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Appearence and tactics of early 5th century Saxons.
#1
Apologies if this has been covered elsewhere but I couldn't find anything that really answered the question using the seach function...

I seem to recall reading that by the 5th century Roman equipment and tactics in the West were strongly influenced by the Germanic tribesmen they were fighting.

So:

Would it it true to say that Saxon troops of this period looked much the same as their Roman contemporaries, i.e. large oval shield, long slashing sword, ridge or spangenhelm style helmet, javelin and/or thrusting spear, usually unarmoured, long sleeved tunic, trousers with leg bindings?

And were they using similar tactics?

Any help would be appreciated.
Carus Andiae - David Woodall

"The greatest military machine in the history of the universe..."
"What is - the Daleks?"
"No... the Romans!" - Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens
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#2
They were famous for the use of a long knife called scramasax, but that is all I know.
Jona Lendering
Relevance is the enemy of history
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#3
Well, it's a start!

Thanks! Smile
Carus Andiae - David Woodall

"The greatest military machine in the history of the universe..."
"What is - the Daleks?"
"No... the Romans!" - Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens
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#4
The sword and helmet were likely considerably rarer among the Saxons than in the Roman army. The seax/sax was a common sidearm, probably more common than sword.

The surviving shields are often much smaller than the late Roman types, round, and with a complex boss design - like a cone mounted on a stubby cylindrical base, with a spike on the tip - not smoothly rounded.

P.S. http://www.millennia.demon.co.uk/ravens ... uction.htm
Felix Wang
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#5
Take a look at Nydam

Small site:

http://www.nydam.nu/eng/nydambog.html

Some of the late stuff there should be close enough both in time and place.

Otherwise there is the Thorsbjerg/Thorsberg find.

Cheers
Nithijo

aka Soren Larsen
Soren Larsen aka Nithijo/Wagnijo
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#6
Thanks to both Felix and nithijo - that's very useful Big Grin
Carus Andiae - David Woodall

"The greatest military machine in the history of the universe..."
"What is - the Daleks?"
"No... the Romans!" - Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens
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#7
Quote:Would it it true to say that Saxon troops of this period looked much the same as their Roman contemporaries, i.e. large oval shield, long slashing sword, ridge or spangenhelm style helmet, javelin and/or thrusting spear, usually unarmoured, long sleeved tunic, trousers with leg bindings?
And were they using similar tactics?

There's Saxons and there's Saxons.

Saxons as in from Germany and the Scandinavia would probably not use those weapons and use very different tactics.

Saxons as in from Britain would be a mix of Germanic migrants and (much more) Britons. Recent studies more and more agree that these 'migration hordes, carrying all before them and either killing or displacing the original British inhabitants', actually never happened. Now, some even go as far to flatly deny that there was any immigration to speak of, but that goes way to far for me.
However, the main point of these theories, being the uniterrupted continuity of rural sites all over southern and eastern Britain (the main areas where the Anglo-Saxons supposedly landed), is a strong argument in favour. Raping and killing invaders are extremely unlikely to continue the farms without even a break of a few years! It seems that economy changed, not the farmers.

My guess is that locally, elites changed from Roman or Romano-British to germanic newcomers, but that mostly, the Romano-Britons stayed where they were. Gradually they changed they ways they built their houses, clothing, jewellery, weapons, but much stayed the same, as it had since the pre-Roman Iron Age. Inhumation had continued to be used throughout Roman times, for instance.

So it seems that when the Roman influence waned from even the later 4th c. onwards, limited immigration brought new ideas and new fashions, which were taken up by the Britons during the 5th c. and onwards. Eventually the switched from Brythonic to Germanic languages.

So to answer your question, at first they would have looked much like the Late Ropmans, but they changed their way of warfare too (as they had done when the Romans arrived). But in all of that they will still have looked like Romans more than the saxons from northern Germany.
Robert Vermaat
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FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
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#8
Genetic studies suggests that there was a very large influx of Germanic peoples into Britain during the so-called Migration period. This article proposes a curious "apartheid" theory but I'm not sure I buy it.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9 ... gland.html
Author: Bronze Age Military Equipment, Pen & Sword Books
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#9
Quote:So to answer your question, at first they would have looked much like the Late Ropmans, but they changed their way of warfare too (as they had done when the Romans arrived). But in all of that they will still have looked like Romans more than the saxons from northern Germany.

In short, yes and no :lol:

Thanks, that useful and interesting. It's interesting to compare the relative extent of 'Saxonisation' with earlier Romanisation, and how they are related to a military invasion on the one hand and what increasingly seems to have been be a relatively peaceful immigration on the other.
Carus Andiae - David Woodall

"The greatest military machine in the history of the universe..."
"What is - the Daleks?"
"No... the Romans!" - Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens
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#10
Quote:Genetic studies suggests that there was a very large influx of Germanic peoples into Britain during the so-called Migration period. This article proposes a curious "apartheid" theory but I'm not sure I buy it.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9 ... gland.html

Interesting theory: I can't in any way claim to be an expert in these things but it seems a bit tenuous to me. :?
Carus Andiae - David Woodall

"The greatest military machine in the history of the universe..."
"What is - the Daleks?"
"No... the Romans!" - Doctor Who: The Pandorica Opens
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#11
Quote:Genetic studies suggests that there was a very large influx of Germanic peoples into Britain during the so-called Migration period. This article proposes a curious "apartheid" theory but I'm not sure I buy it.

http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn9 ... gland.html

This theory is just that / it has to be the answer to the theorists who use the genetic study, for without it their models dont´t work. But like I said the other day on the Britarch forum, these genetic studies are based solely on comparing material found in modern persons. The argument is of course that their models allow for this, supposedly the samples are taken from towns where, as the scientists argue, populations did not change much over the last 1500 years. Of course, they have no way to prove that. So, in short, their results that 50-100% of the UK population carries dna that compares to dna from Germany, only proves that during the last 1500 years, the ancestors of the modern inhabitants at some point came from germany. It does not prove that around 500 to 600, British inhabitants were pushed out, killed or shunned to death by a mass migration of Anglo-Saxons.

Moreover, tooht enamel research of early cemetaries in Yorkshire showed that of the 50 or so researched cased, only a dozen came from Germany, and these came in over 400 years and almost all were women and children, no elite warriors. Most came from the region itself and a not insignificant number even migrated from the west across the Pennines.. in the wrong way according those who advocate the age-old theory of Saxons pushing the Britons ever westward...

The dna stuff gets a fair share of press coverage though, as this latest example shows...
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#12
The link doesn´t work for me, but there is no "Germanic" haplogroupe, certainly there a decrease of R1b haplogroupe from almost 100% in Western Ireland to about 55% in Kent, but the haplogroupe composition of SE England from the last studies I have read is very much alike to that of NE France, and very different from Germany, especially East Germany. That could be the result of Germanic invasions, or a preroman substratum, but Germanic distintive haplogrupe is not existant, both as populations or regions.
AKA Inaki
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#13
Quote:That could be the result of Germanic invasions, or a preroman substratum, but Germanic distintive haplogrupe is not existant, both as populations or regions.
Or most likely from anything moving to the island between 500 BC and today, and which we can't date properly enough to call it 'scientific'.
Robert Vermaat
MODERATOR
FECTIO Late Romans
THE CAUSE OF WAR MUST BE JUST
(Maurikios-Strategikon, book VIII.2: Maxim 12)
[Image: artgroepbutton.jpg]
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#14
Vortigern,
The tooth enamel studies are a bit misleading, all they show is where someone was brought up. A german couple coming to England would have isotopes thaat betrayed their continental homeland, however, their children and their granchildren would have isotopes in common with where they were brought up; that is England.

Raedwald
Paul Mortimer
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#15
There is evidence of population movement from the continet to England:

1. Almost complete change in burial rites.
2. Parts of the Jutland peninsula and coastal areas of Germany largely abandoned.
3. New styles of housing - similar to that on continent.
4. New pottery -- just like that on the continent.
5. New jewellery styles -- just like that on the continent and Scandinavia.
6. Weapon types change to Germanic types.
7. The english language has very, very few loan words from the British languages -- if Anglo Saxon men had married British wives you would expect lots of domestic words for food and utensils, etc to have been in everyday use as the women would use them and pass them on to their children. This just did not happen. The Normans were an elite -- and a powerful one -- but they failed to make us speak French after 1066.
8. Quite a few archaeologists and historians have changed their ideas and abandoned the idea of elite dominance and gone back to the idea of a fair sized migration, probably over a long period of time but with large scale replacement in some areas and, perhaps integration or co-existence in others. The elite dominance theory is no longer, particularly in fashion.

Why would there be discontinuity in farming? The incomers needed to eat just like the people who were using the field before them.


Raedwald
Paul Mortimer
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