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It is the first of its kind to be discovered in England in more than 30 years. Large royal halls such as the one found in Lyminge are known to be associated with local elites and played a central role in early Anglo-Saxon society. The king and his guests would gather to socialize, celebrate victories, or listen to performances. The hall not only hosted legendary feasting parties, sometimes lasting days, but was also a key multipurpose assembly space for early Saxon communities.


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These halls were the site of essential political, social, religious, and legal activities. Since the feasting hall at Lyminge was constructed from timber and other perishable materials, only the foundation trenches and postholes remain visible. While halls of this type have generally yielded very few significant artifacts, in the case of Lyminge, archaeologists found one important object—an exquisite gilt copper-alloy horse-harness mount was discovered in one of the wall trenches. The quality of its design, style, and craftsmanship indicate that it most likely belonged to an important Anglo-Saxon warrior, adding archaeological support to the stuff of legends.

The days of the pagan Anglo-Saxon kings were to be short-lived. After only one or two generations, the settlement that took the royal hall as its symbolic center was abandoned. In another part of Lyminge, on a spur of land above the old pagan village, a new community formed, this time concentrated around a newly built Christian monastery.

The monastery at Lyminge has old and storied connections to the earliest Christian Anglo-Saxons. While the populations of Roman Britain had already converted to Christianity following the conversion of the Roman emperor Constantine in , the foreign tribes who invaded the island after the Roman collapse were pagans. Augustine of Canterbury was commissioned by Pope Gregory to travel to Britain to reestablish Christianity there and to convert the pagan Saxon communities.

Lyminge was transformed by its Christian monastic settlement, which brought about changes in lifestyle, identity, and behavior of the local population. The presence of fish bones and other marine evidence shows that the monastic community was connected to broader trade networks and was capable of exploiting coastal resources. Log In. Toggle navigation MENU.

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King's Fifth - Notgrass History

In the prison cell in Vera Cruz where he is being held for withholding the King's share of treasure, the "King's Fifth," young Esteban, the mapmaker, sets down all that has happened in order to discover its meaning; how he joined Mendoza's expedition to the famed Seven Cities of Cibola in order to have the honor of drawing the first maps of unknown regions; his friendship with Zia, the Indian girl guide "of the silver bells and silvery laughter"; the discovery of gold and the change that it brought in him; Mendoza's betrayal of Indian trust to gain the gold; and ultimately, after many hardships, his own abandonment of the gold and all it represents.

As Esteban sets down his story, the trial progresses, day by day, until past and present become one. He comes to understand the corrupting power of greed; he understands too that strong bodies and strong wills often conceal weak spirits. The author uses the first person, near-diary form to heighten the immediate moment -- the trial --and confer a documentary value on the retrospective narrative.

The King’s Fifth

And the ending eschews, in large measure, the contrived solution of many juveniles: Esteban is sentenced to three years' imprisonment by a court that could not have admitted error by exonerating him altogether. Unloose the adjectives for this one: a stunning novel of compelling interest and mounting impact. Review Posted Online: Oct. At dusk in in a prison cell in Vera Cruz, New Spain, the young cartographer Esteban de Sandoval begins writing the account of his adventures seeking the Seven Golden Cities of Cibola in the vast part of the New World marked "Unknown" on maps.

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He tells us that his trial for treasonously denying the King of Spain his due fifth of a great treasure will begin in two days on his 17th birthday, and that he is writing to "find the answer to all that puzzles me. Esteban's motive was not to find gold unlike his fellow explorers, who dream of cities paved with it , but rather to become the first man to map the Unknown territory.

He also tells us early on, however, that he began his adventure "not knowing that the dream of gold can bend the soul and even destroy it, unaware that one day it would do the same to me. Throughout his past tense adventure, Esteban weaves his present tense predicament, having to keep the venal jailor hopeful enough that he'll draw him a detailed map leading to the treasure, and having to appear before the venal judges and venal prosecutor protected only by a rookie legal counsel.

In fact, much of the present tense strand of O'Dell's novel reads like a courtroom drama, complete with antagonistic interrogations and surprise witnesses. The most compelling parts of O'Dell's novel concern Esteban's memories of his experiences exploring much of today's New Mexico and Arizona, including many places and things that few if any white people had seen before. The descriptions of sublime geographical features like the Grand Canyon, impressive Native American villages like Tawi the cloud city , affecting Native American rituals like greeting the dawn sun, unfamiliar animals like beavers, nightmarish things like a sunken desert "Inferno," and so on, are skillfully done, evoking wonder and fascination.

And in general O'Dell does a fine job of working in interesting historical details, like the Spanish idea that California was a mysterious island and the Cortez law forbidding the riding or owning of horses by Indians. O'Dell depicts the fraught history of the exploration and conquest of New Spain by the Spanish conquistadores with some complexity.

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To be sure, Mendoza and his party serve as a microcosm of the entire greedy, deceitful, and brutal Spanish presence in the "New World": greed, deceit, and brutality as the invaders tricked and killed Indians for gold and destroyed their villages, etc. Interestingly, although Father Francisco has the right idea when he says that they should be looking at the country they're passing through and its creatures and mountains and clouds "with quiet eyes," Esteban detects in his eyes the same feverish light for saving souls as he sees in the eyes of Mendoza for grabbing gold.

At the same time, both men are remarkably brave and charismatic.


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O'Dell is a fine writer of potent prose, as when Esteban experiences a coastal storm: "The Cordonazo's first breath had parted a rope. The sail now streamed over our heads like a banner. The sailor rose to save it, but when he reached out the wind lifted him into the air. He fell upon the sea and as a man slides on the deck of a ship, so hard was the surface of the water, he slid past us and out of view. From it a warm breeze welled upward, as if the earth itself were breathing.

It was as if all the stories of gold that men had told me had suddenly come alive inside me. Perhaps the novel takes a little too much time to get Esteban on his way to Cibola, but people interested in well-written, well-researched accounts of the exploration and exploitation of the "New World" infused with plenty of universal human heart--especially regarding the fever sickness of gold greed--should read The King's Fifth, though they should also be warned that it, like O'Dell's classic The Island of the Blue Dolphins is not a cheery tale.

My 12 year old son listened to this story for a book club but enjoyed it enough to listen to it again. He said it was a bit difficult the first time through to follow who the characters were but that may have been the unfamiliar names. He has listened to it at least 3 times and still enjoys it. In an obsessed search for gold in the new world, I feel the author was true to the wickedness that this greed spurred.

An important part of history that sets the stage for the Latin American Revolution, and also shows how, where, and who was involved in the American cultural blending during the Renaissance. This book is a great supplemental read when learning about the early Renaissance. There are several fun class activity ideas to be found here for sure.

Fantastic story.

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Great morals. Wonderful narrator. My son and I both loved this audio book. What an amazing performance of such a beautiful story. Loved every bit of it. Scott Odell is a gifted author. This is one my favourite books and I have read a LOT of books.

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Just an outstanding story definitely a must read. A great book for the fictional history reader any age group Scott O'dell truly knows how to write.