What is the history behind the Anglo-Saxons?

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The Anglo-Saxons were composed of three Germanic groups—Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. England gets its name from the Angles. Old English developed from Old High German (brought by the Saxons) and Old Scandinavian, the language that the Angles and Jutes would have spoken.

Anglo-Saxon England, which became firmly established around 597 AD, when St. Augustine brought Christianity to the region, was a relatively rudimentary civilization compared to how it would develop after the Norman Conquest, solidified after the Battle of Hastings, in 1066. Court life existed, for example, but did not have any of the elaborate rituals that it would later develop. Interests in the arts, cuisine, and the establishment of more organized government would all come as a result of the French influence. In fact, most of the 1,600-plus French-derived words in the English language entered the lexicon during the period of 1100-1350 AD, when the French cultural influence overtook that of the Anglo-Saxons. This period is distinguished from that of the Anglo-Saxon period and is referred to as the Middle English period. Back, however, to the Anglo-Saxons.

The Anglo-Saxon diet was composed mainly of grains (e.g., barley, millet), northern fruits, such as damsons and apples, and some meat, though husbandry was less cultivated than it would become later. Beer was ample in production; wine, less so.

The Anglo-Saxons lived in homes with thatched roofs. We know that they told stories for entertainment. Few books of Old English poetry survived, including the Exeter Book, the Vercelli Book, the Junius Manuscript, and the well-known Beowulf manuscript.

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"Anglo-Saxons" is a term used to describe the main tribes of Germanic people who invaded Britain beginning in the 5th century AD.  The term comes from the names of the two most important tribes, the Angles and the Saxons.

These tribes were Germanic in origin.  They came to Britain from the area that is now Denmark and Northern Germany.  The tribes had long conducted short raids to plunder the shores of Britain.  By the 5th century, though, the Romans were gone and their absence made it possible for the Anglo-Saxons to create permanent settlements.  They became the dominant group in Britain until the Normans invaded in 1066.

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