what does the word Anglo-Saxon mean?

HI   Mon Mar 26, 2007 5:15 pm GMT
Wait People...
Why Do We Have to Type
O'Bruadair   Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:02 am GMT
Yeah HI! Good question. I kinda like a good Spam sandwich myself and scrambled eggs and Spam is a breakfast fit for a king. I have read that Russian soldiers would kill for the Spam they got in rations from the US during WWII.
Mike   Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:08 am GMT
Bringing up an old post, just to answer a question, but the word 'Saxon' comes from an old Saxon word 'Sachse' (see German "Sachsen", German and English are closely related), which meant "Sword" -- so 'Saxon' meant "Sword-bearing". The Latin word is derived from the Saxon/German name -- the Angles come from Angeln, in northern Germany, and IIRC the name referred to something about water, maybe coast.
s.jack   Wed Apr 11, 2007 4:01 pm GMT
To Joe
Are you a David Icke fan or a zionist?
Adam   Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:57 pm GMT
Anglo-Saxon is a collective term usually used to describe the culturally and linguistically similar peoples living in the south and east of the island of Great Britain (modern Great Britain) from around the mid-5th century to the Norman conquest of 1066. They spoke Germanic dialects (that eventually coalesced as Old English) and are identified by Bede as the descendants of three powerful tribes, Angles, Saxons, and Jutes.

It is a matter of some debate as to whether the Anglo-Saxons represent a mass migration and complete displacement of the existing population of southern and eastern Great Britain, or merely an integration with it. Linguistic evidence (there is very little Celtic influence on the Old English language) is often suggested to imply a significant migration,[1] although other explanations for this have recently been postulated, for example that Germanic languages are in fact ancient in certain parts of England, and so no Celtic influence would be expected.[2] Genetic studies have given contradictory results.[3] [4]

It is known, however, that Germanic auxiliary troops had been used for centuries by Rome. If Germanic garrison soldiers had retained their language and culture, this may have facilitated any migration. Over time the different peoples coalesced into a more unified cultural and political group. Perhaps under Offa of Mercia (reigned 757-796), and certainly under Alfred the Great (reigned 871-899) and his successors, a kingdom of the Anglo-Saxons existed, which developed into the kingdom of England in the 10th century, one of the main developments of Anglo-Saxon history.


The term "Anglo-Saxon" is from Latin writings going back to the time of King Alfred the Great, who seems to have frequently used the title rex Anglorum Saxonum or rex Angul-Saxonum.

Bede, writing in the early 8th century in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, (I.15) suggests that:

the people of the more northern kingdoms (East Anglia, Mercia, Northumbria) belonged to the Angles, who derive their name from the peninsula of Angeln in Schleswig-Holstein (Germany).
those of Essex, Sussex and Wessex were sprung from the Saxons, who came from the region of Old Saxony.
those of Kent and southern Hampshire were from the tribe of the Jutes.
Other early writers do not bear out consistent distinctions, though in custom the Kingdom of Kent presents the most remarkable contrasts with the other kingdoms. West Saxon writers regularly speak of their own nation as a part of the Angelcyn and of their language as Englisc, while the West Saxon royal family claimed to be of the same stock as that of Bernicia in the north. On the other hand, it is by no means impossible that the distinction drawn by Bede was based solely on names such as Essex (East Saxons) and East Anglia (East Angles). That Bede could envisage one English people (gentis Anglorum) at least demonstrates that the Anglo-Saxons could be thought of in such terms in the 8th century.

The term Angli Saxones seems to have first been used in continental writing nearly a century before Alfred's time by Paul the Deacon, historian of the Lombards. There can be little doubt, however, that in this case it was used to distinguish the English Saxons from the continental Saxons.

Contemporary meanings

By 1800 "Anglo-Saxon" was the term used for the Old English language. It was the language spoken in England before the arrival of the French-speaking Normans who conquered England in 1066. In the 19th century the term was widely used in philology. English scholars in the mid-19th century, such as Edward Freeman, argued that the roots of certain English political ideas and values could be found in pre-Norman, that is, Anglo-Saxon, England. Numerous researchers explored possible long-term survivals, but by the 1890s most scholars gave up that quest and decided that English legal rights emerged from later developments like Magna Carta of the 13th century.

It is still a matter of debate as to whether the term "Anglo-Saxon" can be used as a synonym for ethnic or racial groups who lived and live in England. On one hand there is the argument that says that there were further influxes of people into England such as the Danes, Normans, and Celts who migrated to England from the other parts of the British Isles, so the term is no longer valid. The other side of this argument is to say these people were relatively small in number and, particularly in the case of Danes and the Normans, were of similar ethnic origins as the Anglo-Saxons themselves, and so became immersed into the Anglo-Saxon "tribe".

In popular usage in Canada and the United States, the term "Anglo-Saxon" (as in "White Anglo-Saxon Protestant" or "WASP") has evolved into a politicised term with little connection to its academic definition. Until about 1960 the term was mostly used and popularized by Irish Catholics and French-Canadians. Since 1960 it has had more general usage, but exactly who it designates has become a matter of individual opinions and context, ranging from people of English descent to any North American of European origin who fits a certain socio-economic and/or ethnic profile.

"Anglo-Saxon" is still used as a term for the original West Germanic component of the English language, which was later expanded and developed through the influence of Old Norse and Norman French, though linguists now more often refer to it as Old English.

For over a hundred years, the French have used "Anglo-Saxon" to refer to the Anglophone societies of Britain and the United States, and sometimes (rarely) including Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. It supposedly describes their intellectual traditions and national character, as opposed to "Celtic", "Gallic", "Lusitanic" or "Hispanic". It is a wide-ranging term, taking in the English-speaking world's language, culture, technology, wealth, influence, markets and economy.