Britannia – the failed state: Part 5 – Anglo-Saxon settlement and British tribal areas

The Anglo-Saxon settlement stories for Kent, Sussex and Wessex have too much in common to ring entirely true. Nevertheless, a wholesale rejection of them might still be unwise. Kent According to Gildas the British invited the Germanic tribes in to help them with raiders from the North. It has long been assumed that these were …

Britannia – the failed state – Part 4: Ethnic conflict, financial meltdown and the last years of Roman Britain

Ethnic conflict, financial meltdown and the last years of Roman Britain Sometime around 370 there was a marked change in Roman Britain’s economic indicators. This is most obvious in what had been one of the most prosperous areas: the region immediately to the south of Cirencester. There was a sudden rush of coin hoarding in …

Britannia – the failed state – Part 3: THE TRULY DARK AGES – Roman Britain in the second to fourth centuries

It seems to me that, whilst many view the Anglo-Saxon age as ‘dark’, the age that is perhaps darkest is the middle period of the Roman occupation of Britain. Roman historical sources are silent for most of the second and third centuries. We hear from Tacitus about the ultimately pointless victory at Mons Graupius in …

Britannia – the failed state (Part 2)

BOUDICCA AND BRITAIN’S OTHER SWINGING SIXTIES At the end of the 50s AD Rome faced an unstable situation in both the north and west of Britain. Caractacus had been defeated in Wales in 51 where Rome both the Silures in the south and the Ordovices in the north had been overcome. [Gaius Suetonius] Paulinus was …

Britannia – the failed state (Part 1)

Tribal conflicts and the end of Roman Britain PART 1 – THE TRIBES Stuart Laycock approaches relations between Rome and the British tribes from a framework of experience in modern day Bosnia and Iraq. The book commences with a survey of tribes based on Ptolemy. The 150 year gap between Caesar and him means that …

Wales & the Britons 350-1064

An immensely detailed and thorough study of seven centuries of British kingdoms and their neighbours Not the easiest book to score, this is the first part of a history of Wales and, for many people, it will be a specialist reference text. I got a huge amount from it (hence the 5*) but that does …

The King in the North: The Life and Times of Oswald of Northumbria – Max Adams

Like a blazing torch thrust deep back into the Dark Ages of the seventh century I read this book immediately after having completed Adams’ book on AElfred’s Britain. That book took me months to get into. It sat around for months with 100 pages read. Then, I read the remainder in a matter of little …

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