What Does Anglo-Saxon Really Mean?


I believe it was in the 1960s when I started hearing the term “Anglo-Saxon”. I’m pretty sure it was derogatorily, if even subtly and I was never quite sure what it meant except that I assumed that I was one of “them” but now that I know my extensive family history, I know that I am not, nor is anyone, just one “group”.

In order to distinguish between different groups we tend to give names to them. Though each of us may be proud of our heritage, I suspect there are times when most of us don’t particularly care to be referred to as an Anglo, Asian, Jew, Arab, etc. It brings us into the “us and them” realm. I have a great-grandmother from the Morris Clan which could have Arabic roots stemming from Spanish Moors during the Middle Ages because the Latin word for Moor is “Maurus” from the Greek “Mauros” and in French you may find it as “More”.  I have also found Jewish ancestry and I imagine if I could see deep into the past I would find Asian and African roots and connections to all people of the world with prominent enough populations to have been given a “name”.

So it was with interest that while I was reading an English history book, WROUGHTON THROUGH THE MISTS OF TIME and they ask the question, “WHO’S WHO?” I took note. They attempt to simplify things:

“Anglo-Saxon became the overall term for the ruling classes and eventually English became both the name for the people of most of Britain and for the language spoken by them.”

That said, it is still confusing. One of the definitions of confuse is “to mix or blend so that things cannot be distinguished; jumble together.” That about sums it up.

Suellen Ocean is the author of the historic novel The Celtic Prince Available here:


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