A sweeping and original history of the Anglo-Saxons by national bestselling author Marc Morris.
Sixteen hundred years ago Britain left the Roman Empire and swiftly fell into ruin. Grand cities and luxurious villas were deserted and left to crumble, and civil society collapsed into chaos. Into this violent and unstable world came foreign invaders from across the sea, and established themselves as its new masters.
The Anglo-Saxons traces the turbulent history of these people across the next six centuries. It explains how their earliest rulers fought relentlessly against each other for glory and supremacy, and then were almost destroyed by the onslaught of the vikings. It explores how they abandoned their old gods for Christianity, established hundreds of churches and created dazzlingly intricate works of art. It charts the revival of towns and trade, and the origins of a familiar landscape of shires, boroughs and bishoprics. It is a tale of famous figures like King Offa, Alfred the Great and Edward the Confessor, but also features a host of lesser known characters - ambitious queens, revolutionary saints, intolerant monks and grasping nobles. Through their remarkable careers we see how a new society, a new culture and a single unified nation came into being.
Drawing on a vast range of original evidence - chronicles, letters, archaeology and artefacts - renowned historian Marc Morris illuminates a period of history that is only dimly understood, separates the truth from the legend, and tells the extraordinary story of how the foundations of England were laid.
Marc Morris is a historian specializing in the Middle Ages. He is the author of A Great and Terrible King; King John; and the Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling The Norman Conquest. Marc lives in England.
Table of Contents
Family Trees ix
List of Illustrations xiii
1 The Ruin of Britain: The Fall of Rome and the Coming of the Saxons 9
2 War-Wolves and Ring-Givers: The Emergence of Kings and Kingdoms 45
3 God's Chosen Instrument: St Wilfrid and the Establishment of Christianity 85
4 An English Empire?: King Offa and the Domination of the South 133
5 Storm from the North: The Viking Assault on Britain and Francia 173
6 Resurrection: Alfred the Great and the Forging of Englishness 203
7 Imperial Overstretch?: King Æthelstan and the Conquest of the North 247
8 One Nation Under God: St Dunstan and the Pursuit of Uniformity 277
9 The Ill-Counselled King: Æthelred the Unready and the Fear of Apocalypse 313