Saturday, January 7, 2017
History Documentary: The Saxons, History of the Anglo-Saxons (Angles and Saxon tribes)
The Saxons (Latin: Saxones, Old English: Seaxe, Old Saxon: Sahson, Low German: Sassen, German: Sachsen, Dutch: Saksen) were a group of Germanic tribes first mentioned as living near the North Sea coast of what is now Germany (Old Saxony), in late Roman times. They were soon mentioned as raiding and settling in many North Sea areas, as well as pushing south inland towards the Franks. Significant numbers settled in large parts of Great Britain in the early Middle Ages and formed part of the merged group of Anglo-Saxons who eventually organised the first united Kingdom of England. Many Saxons however remained in Germania, where they resisted the expanding Frankish Empire through the leadership of the semi-legendary Saxon hero, Widukind.
The Saxons' earliest area of settlement is believed to have been Northern Albingia, an area approximately that of modern Holstein. This general area also included the probable homeland of the Angles. Saxons, along with the Angles and other continental Germanic tribes, participated in the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain during and after the 5th century. The British-Celtic inhabitants of the isles tended to refer to all these groups collectively as Saxons. It is unknown how many Saxons migrated from the continent to Britain, though estimates for the total number of Anglo-Saxon settlers are around 200,000. During the Middle Ages, because of international Hanseatic trading routes and contingent migration, Saxons mixed with and had strong influences upon the languages and cultures of the Baltic peoples, Finnic peoples, and Polabian Slavs and Pomeranians, both West Slavic peoples, as well as influencing the North Germanic languages.