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Here is an impromptu version of the Anglian death song attributed to Bede:

Before that fateful voyage, man's advised concern should be none other than to consider how his soul will be weighed at his death, according to his past deeds, whether good or evil.

This is to remind us that this site is founded on The Seafarer.
Bede's purpose was evangelical, like the seafarer's.

Another angle: from Simon James, The Atlantic Celts, 1999, pp 14 - 15

The Venerable, 673 - 735 AD.

November 2017. How do we tackle Bede, and his commentators ? First, perhaps, by noting that he was not even born until 118 years after the earliest firm recording of the Saxons as North Germans in 555 AD. Any notice by him of the "Saxons", or Anglo-Saxons for that matter, is therefore conditional on that fact. Bearing in mind that it is today only 90 years since the 1928 promotion of that ubiquitous but misleading term "Old English". No Battenbergs, or Saxe-Coburg-Gothas allowed after 1917 ! "Old English" is an expression of rampant jingoism. Bede seems surprisingly interested in the pre-Anglian, non-pagan, inhabitants of Britain. The Anglians were purely Scandinavian, but Bede, a name meaning "pray" in Old Scandinavian, appears strongly to sympathise with the Brythons. Also, writing in the late 600s and early 700s, he consistently refers to his own [?] people as "Saxons". I don't think he looked favourably on the still-pagan Anglians, from Sweden. I must study him with greater diligence.

Bede was so prolific he needs to be approached circumspectly. Death was ever held close to the anguished Christian Anglish mind. A concern imported from Coptic and Egyptian thought. The pagan Northerner had previously only sought immortality in the memory of posterity. He considered Hel to be a welcoming entity, and her hall to be a pleasant field, not a place of torture, fire and torment. This was why he held death in disregard, a state of which he was not afraid. I need notice of Bede: a headache in store. He does not agree with me, and perhaps he has the advantage. Still, I don't think he had recourse to DNA in his tribal histories of the Angles, Brythons, Saxons. He did have recourse to Gildas, which coloured his account.

Moses was an Egyptian, if not a Copt.

Consider how his soul will be weighed at his death, according to his past deeds,
whether good or evil.

See The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial, 1968, R.L.S.Bruce-Mitford, passim. See Moses and Monotheism, 1939, Sigmund Freud, passim. Bede is clearly critical of the pre-Christian northern pagan Anglian attitude to mortality. He uses the fear of death as a means of converting pagans to Christianity. These following lines could be a comment on the Sutton Hoo burial. Difficult to know, however, what Rędwald, or King Tut for that matter, was expected to do with golden grave-goods in the after-life.

Though men may bury treasured pelf
beside their brother's born remains
and sow his grave with golden goods
he goes where gold is worthless

So where did Rędwald come from, before he went where gold is worthless ?

Rædwald reigned from about 599 AD until his death, 625 AD, says Wikipedia. Let us assume that he was about 25-30 when he became king, and that he was born about 570. Let us also assume that a generation is a period of 30 years. Wehha, said below to be the first Wuffing king of East Anglia, was Rędwald's great-grandfather. Rędwald was therefore the fourth generation to accede to the throne. So Wehha was born, if not king, around 420 AD, very shortly after the departure of the Romans.

From The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial, 1968, p 54, by R.L.S.Bruce-Mitford

Schütte's list of Angles names Wathol-Geat, Wihtlęg, Węrmund, Offa, Ger-wendel, Wigleth, Wermund, Uffo. Remarkably, not one of those names features on Bruce-Mitford's tree of descent for Rędwald. What is one to make of that ? Nothing worth worrying about. More to the point, it becomes obvious that Rędwald's clan had been established in Britain well before the Roman departure. Compare two accounts, below. Left, Bede's The Ecclesiastical History, OUP 1999, and right, James's The Atlantic Celts, BMP 1999, page numbers included.

Well, I guess Simon nails it. "The Baltic World". The man who really nails Bede, however, is J.M.Wallace-Hadrill, in his Historical Commentary, 1988. Here's a line from page 33, 1993 paperback: "Bede here, as elsewhere, avoids discussion of English paganism." Bede, though less of a ranter than Gildas, was eccelesiastical, and therefore angled, or vinklad, and brushes Scandinavia's robust paganism aside. Wallace-Hadrill's study of Bede is the most impressive feat of scholarship I have dipped into so far. The vexed question of Cerdic's antecedents is discussed in some detail by R.W.Chambers, p 91 and pp 98-99.

"in fact all languages in the British Isles are imported"

Melvyn Bragg notes that Bede "wrote in Latin and spoke it. He knew Greek and Hebrew and both spoke and, towards the end of his life, wrote in English." Or, as I'd say, Anglish; i.e. Old Scandinavian. According to Abbot Cuthbert. The sad truth is that Bede's history is so heavily addicted to Christian miracles that nothing else he says can be accepted as fully believable or reliable.

1999: Swedish Sprachgefühl for Anglo-Saxon
2013: More Sprachgefühl for Anglo-Saxon

A Curiosity

Could East Anglia's kinship with Sweden be any closer ?

See also: Wikipedia, East Anglia, or here.   *** *** ***     *** *** ***     *** *** ***   See also: Kingdom of East Anglia, flags

"That the small neck of land, with few villages, round Angeln [in Denmark], with both its name and the majority of its place-names, should then become unpopulated, seems far-fetched, especially in view of the thousands of places in Sweden which are admirably placed [for Anglian origin]." David Burns.

*** *** ***
under permanent construction.

essays and papers
ancient scandinavia
gothonic or old scandinavian
gata and strada    geats     gildas
saxon shore: one, two, three
journey's jargon

© Charles Harrison-Wallace 2017
All Rights Reserved

A Short Reading List

Stjerna, R.
Chambers, R.W.
Bruce-Mitford. R.L.S.
Sherley-Price, Leo; rev.Latham, R.E.
McClure, J. & Collins, R.
Wallace-Hadrill, J.M.
James, Simon
James, Simon
Sherley-Price, Leo; rev.Latham, R.E.
Essays on questions in connection with Beowulf
England before the Norman Conquest
The Sutton Hoo Ship Burial
A History of the English Church & People
The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
The Ecclesiastical History of the English People
Exploring the World of the Celts
The Atlantic Celts: Ancient People or Modern Invention ?
History of the English Church & People
Translated by J.R.Clark Hall. See Geats.
Cary, M.: Foreword on Roman Britain.
The Swedish Connection; Chapter X.
Bede. Revised edition.
Bede. Bertram Colgrave translation.
A Historical Commentary
See second exploration by James; 1999
Ancient People or Modern Invention ?
Folio edition. Intro: Melvyn Bragg.

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