Bald Eagle named Bruce, photographed by Steve Biro

Anfloga Again

anfloga: more notes: May 2019

A Canadian amateur photographer says he is "overwhelmed" by the worldwide response to a photograph he took of a bald eagle. Steve Biro snapped the above image of Bruce the bald eagle at the Canadian Raptor Conservancy and first posted it on some Facebook photography groups.The image of the bird of prey "staring daggers" at the photographer with its piercing eyes has since gone viral.

This picture is a perfect representation of what would immediately have been recognized by the Anglians as an anfloga.

Anfloga cognates: German and Swedish:

The anfloga is the Bird of Death. The word has been risibly misunderstood as "one-flier" in almost all interpretations of The Seafarer, in spite of the fact that the word's true meaning was pointed out by G.V.Smithers in 1959. The concern of the entire poem, its unifying theme, is man's contemplation of the approach of Death. The poem divides into two halves: Life/Death. The implicit suggestion is that Life amounts to Death; and that Death promises Life.

"There may be wisdom in a multitude of counsellors, but it is only in one or two of them." Thomas Huxley

notes on anfloga

St John the Evangelist
Book of Armagh, c 807 AD

Bible of St Bénigne,
Bibliothèque Publique, Dijon

From Wright's Old English Grammar, 3rd edition, 1925


Book of Kells; Folio 27v.

The Anglian language, which for some time now has been called "Old English", used to be known as "Anglo-Saxon". This is certainly a more accurate term than "Old English". However, after some thought, I have come to the conclusion that the language spoken by the Anglians, or Angelcyn, would be more usefully known as "Anglish".

According to this site:; arms were attributed to the kingdoms of the Anglian heptarchy from the 12th or 13th century onward, with the development of heraldry. Although this seems a little late, when contemplating the arms used to designate the kingdoms of the heptarchy, it would seem that these heralds had not the slightest doubts about from where their ancestors had originated.

Moreover, they must have been fully aware that "Saxon", as applied by the Romans, the Scots, Welsh, Irish and Cornish, to the Anglian settlers, either imported by the Romans, or arriving independently in their keels from Scandinavia, had little to do with Lower Saxony in Germany, a district which had only been in existence since about 555 AD. These Anglians were called "Saxons", or Sax-men, because they flourished, wielded and brandished a seax, which is why they came to call themselves Anglo-Saxons. This is patently why the seax, as pictured above, features so prominently on the arms of Essex, and the names of Sussex, Middlesex and Wessex. The Anglians, who founded the kingdom now known as England, came from what has since been unified as Sweden. It has been pointed out by David Burns that there are over a thousand place-names in modern Sweden which start Angel, Engel or Ingel. Virtually no Saxon place-names occur in England. This was perceived long ago by Isaac Taylor. See here.

See further comments on anfloga here.

Swedish words in The Seafarer:

anflygare, efter, holme, håg, må, ovärn, sköte, sätten, sörja, valväg, varþer, vång.

"It is dangerous to be right in matters on which established monoglots are wrong." Voltaire, The Age of Louis XIV.

A Seafarer



in the tomb of Senejem, Thebes, 13th/14th century BC.

A streak of blue-green
Is all that is seen
Of the kingfisher's flight
As he drops from the height
Of a riverside tree
When chancing to see
A fish unwary.
 His beautiful hues
He does not choose
To show or vaunt
And for his haunt
The uncrowned king
Of all on wing
Selects the quiet stream.

chw circa 1952


The Cambridge Old English Reader
The Meaning of The Seafarer and The Wanderer. G.V.Smithers
An, Ân, & Eft: Old English Grammar. A. Campbell
Pretentious Fake
R.I.Page and the DOE
Hugr, Hyge, Håg
The prefix un- in Anglo-Saxon
the central crux of the seafarer
Biblical Echoes
re: unwearnum
visualizations of the anfloga

essays and papers
Topics favourite and favoured

© Charles Harrison Wallace 2019
all rights reserved

".... I have been obliged to content myself through life with saying what I mean in the plainest of plain language, than which, I suppose, there is no habit more ruinous to a man's prospects of advancement." T.H.Huxley, Autobiography, p 1, Lectures & Essays, Watts & Co, published 1931.