Germanic tribes, possibly named from their single-edged seax (‘sword’). Under pressure from the migrating Franks they spread from their homelands on the Danish peninsula into Italy and the Frisian lands and engaged in piracy on the North Sea and English Channel between the 3rd and 5th centuries. They appear to have entered Britain, together with Angles and Jutes as mercenaries in the late period of the Roman occupation. By the 5th century their settlements had marked the beginning of Anglo-Saxon England. Their name survives in Wessex (‘West Saxons’), Essex (‘East Saxons’), and Sussex (‘South Saxons’) in England, as well as in Saxony in Germany.