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The origin of english culture

The Celts came from eastern Europe, were tecnically advanced and knew the tecnique of melting iron. They lived in small villages and their social system was based on the king, the warrior aristocracy and freemen farmers. Their priest were the druids.
Julius Cesar made two short expeditions to Britain and got in touch with them.
In 43AD the Emperor Claudius conquered Britain with a large army. Roman civilisation soon flourished in Britain: towns were built and roads crossed the countryside. They also brought writing and introduced an advanced legal system. The emperor Hadrian have a wall built, known as Hadrian's wall, to defend the country from the Picts.
In the 5th century Britain was invaded by Angles and Saxons from northern Germany. The new settlers lived in small farming communities; society was organised by clans and there was a strong concept of loyalty. The country was divided into conties called shires and into kingdoms. This fact made it difficult to resist a new wave of invasion.

The Vikings were seafarers and shipbuilders. They began to attack Britain at the end of the 8th century. In the 9th century the Vikings settled in England. They were defeated by king Alfred's army and compelled to make a treaty. King Alfred, known as the Great, built the first english navy and a series of fortified towns called burghs.
When the last danish king had died, William became William I. The king organised the government of England on the feudal system, based on loyalty. A knight's estate was called a manor and the people living on it belonged to the knight. Sheep represented the main source of income.
When William died became king Henry II. He organised the judicial system. Now a judge was helped by a jury of twelve men. They applied a common body of customary laws, the Common Law, not based on written rules. Then the constitution of Claredon defined the relationship between church and state. The clerks should be exposed to secular punishment. The king had a controversy with Thomas Becket and he was killed in his cathedral. King John signed the Magna Charta that guaranteed all freemen the right to a fair trial. The english feudalism ends. The nobles make a parliament to start a programme of reforms.

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