British Civilization

Topics: Henry VI of England, Henry I of England, Harold Godwinson Pages: 19 (7046 words) Published: November 5, 2012


I/ Britons and Romans (C.100 BC – AD 409)
II/ Saxons, Danes and Normans (409 – 1154)
III/ Medieval Empire (1154 – 1450)

I/ Britons and Romans (C. 100 BC – AD 409)

( Very unstable situation

No unity, no charismatic leader for the whole country, no unification during the 1st century BC, before the come of the Romans. Instability politically speaking, wars and conflicts. The leaders were warriors, hence the fact that the tribes were settled on military principles. Military was unifying element. They lived in emergency situation. They weren’t strong enough to stop an invasion from the exterior. Two important tribes were in conflict for many years: Iceni and Catuvellauni. Both of them were already latinazed, even before the come of the Romans. How is that possible? The Romans had a very large influence: others tribes were fascinated by it, by their lifestyle, their economics, their military principles, etc… It was an inescapable influence. The Romans exported their own vision of the world and even their mentality. However and paradoxically, the English tribes spoke the Celtic language.

( Britain, a suitable candidate for incorporation in the Roman Empire

The Roman did NOT colonize the countries they were interested in (yet). It was a tactical approach: economic reasons, mutual profits, … Britain had many advantages, and the Romans were intrigued: - coinage system: Britain had money and its economic was based on money system (not everywhere in Britain however) ; some tribes were able to stripe their own coins = complex and sophisticated for the Romans, who saw that as a way to possibly improve their empire - building of hill-forts : like a military self-efficient camp. You couldn’t capture one easily. It reflected a certain degree of genius and understanding in a architectural way. The Romans had hill-forts too, and were attracted by the Britain’s one. Despite the instability between the tribes, Britain had managed to show the world what she was capable of. - efficient farmers : sophisticated plough which attracted the Romans who imported the goods at that time. Farming in B started very soon (agriculture revolution started in B). Very good and sophisticated basis. - social organisation : black-out but we know that there were wars between the tribes. Within the tribes, people had a deep respect for each other, it was a vertical organisation (poor -> merchant, sailor, farmer -> middle class, military groups -> nobles). All the leaders were warriors. No threat of rebellion within a tribe. That’s what attracted the R : the order and the respect of the hierarchy. It still is unclear because B was out of history before the come of the R: invasion brought B from outside history into History. - features of R civilisation even before the invasion = latin names for their tribes for instance. So it was easier to invade: British people were already ready to accept the R.

( 55 BC, first contact with Britain : Julius Caesar vs. Cassivellaunus (king of Catuvellauni)

Turning point in the B history, 1st contact between the B and the R, by the initiative of Julius Caesar. Resistance came from Catuvellauni only (Cassivellaunus had had a contact with the Romans before). The others tribes welcomed the Romans. Because of the social organisation, the whole tribe followed Cassivellaunus, and they gave hell to the Romans. This first contact was to assess, evaluate the wealth; the Romans were pragmatic and took their time ( they only came to observe and that’s why many of the tribes welcomed. Ones didn’t want them to come, but didn’t want to fight either. So the Romans made them pay a tax, a fine. For the first time, tribes were given a chance to unify against the others, against the enemy, who were the Romans.

← Paradoxical interactions

Situation not very clear, or easy to define: some say it was an invasion, others a contact. This...
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