The Development of Anglo-Saxon Identity Through Narrative and Literary Sources



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During Late Antiquity, the Germanic peoples of the successor states formed new ethnic identities across Europe that ultimately became the basis for the organization of their states. Understanding how these groups formed new ethnic identities is important for contemporary understandings of ethnicity and the issues that can surround this topic. The goal of this thesis is to analyze how ethnic identity is formed as well as how it was used by peoples and states in Late Antiquity. The first section develops a framework for identity formation using historical and anthropological research, with the second applying this framework to selected external sources, The History of the Franks by Gregory of Tours and the writings of Gregory the Great. The final section looks at internal sources, The Ecclesiastical History of the English People by Bede and the Old English Elegies, to analyze how the Anglo-Saxons themselves constructed an ethnic identity.



Anglo-Saxon identity, ethnogenesis