The Anglo-Saxons filled the void left by the Romans who departed from Britain in the early 5th century AD. The Romano-Celtic people of Britain hired the Anglo-Saxons as mercenaries to defend against the Picts and Scots from the north and the Irish from the west. The Anglo-Saxons liked what they saw and invaded and conquered most of England.
The Anglo-Saxon masters were very different than the native Celts. Women had a relatively high status in Celtic society, able to own property and fight as warriors. The Germanic Anglo-Saxons treated women as property. When the Anglo-Saxons came to stay, most English Celts had adopted Christianity and St. Patrick had carried the Christian faith to Ireland, from where it was introduced to Scots and the Picts with varying success.
The Anglo-Saxons brought their gods with them. Woden was their primary god but many others of tribal and regional import were worshiped. They also had elves and dragons in their pantheon. They worshipped through sacrifice to their deities. Kings often claimed descent from the gods. The warriors pledged themselves to the chief or king with the expectation of reward for their faithful service.
Eventually the Anglo-Saxons converted to Christianity, often through the conversion of the king or through the influence of Christians at the court. Their exploits were recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, a fascinating, mostly contemporary, account of the history of the English from the departure of the Romans through the arrival of theNormans.
Tomorrow, THE SAXON HOARDS RitaBay