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

Nov 2008
1,417
England
There as so many and so widely spread that those beautiful Celtic Hanging Bowls must be evidence of a least some trade between the two communities.
It is a possibility, but could these bowls, or at least some of them, be copies made by Anglo-Saxon craftsmen?
 
Mar 2015
1,456
Yorkshire
It is a possibility, but could these bowls, or at least some of them, be copies made by Anglo-Saxon craftsmen?
As I understand it - doubtful.

The technique, developed by the Romans, lies in the particular enamelling process which the A-S have never shown to have mastered in any item - plus of course the Celtic artstyle. There is some thought of an Irish origin but this could be a British immigant craftsmen either making the item or teaching the skill to some Irish apprentice.

By contrast, there is a lively A-S trade via Kent and the Franks and Frisians which saw A-S trade items dispersed up the Rhine.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
There as so many and so widely spread that those beautiful Celtic Hanging Bowls must be evidence of a least some trade between the two communities.
Or of Britons living in anglo saxon communities, loot or diplomatic gift exchanges. If it were trade in goods, we would expect to find them in British communities along with other british items, but we don't. This is the general problem of Britons for the period, the lack of archaeology. As far as I know, haanging bowls are exclusive to anglo saxon graves. Härke, Invisible Britons:

"The few types of possibly British (or rather more generally, Celtic) artefact types in post-Roman England have been discussed at length several times.5 Such artefacts (penannular brooches, hanging bowls and enamelled items) have been recovered exclusively from Anglo-Saxon cultural contexts, and for this and other reasons, they cannot be considered firm proof of the existence of a British population. Even if they were, the native population suggested by the ‘British’ artefacts need not have been large: there are some eighty-five hanging bowls and 110 penannular brooches from Anglo-Saxon contexts (mostly graves), and another forty items with enamel are known from all of post-Roman Britain. This compares with some 30,000 graves from sites with diagnostically Anglo-Saxon material culture of the fifth to seventh centuries"

Footnote 5 referred to above:

British and Early Anglo-Saxon Archaeology’, ASSAH 6 (1993), 57–63. 5 The key publications are: Elizabeth Fowler, ‘Celtic Metalwork of the Fifth and Sixth Centuries AD: A Re-appraisal’, ArchJ 120 (1963), 98–160, and ‘Hanging Bowls’, in Studies in Ancient Europe, ed. John M. Coles and Derek D. A. Simpson (Leicester, 1968), pp. 289–310; David Longley, Hanging Bowls, Penannular Brooches and the Anglo-Saxon Connexion, BAR, BS 22 (Oxford, 1975); J. D. Bateson, Enamel-working in Iron Age, Roman and Sub-Roman Britain, BAR, BS 93 (Oxford, 1981); Roger H. White, Roman and Celtic Objects from Anglo-Saxon Graves: A Catalogue and an Interpretation of their Use, BAR, BS 191 (Oxford, 1988); Jane Brenan, Hanging Bowls and their Contexts, BAR, BS 220 (Oxford, 1991); and see Lloyd Laing in this volume.
 
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Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,647
Westmorland
What we need is a representative sample of YPestis from a Briton of the same time period. If they are same "Strain" , then I would say you have a strong case but this proves nothing so far other than eliminating the suggestion that Plague did not affect the A-S population.

What do you mean by mixing? American Settlers traded with Red Indians but they did not mix to any extent.
I'm not positively arguing that Y Pestis got into Anglo-Saxon populations via the Britons (although it wouldn't surprise me if it did). I suppose that at this stage, all I am saying is that Edix Hill must cause us to rethink the longstanding hypothesis that Anglo-Saxons escaped the Plague.

By mixing, I mean:-

1. Marriage (as discussed the other week with Authun and Aelfwine)
2. Trade/exchange (including the hanging bowls we are now talking about, but probably much more about agricultural surplus. New settlers need time and raw materials to build and establish their farms and they can't always just have nicked everything off the Britons).
3. Alliance (as attested for the sixth century, at least by later sources)
4. Assimilation (as attested in Gildas who bemoans some of his countrymen making accord with the barbarians)
5. Hybridisation (my big theory which no-one here agrees with!).
 
Mar 2015
1,456
Yorkshire
Or of Britons living in anglo saxon communities, loot or diplomatic gift exchanges. If it were trade in goods, we would expect to find them in British communities along with other british items, but we don't. This is the general problem of Britons for the period, the lack of archaeology. As far as I know, haanging bowls are exclusive to anglo saxon graves. Härke, Invisible Britons:

"The few types of possibly British (or rather more generally, Celtic) artefact types in post-Roman England have been discussed at length several times.5 Such artefacts (penannular brooches, hanging bowls and enamelled items) have been recovered exclusively from Anglo-Saxon cultural contexts, and for this and other reasons, they cannot be considered firm proof of the existence of a British population. Even if they were, the native population suggested by the ‘British’ artefacts need not have been large: there are some eighty-five hanging bowls and 110 penannular brooches from Anglo-Saxon contexts (mostly graves), and another forty items with enamel are known from all of post-Roman Britain. This compares with some 30,000 graves from sites with diagnostically Anglo-Saxon material culture of the fifth to seventh centuries"

Footnote 5 referred to above:

British and Early Anglo-Saxon Archaeology’, ASSAH 6 (1993), 57–63. 5 The key publications are: Elizabeth Fowler, ‘Celtic Metalwork of the Fifth and Sixth Centuries AD: A Re-appraisal’, ArchJ 120 (1963), 98–160, and ‘Hanging Bowls’, in Studies in Ancient Europe, ed. John M. Coles and Derek D. A. Simpson (Leicester, 1968), pp. 289–310; David Longley, Hanging Bowls, Penannular Brooches and the Anglo-Saxon Connexion, BAR, BS 22 (Oxford, 1975); J. D. Bateson, Enamel-working in Iron Age, Roman and Sub-Roman Britain, BAR, BS 93 (Oxford, 1981); Roger H. White, Roman and Celtic Objects from Anglo-Saxon Graves: A Catalogue and an Interpretation of their Use, BAR, BS 191 (Oxford, 1988); Jane Brenan, Hanging Bowls and their Contexts, BAR, BS 220 (Oxford, 1991); and see Lloyd Laing in this volume.

It is true there are no finds in Wales but there are some in the British Kingdom of Elmet and in Ireland and one might question why all have Celtic designs and not a single germanic inscription, except those stolen or otherwise acquired by Norwegian Vikings (runic and clearly added later).

In any case, it must be significant that we can only point to such a limited a number of exceptional item as justifying trade between Britons and A-S and compare this to the relatively large amount of trade between A-S Kingdoms and the Continent.
 
Mar 2015
1,456
Yorkshire
I'm not positively arguing that Y Pestis got into Anglo-Saxon populations via the Britons (although it wouldn't surprise me if it did). I suppose that at this stage, all I am saying is that Edix Hill must cause us to rethink the longstanding hypothesis that Anglo-Saxons escaped the Plague.
.
Do we need to re-think rethink the longstanding hypothesis that Anglo-Saxons escaped the Plague? It is as certain as we can be at this stage. The debate is now as Alfwine argues the extent to which it affected both communities.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
It is true there are no finds in Wales but there are some in the British Kingdom of Elmet
I am not aware of this. Elmet has revealed very little. Where were they found?

I know of a hanging bowl found at Monyash Farm in Benty Grange, Derbyshire, the same as the Helmet, but those are classed as anglo saxon, although that is debateable.
 
Mar 2015
1,456
Yorkshire
By mixing, I mean:-

1. Marriage (as discussed the other week with Authun and Aelfwine)
2. Trade/exchange (including the hanging bowls we are now talking about, but probably much more about agricultural surplus. New settlers need time and raw materials to build and establish their farms and they can't always just have nicked everything off the Britons).
3. Alliance (as attested for the sixth century, at least by later sources)
4. Assimilation (as attested in Gildas who bemoans some of his countrymen making accord with the barbarians)
5. Hybridisation (my big theory which no-one here agrees with!).
Thanks - now I understand you. I would agree that all your points 1 to 4 happened eventually but very limited, if at all, in the period to 550ADish (a date which I see as a bit of watershed).

I am afraid I really can't see any evidence for your "big theory" of hybridisation but I will keep an open mind.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
Thanks - now I understand you. I would agree that all your points 1 to 4 happened eventually but very limited, if at all, in the period to 550ADish (a date which I see as a bit of watershed).
In the Chapter Dry Fog in Europe in Joel Gunn's 536 AD - The Years Without Summer, it is positied that the people who abandonned their farms in southern Scandinavia in the mid 6th century AD, migrated to Britain to seek new farm land. If true, this would swell the anglo saxon east of Britain and create competition for land. It is possible that this resulted in seeking land in the west.
 
Mar 2015
1,456
Yorkshire
I am not aware of this. Elmet has revealed very little. Where were they found?

I know of a hanging bowl found at Monyash Farm in Benty Grange, Derbyshire, the same as the Helmet, but those are classed as anglo saxon, although that is debateable.
I looked at the map and there appear to be around 5 or 6 finds in the extreme South of what some think was Elmet territory. However I publish below the page taken from Bruce Mitford's book which tentatively suggest Elmet as the source:

hanging bowl finds.JPG