Who are the Anglo Saxons

Nov 2008
1,390
England
Did Hengest and Horsa exist? If they were legendary, why were they created?

And was Cerdic of Wessex, the founder of Wessex, a Celt who became a Saxon?
Hengest most probably existed; but as there are no contemporary sources about him from the fifth century, he has to be regarded as legendary. He was most likely a Jutish leader of a war-band who achieved success elsewhere and came to the notice of some British leader who then invited him to Britain to act in the role of a federate.

Cerdic presents us with more complex problems. Was he a renegade Britain in charge of a mixed force of pirates? Or was he perhaps an offspring of a liaison between a Briton and a Saxon? And how did he become part of the West Saxon regnal list? We simply do not know.
 
May 2016
321
Greater Manchester
Hengest means "stallion" and "horsa" means horse.

Hengist was the first of the Jutish kings of Kent.

Today, the flag of Kent features a white horse or stallion.

 
Sep 2018
2
Seattle, WA, USA
I am not convinced by some claims that the English language evolved separately in England and am of the view that it was introduced to the British Isles by the peoples known collectively as the Anglo Saxons, though I like to keep an open mind on these things
Thanks for your reply :)

You might check out the History of English podcast (historyofenglishpodcast.com) . it goes into a great deal of the backstory and development of English. Very informative.
 
Oct 2016
135
Ashland
I have read in multiple 'Old English' aka 'Anglo-Saxon' Grammars that the Language , Anglo-Saxon, (as distinct from the Angle or Saxon populations ) is so called due to the fact that it was the language of the Saxons living in England.
None of the West Germanic languages that I have encountered are that different, each from the other. Also, I know nothing of Frisian, said to be the closest to 'English' of that group.
BTW, I ain't no Linguist and defer in advance to anyone(s) what am.
OFF-TOPIC: My son found a copy of Sweet's Old English Primer at a used bookstore in SF for $1 usd and adamantly refuses to gimme it.
 

authun

Ad Honorem
Aug 2011
5,219
I have read in multiple 'Old English' aka 'Anglo-Saxon' Grammars that the Language , Anglo-Saxon, (as distinct from the Angle or Saxon populations ) is so called due to the fact that it was the language of the Saxons living in England.
English is a low west germanic language which is different from modern german which is an upper west germanic language. Low west germanic languages such as dutch, frisian, platt etc did not go through the sort of sound changes that upper german did, eg, t > z. Modern german zwanzig is twintig in low german, ie twenty in english. d > t, modern german trinken, drinken in low german, to drink in english. There are of course many others. One isogloss, where a word is pronounced differently is the Apfel/Appel sound change, apple in english or the machen/makken isogloss, to make in english.

The big change came between middle english, the language of Chaucer, and early modern english, the language of Shakespeare. During this period, the uptake of may words from French coincides with a loss of inflections. For example, the infinitive, OE drincan, ME drinken, MdnE to drink. You'll see inflections being used in some literary attempts for the medieval period, eg what drinkest thou? I drinke, an ale, he drinketh a mead. Now, it's just I drink, you drink, he she or it drinks.

This is an old english inscription on a sundial. It is a mix of old english and ecclesiastical latin:

Orm Gamal suna bohte Sanctus Gregorius Minster ðonne hit wæs æl tobrocan and tofalan and he hit let macan newan from grunde Christe and Sanctus Gregorius in Eadward dagum cyning and in Tosti dagum eorl.

A direct word for word translation is:

Orm Gamal son bought St Gregory's Minster when it was all broken and fallen and he let it make new from ground Christ and St Gregory in Edwards days king and Tostig's days earl.

In modern english, we would write something like:

Orm son of Gamal bought St Gregory's Minster when it was all ruined and collapsed and he caused it to be rebuilt from the ground for Christ and St. Gregory in the days of Edward the king and in the days of Tosti the eorl.
 
Aug 2011
1,616
Sweden
Hengest means "stallion" and "horsa" means horse.

Hengist was the first of the Jutish kings of Kent.

Today, the flag of Kent features a white horse or stallion.

I always wondered about those two names, Hengist and Horsa. Is it really clear that the names originally meant stallion and horse? There is a male germanic name Hariso, which I doubt is connected to the word horse.
 
Nov 2008
1,390
England
I always wondered about those two names, Hengist and Horsa. Is it really clear that the names originally meant stallion and horse? There is a male germanic name Hariso, which I doubt is connected to the word horse.
Horsa``s name is likely to be a hypocoristic, or pet name, form for a compound word of which the first element is Hors, meaning horse. Many Anglo-Saxon names contained a animal name as a component, so it is not unusual. According to Bede`s Kentish correspondents, Horsa`s actual grave could still be identified.
 

Haesten

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,919
Horsa``s name is likely to be a hypocoristic, or pet name, form for a compound word of which the first element is Hors, meaning horse. Many Anglo-Saxon names contained a animal name as a component, so it is not unusual. According to Bede`s Kentish correspondents, Horsa`s actual grave could still be identified.
Might have been ex Roman auxilia cavalry, must have been known to the Romano Brits for their military exploits to hire them. We just assume they were German pirates because they arrived by boat, might have just crossed the Dover straits rather than arrived from the north.
 
Aug 2011
1,616
Sweden
Horsa``s name is likely to be a hypocoristic, or pet name, form for a compound word of which the first element is Hors, meaning horse. Many Anglo-Saxon names contained a animal name as a component, so it is not unusual. According to Bede`s Kentish correspondents, Horsa`s actual grave could still be identified.
I know beor, ulf etc. But do you have examples of names beginning with hors- in England? And Hengist? In Sweden stallion is called hingst, but I have never heard of a personal name related to that word.
 
Nov 2008
1,390
England
I know beor, ulf etc. But do you have examples of names beginning with hors- in England? And Hengist? In Sweden stallion is called hingst, but I have never heard of a personal name related to that word.
The original Old English name for horse was Eoh, and we find in the early Mercian kingly lists a man called Eomaer which means "famous horse. The word Eoh was later replaced in Old English by the word Hors.

Knowing Norse legends and mythology as you do, a little help about Hengest would be appreciated. In the prologue of the Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson, Hengest is mentioned as the great grandson of Veggdegg who was given the rulership of eastern Saxony by Woden. Can you elaborate on this?
 

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