After the settlement of the Anglo Saxon Britain in the 5th century, seven kingdoms were united together to form the Seven Anglo Saxon Kingdoms which was collectively known as the Heptarchy.
In the 10th century they underwent a unification to be called as the Kingdom of England. These seven Anglo Saxon kingdoms which form the Anglo Saxon Britain are East Anglia, Mercia, Sussex, Essex, Wessex and Northumbria. If one follows the seven Anglo Saxon Kingdoms map, then a clearer picture of the entire Anglo Saxon Britain can be obtained.
History of the Anglo Saxon Kingdoms
The origins of Anglo Saxon Kingdoms, which is also termed as the Heptarchy starts from the 5th century following the end of the rule of the Romans in Britain. Although the Heptarchy marked the existence of the all seven early British Anglo Saxon kingdoms, it never did imply the existence of a stable group of these seven kingdoms.
Thus, the Heptarchy was always considered to be a labelled tag for convenience. Due to the content for supremacy by the kings, the number of kingdoms and the number of sub-kingdoms experienced a rapid fluctuation.
During the late 6th century, the south saw a prominent lord, the King of Kent. The rulers of Wessex and the rulers of Northumbria became powerful during the 7th century. Mercia achieved the hegemony over all the other surviving kingdoms in the 8th century. Alongside the seven Anglo Saxon Kingdoms, there were many other sub-kingdoms which existed.
The first Anglo Saxon kingdom to be converted to Christianity was when Ethelberht of Kent accepted baptism in the year 601. It was then followed by the Rædwald of East Anglia and the Saebert of Essex in the year 604. The Anglo Saxon kingdom of Northumbria accepted Christianity under the rule of King Edwin in the year 627.
The Anglo Saxon Gods
When we study about the existence of gods during the Anglo Saxon Britain, we come across four early British kingdoms Anglo Saxons gods who were important and worshipped during the specific time period.
Woden was considered to be the All Father and the chief amongst all the other gods of Anglo Saxon Britain. Alongside of many of the male Anglo Saxon gods, Woden was highly associated with fighting the wars. The warriors of the Anglo Saxon offered tribute to Woden before fighting any war in order to gain his protection in defence and this strength in offence.
Fridge was considered as the goddess of Love and was the married wife to Woden. To all the Anglo Saxons, Fridge was the goddess of Love, Home, Marriage and Children. Thus, the Anglo Saxons offered tribute to her with the same regards. Since she was also considered as the mother of Earth, the Anglo Saxons offered harvest to her.
The most famous and the most widely worshipped son of Frige and Woden, Thunor. Thunor was the god of weather. In particular, Thunor was the God of Lightning and Thunder. He was also very important to the blacksmiths as he was also considered as the God of Forge.
Tiw was the god of swordplay, god of war and the god of war. Due to this, he was another deity of chief importance to the 7 kingdoms of Anglo Saxon England. Having just one hand, Tiw was officially declared to be the most skilled fighting combat amongst all the other gods, including Woden and Thunor.
Anglo Saxon Kings: Art Word War
At the British Library, the largest exhibition of all time in history of the Anglo Saxon initiated on 19th October 2018. This exhibition was named the Anglo Saxon Kingdoms Art Word War. The main motive of this exhibition was to experience a lifetime opportunity of witnessing the real-life evidences from the Anglo Saxon time period, a time when the English language was founded and written for the first time along with the kingdoms of England being laid down.
The Anglo Saxon kingdoms British library includes the following highlights:
- Codex Amiatinus
- Decorated and illuminated manuscripts
- The principle manuscripts regarding the old English poetries
- Domesday book
- River Erne Horn
At the British Library, one can also find various Anglo Saxon kingdoms books which relates to the great historical significance of the Anglo Saxon Britiain period.
A learning programme was also indulged in the exhibition which included events for the teachers, courses for the adults, workshops for the school students and various activities involving the family. The Anglo Saxon kingdom crossword was one of the games induced in such learning programmes along with some of the Anglo Saxon kingdom crossword clues. The entire time span of the mentioned exhibition took place from 19th October 2018 to 19th February 2019.
One can find a lot of information through the Anglo Saxon kingdoms catalogue and have a practical look at what the time period was during the Anglo Saxon Britain period by visiting the Anglo Saxon kingdoms British museum.
Kings and Kingdoms of Early Anglo Saxon Britain
As mentioned above, there were 7 kingdoms forming the Anglo Saxon kingdoms of Britain. Following are the saxon kings of Britain:
- Egbert (827 to 839)- Egbert was the first king of the Anglo Saxon kingdoms of Britain who had a stable and established rule. Egbert regained the kingdom of Wessex in 802, after he returned from exile. This was followed by the conquest of Mercia in the year 827. Egbert then had total control over the entire south England.
- Aethelwulf (839 to 856)- Son of Egbert, Aethelwulf came to the reign in 839 and became the King of Wessex. He was known to be a man of high religious beliefs and travelled to Rome with the intention of meeting the pope in 855 along with his son Alfred.
So did the reign of the kings continued as Aethelbald, son of Aethelwulf took over in 856. Aethelbert, brother of Aethelbald and son on Aethelwulf came to the reign in the year 860 after the death of his brother. Aethelred, Alfred the Great and many more kings are to be known for their reign over the Anglo Saxons kingdoms of Britain thereafter.