Advanced | Help | Encyclopedia
Directory


Angles

(Redirected from Angle tribe)
For other uses, see Angles (disambiguation).

Angles (German: Angeln, Old English: Englas, Latin: singular Anguls, plural Anglii) were Germanic people, from Schleswig — an area which was wholly the southern part of Denmark and protected from German conquest by the Danevirke until the 19th century — to East Anglia in the 5th century. Eastern Britain was later called Engla-lond (in Old English, "Land of the Angles"), thus England.

Table of contents

Early history

Possibly the first instance of the Angles in recorded history is in Tacitus' Germania, chapter 40, in which the Anglii are mentioned in passing in a list of Germanic tribes. He gives no precise indication of their geographical position, but states that, together with six other tribes, including the Varini (the Warni of later times), they worshipped a goddess named Nerthus, whose sanctuary was situated on "an island in the Ocean." Ptolemy in his Geography (ii. 11. § 15), half a century later, locates them with more precision between the Rhine, or rather perhaps the Ems, and the Elbe, and speaks of them as one of the chief tribes of the interior. Unfortunately, however, it is clear from a comparison of his map with the evidence furnished by Tacitus and other Roman writers that the indications which he gives cannot be correct. Owing to the uncertainty of these passages there has been much speculation regarding the original home of the Angli. One theory, which however has little to recommend it, is that they dwelt in the basin of the Saale (in the neighbourhood of the canton Engilin), from which region the Lex Angliorum et Werinorum hoc est Thuringorum is believed by many to have come. At the present time the majority of scholars believe that the Angli had lived from the beginning on the coasts of the Baltic, probably in the southern part of the Jutish peninsula. The evidence for this view is derived partly from English and Danish traditions dealing with persons and events of the 4th century (see below), and partly from the fact that striking affinities to the cult of Nerthus as described by Tacitus are to be found in Scandinavian, especially Swedish and Danish, religion. Investigations in this subject have rendered it very probable that the island of Nerthus was Sjaelland (Zealand), and it is further to be observed that the kings of Wessex traced their ancestry ultimately to a certain Scyld, who is clearly to be identified with Skiöldr, the mythical founder of the Danish royal family (Skiöldungar). In English tradition this person is connected with "Scedeland" (pl.), i.e. Scandinavia, while in Scandinavian tradition he is specially associated with the ancient royal residence at Leire in Sjaelland.

Bede states that the Angli before they came to Britain dwelt in a land called Angulus, and similar evidence is given by the Historia Brittonum. King Alfred and the chronicler Æthelweard identified this place with the district which is now called Angel in the province of Schleswig (Slesvig), though it may then have been of greater extent, and this identification agrees very well with the indications given by Bede. Full confirmation is afforded by English and Danish traditions relating to two kings named Wermund and Offa, from whom the Mercian royal family were descended, and whose exploits are connected with Angel, Schleswig and Rendsburg. Danish tradition has preserved record of two governors of Schleswig, father and son, in their service, Frowinus (Freawine) and Wigo (Wig), from whom the royal family of Wessex claimed descent. During the 5th century the Angli invaded this country, after which time their name does not recur on the continent except in the title of the code mentioned above.

The province of Schleswig has proved exceptionally rich in prehistoric antiquities which date apparently from the 4th and 5th centuries. Among the places where these have been found, special mention should be made of the large cremation cemetery at Borgstedterfeld, between Rendsburg and Eckernförde, which has yielded many urns and brooches closely resembling those found in heathen graves in England. Of still greater importance are the great deposits at Thorsbjaerg (in Angel) and Nydam, which contained large quantities of arms, ornaments, articles of clothing, agricultural implements, &c., and in the latter case even ships. By the help of these discoveries we are able to reconstruct a fairly detailed picture of Angle civilization in the age preceding the invasion of Britain.

Angle influence in Britain

According to sources such as the Venerable Bede, after the invasion of Britain the Angles split up and founded the kingdoms of the Nord Angelnen (Northumbria), Ost Angelnen (East Anglia), and the Mittlere Angelnen (Mercia). Thanks to the major influence of the Saxons, the tribes were collectively called Anglo-Saxons by the Normans. A region of the United Kingdom is still known by the name East Anglia.

The center of the Angle homeland in the north-eastern portion of the modern German bundesland of Schleswig-Holstein, itself on the Jutland Peninsula, is where the rest of that people stayed, a small peninsular form still called Angeln today and is formed as a triangle drawn roughly from modern Flensburg on the Flensburger Fjord to Kiel and then to Maasholm on the Schlei inlet.

In any case, this small and relatively easterly geographic localisation of the original Angeln tribal group has led to one of the Anglo-Saxon Invasion's enduring mysteries: how it is possible that the Angelns were so frequently mentioned as colonisers of ancient Britain in all the ancient and medieval written sources, while evidence of the neighbouring and much more powerful Frisians' concurrent colonising activities in Britain has been so limited to discoveries in archeological science, and more often to logical deductions and inferences alone? Of course, ethnic Frisians are known to have inhabited the land directly in the path of any migration route from Angeln to Great Britain (except for the long and difficult route by sea around the northern tip of Denmark), and, in fact, they also inhabited lands between the ancient Saxon domain and Britain; yet they are rarely mentioned as having taken part in the vast migration.

St. Gregory

The Angles are the subject of a legend about Pope Gregory I. As an abbreviated version of the story goes, Gregory happened to see a group of Angle children from Deira for sale as slaves in the Roman market. Struck by the beauty of their fair complexions and blue eyes, Gregory inquired about their background. When told they were Angles, he replied with a Latin pun that translates well into English: "Not Angles, but angels". Supposedly, he thereafter resolved to convert their pagan homeland to Christianity.

External link

This article incorporates text from the public domain 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica.








Links: Addme | Keyword Research | Paid Inclusion | Femail | Software | Completive Intelligence

Add URL | About Slider | FREE Slider Toolbar - Simply Amazing
Copyright © 2000-2008 Slider.com. All rights reserved.
Content is distributed under the GNU Free Documentation License.