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The HEPTARCHY is a collective name applied to the seven petty kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England
from the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain in 5th century until their unification into the Kingdom of England
England
in the early 10th century.

The term "Heptarchy" (from the Greek ἑπτά hepta, "seven" and -αρχία -arkhia "reign, rule") alludes to the tradition that there were seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms, usually enumerated as: East Anglia , Essex
Essex
, Kent
Kent
, Mercia
Mercia
, Northumbria
Northumbria
, Sussex
Sussex
and Wessex
Wessex
. The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms eventually unified into the Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
.

The historiographical tradition of the "seven kingdoms" is medieval, first recorded by Henry of Huntingdon in his Historia Anglorum (12th century); the term Heptarchy
Heptarchy
dates to the 16th century.

CONTENTS

* 1 History * 2 List of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms * 3 Attributed arms * 4 See also * 5 Notes * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links

HISTORY

The main Anglo-Saxon kingdoms

By convention, the Heptarchy
Heptarchy
lasted from the end of Roman rule in Britain in the 5th century, until most of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms came under the overlordship of Egbert of Wessex
Wessex
in 829: a period of European history often referred to as the Early Middle Ages
Early Middle Ages
or, more controversially, as the Dark Ages .

Though heptarchy suggests the existence of seven kingdoms, the term is just used as a label of convenience and does not imply the existence of a clear-cut or stable group of seven kingdoms. The number of kingdoms and sub-kingdoms fluctuated as kings contended for supremacy. In the late 6th century, the king of Kent
Kent
was a prominent lord in the south; in the 7th century, the rulers of Northumbria
Northumbria
and Wessex
Wessex
were powerful; in the 8th century, Mercia
Mercia
achieved hegemony over the other surviving kingdoms, particularly with " Offa
Offa
the Great". Yet, as late as the reigns of Eadwig and Edgar (955–75), it was still possible to speak of separate kingdoms within the English population.

There also existed alongside the seven kingdoms a number of other political divisions, such as the kingdoms (or sub-kingdoms) of: Bernicia
Bernicia
and Deira
Deira
within Northumbria; Lindsey in present-day Lincolnshire
Lincolnshire
; the Hwicce
Hwicce
in the southwest Midlands; the Magonsæte
Magonsæte
or Magonset, a sub-kingdom of Mercia
Mercia
in what is now Herefordshire
Herefordshire
; the Wihtwara , a Jutish kingdom on the Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
, originally as important as the Cantwara of Kent
Kent
; the Middle Angles
Middle Angles
, a group of tribes based around modern Leicestershire
Leicestershire
, later conquered by the Mercians; the Hæstingas
Hæstingas
(around the town of Hastings
Hastings
in Sussex
Sussex
); and the Gewisse , a Saxon tribe in what is now southern Hampshire
Hampshire
that later developed into the kingdom of Wessex
Wessex
.

The decline of the Heptarchy
Heptarchy
and the eventual emergence of the kingdom of England
England
was also a drawn-out process, taking place over the course of the 9th to 10th centuries. Over the course of the 9th century, the Danish enclave at York
York
expanded into the Danelaw
Danelaw
, with about half of England
England
under Danish rule. The English unification under Alfred the Great
Alfred the Great
was a reaction to the threat by the common enemy . In 886, Alfred retook London, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
says that "all of the English people
English people
(all Angelcyn) not subject to the Danes submitted themselves to King Alfred." The unification of the kingdom of England
England
was complete only in the 10th century, following the expulsion of Eric Bloodaxe
Eric Bloodaxe
as king of Northumbria.

LIST OF ANGLO-SAXON KINGDOMS

Further information: Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies

The four main kingdoms in Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England
were:

* East Anglia * Mercia
Mercia
* Northumbria
Northumbria
, including sub-kingdoms Bernicia
Bernicia
and Deira
Deira
* Wessex
Wessex

The other main kingdoms, which were conquered by others entirely at some point in their history, before the unification of England, are:

* Essex
Essex
* Kent
Kent
* Sussex
Sussex

Other minor kingdoms and territories include:

* Dumnonia
Dumnonia
(only subject to Wessex
Wessex
at a later date) * Haestingas
Haestingas
* The Hwicce
Hwicce
* Isle of Wight
Isle of Wight
* Kingdom of the Iclingas , a precursor state to Mercia * Lindsey * Magonsæte
Magonsæte
* The Meonwara
Meonwara
, a Jutish tribe in Hampshire * Middle Angles
Middle Angles
* Pecsæte * Surrey * Tomsæte * Wreocensæte
Wreocensæte

ATTRIBUTED ARMS

Arms were attributed to the kingdoms of the Anglo-Saxon heptarchy from the 12th or 13th century onward, with the development of heraldry .

The Kingdom of Essex
Kingdom of Essex
, for instance, was assigned a red shield with three notched swords (or "seaxes"). This coat was used by the counties of Essex
Essex
and Middlesex
Middlesex
until 1910, when the Middlesex
Middlesex
County Council applied for a formal grant from the College of Arms
College of Arms
(The Times, 1910). Middlesex
Middlesex
was granted a red shield with three notched swords and a "Saxon Crown". Essex
Essex
County Council was granted the arms without the crown in 1932.

*

Kingdom of East Anglia
Kingdom of East Anglia
*

Kingdom of Essex
Kingdom of Essex
*

Kingdom of Kent
Kingdom of Kent
(White horse of Kent
Kent
) *

Kingdom of Mercia
Mercia
(Flag of Mercia
Mercia
) *

Kingdom of Northumbria
Northumbria
*

Kingdom of Sussex
Kingdom of Sussex
*

Kingdom of Wessex
Wessex
( Arms of Edward the Confessor )

SEE ALSO

* Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England
portal

* History of Anglo-Saxon England * Cornovii (Cornish) * Related terms: Bretwalda
Bretwalda
, High King
High King
for hegemons among kings * Compare: Tetrarchy
Tetrarchy

NOTES

* ^ Historia Anglorum: the history of ... - Google Books. Books.google.com.au. 1996. ISBN 9780198222248 . Retrieved 2010-04-09. * ^ Norman F. Cantor, The Civilization of the Middle Ages1993:163f. * ^ The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
Freely licensed version at Gutenberg Project. Note: This electronic edition is a collation of material from nine diverse extant versions of the Chronicle. It contains primarily the translation of Rev. James Ingram, as published in the Everyman edition. Asser's Life of King Alfred, ch. 83, trans. Simon Keynes and Michael Lapidge, Alfred the Great: Asser's Life of King Alfred ;background:none transparent;border:none;-moz-box-shadow:none;-webkit-box-shadow:none;box-shadow:none;">v

* t * e

Kingdoms and subdivisions of Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England

KINGDOMS

* East Anglia * Essex
Essex
* Kent
Kent
* Mercia
Mercia
* Northumbria
Northumbria
* Bernicia
Bernicia
* Deira
Deira
* Sussex
Sussex
* Wessex
Wessex

LESSER KINGDOMS

* Wiht * Meonwara
Meonwara
* Surrey * Lindsey * Hwicce
Hwicce
* Magonsæte
Magonsæte
* Pencersæte * Pecsæte * Wreocensæte
Wreocensæte
* Tomsæte * Haestingas
Haestingas
* Gyrwas * Southumbrians

Minor Anglo-Saxon tribes and fiefs

* Ælfingas * Æbbingas * Godhelmingas * Arosæte * Beormingas * Bilsæte * Brahhingas * Duddensæte * Cilternsæte * Eorlingas * Husmerae * Gaini
Gaini
* Sunningas * Brycgstowl * Banesbyrig * Lindisfaras
Lindisfaras
* Woccingas * Nox-gaga and Oht-gaga * Middle Saxons * Middle Angles
Middle Angles
* North Mercians * Duddaæte * Gyrwas * Tetingas * Basingas * Snotingas * Spaldingas * Stoppingas * Sweordora * Tewingas * Westerne * Elmetsæte
Elmetsæte
* Gewisse * Rēadingas * Weorgoran * Sumorsaete * Waeclingas * Haueringas

* v * t * e

Kingdoms established after Migration Period
Migration Period

* Alamannian Kingdom * Alani Kingdom * Avar Khaganate * Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy * Bavarian Duchy * Bro Gwened * Great Bulgaria
Great Bulgaria
* Bulgar Khanate * Burgundian Kingdom * Cantabri
Cantabri
* Carantian Principality * Cornouaille * Domnonée
Domnonée
* Frankish Kingdom * Frisian Kingdom
Frisian Kingdom
* Gepid Kingdom * Hen Ogledd
Hen Ogledd
* Hunnic Empire * Kingdom of Italy * Gaelic Ireland * Khazar Khaganate
Khazar Khaganate
* Lombard Kingdom * Petty kingdoms of Norway * Suevian Kingdom * Ostrogothic Kingdom
Ostrogothic Kingdom
* Rugian Kingdom * Saxonian Duchy * Thuringii Kingdom * Vandal Kingdom
Vandal Kingdom
* Visigothic Kingdom
Visigothic Kingdom

* v * t * e

Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England

HISTORY

* Timeline

* Anglo-Saxon England
Anglo-Saxon England

* Heptarchy

* Kingdom of England
Kingdom of England
* Norman conquest * Anglo-Normans * Angevin Empire
Angevin Empire
* England
England
in the Late Middle Ages * Wars of the Roses
Wars of the Roses
* Tudor period
Tudor period
* Stuart period * English Renaissance
English Renaissance
* English Reformation
English Reformation
* Elizabethan era
Elizabethan era
* Union of the Crowns
Union of the Crowns
* Overseas possessions * Gunpowder Plot
Gunpowder Plot
* Jacobean era
Jacobean era
* Civil War

* Interregnum

* Commonwealth of England
England
* The Protectorate
The Protectorate

* Restoration * Popish Plot
Popish Plot
* Glorious Revolution
Glorious Revolution
* Maritime history * Economy in the Middle Ages * Union with Scotland

ROYAL HOUSES

* Wessex
Wessex
* Knýtlinga * Normandy * Angevin * Plantagenet * Lancaster * York
York
* Tudor * Stuart * Orange-Nassau

* Politics * Law

* Witenagemot
Witenagemot
* Curia regis

* Parliament

* House of Lords * House of Commons

* Monarchy
Monarchy

* Council of State * Lord Protector
Lord Protector

* Peerage * Privy Council * Ministries * Secretary of State

* Governance

* Elizabethan

* Star Chamber
Star Chamber
* Whigs * Tories

* Acts of Parliament: to 1483 * 1485–1601 * 1603–1641 * 1642–1660 * 1660–1699 * 1700–1706

MILITARY

* Anglo-Saxon military

* Warfare

* English Army
English Army

* New Model Army
New Model Army

* Royal Navy
Royal Navy

* Ships * History

GEOGRAPHY

* Counties * Islands * Places * Towns * Castles * Palaces

DEMOGRAPHICS

* English language

* English people
English people

* list

CULTURE

* Religion * Church of England
England
* Cuisine * Folklore * Morris dance
Morris dance
* Country dance

ARCHITECTURE

* Anglo-Saxon * English Gothic * Tudor * Elizabethan * Jacobean * Queen Anne * Georgian

SYMBOLS

* National flag (list ) * Heraldry
Heraldry

* Coat of arms

* College of Arms
College of Arms

* Royal Badges * Royal Supporters * Royal Standard * Crown Jewels * Tudor rose
Tudor rose
* Oak
Oak
tree

* St George

* St George\'s Day

Articles on the history of England
England

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Heptarchy
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