History ETDs


Todd Morrison

Publication Date

Fall 12-17-2016


This thesis concerns the final century of Roman Britain, the continental origins of its medieval Germanic invaders, and the socio-political situation in sub-Roman Britain in the fifth and sixth centuries. Multiple issues are discussed in each of these three broad areas, including the effects of the Diocletian Reforms on Britain, fourth-century urban decay, the first-century origins of the Saxons among the piratical Chauci tribe, and the continued existence of Roman institutions in Britain into the early Middle Ages. Furthermore, the reasons the Anglo-Saxons did not assimilate into Roman culture like their counterparts on the continent, making medieval England an essentially Germanic nation, is discussed. Finally, an original comprehensive narrative of the transitional centuries between antiquity and the early medieval period is presented. Two methodological approaches are employed. First, the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain is presented as a product of late antiquity and not as a medieval phenomenon and, second, the approach to source materials is synthetic and goes beyond the use of textual evidence into the disciplines of archaeology, ethnography, and linguistics. Presenting the arrival of Germanic peoples into Britain as a sequel rather than a prequel allows us to explore them unconventionally as a Roman product while the use of archaeology permits many historical gaps to be filled.

Level of Degree


Degree Name


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Graham, Timothy

Second Committee Member

Davis-Secord, Sarah

Third Committee Member

Davis-Secord, Jonathan




Britain Roman Empire Rome Anglo-Saxons Germanic Britons

Document Type


Included in

History Commons