Anglo-Saxon

In 410 A.D. the Roman legions were recalled to Rome to defend it against barbarian attacks, and Britain was left to fend for itself.Having no armies left the British people were left open to attack from the Picts which was by the sea down the east coast, for the Picts are described in one Late Roman source as a sea-going people – just like the Saxons. This account of the migrations from Germany, following the collapse of the Roman Empire, is taken from the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, and is how the later Anglo-Saxons saw thefirst arrival of their people. Since then, until quite recently, it has remained the accepted view of what happened. The British ‘tyrants’ also feared a Roman invasion from Gaul to remove them, so some of the Saxons stationed in southern England may have been a guard against Roman military intervention – a far cry from the old view of the Britons missing the presence of the legions!. It is also known that the peoples who made up the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ were far more varied than just the three groups mentioned. The numbers of the invaders was certainly large, and they certainly did affect the nature of British society, even to the extent of replacing the primary language, but they did not wipe out the native population. One current school of thought is that the graves found in Anglo-Saxon cemeteries with no grave goods may in fact belong to Britons living along side ‘Anglo-Saxons’, and the lack of grave goods represents the different burial customs of the Britons. If this is so then the number of Germanic peoples may not have been as great as many people imagine, perhaps only replacing the middle and upper echelons of society. It is also thought that some of the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ burials may actually be native Britons who adopted the ways of the ‘Anglo-Saxons’, just as they had done several centuries earlier with the Romans. It is most likely that in fact a mixture of all these situations happened – in some places the native …

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