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History of the Britons

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Housecarl
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    Posted: 27 Sep 2014 at 13:24


http://d.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/text/nennius-history-of-the-brittons

There are 3 historians - Gildas,Bede,Nennius who provide historical data on the original population of the British Isles - the celtic people of this former roman province.It is interesting to follow their destiny and eventual obliteration by the invasions of northern german tribes-angles,jutes and Saxons,after the roman troops withdrew in 407 AD.
The population of the Britons/minus that of the other celts-picts,scotts/ circa 400AD roman census was about 2 mln or so.
Immediately after the roman withdrawal from roman Britania attacks by the other celts-picts and scots intensify and britons invite limited number of germans to settle and help militarily against the northern celts of the isles.
Result is devastating for the Britons,who get exterminated on a mass scale by fellow celts-scotts and picts and germans on the other side.Actually,Great Britain is a living testament to the intra-celtic hatred of scotts& picts vs brittons.
The few britons lucky to escape the massacres emigrate to nowdays France/ancient Gaul/ and Spain.The French province of Brittany carries its name from those poor former roman subjects.
These Europeans are Europe's version of American Indians so to speak.
There is some resistance to german conquest in the british isles,hence there are pockets of survivors there too - Wales,Cymru,Galloway.
According to today's census there are 800-900 K people in Great Britain tracing their lineage to the original owners of Britain.
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Kardama View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kardama Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Sep 2014 at 13:31
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Oct 2014 at 20:40
Quote Result is devastating for the Britons,who get exterminated on a mass scale by fellow celts-scotts and picts and germans on the other side

Grossly exagerrated. Territory did change hands and hostilities continue intermittently, but dark age battles were unusually small affairs. The Laws of Ine for instance define an army as being any number of armed men greater than thirty five. There is little evidence of mass slaughters - there are a few mass graves, probably the executed prisoners, but populations for the most part simply sighed and put up with their new masters. How they got treated varied. The Thames Valley Saxons seem to have conducted a sort of apartheid, whereas the West Saxons intermarried with the natives quite happily.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 12 Oct 2014 at 03:16
Interesting. That look similar to what happened in the conquest of the Americas.
A point of view from the antipodes
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Dec 2015 at 20:53
Yes, I thought so too :)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penderyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 26 Jan 2016 at 23:51
Originally posted by caldrail caldrail wrote:

Quote Result is devastating for the Britons,who get exterminated on a mass
scale by fellow celts-scotts and picts and germans on the other side

Grossly exagerrated. Territory did change hands and hostilities continue intermittently, but dark age battles were unusually small affairs. The Laws of Ine for instance define an army as being any number of armed men greater than thirty five. There is little evidence of mass slaughters - there are a few mass graves, probably the executed prisoners, but populations for the most part simply sighed and put up with their new masters. How they got treated varied. The Thames Valley Saxons seem to have conducted a sort of apartheid, whereas the West Saxons intermarried with the natives quite happily.




Everything suggests that, as with the Norman Conquest later, a very small military minority took over, the result of a mercenary revolt, and that the majority slowly changed languages.   In the case of French, this was disturbed, as in Russia later, by the need to be 'patriotic' while fighting France, whereas the Germanic takeover just went on (it is difficult to know when the majority changed from British).   Isn't the evidence that Saxon ships were, in essence, military transports, having no sails?   I've heard estimates for the barbarian settlers as numbering no more than 10,00o tops incidentally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Guest Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2016 at 13:40
I have my own pet theory regarding this demographic change in the British Isles. I think that the first onset of Justinian's plague severely reduced the existing Romanised Brythonic population. This disease, which killed 70% of the population when it hit Constantinople and was almost certainly bubonic plague, was a catastrophe which affected post-Roman Britain far more severely than the northern Germanic tribes who invaded. This is because Britannia still carried on a brisk trade with the old Roman world. Trade with northern Germany was intermittent.

Heavily reduced populations in Britain could not resist the German invaders who arrived in great numbers by boat year after year from their largely unaffected lands of origin across the North Sea.

This theory isn't official history, it's one of my own pet theories which has yet to be extensively critiqued or proven Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penderyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2016 at 22:59
Originally posted by Constantine XI Constantine XI wrote:

I have my own pet theory regarding this demographic change in the British Isles. I think that the first onset of Justinian's plague severely reduced the existing Romanised Brythonic population. This disease, which killed 70% of the population when it hit Constantinople and was almost certainly bubonic plague, was a catastrophe which affected post-Roman Britain far more severely than the northern Germanic tribes who invaded. This is because Britannia still carried on a brisk trade with the old Roman world. Trade with northern Germany was intermittent.

Heavily reduced populations in Britain could not resist the German invaders who arrived in great numbers by boat year after year from their largely unaffected lands of origin across the North Sea.

This theory isn't official history, it's one of my own pet theories which has yet to be extensively critiqued or proven Smile


The difficulty is that there seems to be almost NO archaeological evidence for such a change, and the evidence about the boats is very strong - it would have taken them about six months to cross safely.   The population of Roman Britannia goes up at every estimate, and not many historians seem to agree about the plague deaths, attractive as that theory does seem to explain that Britain fought for only 200 years against the Germans in what is contemporary England.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 27 Jan 2016 at 23:57
The problem with Sub-Roman Britain is that it had effecively seceded from the Empire after getting upset with an apparent lack of Roman will to defend their shores. The Roman administration had been evicted from office and normal government had collapsed. As it happens, this was regarded as a time of plenty - no-one was paying taxes - but it meant there was little or no public oversight.

This weakness was sensed by Saxon pirates - who had been threatening Britain for more than a century and indeed, Saxon mercenaries were already resident in Britain to defend against their less well behaved brethre, leading to a situation when Vortigern made a very bad choice of mercenary. That effectively opened the door to further colonisation and the locals were not well able to fend them them off. The Romans had left behind military manuals and advice of milita dfece but this was not a solution. Southern England has many earthwork ramparts dating to the period which were defences aimed at impeding Saxon advance. The numbers of militant Saxons was probably small but if you're a small undefended Romano-British settlement, you don't really have a lot of choice over what to do when a bolshy Saxon armed with a sword and several burly minions strides into town demanding fealty and tribute or else.

Perhaps I'm being unfair. By the time the Saxon settlement goes into top gear the local natives had already gotten themselves organised into tribal petty fiefs and mounted some resistance. But the turth of the matter is that the Saxons were playing for power, profit, and land, whereas the Britons only really wanted them to go away.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penderyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 28 Jan 2016 at 23:05
I think we should remember that Britannia consisted of four (or perhaps five) provinces, which probably disintegrated at different rates and had different policies and mercenaries, threatened, most of them, by Picts and Scots rather more than Germans.   The 'Welsh' tradition' is that British-speaking fighters were brought down from beyond the wall, and it could well be that Britannia Prima was different in that respect, though I'd guess your general picture is pretty realistic.   As we see on the Continent, disarmed populations don't make much of a fist of fighting barbarians.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote caldrail Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2016 at 19:46
Well, I suppose there's some truth to that, but the situation isn't so clearly resolved. Whilst the southeast was the most settled and romanophile, the majority of troops were elsewhere, on the boundaries (though we have to include the Saxon Coast by that stage), fending off increasing militantcy by tribes from Ireland and Scotland.What is often forgotten - or completely ignored - is that at least half of Roman Britain was little more than a frontier. Hadrian's Wall had defenses on the south side and for good reason. The idea that by the late empire the British were 'romanised' is basically false. Like all provincial regions, society was a cultural hybrid, with some people living as their forefathers had always done, others seeking to adopt Roman ways, or any mix of the two that was convenient.

Archeology shows something interesting about Roman habitation in the late empire. Britain had been doing much better than the continent economically (one reason why the Saxons were looking at Britain avariciously). There are many more villas in the late empire than previous eras. These villas seem to be attempting to continue as manorial settlements when the Roman administration is gone - the owners were more often Romano-Britons than Romans living in Britain. When that attempt inevitably failed in the wake of economic decay, villas were used in whatever manner was convenient, so for instance a room with mosaics and underfloor heating no longer houses a wealthy family, but is used as a pig sty, at least until the abandoned villa starts to collapse or is robbed out for materials.

I'm not sure policies varied - that assumed a degree of control and that had gone when the administration was evicted. The local warlords that rose to fill the gap certainly had their own ambitions, but as Gildas informs us, they mostly concerned getting drunk, getting violent, or getting laid. The lack of real cooperation between petty fiefdoms at this stage no doubt helped the Saxons a great deal, but then, their policies were varied. The Thames Valley Saxons practised a form of apartheid, whereas the West Saxons intermarried at a stroke.
http://www.unrv.com/forum/blog/31-caldrails-blog/
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Penderyn Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 29 Jan 2016 at 22:26
Well, the first two kings of the 'West Saxons' certainly had British names.
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