David Cooper’s book reappraises the evidence regarding the early battles for Wessex territory. It charts the sequence of battles from the c. AD 500 siege of Badon Hill, in which the Britons defeated the first Saxon attempt to gain a foothold in Wessex territory, to Langport in 710, which consolidated King Ine’s position and pushed the Britons westwards. Discussion of the post-Roman British and Germanic factions provides context and background to Badon Hill, which is then covered in detail and disentangled from Arthurian legend. In considering how the opposing commanders are likely to have planned their campaigns, enduring principles of military doctrine and tactics are discussed, using examples from other periods to illustrate how these principles applied in Dark Ages Britain. Going on to follow subsequent campaigns of the West Saxons in southern Britain, a credible assessment is made of how these resulted in the establishment of a viable Wessex kingdom, two centuries after Badon. Grounded in the latest academic and archaeological evidence, David Cooper offers a number of new insights and ideas.
BADON AND THE EARLY WARS OF WESSEX circa 500 to 710
As a serious study of the battles of the period it stands out from others of its type, with a sensible and balanced assessment. Including an in-depth analysis of why, where and how the Battle of Badon Hill was fought and a credible assessment that explains how the Britons were able to inflict a significant defeat on the Saxon invaders. The author’s military insight and instinct for how the campaigns were conducted provides a real bonus.