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Word Count: 724
The Anglo-Saxon period extends from about 450 to 1066 the year of the Norman-French conquest of England The Germanic tribes from Europe who overran England in the 5th century after the Roman withdrawal brought with them the Old English or Anglo-Saxon language which is the basis of Modern English They brought also a specific poetic tradition the formal character of which remained surprisingly constant until the termination of their rule by the Norman-French invaders six centuries later Britain in the 3rd and 4th centuries felt the decline of the Roman Empire An official known as the count of the Saxon Shore oversaw defenses against raids by Saxons and others along the North Sea coast Would-be emperors stripped Britain of its occupying forces moving the legions elsewhere to serve their own political ambitions In 410 Rome abandoned Britain After nearly four centuries of occupation it left little that was permanent an excellent network of roads the best Britain would have for 1400 years the sites of a number of townsLondon York and others bearing names that end in the suffix -cester and -caster and Christianity The Anglo-Saxons who occupied the country after the Romans left ignored the towns chased Christianity into Wales and gave their own names such as Watling Street to the Roman roads Fragmentary knowledge of England in the 5th and 6th centuries comes from the British writer Gildas 6th century the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle a history of the English people begun in the 9th century saints lives poetry archaeological findings and place-name studies In the absence of Roman administrators British warlords nominally Christian ruled small unstable kingdoms and continued some Roman traditions of governance In the mid-5th century they revived the Roman policy of hiring Germanic mercenaries to help defend them against warlike peoples of the north Picts and Scots The Saxon mercenaries revolted against their British chiefs and began the process of invasion and settlement that destroyed the native ruling class and established
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