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The early times of the Anglo Saxons in England

 
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maria
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 25, 2006 7:13 pm    Post subject: The early times of the Anglo Saxons in England Reply with quote

As they say, small pleasures for small minds and I am very intrigued by early medieval history, the times right after the fall of the roman empire in 476 (more or less) which hushered the great migration and expansion of Germanic tribes, also called the barbarian invasion of the roman empire...

For a chronicle of the barbarian invasions, see this link

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The 'barbarians' not only converged south but some of them went north into England giving the island their Anglo-Saxon language (although Old English is far different to modern English). I have wondered why there are so few Celtic words in the English language while the island was originally inhabited by Celtic tribes. I found a plausible answer some time ago in a BBC article.


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Britain 'had apartheid society'


An apartheid society existed in early Anglo-Saxon Britain, research suggests.
Scientists believe a small population of migrants from Germany, Holland and Denmark established a segregated society when they arrived in England.

The researchers think the incomers changed the local gene pool by using their economic advantage to out-breed the native population.

The team tells a Royal Society journal that this may explain the abundance of Germanic genes in England today.


There are a very high number of Germanic male-line ancestors in England's current population. Genetic research has revealed the country's gene pool contains between 50 and 100% Germanic Y-chromosomes.
But this Anglo-Saxon genetic dominance has puzzled experts because some archaeological and historical evidence points to only a relatively small number of Anglo-Saxon migrants.

Estimates range between 10,000 and 200,000 Anglo-Saxons migrating into England between 5th and 7th Century AD, compared with a native population of about two million.

Ethnic divide

To understand what might have happened all of those years ago, UK scientists used computer simulations to model the gene pool changes that would have occurred with the arrival of such small numbers of migrants.

The team used historical evidence that suggested native Britons were at a substantial economic and social disadvantage compared to the Anglo-Saxon settlers.

The researchers believe this may have led to a reproductive imbalance giving rise to an ethnic divide.

Ancient texts, such as the laws of Ine, reveal that the life of an Anglo-Saxon was valued more than that of a native.

Dr Mark Thomas, an author on the research and an evolutionary biologist from University College London (UCL), said: "By testing a number of different combinations of ethnic intermarriage rates and the reproductive advantage of being Anglo-Saxon, we found that under a very wide range of different combinations of these factors we would get the genetic and linguistic patterns we see today.

"The native Britons were genetically and culturally absorbed by the Anglo-Saxons over a period of as little as a few hundred years," Dr Thomas added.

"An initially small invading Anglo-Saxon elite could have quickly established themselves by having more children who survived to adulthood, thanks to their military power and economic advantage.

"We believe that they also prevented the native British genes getting into the Anglo-Saxon population by restricting intermarriage in a system of apartheid that left the country culturally and genetically Germanised.

"This is exactly what we see today - a population of largely Germanic genetic origin, speaking a principally German language."


The research is published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

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DaveFerro
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 18, 2007 7:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maria,

I read your post last week and have been looking at books on Vikings and Roman England. It always was interesting when in movies such as Robin Hood, the Anglo-Saxons complained about the Normans, when the Anglo-Saxons were invaders themselves, pushing the Britons aside. And that the Normans were from the same areas as the Anglo-Saxons, though they had lost most of their connection and had adopted Frankish ways.

Perhaps there are few Celtic words because Wales was well defended. Also, I saw one program on tv ("The Story of English" by McCrum, Cran, and MacNeil; I have the book: very good) that said if the Normans had not invaded England, the present day English would have sounded much like Dutch. I'll have to re-read the sections about England and get back to you. They have great maps of the different dialects of England too.

We have a Dutch friend in California and Kim told me that Greta's mother said that Greta speaks Dutch with an American accent. Didn't get to hear that.

The part about the Ango-Saxons edging the native population is very interesting and deserves a further look.

Thanks for the story...any more would be appreciated.

Dave
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maria
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 22, 2007 2:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dave,
you bring very good points about the influence of the Normans of the English language. When I took Ancient English literature when I was young going to college, the professor read Beowulf in Old English (Anglo-Saxon) and my very first impression was that indeed it sounded German to me, It caught me by surprise!

Coincidentally the story of Beowulf if I remember right of Scandinavian origin and is takes place in Denmark. Yet, it is part of the English literature and part of the English heritage. Along the same vein, Hamlet, one of the greatest works written by Shakespeare, takes place in Danmark. So consciously or subconsciously the English through their literature connect with the Germanic (Anglo-Saxon) motherland.

I read long ago that the original Germanic tribes were originally from Denmark. Originally they hunted the wild ox (auroch) that was abundant in the grassland growing there. But slowly the seawater filtered through the grassland killing the grass and hence the wild ox. Hence, the various Germanic tribes started migrating north into Scandinavia and south into Germany, Austria, etc... The tribes that arrived in North Italy at the time more of less of the grandfather of Julius Caesar had been wandering hungry for 40 yrs. Ironically, a big fuss is made that the Jews wandered the desert for 40 yrs and not that at least some German tribes wandered all over Europe for 40 yrs. The ones that arrived in North Italy, pushed out and intermarried with the local Celts. Lets not forget that the Po Valley (Lombardy, Veneto, etc., etc.) were once in a region that the Romans called Gallia Cisalpina, meaning loosely "Gauls this side of the Alps." This is generally the 'ethnic' make up of Italians from those regions, in addition to 'Italic' tribes that settled there when the Romans became more active in the region in terms of imposing authority starting from the times of Julius Caesar (more or less) and his excursions into Gallic (Celtic) lands.

I was very surprised the other day listening to Celtic music on public radio at a local university on Thursday afternoon, hosted by a woman with a soft Scottish accent. She said in regards to the 7 Celtic Nations (Scotland, Wales, Isle of Man, Galicia (northern spain), Brittany (in northern France) , Ireland...I am missing one....searching the internet.... of course! ...Cornwall)...she said that now people are also proposing that there is another Celtic nation and that is Italy (she should have said North Italy...in my understanding Italians hailing from the Apennines do not have Celtic bloodlines...)...

Anyway, going back to the Germanic tribes... as you pointed out there is not much difference between the Vikings and the Anglo Saxons. The Vikings started invading England not much after the Aglo-Saxons conquered Southern England and the later were loosely called Danes no matter the region of Scandinavia they were coming from. The Anglo-Saxons invaded Southern England in the 6th century (around the time of the fall of the Roman Empire) and the Vikings started pillaging northern part of England more or less about the same time, finally settling in what came to be known as Danelaw about 150-200 years later.

I took a course in a local university in the history of the English Language and learned at the time of the Danelaw, the language spoken by the Vikings in Danelaw and by the Anglo-Saxons in southern England were almost identical and they could easily understand and trade and marry with each other.

Well to me pictures are worth one thousand words. Here is Britain at about 625 AD. I also learned in the course I took that Essex means East Saxon, Sussex means South Saxon and Wessex means West Saxon. After that is a figure of England at about 9th century at the time of Danelaw.


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Going back to the Normans, I always wondered how they spread French in England after they conquered it on the famed year 1066 AD. Only 100 years earlier they had settled in northern France in what is now known as Normandy…actually I am saying it wrong. They kept conducting Viking raids in France causing great destruction and chaos. Finally the king of France, forgot his name, successfully made a treaty with them by donating to them what is know known as Normandy in exchange for some peace and quite in the rest of France. In 100 years they converted to Christianity, learned French, conquered England and brought monks with them as scribes and scholars who in the progress, being French transcribing Anglo Saxon documents, modified and butchered the spelling and we still pay for it. They also brought lots and lots of French words to English modifying the language for ever. I learned all of that in the history of the English language that I took few years ago.

Since I am Sicilian by birth, I always end up talking about Sicily. The Normans as I have written elsewhere also conquered Southern Italy, Naples going south, from the Arabs at starting from about 1053 (a different 'family' than the one that conquered England). Contrary to the swift victory by William the Conqueror against the Anglo-Saxons, it took the Hauteville lords almost 100 years to conquer South Italy and Sicily from the Arabs. Be as it may, in Sicily they were the ones that introduced a romance language in the land, i.e., French. Sicily is an ancient Greek colony and never spoke in Latin when under the Roman Empire, but continued to speak in Greek. After the Arab conquest the majority of the population spoke Arabic and practiced Islam (while the minority continued to speak Greek and practice Greek orthodox Christianity). So the Normans, who did not speak a word of French and were 'heathens' 100 years earlier, introduced a Romance language to the land and reintroduced Catholicism by converting/destroying most mosques to Christian churches. This is to me incredibly ironic!

And since this is incredibly long, I stop here.

Maria

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DaveFerro
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 26, 2007 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Maria,

Read your post and had to go back to the books again to see what I could find to add and satisfy curiousity.

Didn't know that the Sicilians had adopted Arabic; just thought they kept using their own languages, but almost 200 years of occupation will do that.

The Frankish king who made the deal with Rollo was Charles III called Charles the Simple around AD 911.

The book I have, though a history book club, is The Vikings by Else Roesdahl. The cover has a nice color picture on the jacket, but inside all black and white.

She goes into names a bit: Bjorn means bear, Orm means snake, and Ulf means wolf for first names. She mentions several notables: Sigrid the Ambitious, Harald Finehair, Ivar the Boneless, Ragnair Hairy Breeches, and Harald Bluetooth. Really wish she had gone into why they got these names, esp Ivar.

One we should be interested in is Roger, first king of Sicily, no? Do you have maps of the language/dialects of Sicily over the years? I'm reading about the original inhabitants, Elemi, Sicani and Siculi the last two seem to have come down the peninsula, ie Samnites.

Dave

She has good drawing of runes and translations. Strange that many rune stones are dedicated to someone but he or she is not named, just the person who had the stone made.
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