Лекція №1 Тема лекції: Британія у давнину. Britain in Ancient Times. План лекції Early history of British Isles

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Лекція № 1

Тема лекції: Британія у давнину. Britain in Ancient Times.

План лекції

  1. Early history of British Isles.

  2. Iberians in the British Isles.

  3. Stonehenge.

  4. Celtic tribes in the British Isles. The Druids.

  5. Roman Britain.

  6. Christianity in Britain.

Зміст лекції

Early history of British Isles

The history of the United Kingdom as a unified sovereign state began in 1707 with the political union of the kingdoms of England and Scotland, into a united kingdom called Great Britain. 

Geologically speaking, until about 8,000 years ago Great Britain was actually part of the European Continent. About 3 thousand years before our era the land we now call Britain was not separated from the continent by the English Channel and the North Sea. The Thames was a tributary of the Rhine. The snow did not melt on the mountains of Wales, Cumberland and Yorkshire even in summer. It lay there for centuries and formed rivers of ice called glaciers, that slowly flowed into the valleys below, some reaching as far as the Thames. At the end of the ice age the climate became warmer and the ice caps melted, flooding the lower-lying land that now lies under the North Sea and the English Channel.

At the end of the Ice Age, sea levels rose, and Great Britain became an island. The first Briton was Swanscombe Man. Her skull was found on the outskirts of  London in 1955. The skull fragments of a young woman (results of re-identification) date 200.000-300.000 years ago.

When the snow retreated northwards, the first (new) Britons arrived. They quickly spread throughout the island. Many parts of Europe, including the present-day British Isles, were inhabited by the people who came to be known as the Iberians. Iberians themselves were ancient people of eastern and southern Spain. The Iberian Peninsula, comprising Spain and Portugal, takes its name from them. The first historical references to the Iberians on the British Isles date from the 6th century BC. Some of their descendants are still found in the North of Spain, populating the Iberian peninsular. Although little is known about the Iberians of the Stone Age, it is understood that they were a small, dark, long-headed race that settled especially on the chalk downs radiating from Salisbury Plain. All that is known about them comes from archaeological findings – the remains of their dwellings, their skeletons as well as some stone tools and weapons. The Iberians knew the art of grinding and polishing stone.

Some settled and built villages, others built a gated community, showing the first signs of class distinction. On the downs and along the oldest historic roads, the Icknield Way and the Pilgrim’s Way, lie long barrows, the great earthenworks which were burial places and prove the existence of marked class divisions. At that time Stonehenge was built. Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument (built from 2400 BC to 2200 BC) located in Wiltshire, England. According to the one of versions, the name Stonehenge is coming from the Old English words stān meaning “stone”, and either heneg meaning “hinge” (because the stone lintels hinge on the upright stones). Some researchers think that it was built by the ancient Druids who performed their rites in Stonehenge. Others believe that it was built by the sun-worshippers who came to this distant land from the Mediterranean when the Channel was a dry valley on the Continent. Stonehenge might also have been an enormous calendar. Its changing shadows probably indicated the cycle of the seasons and told the people when it was time to sow their crops. Some legends connected the construction of Stonehenge with Merlin, sage and magician of Celtic myths. According to the modern theories, Stonehenge originally served to predict the cosmic catastrophes. Stonehenge also was used for burials.

A typical druid Stonehenge

In the period from the 6th to the 3rd century BC the Iberians were succeeded by

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