What did the Saxons Vikings and Normans have in common?

What did the Saxons Vikings and Normans have in common?

The Anglo-Saxons are a people who inhabited Great Britain from the 5th century. Pictured Norman knights fighting Saxon warriors in a battlefield plaque Credit: Getty Images But who were the Anglo-Saxons, Vikings and Normans and what led to the Battle of Hastings? Here’s what you need to know. Who were the Anglo-Saxons?

They came from northern Germany and southern Scandinavia and stemmed from three powerful tribes – the Angles, Saxons and Jutes. The Anglo-Saxons began to invade Britain while the Romans were still in control. The country of ‘England’ did not come into existence for hundreds of years after the Anglo-Saxons first arrived.

KEY TOPIC 1: Anglo-Saxon society and the Norman Conquest, 1060–66 10 Chapter 2 Anglo-Saxon society 11 Chapter 3 1066: Death, succession and claims to the throne 22 This covers: The last years of Edward the Confessor and the succession crisis nRival claimants for the throne Chapter 4 1066: Invasions and battles 34

We should never forget that the Normans and the Anglo-Saxons came from the same basic stock. At rock bottom, they were each Scandinavian immigrants who had settled in another land and taken over from its ruling aristocracy. It should therefore not surprise us that on a fundamental level, English and Norman social structures were very similar.

The years between around 430, when Germanic peoples settled in eastern England, and 1066. The Norman Conquest in 1066 marks the end of the Anglo-Saxon period. The groups of people who came from mainland Europe to live in Britain in the 5th century.

In the crowning years of Anglo-Saxon rule in England, the military scope brought forth a new institution of warriors – and they were known as the huscarles or huscarls (Old Norse: húskarlar).

On balance, the sources indicate that the Saxons fielded a balanced and effective infantry army. It seems likely that horses would have been used either for scouting or transport. It is not clear how large armies were; the Saxons themselves described anything more than 30 warriors as an army.

Normans were from Normandy, in northern France. The English were a mixture of Anglo-Saxons, Celts, Danes, and Normans. Anglo-Saxon gradually merged with Norman French to become a language called “Middle English” (Chaucer, etc.), and that evolved into modern English.

Each nation was independent and although they shared similar languages, religions and cultures they were fiercely loyal to their own kings and often went to war. The conquered area slowly became known as England (from Angle-land).

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