Date of Award




Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of History

Content Description

1 online resource (ii, 56 pages)

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Patrick Nold

Committee Members

John Monfasani


Anglo-Saxon, Anglo-Saxon Kingship, Conversion, Anglo-Saxons, Christianity and politics, Power (Social sciences), Civilization, Anglo-Saxon

Subject Categories

History | Medieval History


This thesis examines the history of the establishment of the Anglo-Saxon practice of kingship and explores the conversion of that institution from a native and traditional pre-Christian political apparatus into one of autocratic Christian rule. By examining this period of history and studying the infiltration of foreign cultural elements, this study explores and discusses the ways in which the Anglo-Saxon regnal society was fundamentally transformed from an archetypal representation of the Germanic heroic age into one with a synthesis with aspects of Christian rule and religiosity. The nature of the time period requires alternative methods of historic understanding to be explored, given the illiterate nature of the Anglo-Saxons and Germanic peoples. To that end, this thesis utilizes three distinct approaches: (1) an analysis of the protohistoric writings of the Romans and other accounts ascribed to Germanic history, (2) an archaeoethnographical approach utilizing material remains and reconstructed social studies, and (3) comparative discussions of history and literature of related cultural spheres. This paper approaches the concept of Anglo-Saxon kingship as both a fundamental change of the local ruling traditions as well as an intrusion of a classically foreign and culturally Mediterranean ruling structure. The incorporation of this new cultural influence is keenly felt in the conversion of traditional beliefs into a Christian context, as in the case of the stirps regia, or their struggle for removal, as in the case of intermarriage between step parent and new king. The markings of Christianity on the growth and codification of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms are indelible.