The dark side of the Anglo-Saxons

The fantasy world created by JRR Tolkien in The Hobbit has contributed to a widely held image of Anglo-Saxon England as a lost rural idyll. Yet, says Ryan Lavelle, the reality was far less cuddly, blighted by slavery, sexism and great social inequalities

Medieval ploughmen ploughing with oxen

Want to read more?

Become a BBC History Magazine subscriber today to unlock all premium articles

Unlock now