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A Handbook of the English Language by Latham

Is adesse penetrali deam intelligit


All

that we have at present learned concerning the Germanic invaders of England, is the geographical area which they originally occupied. How far, however, it was simple Saxons who conquered England single-handed, or how far the particular Saxon Germans were portions of a complex population, requires further investigation. Were the Saxons one division of the German population, whilst the Angles were another? or were the Angles a section of the Saxons, so that the latter was a generic term including the former? Again, although the Saxon invasion may be the one which has had the greatest influence, and drawn the most attention, why may there not have been separate and independent migrations, the effects and record of which have, in the lapse of time, become fused with those of the more important divisions?

s. 44. _The Angles; who were they? and what was their relation to the Saxons?_--The first answer to this question embodies a great fact in the way of internal evidence, viz., that they were the people from whom _England_ derives the name it bears = _Angle land_, i.e., _land of the Angles_. Our language too is _English_, i.e., _Angle_. Whatever, then, they may have been on the Continent, they were a leading section of the invaders here. Why then has their position in our inquiries been hitherto so subordinate to that of the Saxons? It is because their importance and preponderance are not so manifest in Germany as we infer them to have been in Britain.

Nay more, their historical place amongst the nations of Germany, is both insignificant and uncertain; indeed, it will be seen from the sequel, that _in and of themselves_ we know next to nothing about them, knowing them only in their _relations_, i.e., to ourselves and to the Saxons.

s. 45. Although they are the section of the immigration which gave the name to England, and, as such, the preponderating element in the eyes of the present _English_, they were not so in the eyes of the original British; who neither knew at the time of the Conquest, nor know now, of any other name for their German enemies but _Saxon_. And _Saxon_ is the name by which the present English are known to the Welsh, Armorican, and Gaelic Celts.

Welsh _Saxon_. Armorican _Soson_. Gaelic _Sassenach_.

s. 46. Although they are the section of the immigration which gave the name to _England_, &c., they were quite as little Angles as Saxons in the eyes of foreign cotemporary writers; since the expression _Saxoniae transmarinae_, occurs as applied to England.

s. 47. _Who were the Angles?_--Although they are the section of the immigration which gave the name to _England_, &c., the notices of them as Germans in Germany, are extremely limited.

_Extract from Tacitus._--This merely connects them with certain other tribes, and affirms the existence of certain religious ordinances common to them:--

"Contra Langobardos paucitas nobilitat: plurimis ac valentissimis nationibus cincti, non per obsequium sed proeliis et periclitando tuti sunt. Reudigni deinde, et Aviones, et _Angli_, et Varini, et Eudoses, et Suardones, et Nuithones, fluminibus aut silvis muniuntur: nec quidquam notabile in singulis, nisi quod in commune Herthum, id est, Terram matrem colunt, eamque intervenire rebus hominum, invehi populis, arbitrantur. Est in insula Oceani Castum nemus, dicatumque in eo vehiculum, veste contectum, attingere uni sacerdoti concessum. Is adesse penetrali deam intelligit, vectamque bobus feminis mult[^a] cum veneratione prosequitur. Laeti tunc dies, festa loca, quaecumque adventu hospitioque dignatur. Non bella ineunt, non arma sumunt, clausum omne ferrum; pax et quies tunc tant[`u]m nota, tunc tant[`u]m amata, donec idem sacerdos satiatam conversatione mortalium deam templo reddat; mox vehiculum et vestes, et, si credere velis, numen ipsum secreto lacu abluitur. Servi ministrant, quos statim idem lacus haurit. Arcanus hinc terror, sanctaque ignorantia, quid sit id, quod tant[`u]m perituri vident."[32]


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