Does England Need Guns? A Warning From History

A fascinating Spiegel article I saw a few weeks back brought attention to the fact that Britain is far more Germanic than many believed in the past.

While we all know the Saxons, Jutes and such flooded the island of Britain between 450 and 550, the numbers have been intensely debated. According to the article, archaeologist Heinrich Härke of the University of Reading has estimated “up to 200,000 emigrants” crossed the North Sea. We know they were a tough bunch:

The estimated 200,000 intruders faced an overwhelming number of Britons, about a million, and yet the invaders triumphed. The kingdoms that soon developed, like East Anglia, Wessex (West Saxony) and Essex (East Saxony) were run by robust chieftains like Sigeric and Cynewulf.

Wait, the German tribes were outnumbered 5:1 but they still beat the Britons hands down? How did they do that?

The Celts were no match for these roughnecks. The Romans had taught them how to play the lyre and drink copious amounts of wine, but the populace in the regions controlled by the Pax Romana was barred from carrying weapons. As a result, the local peoples, no longer accustomed to the sword, lost one battle after the next and were forced to the edges of the island.

The Old English heroic epic “Beowulf” suggests how coarse and combative life was among the pagan conquerors in their reed-covered huts. They had soon occupied eastern and central England.

So the cultured Britons raised in a Roman nanny state were effectively wiped out by less sophisticated, but armed and dedicated immigrants. I wonder are there any lessons from this episode relevant to today?



About Cranky Notions
Reactionary. That fella from the Norris scandal.

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