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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

And a line drawn from Flensborg to Sleswick


14. The words _England_ and _English_ are derived from the _Angles_ of Beda. The words _Sussex_, _Essex_, _Middlesex_ and _Wessex_, from his _Saxons_. No objection lies against this; indeed to deny that populations called _Angle_ and _Saxon_ occupied _England_ and spoke the _Anglo-Saxon_ language would display an unnecessary and unhealthy scepticism. The real question concerning these two words consists in the relation which the populations to which they were applied bore to each other. And this question is a difficult one. Did the Angles speak one language, whilst the Saxons spoke another? or did they both speak dialects of the same tongue? Were these dialects slightly or widely different? Can we find traces of the difference in any of the present provincial dialects? Are the idioms of one country of Angle, whilst those of another are of Saxon origin? Was the Angle more like the Danish language, whilst the Saxon approached the Dutch? None of these questions can be answered at present. They have, however, been asked for the sake of exhibiting the nature of the subject.

s. 15. The extract from Beda requires further remarks.

_The Angles of Beda._--The statement of Beda respecting the Angles, like his statement concerning the Jutes, reappears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and in Alfred.

Ethelweard[16] also adopts it:--"_Anglia vetus_ sita est inter Saxones et Giotos, habens oppidum

capitale quod sermone Saxonico _Sleswic_ nuncupatur, secundum vero Danos _Hathaby_."

Nevertheless, it is exceptionable and unsatisfactory; and like the previous one, in all probability, an incorrect inference founded upon the misinterpretation of a name.

In the eighth century there _was_, and at the present moment there _is_, a portion of the duchy of Sleswick called _Anglen_ or _the corner_. It is really what its name denotes, a triangle of irregular shape, formed by the Slie, the firth of Flensborg, and a line drawn from Flensborg to Sleswick. It is just as Danish as the rest of the peninsula, and cannot be shown to have been occupied by a Germanic population at all. Its area is less than that of the county of Rutland, and by no means likely to have supplied such a population as that of the Angles of England. The fact of its being a desert at the time of Beda is credible; since it formed a sort of _March_ or _Debatable Ground_ between the Saxons and Slavonians of Holstein, and the Danes of Jutland.

Now if we suppose that the real Angles of Germany were either so reduced in numbers as to have become an obscure tribe, or so incorporated with other populations as to have lost their independent existence, we can easily see how the similarity of name, combined with the geographical contiguity of Anglen to the Saxon frontier, might mislead even so good a writer as Beda, into the notion that he had found the country of the _Angles_ in the _Angulus_ (Anglen) of Sleswick.

The true _Angles_ were the descendants of the _Angli_ of Tacitus. Who these were will be investigated in ss. 47-54.

s. 16. _The Saxons of Beda._--The Saxons of Beda reached from the country of the Old Saxons[29] on the Lippe, in Westphalia, to that of the Nordalbingian[30] Saxons between the Elbe and Eyder; and nearly, but not quite, coincided with the present countries of Hanover, Oldenburg, Westphalia, and part of Holstein. This we may call the _Saxon_, or (as reasons will be given for considering that it nearly coincided with the country of the Angles) the _Anglo-Saxon_ area.

s. 17. _River-system and sea-board of the Anglo-Saxon area._--As the invasion of England took place by sea, we must expect to find in the invaders a maritime population. This leads to the consideration of the physical character of that part of Germany which they occupied. And here comes a remarkable and unexpected fact. The line of coast between the Rhine and Elbe, the line which in reasoning _a priori_, we should fix upon as the most likely tract for the bold seamen who wrested so large an island as Great Britain from its original occupants (changing it from _Britain_ to _England_), to have proceeded from, is _not_ the country of the Anglo-Saxons. On the contrary, it is the country of a similar but different section of the Germanic population, a section which has not received the attention from the English historian which it deserves. The country in question is the area of--

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