Anglo Saxon is a term used to describe anyone from Germanic peoples who inhabited and ruled the areas of present-day England and Wales from the 5th century to the Norman Conquest (1066).
The Anglo Saxons belonged to 3 different tribes of Germanic peoples namely the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes.
They laid the foundations of English society and the English legal system.
Nearly half the words of modern English vocabulary owe their origin to the Anglo-Saxon language. The creation of the English nation and a unified English identity also dates back to the Anglo-Saxon period.
This Anglo-Saxon period of medieval history had a very deep impact on English culture and society.
Germanic peoples migrated to Britain from continental Europe in the 5th century. They were invited by a ruler of Britons, Vortigern, to defend his kingdom from other opponents.
These opponents were the Scotti and Picts, who ruled present-day Scotland.
Anglo Saxons then began to arrive in England in multiple waves. Initially helping Vortigern, they went on to defeat and displace the local Britons and established their own settlements.
These settlements eventually evolved into seven distinct kingdoms of the Anglo Saxons.
As Anglo-Saxons settled in England, they developed a unique Anglo-Saxon culture and society.
This culture reflected their Germanic origins and their grounds realities in the once-Celtic Britain. The culture of the Anglo-Saxons is visible in their illuminated texts, dress styles, buildings, grave goods, and their way of living.
The Anglo Saxon culture was centered on a strong sense of lordship, tribal ties, kinship, and fealty to the social elders.
Anglo-Saxon art was depicted in different types of decorative jewelry like beads, brooches, wrist-clasps, and buckles. Garnets and gold pieces were used for decorative purposes by the 6th century.
It showed the growing prosperity of Anglo-Saxon society. With the advent of Christianity in the region, a revolution was seen in Anglo-Saxon art and culture. Manuscript illumination and stone sculpture were introduced by Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England.
The early period of Anglo-Saxon history is the period of migration. By the mid of the 6th century, there was a fusion of culture and language in Anglo-Saxon regions.
The foundations of the Wessex royal line were laid by a Brythonic King named Cerdic, having a Celtic background.
This was a time when smaller tribal areas were evolving into larger kingdoms. These kingdoms were formed in the provinces of the East Angles, East Saxons, South Kent, Saxons, and Lindsey.
The major Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were Sussex, Wessex, Middle Anglia, Essex, Northumbria, East Anglia, and Mercia. These kingdoms existed from 650 to 800 AD.
The Anglo-Saxons attacked present-day England and Wales in small invading parties in the beginning. Fierce resistance was shown by the Romano-British of Britannia who was supposedly led by King Arthur.
In the next centuries, Anglo-Saxons formed kingdoms and armies which were in constant war with each other and invaders.
The Anglo-Saxon power reached its zenith in the time of King Alfred the Great. It came to an end with the Norman Conquest of England in 1066.
Anglo Saxon definition at Dictionary.com