174 – CeltCast Part 3

We start today with a few bare statements in the record. They’re easy to overlook, and most people do, but they hint at a very important aspect of Pictland in the 700s. The absolutely enormous amount of political wrangling.

Here’s what we know.

In 725, King Nechtan stepped down from the throne of Pictland and entered a monastery. The throne went to a new king named Drest, and on that same year Simul son of Drest was imprisoned.

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173 – The CeltCast Part 2

I’m continuing my quest to organize and bring all the stories back together and so today we’re going to move the timeline forward (to get us closer to the Vikings) and we will also be talking more about the kingdoms that were active in the region that would later become scotland. There were several of these kingdoms and they’re rearely discussed despite being extremely interesting. We’ll be focusing our story today on the two largest and most influential kingdoms, Dalriada and Fortriu.

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172 – CeltCast Part 1

Today we’re beginning the process of creating a singular British history podcast. The side casts made sense when the story was first beginning, but now (rather than helping you understand the story better) they’re confusing it) and so today we are merging the Scotcast and Welshcast into the Celtcast. I’m eager to get the story moving forward, and I’m guessing you are too, so I’m going to give a whirlwind tour of what has been going on in scotland and Wales (since we have already most of the story in the main podcast) and /just/ give you the stuff that’s important for the Welsh and Scottish kingdoms. Sort of a forest view of what has been happening, with some added details. But if you’d like more information, the main podcast will include a lot more material that is relevant specifically for the Anglo Saxons.

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171 – The Welshcast Part Seven

When we left off last time, we were talking about how we have a limited understanding of this area of history due to a combination of scarce resources and the victorians building a mythology of englishness. We also covered the early middle ages and the turn that was occurring in Southern Britain in the 6th century, where the Anglo Saxons (especially the West Saxons) had rebounded from their early losses and now were defeating the Britons in battle and steadily advancing towards the Severn.

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170 – The Welshcast Part Six

It’s been two years since we checked in with the Britons of the West, and last time we spoke, a big part of our discussion was focused upon the people that Gildas hated. Which was pretty much everyone.

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169 – The Rise of Wessex

This season we’ve seen the Anglo Saxons come incredibly close to forming an early unified English Kingdom… in fact they will continue their attempts in this episode.

Though we can guess how that will go because we have seen their culture and governmental structure hamstring their previous attempts at unity. From our vantage point of over 1000 years later, we can see the broad strokes of their societies. We can look at generations and spot flaws that would have been nearly invisible to them.

We can also see the future. For example, we know we are on the cusp of a major invasion. We also know about the famed House of Wessex.

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168 – The Fall of Mercia

When we left off, King Beornwulf was reigning over Mercia. Beornwulf was the beginning of the creatively named B-Dynasty, due to the fact that Anglo Saxons seemed to denote their dynasties by selecting the same first letters for their kids. So Beornwulf had two kids named Berhfrith and Behrtric, a brother named Bynna, and it’s thought that Baldred was his kinsman.

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167 – The Beginning of the End

Season Four is called Anglo Saxon Ascendancy because we have been seeing mighty kings like Offa, AEthelbald, and Coenwulf acquire vast amounts of power in Britain that enable them to nearly become the first kings of England. Their hegemonies were so big and impressive that we have one Mercian leader getting into arguments with Charlemagne and another claim the title of Emperor.

But we are reaching the end of that era. The Viking armies are coming…. and the great Kingdoms of Northumbria and Mercia, which could have functioned as bulwarks against continental aggression 100 years earlier… are collapsing under their own weight.

The line of Ida in Northumbria had largely died out about 100 years ago. The Idingas were fierce and effective leaders… but they also tended to die young, and sometimes without children. And now with their end, the warnings of Bede regarding the weaknesses of the Northern Kingdom are starting to look like prophecy. For the last century, Northumbria has been wracked by civil war, with 5 families enthusiastically murdering each other in their attempt to claim the throne. There are too many kings of Northumbria to count who met an untimely death, many times without kids… And it might lead you to wonder whether the kingdom have been strong enough to stop the Norse invasion if King AEthelred I of Northumbria hadn’t been murdered. Or if any of the other kings and claimants hadn’t been murdered.

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166 – Wulfred: The Rogue Archbishop

We start today with a death. On the 28th of January, 814, Charlemagne died and the throne passed to Louis the Pious. The death of Charlemagne was a big deal for early medieval europe, not just because it meant that we wouldn’t have anymore passive aggressive comments about the quality of British wool, or weird tantrums over weddings, or (my personal favorite) utter freak-outs because an exiled queen thought Louis was hotter than Charlemagne… No, the death of Charlemagne would trigger a series of events that would shake the foundations of Europe and, in turn, impact our story for years to come. That’s something we will be keeping our eyes on.

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165 – Did Archbishop Wulfred Just Kill a Guy?

Last week we talked about the impact that the Church was having on internal politics within the Anglo Saxon kingdoms, and that is something we will continue to talk about today. However, before we begin, let’s talk about something strange that’s happening on the continent.

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