AFTER ARTHUR: a synoptic study on the fate of the native Briton population after the Anglo-Saxon invasion and prevalence


Sutton Hoo

            The renowned  helmet of the Sutton Hoo burial (reconstruction by  the  Royal Armouries).


By  Periklis Deligiannis


[This  article is actually a synopsis of a sub-chapter of my book  ‘The Celts‘, Periscope publ., Athens 2008, unfortunately available only in Greek]


The Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain started around the middle of the 5th cent AD. After the first Saxon victories, the Britons were reorganized and had gone on the offensive against the invaders led by a succession of skilful Supreme rulers (under the military office of the Duke that is Dux Bellorum according to the Roman terminology) of the 5th-6th centuries, such as Voteporix, Ambrosius Aurelianus and the enigmatic Arthur, who managed to effectively repel the invaders.

‘King’ Arthur may have been a historical  personality, possibly a descendant of Artorius Castus – a much earlier Roman commander in Britain – and prince of the Dumnonii tribe/civitas in  South-western Britain. Arthur or more correctly, the possible historical figure that he represents, was not the ‘King of the island’ but rather the Supreme commander/ruler of the Britons. But he probably was the king of his own people/former civitas; probably Dumnonia. It is believed that his royal residence was in South-western Britain, perhaps in the royal fortress excavated at Cadbury. From there he was undertaking military and political action in all the Briton territories as far as the Antonine Wall in the North. The philological and archaeological data indicate that he managed to repel the Anglo-Saxon advance. According to the chroniclers, he defeated the Saxons in twelve major battles, killing many of them. Arthur managed to repel the Pictish and Irish raiders as well. He achieved his greatest victory in the Badonicus hill fort (Mount Badon, around 516 AD) on the Anglo-Saxons. After this victory, Arthur’s ruling influence was extended to some of the Anglo-Saxon rulers, as well as to the Bretons of Armorica in modern north-western France.

Archaeology confirms the Briton victories on the Anglo-Saxons around 500 AD. In the first half of the 6th century the Saxon advance stopped, the burials of the barbarian warriors raised sharply, while large groups of Anglo-Saxons returned to Germany, apparently frustrated by the Celtic victories. The superiority of the Briton army against the invaders probably relied to its armored cavalry, a legacy of the Late Roman army in Britannia. On the other hand, the Anglo-Saxons were almost entirely infantrymen.

britain 6th cent.

Britain in the 6th century (suggested  or approximate boundariess). The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms are noted in red, the Briton kdms in black, the Irish in blue and the Pictish in brown. In the 7th cent., the Angles of Bernicia, Deira and Lindsey were united in the large kingdom of Northumbria.  Bernicia, Deira and then  Nortumbria destroyed and conquered the Briton kdms of Bryneich, Ebrauc, Elmet and South Rheged. Mercia conquered South Elmet and a part of Luitcoyt. The territory of Lundein (London) was annexed mainly by Essex (East Saxons) and East Anglia, and Regia by Sussex (South Saxons). Finally Wessex joined by the Gewissae (possibly descendants of Germanic soldiers of Rome), managed to destroy and annex the Briton kdms of Glouvia, Cerin and Atrebatia, pressing hard towards Dumnonia (possibly Arthur’s homeland). A part of the Dumnonii had already fled to Armorica founding the colony of Domnonee.




Η όξυνση της κατάστασης στην Αργεντινή



Στα πρόθυρα νέου κραχ η Αργεντινή – Τα διδάγματα για την Ελλάδα

Δώδεκα χρόνια μετά το κραχ του 2001, η χώρα βρίσκεται και πάλι στα πρόθυρα του χάους

Στους παράγοντες που απειλούν την Αργεντινή με νέα χρεοκοπία, δώδεκα χρόνια μετά το χάος που επέφερε το κραχ του 2001, αναφέρεται άρθρο της γαλλικής εφημερίδας Le Figaro.

Σύμφωνα με το δημοσίευμα, το οποίο αναπαρήγαγε η εφημερίδα Καθημερινή, στις μερικές βουλευτικές εκλογές της 27ης Οκτωβρίου στην Αργεντινή, το κόμμα της προέδρου Κίρτσνερ σημείωσε σαφή υποχώρηση, χωρίς πάντως να χάσει τον έλεγχο του κοινοβουλίου. Όπως όλα δείχνουν, το ρεύμα του «κιρτσνερισμού» πλησιάζει προς το τέλος του. Δώδεκα χρόνια μετά το κραχ του 2001, η χώρα βρίσκεται και πάλι στα πρόθυρα του χάους.

Η χρεοκοπία της Αργεντινής, μαζί με την αναδιάρθρωση του χρέους των χωρών που βρίσκονται στην περιφέρεια της ευρωζώνης, συνιστά τη σημαντικότερη στάση πληρωμών ενός κράτους. Αντίθετα όμως με τις χώρες της ευρωζώνης, η Αργεντινή επέλεξε να μην αποζημιώσει τους δανειστές της και να αρνηθεί την ξένη βοήθεια υπό την αιγίδα του Διεθνούς Νομισματικού Ταμείου. Η στρατηγική αυτή, αφού για καιρό θεωρήθηκε μια επιτυχία των εναλλακτικών πολιτικών και μια απόδειξη της διαστροφής των διεθνών χρηματοπιστωτικών ιδρυμάτων, αποδείχθηκε καταστροφική.

Το ναυάγιο της Αργεντινής χρονολογείται από το 1998, όταν συνδυάστηκε η κρίση πληρωμών των χωρών του Νότου με τα προγράμματα λιτότητας του ΔΝΤ, ενώ η υπερτίμηση του πέσο απέτυχε αφού είχε ταυτόχρονα υποτιμηθεί το ρεάλ της Βραζιλίας. Στα τέλη του 2001, η χώρα και οι τράπεζες κατέρρευσαν. Η κρίση, που ως τότε ήταν χρηματοπιστωτική, έγινε οικονομική και κοινωνική: το 2002, το ΑΕΠ μειώθηκε κατά 11%, η ανεργία έφτασε το 25%, το 60% του πληθυσμού βυθίστηκε στη φτώχεια και το χρέος έφτασε το 165% του ΑΕΠ.



1 Comment

By  Periklis    Deligiannis

Walls of Constantinople

The Walls of Constantinople today.

In 661 AD, the new caliph Muawiyah (Muāwiyah ibn Abī Sufyān AD 602–680)became the absolute master of the Islamic-Arab Caliphate after the murder of his antagonist, Ali. He made Damascus the Arabic capital, while Syria became the new political center of the Islamic world. The advanced peoples of Syria-Palestine and Egypt were the main supporters of the new Ummayad Dynasty (AD 661-750) of caliphs founded by Muawiyah. The new caliph based his power on the old Byzantine administrative officials, because the Arabs had not yet the required experience in governance issues. The Ummayad Caliphate had its political-administrative center in former Hellenistic Syria and used the Greek of the former Byzantine rule as its administrative language (and also used the Greek/Byzantine administrative infrastructure), thereby closely resembled to a more extensive Seleucid Kingdom. The main politico-military supporters of the Ummayads were the pre-Islamic local Arabs of Syria and Palestine (the Arab tribes of the Ituraeans, Palmyrans, Gasanids and others), who had become Muslims.
After the proclamation of Muawiyah as caliph, the Arab forces moved again against Byzantium (Eastern Roman Empire), following two directions of attack. A portion of them was carrying out devastating raids in Asia Minor, while another portion attacked the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa (modern NW Africa). One by one the Byzantine fortresses and the (Berber) tribes of the Numidians, Mauri and Maurusians were subjugated by the Arab invaders.




Walls of Constantinople

Αποψη των τειχών της Κωνσταντινούπολης

Το 661 μ.Χ. ο νέος χαλίφης Μωαβίας έμεινε ο απόλυτος κύριος του Αραβικού χαλιφάτου μετά την εξουδετέρωση του ανταγωνιστή του, Αλή. Κατέστησε τη Δαμασκό πρωτεύουσα του, ενώ η Συρία έγινε το νέο κέντρο του ισλαμικού κόσμου. Οι πολιτισμένοι πληθυσμοί της Συρίας-Παλαιστίνης και της Αιγύπτου έγιναν οι κύριοι υποστηρικτές της νέας χαλιφικής δυναστείας των Ομεϋαδών (661-750) την οποία ίδρυσε ο Μωαβίας. Επίσημη γλώσσα της διοίκησης και του κράτους παρέμεινε η ελληνική της παλαιάς Βυζαντινής εξουσίας. Ο Μωαβίας στηρίχθηκε για τη διοίκηση στους παλαιούς βυζαντινούς αξιωματούχους, επειδή οι Άραβες του δεν είχαν ακόμη την απαιτούμενη εμπειρία σε θέματα διακυβέρνησης. Με το κέντρο του στη Συρία και με ελληνική γλώσσα και διοικητική υποδομή, το χαλιφάτο των Ομεϋαδών ομοίαζε πολύ με ένα επαυξημένο Σελευκιδικό Βασίλειο. Το πολιτικοστρατιωτικό στήριγμα των Ομεϋαδών αποτελούσαν οι προϊσλαμικοί τοπικοί Άραβες της Συρίας-Παλαιστίνης (Ιτουραίοι, Παλμυρηνοί, Γασανίδες κ.ά.), οι οποίοι είχαν πλέον εξισλαμισθεί.

            Μετά την αναγόρευση του Μωαβία ως χαλίφη, οι αραβικές δυνάμεις κινήθηκαν πάλι εναντίον του Βυζαντίου, ακολουθώντας δύο κατευθύνσεις επίθεσης. Ένα μέρος τους διενεργούσε ολέθριες επιδρομές στη Μικρά Ασία, ενώ άλλα σώματα επιτέθηκαν στο Βυζαντινό Εξαρχάτο της Αφρικής. Ένα προς ένα τα βυζαντινά οχυρά και οι φυλές των Νουμιδών και των Μαυρουσίων υποτάχθηκαν στους Άραβες.

Συνεχεια αναγνωσης



By  Periklis  Deligiannis


King and Queen of a Scythian tribe in  a representation based on the archaeological finds from Central Asia. Since around 300 BC, the Scythians systematically attacked the Bosporan kingdom but a part of them settled in its territory becoming subject to the Bosporan king.  In the  last  centuries of  the  Bosporan  history,  the  Iranians (Scythians and Sarmatians) became the main population of the kingdom.

In this way, the city-state of Panticapaeum turned into an extensive hegemony, which later evolved into a Hellenistic kingdom. Generally speaking, Panticapaeum had the same evolution as Syracuse, the birthplace and capital of the Hellenistic kingdom which was founded in Sicily. The Greeks and the Hellenized Thracians were originally the ruling class of the Cimmerian Bosporus, but the status of the indigenous population and the Scythian/Iranian minority, was also important. The two peoples (Greeks and non-Greeks) supported each other: the natives were Hellenized and the Greeks gradually adopted the spirit and the habits of the natives. This duality is obvious in every aspect of the social life of Cimmerian Bosporus. Thus a special Bosporan Greek identity was formed in the Northern Black Sea coast, based on the Ionians.

King Paerisades I died in 310 BC. His eldest son, Satyros, was proclaimed king but soon faced the rebellion of his younger brother Eumelos who claimed the throne. Eumelos had secured the support of Aripharnes, king of the Thataeans as mentioned by Diodorus Siculus, the people who lived on the region of the river Thatis. This river was probably one of the tributaries of Hypanis (Kuban River). It is almost certain that the “Thataeans” (a name which is not national but geographical) are identified with the Siracae, a major Sarmatian tribe who had settled in the Kuban region during the reign of Paerisades I who made them his tributaries. The Sarmatians were a group of nomadic peoples of Central Asia, belonging to the Northern Iranian (Saka, Sakic) stock together with the Scythians. Since the 4th century BC, most of them began migrating towards the steppes north of the Black Sea, while some of their tribes began to move towards China. The various Sarmatian tribes (Sauromatae, Siracae, Aorsi/Alans, Aspourgi, Roxolani, ‘Royal’ Sarmatians, and later the Iazyges, the Alans, the modern Ossetians etc.) were independent and often fought each other. The Sarmatians fought primarily as horsemen and cavalrymen with a long cavalry spear called ‘kontos’. Other arms used by them were their typical medium and long swords, the daggers and a kind of compound bow, less powerful than the Scythian.

Eumelos and Aripharnes of the Siracae confronted Satyros and his Scythian allies in the great battle of the river Thatis , one of the  greatest cavalry battles in Antiquity, in which 10,000 Scythian and 20,000 Sarmatian horsemen and cavalrymen participated. It is certain that the Siracae were supported by many other Sarmatian horsemen, because the Sarmatians in  general were trying to oust the Scythians from the Black Sea steppe.




By  Periklis  Deligiannis


Map  of  the  Kingdom  of  the  Cimmerian  Bosporus,  the  other  Greek  states  in  the  region,  the  Scythian  territory  and  the  last  refuge  of  the  Scythians  after  their  defeat  by  the  Sarmatians  (Historical  Atlas  of  Ukraine:  Greek  colonies  and  the  hinterland)

Since  the  Mycenaean  Age,  the  Greek  navigators  and  colonizers  expressed  their  interest  in  the  Black  Sea  and  the  rich  countries  that  surround  it.  The  Mycenaeans  had  explored  the  region,  as  shown  by  the  tradition  of  the  Argonauts  and  other  evidence,  philological  and  archaeological.  Before  the  Mycenaeans,  Minoan  Crete  was  never  really  interested  in  the  Black  Sea  region.  Generally  speaking,  the  Black  Sea  was  inhospitable  for  the  Mediterranean  seafarer  because  sailing  in  its  waters  was  difficult  and  the  countries  surrounding  it  were  inhabited  by  savage  peoples,  who  used  to  kill  those  who  landed  on  their  shores.  For  these  reasons,  the  original  Greek  name  of  the  Black  Sea  was  the  ‘Inhospitable  Sea’  (Axeinos  Pontos).  The  chaos  of  the  12th  century  BC  in  which  the  Greek  world  sank,  with  the  devastating  raids  of  the  Sea  Peoples  in  the  entire  area  of  the  Eastern  Mediterranean,  the  destruction  of  the  ‘Mycenaean    Commonwealth’  and  the  collapse  of  the  palatial  sociopolitical  system  and  their  aftermath,  removed  the  Greek  navigators  of  the  Black  Sea.

Since  Early  Antiquity,  since  the  time  of  the  ancient  Tripolye  civilization  of  the  3rd  millennium  BC,  the  modern  Russo-Ukrainian  steppes  were  inhabited  by  sedentary  agricultural  and  stockbreeding  populations.  These  populations  were  subdued  by  the  nomadic  peoples  who  arrived  successively  from  Central  Asia,  moving  north  of  the  Caspian  Sea.  The  Indo-Aryan  or  Iranian  Cimmerians  were  the  first  known  (historical)  nomadic  people  to  arrive  there,  followed  by  the  Iranian  Scythians  and  Sarmatians,  and  then  by  the  Turko-Mongol  Huns,  Avars,  Cumans,  Pechenegs  and  others.  The  nomadic  invaders  considered  the  Russo-Ukrainian  steppe  as  a  very  suitable  environment  for  the  growth  of  their  flocks.  The  resident  population  of  modern  southwestern  Ukraine  was  rather  Thracian  in  origin,  while  that  of  southeastern  Ukraine  and  the  steppe  north  of  the  Caucasus  belonged  to  the  people  of  the  older  Shrubnaya  (Timber-grave)  culture.  The  lands  of  the  natives  were  relatively  rich  in  agricultural  production,  so  they  could  pay  without  much  difficulty  the  taxes  imposed  on  them  by  the  nomad  rulers.  Various  nomadic  tribes  retained  as  long  as  they  could  their  power  on  those  lands,  substantially  as  long  as  their  military  superiority  against  external  threats  lasted.


Older Entries