Who Were the Saxons?


Quick Answer

The Saxons were an ancient Germanic group who lived in the area of the Baltic coast. The group began spreading in the 400s AD and fought with the Franks in the late 700s. Saxons settled in modern-day Great Britain, where they became part of the Anglo-Saxons.

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Full Answer

The Saxons were pagans whose religion was an important part of their politics and governance. Their practices were reflected in the Germanic calendar. However, once they were part of the Anglo-Saxon group, they were mostly converted to Christianity by Saint Augustine. Although originally divided into four kingdoms, the land was united in 954 by King Edred. The Anglo-Saxons remained an important part of European history until 1066, when the king, Edward the Confessor, died.

Earlier in their history, the Saxons were mostly part of small tribes instead of a single larger group ruled by a king. The group had a caste structure divided into three tiers that kept the social structure ordered. Old Saxons, those who were on the main continent, spoke many languages, including West and High German, Old Saxon and English. Due to their conversion to Christianity, the Old Saxon language is represented in a Christian text that translates the gospel into the native language.

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