Famous Men of the Middle Ages HTML version
Egbert the Saxon
King from 802-837 A.D.
Egbert the Saxon lived at the same time as did Harun-al-Rashid and Charlemagne. He
was the first king who ruled all England as one kingdom. Long before his birth the people
who are known to us as Britons lived there, and they gave to the island the name Britain.
But Britain was invaded by the Romans under Julius Cesar and his successors, and all
that part of it which we now call England was added to the Empire of Rome. The Britons
were driven into Wales and Cornwall, the western sections of the island.
The Romans kept possession of the island for nearly four hundred years. They did not
leave it until 410, the year that Alaric sacked the city of Rome. At this time the Roman
legions were withdrawn from Britain.
Some years before this the Saxons, Angles and Jutes, German tribes, had settled near the
shores of the North Sea. They learned much about Britain; for trading vessels, even at
that early day, crossed the Channel. Among other things, the men from the north learned
that Britain was crossed with good Roman roads, and dotted with houses of brick and
stone; that walled cities had taken the place of tented camps, and that the country for
miles round each city was green every spring with waving wheat, or white with orchard
After the Roman legions had left Britain, the Jutes, led, it is said, by two great captains
named Hengist and Horsa, landed upon the southeastern coast and made a settlement.
Britain proved a pleasant place to live in, and soon the Angles and Saxons also left the
North Sea shores and invaded the beautiful island.
The new invaders met with brave resistance. The Britons were headed by King Arthur,
about whom many marvelous stories are told. His court was held at Caerleon (car'-le-on),
in North Wales, where his hundred and fifty knights banqueted at their famous "Round
The British king and his knights fought with desperate heroism. But they could not drive
back the Saxons and their companions and were obliged to seek refuge in the western
mountainous parts of the island, just as their forefathers had done when the Romans
invaded Britain. Thus nearly all England came into the possession of the three invading