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    FROM the time of the first permanent hold of the Jutes, the Saxons, and the Angles, on British soil until they really possessed the land, was about a hundred and fifty years.ECE 57.1

    2. The Jutes possessed Kent. These were the fewest of the three peoples; and therefore occupied the smallest portion of the land. “Their dominions took in only Kent, with perhaps for a while Surrey, and [the Isle of] Wight, with a small part of the neighboring mainland of Hampshire:” and the kingdom of the Jutes “never permanently outgrew the bounds of their earliest conquests.”ECE 57.2

    3. On all sides of the Jutes landward, dwelt the Saxons: South and West were the South Saxons, from whom the land held by them derived the abbreviated name Sou’-Sax’, and from that Sussex, which it has ever since borne; west of these, but more inland, dwelt the West Saxons, whose kingdom was called Wessex; north of Kent dwelt the East Saxons, their kingdom and land called forever, Essex; and between the East Saxons and the West Saxons—between Essex and Wessex—dwelt the Middle Saxons, their kingdom and land called forever Middlesex.ECE 57.3

    4. The Angles held all the land north of Essex, Middlesex, and Wessex, to the Firth of Forth. In the peninsula immediately north of Essex, dwelt the East Angles, their kingdom and country called East Anglia: those in the northern part of the peninsula were called Northfolk, and those in the southern part, South-folk, from which the descent through Nor’-Folk and Sou’-Folk, come the names that still remain—Norfolk and Suffolk. West of these dwelt the South Angles; immediately north of these the Mid Angles, reaching to the River Humber. From the Humber to the Firth of Forth the land was divided by the Angles into two almost equal portions, the southern of which was the kingdom of Deira; and the northern, the kingdom of Bernicia. The territory between Wales and Mid and South Anglia, being the border, was at first a mark, or march; from which it became Marcia and Mercia. Its Anglican inhabitants were called Mercians, and their kingdom Mercia, which also included the Mid and South Angles.ECE 57.4

    5. The kingdom of the Jutes was established in Kent in A. D. 475; that of the South Saxons in 491; that of the West Saxons in 519; that of the East Saxons about 525; and by 552 the Angles had made the conquest of their part of Middle Britain to the march or border. This pressure of the Angles in Mid Britain enabled the South Saxons to push their conquests farther inland. “In 552 their capture of the hill-fort of Old Sarum threw open the reaches of the Wiltshire downs, and a march of King Cuthwulf on the Thames made them masters in 571 of the districts which now form Oxfordshire and Berkshire. Pushing along the upper valley of Avon to a new battle of Barbury Hill, they swooped at last from their uplands on the rich prey that lay along the Severn. Gloucester, Cirencester, and Bath, cities which had leagued under their British kings to resist this onset, became in 577 the spoil of an English victory at Deorham, and the line of the great western river lay open to the arms of the conquerors....ECE 58.1

    6. “With the victory of Deorum the conquest of the bulk of Britain was complete. Eastward of a line which may be roughly drawn along the moorlands of Northumberland and Yorkshire, through Derbyshire and the Forest of Arden to the lower Severn, and thence by Mendip to the sea, the island had passed into English hands. Britain had in the main become England. And within this new England a Teutonic society was settled on the wreck of Rome. So far as the conquest had yet gone it had been complete. Not a Briton remained as subject or slave on English ground. Sullenly, inch by inch, the beaten men drew back from the land which their conquerors had won; and eastward of a border-line which the English sword had drawn, all was now purely English.ECE 58.2

    7. “It is this which distinguishes the conquest of Britain from that of the other provinces of Rome. The conquest of Gaul by the Franks, or of Italy by the Lombards, proved little more than a forcible settlement of the one or the other among tributary subjects who were destined in the long course of ages to absorb their conquerors. French is the tongue, not of the Frank, but of the Gaul whom he overcame: and the fair hair of the Lombard is all but unknown in Lombardy. But the English conquest of Britain up to the point which we have reached, was a sheer dispossession of the people whom the English conquered. It was not that Englishmen, fierce and cruel as at times they seem to have been, were more fierce or more cruel than other Germans who attacked the empire:.... what really made the difference between the fate of Britain and that of the rest of the Roman world, was the stubborn courage of the British themselves. In all the world-wide struggles between Rome and the German peoples, no land was so stubbornly fought for or so hardly won. In Gaul no native resistance met Frank or Visigoth save from the brave peasants of Brittany and Auvergne. No popular revolt broke out against the rule of Odoacer or Theodoric in Italy. But in Britain the invader was met by a courage almost equal to his own. Instead of quartering themselves quietly, like their fellows abroad, on subjects who were glad to buy peace by obedience and tribute, the English had to make every inch of Britain their own by hard fighting....ECE 58.3

    8. “What strikes us at once in the new England is this: that it was the one purely German nation that rose upon the wreck of Rome. In other lands, in Spain or Gaul or Italy, though they were equally conquered by German peoples, religion, social life, administrative order, still remained Roman. Britain was almost the only province of the empire where Rome died into a vague tradition of the past. The whole organization of government and society disappeared with the people who used it... The settlement of the English in the conquered land was nothing less than an absolute transfer of English society in its completest form to the soil of Britain. The slowness of their advance, the small numbers of each separate band in its descent upon the coast, made it possible for the settlers to bring with them, or to call to them when their work was done, the wives and children, the laet and slave, even the cattle they had left behind them. The first wave of conquest was but the prelude to the gradual migration of a whole people. It was England which settled down on British soil, England with its own language, its own laws, its complete social fabric, its system of village life and village culture, its township and its hundred, its principle of kinship its principle of representation. It was not as mere pirates or stray war bands, but as peoples already made, and fitted by a common temper and common customs to draw together into our English nation in the days to come, that our fathers left their home-land.”—Green. 1[Page 60] “Larger History of the English People.” chap 1. per 30; chap 2, pars. 1-7.ECE 59.1

    9. Of the three peoples—the Jutes, the Saxons, and the Angles—the Angles “occupied a much larger portion of the land” than did both the others; and so their name gave a new name to the land to which they had come—Angle-land, Engel-land, England: while as to the kingdom itself, it was Wessex that “grew into England,” and her “house of Cerdic” that “became the royal house over the whole land.” 2[Page 60] Encyclopedia Britannica art. “England.” history, “Final Predominance of Wessex.” However, this matter of one royal house over the whole land is another long story in addition to that of these three peoples taking possession of the land. For “though all spoke the same language and used the same laws, and though all were bent on winning the same land, each band and each leader preferred their own separate course of action to any collective enterprise.”—Green. 3[Page 60] “Larger History of the English People,” chap 2, par. 4. This spirit caused them, though only three distinct peoples, to form themselves, in the occupancy of the land, into no less than eight distinct kingdoms. And no sooner were ended their wars with the Britons, that they might in quietness inhabit the land, than they began as desperate a struggle among themselves for the supremacy and the sole kingship of all England.ECE 60.1

    10. Thus in A. D. 597 there were in England the eight distinct kingdoms of Wessex, Sussex, Kent, Essex, Mercia, East Anglia, Deira, and Bernicia. Each kingdom was the result of the union of smaller divisions called shires, their chiefs “bearing the title of Ealdorman or Alderman, in peace, of Heretoga or Herzog, in time of war.” The union of shires “formed a rice or kingdom; the chief of the group thus formed was a cyning or king. What, it may be asked, was the difference between king and ealdorman? ...The ealdorman was a ruler in peace and a captain in war. The king was more. Among the English, at least, the kingly houses all claimed descent from the blood of the gods. 4[Page 60] Compare “Empires of the Bible,” chap 6, pars. 3-5; chap 7, pars. 6, 9, 10; chap 7, pars. 38-44. Every king was a son of Woden. A vague religious reverence thus gathered round the king, in which the ealdorman had no share. He was also the head of the highest political aggregate which the ideas of those days had reached. He was, as the name implies, the head of the kin, the nation. The rule of the ealdorman was tribal, and merely earthly; the rule of the king was national, and in some sort divine.” 5[Page 61] Encyclopedia Britannica, art. “England,” history, “The Kingdom,“ Of the community there were three classes: earls, churls, and thralls. The earls were a class who by distinction of birth were held to be entitled to special respect and honor; and who, because of this, possessed certain political privileges. The churls were freemen, but had no honors or privileges above those of the general community. The thralls were slaves held in bondage or thraldom. “The earl, the churl, and the thrall are found everywhere. They are taken for granted; and legend represented the three classes as called into being by separate acts of the creative power of the gods.” 6[Page 61] Id., “Earls and Churls.”ECE 60.2

    11. In A. D. 605 Ethelfrith, king of Bernicia, seized the kingdom of Deira; and as this gave them to all East Britain north of the River Humber, the enlarged kingdom thus formed was called Northumbria. Ethelfrith also made the complete conquest of the greater part of the land that was yet held by the Britons westward to the Irish Sea between the Firth of Clyde and the mouths of the Mersey and the Dee. This reduced the number of the English kingdoms to seven; and it is this that is the ground upon which writers treat the history of that time under the title of “The Saxon Heptarchy.” When Ethelfrith seized Deira, Edwin, its rightful king, being but a child, fled to East Anglia, where he was protected by King Raedwald. This served Ethelfrith as a pretext for an attempt to subdue that kingdom. He was vigorously resisted; and at the “River Idle, by Retford,” he was defeated and slain.ECE 61.1

    12. Upon the death of Ethelfrith, the people of Deira were glad to have Eadwine return to his kingdom. By the conquest of Bernicia, Eadwine re-established and made permanent the union of Bernicia and Deira that Ethelfrith had formed. “The greatness of Northumbria now reached its height. Within his own dominions, Eadwine displayed a genius for civil government, which shows how utterly the mere age of conquest had passed away. With him began the English proverb so often applied to after kings: ‘A woman with her babe might walk scathless from sea to sea in Eadwine’s day.’ Peaceful communication revived along the deserted highways; the springs by the roadside were marked with stakes, and a cup of brass was set beside each for the traveler’s refreshment...The Northumbrian king became, in fact, supreme over Britain as no king of English blood had been before. Northward his kingdom reached to the Firth of Forth; and here, if we may trust tradition, Eadwine formed a city which bore his name, Edinburgh—Eadwine’s burg. To the west, his arms crushed the long resistance of Elmet, the district about Leeds: he was master of Chester, and the fleet he equipped there subdued the isles of Anglesea and Man. South of the Humbria, he was owned as overlord by the five English States of Mid Britain. The West Saxons remained for a while independent;” but they, too, were at last obliged to acknowledge “the overlordship of Northumbria.” And “Kent had bound itself to him by giving him its king’s daughter as a wife, a step which probably marked political subordination.”—Green. 7[Page 62] “Larger History,” etc., chap 2, pars 16, 17.ECE 61.2

    13. At this time Penda was king of Mercia; and the other kingdoms of Mid Britain recognized his overlordship, as he in turn recognized the overlordship of Eadwine. In 633 Penda formed an alliance with a Welsh king, Cadwallon, to break the power of Eadwine. “The armies met in 633 at a place called Haethfeld, and in the fight, Eadwine was defeated and slain.” Bernicia at once “seized on the fall of Eadwine to recall the line of Ethelfrith to its throne; and after a year of anarchy, his second son, Oswald, became its king. The Welsh had remained encamped in the heart of the north, and Oswald’s first fight was with Cadwallon.” The forces met in 635 “near the Roman Wall. Cadwallon fell fighting on the ‘Heaven’s Field,’ as after times called the field of battle; the submission of the kingdom of Deira to the conqueror, restored the kingdom of Northumbria; and for nine years the power of Oswald equaled that of Eadwine.”ECE 62.1

    14. “Oswald’s lordship stretched as widely over Britain as that of his predecessor Eadwine. In him, even more than in Eadwine, men saw some faint likeness of the older emperors: once, indeed, a writer from the land of the Picts calls Oswald ‘emperor of the whole of Britain.’” In 642 Oswald led his army into East Anglia to deliver that kingdom from the terrible rule of Penda, king of Mercia. The battle was fought at Maserfeld; Oswald was defeated and slain; and for thirteen years Penda stood supreme in Britain. Oswiu, younger brother of Oswald, succeeded to the kingship of Northumbria. In 655 the Northumbrians again met Penda “in the field of Winward by Leeds,” Penda was slain, and because of a great rain which swelled the river over which the Mercians must flee, only a remnant of them escaped; and Northumbria under Oswiu stood to England as it had under Eadwin and Oswald. It so continued under Ecgfrith who succeeded Oswiu in 670; and whose “reign marks the highest pitch of Northumbrian power.”ECE 62.2

    15. Eegfrith in 685 carried an expedition against the Picts, but was slain, and his army was annihilated in a battle at Fife. This delivered the central and southern kingdoms from the domination of Northumbria. Mercia immediately regained her full power over all Mid Britain, while Wessex, under Ine from 688 to 714, gained full power over “all Britain south of the Thames;” and Ine’s “repulse of a new Mercian king, in a bloody encounter at Wodnesburh in 714, seemed to establish the threefold division of the English race between three realms of almost equal power”—Northumbria, Mercia, and Wessex. However, Ine, in 726, made a pilgrimage to Rome. In his absence anarchy reigned in Wessex. In this Ethelbald, the Mercian king, saw his opportunity: he penetrated to the very heart of the West Saxon kingdom, and his siege and capture of the royal town of Somerton in 733 ended the war. For twenty years the overlordship of “Mercia was recognized by all Britain south of the Humber.” And since at this time anarchy reigned in Northumbria, the kingdom of Mercia became fairly the kingdom of England. This, however, was for only a short time; for in a desperate battle at Burford in 753, “a decided victory freed Wessex from the Mercian yoke. Four years later, in 757, its freedom was maintained by a new victory at Secandum.”ECE 63.1

    16. Wessex had regained independence; but that was all. For Ethelbald, who was slain in the battle of Secandum, was immediately succeeded by Offa under whose long reign, 757-796, Mercia “rose again to all but its old dominion.” Offa’s “is the greatest name in Mercian history;” and his position “was as great as that of any English king before the final union of the kingdoms. In one way it was higher than that of any of them. Offa held not only a British, but a European position.” This because the mighty Charlemagne corresponded with him as with an equal. This was before Charlemagne was made emperor by the pope: and when he manifested a disposition to treat the king of Mercia as less than an equal, war was threatened between them. And after Charlemagne became emperor of Rome, Cenwulf, Offa’s successor, 797-819, “put it clearly on record that neither the bishop of Rome nor the emperor of Rome had any jurisdiction in his realm of Mercia.” 8[Page 64] Encyclopedia Britannica, art. “England,” history, “Offa and Charles.”ECE 63.2

    17. By this time Wessex had so well employed her independence as not only to have regained, but enlarged and firmly established her power over “all Britain south of the Thames.” This, Mercia was compelled to recognize; and Cenwulf could only preserve the immediate realm of Mercia as he received it. Thus, “at the close of the eighth century the drift of the English peoples toward a national unity was in fact utterly arrested. The work of Northumbria had been foiled by the resistance of Mercia; the effort of Mercia had broken down before the resistance of Wessex. A threefold division seemed to have stamped itself upon the land; and so complete was the balance of power between the three realms which parted it, that no subjection of one to the other seemed likely to fuse the English tribes into an English people.”—Green. 9[Page 64] “Larger History of the English People,” chap 2, last par.ECE 64.1

    18. Yet at this very time there were taking shape in Wessex the elements which presently developed a mighty impulse toward a national unity; and which in the former part of the tenth century, with but slight checks meanwhile, culminated in the actual union of all England under only one king. Among the rival claimants of the kingship of Wessex, after the regaining of her independence in 757, was a certain Ecgberht, or Egbert. The king who was elected in 786 sought to kill him, and he was compelled to flee the kingdom entirely. He first took refuge with Offa. The king of Wessex demanded that he be surrendered. Offa refused; but as he could no longer harbor Ecgberht without bringing into his own affairs continual trouble, he declined to assure him further protection. Then Ecgberht escaped to the Continent, and in 787 found refuge at the court of Charlemagne. There he went to Charlemagne’s school in more senses of the word than one. In the year 800 Edburga, the wife of the king of Wessex, prepared a poisoned drink for a young friend of her husband’s; but both he and her husband drank of it, and both died. Then Edburga, being obliged to flee, likewise took refuge at the court of Charlemagne. Her coming there brought to Ecgberht the information that the throne of Wessex was vacant. He immediately returned to Wessex, and was promptly chosen to the kingship. “The day of Northumberland and the day of Mercia had passed: the day of Wessex had come. The single reign of Ecgberht (802-837) placed her forever at the head of the powers of Britain.” 10[Page 65] Encyclopedia Britannica, art. “English,” history, “Supremacy of Wessex.”ECE 64.2

    19. Ecgberht’s first exploit as king was the conquest of Cornwall, “the last fragment of the British kingdom in the southwest.” In 825 the king of Mercia invaded Ecgberht’s territory, but at the battle which was fought at Ellandum the West Saxons were victorious. This victory confirmed to Ecgberht all of England south of the Thames; and also encouraged the East Anglians to revolt against the king of Mercia. The East Anglians were victorious in two great battles; and this, in turn, so weakened the king of Mercia as to encourage Ecgberht to venture even across the Thames in an invasion of Mercia. This he did “in 827, and the realm of Penda and Offa bowed without a struggle to its conqueror.” But Ecgberht did not stop with the conquest of Mercia: he marched on toward the north. Northumbria had but lately been terrorized by an invasion of Danes, and unable to resist them alone, “its thegns met Ecgberht in Derbyshire and owned the supremacy of Wessex;” and, “with the submission of Northumbria, the work which Oswiu and AEthelred had failed to do was done, and the whole English race was for the first time knit together under a single rule.”—Green. 11[Page 65] “Larger History of the English People,” chap 3, pars. 2, 3.ECE 65.1

    20. This Danish invasion of Northumbria was but a part of that great movement of the Danes in this century, which reached even to France, and created Normandy; and it continued in Britain until it had covered practically the whole of the land occupied by the English. Ecgberht defeated one host of them which invaded the land from Ireland, which gave them a check until after his death in 839. He was succeeded immediately by his son, AEthelwulf. The Danes came again and were “beaten off only by years of hard fighting.” But, a final victory at Aclea in 851 “won peace for the land through the short and uneventful reigns of his sons, AEthelbald and AEthelberht. But the northern storm burst in full force upon England when a third son, AEthelred, followed his brothers on the throne. “The Northmen were now settled on the coast of Ireland and the coast of Gaul; they were masters of the sea; and from west and east alike they closed upon Britain. While one host from Ireland fell on the Scot kingdom north of the Firth of Forth, another from Scandinavia landed in 866 on the coast of East Anglia under Hubba, and marched the next year upon York. A victory over two claimants of the crown gave the pirates Northumbria; and their two armies united at Nottingham in 868 for an attack on the Mercian realm. Mercia was saved by a march of King AEthelred to Nottingham; but the peace which he made there with the Northmen left them leisure to prepare for an invasion of East Anglia, whose undertaking Eadmund, brought prisoner before their leaders, was bound to a tree and shot to death with arrows.... With him ended the line of East Anglian underkings; for his kingdom was not only conquered, but divided among the soldiers of the pirate host, and their leader, Guthrum, assumed its crown.” 12[Page 66] Id., par. 4.ECE 65.2

    21. By these victories of the Dance the power of Wessex north of the Thames was again absolutely destroyed. And “the loss of the subject kingdoms left Wessex face to face with the invaders. The time had now come for it to fight, not for supremacy, but for life. As yet the land seemed paralyzed by terror. With the exception of his one march on Nottingham, King Aethelred had done nothing to save his underkingdoms from the wreck. But the pirates no sooner pushed up the Thames to Reading in 871 than the West Saxons, attacked on their own soil, turned fiercely at bay. A desperate attack drove the Northmen from Ashdown on the heights that overlooked the vale of White Horse, but their camp in the tongue of land between the Kennet and Thames proved impregnable. AEthelred died in the midst of the struggle, and his brother AElfred [Alfred], who now became king, bought the withdrawal of the pirates and a few years’ breathing-space for his realm. It was easy for the quick eye of AElfred to see that the Northmen had withdrawn simply with the view of gaining firmer footing for a new attack: three years indeed had hardly passed before Mercia was invaded and its underking driven over-sea to make place for a tributary of the invaders. From Repton half their host marched northward to the Tyne, while Guthrum led the rest into his kingdom of East Anglia to prepare for the next year’s attack on Wessex.” 13[Page 67] Id., par. 4.ECE 66.1

    22. From 874 and onward Northumbria and Mercia had been brought wholly under the power of the Danes. In 877 AElfred defeated one main portion of their host in his region and forced the surrender of another. In their surrender they bound themselves by an oath to leave Wessex, which they did. But, the arrival of a new horde of their kinsmen caused them to forget their oath; and, at the beginning of 878, the whole double host again “marched ravaging over the land. The surprise of Wessex was complete, and for a month or two the general panic left no hope of resistance. AElfred, with his small band of followers, could only throw himself into a fort raised hastily in the isle of Athelney among the marshes of Parret, a position from which he could watch closely the position of his foes. But with the first burst of spring he called the thegns of Somerset to his standard; and, still gathering troops as he moved, marched through Wiltshire on the Northmen. He found their host at Edington, defeated it in a great battle, and after a siege of fourteen days forced them to surrender and to bind themselves by a solemn peace or ‘frith’ at Wedmore in Somerset.ECE 67.1

    23. “In form the peace of Wedmore seemed a surrender of the bulk of Britain to its invaders. All Northumbria, all East Anglia, all central England east of a line which stretched from the Thames’s mouth along the Lea to Bedford, thence along the Ouse to Watling Street, and by Watling Street to Chester, was left subject to the Northmen. Throughout this ‘Danelagh’—as it was called—the conquerors settled down among the conquered population as lords of the soil, thickly in northern Britain, more thinly in its central districts; but everywhere guarding jealously their old isolation, and gathering in separate ‘heres’ or armies round towns which were only linked in close confederacies. The peace had, in fact, saved little more than Wessex itself. But in saving Wessex, it saved England. The spell of terror was broken. The tide of invasion turned. From an attitude of attack the Northmen were thrown back on an attitude of defense. The whole reign of AElfred was a preparation for a fresh struggle that was to wrest back from the pirates the land they had won.” 14[Page 68] Id.ECE 67.2

    24. This peace continued till 893, during which time AElfred continually strengthened the defenses of his kingdom. He built a strong fleet; and gathered all the freemen of his realm into an organized force. He had a son and a daughter, Eadward and AEthelflaed, who both grew up to be efficient warriors. AEthelflaed was married to AEthelred, “an ealdorman of the old royal stock,” who also was an able warrior. This gave to AElfred three strong supporters in the building up of his power of defense against the Danes. AEthelflaed and AEthelred, her husband, were made lord and lady of AElfred’s portion of Mercia. When in 893 there was a new invasion of the land by the Danes, both by land and by sea, AElfred met their fleet and held it at bay, while “Eadward and AEthelred caught their army near the Severn and overthrew it with a vast slaughter at Buttington.” And AElfred was able so well to hold his own that in 897 the latest invaders withdrew, and the Danes, who had dwelt in the land, renewed the peace, which continued for thirteen years.ECE 68.1

    25. AElfred died in 901, and was succeeded by his son Eadward. In 910 there was a new outbreak of the Danes inhabiting England. AEthelred, the lord of Mercia, was also now dead, which left AEthelflaed the ruler of Mercia. She took the field and was so successful everywhere that she won back all that had composed the full kingdom of Mercia. Eadward, on his part, repulsed an inroad of another new band of Danes, and brought East Anglia under his power. AEthelflaed died in 918. Eadward immediately annexed Mercia to his dominion and carried his arms triumphantly to the Humber; and “in 924 the whole of the north suddenly laid itself at his feet. Not merely Northumbria, but the Scots and the Britons of Strathclyde ‘chose him to father and lord.’”ECE 68.2

    26. Eadward the Unconquered died in 925, and was succeeded by his son AEthelstan till 940, when he died and was succeeded by his son Eadmund till 946, when he was killed by a robber, and was succeeded by his brother Eadred. “Under AEthelstan Northumberland was incorporated, and the immediate realm of the one king of England reached to the Forth. Still both he and his two successors had to fight against endless revolts and rival kings in Northumberland. The Danish land was won and lost, and won back, over and over again, till at last under Eadred Northumberland was finally incorporated, and ruled, sometimes by a single earl, sometimes by two, of the king’s appointment. 15[Page 69] Encyclopedia Britannica, Id., “The Imperial Claima.” With its submission in 954 the work of conquest was done. Dogged as his fight had been, the Northman at last owned himself beaten. From the moment of Eadred’s final triumph all resistance came to an end.”ECE 68.3

    27. “The kingdom of England was now formed. The first half of the tenth century thus gave the West Saxon kings a position in Britain such as no English kings of any kingdom had ever held before them. Dominant in their own island, claiming and, whenever they could, exercising, a supremacy over the other princes of the island, their position in the island-world of Britain was analogous to the position of the western emperors in continental Europe. It was, in fact, an imperial position. As such, it was marked by the assumption of the imperial title, monarcha, imperator, basileus, Augusius, and even Caesar. These titles were meant at once to assert the imperial supremacy of the English kings within their own world, and to deny any supremacy over Britain on the part of either of the lords of the continental world. 16[Page 69] The Eastern or Greek Empire, and the Holy Roman Empire. .... But one and strong and glorious as England stood in the central years of the tenth century, her unity and strength and glory were bought in no small degree by the loss of the ancient freedom of her people.” 17[Page 69] Encyclopedia Britannica, Id.ECE 69.1

    28. In 955 Eadred died, and was succeeded by the two sons of his brother and predecessor, Eadmund. The elder son, Eadwig, received Wessex as king of England by right, while the younger, Eadgar, received Northumberland and Mercia as underking to Eadwig. But in 957 the kingdom was actually divided into these two parts by the Mercians and Northumbrians declaring Eadgar full king in his own right. However, in 959 Eadwig died and Eadgar succeeded to the whole dominion in his own right; and “under Eadgar’s rule the land enjoyed sixteen years of unparalleled peace and of unparalleled prosperity. During his reign no word of foreign invasion was breathed, and the two or three disturbances within the island were of slight consequence.... At no time in our early history did England hold a higher position in the world in general. And when Old-Saxon Otto wore the crown of Rome, and West Saxon Eadgar, in some sort his nephew, reigned over the island-empire of Britain, the Saxon name had reached the highest point of its glory.” 18[Page 70] Encyclopedia Britannica, Id., “Reign of Eadgar.”ECE 69.2

    29. Eadgar was succeeded by his son Eadward in 975, but he was allowed to reign only four years, for at the instigation of his step-mother AElfthryth, he was murdered in 979, and AElfthryth’s son AEthelred II was put upon the throne, and thus “entered on the saddest and most shameful reign” in English annals, which continued for thirty-seven years. In the second year of his reign, 980, another invasion of the Danes flooded the land, and the flood never really ceased until all England was held by the Danes, and a Dane sat upon the throne of all England. “The unready king—that is, the king without rede or counsel—seems to have been incapable of any settled or vigorous plan of action. He showed energy now and then in needless and fruitless enterprises; but under him the kingdom never showed a united front toward the common enemy. His only policy, only policy of his cowardly or traitorous advisers, was the self-destroying policy of buying off the invaders with money.ECE 70.1

    30. “The invaders are met at London, at Maldon, at Exeter, with the highest valor and conduct on the part of the leaders and people of particular cities and districts; but it is always isolated cities and districts which resist. Such local efforts were naturally fruitless; the local force is either defeated by superior numbers, or, if victorious, it has, through want of concert with other parts of the kingdom, no means of following up its victory. Through a warfare like this, carried on year after year, the nation at last lost heart as well as its king. Local jealousies, hushed under the vigorous rule of earlier kings, now rose again. It is emphatically said that ‘one shire would not help other.’ Under such a reign the efforts of the best men in the land were thwarted, and the places of highest power fell to the worst men. The successive advisers of AEthelred appear as a succession of traitors, who sold him and his kingdom to the enemy.” “It was for the Witan to pass decrees, but it was for the king to put them in force: and under AEthelred nothing good was ever put in force.” 19[Page 71] Encyclopedia Britannica, Id., “Reign of AEthelred.”ECE 70.2

    31. In 991 a new wave of the Danish flood swept upon the land. However, by this time, they were more than Danes who came. Even the Norwegian King, Olaf Tryggvesson, was amongst them. In 994 another wave swept upon the devoted land. In this the Northmen hosts were led by King Olaf of Norway and King Swegen of Denmark. The forces of London defeated those that invaded that part of the land; but AEthelred obtained peace from them by purchase with money. Yet the peace was not kept, except by a portion of them; and for eight years the war went on by new invasions on the part of the Danes, and new payments on the part of the king, until 1002 when an attempt was made to rid England of the Danes, by a general massacre on St. Brice’s day, the thirteenth of November.ECE 71.1

    32. AEthelred had also quarreled with Duke Richard of Normandy; but in this same year, 1002, he sealed a peace with Richard, and also hoped to strengthen his kingdom by receiving in marriage Emma, the daughter of Duke Richard of Normandy. “Wedding and murder, however, proved feeble defenses against Swegen. His fleet reached the coast in 1003, and for four years he marched through the length and breadth of southern and eastern England, ‘lighting his war-beacons as he went’ in blazing homestead and town. Then for a heavy bribe he withdrew, to prepare for a later and more terrible onset. But there was no rest for the realm. The fiercest of the Norwegian jarls took his place, and from Wessex the war extended over Mercia and East Anglia .... Swegen returned in 1013. The war was terrible but short. Everywhere the country was pitilessly harried, churches plundered, men slaughtered. With the one exception of London, there was no attempt at resistance. Oxford and Winchester flung open their gates. The thegns of Wessex submitted to the Northmen at Bath. Even London was forced at last to give way, and AEthelred fled over-sea to a refuge in Normandy.”—Green. 20[Page 71] “Larger History of the English People,” chap 4. par. 10. “The Danish king was acknowledged as king—though native writers choose rather to call him tyrant—over all England.” 21[Page 71] Encyclopedia Britannica, Id., “Swegen Acknowledged as King.”ECE 71.2

    33. Swegen died in 1014, and was succeeded by his son Cnut, or Knut,—Canute,—a young man of nineteen. The English Council, or Witan, however, called for the restoration of AEthelred. AEthelred returned, which caused a war between the two kings. In 1016 AEthelred died, and was succeeded by his son Eadmund, surnamed “Ironside,” an able general, who was successful against Cnut until Ealdorman Eadric of Mercia’s deserting him in the midst of a great battle at Assandun caused his complete overthrow. The kingdom was then divided between Eadmund and Cnut, Eadmund taking the south, and Cnut the north. But Eadmund died shortly afterward, and Cnut, both by his power and by formal election, became king of all England, was regularly crowned as such, and ruled even “as a native king.” “England was neither oppressed nor degraded under his rule. His government, his laws, were framed after the pattern of those of the ancient kings. He sent home his Danish army, keeping only a body of chosen guards, the famous house-carls. These were the first standing army known in England, a body of picked men, Danes, Englishmen, or brave men from any quarter. Cnut gradually displaced the Danes whom he had at first placed in high offices, and gave them English successors. He raised an Englishman, the renowned Godwine, to a place second only to kingship, with the new title of Earl of the West Saxons.ECE 72.1

    34. “In her foreign relations, England, under her Danish king, was in no sense a dependency of Denmark. England was the center, Winchester was the imperial city, of a northern empire, which rivaled those of the East and the West. Canute, it must be remembered, was chosen to the crown of England first of all, while still very young. To that crown he added the crown of Denmark, on the death or deposition of his brother Harold. He won Norway, which had revolted against his father, from its king Olaf; and he seems to have established his power over part of Sweden and other parts of the Baltic lands. But all these were acquisitions made by one who was already ‘king of all England:’ they were largely won by English valor, and the complaint in Denmark and elsewhere was that Canute made his northern kingdom subordinate to England, and preferred Englishmen rather than natives to high offices in them.ECE 72.2

    35. “At home, after the first years of his reign, his rule was one of perfect peace.” 22[Page 73] Encyclopedia Britannica, Id., “Cnut’s Divisions.” “In 1028 he wrote: ‘I have vowed to God to lead a right life in all things, to rule justly and piously my realms and subjects, and to administer just judgment to all. If heretofore I have done aught beyond what was just, through headiness or negligence of youth, I am ready, with God’s help, to amend it utterly. No royal officer, either for fear of the king or for favor of any, is to consent to injustice, none is to do wrong to rich or poor as they would value my friendship and their own well-being. I have no need that money be heaped together for me by unjust demands. I have sent this letter before me that all the people of my realm may rejoice in my well-doing; for as you yourselves know, never have I spared, nor will I spare, to spend myself and my toil in what is needful and good for my people.” In 1031 Canute’s reign over all the north was made complete by the Scotch king’s doing “full homage to the king of all England.”ECE 72.3

    36. Canute died in 1035. He had named as his successor in England Harthacnut, or Hardicanute, his son by Emma, the widow of AEthelred, whom, early in his reign, he had married, though she must have been nearly twice as old as he. But there was another son named Harold, who was supported in his claims to the kingdom by Mercia and Northumberland. The West Saxons, with Godwine and Emma, in accordance with Canute’s will, accepted Harthacnut. War was prevented by a decree of the national council, dividing the kingdom between the two. Harthacnut remained in Denmark, and the West Saxons deposed him and acknowledged Harold. There came also over from Normandy AElfred, the elder son of AEthelred, who, in 1016 had been obliged to flee the kingdom from the jealous hate of Canute. But his attempt was a complete failure. He and his companions fell into the hands of Harold. His companions were all put to death, he himself was blinded; and soon afterward he died.ECE 73.1

    37. In 1040 Harold himself died; and Harthacnut, by right and by national choice, became again king, this time, king of the whole realm. But his reign was now short, for he died in 1042. The English nation then chose Eadward, the second son of AEthelred, who had fled to Normandy. “His monastic virtues won him the reputation of a saint and the title of ‘the Confessor;’ but no man could have been less fitted to wear the crown of England in such an age.” It was chiefly by the influence of Godwine that Eadward had been chosen to the kingship, and Eadward now married Godwine’s daughter, and did him further honor by appointing his sons to earldoms.ECE 73.2

    38. Eadward greatly offended the English people by bringing with him from Normandy, and putting into every place that he could, a great number of Norman favorites. His chief favorite was a Norman monk whom he made, first, bishop of London, and, presently archbishop of Canterbury. These Norman favorites soon made themselves so insolent and unbearable that Godwine and his sons, in behalf of the nation, took up arms against them. But Godwine was induced to submit his cause to the National Council, which decided against him, and he and his sons were banished. But within a year, 1050, they returned, with an army. The English were now so utterly wearied with the arrogance of the king’s Norman favorites that they gladly welcomed Godwine. The king mustered an army to meet him, but the army refused to fight. The national assembly again considered Godwine’s cause, and banished the Norman archbishop of Canterbury, with a great company of other Normans.ECE 74.1

    39. In 1053 the great earl Godwine died, and was succeeded in his high place in the kingdom by his son Harold. In the beginning of 1066 King Eadward died while the national assembly was in session. Eadward had no children, and on his deathbed he had recommended Harold as his successor. The national assembly accepted the recommendation, and Harold was regularly chosen and crowned king of England, and reigned as Harold II.ECE 74.2

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