Talks

The Anglo-Saxons
by Dr Marc Morris

Date: Thursday 18 March 2021

A discussion on the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons into Britain.

The Anglo-Saxons

Sixteen hundred years ago, Britain parted company with the Roman Empire. As the legions withdrew, the economy that had supported them collapsed. A world that had been peaceful, prosperous, and predictable became dangerously insecure. Rich and poor huddled together for protection in ancient hill-forts, unoccupied since the Iron Age. Learning and literacy were lost; it is no exaggeration to call this a Dark Age.

Into this ruined world came a new people—foreigners from beyond the Empire’s eastern frontier, collectively known as the Anglo-Saxons. Some were warriors, drawn into the internecine struggles between Britain’s new tribal rulers. Most were economic migrants, in search of land to farm and a happier future. Arriving on the shores of southern and eastern Britain, in the centuries that followed they spread northwards and westwards, eventually occupying every lowland part of the island, and in the process they gradually built a new civilization.

Did the Anglo-Saxons drive the Romano-British into the fringes of the island, as traditional argued, or peacefully absorb them, as revisionist historians claim?

Dr Marc Morris is an historian and broadcaster, specialising in the Middle Ages. He is the author of King John: Treachery, Tyranny and the Road to Magna Carta (Hutchinson 2015), The Norman Conquest (Windmill, 2013) and A Great and Terrible King (Windmill, 2009).

In 2003 Marc presented the highly acclaimed TV series Castle for Channel 4 and wrote its accompanying book (now published in paperback by Hutchinson). He has also contributed to other history programmes on radio and television.

An expert on medieval monarchy and aristocracy, and a fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Marc has written numerous articles for History Today, BBC History Magazine and Heritage Today (now published together as an e-book, Kings and Castles).

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