The Battle of Cymenshore, AD 477

Within the aftermath of the Romans’ departure from Britain within the fifth century AD, the coast of the previous Roman province was left weak to varied invaders who sought to ascertain kingdoms of their very own. These males are normally grouped underneath time period Saxons, however they got here from a wide range of cultures on the coasts of contemporary Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and Denmark – Jutish, Saxon, Angle, Frisian, Danes, even the Norse – these invasions would finally result in the time period Anglo-Saxons (from the 2 Germanic peoples of the Jutland Peninsula – the Angles and the Saxons). What’s extra, we are sometimes left bereft of particulars as to how these invasions occurred and progressed.

The primary Saxon-and-other invasions of Britain within the fifth century AD are shrouded in uncertainty – it isn’t for no motive that is the interval generally known as the Darkish Ages. There are numerous challenges with the historical past of this era – we’re unsure on the entire important questions of historical past – we’re unsure about by whom, the place, precisely when, and exactly why these invasions occurred. Plainly earlier than lengthy, nevertheless, even within the up to date and near-contemporary sources, Saxon was used as a catch-all time period for all invaders (very like Danes would later be used as a catch-all time period for the Viking invaders even when they weren’t initially from Denmark). The second invasion, nevertheless, led by Ælle and his three sons (Cymen, Wlencing and Cissa), and occurring (historically) in AD 477 was truly Saxon and, what’s extra, utilizing one surviving supply, offers us sufficient element to fairly reconstruct what occurred.

The First Invasions – Saxons “ Infesting” the Sea

The primary invasion of Britain was in Kent, historically dated to 449, when the brothers Hengist and Horsa (who have been Angle or Jutish – however are later termed Saxon) have been invited in to help the warlord Vortigern towards Pictish raids, most likely as mercenaries. As such, it was probably not an invasion in any respect, however quickly, the mercenaries turned towards their employer and carved out an empire for themselves inside Kent. Horsa died in battle in 455 however Hengist, along with his son Æsc (or Octa), established their dominance in Kent by 457.

The second invasion of Britain in AD 477, at a spot named Cymenshore, garners little consideration from fashionable historians however would result in the institution of the dominion of the South Saxons or Sussex (a reputation which clearly survives till at this time). In truth, this was the very first Saxon invasion and there’s, surprisingly, sufficient element in surviving sources for us to look at it in some depth.


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Prime Picture: Illustration of Anglo-Saxon warriors in battle. Supply: Sarah / Adobe Inventory

By Murray Dahm

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