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Angles (German: Angeln, Old English: Englas, Greek: Angli, Latin: Anguls) were a Germanic people, a large number of whom migrated from the northernmost part of present-day continental Germany -- an area which was Danish until the 19th century -- to Britain in the 5th century, along with the Frisians, Saxons and Jutes. The southern Part of Britain was later called Engla-lond (in Old English - "Land of the Angles"), thus England.


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.

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 Angle homeland where the rest of that people stayed, a small peninsular form in the north-eastern portion of the modern German bundesland of Schleswig-Holstein, itself on the Jutland Peninsula, is still called Angeln today. It 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 lead 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 an 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

Angles is the name of several places in France:

Last updated: 11-06-2004 12:01:48