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Author Topic: Anglo-Saxon as a term  (Read 20652 times)

Phyllis

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Anglo-Saxon as a term
« on: October 06, 2019, 10:32:02 AM »
I know this is contentious so please feel free to ignore, delete or whatever. However I was interested in a recent discussion about the name for the "International Society for Anglo Saxonists". I know I often find it hard to appreciate how the term Anglo-Saxon is understood, and am aware that some of us personally have come a cropper when it has been interpreted differently from our intention, myself included. I therefore found it very helpful (and salutary) to read the following article which puts the usage of the term in perspective and reminded me that just because we understand it one way in this country (and even then, not universally), we cannot assume the same elsewhere in the world.

There is more information here:
http://www.wordorigins.org/index.php/more/1031/?fbclid=IwAR1bJpefqE-TITBrHuwyEDLIl0IjPIactWeWNVQEHAvEkN6DVhJxnh68drI
Phyllis

Locian

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2019, 04:30:30 PM »
The answer is to ignore all PC requests to demonise the term "Anglo-Saxon" and continue to use it - constantly.
Þurh þone wudu Locian

Eanflaed

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2019, 03:08:37 PM »
I agree with Locian - I think we should not stop using the term “Anglo-Saxon” because to lose it would be another nail in the coffin of our pre-Conquest history, there are several academics trying to deny the existence of the Anglo-Saxons as it is. The fact that most British people understand the term in its proper historical sense is brilliant and very comforting. What the rest of the World interpret it as is really their problem. If we try to stop using “Anglo-Saxon” it would, in a way I think, be a denial of our national history. And a reinforcement of the Americans’ white supremist interpretation. There are many words that mean different things in different countries - try asking an American for a rubber if you want to correct something you’ve written!! It’s our history and if different people want to know about it they will have to adhere to our terminology. I admit I hold my breath sometimes when I tell people I am a member of an Anglo-Saxon history society (which annoys and saddens me) but I think the English Companions as a society is a brilliant ambassador for our period and is contributing to the acceptance of the term Anglo-Saxon in a proper, serious historical sense.

peter

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2019, 04:46:41 PM »
   I once had a 'disagreement' on an archaeology web site about using the generic term 'Celtic' to describe the many tribes of that particular era, I had many abusive comments until I took the time to research and list as many of the European Celtic tribes as I could find, then went on to list them on the site (they ran into the hundreds), and I politely suggested that this was the reason for using this generic term, I didn't hear anything after that! Being as I am from Irish stock, I am not in the least offended by the term 'Celtic' to describe my ancestors, even though there were many tribes of Irish peoples. The same goes for the 'ing' group or tribe endings in AS towns and villages, do these pedantic people want us to name them all (it would make for rather large tomes)? How far do we go (?) Frisian, Angle, Saxon they were all probably made up of many different tribes and groups. Being 'PC' is becoming a nuisance!

hidethegn

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2019, 05:38:46 PM »
In this December's BBC History magazine Michael Wood warned of the dangers of speaking of "Anglo-Saxons". Our American cousins do not understand this as an historical term but instead as a white supremacist slogan "white, Anglo-Saxon and protestant". I think he intends it simply as a caveat. Personally, being particularly interested in the 10th and 11th centuries I have always stuck to "English" but it does then become difficult when one goes back further than England and the Danelaw.


"Is it time to retire the term Anglo-Saxon" he asks but then seems to leave it to us whether we conform to political correctness. He adds "change should not be feared". Neither, I think, should the proper use of the English language.

Locian

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2019, 12:42:25 PM »
If we are stopped from using the term Anglo-Saxon, then what will be next?  English?  England?  Will they too become words and terms that cannot be used for fear of creating offence?  The revisionists have already been pulling out all the stops to deny that the Anglo-Saxon invasions ever happened, (when all the signs show that they did) and that it was all just indigenous tribes adopting a new fashion*.  They are fond of quoting that old chestnut that no battle sites have ever been found, ergo: no invasion.  It is so ludicrous a statement that I cannot believe that historians and archaeologists can say it without being afraid of being thought of as stupid.  To quote Stephen Pollington: "...peverse ideology which insists in writing the English out of their own history".  We English are a very tolerant folk (we are famous for it) and are happy for others to celebrate their religions, beliefs and cultures so it is time they acknowledged us and ours. 

*Historical, language, Place-names, archaeological, literature, religion, DNA - some fashion, eh?
Þurh þone wudu Locian

peter

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2019, 05:02:15 PM »
Well said, Locian!

Eanflaed

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #7 on: November 04, 2019, 05:09:34 PM »
Absolutely agree Locian!

Horsa

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #8 on: November 05, 2019, 07:14:56 PM »
I have always thought the term 'anglo-saxon' a bit silly. It comes up only about 4 or 5 times in the corpus and if I remember correctly is never used to refer to the English peoples English writers tended to prefer "Englisc". I have always referred to the peoples of Britain as the Cornish, Welsh, Picts, Britons, and English. I sometimes throw in 'Early' or 'pre-conquest' just to disambiguate from modern inhabitants of the Kingdom of England.

peter horn

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #9 on: November 11, 2019, 05:50:14 PM »
I have always thought the term 'anglo-saxon' a bit silly. It comes up only about 4 or 5 times in the corpus and if I remember correctly is never used to refer to the English peoples English writers tended to prefer "Englisc". I have always referred to the peoples of Britain as the Cornish, Welsh, Picts, Britons, and English. I sometimes throw in 'Early' or 'pre-conquest' just to disambiguate from modern inhabitants of the Kingdom of England.


not silly
used from 8th century, to distinguish the Saxons in Britain from the Saxons in the continental Homelands.
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Locian

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2019, 01:45:15 PM »
Peter Horn

Quite right Peter, it is a sensible term and a correct one.
Þurh þone wudu Locian

Horsa

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2019, 05:00:33 PM »
"Anglo-saxon" was a term to distinguish insular saxons from continental saxons, and it was coined by 19th century scholars to distinguish the germanic speacking inhabits of Britain from the continental Saxons.

My aversion to using the term is due to the paucity of its incidence in Old English literature. The Old English used variants of the term only a handful of times and not in a way that corresponds to its modern usage. It was used to refer to an alliance between Wessex and Mercia, and I believe that Aelfric uses it a couple of times in his latin writing in ways that do not correspond to how it has been used in the modern era to refer to the pre-conquest English.

Otherwise the pre-conquest English referred to themselves as Englisc or Ænglisc and their language likewise.

I was never comfortable using the term, because it sounded made up, Latin and poncy. The current controversy over the term made me feel a little better in my personal preference of term, but not much. But it has afforded me the opportunity to read some interesting writing about the term its use and its history (the above is taken from that). I shall dig out and post here.

Not to be an argumentative so-and-so, but for general information purposes, and it's generally polite for someone to cite their sources, which is something I try to do.

Horsa

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2019, 06:52:00 PM »
Still trying to dredge up my sources. I don't keep meticulous records of my incessant internettery.

I have, however, come across these two Twitter threads where the Professor of mediaeval studies, Dr. Erik Wade, at the university of Bonn, discusses the usage of the term 'Anglo Saxon' by the pre-conquest English, and the origin of the term in the modern period and its early use in a culture characterized by racism.
https://twitter.com/erik_kaars/status/1188408954717646848
https://twitter.com/erik_kaars/status/1189085668942733312






peter horn

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #13 on: November 29, 2019, 10:46:17 AM »
the problem is not so much whether the AS sometimes used the term "Anglo-Saxon' or something similar, (of course they did) but wether we today should continue to use the term. (see the first post on this thread. ) This involves PC attitudes.
Peter H
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peter horn

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Re: Anglo-Saxon as a term
« Reply #14 on: November 29, 2019, 10:57:18 AM »
to use the term 'Early English' instead of "Anglo-Saxon' doesn't work for a number of reasons.
Peter H
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