Britons, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings

Oct 2019
2
Czech Republic
Hi everyone, can somebody please explain to me what are the differences between the Britons, the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings (in the early medieval period)? It's kinda confusing, so thanks to everyone who can give me some answers.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,471
Dispargum
The Britons were those people living in Britain in Roman times. They had originally been Celtic, but after several centuries of Roman occupation, there had been considerable intermarriage with non-Britons. Sometimes you'll see the term 'Romano-British.' In the fifth and sixth century there were people, mostly in modern-day Scotland and Ireland, who were still purely, or nearly pure, Celts. The Britons are also sometimes called Welsh to distinguish them from the Saxons after the Saxon invasions began.

The Anglo-Saxons came from Germany and Denmark and perhaps to a lesser extent from Norway, too. The Saxons (to shorten Anglo-Saxons, Jutes are also included as Saxons) began arriving in large numbers during the fifth century and the migrations continued well into the sixth century. After the collapse of Roman authority in Britain in the early fifth century, Britain broke up into many small kingdoms. The invading Saxons established kingdoms in the south and east of Britain. Over the next several centuries these different kingdoms engaged in more or less continuous warfare with each other. At different times different kings and kingdoms came to dominate, but no permanent unification emerged until the ninth century. One trend of these warring centuries is that the Britons were pushed farther and farther west until the Saxons came to control all of England which was originally Angle land - the land of the Anglo-Saxons. Wales remained distinct from England because that's where the Romano-British/Welsh went after being displaced by the Saxons. Scotland also defied Saxon/English conquest until the late Medieval period.

The Vikings came from Scandinavia and began raiding England and other places in the eighth century. They would eventually settle in England during the ninth century in what became known as the Great Heathen Army. They would eventually control much of Northern England and establish the Danelaw - that part of England where Viking and Danish law prevailed. The Vikings were still involving themselves in English affairs as late as 1066. Part of the story of the Battle of Hastings involves a Viking named Harold Hardrada.
 
Feb 2011
1,091
Scotland
I'm with Chlodio on almost all of this, except I'd qualify his initial statement re the Britons, such that the Britons were the Celtic tribes occupying most of Britain before the Romans arrived. I agree that the Romans and a degree of their culture eventually brought about people we call Romano-British, who might initially have continued to see themselves as Romans after the Romans left, but retained their essentially Celtic identity.

The Western tribes in Cornwall, Wales and Strathclyde resisted both Anglo-Saxon and Viking incursions; Wales especially still retains its Celtic culture and language to this day.
 
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Oct 2019
2
Czech Republic
The Britons were those people living in Britain in Roman times. They had originally been Celtic, but after several centuries of Roman occupation, there had been considerable intermarriage with non-Britons. Sometimes you'll see the term 'Romano-British.' In the fifth and sixth century there were people, mostly in modern-day Scotland and Ireland, who were still purely, or nearly pure, Celts. The Britons are also sometimes called Welsh to distinguish them from the Saxons after the Saxon invasions began.

The Anglo-Saxons came from Germany and Denmark and perhaps to a lesser extent from Norway, too. The Saxons (to shorten Anglo-Saxons, Jutes are also included as Saxons) began arriving in large numbers during the fifth century and the migrations continued well into the sixth century. After the collapse of Roman authority in Britain in the early fifth century, Britain broke up into many small kingdoms. The invading Saxons established kingdoms in the south and east of Britain. Over the next several centuries these different kingdoms engaged in more or less continuous warfare with each other. At different times different kings and kingdoms came to dominate, but no permanent unification emerged until the ninth century. One trend of these warring centuries is that the Britons were pushed farther and farther west until the Saxons came to control all of England which was originally Angle land - the land of the Anglo-Saxons. Wales remained distinct from England because that's where the Romano-British/Welsh went after being displaced by the Saxons. Scotland also defied Saxon/English conquest until the late Medieval period.

The Vikings came from Scandinavia and began raiding England and other places in the eighth century. They would eventually settle in England during the ninth century in what became known as the Great Heathen Army. They would eventually control much of Northern England and establish the Danelaw - that part of England where Viking and Danish law prevailed. The Vikings were still involving themselves in English affairs as late as 1066. Part of the story of the Battle of Hastings involves a Viking named Harold Hardrada.
Wow, cool .. and what about their culture? Were there any differences?
 
Aug 2019
218
North
Hi everyone, can somebody please explain to me what are the differences between the Britons, the Anglo-Saxons and the Vikings (in the early medieval period)? It's kinda confusing, so thanks to everyone who can give me some answers.
You should naturally be more interested in the celtic ethnicities as czechia belongs to their historical sphere. Britons might've be celtic, yet the recent scholarship is slowly coming to a definite conclusion that there's been no major influx /moving of germanic peoples onto the british isles. Both the celtic and the germanic peoples had lived side by side in what is now england long before the 6th century ce when the supposed movement of the angles, saxons and jutes happened. It is safe to say that the same principle happened in macedonia as well. That's why I love this topic.
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
4,471
Dispargum
The Celts had their own distinct culture, but starting with the Emperor Claudius' conquest in the first century Southern Britain began being Romanized. By the early fifth century many Britons had become Romano-British, a hybrid of Celtic and Roman. In 400 CE both Celtic and Latin were spoken in Britain. The more interconnected a Briton was with the Roman world, the more likely he was to speak Latin. Despite 350 years of Romanization, some Britons were still barely Romanized at all.

Officially, Britain in 400 was Christian, but all that means is that Christianity was the only religion recognized and supported by the government. All other religions were officially suppressed, but just how suppressed these other religions were in reality isn't known. There probably were some practicing pagans, especially the farther one traveled out from the cities. It probably wasn't until the eighth or ninth century that every small town and village in Britain had its own church building and priest. Without a church or priest, the villagers were probably aware of the Christian God but knew almost nothing about Him. The Saxons were pagans, worshiping the Teutonic gods like Thor and Woden. With the arrival of the Saxons in Southeastern Britain, the British Christians were cut off from the rest of the Christian world on the European continent. Christianity spread to Ireland in the fifth century, and became known as the Celtic Church. Because the Celtic Church was cut off from the rest of the Christian world the Celtic Church began evolving its own customs and traditions. When the Roman Church sent missionaries to Britain in the late sixth century they found a Celtic Church that was in many ways alien to them. One difference was in determining the date of Easter. Another was in the monkish tonsure. Celtic monasteries were governed by the Rule of St. Columbanus. Roman monasteries were beginning to adopt the rule of St. Benedict. The Columbine Rule was geared more toward monks doing practical work while the Benedictine Rule also allowed for prayer and contemplation. The differences between the Celtic and Roman Churches were not resolved until the seventh century.

The Saxons were initially pagan. The first pagan Saxon king was converted in the late sixth century and the last Saxon pagan king was converted to Christianity in the late seventh century. You then had a hundred or more years of Christian Britain and then we're dealing with pagan Vikings again. The Vikings were Christianized in the tenth and eleventh centuries.

The Saxons and Vikings were both initially warlike peoples. The Vikings were slightly more technologically advanced, but only because we only encounter them three or four hundred years after the Saxons so the Vikings had more time to develop on their own. Viking warships were better than the Saxons.' The Vikings may have had better sails. The Vikings also had compasses. The Vikings may have had better iron technology than the Saxons. They may have had access to more iron ore. I'll let some other people confirm or deny those claims. Viking by the way is a profession, not an ethnicity. The ethnic term is Norse or Norman.

One interesting fact about Britain in this period is that elsewhere in the Roman Empire, the barbarians migrated in and within a few centuries all of the Germanic barbarians were speaking Latin or a Latin-based language. In Britain, the Saxons migrated in and within a few centuries Latin was all but forgotten and everyone spoke Angle-ish (English). Britain had been less Romanized than the rest of the empire. There had been fewer Roman schools in Britain so that it was not possible to get a top-notch Roman education in Britain. The Christian Church was probably less-well established in Britain than in the rest of the empire. The Roman economy in Britain and the system of Roman law courts also seems to have broken down in Britain in the fifth century. Most, perhaps all, of the Roman Army withdrew from Britain in the early fifth century, never to return. By the year 500 or 600 there was little reason left for people in Britain to keep speaking Latin.
 
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Aug 2019
67
Netherlands
Well, as fas i know.
Actually, the britons were bell beaker people who adopted some neolithic and later celtic culture. The bell beaker people were pretty violent steppe people from the east who had domesticated horses and they invaded england coming from the netherlands during that time and those people were from a specific beaker group where dutch people are also related to (most in the south). These bell beakers are responsible for replacing most neolithic people (who introduced farming) who built stonehenge for example. The patriarchal dna for scottish males for example is more than 90% R1b (bell beaker) i believe.

The anglo saxons were a specific germanic group belonging to the north sea germanic people. All germanic people come originally from south sweden and were mainly formed out of the old european hunter gatherer people, the I dna groups, who were very much connected to the sea (boat people) and another invasion of peoples from the steppes with R1a (horse people). Well after that forging, groups of germanics ventured south to denmark, germany, the netherlands, austria etc and incorporated the R1b people who were present in those area's.
North sea germanics are actually the danish, north german and northern/partly coastal dutch ones, who were close related. They were mostly traders but pirated a lot too. A part of those tribes, including the dutch frisians invaded britain and established kingdoms. The saxons and angles were the biggest tribes and the most influencial in britain.

The later vikings is just a name for scandinavian peoples who were much into piracy. Scandinavia was in that time over populated, deprived from trade at the north sea and alienated by the other peoples in europe because they were not under christian rule yet. The plundering, pillaging was a reaction to this and the last energy outburst of conservative germanic culture.
 
Aug 2018
274
America
-Anglo-Saxons and Vikings were Germanic while Britons were Celtic, that is, the former two spoke and worshipped Germanic languages and gods and the latter spoke and worshipped Celtic languages and gods.
-Anglo-Saxons and Vikings were Scandinavian, while Britons originated in France and Spain and migrated to the British Isles centuries before the Roman and the much later Anglo-Saxon invasions.
-Anglo-Saxons and Vikings both spoke different branches of the Germanic language family, and the Vikings originated further north in Scandinavia while the Anglo-Saxons originated in the Scandinavian border with Germany.
 
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Aug 2019
67
Netherlands
-Anglo-Saxons and Vikings were Germanic while Britons were Celtic, that is, the former two spoke and worshipped Germanic languages and gods and the latter spoke and worshipped Celtic languages and gods.
-Anglo-Saxons and Vikings were Scandinavian, while Britons originated in France and Spain and migrated to the British Isles.
-Anglo-Saxons and Vikings both spoke different branches of the Germanic language family, and the Vikings originated further north in Scandinavia while the Anglo-Saxons originated in the Scandinavian border with Germany.
No, celtic is not an ethnic british identity. It's a culture which has it's origins in south germany and spread through europe. Britons were just certain groups of R1b people who's origins are in the steppes of russia, mixed with the G neolithic farmers who's origins were from anatolia present turkey, who were mixed with some european mesolithic hunter gatherers. There were migrations of R1b people from iberia to ireland too, but english neolithic people were for sure completely replaced by bell beakers from netherlands, and it's proven by dna.
And all germanic peoples have their earliest origins in southern sweden where germanic culture was born.
 
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Aug 2018
565
london
No, celtic is not an ethnic british identity. It's a culture which has it's origins in south germany and spread through europe. Britons were just certain groups of R1b people who's origins are in the steppes of russia, mixed with the G neolithic farmers who's origins were from anatolia present turkey, who were mixed with some european mesolithic hunter gatherers. There were migrations of R1b people from iberia to ireland too, but english neolithic people were for sure completely replaced by bell beakers from netherlands, and it's proven by dna.
And all germanic peoples have their earliest origins in southern sweden where germanic culture was born.
you think all celtic languages originated with the Hallstatt culture?