Conley, Kassandra Leighann
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Although the process of defining the Angelcynn took place over many years and many texts, three specific narratives are exemplary for their ability to reflect a rapidly changing understanding of Englishness in the late Anglo-Saxon era the Old English Bede, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, and Wulfstan’s Sermo Lupi ad Anglos. Each text appropriates conventional narratives of migration, invasion, and conquest and, thus, reflects the Anglo-Saxons’ changing role on the island. While the Old English Bede relies on Christian metaphor to explain the events that led to English hegemony, the other texts secularize the narrative of conquest to account for both the dominance of the Alfredian court and the losses of the English in the face of Danish invasions. These narratives represent a politicized myth of adventus Saxonum and, ultimately, Anglo-Saxon identity, which allowed for self-definition in pre-Norman Conquest England.