelry and the sea-ships which had brought them their loot.
A Short History of England by R. J. A. White