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The Anglo Saxon Time Period – Its Significance in British History & English Language

The specific historical term, known as ‘Anglo Saxon’ also gives us insights on the language that was written and spoken during the Old English era in England and Scotland during the 5th century up to the 11th century.


The Anglo Saxon Time Significance: First Creation of English Land


Anglo Saxons were a tribal cultural community who inhabited England from the 5th century period. They basically comprised of Germanic tribes who had migrated from distant European lands. Later, their descendants came to adopt various aspects of this race such as their culture, language, and dialect.

In fact, the foundation or pillar of modern English society and even the legal system is based on the Anglo Saxon culture. The modern English words were said to be amply influenced by the historic Anglo Saxon period.

The establishment of Christian religion happened during the Anglo Saxon time, and with it, the first base of English language and literature was founded. Between the era from the 5th century to the mid-12th century, rules and law were introduced by these rulers of Old English and Scotland (Eastern).

The Birth of the English Language

The Germanic tribes who crossed the vast North Sea introduced the ‘Englisc’ language to the British lands. The original British inhabitants who spoke Celtic language settled in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. Old English language was said to be very different from today’s modern English.

However, almost half of the popularly used everyday English words have said to be originated from Old English. Englisc or Old English was the spoken language until the 11th century.

The Anglo Saxon Time Period Significance: Ancient Manuscripts

Missionaries during Anglo-Saxon-Period
Missionaries during Anglo-Saxon-Period

Various old manuscripts from the six-hundred-year-old Anglo Saxon era were written in Latin and vernacular language of those times. After the Danish invasions, Old English was used to write documents as during the 9th century, Latin literacy was very poor among the people.

And King Alfred the Great managed to restore the Old English language by introducing it as a part of student education. It was believed that no one could actually translate or read Latin letter and convert them into English. Everyone started favouring Old English Language.

Almost 400 manuscripts that have been preserved contain Old English texts. These historical documents are highly valued and prized possessions of collectors. Apart from their historical importance, the writings of the Anglo Saxon period was also valued due to the artistic beauty of the words and letters.

The manuscripts comprised of sermons, notes on saint lives, biblical translations, Latin work translations, chronicles of Angles, legal works, pen trials, works on medicinal knowledge, geography, poetical verses, and other historical works.

How English Became the Common Man’s Language?

During the end of the Anglo Saxon period, in the year 1066 the Norman Duke; William the Conqueror invaded England. After conquering England, the new rulers introduced the French Language in England and French became the Royal Language.

It divided the people into two classes, the low-class common man who spoke English and the upper-class elites and royalty who spoke French.

And, again in the 14th century, the English language gained supremacy in Britain. However, this ‘Middle English’ language had numerous French words added in its dictionary. This English was also said to be very contrasting from the modern 21st century English.

Manuscripts created during the olden times of the Anglo Saxon era were said to be originated from places such as Winchester, Abingdon, Durham, Canterbury, and Worcester to name a few.

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