Introduced by Gareth Williams
Still one of the most influential books in its field, Campbell’s account of six hundred years of power struggles, blood-feuds, conquest and gold hoards is now vividly portrayed by Folio with full-colour photographs.
‘The Anglo-Saxons is one of the most important and influential general overviews of Anglo-Saxon history written to date.'
In just six centuries, the Anglo-Saxons established English as the common language, introduced Christianity and universal coinage; and sustained several waves of Viking invaders, including an invasion in the ninth century that was thwarted by the self-proclaimed King of England, King Alfred. By the end of the period, they had successfully created a unified Kingdom of England with borders that are largely unchanged to this day.
James Campbell’s The Anglo-Saxons remains the authoritative title despite the publication of subsequent books on the period. Written by one of the leading Anglo-Saxon scholars, it is a remarkable history created for a general readership. Campbell’s ground-breaking pictorial volume includes maps and diagrams, as well as over 60 black and white photographs of archaeological sites and surviving defences and churches. Campbell placed art and craftsmanship at the forefront of his work and these images illustrate their importance in understanding Anglo-Saxon culture.
Our companion photo-volume includes many newly photographed artefacts and artworks, with ample space dedicated to each object, in order to fully appreciate their incredible artistry and exquisite detail: the treasures of Sutton Hoo; bibles and manuscripts, including pages from the Lindisfarne Gospels; intricate jewellery; the Alfred Jewel; beautiful ivory caskets; and elaborate gold and silver vessels. A total of 136 colour photographs add visual context to Campbell’s compelling text and reveal the extent of the immense cultural imprint the Anglo-Saxons left on Britain.
A new introduction by British Museum curator Gareth Williams adds a fascinating addendum of the latest archaeological discoveries and illustrator Yann Legendre acknowledges the Anglo-Saxon love of gold in his striking blocked binding designs – one based on a replica of the Sutton Hoo helmet and the other on the Great Gold Buckle.
James Campbell (1935–2016) was one of the great scholars of Anglo-Saxon history. He taught at the University of Oxford for more than forty years, his university posts culminating in a professorship. Campbell’s interests ranged widely and productively over Anglo-Saxon history, with essays on as diverse subjects as the land market in early England and twelfth-century views of the Anglo-Saxon past. But it was with The Anglo-Saxons (1982) and a much later work, The Anglo-Saxon State (2000), that Campbell made his greatest and most enduring contributions to Anglo-Saxon and medieval history. The importance of his contribution was recognised in his election as a Fellow of the British Academy in 1984 and the invitation to deliver the Ford Lectures in British History at Oxford in 1996. His many publications include: Norwich (1975), Essays in Anglo-Saxon History (1986) and The Anglo-Saxon State (2000).
Gareth Williams is Curator of Early Medieval Coins and Viking Collections at the British Museums, and Honorary Reader in Archaeology at University College London. His research interests include the history, archaeology and numismatics of the British Isles and Scandinavia in the early Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the Anglo-Saxons and Vikings. Specific areas of research include coinage and other forms of social and economic exchange, warfare and military organisation, and the expansion of the Viking world. His publications include: Early Anglo-Saxon Coins (2008), Treasures of Sutton Hoo (2011), Vikings: life and legend, with P. Pentz and M. Wemhoff (2014), The Vikings in Britain and Ireland, with J. Carroll and S. Harrison (2014) and The Viking Ship (2014).
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