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

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
(either a commote or a cantref)
Cantref is an interesting welsh word related to canton. Kanten in modern german related to the edge of something, eg skis and so Canton, as in the allemanic division of land denotes a tribal territory, such as the Breisgau, in the black forest, derived from the alemmanic tribe of the Brisgavi. It is possible that the Gent, in Pen-y-Ghent refers to the edge of a brittonic speaking territory.
 

Isleifson

Ad Honorem
Aug 2013
4,020
Lorraine tudesque
Cantref is an interesting welsh word related to canton. Kanten in modern german related to the edge of something, eg skis and so Canton, as in the allemanic division of land denotes a tribal territory, such as the Breisgau, in the black forest, derived from the alemmanic tribe of the Brisgavi. It is possible that the Gent, in Pen-y-Ghent refers to the edge of a brittonic speaking territory.
Not only in Allemanic. I am living in the Gau. From Moselgau.

Gau un Griis
 
Mar 2017
28
scotland via wales
They never really conquered the Welsh kingdoms. The Welsh and the Saxons (Mercia) were fighting and raiding constantly.

After The Battle of Chester in 616 ( 'where the Anglo Saxons beat native Britons near the city of Chester,. Æthelfrith of Northumbria annihilated a combined force from the Welsh kingdoms of Powys, Rhôs, and Mercia. It resulted in the deaths of Welsh leaders Selyf Sarffgadau of Powys and Cadwal Crysban of Rhôs. Evidence suggests that King Iago of Gwynedd may have also been killed')
It was 4 years later when The Northumbrians invade Gwynedd and drive Cadwallon ap Cadfan into exile.
The Welsh always come back and beat the Saxons on a number of occasions. It wasn't all one-sided.

The first major Welsh win was in 630 at The Battle of Pont y Saeson where Tewdrig King of Gwent together with Meurig drove back the Saxons.
The same year saw The Battle of Cefn Digoll near Welshpool. The battle was fought between the Northumbrian army and an alliance between King Cadwallon of Gwynedd and Penda of Mercia.
The saxons won this battle but soon after the Welsh invaded Northumbria and with the help of Penda they won the battle of Hatfield Chase which ended in the defeat and death of Edwin and his son Osfrith. They then ravaged and raped that kingdom for a whole year before the Battle of Heavenfield where Cadwallon was defeated by an army under Oswald.

For the next 300 years, there was constant war between the Welsh kingdoms and the Saxons.
It then took the normans 200 years to do what the Saxons couldn't.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
Not only in Allemanic. I am living in the Gau. From Moselgau.

Gau un Griis
Gau is middle german and was used to describe administrative areas of their territories. The canton of Breisgau was the Gau of the Brisgavi, but there were/are many others, though they often have updated names now. For example Thiatmaresgau, modern Dithmarschen, people or dwellers of the marsh.
 
Nov 2008
1,402
England
hey never really conquered the Welsh kingdoms. The Welsh and the Saxons (Mercia) were fighting and raiding constantly.
I cannot think of any example where there was a conscious attempt by an Anglo-Saxon king to actually conquer all of Wales. There were occasions when West Saxon and Mercian kings enforced suzerainty over various Welsh kingdoms and principalities, and even the later kings of the English, Athelstan and Edgar, were satisfied with overlordship.

Æthelfrith of Northumbria annihilated a combined force from the Welsh kingdoms of Powys, Rhôs, and Mercia.
The inclusion of Mercia in this alliance is based solely on the fact that the battle of Chester took place in the year 616 and there is no more mention of Cearl, king of the Mercians. Now he may have joined forces with the Welsh at Chester and died in the battle, but Bede doesn`t mention it and he described the battle. Cearl may have simply died of natural causes.
 

Peter Graham

Ad Honorem
Jan 2014
2,621
Westmorland
Cantref is an interesting welsh word related to canton. Kanten in modern german related to the edge of something, eg skis and so Canton, as in the allemanic division of land denotes a tribal territory, such as the Breisgau, in the black forest, derived from the alemmanic tribe of the Brisgavi. It is possible that the Gent, in Pen-y-Ghent refers to the edge of a brittonic speaking territory.
What does kanten mean? Cantref basically means 'one hundred villages', which was the idealised size of a small administrative unit in the minds of the writers of Welsh law codes.

What the cantrefi or commotes originally were is open to debate. However, similar small units appear to crop up across the early medieval world (they tend to be called regiones in early English sources) and it does appear to be the case that the basic building block of administration was a territory in which everyone could get to the caput and back in a single day on foot. The earliest English shires were similarly small and I have seen it argued that Norhamshire and Islandshire were the same units as those gifted to Cuthbert in the seventh century.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
What does kanten mean?
Kanten is the plural of Kant, meaning edge. However, the word Canton, as in say the the 26 cantons of switzerland is derived from the same route, Cant (see cant n.2). The modern welsh cant means edge with the sense of the edge of something, like a circle. One of the proposed etymologies for Ghent is that it is old welsh, or brittonic, for the edge of a territory. It is a very old word, see etymology 2, cant - Wiktionary
 
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