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Citadel of the Saxons : the rise of early London / Rory Naismith.

By: Naismith, Rory [author.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookPublisher: London : I.B. Tauris, 2019Description: xx, 268 pages : illustrations, maps ; 23 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 1788312228; 9781788312226.Subject(s): London (England) -- History -- To 1500 | England -- London | To 1500Genre/Form: History.DDC classification: 942.101
Contents:
Roman London and its end : first to fifth centuries AD -- Among the ruins : Post-Roman London -- London between kingdoms : c. 600-800 -- Lundenwic : 'An emporium for many nations' -- Alfred the Great and the Vikings -- London in the tenth century : c.900-75 -- Late Anglo-Saxon London -- London in 1066 : the Battle of Hastings and after.
Subject: 'With a past as deep and sinewy as the famous River Thames that twists like an eel around the jutting peninsula of Mudchute and the Isle of Dogs, London is one of the world's greatest and most resilient cities. Born beside the sludge and the silt of the meandering waterway that has always been its lifeblood, it has weathered invasion, flood, abandonment, fire and bombing. The modern story of London is well known. Much has been written about the later history of this megalopolis which, like a seductive dark star, has drawn incomers perpetually into its orbit. Yet, as Rory Naismith reveals - in his zesty evocation of the nascent medieval city - much less has been said about how close it came to earlier obliteration. Following the collapse of Roman civilization in fifth-century Britannia, darkness fell over the former province. Villas crumbled to ruin; vital commodities became scarce; cities decayed; and Londinium, the capital, was all but abandoned. Yet despite its demise as a living city, memories of its greatness endured like the moss and bindweed which now ensnared its toppled columns and pilasters. By the 600s a new settlement, Lundenwic, was established on the banks of the River Thames by enterprising traders who braved the North Sea in their precarious small boats. The history of the city's phoenix-like resurrection, as it was transformed from an empty shell into a court of kings - and favoured setting for church councils from across the land - is still virtually unknown. The author here vividly evokes the forgotten Lundenwic and the later fortress on the Thames - Lundenburgh - of desperate Anglo-Saxon defenders who retreated inside their Roman walls to stand fast against menacing Viking incursions. Recalling the lost cities which laid the foundations of today's great capital, this book tells the stirring story of how dead Londinium was reborn, against the odds, as a bulwark against the Danes and a pivotal English citadel. It recounts how Anglo-Saxon London survived to become the most important town in England - and a vital stronghold in later campaigns against the Normans in 1066. Revealing the remarkable extent to which London was at the centre of things, from the very beginning, this volume at last gives the vibrant early medieval city its due.' -- Details from publisher.
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Enhanced descriptions from Syndetics:

With a past as deep and sinewy as the famous River Thames that twists like an eel around the jutting peninsula of Mudchute and the Isle of Dogs, London is one of the world's greatest and most resilient cities. Born beside the sludge and the silt of the meandering waterway that has always been its lifeblood, it has weathered invasion, flood, abandonment, fire and bombing. The modern story of London is well known. Much has been written about the later history of this megalopolis which, like a seductive dark star, has drawn incomers perpetually into its orbit. Yet, as Rory Naismith reveals - in his zesty evocation of the nascent medieval city - much less has been said about how close it came to earlier obliteration.

Following the collapse of Roman civilization in fifth-century Britannia, darkness fell over the former province. Villas crumbled to ruin; vital commodities became scarce; cities decayed; and Londinium, the capital, was all but abandoned. Yet despite its demise as a living city, memories of its greatness endured like the moss and bindweed which now ensnared its toppled columns and pilasters. By the 600s a new settlement, Lundenwic, was established on the banks of the River Thames by enterprising traders who braved the North Sea in their precarious small boats. The history of the city's phoenix-like resurrection, as it was transformed from an empty shell into a court of kings - and favoured setting for church councils from across the land - is still virtually unknown. The author here vividly evokes the forgotten Lundenwic and the later fortress on the Thames - Lundenburgh - of desperate Anglo-Saxon defenders who retreated inside their Roman walls to stand fast against menacing Viking incursions.

Recalling the lost cities which laid the foundations of today's great capital, this book tells the stirring story of how dead Londinium was reborn, against the odds, as a bulwark against the Danes and a pivotal English citadel. It recounts how Anglo-Saxon London survived to become the most important town in England - and a vital stronghold in later campaigns against the Normans in 1066. Revealing the remarkable extent to which London was at the centre of things, from the very beginning, this volume at last gives the vibrant early medieval city its due.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 251-255) and index.

1. Roman London and its end : first to fifth centuries AD -- 2. Among the ruins : Post-Roman London -- 3. London between kingdoms : c. 600-800 -- 4. Lundenwic : 'An emporium for many nations' -- 5. Alfred the Great and the Vikings -- 6. London in the tenth century : c.900-75 -- 7. Late Anglo-Saxon London -- 8. London in 1066 : the Battle of Hastings and after.

'With a past as deep and sinewy as the famous River Thames that twists like an eel around the jutting peninsula of Mudchute and the Isle of Dogs, London is one of the world's greatest and most resilient cities. Born beside the sludge and the silt of the meandering waterway that has always been its lifeblood, it has weathered invasion, flood, abandonment, fire and bombing. The modern story of London is well known. Much has been written about the later history of this megalopolis which, like a seductive dark star, has drawn incomers perpetually into its orbit. Yet, as Rory Naismith reveals - in his zesty evocation of the nascent medieval city - much less has been said about how close it came to earlier obliteration. Following the collapse of Roman civilization in fifth-century Britannia, darkness fell over the former province. Villas crumbled to ruin; vital commodities became scarce; cities decayed; and Londinium, the capital, was all but abandoned. Yet despite its demise as a living city, memories of its greatness endured like the moss and bindweed which now ensnared its toppled columns and pilasters. By the 600s a new settlement, Lundenwic, was established on the banks of the River Thames by enterprising traders who braved the North Sea in their precarious small boats. The history of the city's phoenix-like resurrection, as it was transformed from an empty shell into a court of kings - and favoured setting for church councils from across the land - is still virtually unknown. The author here vividly evokes the forgotten Lundenwic and the later fortress on the Thames - Lundenburgh - of desperate Anglo-Saxon defenders who retreated inside their Roman walls to stand fast against menacing Viking incursions. Recalling the lost cities which laid the foundations of today's great capital, this book tells the stirring story of how dead Londinium was reborn, against the odds, as a bulwark against the Danes and a pivotal English citadel. It recounts how Anglo-Saxon London survived to become the most important town in England - and a vital stronghold in later campaigns against the Normans in 1066. Revealing the remarkable extent to which London was at the centre of things, from the very beginning, this volume at last gives the vibrant early medieval city its due.' -- Details from publisher.

Table of contents provided by Syndetics

  • List of Maps and Figures (p. ix)
  • Abbreviations (p. xiii)
  • Timeline (p. xvi)
  • Preface (p. xix)
  • Introduction (p. 1)
  • Back to the Sources (p. 4)
  • Location, Location, Location (p. 7)
  • Urban Lifestyles: Forms of Town in the Early Middle Ages (p. 8)
  • London in Context: England and Europe (p. 11)
  • 1 Roman London and Its End: First to Fifth Centuries ad (p. 16)
  • Origins (p. 18)
  • Living in Roman London (p. 20)
  • A City of the Empire (p. 25)
  • Later Roman London (p. 29)
  • London at the Close of the Fourth Century (p. 34)
  • Conclusion: London and the End of Roman Britain (p. 37)
  • 2 Among the Rums: Post-Roman London (p. 40)
  • London c.400-600 (p. 41)
  • 'A Province Fertile of Tyrants': London in its Post-Roman Setting (p. 47)
  • Settlement and Society in the London Region (p. 50)
  • Conclusion: The Return of the Romans, ad 604 (p. 53)
  • 3 London Between Kingdoms: c.600-800 (p. 56)
  • London and its Region in the Seventh Century (p. 58)
  • The Scramble for Lundenwic c.66o-700 (p. 62)
  • Mercian London (p. 66)
  • 4 Lundenwic: 'An Emporium For Many Nations' (p. 72)
  • Rediscovering Lundenwic (p. 73)
  • Defining Lundenwic (p. 77)
  • Life in Lundenwic (p. 80)
  • The Genesis of Lundenwic (p. 84)
  • The Growth of Lundenwic (p. 89)
  • Lundenwic and Northern Europe (p. 92)
  • Of Ships and Coins (p. 95)
  • The Waning of Lundenwic (p. 102)
  • 5 Alfred the Great and the Vikings (p. 105)
  • The City Before Alfred (p. 109)
  • The Viking Threat (p. 111)
  • Kings and Coins in the 870s (p. 114)
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: London, Alfred and the Vikings from c.88o (p. 116)
  • Alfred's Restoration in Context (p. 119)
  • Conclusion: London's Alfred (p. 123)
  • 6 London in the Tenth Century: c.900-75 (p. 125)
  • Town and Country in Tenth-Century London (p. 126)
  • Running the City: Gilds and Bishops (p. 132)
  • Conclusion: London and the Kingdom in the Tenth Century (p. 138)
  • 7 Late Anglo-Saxon London (p. 141)
  • London under Æthelred II (978-1016) (p. 142)
  • London Under the Danes and Edward the Confessor (1016-66) (p. 145)
  • London: Mother of Cities (p. 151)
  • A City of Silver (p. 153)
  • The Great and the Good: Running Late Anglo-Saxon London (p. 159)
  • The Church in Late Anglo-Saxon London (p. 165)
  • A Growing City (p. 171)
  • Conclusion: A City of Connections (p. 179)
  • 8 London in 1066: The Battle of Hastings and After (p. 182)
  • Picking Up the Pieces; Dealing with Conquest in 1066 (p. 188)
  • A New Accommodation: The London Writ (p. 190)
  • Notes (p. 197)
  • Select Bibliography (p. 251)
  • Where to See Anglo-Saxon London (p. 257)
  • Index (p. 261)

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

London's evolution between the 410 AD end of Roman occupation and the 1066 Norman invasion is the focus of Naismith's (King's College London) excellent history. Londinium fell into ruin within its walls after Roman withdrawal--becoming the "empty husk of a city"--but the surrounding region was not barren. Until the 1980s, scholars looked in vain for the remains of Anglo-Saxon London because they looked in the wrong places. Exploration over the past 30 years provided evidence showing that by the sixth century, the Anglo-Saxons had built up a trading settlement known as Lundenwic to the west of the city walls, between the locations of modern Covent Garden and the Strand. Using writs, charters, coins, and archaeological sites, Naismith reveals that although London was only one of Britain's primary settlements during these centuries, with Winchester, Canterbury, and Ipswich each holding its own contemporary significance, by 1000 AD, London had become a great city, with population; wealth; ecclesiastical, economic, and military importance; and connections throughout Europe. Among the most fascinating aspects of this work are Naismith's careful and cogent explanations on the interpretation of findings and artifacts. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty. --Ellen J. Jenkins, Arkansas Tech University