What Made the Anglo-Saxons Capable of Conquering the Britons?

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
The Taifali had been acting as farm labourers after they kiiled their leader Farnobius following an encounter with the roman Frigeridus. The Equites Taifali appear to have been formed when Honorius was emperor sometime between 395AD and 398AD. They may have been sent to Britannia by Stilicho in 399AD.
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,936
Possibly, but I suppose that depends on whether we are arguing for the former or the latter explanation as set out in Green's article.

In the latter case, the Notitia Dignitatum only provides a terminus ante quem for when a unit was in garrison. The Equites Taifali could have been raised and posted as part of the earlier reforms which saw various cunei and numeri replace or augment the old style equitates and cohortes. They could be even earlier. In that context, that the Taifali were apparently old style equitates might be significant. However, given that such units could retain their unique name and probably also unique aspects of their equipment long after any ethnic distinctiveness had faded away, I suppose it's possible that the name endured and that Tealby is an eastern equivalent of somewhere like Birdoswald. That said, I don't know of any other places in Britain which take their modern name from the name of the Roman military detachment stationed there. York was sometimes called Sextus instead of Eboracum because of the longetivity of the posting of the Sixth Legion there, but that name didn't endure. Although I might be plain wrong, I don't know of any others.

For me, if the name does derive from Taifali, it seems more likely that the Taifali were part of a post-Roman migration from Gaul or wherever. Whether that makes them federates or something else is hard to tell, notwithstanding that Green's own views on the socio-political situation in post-Roman Lincolnshire (which was the subject of her PhD thesis and which was later turned into an article for the journal CMCS and then a book) are pretty clear as per my posts passim.

Equites Taifali, vexillatio comitatenses were part of the late field army sent to Britain. I don't think there is any evidence, inscriptions etc, for the units below ever being garrisoned in Britain.

Intra Britannias, Comes Britanniarum

84. Secunda Britannica, legio comitatenses
154. Victores Iuniores Britanniciani auxilia palatinae
155. Primani Iuniores, legio comitatenses
156. Secundani Iuniores, legio comitatenses
200. Equites Catafractarii Iuniores, vexillatio
comitatenses
201. Equites Scutarii Aureliaci, vexillatio comitatenses
202. Equites Honoriani Seniores, vexillatio
comitatenses
203. Equites Stablesiani, vexillatio comitatenses
204. Equites Syri, vexillatio comitatenses
205. Equites Taifali, vexillatio comitatenses
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,723
Westmorland
Equites Taifali, vexillatio comitatenses were part of the late field army sent to Britain. I don't think there is any evidence, inscriptions etc, for the units below ever being garrisoned in Britain.
Thanks for that. Do we know for sure that they are part of the late field army?
 
Mar 2015
1,510
Yorkshire
I don't believe I am. Like I say, I don't think we can safely use Gildas at all to write narrative history. What I was doing for the sake of the discussion was conceding that we can and seeing where that took us. But we can't have it both ways. If we are to treat Gildas as reliable and quote him a evidence for what happened in the fifth century, we have to listen to what he says....



...and he doesn't say this, or indeed anything like it (PS: think you mean West Heslerton).

So, are you proposing that federates settled in Kent were robbing their British subjects each June? Or are they only robbing Britons further afield? Either way, are you saying that Gildas' account of federate settlement and federate revolt is wrong?



OK. I'm genuinely trying to understand your argument, so please don't see the following bald summary as being rude in any way. So, Britons and Saxons (by which I accept you may well specifically mean Jutes) live alongside each other in (for example) Kent. Each June, the Saxons rob the Britons and eventually, one June, the Britons decide they have had enough and leave. The Saxons wait until the harvest is in, then invite friends or relations over from Jutland to move on to the now deserted British land, which, presumably, they never rob again. The Britons are sufficiently weak that there is nothing they can do about this. This allows for a steady process of one for one replacement which explains why land use doesn't change much and also denies the Britons any role in Anglo Saxon society or in the formation of Anglo-Saxon identity. Is that a fair summary?



Can I ask for a specific reference? I have Harke's article from that publication and although he talks about Britons being of low social status, he also expresses his views that lots of them were buried in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries. Are you saying that he (or Hines or Charles-Edwards) actively promote the model you have outlined above?
Did not have time to reply before going on holiday and I stitched my earlier comments together too quickly:

I am referring to a symposium and series (13 in all) of papers but equally enlightening for my education the ensuing discussion\debate by around 20 of the leading A-S specialists.

I am not suggesting that Gildas' Jutish mercenaries did anything other than protect their client Britons from raiding by other germanics until the Revolt.

I think we have to ask ourselves why would these mercenaries be hired (in Kent) and given the extensive reports of Saxon and Frankish raiding for several centuries, it is surely reasonable to believe it was to ward off such attacks.

In the symposium there was discussion about such raiding and I, being a town boy, found the following illuminating:

A-S 1.jpg


So to clarify, the point was making rather ineptly was that raiding was geared to the agricultural season. This has nothing to do with the Revolt that Gildas describes. However, I think that teh two went together loss of mercenary protection in such a vital area as Kent, opens up the possibilty of more successful raiding from other germanic groups.
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,936
I see. But do we have any evidence of which units comprised the field army, whether or not it was sent?
Only the ND, if it's not a field army what is it? If it was ever in Britain it would have been in a temporary marching camp that has left no trace.
Pretty much all the garrison troops in the ND are attested by inscriptions. A couple of the field army units are also listed in the army of Gaul, so unlikely to have left with Constantine. They could have been sent for a short time after the defeat of Constantine.
The ASC alludes to them leaving in 418.
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,936
"This unit was part of the late Roman mobile field army in Britain, which was normally billeted in civilian towns rather than assigned to specific military forts, and is thought to have been established between 395 and 398 from the Taifali of northern Italy and Gaul."

http://www.arthuriana.co.uk/papers/TealbyGreenProof.pdf

I don't think a field army would be scattered around the country.
 
Mar 2015
1,510
Yorkshire
Poitou has been mentioned in connection with the Taifali.

They gave their name to Tiffauges, 20 km south from Nantes where their settlement was large enough to have its own Bishop (source P60, Charles-Edwards, Wales and the Britons - before you ask Peter).