Every fortnight I go to a U3A group which is called Saxish where we discuss the language the Saxons spoke and the influences it has had on our language today. However, we also talk about a host of other things to do with language, its origins, its connections, its future – it is a fascinating class and the two hours whistle past. Our leaders, two elderly gents, Bob and , are so knowledgeable and the others in the group are real experts in their own fields that we have very lively discussions.
Bob brought along the BBC History magazine where there was an article about Geoffrey of Monmouth’s history of England; much of it has been described as myth, but the article which Bob brought argued that some of the claims Geoffrey made might have an element of truth to them. In our group we considered a couple of these stories and had a really interesting exchange of views – drawing on what we have learned over the months that we have been gathering together.
Apparently, the Ancient Britains claimed that their king was descended from Trojan nobility, that Æneas fled Troy and either him or his clan arrived in Britain. Was this just the British monarchy buffing up its credentials to the invading Romans? This may not have been just Geoffrey making up a good story, but based on a much older mythology.
However, we also postulated that maybe the idea of incomers from the east who had arrived in ancient times (ancient to the Iron Age British court) was a folk memory of the travellers and peoples who had come here, maybe before Britain was an island? it was only in 8000BC that the land between what we now think of as the British isles and the continent was overwhelmed by the sea, and Doggerland, the vast plain between us and europe disappeared.