The Heroic Age
A version of this paper was delivered at the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference at Leicester in 1997.
1. "Then Britain was stripped of all armour, military power, governors (even though inhuman), distinguished youth, which, having followed in the footsteps of the aforementioned tyrant (Magnus Maximus), never again returned home."
2. The ninth-century Historia Brittonum places this event as early as 428/9; Bede placed it in the first half of the 450s; the Anglo-Saxon chronicle settled on 449. Modern historiography has pushed the bounds even further: J N L Myers favoured a date in c 360 (1969: 71), while David Dumville (1984: 83) believes that Gildas intended a date in the 480s.
3. "Then, all of the advisors, together with the proud tyrant Vortigern, were blinded, devising such a guard (or, on the contrary, the means of destruction) for our homeland as to allow the most ferocious Saxons (of damned name, hateful to god and men) into the island like wolves into the fold in order to hold back the peoples of the north."
4. Paper presented to the Theoretical Roman Archaeology Conference in 1996 (published as Matthews 1999).
5. "So they came from the three stronger tribes of the Germans, that is the Saxons, Angles and Jutes. From the Jutes originated the Cantwara and Wihtwara (that is, the people who hold the Isle of Wight) and that people who right up to the present day are called the nation of Jutes in the province of the West Saxons and are situated opposite the same Isle of Wight. From the Saxons (that is, from that region that is now known as the Old Saxons') came the East Saxons, South Saxons and West Saxons. In turn, from the Angles (that is from the country which is called Angulus, said to be between the provinces of the Jutes and Saxons, and which has remained deserted from that time up to the present day) the East Angles, the Middle Angles, the Mercians and all the progeny of the Northumbrians (that is those peoples who live to the north of the River Humber) and the rest of the English people are sprung."
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