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Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain

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    Posted: 13 Jul 2016 at 21:30
Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain Wikipedia Article Revision:
Equally and Simultaneously Valid Theories
 
  Gordon

6/5/2016

Have you ever argued with a friend about something, only to realize that both of your views were equally valid?  Afterwards, the competition was over and you likely walked away in agreement.  If this ever happened to you, you may relate to the following historical debate.  The section ‘Romano-Brittonic’ peoples’ fate in the south-east in the Wikipedia article, Anglo-Saxon Settlement of Britain, claims that there are two competing theories: (1) the natives were invaded, enslaved, and genocided and (2) the natives had “a strong Celtic contribution to Englishness.” [1] The first theory was proposed by Edward Augustus Freeman, and the second was held by Grant Allen, an essayist.[2]  From the information given in the Wikipedia article, the theories of Freeman and Allen appear simultaneously valid. 
The article appears to introduce two valid theories. Despite this, the theories are claimed to be in competition with each other.[3]  In order for the theories tocompete, only one theory can win – this is what makes two theories compete.  However, from the information given in the article, one cannot claim that one theory is definitely correct and the other theory is definitely incorrect.  By making the claim that the theories compete, Wikipedia is making a generalization.  In fact, according to the information given in this particular Wikipedia article, both theories may be correct.  Keep in mind, only information in the article itself will be used here.  It will be shown that the information given in the article concerning invasion, slavery, and genocide are not in competition with a Celtic contribution to Englishness.  It seems fair that I only need to look at this particular article to see if the theories truly are simultaneously valid.  If there is information somewhere else that demands the two theories must be opposing, by all means, we should not ignore it.  However, this Wikipedia article ought also to include any information that demonstrates that the two theories are opposing.  Yet, this is not the case.  There is no demonstration in the article explaining how one theory opposes the other theory.    
            It is possible that the theories are in competition with each other.  However, the article does not explain why the two theories are opposing.  Therefore, by the information given in the article, the two theories appear equally and simultaneously valid.  One must not mistake validity of a theory for truth of a theory.  I am not advocating that the theories are absolutely both true. I am only saying that both theories can be true.
            To go about proving that both theories appear simultaneously valid, I will expose the vagueness of each theory, and I will show how one theory is compatible with the other.  First, it is important to understand the events of the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain before one can understand the validity of either theory.  I would highly recommend reading the Wikipedia article first before continuing.  The following account is not necessarily historically accurate, but it is my best attempt at relating the event.  The information I state has been inspired by several sources; however, one should understand it is mere conjecture – not fact.
The Roman Empire controlled Britain[4] until the Roman Empire lost control of Britain to outside forces early in the 5th century AD.[5]  Plagued by Pict and Scott invasion[6] and famine[7], Britain weakened.[8] The tyrant of Briton (possibly Vortigern[9]) resorted to asking the Anglo-Saxons to help defend Britain against the Picts.[10]  The Anglo-Saxons already occupied parts of Britain during the latter parts of Roman rule,[11] and they were continuing to arrive from the continent onto the East Coast of Britain.[12] Although the Anglo-Saxons claimed to be the protectors of Britain[13], the Briton civilians, natives of Britain,[14] were suspicious of the Anglo-Saxons' true intent of protection.[15] Likely, many of the Britons saw the protection as an Anglo-Saxon decoy to seize power of the land.[16]  Eventually, the Anglo-Saxons demanded more and more of the Britons' supplies[17] and food.[18] [Why are footnotes on wrong pages?]  The Britons and Anglo-Saxons scuffled over the wages for defense, and the Anglo-Saxons refused to assist the Britons anymore, but the Anglo-Saxons remained in Britain anyway.[19] The Britons resisted the Anglo-Saxon settlement for some time.[20]  However, the much stronger Anglo-Saxon army[21] rose to prominence, built kingdoms, and established the law and government of the land.[22] Thus, the Britons were subjects of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom and were treated as the low social class.[23] The Anglo-Saxon language became dominant according to the contact and transfer principles of language.[24]     
This is an examination to see if the theory that the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain works alongside the theory that the natives contributed heavily to Englishness.  If one finds no fault in the two theories occurring simultaneously, he can conclude that both theories are simultaneously and equally valid theories.  According to the Wikipedia article, at a high estimate of Anglo-Saxon population and a low estimate of native population, the “Britons are likely to have outnumbered Anglo-Saxons by at least four to one.”[25]  The possibility for a successful Anglo-Saxon invasion of the natives with a ratio of one to four is the matter of discussion.  Until a possibility of invasion under the given population estimates is determined to be either high or low, any truth of one theory is independent from the truth of the other.  However, if it is shown that an invasion could not have occurred with a minority force of invaders, the Celtic contribution may be shown to invalidate the invasion theory and vice versa.  But it has not been shown to be so.  Thus, the possibility of both/either theories being correct/incorrect with the given population estimates is not determined.  From this, we conclude that both theories are equally and simultaneously valid. 
If the Anglo-Saxons invaded, given with all research and evidence of population estimates, a strong genetic contribution of the natives is quite likely.  If the two populations were split in half, two to three, three to seven, or a ratio near those ranges, the Celts would continue contributing through their genes.  The words “strong contribution” do not imply a majority of contribution from the Celts.  One half is equally strong as another half.  If the text said “stronger”, it would imply something different.  However, it merely says strong.  Nevertheless, as it stands, the Celts seemed to fairly outnumber the Anglo-Saxons.  If the Celts were invaded and furthermore defeated, they still remained in the land. Perhaps they lived alongside the Anglo-Saxons as slaves or as a poor social group.
The exact meaning of invasion is rather vague.  Only some of the Anglo-Saxons may have invaded and it might have been a combination between invasion and strategic settlement.  Who knows to what extent the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain?  The number of men could have been as low as a thousand or as high as ten thousand men.  The exact figures and the extent they were successful are unknown.  Even through a peaceful migration, some new Anglo-Saxons may have arrived on the shores to put down rebellious natives.  And who is to say that the invasion was so successful?  It may have contributed to the weakening of the native forces, but by no means must it be the only way they attacked.  As they may have attacked through deception as well.[26]
Two scenarios are possible: we ignore population estimates and look at the two theories blindly.  Or we can look at population estimates and compare each theory to the estimates.  First, let us ignore population estimates.  In that case, it is scenario one.  The Anglo-Saxons invade the native’s land.  The Anglo-Saxons succeed and win whatever struggle ensues against the natives.  The Celts remain in the land as a conquered people or perhaps even slaves.  But, of course, their genes are carried on, and their strong contribution is genetic.
Including population estimates, scenario two arises.  The Anglo-Saxons, outnumbered four to one, invade the native’s land.  The Anglo-Saxons succeed, and they win whatever struggle ensues against the natives.  The Celts remain in the land and become a conquered people.  But, of course, their genes are carried on, and their strong contribution is genetic.
Now, scenario one seems the more likely to happen with no other knowledge of events.  Considering the Anglo-Saxons were far outnumbered, it seems less likely that scenario two could have happened.  Regardless, one cannot reject that possibility.  After all, the possibility for the natives to outnumber the invaders at those numbers and the invasion to still be successful is not yet determined.  Is the possibility greater than 50 percent or less than 50 percent?  One just cannot say.  That would be entirely based on speculation and interpretation, but not fact.  Wikipedia should not be based on one’s speculation or interpretation.  Therefore, both theories are equally valid until the possibility can be told by a reasonable scholar. 
Enslavement and Celtic contribution being combined into one working theory is easy to construct.  No matter what the population was, one can pretty much conclude that the Anglo-Saxons became dominant.  This can be seen through language and culture.  Also, we can pretty easily conclude that enslavement was somewhat alive in Britain, at least with the Welsh, whose name is derived from the word Wealas, which came to mean “slaves.”[27]
            Now, similarly to the first section, one must wonder how so many natives were enslaved by so many.  But my argument is similar.  We just don’t know to what extent slavery ensued.  We know the natives were the poor and subservient society.  Does that make them slaves?  Well to some it depends on your interpretation on slavery.  Perhaps, some natives may have been so desperate for food and shelter they were forced to give up their freedom and subjected themselves to slavery.  The probability the slavery did or did not happen is unknown.
            This is an examination to see if the theory that the Anglo-Saxons at one time committed acts of genocide against the natives of Britain works alongside the theory that the natives contributed heavily to Englishness.  According to the United Nations Genocide Convention, genocide is "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group".[28] The key words are "in part". That definition of genocide does not mean a complete destruction of a people.  The Anglo-Saxons may have killed off several groups or clans of the natives yet still not enough to completely wipe them out.  Therefore, even with a strong Celtic contribution, genocide of perhaps maybe 10 percent of the native people would not change the fact that the Celts outnumbered the Anglo-Saxons just a little less than four to one.  It may turn to 3.5 to 1, or even as low as 1 percent of the population was killed systematically which would still be considered genocide.  Even though the Anglo-Saxons were largely outnumbered, who is to say that the natives outnumbered the Anglo-Saxons in all places?  In certain areas, such as Anglo-Saxon settlements, some surrounding natives may have been clutched into the wrong hands as a result of the dispute of land.  To teach the natives a lesson, the Anglo-Saxons may have raised a hand against the natives.  Whether this was a result of possible hundreds of years of war between the natives and Anglo-Saxons or whether it was not, who is to say that no genocide ever was committed against the natives?  Once again, we don’t know how likely or unlikely genocide is when in view of a Celtic contribution which would be in this case, once again, genetic.
            Now, it would only be fair to put all three of Freeman’s theories, invasion, slavery, and genocide together and combine them with Allen’s theory of Celtic contribution to Englishness to see that if they all can work together in agreement and demonstrate the validity of each theory at the same time.  The Anglo-Saxons, out-numbered four to one, invade the native’s land.  Through acts of deception and perhaps some genocide in places, the Anglo-Saxons succeed and win whatever struggle ensues against the natives.  The Celts remain in the land and become a conquered people. Thus, the Britons were subjects of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom and were treated as the low social class, even possibly so low they had to resort to becoming slaves just to survive.  But, of course, their genes are carried on, and their strong contribution is genetic. 
One doesn’t know the likelihood or unlikelihood of all these theories working together and therefore we cannot form a foundation to say they are in disagreement or that they agree completely.  One just doesn’t know.  He can even form a logical conclusion, but it does not change the fact that we cannot say the probability of one theory working while another theory is not working at the same time.  Therefore, both theories are valid together and both theories are equally valid simultaneously until a substantial evidence shows that one theory is incompatible with the other.  Each theory holds its own validity within recognition of the other.  These theories are too diverse to draw any conclusions either that they completely disagree or that they completely agree.  See, in order for two theories to be in competition, one theory must pose threats to the other theory.  Yet they are just too different for the two of them to be competing.  I have shown the methods to validate each theory to be accurate simultaneously to some extent.  Therefore, a competition of the two theories is not shown to be existent in this Wikipedia article.  Since both theories are equally valid, the claim that there are two competing theories is false.

 
Bibliography
De Excidio XXI, 1, Winterbottom, Gildas, p. 24.
 
General Assembly of the United Nations. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. 1949.
 
Gildas, and J. A. Giles. De Excidio Britanniae. Willits, CA: British American Books, 1900. (Gildas, The Ruin of Britain)
 
Going, Chris, and Robin Boast. "BRITAIN AND ROME: A LASTING AFFAIR?" Cambridge Anthropology 17, no. 2 (1994): 103-18. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23820417.
 
Higham, N. (2004), From sub-Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England: Debating the Insular Dark Ages. History Compass, 2: **. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-0542.2004.00085.x
Page Three.
 
 
Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain&oldid=722397103 (accessed June 1, 2016).
 
Ward, John H. "Vortigern and the End of Roman Britain." Britannia 3 (1972): 277-89.
 
Ward-Perkins, Bryan. "Why Did the Anglo-Saxons Not Become More British?" The English Historical Review 115, no. 462 (2000): 513-33. http://www.jstor.org/stable/579665.
 
 
 
 


[1] Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain&oldid=722397103 (accessed June 1, 2016).
Contents.  'Romano-Brittonic' peoples' fate in the south-east
[2] Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain&oldid=722397103 (accessed June 1, 2016).
Contents.  'Romano-Brittonic' peoples' fate in the south-east
[3] Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain&oldid=722397103 (accessed June 1, 2016).
Contents.  'Romano-Brittonic' peoples' fate in the south-east.  First paragraph, third sentence.
[4] Going, Chris, and Boast Robin. "BRITAIN AND ROME: A LASTING AFFAIR?" Cambridge Anthropology 17, no. 2 (1994): 103-18. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23820417.
Page 103, third Paragraph, first sentence.
[5] Going, Chris, and Boast Robin. "BRITAIN AND ROME: A LASTING AFFAIR?" Cambridge Anthropology 17, no. 2 (1994): 103-18. http://www.jstor.org/stable/23820417.
Page 103, second paragraph, last sentence.  I am assuming that it was in the early part of the 5th century AD.
[6] Gildas, The Ruin of Britain, part 1, verse 14.
[7] Gildas, The Ruin of Britain, part 1, verse 19
[8] This is my assumption.  I am assuming that the natives of Britain weakened because of invasion and famine.
[9] Ward, John H. "Vortigern and the End of Roman Britain." Britannia 3 (1972): 277-89.
Page 277, paragraph 2, sentence 2
[10] Ward, John H. "Vortigern and the End of Roman Britain." Britannia 3 (1972): 277-89.
Page 277, paragraph 2, sentence 2.
 
Gildas, The Ruin of Britain, part 1, chapter 22.  Heading in bold: “Deliberation how to oppose the Picts and Scots. The Saxons invited to aid in their repulsion. De consilio.”  Under this heading, Gildas writes “At that time all members of the assembly, along with the proud tyrant,33 are blinded; such is the protection they find for their |55 country (it was, in fact, its destruction) that those wild Saxons, of accursed name, hated by God and men, should be admitted into the island, like wolves into folds, in order to repel the northern nations.” – Part 1, Chapter 23, First sentence.
[11] Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain&oldid=722397103 (accessed June 1, 2016).
Second paragraph, second sentence.  Since this information comes from the Wikipedia article that is the topic of discussion, I find it appropriate to include it.  However, it cannot be considered authoritative since it is from Wikipedia.  Therefore, the claim that “The Anglo-Saxons already occupied parts of Britain during the latter parts of Roman rule…” is only a guess and an assumption.  It should not be taken as fact without an authoritative source to back it up.
[12] This is my assumption.  I am assuming they continued arriving on the coast.
[13] Gildas, The Ruin of Britain
Part 1, verse 23
[14] Ward-Perkins, Bryan. "Why Did the Anglo-Saxons Not Become More British?" The English Historical Review 115, no. 462 (2000): 513-33. http://www.jstor.org/stable/579665.
Page 513, Paragraph two, sentence two and footnote three.
[15] Gildas, The Ruin of Britain.  Part 1, verse 23.  “The Saxons prove far more cruel than the former enemies. De saeviore multo primis hoste.”  Third sentence.
[16] This is my assumption.
[17] Gildas, The Ruin of Britain.  Part 1, Verse 23
[18] This is my assumption.  I am assuming food was included in the supplies.
[19] Gildas, The Ruin of Britain.  Part 1, verse 23.
[20] Higham, N. (2004), From sub-Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England: Debating the Insular Dark Ages. History Compass, 2: **. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-0542.2004.00085.x
Page three.  “This process of re-evaluation has, however, encouraged several authors to imagine that sub-Roman Britain, in its entirety, retained a significant political, economic and military momentum across the fifth century and even the bulk of the sixth.”
[21] De Excidio XXI, 1, Winterbottom, Gildas, p. 24.  "it was always true of this people (as it is now) that it was weak in beating off the weapons of the enemy but strong in putting up with civil war and the burden of sin."
[22] Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain&oldid=722397103 (accessed June 1, 2016).
First paragraph
[23] Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain&oldid=722397103 (accessed June 1, 2016).  Linguistic evidence, elite personal names, first paragraph.  Since this information comes from the Wikipedia article that is the topic of discussion, I find it appropriate to include it.  However, it cannot be considered authoritative since it is from Wikipedia.  Therefore, the claim that “the Britons were subjects of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom and were treated as the low social class” is only a guess and an assumption.  It should not be taken as fact without an authoritative source to back it up.
[24] Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain&oldid=722397103 (accessed June 1, 2016).
Linguistic evidence, contact and transfer, first sentence.  Since this information comes from the Wikipedia article that is the topic of discussion, I find it appropriate to include it.  However, it cannot be considered authoritative since it is from Wikipedia.  Therefore, the claim that “the Anglo-Saxon language became dominant according to the contact and transfer principles of language” is only a guess and an assumption.  It should not be taken as fact without an authoritative source to back it up.
[25] Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain&oldid=722397103 (accessed June 1, 2016).
Contents, 'Romano-Brittonic' peoples' fate in the south-east, third Paragraph, second sentence.
[26] Gildas, The Ruin of Britain.  Part one, chapter 23.  “Thus the barbarians, admitted into the island, succeed in having provisions supplied them, as if they were soldiers and about to encounter, as they falsely averred, great hardships for their kind entertainers.”
[27] Ward-Perkins, Bryan. "Why Did the Anglo-Saxons Not Become More British?" The English Historical Review 115, no. 462 (2000): 513-33. http://www.jstor.org/stable/579665.
Page 514, footnote 2
[28] http://www.un.org/ar/preventgenocide/adviser/pdf/osapg_analysis_framework.pdf
First paragraph.
General Assembly of the United Nations. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. 1949.
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caldrail View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2016 at 12:47
Doesn't this depend on how you regard 'invasion'? That the Anglo-Saxons engaged in territorial ambition is moot point. On the one hand, we find the Thames Valley Saxons practised a form of apartheid, and did not intermarry, whereas the West Saxons clearly adopted a more progressive approach (besides being warlike when it mattered or was convenient) and utilised diplomacy and marriage to good effect. Both elements engaged in regional domination but did so in different ways.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Gordon Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16 Jul 2016 at 15:49
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Doesn't this depend on how you regard 'invasion'? That the Anglo-Saxons engaged in territorial ambition is moot point.
 

That isn't exactly the point. I am merely saying that Freeman and Allen are not in disagreement about the terms of invasion, if there was any.
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