85 – Ceawlin and the Sons of Ida

So it’s 568. And things in what will someday become England are still chaotic. Remember what was going on up north in Bernicia? Where Ida, who was probably part of some sort of Anglian group, had taken control of Bamburgh, then he died, and then his sons started taking over for him? Well, that’s still going on. It looks like Adda is probably dead. Maybe. It’s really muddy. And like I mentioned earlier, he probably was the king who was fighting with the Brits and killed a number of their kings… maybe… But sometime around now, Adda is no longer king of Bernicia and the throne is held by his brother: Aethelric. We think.

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  1. Hi Jamie,
    I would like to say that your podcasts are amazing and there is one feature that I really like and that is your sound effects. My favourite one so far is the Wilhelm scream and as soon as I heard it I just broke down laughing :D. Keep producing these podcasts.


  2. Hi Jamie,

    I’m relatively new to the podcast so I’ve only just caught up with this episode. I enjoy the show very much, just wanted to let you know that I’m from Gloucestershire, and the ‘Ciren’ from Cirencester is pronounced like police siren. (In the show you pronounce it with a short ‘i’ sound)

    Thanks for making all this freely available.

  3. Hi Jamie — I just made it to this point in your podcast, and I think you’ve done a great job of explaining the transition to Anglo-Saxon culture so far, as well as many elements of the Roman cultural collapse. I’m still struggling a bit with how to conceptualize the “Britons” who are now under attack by the fledgling Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, though. For example, I know not to think of them as urbanized, Latin-speaking Romans, because that way of life largely disintegrated. I also know not to think of them as Christians facing a Pagan onslaught, because you’ve mentioned the Britons largely reverted to Paganism (to the extent they had converted to Christianity in the first place). That leaves mostly Celtic cultural characteristics as the unifying factors, but wait, you’ve also mentioned that there were multiple Brithonic tongues in use, and I don’t think you’ve said anything about a unifying Druidic resurgence or anything like that. So what makes these people “Britons,” as opposed to unrelated, post-Roman tribal groups? And why do we continue to distinguish Britons from Picts when it seems like the only traits that separated the Britons have vanished?

    1. Simply because urban life broke down and they weren’t staunchly christian doesn’t mean that they weren’t culturally distinct from the Picts, Irish, or other cultural groups. In fact, as you’ll see going forward, even the new Anglo Saxon kingdoms (which shared a language) were culturally distinct. Cultural groups can form just about anywhere and don’t require technological or ancestral differences.

      So that’s why I describe the post-roman culture that were still trying to organize into kingdoms and (possibly) trying to hire mercenaries as Britons. Because they were different from their neighbors. The Picts hadn’t been culturally devastated by the Romans, so they still had an old culture. And while the post-roman britons were in a huge period of flux, it doesn’t mean that they didn’t have a culture, nor does it mean that it would have been like their Pictish neighbors. Make sense?

      1. Thanks for the quick reply! That does make sense, especially from the Anglo-Saxon perspective (in that Anglo-Saxons would be able to recognize that the Britons and Picts were distinct cultures, and that Britons had common characteristics across a broad range of territory). It still surprises me a bit that there would be the same recognition WITHIN the Briton communities (i.e. some northern Briton tribe feeling a kinship with a tribe from modern Wales or Cornwall), but I guess they had the shared experience of collapse and persecution to unite them, as well as the cultural minutiae of dress, architecture, etc.

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