This little book is an attempt to give a brief sketch of Britain under the early English conquerors, rather from the social than from the political point of view. For that purpose not much has been said about the doings of kings and statesmen; but attention has been mainly directed towards the less obvious evidence afforded us by existing monuments as to the life and mode of thought of the people themselves.
eir union was merely analogous to that of two North American peoples, or two modern European nations, pursuing a common policy for awhile. At a later date, in Britain, the three tribes learned to call themselves collectively by the name of that one among them which earliest rose to supremacy--the English; and the whole southern half of the island came to be known by their name as England. Even from the first it seems probable that their language was spoken of as English only, and comparatively little as Saxon. But since it would be inconvenient to use the name of one dominant tribe alone, the English, as equivalent to those of the three, and since it is desirable to have a common title for all the Germanic colonists of Britain, whenever it is necessary to speak of them together, we shall employ the late and, strictly speaking, incorrect form of "Anglo-Saxons" for this purpose. Similarly, in order to distinguish the earliest pure form of the English language from its later modern form, now largely enriched and
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