The SAGA of the Saxons – Part 1
The Saxons have always held something of a fascination for me, ever since I saw the Lord of the Rings trilogy and learned that the Rohirrim were partially based off of the Anglo-Saxons. This in part led me to delve into Anglo-Saxon history and to see their true historical background and their connection to SAGA. It turns out that Saxon history is not so clear cut as we might like and often times conflicting tales arise in some of the earlier periods due to their flexible culture. Some of you with keen sense know that the Saxons in one form or another appear in no less than three SAGA books (SAGA, Northern Fury, and Aetius and Arthur). What follows is something of a quick history primer of the tale of the Saxons. You can find much more in depth information through various sites on the internet, through popular media like the Last Kingdom/Vikings, or even your SAGA books.
Early: 400-700 AD
The early Saxon period can be arguably defined as somewhere around 400-450 AD. The significant event at the time being around the downfall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 AD and the pulling out of Roman troops from Britain around 410 AD.
At this time period, the Saxons lived between what we would consider Germany and Denmark today, alongside other Germanic peoples. There were reports that these Germanic peoples had been raiding the coast of England centuries prior, but there had never been a massed migration movement until this twilight period of the Western Roman Empire.
It is here that there are some disagreements on the manner in which the Saxons migrated to England.
The two narratives given are that the Saxons settled into the area as farmers, before integrating into the local population to set up their own kingdoms. The more famous narrative is the “Saxon Invasion” where the Saxons fought the remnant Romans within the area.
The history of this time period is rather spotty, however the “De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae” written by British cleric St. Gildas around 510 AD sheds some light on the period. That was the era of Aetius the so called “Last of the Romans” and that of King Arthur’s supposed wars against the emerging Anglo-Saxons. A general summary of the piece indicates that much of the ruling elites were considered to be corrupted and that eventually ceded control to the Saxons from the fighting.
In any case by the 800’s AD, four Saxon realms emerged the Kingdom of Essex, the province of Middlesex, the Kingdom of Sussex, and the Kingdom of Wessex.
Of important note is that the Saxon’s conversion from their original Germanic origins to Christianity is believed to have occurred sometime in the 600’s.
It should be noted that the famous Sutton Hoo ship burial site had objects dated from around 600-700 AD.
Sharp eyed readers might recognize the Sutton Hoo helmet as the “rare” side of SAGA’s Anglo Saxon dice. Shaper eyed readers would also recognize the helmet as being part of some of Footsore miniature’s own “Mordred” character pack.
These early era Saxons from the time of the “invasion” to sometime after their proper settlement in England is represented by Footsore Miniature’s Early-Saxons line
Author: Jeffrey Sithi-Amnuai
Jeffrey Sithi-Amnuai is a college student who has been playing miniature wargames for well over a decade. With a keen interest in history, writing, and painting he has been exposed to all sorts of different types of tabletop games. While he still struggles to pick a favorite, there are certain games that regularly make the rotation. He has become quite infamous among his local hobby shop for his inexplicable ability to roll lots of 6’s when the dice gods deem it necessary to intervene on his behalf.