By Peter Marren
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Britain used to be a spot of clash in the dead of night a long time, among the departure of the Romans and the Norman Conquest. Clashes of allegiance, festival for territory and assets, and excessive rivalries one of the warlords and kings gave upward thrust to widespread outbreaks of scuffling with. This was once the time of mythical army leaders, like Arthur, Alfred and Canute, and of actually enormous quantities of battles. during this interesting publication, Peter Marren investigates this harassed period of battle, appears for the truth at the back of the myths, and makes use of the options of recent scholarship to teach how battles have been fought in that brutal age, the place they have been fought, and why.
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Additional resources for Battles of the Dark Ages
The walls, colonnades, fountains and statues of the towns were left to crumble into ruins. 501. By tradition they were led by one Port, and his two sons Bieda and Maegla, who arrived in only two ships (the number of ships in these raids consistently equals the number of sons). There is doubt as to whether Port gave his name to the city of Portsmouth, or whether the city gave its name to an anonymous Saxon leader. At all events a battle took place at Portsmutha in which 'a young Briton, a very noble man' was killed.
Like their compatriots at Beranburh and at Badon, they would have refortified the hill-forts, and it can be assumed that they rendezvoused at one of them: Hinton Hill Camp, between the villages of Dyrham and Hinton, and within a short march on mostly good roads from all three cities. They were hence in a good position to intercept Ceawlin, if, as they probably expected, his objective had been to take the city of Bath. The landscape around the village has invited much speculation about how the battle may have been fought.
It was perhaps after Deorham that Ceawlin was hailed as the second bretrvalda of the Saxons. He may not have been the most powerful king in terms of territory - Ceawlin nearly always made war with allied war-lords - but he personified qualities that the pagan Saxons respected most: courage, dash, wisdom in battle and a sense of destiny. He was a true Dark Age hero; it is a pity we do not know him better. Fortunately we do know where Deorham was. It is the modern village of Dyrham a few miles north of Bath, whose name means 'deer enclosure' or 'deer park'.
Battles of the Dark Ages by Peter Marren