Of the tribes Jutes and Angels were of same cultural root in South and West Scandinavia. We can be sure that there were Erils among them and we can use early written evidence from England to learn about their society. The oldest real evidence is Aethelbert doomas
Anglo-Saxons, Bede, Roman Empire, laeti, mercenaries, split and rule, Vortigern, heretoga, Hors, Hengest, Kent, cruciform brooch, saucer brooch, square-headed brooch, hlaford, hall, theoden, cyning, king, drythen, drithen, bretwalda, church-frith, wergeld, eorl, thane, thegn, freemen merchant
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Trim folcum dam strangestan Germaniæ, dæt of Seaxum, 7 of Angle, 7 of Geatum.
Bede(673?-735) wrote these words in his Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum. He also tells that earlier Jutes and folks from Essex, Wessex and Sussex had inhabited Cantawaara = Kent and Isle of Wight. As we know that Kent was more noble than others we can maybe connect the Heruli/ Erils to the early kingdom. Our day's research shows that Bede is not totally reliable, however the his description gives us the core:
This is a bit of Bede's description:
"Those who came over were of the three most powerful nations of Germania Saxons, Angles, and Jutes. From the Jutes are descended the people of Kent, and of the Isle of Wight, and those also in the province of the West Saxons who are to this day called Jutes, seated opposite to the Isle of Wight. From the Saxons, that is, the country, which is now called Old Saxony, came the East Saxons, the South Saxons, and the West Saxons.
From the Angles, that is, the country which is called Anglia, and which is said, from that time, to remain desert to this day, between the provinces of the Jutes and the Saxons, are descended the East Angles, the Midland Angles, Mercians, all the race of the Northumbrians, that is, of those nations that dwell on the north side of the river Humber, and the other nations of the English.
The two first commanders are said to have been Hengist and Horsa. Of whom Horsa, being afterwards slain in battle by the Britons, was buried in the eastern parts of Kent, where a monument, bearing his name, is still in existence."
Observe we should maybe use Germania instead of Germany since there was no nations at that time. The best word is maybe "people" for the folks coming to Britain such as Friesians, Angli, Jutes, Saxons, Alemanni, French and modern research/ archaeology adds Scandinavians from Sweden, Fyn and surely even Zealand, Skaane and Norway.
The movements were so many that it is hardly possible to give a good picture. Nowadays they think Bede did his best to write simplified conclusions of that age. There is also doubts, "Was it a real invasion?" Or maybe the early Anglo-Saxons dropped in little by little during 200 years. Some Germans were auxiliary legionaries for Rome in 3rd - 5th centuries and they were stationed in England near cities and fortifications.
If I understand it right Romans used the special force called "laeti" that got "lots" for their family and were tax-free against military duty like for instance the Batavians early in the millennium. Ordinary mercenaries signed on for 25 years and if they stayed for long at a place they surely got married and settled near their work.
Other events are occasional as when there were problems with the Picts from Scotland. In 367 - 369 AD senior auxiliary legions of Batavians and Heruli were sent to the Hadrianus Wall via Gaul and London. We do not if they settled for good or if some new legion was recruited for duty at the wall.
The Empire Rome as only Italy could not recruit enough legions to cower the enormous empire. Many of the recruits came from Balkan/ Thracia and after the Huns arrived from Asia Minor. So auxiliary legions were used to higher and higher degree and they mention the figure 1/3 of the force in a place. The ordinaries came as Roman of the empire completed with auxiliary "foederati" hired from neighbouring folks. In fact around 400 AD theHeruli legion was which placed in Concordia Italy for a long time. There are still some tombstones left tells us that they got married under their duty and after 25 years they got some lot.
In England they used often auxiliary legions from Germania that included all the folklands and Scandinavia. That is perhaps why we find pottery of Germanian origin in England from late 3rd century onward.
The real decline of the Roman Empire began after the assassination of Severus at Rhine in 235 AD. After that Rome and Germania was like cat and dog depending on how strong the lead was at the time. For a time the Alemanni were the worst enemies of Rome but in the long time span they were even serving for Rome.
There may be different opinions about the decline of the Roman Empire. Was it when the military took over? Was it when the Empire was split in East and West? Was it the Huns that from 378 AD threatened all as they forced many tribes to move and it was like an avalanche? Alamanni, Suebi, Burgundians, Vandals and Franks were all moving southwards and some of them to the Atlantic Coasts.
The internal decline in the Roman Empire was naturally much of the cause. All kind of forces were all the time looking for weaknesses in Rome and its rule. Naturally the Roman rule lead to feudalism when 600 senators in the provinces became "kings". The old system with thing-communities broke down with the "kings". Pirates from North and other places plundered deep in the land along the rivers. The Roman legions were no defence against that and the Roman border was too long for an effective defence.
The general peace between the Romans and Celts was broken and they had learnt to fight. At least some of them. The Franks had originally been a tribe around the Rhine, but they began to expand southwards and towards Saxony. Saxons and perhaps Friesians and Angles saw the opportunities to be pirates. All the time pest came as a letter in the post when virus/bacteria were transported to new areas during the Great Migration. In Northern Germania and on the West Coast inundation was always a threat. In Northern Jutland sandstorms devastated land.
The Gute Saga tells that at a time there were too many people on the island. Then they by drawing lots let a third move out. Generally I would not believe in sagas at all. Physical evidence and likely should at first be used. The question of feeling "too many" is naturally relative, since it is depending on the technology how well a certain area of land can feed people. Compare with the peopling of today. It is also depending on the health and in those days foreign virus could kill people fast. The transport began with trade and was escalated with the traffic of legionaries long before Attila.
A violent evolution began after the Romans left Britain in 408 AD and the land was open for old tribes and their leaders to flower. As usual that means that many wanted to be chief and it has happened in many places when the people have got freedom. Freedom has to be won over and over again.
The Huns naturally was threat that put pressure on all people. The Romans not only hired mercenaries but also made treaty with tribes that should pacify parts of the empire especially in west. So the migration was partly more or less planned migration. Rome normally could pay the laeti / mercenaries and they were trustworthy as long as they get paid. But later when local chieftains/ kings hired them it was worse. If they did not get paid they naturally were forced to get food from somewhere.
Earlier historians use often the word "barbarian" like an invective for "barbarian Germans" when the truth maybe is that they were lured and needed for the time being. We know too little and should not always expect the worst. In Germania there were no great kingdom. It seems that tribes or folklands were federative with agreements with one another.
That counts even for Scandinavia. We know later that little Denmark was divided in maybe 6 former kingdoms. We know of the Swebian league in beginning of the millennium and that extended to the Angli and Scandinavia. Scandinavia was not "big" but the Heruli at the Danish isles and Skaane trained soldiers and cavalry and even the Cimbri furnished Rome with a legion that was in Africa for a time.
For the Romans it was often "split and rule" but for Germanians Rome was the common enemy. We can note the message on the Undley bract "Howl with Lupus boys, that pays". When Bede tells about Horsa and Hengest coming in three ships (3 x 30 - 50 warriors) it could be a metaphor since we hear the numbers in other connections. Anyway 150 well-trained warriors would be a peace force in a normal peaceful countryside.
There are doubts if the enemy in South England really was the Picts travelling from north to Kent. And some sources tell that the use of mercenaries started soon after the Romans left England in 408. Bede tells us only about the more spectacular events, as it always is that such things stay in memory. Maybe Vortigern in 449 AD just needed the foreign force to do the dirty job and which he could blame afterwards. But all Germanian nobility knew the most about England from earlier duty as warriors there.
King Vortigern in Britain asked the Jutes for help about 447- 449 AD against his internal fiends. Two heretoga Horsa and Hengest came to his help maybe they were elected at a thing by their folks. Maybe they came from North-Jutland since the tradition there was to have two leaders as it seems. According to the custom among traders they settled first on an island, Thanet at the coast of Kent and later migration at Isle of Wight
In those days a few hundred men were an army. The heretogas had maybe 500 men in their boats as peacemakers. Soon afterwards followed their families and we can assume that there was much of free land at the time. The immigrants need not be a threat to others than the greedy. Neither need the immigration of Angles, Jutes and Saxons have been a big threat since there was probably enough space for newcomers. However the aborigines always protect their land. They got used to search for their raw materials over a big area in stead of buying for their needs. New settlers restrict that.
The new movement hardly settled before the great battle with Attila in 451. Rome gathered its old foedorati in 12 German tribes for this war. That means that the near brothers Alemanni, Thüringians, Warner and Scandinavian Erils were occupied in the battle on the Katalunian fields. They have still not found the field, but evidently it was somewhere in France. Attila lost and in a few years he was gone, but not forgotten. The battle was source to the new heroic literature and songs that have lived since then.
After the battle the Erils stayed in Europe and 460 AD we hear about them in Spain and some left for Bohemia. There must have been a guard in Rome since the Eril Odoacar 476 AD took the power in Rome. He ruled in 17 years and that is a fairly long time … could be compared with 13 years of Alexander, but in Rome it was a long time among military leaders.
He met his end like many others in the time when his successor Theoderic wanted to see if there was bone in his body according to the legend. For some reason Theoderic become a hero. That depends also on the fact that he had a "bard" or historian in Cassiodorus his secretary. He wrote near some truth, while many other writers were serving some power. Those who take the word rule history is an old truth. Jordanes tell that he borrowed Cassiodorus' books "over night" and that makes it less credible and the books are lost so we will never know.
Even in Sweden Theoderic is for some reason hero, while the Danes sing satirical ballads about him. That is of course up to the historians that need a history for Sweden In my analysis I think the Danes are right in spite of the fact that the Danes drove away the Erils later. It is a question about reasons and normal behaviour
The real and big immigration to southern England seems to begin around 477 AD a generation later than the battle at the Katalunian fields. We do not know the reasons and neither we know if it was organised tribes or families dropping in if we are using only the sources. Up to Celtic World Order the tribes were federative and I suppose the Erils were just the upper class used to move around and organise things. There are some finds of golden medals even in England and the rich graves are just among the others on the ancient graveyards.
Still it could be an organised decision among the mentioned tribes. We can note that they from the beginning elected Ælle of Sussex as bretwalda = overlord around 477 AD. Then it is understood that the other kingdoms were behind like a league.
… see also the Gallehus hornsWas it a treaty?
At left from Sletner Austfold Norway and at right from Kent England (there has been an almandine in the centre)
These are the ultimate priceless gold-work from Golden Age. It is hard to see that the almandines lay on a disc filled with spirals made of the finest gold pearls they ever made. No goldsmith of today has the eyes and magnifiers to do such things. In those days they probably made without magnifiers of our technical kind. He must have been working on that for long and the buyer must have been wealthy. These works seem to come from the same hand.
Archaeological finds widens our knowledge and gives more nuances and evidence about the migration period. Here I take much from Kent since we have most of the relevant sources there. Here I quote from William Bakken athttp://members.aol.com/bakken1/angsax/asinv.htm#intro
"Brooches, commonly used as clothing fasteners provide a valuable indication of date and origin. The shape and type of decoration varied between tribal groups. Round and equal arm brooches were common among Saxons, while the Angles and Jutes preferred cruciform brooches. In addition, wrist clasps were common among the Angles.
Pottery fashions have about the same division as brooches. The Angles and Jutes favoured rectangular decoration while the Saxons used more curvilinear styles. In addition, stamped decoration was common on Saxon pottery and was not used by the Angles and Jutes.
Weapon ownership was almost essential in the settlement period and, therefore, weapons were commonly placed in graves. Spears were the most common, typically an iron tip riveted to an ash shaft. Shields of lime wood with a leather cover and an iron boss at the centre have also been found. Knives and swords were too valuable to be placed in the graves of ordinary soldiers and farmers and are thus an indication of aristocracy. The swords used by many of the German nobility were heirlooms passed down from generation to generation. Helmets and arrows were also rarely found."
The cruciform brooch is the common denominator for Angels, Jutes and West Scandinavians
This brooch seems to have been for everyday use and many of the finds are worn. There is a great variation of this type and on some of them we see a face on the trefoil knobs. The occurrence looks like a tribal symbol. The cruciform brooch is found in Deira, Mercia, and East Anglia, while it is mixed with the Saxon cast saucer brooch in Middle Angles, Kent and Essex. However the more they excavate the more complex spread grows.
Then we can ask from where came these. There are finds in Denmark, Northern Germania to Vistula, Norway, West-Sweden, Auland, Helsingland and for some reason not in East Sweden. There are also finds in upper Saxony and the Friesian coasts. … see mapCruciform Brooch
Saxonsaucer brooch from Kent http://arts-humanities.cant.ac.uk/Staff-Development/
At the Canterbury Christ Church University Ben Lewick has made a wonderful site with 12 files concerning Jewellery, Footwear and Accessories from the finds in Kent. However I have problem in getting the links to work and they tell they are reorganising. But I think you can reach it by a search on Google "Kent + jevellery".
We have to remind that in all periods of history most of the elegant finds come from the nobility. The AS graves in England and Scandinavia shows the same characteristics with the graves of nobility among the ordinary people that mostly were cremated. There are exceptions with special graveyards for the nobility as there are remains of cremated with expensive items in the urn or remains.
Square-headed brooch, Snake-pit bracts and disc brooches from Kent
"From an ultimate origin in fifth-century Scandinavia, square-headed brooches were introduced to England shortly before 500 AD. Although Kent figures prominently in the local development of this type, there is evidence for independent influence directly from Scandinavia to both Anglian and Saxon areas of Southern England. Their popularity was maintained until the end of the third quarter of the sixth century, after which it waned rapidly."
The trefoil side of the square-headed brooch is the most important since it originally has the two season snakes of life plus the three season gods as heads. For some reason seems many of the English heads have disappeared. Christian wish to rule peoples mind maybe!!! The decorations on the square head vary a lot but it associates to the Underworld. On some of them we see snakeheads like on the Snake-pit bracts. Like on many other jewels they exposed their World Order on these luxury items.
There are two sizes of the big brooch that surely belonged to nobility and especially to the Heruli the supposed upper class in South Scandinavia untill ca 500 AD … se alsoTrinity and Finds. The D-bract = Snake-pit motif is found especially in Sarre Kent and at North Jutland that is the area with many finds ... see Map bracts (mainly D-bracts of 23 at N.Jutland) and Euro-bracts. However the upper class was international and little so "everyone knew everybody "
So when we find brooches in the Frankish/ Langobardic style with five knobs it is hard to say is it migration - trade - or that someone bought it as an unusual gift to his lass/ wife. See for instance the Freilauber brooch. In first half of 6th century the Heruli were first at war with the Langobards but through marriage they got hard ties to the king. So maybe some noble man brought some brooch to relatives in Kent. The French were near and some seems to have migrated to South England and Kent and the trade was going on all the time.
Telemark and Kent
Maybe the Beowulf Epos was written by an heir of the Erils and with roots in the area around Kattegatt, since the described environment is some Nordic Sea landscape. It is of course saga, but not all ideas in it are pure imagination.
Bede in 731 AD used "folk memory" = oral tradition and a few documents while we have excavations that bring new light and confirms as well as we get new views. Bede could use the sources in the Northumbrian royalty and through the church he could get knowledge from Kent. Probably there was a written tradition since middle of 6th century when in France born Queen Bertha brought a bishop from France. We have The Laws of Æthelberht, King of Kent, 560 - 616 AD.
That means we have written tradition from only a few generations after some of the big migration. Kent seems to be the most royal and important. Next qualified assumption is that the royal houses brought the laws/ doomas from Scandinavia or Germania. My interest here is to sort out some general model of the AS society as well as the Nordic at the age of Great Migration. Besides the AS sources I use the few fragments we have from Scandinavia from that time and from later times. The process of history was slower those days so we can with care use later evidence too.
Once I read that "in the Bible there are no adjectives". That is a good rule in science and we should leave out all kind of valuations and be neutral about the people of those days. In scientific writing about early society it could often be classified as rumours and speculation because the facts and features are not in the context with reality and places. That depends naturally on the fact that we have no real evidence and we are forced to gather from many places and different ages and suppose that it was valid in the area we write about.
In the periphery of known culture Scandinavia is often treated as a noble sphere in south and the shamanic sphere in the north. However shamanism is not defined and it could not be used in agriculture that demands for rituals. The mythologists see Odin as the High Shaman when they are snobbish and fraternise with the thought of wild and barbaric Vikings. In the Edda cult there is not much of how make a living and the legends give not must help in fighting either. They seem to be pure fiction and mainly written in 10 - 12th centuries.
Too often the snobs see only the Roman culture and its dominance and they think Anglo-Scandinavian culture began with the migrations. But in Scandinavia they preferred the old Celtic culture of which we know a little from especially the Roman Tacitus ca 100 AD. He gives us glimpses from unspecified places in Germania and I am not so sure if we can generalise from that.
There are some substantial and real facts in the stelae the Romans set up in Rhineland and other places. We learn about archetypes for thing/ court and trade if we translate them right from the Latin names. The same is the case with the weekday names that gives us the general pantheon of idols/ archetypes ... seerune texts. The problem is that the Faculty of Religion practised science of ideas and set the religious frames on it all. I do not know if science imagined that our ancestors lay on the knees in front of the images and with a prayer hoped the fictive gods would do the job?
In the rich material from the Golden Age we see them telling about their World Order by showing myths telling about agriculture; about their moral World Order and about how they explained the world "Midgaard" they lived in. That order was not born at that time but have roots not only back to Bronze Age but at least to the beginning of civilisation 6000 years back.
Civilisation and society is a process where ordinary people use the Gambler's Rule, "do not alter winning system". Needs, environment/ surroundings and growth in population shape the society. All culture live in its own pace of development and we cannot tell that some order is better than the other. The main thing is that it should satisfy the needs of the local people. The success is measured by the fact that the local people survive.
The period from around 450 AD onward was a time of recovering and rebuilding the social order in West Europe and Scandinavia after the Romans and the Huns. We have a fragment that the upper class at the Danish isles was driven away around 500 AD and some of them could have moved to England and others to East Sweden. In England the Anglo Saxons created new order and growth in population demanded for more order.
The Franks were in lead in creating feudalism however it was not new to the upper class of the Anglos Scandinavians since they were earlier mercenaries and traded with the Romans. We can see that the differentiating in classes maybe was build on earlier Celtic World Order. It was simply the natural way to shape a lead for the people and we see similar order among Hittitians and Myceneans in second millennium BC.
The Ionian league was federative and builds much on ritual lead. The upper classes choose an overlord among the upper classes and he was responsible firstly for the ritual of the nation. Overlord is a suitable word in English today. In old in English it originates from "hlaford" with the root "hlaf = bread" and it could be interpreter "breadgiver". Some interpret the text at the Tune stone from Austfold Norway ca 400 AD with "Wodurid witandahalaiban…" as hlaford.
We can understand it as a local leader. But with feudalism came the concept "house" that meant the hall/ castle of the leader but also "the House" in the sense of land. Then the hlaford was the administrator of the land. Under such a long period and with fragmentary texts we have to be ready for more than one solution.
We have also "theoden" that seems to have come with the Saxons and the root is maybe the Greek "theos = god". No man could be god but in the old tradition the leaders interpreted the will of gods. That was the smart trick to be free from responsibility of unpopular decisions. We have the lower ranks thane and thegn and in Danish taler / thula that was like the fore-singer in church.
However in Saxon they used "theod" = people" and it was used in Svitjod for the people in East Sweden. We understand that theoden was the leader. In a peaceful assembly there was no need for martial leaders. In all stages of society it was the original system of Greek "geronsia = elderly men in a ring and in lead". In smaller places around the world that system works still. Maybe they chose an elderly wise man as "alderman". Even the thane/ thegn was taught to an old wise man that took the lead locally in wartime
The word "cyning" = king = kung seems to be old Celtic root and have the root in kin/ kind/ clan/ family and we think of biological family. The suffix ING = INGE means simply "give in" and is used for gods as well as for responsible leaders in their function of understood givers of harvest. In the Scandinavian fragments we see that "king/ nesking" was a title for the local ritual leader. On the Rauk stone we read about 20 kungr and it means surely local leaders and there is also "ungar" = families. In lead seems to be two "sikungr" and double lead was quite common.
There is also the idea drothnian = drottning = queen todays Nordic. It seems to have been the ritual female symbol while "drott" was the male part. Of the same root we have "drythen / drithen" with later synonyms lord, prince, king, ruler and we understand him as host and retainer. It was a time when local rich men build their big halls and hosted many kind of specialists. Maybe the overlord sent some "gestir/ gastir" that were specialists but they were also spies. In the hird of Canute/ Knud I of Denmark and England there were gestir. Other "guests" could be more or less friendly hostage.
The Romans used "laeti" as standing forces near important fortifications and towns. In England and Denmark they organised the ceorl/ churl / karl as standing forces i.e. a rider in lead of a small force maybe. There are 67 ceorla-tun = churl-tun = carlton in England but they think most of them are from late part of AS rule. Canute seems to have organised the karleby / svenneby/ rickeby mainly in East Sweden an he brought the concept of huskarl/ housekarl to England. Here the idea "hus" means the building as well as the storage of the king in a province or likely. Then organised taxation and pay in natural-specimens is understood and then some guard is needed.
I am mainly interested in Scandinavian society but in England we can find written evidence and completed with archaeology we get some real fragments from the time. What I learn in England could be applied to Scandinavia at the time. Initially we have to remember that history is always written about the nobility.
The early AS laws were written for the freemen = upper classes and applied to the people. The everyday order of the people was what we call the by-law and of that we see fragment 4000 years ago in the rock-carvings. The main thing was the yearly ritual with specified season ritual and rules as for instance fences around the cornfields.
The earliest law of Aethelbert is not codified in categories and was a custom law written in the pace of needs with much to be understood as use in the local society. The Romans codified the Roman Law a couple of generations earlier but the city civilisation was much more complex and demanded for rules for many more aspects than in nearly rural societies in England.
The Danelaw began with these newcomers. Of course the British tribes had their laws and customs before the Danelaw. However they might have been out of order since the Romans and their administration left the country. In democracy the newcomers maybe outnumbered the aborigines and then the Danelaw won.
Nowadays it seems that when talking about the Danelaw they mean the later immigration in Viking Age from ca 800 AD onward. But it seems that much of that stream went to Cumbria and Northumbria and of course Ireland and Isle of Man and the mentioned areas practised of course the Danes' law from the beginning. An interesting study would be the law of Kent written down when Augustinus came to England 602 AD. That is surely very much Old Nordic Law. But it starts with the short Church Code that tells us Augustine was behind writing the law.
The first "bretwalda" is according to the sources Ælle of Sussex 477 - 499 Ad was the firs bretwalda = overlord and himself king of the Saxons. That tells us that the Anglo-Saxon stuck together in a league from the very beginning. It would be natural since the Britons could be a threat as the Saxons experienced earlier. The Angli and Heruli were originally in the Swebian league and the upper class served the Romans.
Here we must include the Norse and at least the Westgauts as already the finds in Kent have shown … see above. The Scandinavians were acquainted with the Saxon and Friesians since Bronze Age. They traded with the Romans in Rhineland were comrades with the Batavians and surely intermarriage have created bonds between all the kingdoms.
People were used to meetings and fairs and they also were willing to defend their land in "wapentake". But there was no taxation so the worldly leaders were forced to finance their aspirations by their own. That means by owning land and getting people to drive more property than the family needed. Trade was since Bronze Age one mean to get rich and it is natural that the merchant was of the same class as the thane/ thegn once he got established. The class of ceorls/ churls came later and was from the beginning maybe on the voluntary base with farmers / handicrafters willing to be noblemen …seeEril/ Iril rune texts
The old custom of thing/ court was that the law-reader or pair of law-readers. They orally recited the laws alluding to the gods that were aspect of the World Order. Martial and other leaders were elected for the occasion in society with as the Romans wrote Mars Thingsus as chairman. However in the equal Celtic World the idol was the experienced one-armed old man in Scandinavia called Tyr/ Tis/ Tiw. In small societies there were no crimes to speak of. The general problems were about keeping peace and equality in the community.
We feel the equality when they shifted the land son that every member gets a fair share. In our rock-carvings we see that they made the symbol for sharing and understood the harvest behind. A crime disturbed the balance between people and in fact the community were responsible in a way. The people/ collective demanded that the victim should be compensated "in cash" for the damage but not more than was reasonable seen to the damage.
As we see people were used to have ritual leaders and they elected maybe even leaders for the federation, while the noblemen chose the overlord among the assembly of freemen. We know this system from the Anatolians and Greeks and maybe the Celts learnt it form them. However this is also the natural way to organised big leagues.
As we see the human nation is struggling for power and our historians and archaeologists sooner look for all kind of power struggle and signs of mighty chieftains. They are right but such things develops in pace with need and possibilities and it is depending on a certain population and wealth.
The Anglo-Saxon were pleased with the bretwalda until middle of 7th century when for instance king Penda got aspirations and wealth to establish the new kind of king = high king that was build on partly martial power. The process began to create a kingdom that satisfies the request of recognised borders, normal peace treaties with neighbours, defence, coining, taxation and laws. Some mention Egbert in 825 AD as the first king of England.
However before that the old system with thanes as ritual leaders it has to be replaced by the church. Even the bretwalda and the freemen were forced to establish law and order. So the first paragraphs were establishing the church and "freedom of the freemen" and they offered the people protection locally by all the paragraphs about "frith" in the country.
Understood is also that the upper class protected the kingdom and for that the king got some bots and part of some of the fines. And he was forced to finance his wealth by his own means ... The kings were always searching for money to keep their reputation. Queen Elisabeth I was lucky when her fleet won over the Spaniards and gave her "the free seven oceans".
1. The property of God and of the church, twelvefold; a bishop's property, elevenfold; a priest's property, ninefold; a deacon's property, sixfold; a clerk's property, threefold; churchfrith, twofold;. . . .
Naturally there must have been many unwritten rules about the church. If we compare with West Gautland the first edition of the province law from early 13th century did not mention the church. Second edition from late 13th century tells about every practical aspect of the village church. Still they build most of the churches in 12th century and we have no written evidence/ rules from that time.
However these few lines established the church That was the first step to the "marriage of kingdom and church" in the development of feudalism in England. Then follows the "frith" for the king and the nobility. Earlier there was the split in administrative lead king and eorl and the thanes/ thegns were ritual leaders in the beginning. They were "old wise men", which in case of war became leaders of the wapentake with the riders as the special force. England and Scandinavia have in common that before this migration the lands were split in smaller kingdoms. The Franks lead perhaps this development and Scandinavia was the last to build feudal order.
In time more paragraphs were added and for instance in the Mercian law we find the classes of freemen, while the people's classes is more diffuse but visible by the wergeld = bot for murder. The wergeld was in a way equal since it was defined after class and the person's income. Since the people and even nobility lived in kinds of family clans the laws were different from ours. The kind/ family protected the child and even the unborn child by the "morning gift". That was protecting the child immediately if the man died. The mother inherited half of the property if there were children but went back to her kind if there were no children. That was her security and pension plan. We have to see the family household with relatives.
From the burials we learn that ordinary people were inhumed or cremated with few personal grave gifts. That means the owning stayed in the clan. Noble and rich people show more complex and rich grave gifts and it all changed in time when the clans were split and they got private property and land. The standard of hideage we find in the Mercian law where freemen/ merchants must own 5 hides before becoming a thane
Then we can look at the Law of Mercia to get a clue of the nobility in society. The early laws of Kent and Northumbria are much the same in this aspect. The law we have from Mercia concerns theoden or king … eorl the county chieftain … thegn or thane knight of the hundred… ceorl the lowest class of nobility or freemen as they were named in Kent. The thegn or thane could rise to eorl. The ceorl could rise to thane /thegn if he owned a manor and five hides of land. (1 hide = 120 acre those days)… According to later norms in Gautland that would be a full "mantal" consisting of 4 normal family farms/ hides plus a torp with mansion for the thane.
Even a merchant could be thane if "he fared thrice over the wide sea by his own means". This does not tell about ordinary people and it is like in Scandinavia that the people probably had their own "Peasants' Law" = unwritten by-law we find in later province laws as "village code".
Kent's law we can learn about the people maybe. From the wergeld for manslaughter and the bot as compensation and fine for other crimes we can learn the cash graded value of people. A man was half a freeman, a woman or maiden was half a man, the slave was half of that and the lowest class were half of that. In the dooms we see that the king had a court Witan = Nordic hird contending many professions. The dooms sounds more like judgements within his dominions as it was for long that rules were written for that, while the free peasants' were under their own Peasants' Law.
About the concept slave we have to mention the Celtic clientship and Nordic definition of slave. The real slaves were taken in war or Viking and that we see mainly among the Swedes in Uppland. The law of Gotland gives us another picture. Some were slaves for crime and debts and they were free after a time. Since the society build on owning those without house could be a client or a sort of slave. I think there have been a kind of tenants since Bronze Age and in late times called "one-footed".
That means that only subordinated people of nobility were under these laws. The peasants had their own law except when it came to crimes. That part was an income for the king or ruler and he took for instance criminal to slavery on his property. We have to understand their thinking to get to the roots of the society. Under every kind of law lies the demand for equality and justice at least within the class. Even in Scandinavia there were slightly different laws in the provinces we know of.
The coin of Peada in Mercia 656 AD shows that the Erils were still going strong before the new immigrants in 8th century. Another item is Frank's casket from Northumbria and the same time.
Study also the map shoving thegolden medals. Note the finds in Kent and Mercia and I think the Erils influenced these provinces much. See also Scandinavian map that shows the same pattern as the cruciform brooch with few golden medals in East Sweden.
Like the Burgundian brooch with the face and the Frankish/ Langobardian brooch with five knobs brooches and the Saxon saucer brooch are like a tribe symbol besides some other types like the crossbow, annular, equal-armed and plate as occasional fashion maybe. Normally even in the rich Eril graves are one cruciform besides the luxury brooches. The saucer type is more spread to upper Saxony, Frisia, in places along Rhine and some places in West France and in Sussex, Wessex and Essex of course.
The Erils disappeared from the scene in the beginning of 6th century. The Roman Jordanes tells that the Danes drove them out of Denmark to places outside the Gauts. Some of the cause was naturally that they "lost their face" when Odoacar was murdered. Another thing is that they were spread to many places and already as such a spread league. Maybe the Sideni = "Deni on the other side" were driven out by the Slaves to Denmark.
It seems that they buried their ritual gold, but they had still their fortune in all the trading connections all over Europe. Surely they had also other property, so they just disappeared as Erils, but continued as traders and skilled in handicrafts. We can ask if the kings at Sutton Hoo, East Anglia used "the same tailor" as the nobility in Vendel Uppland, since the artefacts show much of the same style.
The nobility of traders practised "business as usual" and that means at that the "iron trade" from Jaemtland but also from Smaaland via Auland, I think.
This essay is only for the Scandinavian connection. See for instance Angelcyn.orghttp://www.angelcynn.org.uk/index.html for good covering of the Anglo-Saxons
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