Teachers' blog


【History of the UK: The Anglo-Saxons】


(Contributed by George)
When did “England” become “England”, what makes it different from Scotland and Wales?
This only goes a small part towards answering that question.
Near my parent’s home in the South-East of England, a place called East-Anglia (the bump on the east side of south Britain). When I was a child, I once visited a small ancient village known as “West Stow” it was a village reconstructed from archaeological remains. Wooden huts and houses, small farms and tents – bows and arrows, bone necklaces, and horns of mead. This is where I first heard of the Anglo-Saxons and how important they were to creating the English Language and culture.
The story begins long after the Romans left Britain behind. The Britons (as they were then known) were a Celtic people whose language resembles Gaelic or Welsh more closely than English. Germanic Tribes from Denmark and Germany started to colonise and invade the East and South of England. This pushed the red-headed Britons back into places such as Scotland, Wales and The English northwest.
These Germanic Tribes became known as “the Anglo-Saxons” and it is they who brought ancient Germanic languages to the English shores. Old English was created from Old German. English is a Germanic language, and we owe those tribes of north Germany a lot for the form and shape of our language, and the language that you as Japanese are now learning.
Old English is actually much more similar to German than it is to modern English, in order to read old English you have to learn another language with different characters entirely.
It is from these Anglo-Saxons that the first kingdoms that were recognisably English. Mercia, Wessex, Kent, Sussex, Northumbria. These kingdoms would build castles and wage war across the ‘green and pleasant land’ and try to take control of what would be England. This is the beginning of the King Arthur Myth, and all the superstitions.
Enjoy, I’ll be back with more soon,

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