-  7th c. BC Brythons, Celtic people moved from continental Europe to British Isles.
-  2006 United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
(Great Britain: England, Scotland, and Wales)
-  1603 union of crowns of England (included Wales) and Scotland
-  1707 Act ofUnion unification of the states of England and Scotland
-  1st century BC Roman “Britannia” (largely England and Wales); Scotland was "Caledonia"; Ireland, "Hibernia"

- Celtic language group
- date of arrival in British Isles unknown
- British Isles inhabited for 200,000+ years
        Paleolithic hunters and gathers
        Neolithic peoples (first farmers) ca. 4000 BC (Salisbury Plain)
        Celts in several waves over long period
            introduced use of iron
            traded with the Continent
            used gold coinage (by 1st c. BC)

Social and Political Organization of Celtic Britain
-  dominated by warrior aristocracy and priests (Druids)
-  ruled by small tribal kingdoms
-  experienced intertribal warfare (fortified settlements on hilltops)
-  Belgae created unified kingdoms in Hertfordshire and Essex (1st c. BC on)
        Cunobelin (Shakespeare's Cymbeline) entitled "rex Britannorum"
        introduced heavy plow (grain major exporters)

Celtic  and A-S concepts of kingship similar
-  oldest political institution in Britain
-  word king OE cyning/cyng (title used for A-S chiefs 5th and 6th c. AD)
means scion or offspring of race or tribe
- A-S leaders warlords
- personal bond between man and man main cement

First King?
Modern concept of kingship – one who has chief authority over a country or people
- 7th c. Edwin, A-S leader in Northumbria, Bretwealda or lord of the Britains
- 8th c. Mercian ascendancy (kingdom stretched from Trent River to Wales)
- 9th c. Alfred the Great first used title King of  English (ruled Wessex 871 to 901)  - 10th c. Danes conquered N. England -- first real King of England probably King Swein of Denmark 1013-14

Nature of A-S Kingship
- A-S kings selected (in theory)
- defend people and maintain law and order
- promulgated law (with Witan ); law lay in memory of folk
- was commander-in-chief; called fyrd (peasant fighters commanded by retainers)
- thanes owed king service in army, maintained roads, and built military fortresses
- one tax – the danegeld (to restrain the Danes), a tax on land (dated from 991)
- king was expected to live off his own

Nature of A-S Government
Most government local, not central
- shire was main political, judicial, and military unit
        some shires were boundaries of ancient states (e.g., Kent, Essex, Sussex);
        others referred to settlements (Norfolk, Suffolk);
        shires in midlands were Alfred's garrison towns;
        northern shires were Norman administrative units
- shires were subdivided into hundreds
        originated in frith or peace guild
        tribe grouped in tens or tithings
        ten tithings were combined under Hundred Man
        King Edgar’s (959-75) Law of the Hundred made system compulsory
- shire and hundred had own moots
        shire court met two times a year
        hundred met every four weeks
- procedures reflected folkish view that crime was offense against group
- guilty party had to pay bot or damages to injured party and wite or fine to court
- justice lay in the lands of God (Oath and Ordeal)

Royal Justice
- initially dealt only with greatest men and offenses committed in precincts of court  - but “Justitia est magnum emolumentum
        king’s frith or peace
        oferhynes or special fines to king (crimes against the king, not the group)
- enforced by ealdorman (alderman) and shire reeve (sheriff)
        Ealdormen were wealthy landowners;
        filled important offices of royal household in rotation;
        attended meetings of Witan;
        carried out the king’s personal business in the region;
        title changed to Earl (continental equivalent of a Count) under Canute
        Sheriffs were lesser men in shire (easier to control);
        by 11th c. became chief administrators in shire;
        collected revenues from royal estates;
        presided over shire  and hundred courts

An Anglo-Saxon democracy?
- government employed 2 percent of adult male population
- most peasants unfree tenants or slaves
- free peasants or ceorls served in the fyrd but were small proportion of the peasantry and primary occupation was farming