Destinations Magazine

A Very London Walks Easter Greeting – And Our 800th Post!

By Lwblog @londonwalks

A Very London Walks Easter Greeting – And Our 800th Post!David gives us our landmark 800th D.C post… a linguistic Easter Egg hunt that will keep you hooked to the very end…
It's the Gap Years.
About 650 of them. I.E. 410 AD to 1066 (of course). Or thereabouts.
Roughly speaking the Anglo-Saxon era. It's more complicated - much more complicated - than two ever so tidy, neat, "bookend" dates suggest, but 410 and 1066 are convenient "shorthand" for the Roman departure and the Norman "arrival". (For the record, the Anglo-Saxons started to pitch up later in the 5th century.)
Anyway, yes, a heptarch (if you will) of centuries.
AKA The Dark Ages. (You can't help but wonder did that sobriquet come about not least because "history is always written by the victors" and the Anglo-Saxons were the losers. Big time. At least in the short run. The short-run in this instance being a third of a millennium or thereabouts. A third of a millennium because it's in the second half of the 14th century that the Norman Overlord - Anglo-Saxon Villein interface gives way to that extraordinary new development, a recognisably "English" identity.)
So, yes, The Dark Ages. The period - some "period", six and a half centuries! - about which most people know next to nothing. The Romans? Whoa! Yes! For sure! They're practically next door neighbours. That's how au fait we are with Julius Caesar and Claudius and Co. and what they got up to.
And ditto the Normans.
But the poor old Anglo-Saxons...
And the fact of the matter is, that blissful ignorance shouldn't be the case.
As my favourite London historian once put it, "Perhaps there were fewer people in the London of 1066 than there had been in the City's Roman heyday. Nevertheless the Anglo-Saxon period has as much claim to be considered London's determining era; and its influence was transmitted without a break. In many respects, the rest of the City's story...may be regarded as the fruiting of seeds sown well before the Norman Conquest."
And where's all this tending? Why bring it up now (Easter weekend)?
Here's why. We have the Anglo-Saxons to thank for the very word Easter. (And indeed for the timing and much of the "hinterland" of the Easter idea.)
In short, Eostre was the Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility.
A Jewish troublemaker and an Anglo-Saxon goddess of spring and fertility. What's not to like about that combo?

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