How many Anglo-Saxons came
The assumption must be that consecutive
Anglo-Saxon generations had plenty of time to
integrate themselves into
the local population. As mentioned, they came
'mercenaries', in fact: professional soldiers, so it
would be logical
that they learned quickly the language of their
masters. Young soldiers
also are likely to marry local girls. Later, after
over power, it would be commonsense that the knowledge
of the local
language would help them to maintain that power.
As the new arrivals represented less than 0,50% of the
had no time to teach their language to the 99.50%
others. More over,
there were little or no schools. Imposing their
language risked also to
upset the local population. Trouble with a local
population is always
the last thing a professional soldier wants.
You don't need to know the local
language when you conquer a country. However, maintaining power
locally is very different and requires a
good knowledge of the local language. It's all about
information, detecting a possible insurgence.
Rome had the standard policy to relay heavily upon the
authorities to uphold its power locally. Most native
authorities were left
in place after the conquest and if necessary, their
power was even
enforced. In return, Rome demanded from the local
loyalty. If a rebellion occurred, it were always the
leaders of that
rebellion who were severely punished. This policy
allowed the Romans to
maintain very little occupation forces. The group of
people that had to
be watched was indeed very small.
The Romans never replaced the local upper-class by
Suppose that the Anglo-Saxons would have replaced the
upper-class. This would have cost them an immense
military effort. In
fact, a bigger effort than the Romans themselves were
able to perform.
Let alone that the Anglo-Saxons were able to impose
their language op
top of that.
Most Anglo-Saxons must have been young
warriors, so one can imagine the impact upon the local
girls. The Roman
historian Tacitus already mentioned in 98 AD
(“Germania”) as a
curiosity, that the Germans had a great respect
for their women.
local women were forced to speak the tongue
of their lovers? Logically, the Anglo-Saxons would
have sought some
allies locally, and the local women and their family
(soon to be in
law) must have been the obvious choice. This means
that it would be the
alleged invaders who had to learn the local language.
The eventual emerging new families were
reality very (east-)British all but in name.
According to official history, the
Anglo-Saxons seemed to need quite some time to
conquer the whole of (modern) England. More than 150
contrasts with the swift conquests by the Romans
earlier, and by the
Normans later. The reality was that the Anglo-Saxons
themselves did not
conquer England and certainly not Welsh West England.
lords (=rich landowners) had this ambition. Those
lords wanted to
consolidate their authority at home first, and then
start an expansion
to the Welsh west. All this with the help of
Anglo-Saxons. As soon as
the lords had integrated some high ranking Anglo-Saxon
their families, they took over the label
"Angles" or similar.
The limited quantity of Anglo-Saxons soldiers is the
main reason for
the very slow expansion towards West England. One
that at no given moment the number of native,
warriors exceeded 3000 men. Maintaining
power with a such a
small quantity of warriors is not easy. Luckily,
England was much
divided. This division was the result of the increased
power of the
local lords thanks to the hiring of Anglo-Saxon
'Anglo-Saxon' kingdoms could only expand their power
after the local
mentality had changed in favour of the 'German'
mentality (= duty,
loyalty, respect for authority).
The Anglo-Saxons never had the ambition to impose
their language upon
the local population. This was not their task. The
gain was very
limited, the risk to upset the locals great. Their
task was maintain
'law and order', read : to uphold the authority
and power of their
British masters. The Anglo-Saxons became