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The Origins of the Anglo-Saxons

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By the 4th century AD Britain was witnessing the break down of Roman identity and by the mid-6th century a number of kingdoms had been created which paved the way for the Germanic take-over. Frustrated with other studies of the origins of the Anglo-Saxons which, Donald Henson argues, are generally over-reliant on archaeological sources and social theories of change taken from prehistory, share a lack of objectivity and have tended to polarise the debate regarding this period, he presents his interpretation of the origins and formation of Anglo-Saxon identity and ideas of nationhood. Drawing on sources and ideas from archaeology, social anthropology, sociology, history, language and literature, his study is a thematic examination of ethnic markers rather than a history of events. In studying ethnic markers such as kinship, origins, name, land, language, religion, material culture, myths and legends, and social and political structures, he examines what happened to ethnic identity after the withdrawal of the Romans and attempts to reconcile the importance of continental connections and migrations on the one hand and the desire to hold on to existing ethnic markers on the other. A number of subjects and sources are dealt with in more detail in the appendices including a discussion of rulers outside of Britain, early Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, a chronology of Anglo-Saxon material culture, Germanic and British place names, sources on Arthur, a timeline 406-634, and a list of key sources of the period.

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Additional Information

Additional Information

Author Donald Henson
Binding Paperback
Condition New
Pages 189
ISBN-13 9781898281573
Publisher Anglo-Saxon Books


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