Fishing (people)

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Map of the Roman Empire under Hadrian (ruled 117-138), on which the Angles in Jutland , part of today's Denmark , are located

The Angles were a North Sea Germanic people (just like the Cimbri and Teutons), who probably came mainly from the region of the same name, fishing on the Cimbrian Peninsula in the north of today's Schleswig-Holstein and its neighboring areas up to the Eider . The names " England ", " Englishman " and " English " are derived from those Angles who emigrated to Britain in the 5th century .

Origin of name

Etymologically there is no connection between the common name of the Angles and the Greek angelos ("messenger, angel"). Rather, the underlying meaning is assumed to be “narrow water”, “narrow bay” or “narrow valley”.


Early history

In 98 the Roman historian Tacitus mentions Germania in his ethnography after a description of the Lombards, who settled on the Elbe at that time, as Anglii : “Then follow the Reudigner, Avionen, Anglings, Variner , Eudosen , Suardonen and Nuithonen, which are protected by rivers and forests are ”(Germ. 40,1). Ptolemy names the angling a few decades later in his Geographika as Άγγειλοι ( Angeiloi ; Greek also: Άγγιλοι, Angiloi ). Only the early medieval scholar Beda Venerabilis gives a more precise definition of the (alleged) places of origin of the hinges in his Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum (I 15).

Hike to Thuringia

In the 2nd or 3rd century, a part of the Angles probably migrated together with the Warnen to the south into the Middle Elbe-Saale area and thus into the settlement area of ​​the Hermunduren , where the Kingdom of Thuringia emerged in the following period . The Lex Angliorum et Werinorum hoc est Thuringorum , which Charlemagne had recorded around 800, as well as the Engelin Gau in the area of ​​the Hainleite probably refer to the presence of fishing rods in Thuringia . The "Engelsdörfer" ( Feldengel , Kirchengel , Holzengel and Westerengel ) near Großenehrich in the Kyffhäuserkreis probably got their root from this settlement.

Trek to Britain

Around 440, many anglers emigrated to Britain together with the Saxons , Frisians and Jutes . It is rather unlikely that today's fishing landscape was actually abandoned by all residents - as later reports claim. Apparently the Germanic warriors were initially recruited by the Roman inhabitants of the island as auxiliary troops ( foederati ) to protect the country against the attacks of the barbaric Picts after the withdrawal of the imperial troops (410) . But soon the Germanic troops seem to have established independent rulers and received influx from the mainland. The Anglers probably settled particularly in the east ( East Anglia in the counties of Cambridgeshire , Norfolk , Suffolk , parts of southern Lincolnshire ) and in the 6th century penetrated north to Lothian ( Scotland ) and founded the Kingdom of Deira in Northumbria .

The immigrated Germanic tribes merged to form the Anglo-Saxon people and were jointly referred to as Engle from 600 at the latest . The name England for the south-eastern part of Britain is derived from the fishing rods. The Anglo-Saxon language , a sister language of the Old Saxon language , became the basis of the English language .

At the turn of late antiquity to the Middle Ages , Christianization began by Augustine of Canterbury . The main tribes eventually united to form an "English" kingdom under Egbert von Wessex .

Reasons for emigration

Several reasons for the emigration of fishing rods are discussed in historical research; Due to the very poor sources, no one has so far found general approval:

  • So there were probably climatic changes. Around 350, for example, the finds of grain pollen and graves in the lower areas break off, while they are on Geestinseln , such as. B. around Süderbrarup to increase. It is therefore sometimes assumed that, due to heavy rainfall, fishing was hardly possible on the loamy soils and that the residents therefore switched to internal migration to the sandy Geest islands. This first migration around 350 would explain the gap of almost a hundred years before the arrival of the Angles in Britain. According to this point of view, the Angles would have looked for a new home because the old one had temporarily become inhospitable.
  • It is also conceivable that Anglic warriors came to Britain through recruitment: the withdrawal of the Roman Army around 400 caused a security gap on the island. The Celto-Roman population was troubled by the incursions of the Picts from Scotland. For example, a Romano-British "tyrant", who is usually called Guorthigirn (also Vortigern , Latin Vertigernus , Anglo-Saxon Wyrtgeorn ), around 410 targeted fishing, Saxons and Jutes (which had previously appeared on the British coast for raids) as protection troops ( foederati ). These then seem to have rebelled around 440. However, as I said, it is unclear whether all fishing rods actually left their area of ​​origin or whether some remained. It is likely that members of the upper class in particular emigrated, including presumably descendants of the legendary Angling king Offa , whose descendants included the English king Offa of Mercien in the 8th century and who was still present as the hero of an Anglic tribal saga in the old English town of Widsith .
  • (Late) source reports and the obvious ease with which North Germanic tribes later conquered the area under the ethnic term Danes speak for an actual extensive evacuation of the fishing landscape . Other researchers, however, assume that the fishing rods that remained in Jutland merged with the Danes.


The Thorsberger Moor is the central tribal sanctuary of the Anglers . The toponym comes from later Danish influence. The place was probably not exclusively dedicated to the Germanic storm deity Donar / Thor . It can be assumed that other deities were also worshiped there with cults and rites. Tacitus mentions that the fishing rods belonging to the Nerthus tribes worshiped the goddess Nerthus (mother earth) as a characteristic feature . According to archaeological findings, the general sacrifice activity ended with the migration of large tribes to the main British island.


Like other Germanic tribes, the anglers were basically a farming and cattle breeding society; due to the maritime location, fishing was proportionally more important than with inland Germanic tribes.

Archaeological finds of jewelry and especially glassware and ceramics of Roman origin indicate the more or less intensive trade relations. In addition, an intensive infrastructure of the smelting of lawn iron ores has been archaeologically proven, as well as the pending processing trades of primary weapon manufacture and other metal goods of daily use.

These places of metal extraction and processing are related or adjoin settlement chambers, in which indirect farming for the basic supply of food on the one hand and daily necessities such as clothing on the other. Surpluses from these areas were presumably transferred to goods from metal processing for foreign trade.


Web links

Commons : Fishing  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files


  1. ^ Germanic tribes. P. 17 , accessed on March 26, 2018 .
  2. See Axel Erdmann : About the home and the names of fishing , Almqvist & Wiksell, Upsala 1890, ISBN 3734005434 , p. 110.
  3. Anglo-Saxons. Schleswig-Holstein History Society, accessed on March 15, 2015 .
  4. Wolfgang Laur : Germanic sanctuaries and religion in the mirror of the place names Schleswig-Holstein, northern Lower Saxony and Denmark. Wachholtz, Neumünster 2001, pp. 74f., 146ff.
  5. Herbert Jankuhn. In: Rudolf Much, Herbert Jankuhn, Wolfgang Lange (eds.): The Germania des Tacitus . Heidelberg 1964, p. 448f .; Herbert Jankuhn: Thorsberg and Nydam . Neumünster 1975, p. 6, 23f .; Torsten Capelle: Archeology of the Anglo-Saxons . Darmstadt 1990, p. 6.
  6. Herbert Jankuhn. In: Rudolf Much, Herbert Jankuhn, Wolfgang Lange (eds.): The Germania des Tacitus . Heidelberg 1964, p. 129f. and 449.
  7. Herbert Jankuhn. In: Rudolf Much, Herbert Jankuhn, Wolfgang Lange (eds.): The Germania des Tacitus . Heidelberg 1964, pp. 110, 249.