The Anglo-Saxons were Germanic invaders who came from what is now the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. They came from the tribes known today as the Angles, Saxons, Frisians and Jutes. And they each founded their own kingdoms in England.
The Angles established themselves in the north and east, establishing the kingdoms of Northumbria and East Anglia. The Jutes settled in the extreme southeast of England. The Saxons occupied the south of the country, calling their peoples Wessex and Sussex. The Frisians settled in the kingdoms of other tribes, often engaging in trade.
The Anglo-Saxons spoke various Germanic dialects. Which eventually developed into the language that became the ancestor of modern English. A quarter of all English words come from Old English.
Even today, the closest language to modern English remains Frisian. Spoken in the north of the Netherlands by the descendants of people who became Anglo-Saxons in Britain.
Days of the week
The Anglo-Saxons gave English names for the days of the week. Names such as Monday, Monday, mean “Moon Day”. Tuesday was Tiv, Day of the one-armed god of war. And Wednesday is a day in honor of their main god Woden, whom the Vikings called Odin.
However, the Viking god Thor was called Thunor in Old English, so today is Thursday, the only Viking-based day of the week in English.
They also had names for the rest of the days of the week. Friday was named after Frigga, the Anglo-Saxon name for Venus. Saturday was “Saternusdag” and Sunday was “Sunnandag”.
Archaeologists still do not know what happened to the people who were replaced by the Anglo-Saxons. After the Romans left Britain in 420 AD. The Romano-Britons were invaded from the west by the Irish. And from the north, the Picts, which left the British king Vortigern with a desperate choice.
The British monk Gildas writes that he sent a message to several European tribes. By inviting the warrior brothers Hengist and Horsa to fight as mercenaries against the invaders.
Although they were victorious over the Picts, the mercenaries soon turned against their masters. Historians know that the Anglo-Saxons conquered the center of the island, leaving Scotland in the north to the Celts. Wales and Cornwall in the west and south across the English Channel Brittany.
However, scientists do not know what happened to the millions of people living in the lands captured by the Anglo-Saxons in what is now England and southern Scotland. Perhaps the British were massacred by hundreds of thousands of invaders.
New DNA data shows that men from Central England are genetically very different from those who live a few miles to the west in Wales. Whereas, compared with modern friezes, they are almost inseparable from each other. Which implies the complete destruction of the pre-Anglo-Saxon population.
In addition to the fact that the Anglo-Saxons were bloodthirsty warriors, they were skilled metal craftsmen. Using gold and jewels from distant Persia, the Anglo-Saxons created such beautiful artifacts as this helmet. Found at Sutton Hoo in Surrey. And items found in the Staffordshire Hoard, which was valued at £3.285 million. After being discovered in 2009.
Knights, round tables and beautiful maidens, in fact, appeared thanks to the Anglo-Saxons. The legend of King Arthur dates back to the Anglo-Saxon invasion. When the Celtic Britons were driven from their ancient lands by new invaders.
An early form of the legend tells of a vision of white and red dragons. Each of which represents Saxons and Britons. This red dragon still hangs on the Welsh flag.
Others tell us that Arthur was a British prince who stopped the Saxons at the siege of Mount Badon. Whatever the truth behind it all, the stories of King Arthur and his knights are now timeless classics around the world.
When the Anglo-Saxons came to Britain, they worshiped the ancient Germanic gods. Such as Woden, Thunor and Frigga celebrated the harvest, the spring and summer solstice, sacrificing people and animals.
However, this changed with the exiled Northumbrian king Oswald, who took refuge on Iona where he became a Christian. When he wrested his kingdom from the Britons, the locals were forced to adopt the new religion of their ruler.
Soon all of England became Christian. But they did not stop there, choosing instead to return to Europe, where their ancestors had come from. Many missionaries, especially from the northern kingdom of Northumbria, went to the kingdoms of Frisia and Saxony. To spread the gospel.
While some were allowed to build churches and take care of the congregation, others were less fortunate. Like the monk Boniface, who met his death at the hands of zealous pagans in the Frisian city of Dokkum. Where he was beaten to death with clubs. At least his efforts made him a saint.
Creation of England
The Anglo-Saxons created the English nation. The word England is a combination of the words “corner” and “land”, which means “land of the Angles”. Before the arrival of the Vikings from Scandinavia, the Anglo-Saxons lived in small kingdoms. Not having a single king to rule them all.
However, in 865 the Vikings assembled the “Great Pagan Army” and took over the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms one by one. Until only Wessex remained. King Alfred fought the invaders for decades. But at some point he was even forced to leave his capital, Winchester. And he was forced to take refuge in the marshes in the far west of England.
While fighting the Vikings, Alfred saw how weak the individual kingdoms were. And he came up with the idea of one nation “England”. One nation with one king and under one god.
Alfred’s kingdom remained free for the rest of his life. Later, in 925, his grandson Athelstan finally became king of England. After defeating the Vikings, Scots and Cornish.
After being defeated by the Normans in 1066, many Anglo-Saxons left Britain and sailed to present-day Constantinople to fight for the Byzantine Empire. The Varangian Guard was an elite military unit created by the Byzantine Empire in 874 as the personal bodyguard of Emperor Michael III.
Initially, the unit consisted of Swedish Vikings who sailed the rivers of Russia and Ukraine. But after the Norman Conquest, an increasing number of Anglo-Saxon Englishmen joined the elite unit. To fight the enemies of the Last Roman Empire in the east.