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Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Angles

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ANGLES. According to the usual account, which rests on the authority of Bede, the Angles were one of three tribes who passed over from the Continent in the 5th and Gth centuries, and taking possession of different parts of England, formed the main and dominant element in its subsequent population. The Saxons, he tells us, and he is followed by the authors of the Saxon chronicles, were situated in what is now Holstein ; the Angles occupied the district to the north, probably extending -across the peninsula, and beyond the Angles were the Jutes, in (approximately) the modern Jutland. Hypothetically they are identified with the Angli of Tacitus, who were seated on the Lower Elbe; and certainly they belonged to the Low German race. Some historians, as Professor Henry Morley, regard the distinction between Saxon and Angle as a mere accidental difference of name ; the people them selves employing the name of Angles, while Saxon was a foreign designation applied to them by the Romans and Celts ; and this view might be supported by the fact that, while the boys admired by Gregory, according to the well-known tale, were " Angles," his missionaries were sent to the Jutish kingdom of Kent. It must be admitted, however, that whatever the origin of the words Angle and Saxon may be, they expressed, from the time of the invasions downwards, a difference that was, if not radical and of long continuance, at least real and obvious. The Angles were a strong and vigorous people, and not only founded three kingdoms in England, Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia (which all, and especially the first, exercised a great influence on our early history), but also spread through a large part of the Lowlands of Scotland. Their language was soon brought under literary culture, and supplied a groundwork for the later and richer develop ments of the southern Saxons ; and it is still to be distinguished in the Northumbrian dialect and the Lowland Scotch. They have left us, though in the form of a rifacimento, one of the most remarkable literary legacies we possess the poem of Beowulf, and claim the honour of producing Cajdmon and the venerable Bede. See Thorpe s Lappenberg ; and Morley, Writers before Chaucer.