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The Ethnology of the British Islands
by Robert Gordon Latham
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[13] The origin of the Picts and Scots.

[14] Vol. iii, pp. 140-147.



CHAPTER VIII.

THE ANGLES OF GERMANY: THEIR COMPARATIVE OBSCURITY.—NOTICE OF TACITUS.—EXTRACT FROM PTOLEMY.—CONDITIONS OF THE ANGLE AREA.—THE VARINI.—THE REUDIGNI AND OTHER POPULATIONS OF TACITUS.—THE SABALINGII, ETC., OF PTOLEMY.—THE SUEVI ANGILI.—ENGLE AND ONGLE.—ORIGINAL ANGLE AREA.

There are several populations of whom, like quiet and retiring individuals, we know nothing until they move; for, in their original countries, they lead a kind of still life which escapes notice and description, and which, if it were not for a change of habits with a change of area, would place them in the position of the great men who lived before Agamemnon. They would pass from the development to the death of their separate existence unobserved, and no one know who they were, where they lived, and what were their relations. But they move to some new locality, and then, like those fruit-trees which, in order to be prolific, must be transplanted, the noiseless and unnoticed tenor of their original way is exchanged for an influential and prominent position. They take up a large place in the world's history. Sometimes this arises from an absolute change of character with the change of circumstances; but oftener it is due to a more intelligible cause. They move from a country beyond the reach of historical and geographical knowledge to one within it; and having done this they find writers who observe and describe them, simply because they have come within the field of observation and description.

It is no great stretch of imagination to picture some of the stronger tribes of the now unknown parts of Central Africa finding their way as far southward as the Cape, when they would come within the sphere of European observation. On such a ground, they may play a conspicuous part in history; conspicuous enough to be noticed by historians, missionaries, and journalists. They may even form the matter of a blue book. For all this, however, they shall only be known in the latter-days of their history. What they were in their original domain may remain a mystery; and that, even when the parts wherein it lay shall have become explored. For it is just possible that between the appearance of such a population in a locality beyond the pale of their own unexplored home, and the subsequent discovery of that previously obscure area, the part which was left behind—the parent portion—may have lost its nationality, its language, its locality, its independence, its name—any one or any number of its characteristics. Perhaps, the name alone, with a vague notice of its locality, may remain; a name famous from the glory of its new country, but obscure, and even equivocal in its fatherland.

How truly are the Majiars of Hungary known only from what they have been in Hungary. Yet they are no natives of that country. It was from the parts beyond the Uralian mountains that they came, and when we visit those parts and ask for their original home, we find no such name, no such language, no such nationality as that of the Majiars. We find Bashkirs, or something equally different instead. But north of the old country of the Majiars—now no longer Majiar—we find Majiar characteristics; in other words, we are amongst the first cousins of the Hungarians, the descendants not of the exact ancestors of the conquerors of Hungary, but of the populations most nearly allied to such ancestors. And it is in these that we must study the Majiar before he became European. The direct descendants of the same parents have disappeared, but collateral branches of the family survive; and these we study, assuming that there is a family likeness.

All this has been written in illustration of a case near home. The Majiar of the Uralian wilds, the Majiar of the Yaik and Oby, the Majiar, in short, of Asia, is not more obscure, unknown, and unimportant when compared with the countrymen of Hunyades, Zapolya, and Kossuth, than is the Angle of Germany when contrasted with the Angle of England, the Angle of the great continent with the Angle of the small island. When we say that the former is named by Tacitus, Ptolemy, and a few other less important writers, we have said all. There is the name, and little enough besides. What does the most learned ethnologist know of a people called the Eudoses? Nothing. He speculates, perhaps, on a letter-change, and fancies that by prefixing a Ph, and inserting an n he can convert the name into Phundusii. But what does he know of the Phundusii? Nothing; except that by ejecting the ph and omitting the n he can reduce them to Eudoses. Then come the Aviones, whom, by omission and rejection, we can identify with the Obii, of whom we know little, and also convert into the Cobandi, of whom we know less. The Reudigni—what light comes from these? The Nuithones—what from these? The Suardones—what from these? Now, it is not going too far if we say that, were it not for the conquest of England, the Angles of Germany would have been known to the ethnologist just as the Aviones are, i.e., very little; that, like the Eudoses, they might have had their very name tampered with; and that, like the Suardones and Reudigni and Nuithones, they might have been anything or nothing in the way of ethnological affinity, historical development, and geographical locality.

This is the true case. Nine-tenths of what is known of the Angli of Germany is known from a single passage, and every word in that single passage which applies to Angli applies to the Eudoses, Aviones, Reudigni, Suardones, and Nuithones as well.

The passage in question is the 40th section of the Germania of Tacitus, and is as follows:—

"Contra Langobardos paucitas nobilitat: plurimis ac valentissimis nationibus cincti non per obsequium sed praeliis et periclitando tuti sunt. Reudigni, deinde, et Aviones, et Angli, et Varini, et Suardones, et Nuithones fluminibus aut sylvis muniuntur; neque quidquam notabile in singulis nisi quod in commune Hertham, id est, Terram Matrem colunt, eamque intervenire rebus hominum, invehi populis arbitrantur. Est in insula Oceani castum nemus, dicatum in eo vehiculum, veste contectum, attingere uni sacerdoti concessum. Is adesse penetrali deam intelligit, vectamque bobus feminis multa cum veneratione prosequitur. Laeti tunc dies, festa loca, quaecunque adventu hospitioque dignatur. Non bella ineunt, non arma sumunt, clausum omne ferrum; pax et quies tunc tantum nota, tunc tantum amata, donec idem sacerdos satiatam conversatione mortalium deam templo reddat: mox vehiculum et vestes, et si credere velis, numen ipsum secreto lacu abluitur. Servi ministrant, quos statim idem lacus haurit. Arcanus hinc terror, sanctaque ignorantia, quid sit id, quod perituri tantum vident."

Let us ask what we get from this passage when taken by itself, i.e., without the light thrown upon it by the present existence of the descendants of the Angli as the English of England.

We get the evidence of a good writer, that six nations considered by him as sufficiently Germanic to be included in his Germania, were far enough north of the Germans who came in immediate contact with Rome to be briefly and imperfectly described and near enough the sea to frequent an island worshipping a goddess with a German name and certain remarkable attributes. This is the most we get; and to get this we must shut our eyes to more than one complication.

a. Thus the country that can most reasonably be assigned to the Varini, is in the tenth century the country of the Varnavi, who are no Germans, but Slavonians.

b. Another reading, instead of Hertham, is Nerthum, a name less decidedly Germanic.

All we get beyond this is from their subsequent histories; and of these subsequent histories there is only one—the Angle or English. Truly, then, may we say that the Angles of Germany are only known from their relations to the Angles of England.

Let us inquire into the geographical and ethnological conditions of the Angli of Tacitus; and first in respect to their geography.

1. They must be placed as far north as the Weser; because the area required for the Cherusci, Fosi, Chasuarii, Dulgubini, Chamavi, and Angrivarii must be carried to a certain extent northwards; and the populations in question lay beyond these.

2. They must not be carried very far north of the Elbe. The reasons for this are less conclusive. They lie, however, in the circumstance of Ptolemy's notices placing them in a decidedly southern direction; and, as Tacitus has left their locality an open question, the evidence of even a worse authority than Ptolemy ought to be decisive,—"of the nations of the interior the greatest is that of Suevi Angili, who are the most eastern of the Longobardi, stretching as far northwards as the middle Elbe." The same writer precludes us from placing them in Holstein and Sleswick by filling up the Peninsula by populations other than Angle, one of which is the Saxon. But these Saxons we are not at liberty to identify with the Angli of Tacitus, because, by so doing, we separate them from the more evidently related Angili of Ptolemy. Ptolemy draws a distinction between the two, and writes that "after the Chauci on the neck of the Cimbric Chersonese, came the Saxons, after the Saxons, as far as the river Chalusus, the Pharodini. In the Chersonese itself there extend, beyond the Saxons, the Sigulones on the west, then the Sabalingii, then the Cobandi, above them the Chali, then above these, but more to the west, the Phundusii; more to the east the Charudes, and most of all to the north, the Cimbri."

3. They must not come quite up to the sea, since we have seen from Ptolemy that the Chauci and Saxones joined, and as the Saxons were on the neck of the Peninsula, or the south-eastern parts of Holstein, the Chauci must have lain between the Angli and the sea, probably, however, on a very narrow strip of coast.

4. They must not have reached eastwards much farther than the frontiers of Lauenburg and Luneburg, since, as soon as we get definite historical notices of these countries, they are Slavonic—and, whatever may be said to the contrary, there is no evidence of this Slavonic occupancy being recent.

These conditions give us the northern part of the kingdom of Hanover as the original Angle area.

Their ethnological affinities are simpler. They spoke the language which afterwards became the Anglo-Saxon of Alfred, and the English of Milton. In this we have the first and most definite of their differential characteristics—the characteristics which distinguished them from the closely allied Cheruscans, Chamavi, Angrivarii and other less important nations.

Their religious cultus, as far at least as the worship of Mother Earth in a Holy Island, was a link which connected the Angli with the populations to the north rather than to the south of them; and—as far as we may judge from the negative fact of finding no Angles in the great confederacy that the energy of Arminius formed against the aggression of Rome—their political relations did the same. But this is uncertain.

Such was the supposed area of the ancient Angles of Germany, and it agrees so well with all the ethnological conditions of the populations around, that it should not be objected to, or refined upon, on light grounds. The two varieties of the German languages to which the Anglo-Saxon bore the closest relationship, were the Old Saxon and the Frisian, and each of these are made conterminous with it by the recognition of the area in question—the Old Saxon to the south, the Frisian to the west, and, probably, to the north as well. It is an area, too, which is neither unnecessarily large, nor preposterously small; an area which gives its occupants the navigable portions of two such rivers as the Elbe and Weser; one which places them in the necessary relations to their Holy Island (an island which, for the present we assume to be Heligoland); and, lastly, one which without being exactly the nearest part of the continent, fronts Britain, and is well situated for descents upon the British coast.

During the third, fourth, and fifth centuries we hear nothing of the Angli. They re-appear in the eighth. But then they are the Angles of Beda, the Angles of Britain—not those of Germany—the Angles of a new locality, and of a conquered country—not the parent stock on its original continental home. Of these latter the history of Beda says but little. Neither does the history of any other writer; indeed it is not too much to say that they have no authentic, detailed, and consecutive history at all, either early or late, either in the time of Beda when the Angles of England are first described, or in the time of any subsequent writer. There are reasons for this; as will be seen if we look to their geographical position, and the relations between them and the neighbouring populations. The Angles of Germany were too far north to come in contact with the Romans. That we met with no Angli in the great Arminian Confederacy has already been stated. When the Romans were the aggressors, the Angli lay beyond the pale of their ambition. When the Romans were on the defensive the Angli were beyond the opportunities of attack.

All attempts to illustrate the history of the Angles of Germany by means of that of the nations mentioned in conjunction with them by Tacitus, is obscurum per obscurius. It is more than this. The connexion creates difficulties. The Langobardi, who gave their name to Lombardy, were anything but Angle; inasmuch as their language was a dialect of the High German division. Hence, if we connect them with our own ancestors we must suppose that when they changed their locality they changed their speech also. But no such assumption is necessary. All that we get from the text of Tacitus is, that they were in geographical contiguity with the Reudigni, &c.

The Varini are in a different predicament. They are mentioned in the present text along with the Angli, and they are similarly mentioned in the heading of a code of laws referred to the tenth century. Every name in this latter document is attended with difficulties.

Incipit Lex Anglorum et Werinorum, hoc est Thuringorum.—To find Angli in Thuringia by themselves would be strange. So it would be to find Werini. But to find the two combined is exceedingly puzzling. I suggest the likelihood of there having been military colonies, settled by some of the earlier successors of Charlemagne, if not by Charlemagne himself. There are other interpretations; but this seems the likeliest. That the Varini and Angli were contiguous populations in the time of Tacitus, joining each other on the Lower Elbe, even as they join each other in his text, is likely. It is also likely that when their respective areas were conquered, each should have supplied the elements of a colony to the conqueror.

At the same time, I do not think that their ethnological relations were equally close. The Varini I believe to have been Slavonians. There is no difficulty in doing this. The only difficulty lies in the choice between two Slavonic populations. Adam of Bremen places a tribe, which he sometimes calls Warnabi, and sometimes Warnahi (Helmoldus calling it Warnavi), between the river Havel in Brandenburg and the Obotrites of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. He mentions them, too, in conjunction with the Linones of Lun-eburg. Now this evidence fixes them in the parts about the present district of Warnow, on the Elde, a locality which is further confirmed by two chartas of the latter part of the twelfth century—"silva quae destinguit terras Havelliere scilicet et Muritz, eandem terram quoque Muritz et Vepero cum terminis suis ad terram Warnowe ex utraque parte fluminis quod Eldene dicitur usque ad castrum Grabow." Also—"distinguit tandem terram Moritz et Veprouwe cum omnibus terminis suis ad terram quae Warnowe vocatur, includens et terram Warnowe cum terminis suis ex utraque parte fluminis quod Eldena dicitur usque ad castrum quod Grabou vocatur." Such is one of the later populations of the parts on the Lower Elbe, which may claim to represent the Varini of Tacitus.

But the name re-appears. In the Life of Bishop Otto, the Isle of Rugen is called Verania,[15] and the population Verani—eminent for their paganism. To reconcile these two divisions of the Mecklenburg populations is a question for the Slavonic archaeologist. Between the two we get some light for the ethnology of the Varini. Their island is Rugen rather than Heligoland. The island, however, that best suits the Angli is Heligoland rather than Rugen. Which is which? The following hypothesis has already been suggested. "What if the Varini had one holy island, and the Angli another—so that the insulae sacrae, with their corresponding casta nemora, were two in number?" I submit that a writer with no better means of knowing the exact truth than Tacitus, might, in such a case, when he recognized the insular character common to the two forms of cultus, easily and pardonably, refer them to one and the same island; in other words, he might know the general fact that the Angli and Varini worshipped in an island, without knowing the particular fact of their each having a separate one.

This is what really happened; so that the hypothesis is as follows:—

a. The truly and undoubtedly Germanic Angli worshipped in Heligoland.

b. The probably Slavonic Varini worshipped in the Isle of Rugen.

c. The holy island of Tacitus is that of the Angli—

d. With whom the Varini are inaccurately associated—

e. The source of the inaccuracy lying in the fact of that nation having a holy island, different from that of the Angles, but not known to be so.[16]

We have got now, in the text of Tacitus, the Angli as a Germanic, and the Varini as a Slavonic, population. The Langobardi may be left unnoticed for the present. But round which of the two are the remaining tribes to be grouped, the Reudigni, the Aviones, Eudoses, the Suardones, and Nuithones.

The Reudigni.—Whether we imagine the Latin form before us to represent such a word as the German Reud-ing-as, or the Slavonic Reud-inie[17] (of either of which it may be the equivalent), the two last syllables are inflexional; the first only belonging to the root. Now, although unknown to any Latin writer but Tacitus, the syllable Reud as the element of a compound, occurs in the Icelandic Sagas. Whoever the Goths of Scandinavia may have been, they fell into more than one class. There were, for instance, the simple Goths of Got-land, the island Goths of Ey-gota-land, and, thirdly, the Goths of Reidh-gota-land. Where was this? Reidhgotaland was an old name of Jutland. Reidhgotaland was also the name of a country east of Poland. Zeuss[18] well suggests that these conflicting facts may be reconciled by considering the prefix Reidh, to denote the Goths of the Continent in opposition to the word Ey, denoting the Goths of the Islands; both being formidable and important nations, both being in political and military relations to the Danes, Swedes, and Norwegians, and both being other than Germanic.

In the Traveller's Song a more remarkable compound is found; Hreth-king—

He with Ealhild, Faithful peace-weaver, For the first time, Of the Hreth-king Sought the home, East of Ongle, Of Eormenric, The fierce faith-breaker.

Now, although the usual notions respecting the locality of the great Gothic empire of Hermanric are rather invalidated than confirmed by this extract, the relation between the Hreths and Ongle is exactly that between the Reudigni and Angli. Neither are there other facts wanting which would bring the rule of Hermanric as far north as the latitude of the Angli, though not, perhaps, so far east. His death is said to have been occasioned by the revolt of two Rhoxalanian princes. Now the Rhoxalani were, at least, as far north as the Angli, however much farther they may have lain eastwards.

But in the same poem we meet with the name in the simple form Hraed; for, when we remember that one of the Icelandic notices of Reidhgotaland is that it lay to the east of Poland, we may fairly infer that Reidhgotaland was the country of the nation mentioned in the following passage:—

Eadwine I sought and Elsa, AEgelmund and Hungar, And the proud host Of the With-Myrgings; Wulfhere I sought and Wyrnhere; Full oft war ceas'd not there, When the Hraeds' army, With hard swords, About Vistula's wood Had to defend Their ancient native seat Against the folk of AEtla.

Such faint light then as can be thrown upon the Reudigni of Tacitus disconnects them with the Angli both geographically and ethnologically, connecting them with the Prussians, and placing them on the Lower Vistula.

The Aviones.—The Aviones are either unknown to history, or known under the slightly modified form of Chaviones. Maximian conquers them about A.D. 289. His Panegyrist Mamertinus associates them with the Heruli. Perhaps, the Obii are the same people. If so, they cross the Danube in conjunction with the Langobardi, and are mentioned, as having done so, by Petrus Patricius.

The Eudoses will be noticed when Ptolemy's list comes under consideration.

So will the Suardones.

No light has ever been thrown on the Nuithones.

Over and above the Saxons, to whom a special chapter will be devoted, Ptolemy's list contains:—

1. The Sigulones.—The Saxons lay to the north of Elbe, on the neck of the Chersonese, and the Sigulones occupied the Chersonese itself, westwards. Two populations thus placed between the Atlantic and the Baltic, immediately north of the Elbe, leave but little room for each other.

"Then," writes Ptolemy, "come—

"2. The Sabalingii.—then—

"3. The Kobandi.—above these—

"4. The Chali.—and above them, but more to the west—

"5. The Phundusii.—more to the east—

"6. The Charudes.—and most to the north of all—

"7. The Cimbri."

8. The Pharodini lay next to the Saxons, between the Rivers Chalusus and Suebus.

Tacitus' geography is obscure; Ptolemy's is difficult. One wants light. The other gives us conflicting facts. Neither have the attempts to reconcile them been successful. The first point that strikes us is the difference of the names in the two authors. No Sigulones and Sabalingii in Tacitus. No Nuithones and Reudigni in Ptolemy. Then there is the extremely northern position which the latter gives the Cimbri. His Charudes, too, cannot well be separated from Caesar's Harudes. Nevertheless, their area is inconveniently distant from the seat of war in the invasion of Gaul under Ariovistus, of whose armies the Harudes form a part. The River Chalusus is reasonably considered to be the Trave. But the Suebus is not the Oder; though the two are often identified: inasmuch as the geographer continues to state that after the Pharodini come "the Sidini to the river Iadua" (the Oder?), "and, after them, the Rutikleii as far as the Vistula."

Zeuss has allowed himself to simplify some of the details by identifying certain of the Ptolemaean names with those of Tacitus. Thus he thinks that, by supposing the original word to have been {Sphar/od-inoi}, the {Phar/odin-oi} and Suardon-es may be made the same. Kobandi, too, he thinks may be reduced to Chaviones, or Aviones. Thirdly, by the prefix {Ph}, and the insertion of N, Eudos-es may be converted into {Phoundo^us-ioi}.

Those who know the degree to which the modern German philologists act upon the doctrine that Truth is stranger than Fiction, and, by unparallelled manipulations reconcile a so-called iron-bound system of scientific letter-changes with results as extraordinary as those of the Keltic and Hebraic dreamers of the last century, will see in such comparisons as these nothing extraordinary. On the contrary, they will give them credit for being moderate. And so they are: for it is extremely likely that whilst Tacitus got his names from German, Ptolemy got his from Keltic, or Slavonic, sources; and if such be the case, a very considerable latitude is allowable.

Yet, even if we make the Cobandi, Aviones; the Phundusii, Eudoses; and the Pharodini, Suardones (probably, also, the Sweordwere, of the Traveller's Song), the geographical difficulties are still considerable. Saxons on the neck of the Chersonese (say in Stormar) with Sigulones (say in Holstein) to the west of them are fully sufficient to stretch from sea to sea; but beyond (and this we must suppose to be in a westerly direction) are the Sabalingii, and then the Kobandi; above (north of) these the Chali (whom we should expect to be connected with the river Chalusus), and west of these the Phundusii. Similar complications can easily be added.

The meaning of the word Sabalingii is explained, if we may assume a slight change in the reading. How far it is legitimate, emendatory critics may determine; but by transposing the B and L, the word becomes Sa-lab-ingii. The Slavonic is the tongue that explains this.

1. The Slavonic name of the Elbe is Laba; and—

2. The Slavonic for Transalbian, as a term for the population beyond the Elbe, would be Sa-lab-ingii. This compound is common. The Finns of Karelia are called Za-volok-ian, because they live beyond the volok or watershed. The Kossacks of the Dnieper are called Za-porog-ian, because they live beyond the porog or waterfall. The population in question I imagine to have been called Sa-lab-ingian, because they lived beyond the Laba, or Elbe.

Now a name closely akin to Salabingian actually occurs at the beginning of the Historical period. The population of the Duchy of Lauenburg is (then) Slavonic. So is that of south-eastern Holstein; since the Saxon area begins with the district of Stormar. So is that of Luneburg. And the name of these Slavonians of the Elbe is Po-lab-ingii (on the Elbe), just as Po-mor-ania is the country on the sea. Of the Po-labingians, then, the Sa-labingii were the section belonging to that side of the Elbe to which the tribe that used the term did not belong. Such are the reasons for believing the name to be Slavonic.

There are specific grounds, of more or less value, then, for separating the Angli from, at least, the following populations—the Varini, the Reudigni, the Eudoses, the Phundusii, the Suardones, the Pharodini, and the Sabalingii (Salabingii?); indeed, the Sigulones and Harudes seem to be the only Germans of two lists. The former, I think, was Frisian rather than Angle, the latter Old Saxon rather than Anglo-Saxon; for, notwithstanding some difficulties of detail which will be noticed in another chapter, the Charudes must be considered the Germans of the Hartz. The Sigulones, being placed so definitely to the west of the Saxons, were probably the Nordalbingians of Holsatia.[19]

The last complication which will be noticed is in the following extract from Ptolemy.—"But of the inland nations far in the interior the greatest are that of the Suevi Angeili, who are east of the Longobardi, stretching to the north, as far as the middle parts of the river Elbe, that of the Suevi Semnones, who, when we leave the Elbe, reach from the aforesaid (middle) parts, eastwards, as far as the River Suebus, and that of the Buguntae next in succession, extending as far as the Vistula."—Lib. ii. c. xi.

This connexion of the Angles with the Suevi requires notice; though it should not cause any serious difficulty. The term Suevi, or Suevia, is used in a very extensive signification, denoting the vast tracts east of the better known districts of Germany; and in a similar sense it is used by both Tacitus and Caesar. The notion of any specific connection with the Suevi of Suabia is unnecessary.

It has already been stated that in the Traveller's Song the Kingdom of Hermanric is placed east of Ongle. Either this means that the one country was east of the other, in the way that Hungary is east of the Rhine, or else an unrecognized extension must be given to one of the two areas.

In one part of the poem in question the form is not Ongle but Engle

"Mid Englum ic waes, and mid Swaefum— With Engles I was, and with Sueves."—Line 121.

The result of the previous criticism is—

1. That the Angli of Germany distinguished, by the use of that form of speech which afterwards became Anglo-Saxon, from the Slavonians of south-eastern Holstein, Lauenburg, Luneburg, and Altmark, from the Old Saxons of Westphalia, and from the Frisians of the sea-coast between the Ems and Elbe, occupied, with the exceptions just suggested, the northern two-thirds of the present Kingdom of Hanover.

2. That they were the only members of the particular section of the German population to which they belonged, i.e., the section using the Anglo-Saxon rather than the Old Saxon speech.

Their relations to the population of the Cimbric Chersonese will form the subject of the next chapter.

FOOTNOTES:

[15] Zeuss ad vv. Rugiani, Warnabi.

[16] From the "Germania of Tacitus with Ethnological Notes."

[17] As a general rule, I believe that the combination -ing, represents a German, the combination -ign a Slavonic, word.

[18] In v. Jutae.

[19] See Chapter ix.



CHAPTER IX.

THE SAXONS—OF UPPER SAXONY—OF LOWER OR OLD SAXONY.— NORDALBINGIANS.—SAXONS OF PTOLEMY.—PRESENT AND ANCIENT POPULATIONS OF SLESWICK-HOLSTEIN.—NORTH-FRISIANS.—PROBABLE ORIGIN OF THE NAME SAXON.—THE LITTUS SAXONICUM.—SAXONES BAJOCASSINI.

The ethnologist of England has to deal with a specific section of those numerous Germans, who, in different degrees of relationship to each other, have been known, at different times, under the name of Saxon; a name which has by no means a uniform signification, a name which has been borne by every single division and subdivision of the Teutonic family, the Proper Goths alone excepted. At present, however, he only knows that the counties of Es-sex, Sus-sex, and Middle-sex are the localities of the East-Saxons, the South-Saxons, and the Middle-Saxons, respectively; that in the sixth and seventh centuries there was a Kingdom of Wes-sex, or the West-Saxons; that Angle and Saxon were nearly convertible terms; and that Anglo-Saxon is the name of the English Language in its oldest known stage. How these names came to be so nearly synonymous, or how certain south-eastern counties of England and a German Kingdom on the frontier of Bohemia, bear names so much alike as Sus-sex and Sax-ony, are questions which he has yet to solve.

The German Kingdom of Saxony may be disposed of first. It is chiefly in name that it has any relation to the Saxon parts of England. In language and blood there are numerous points of difference. The original population was Slavonic, which began to be displaced by Germans from the left bank of the Saale as early as the seventh century; possibly earlier. The language of these Slavonians was spoken in the neighbourhood of Leipsic as late as the fourteenth century, and at the present time two populations in Silesia and Lusatia still retain it—the Srbie, and Srskie. Sorabi, Milcieni, Siusli, and Lusicii, are the designations of these populations in the time of Charlemagne; and, earlier still, they were included in the great name of Semnones. It is only because they were conquered from that part of Germany which was called Saxonia or Saxenland, or else because numerous colonies of the previously reduced Saxons of the Lower Weser were planted on their territory, that their present name became attached to them. Slavonic in blood, and High German in language, the Saxons of the Upper Elbe, or the Saxons of Upper Saxony, are but remotely connected with the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons of Britain.

In Upper Saxony, at least, the name is not native.

Lower Saxony was the country on the Lower Elbe, and also of the Lower Weser, and until the extension of the name to the parts about Leipsic and Dresden, was simply known as Saxonia, or the Land of the Saxones; at least, the qualifying adjective Lower made no part of the designation. Saxony was what it was called by the Merovingian Franks, as well as the Carlovingians who succeeded them. Whether, however, any portion of the indigenae so called itself is uncertain. In the latter half of the eighth century it falls into three divisions, two of which are denoted by geographical or political designations, and one by the name of a native population.

The present district of West-phalia was one of them; its occupants being called West-falahi, West-falai, West-fali. These were the Saxons of the Rhine. Contrasted with these, the East-phalians (Ost-falai, Ost-falahi, Ost-fali, Oster-leudi, Austre-leudi, Aust-rasii), stretched towards the Elbe.

Between the two, descendants of the Angri-varii of Tacitus, and ancestors of the present Germans of the parts about Engern, lay the Angr-arii, or Ang-arii.

An unknown poet of the eighth century, but one whose sentiments indicate a Saxon origin, thus laments the degenerate state of his country:

"Generalis habet populos divisio ternos, Insignita quibus Saxonia floruit olim; Nomina nunc remanent virtus antiqua recessit. Denique Westfalos vocitant in parte manentes Occidua; quorum non longe terminus amne A Rheno distat? regionem solis ad ortum Inhabitant Osterleudi, quos nomine quidam Ostvalos alii vocitant, confinia quorum Infestant conjuncta suis gens perfida Sclavi. Inter predictos media regione morantur Angarii, populus Saxonum tertius; horum Patria Francorum terris sociatur ab Austro, Oceanoque eadem conjungitur ex Aquilone."

The conquest of Charlemagne is the reason for the language being thus querulous; for, unlike Upper Saxony, the Saxony of the Lower Weser, the Saxony of the Angrivarii, Westfalii, and Ostfalii, was truly the native land of an old and heroic German population, of a population which under Arminius had resisted Rome, of a population descended from the Chamavi, the Dulgubini, the Fosi, and the Cherusci of Tacitus, and, finally, the land of a population whose immediate and closest affinities were with the Angles of Hanover, and the Frisians of Friesland, rather than with the Chatti of Hesse, or the Franks of the Carlovingian dynasty.

How far are these the Saxons of Sus-sex, Es-sex, and Middle-sex? Only so far as they were Angles; and, except in the parts near the Elbe, they were other than Angle. This we know from their language, in which a Gospel Harmony, in alliterative metre, a fragmentary translation of the Psalms, and a heroic rhapsody called Hildubrant and Hathubrant have come down to us.

The parts where the dialects of these particular specimens were spoken are generally considered to have been the country about Essen, Cleves, and Munster; and, although closely allied to the Anglo-Saxon of England, the Westphalian Saxon is still a notably different form of speech. It was the Angle language in its southern variety, or (changing the expression) the Angle was the most northern form of it.

We have seen that Saxony and Saxon were no native terms on the Upper Elbe. Were they so in the present area—in Westphalia, Eastphalia, and the land of the Angrivarii? Tacitus knows no such name at all; and Ptolemy, the first writer in whom we find it, attaches it to a population of the Cimbric Peninsula. Afterwards, in the third and fourth centuries it is applied by the Roman and Byzantine writers in a general sense, to those maritime Germans whose piracies were the boldest, and whose descents upon the Provinces of Gaul and Britain were most dreaded. Yet nowhere can we find a definite tract of country upon which we can lay our finger and say this is the land of Saxons, saving only the insignificant district to the north of the Elbe, mentioned by Ptolemy. From the time of Honorius to that of Charlemagne, Saxo is, like Franc, a general term applied, indeed, to the maritime Germans rather than those of the interior, and to those of the north rather than the south, yet nowhere specifically attached to any definite population with a local habitation and a name to match. Whenever we come to detail, the Saxons of the Roman writers become Chamavi, Bructeri, Cherusci, Chauci, or Frisii; while the Frank details are those of the Ostphali, Westphali, and Angrivarii.

But the Frank writers under the Merovingian and Carlovingian dynasties are neither the only nor the earliest authors who speak of the Hanoverians and Westphalians under the general name of Saxon. The Christianized Angles of England used the same denomination; and, as early as the middle of the eighth century, Beda mentions the Fresones, Rugini, Dani, Huni, Antiqui Saxones, Boructuarii.—Hist. Eccles. 5, 10. Again—the Boructuarii, descendants of the nearly exterminated Bructeri of Tacitus, and occupants of the country on the Lower Lippe, are said to have been reduced by the nation of the Old Saxons (a gente Antiquorum Saxonum). In other records we find the epithet Antiqui translated by the native word eald (old) and the formation of the compound Altsaxones—Gregorius Papa universo populo provinciae Altsaxonum (vita St. Boniface). Lastly, the Anglo-Saxon writers of England use the term Eald-Seaxan (Old-Saxon). And this form is current amongst the scholars of the present time; who call the language of the Heliand, of the so-called Carolinian Psalms and of Hildebrant and Hathubrant, the Old-Saxon, in contradistinction to the Anglo-Saxon of Alfred, Caedmon, and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The authority of the Anglo-Saxons themselves justifies this compound; yet it is by no means unexceptionable. Many a writer has acquiesced in the notion that the Old-Saxon was neither more nor less than the Anglo-Saxon in a continental locality, and the Anglo-Saxon but the Old-Saxon transplanted into England. Again—the Old-Saxons have been considered as men who struck, as with a two-edged sword, at Britain on the one side, and at Upper Saxony on the other, so that the Saxons of Leipsic and the Saxons of London are common daughters of one parent—the Saxons of Westphalia.

The exact relations, however, to the Old-Saxons and the Anglo-Saxons seem to have been as follows:—

The so-called Old-Saxon is the old Westphalian

The so-called Anglo-Saxon the old Hanoverian population.

Their languages were sufficient alike to be mutually intelligible, and after the conversion of the Angles of England, who became Christianized about A.D. 600, the extension of their own creed to the still Pagan Saxons of the Continent became one of the great duties to the bishops and missionaries of Britain; who, although themselves of Hanoverian rather than Westphalian extraction, looked upon the whole stock at large as their parentage, and called their cousins (so to say) in Westphalia, and their brothers in Hanover, by the collective term Old-Saxon.

All the Angles, then, of the Saxonia of the Frank and British writers of the eighth century were Saxon, though all the Saxons were not Angle.

Eastphalia, the division which must have been the most Angle, reached as far as the Elbe.

But there was, also, a Saxony beyond Eastphalia, a Saxony beyond the Elbe; the country of the Saxones Transalbiani; other names for its occupants being Nord-albingi (men to the north of the Elbe), and Nord-leudi (North people). The poet already quoted, writes—

Saxonum populus quidam, quos claudit ab Austro Albis sejunctim positos Aquilonis ad axem. Hos Nordalbingos patrio sermone vocamus.

In this case as before, Saxon is a generic rather than a particular name. The facts that prove this give us also the geographical position of the Nordalbingians. They fell into three divisions:

1. The Thiedmarsi, Thiatmarsgi, or Ditmarshers, whose capital was Meldorp—primi ad Oceanum Thiatmarsgi, et eorum ecclesia Mildindorp

2. The Holsati, Holtzati, or Holtsaetan, from whom the present Duchy of Holstein takes its name—dicti a sylvis, quas incolunt.[20] The river Sturia separated the Holsatians from—

3. The Stormarii, or people of Stormar; of whom Hamburg was the capital—Adam Bremens: Hist. Eccles. c. 61.

These are the Nordalbingians of the eighth century. Before we consider their relations to the Westphalian and Hanoverian Saxons the details of the present ethnology of the Cimbric Peninsula are necessary. At the present moment Holstein, Stormar, and Ditmarsh are Low German, or Platt-Deutsch, districts; the High German being taught in the schools much as English is taught in the Scotch Highlands. Eydersted also is Low German, and so are the southern and eastern parts of Sleswick. Not so, however, the western. Facing the Atlantic, we find an interesting population, isolated in locality, and definitely stamped with old and original characteristics. They are as different from the Low Germans on the one side as the Dutch are from the English; and they are as little like the Danes on the other. They are somewhat bigger and stronger than either; at least both Danes and Germans may be found who own to their being bigger if not better. They shew, too, a greater proportion of blue eyes and flaxen locks; though these are common enough on all sides. That breadth of frame out of which has arisen the epithet Dutch-built, is here seen in its full development; with a sevenfold shield of thick woollen petticoats to set it of. So that there are characteristics, both of dress and figure, which sufficiently distinguish the North-Frisian of Sleswick from the Dane on one side and the German on the other.

It is only, however, in the more inaccessible parts of their country that the differentiae of dress rise to the dignity of a separate and independent costume. They do so, however, in some of those small islands which lie off the coast of Sleswick; three of which are supposed to have been the three islands of the Saxons, in the second and third centuries. A party, which the writer fell in with, from Foehr, were all dressed alike, all in black, all in woollen, with capes over the heads instead of bonnets. "Those," says the driver, who was himself half Dane and half German, "are from Foehr. They have been to Flensburg to see one of their relations. He is a sailor. They are all sailors in Foehr. Some of them, perhaps, smugglers—they all dress so—I can't speak to them—my brother can—he has been in England, and an Englishman can talk to them—they talk half Danish and half Platt-Deutsch, and half English—more than half. They were Englishmen once—a good sort of people—took no part in the war—did not much care for the Danes, though the Danes took pains to persuade them—so did the Germans, but they did not much care for the Germans either—strong men—good soldiers—good sailors—Englishmen, but not like the Englishmen I've seen myself. My brother's been in London and America, and can talk with them."

What is thus said about their English-hood is commonly believed by the Danes and Germans of the Frisian localities. They are English in some way or other, though how no one knows exactly. And many learned men hold the same view. It is a half-truth. They are more English, and, at the same time, more Dutch, than any of their neighbours; more so than either Dane or German, but for all that they are something that is neither English nor Dutch. They are Frisians of the same stock as the Frisians of Friesland, whom they resemble in form, and dress, and manners, and speech, and temper, and history. But from the Frisians of the south they have been cut off for many centuries, partly by the hand of man, partly by the powers of Nature, partly by invasions from Germans, and partly by overwhelming inbreaks of the Ocean. There is a Frisian country in the south (the present Province of Friesland), and there is a Frisian country in the north (the tract which we are speaking of); and these are parts of the terra firma. But the Friesland that lay between the two is lost—lost, though we know where it is. It is at the bottom of the sea: forfeited, like the lava-stricken plains of Sicily, of Campania, and of Iceland, in the great game of Man against Nature—for it is not everywhere that Man has been the winner. The war of the Frisians against the sea has been the war not of the Titans against Jove, but of the Amphibii against Neptune.

Every Frisian—Friese as he calls himself—is an agriculturist, and it is only in the villages that the Frisian tongue is spoken. In the towns of Ripe, Bredsted, and Husum, small as they are, there is nothing but Danish and German. But in all the little hamlets between, the well-built old-fashioned farm-houses, with gable-ends of vast breadth, and massive thatched roofs that make two-thirds of the height of the house, and a stork's nest on the chimney, and a cow-house at the end, are Frisian; and, if you can overhear what they say amongst themselves, you find that, without being English it is somewhat like it. Woman is the word which sounds strangest to both the German and the Dane, and, it is generally the first instance given of the peculiarity of the Frisian language. "Why can't they speak properly, and say Kone?" says the Dane. "Weib is the right word," says the German. "Who ever says woman?" cry both. The language has not been reduced to writing; indeed, the little that has been done with it is highly discreditable to the Sleswick-Holstein Church Establishment. It is spoken by upwards of thirty thousand individuals; and when we remember that the whole population of Denmark is less than that of London and the suburbs, we see at once that a large proportion of it has been less heeded in respect to its spiritualities than the Gaels and Welsh of Great Britain.

You may distinguish a Frisian parish as the Eton grammar distinguishes nouns of the neuter gender. It is omne quod exit in -um; for so end nine out of ten of the Frisian villages. Now, throughout the whole length and breadth of the Brekkelums, and Stadums, &c., that lie along the coast, from Ripe north to Husum south, there is not one church service that is performed in Frisian, or half-a-dozen priests who could perform it. No fraction of the Liturgy is native; nor has it ever been so. Danish there is, and German there is; German, too, of two kinds—High and Low. The High German is taught in the schools, and that well; so well, that nowhere are the answers of the little children more easily understood by such travellers as are not over strong in their language than in the Friese country. Nevertheless, it is but a well-taught lesson; and by no means excuses the neglect of the native idiom.

As things are at present, this is, perhaps, all for the best. The complaint lies against the original neglect of the Frisian; and its gravamen is the sad tale it so silently tells of previous centralization—by which is meant arbitrary and unjustifiable oppression; for at no distant time back, the Frisians must have formed a very considerable proportion of the Sleswickers, and, at the beginning of the Historical period, the majority. And yet it was not thought of Christianizing them through their own tongue; a tongue which, because it has never been systematically reduced to writing, conscientious clergymen say is incapable of being written. As if the Frisian of Friesland, the Frisian of the south, had not been the language of law and poetry for more than eight hundred years, and, as if it were a bit harder to write, or print, the northern dialect of the same, than it was for Scotland to have a literature. For the tongue is no growth of yesterday. It may, possibly, be as much older as any other tongue of the Peninsula as the Welsh is older than the English. That it is older than some of them is certain. Amateur investigators of it there are, of course. Outzen, the pastor of Brekkelum, was the father of them; and honourable mention is due to the present clergyman in Hacksted. As a general rule, however, the religion of Sleswick has been centralized.

The literature, as far as it has been collected, consists of a wedding-song of the fifteenth century, to be found in Camerarius, with addition of, perhaps, a dozen such morceaux as the following approaches to song, epigram, and ballad, respectively.

1

Laet foammen kom ins jordt to meh, Ik hev en blanken daaler to deh, Di vael ik deh vel zjoenke, Dae sjaellt du beh meh tjoenke, Laet foammen, &c.

2

Ik[21] vael for tusend daaler ej Dat ik het haad of vaas, Den luep ik med den rump ombej En voest ekj vaer ik var.

3

DER FREYER VOM HOLSTEIN.

Diar kam en skep bi Sudher Sioee Me tri jung Fruers oen di Floot. Hokken wiar di foerdeorst? Dit wiar Peter Rothgrun. Hud saeaet hi sin spooren? Fuar Hennerk Jerkens dueuer. Hokken kam toe Dueuer? Marrike sallef, Me Kruek en Bekker oen di jen hundh, En gulde Ring aur di udher hundh. Jue noeoedhight hoem en sin Hinghst in, Doed di Hingst Haaver und Peter wuen. Toonkh Gott fuar des gud dei. Al di Brid end bridmaaner of wei, Butolter Marri en Peter alluening! Jue look hoem uen to Kest En wildh hoem nimmer muar mest.

Translated.

1.

Little woman come in the yard to me, I have a white dollar for thee; I will give it you So that you think of me.

2.

I would not for a thousand dollars, That my head were off, Then should I run with my trunk, And know (wiss) not where I was.

3.

There came a ship by the South Sea, With three young wooers on the flood; Who was the first? That was Peter Rothgrun. Where set he his tracts? For Hennerk Jerken's door. Who came to door? Mary-kin herself, With a pitcher (crock) and beaker in the one hand, A gold ring on the other hand. She pressed him and his horse (to come) in, Gave the horse oats and Peter wine. Thank God for this good day! All the brides and bridesmen out of the way! Except Mary and Peter alone. She locked him up in her box, And never would miss him more.

This was what became of Peter; who is, perhaps, the most legendary and heroic of the North-Frisians—so that the development in this line lies within a small compass.

The Isle of Nordstand is Low German (Platt-Deutsch) in language, but in blood and pedigree is Frisian; as, indeed, it was in speech up to A.D. 1610. Then came a great inundation, which destroyed half the cattle of the island, and beggared its inhabitants; who were removed by their hard-hearted lord the Count of Gottorp to the continent, and replaced by Low Germans.

The island of Pelvorm is in the same category with Nordstand, the population being essentially Frisian though the Platt-Deutsch form of speech has replaced the native dialect; which was spoken in both islands A.D. 1639.

Amrom partially preserves it; though the Frisian character is less marked than in—

Foehr.—Here all the names which in English would end in -ham, in High German in -heim, in Low German in -hem, and in Danish in -by (as Threking-ham, Mann-heim, Arn-hem, Wis-by) take the form in -um, the vowel being changed into u-, and the h- being omitted, as Duns-um, Utters-um, Midl-um, &c.—and this is a sure sign of Frisian occupancy. In Foehr, too, the language is still current.

Of Sylt, the southern part has its names in the Frisian form; as Horn-um, Mors-um, &c. The northern half, however, is Danish, and the villages end in -by.

Such is the present area of North-Frisians; which we shall see lies north of that of the Nordalbingians.

Nevertheless, the present writer believes that, either there was no difference whatever between the Angles and the Saxons, or that the Saxons were North-Frisians.

Let us, for a while, allow the name Saxon to be so little conclusive as to the ethnological position of these same Nordalbingians as to leave the question open.

The first fact that meets us is the existence of the Frisians of Holland not only south of the Elbe but south of Weser.

East Friesland, as its name shews, is Frisian also; although, with a few exceptional localities in the very fenny districts, the language has been replaced by the German.

Notwithstanding, too, its sanctity in the eyes of the Angle worshipper of the Goddess Hertha, Heligoland at the beginning of the Historical period was not exactly Angle. It was what the opposite coast was—Frisian. And Oldenburg was Frisian as well; indeed the whole area occupied by the two great nations of antiquity—the Frisii and Chauci—was neither Old-Saxon nor Angle-Saxon. It differed from each rather more than they differed from each other, and, accordingly, constituted a separate variety of the German tongue.

So that there were, and are, two Frisian areas, one extending no farther north than the Elbe, and the other extending no farther south than the Eyder.

And between these two lies that of the Nordalbingians. This alone is prima facie evidence of their being Frisian; for we should certainly argue that if Norfolk and Essex were English, Suffolk was English also. Of course, it might not be so: as intrusion and displacement might have taken place; but intrusion and displacement are not to be too lightly and gratuitously assumed. The Frisian of Oldenburg can be traced up to the Elbe, and the Frisian of Sleswick can be followed down to the Eyder.

Eydersted, however, and Holstein are Low German. Were they always so? Of Eydersted, Jacob Sax, himself a Low German of the district, writes, A.D. 1610, that "the inhabitants besides the Saxon, use their own extraordinary natural speech, which is the same as the East and West Frisian."

For Ditmarsh the evidence is inconclusive. But one or two names end in -um.

As early as A.D. 1452 the following inscription which was found on a font in Pelvorm was un-intelligible to the natives of Ditmarsh, who carried it off—"disse hirren Doepe de have wi thoen ewigen Ohnthonken mage lete, da schollen oesse Berrne in kressent warde"="this here dip (font) we have let be made as an everlasting remembrance: there shall our bairns be christened in it." Clemens translates this into the present Frisian of Amrom, which runs thus—"thas hirr doep di ha wi tun iwagen Unthonken mage leat, thiar skell ues Biarner un krassent wurd." Still, Clemens thinks that the dress and domestic utensils of the present Ditmarshers are more Frisian than Platt-Deutsch. Now whatever the ancient tongue of Ditmarsh may have been, it was not the present Platt-Deutsch; yet, if it were Frisian, it had become obsolete before A.D. 1452.

That we are justified in assuming an original continuity between the North and South Frisian areas may readily be admitted. There are, of course, reasonable objections against it—the want of proof of Frisian character of the language of Ditmarsh being the chief. Still, the principle which would lead us to predicate of Suffolk what we had previously predicated of Norfolk and Essex, induces us to do the same with the district in question, and to argue that if Eydersted, to the North, and the parts between Bremen and Cuxhaven, to the South, were Frisian, Ditmarsh, which lay between them, was Frisian also.

But this may have been the case without the Nordalbingians being Frisian; since an Angle movement, northward and westward, may easily have taken place in the sixth, seventh, or eighth centuries; in which case the Stormarii, Holtsati, and Ditmarsi were Angle; intrusive, non-indigenous, and, perhaps, of mixed blood—but still Angle.

I am not prepared, however, to go further at present upon this point than to a repetition of a previous statement, viz.: that if the Saxons of Anglo-Saxon England were other than Angles under a different name, they were North-Frisians.

Saxony and Saxon we have seen to be, for the most part, general names for certain populations of considerable magnitude, populations which when investigated in detail have been Ostphali, Angrarii, Stormarii, &c., &c. Ptolemy alone assigns to the word a specific power, and in Ptolemy alone is the country of the Saxons the definite circumscribed area of a special population. Ptolemy, as has been already shewn, places the Saxons on the neck of the Chersonese to the north of the Chauci of the Elbe, and to the East of the Sigulones—there or thereabouts in Stormar. He also gives them three of the islands off the coasts of Holstein and Sleswick; though it is uncertain and unimportant which three he means. Hence, the Saxons of Ptolemy, truly Nord-albingian, coincide in locality with the subsequent Stormarii, the Sigulones being similarly related to the Holsatians. Yet neither the Saxones nor the Sigulones may have been the ancestors to their respective successors, any more than the Durotriges, or Iceni of England were the ancestors to the Anglo-Saxons of Dorsetshire and Norfolk.

Before this point comes under consideration we must ask a question already suggested as to the Saxons of the ninth century. Were they Frisians or Angles?

Strongly impressed with the belief that no third division of the Saxon section of the Germans beyond that represented by the Angles of Hanover and the Old Saxons of Westphalia can be shewn to have existed or need be assumed, I have thus limited the problem, although the third question as to the probability of their having been something different from either may be raised. I also believe that the Frisians reached Sleswick by an extension of their frontier, this being the reason why the original continuity of their area is assumed,—at the same time admitting the possibility of their having come by sea, in which case no such continuity is necessary. What we find on the Eyder, and also on the Elbe may fairly be supposed to have once been discoverable in the intermediate country.

Assuming, then, an original continuity of the Frisian area from Sleswick to the Elbe anterior to the conquest of Ditmarsh and Holsatia by the present Low German occupants to be a fair inference from the present distribution of the North Frisians, and the history of their known and recorded displacements, we may ask how far it follows that this displacement was effected by the ancestors of the present Holsteiners; in other words, how far it is certain that the present Holsteiners succeeded immediately to the Frisians. There is a question here; since the continuity may have been broken by a population which was itself broken-up in its turn. It may have been broken by Angle inroads even as early as the time of Tacitus. If so, the order of succession would not be 1. Frisian, 2. Low German, but 1. Frisian, 2. Angle or Anglo-Saxon, 3. Low German.

The Holsati, Stormarii, and Ditmarsi were, most probably, Angle. That they were not the ancestors of the present Low-Dutch is nearly certain. The date is too early for this. It was not till some time after the death of Charlemagne that the spread of that section of the German family reached Holstein. That they were not Frisian is less certain, but it is inferred from the manner in which they are mentioned by the native poet already quoted; who, if he had considered the Frisians to have been sufficiently Saxon to pass under that denomination, would have carried his Nordalbingian Saxony as far as the most northern boundary of the North-Frisians.

The evidence, then, is in favour of the Nordalbingians having been Anglo-Saxon in the ninth century, and that under the name Stormarii, Holsati, and Ditmarsi. Were they equally so in the third, i.e., when Ptolemy wrote, and when the names under which he noticed them were Saxones and Sigulones? I should not like to say this. The encroachment upon the Frisian area—the continuity being assumed—may not have begun thus early. Nay, even the northward extension of the Frisian area may not have begun. I should not even like to say positively that the Saxons of Ptolemy were German at all. They may have been Slavonians—a continuation of the Wagrian and Polabic populations of Eastern Holstein and Lauenburg.

To say, too, that Ptolemy's term Saxon was a native name would be hazardous. We can only say that when we get definite information respecting the districts to which it applied it was not so. It was no Nordalbingian name to the Stormarians, no Nordalbingian name to the Holsatians, no Nordalbingian name to the men of Ditmarsh, no Nordalbingian name to any of the islanders. It was no native name with any specific import at all. It was a general name applied to the countries in question, as it was to many others besides; and it was the Franks who applied it. It had been specific once; but, when it was so, no one knew who bore it, or who gave it. It may have been Slavonic applied to Slavonians, or German applied to Germans, or German applied to Slavonians, or Slavonic applied to Germans. Which was it?

Who bore it? In the first instance the occupants of the northern bank of the Elbe, and some of the islands of the coast of Holstein and Sleswick; men of the wooded districts of Holt-satia, whose timber gave them the means of building ships, and whose situation on the coast developed the habit of using them to the annoyance of their neighbours. This is all that can be said.

Who spread it abroad? The Romans first, the Franks afterwards. They it was who called by the name of Saxon men who never so called themselves, e.g., the Angrivarians, the Westphalians, the Saxons of Upper Saxony.

How did the Romans get it? From the Kelts of Gaul and Britain.

How came the Kelts by it? The usual answer to this: that they got it from the Saxons themselves, the Saxons being, of course, Germans. But the main object of the present chapter has been to shew the extremely unsatisfactory nature of the evidence of any Germans having so called themselves. Assuredly, if they stopped at the present point, the reasons for believing the name to have been native would be eminently unsatisfactory. The best fact would be in the language of Beda, who, as we have seen, called the Westphalians Old-Saxons. But Beda often allowed himself to use the language of his authorities, most of whom wrote in Latin, and some of whom were Gauls or Britons.

But four fresh ones can be added—

1. There is the element -sex in the names Es-sex, Wes-sex, Sus-sex, and Middle-sex.

2. The name Sax-neot was that of a deity, whom the Old Saxons, on their conversion to Christianity, were compelled to foreswear. This gives us the likelihood of its being the name of an eponymus.

3. The story about nime eowre Seaxas=take your daggers, and the deduction from it, that Saxons meant dagger-men, is of no great weight; with the present writer, at least. Still, as far as it goes, it is something.

4. The Finlanders call the Germans Saxon.

The necessity of getting as far as we can into the obscure problems connected with this word is urgent. One part of England is more evidently Saxon than another; at least, it bears certain outward and visible signs of Saxonism which are wanting elsewhere. What are we to say to this? That Es-sex is Saxon, and, as Saxon, something notably different from Suffolk which is Angle? It may have been so; yet the minutest ethnology ever applied has failed in detecting the differentiae. They have, indeed, been assumed, and an unduly broad distinction between the dialect of Angle and the dialects of Saxon origin has been drawn; but the distinction is unreal. Angle Northumberland and Saxon Sussex differ from each other, not because they are Angle and Saxon, but because they are northern and southern counties. And so on throughout. The difference between Angle and Saxon Britain has ever been assumed to be real, whereas it may be but nominal.

Let us suppose it to be the latter, and Saxon to have been the British name of the Angle—nothing more. What do names like Sus-sex, &c., indicate? Not that the population was less Angle than elsewhere, but that it was more Roman or British—an important distinction.

Again—certain Frisians are stated by Procopius to have dwelt in Britain; though Beda makes no mention of them. Assume, however, that the Saxons of the latter writer were the Frisians of the former, and all is plain and clear. But, then, they should be more unlike the Angles than they can be shewn to have been.

But why refine upon these points at all? Why, when we admit the Nordalbingians to have been Angle, demur to their having called themselves Saxons? I do this because I cannot get over the fact of the king who first decreed that his kingdom should be called Angle-land having been no Angle but a West-Saxon. That he should give the native German name precedence over the Roman and Keltic is likely; but that, by calling himself and his immediate subjects Saxon, he should change the name to Angle, is as unlikely as that a King of Prussia should propose that all Germany should be known as Austria. Of course, if the evidence in favour of the word Saxon being native was of a certain degree of cogency, we must take the preceding improbability as we find it; but no such cogent evidence can be found. Saxon is always a name that some one may give to some one else, never one that he necessarily bears himself.

Were the conquerors, then, of Sus-sex, &c., other than Nordalbingian? I do not say this. I only say that the evidence of their coming from the special district of Holstein does not lie in their name. Germans from the south of the Elbe would—according to the preceding hypothesis—have been equally Saxon in the eyes of the degenerate Romans and the corrupted Britons whom they conquered.

We are still dealing with the origin of the name. The Franks and Romans diffused and generalized, the Kelts suggested, it. That the name was Keltic is undenied and undeniable. The Welsh and Gaels know us to the present moment as Saxons, and not as Englishmen. The only doubt has been as to how far it was exclusively Keltic—i.e., non-Germanic.

Will the supposition of its being Keltic account for all the facts connected with it? No. It will not account for the Finlanders using it. They, like the Kelts, call the Germans Saxon. This, then, is a fresh condition to be satisfied. The hypothesis which does this is, that the name Saxo was applied by the Slavonians of the Baltic as well as by Kelts of the coasts of Gaul and Britain to the pirates of the neck of the Chersonese,—the Slavonic designation being adopted by the Finlanders just as the Keltic was by the Romans.

And this supplies an argument in favour of the name having been native, since a little consideration will shew that, when two different nations speak of a third by the same name, the prima facie evidence is in favour of the population to whom it is applied by their neighbours applying it to themselves also.

Yet this is no proof of its being German: nor yet of the men of Wes-sex, &c., being Nordalbingian. All that we get from the British counties ending in -sex is, that in certain parts of the island, the British name for certain German pirates prevailed over the native, whereas, in others, the native prevailed over the British.

If this be but a trifling conclusion in respect to its positive results, it is one of some negative value; inasmuch, as when we have shewn that Angle and Saxon are, to a great extent, the same names in different languages, we have rid ourselves of the imaginary necessity of investigating such imaginary differences as the difference of name, at the first view, suggests. We have also ascertained the historical import of the spread of the names Saxon and Saxony. They spread, not because certain Saxons originating in a district no bigger than the county of Rutland, bodily took possession of vast tracts of country in Germany, Britain, and Gaul, but because a great number of Germans were called by the name of a small tribe, just as the Hellenes of Thessaly, Attica, and Peloponnesus were called by the Romans, Greeks. The true Graeci were a tribe of dimensions nearly as small in respect to the Hellenes at large as the Saxons of Ptolemy were to the Germans in general (perhaps, indeed, they were not Hellenic at all); yet it was the Graeci whom the Romans identified with the Hellenes. No one, however, believes that the Graeci extended themselves to the extent of the term Graecia. On the contrary, every one admits that it was only the import of the name which became enlarged. And this I believe to have been the case with the word Saxon.

Saxon, then, like Greek, was a general name. Nevertheless, they were specific Saxons just as they were specific Graeci. These were the Saxons of Ptolemy. When that author wrote, I believe them to have been either Frisian or Slavonians, without saying which—Frisians, if we look for their affinities to the south of the Elbe; Slavonians, if we seek them to the east of the Bille.

Between the time of Ptolemy and the end of the fourth century, the name grew into importance, and became a name of terror to the Romans, Gauls, and Britons, who applied it to the northern Germans of the sea-board in general.

The spread of the name along the sea-coast began in the fourth century. Claudian alludes to a naval victory over them

——"maduerunt Saxone fuso Orcades."

This gives them a robbing-ground as far north as the Orkneys.

Ammianus notices their descent upon Gaul; and writes that in the reign of Valentinian "Gallicanos vero tractus Franci et Saxones iisdem confines, quo quisque erumpere potuit, terra vel mari, praedis acerbis incendiisque et captivorum funeribus hominum violabant."

Again—"Valentinianus Saxones, gentem in Oceani litoribus et paludibus inviis sitam, virtute et agilitate terribilem, periculosam Romanis finibus, eruptionem magna mole meditantes, in ipsis Francorum finibus oppressit." Oros. 7, 32.

A victory over the Saxones at Deuso (Deutz, opposite Cologne) is referred by more than one of the later writers to the same reign.

The banks of the Loire are their next quarters, Anjou being their chief locality, and their great captain bearing a name of which the Latin form was Adovacrius—"igitur Childericus Aurelianis pugnas egit: Adovacrius vero cum Saxonibus Andegavos venit ... (Aegidio) defuncto Adovacrius de Andegavo et aliis locis obsides accepit ... Veniente vero Adovacrio Andegavis, Childericus rex sequenti die advenit; interemtoque Paulo Comite, civitatem obtinuit." Greg. Tur. 2, 18; "his itaque gestis, inter Saxones atque Romanos bellum gestum est, sed Saxones terga vertentes multos de suis, Romanis insequentibus, gladio reliquerunt: insulae eorum cum multo populo interemto a Francis captae atque subversae sunt ... Adovacrius cum Childerico foedus iniit, Alamannosque subjugarunt." id. 2, 19.

Of Saxons who joined the Lombards in the invasion of Italy we also hear from the same author—"Post haec Saxones qui cum Langobardis in Italiam venerant, iterum prorumpunt in Gallias, ... scilicet ut a Sigiberto rege collecti in loco, unde egressi fuerant, stabilirentur ... Hi vero ad Sigibertum regem transeuntes, in locum, unde prius egressi fuerant, stabiliti sunt." 4, 43.

The best measure, however, of the Saxon piracies is to be found in two terms, each of which has always commanded the attention of investigators—the names Saxones Bajocassini and Littus Saxonicum.

1. Saxones Bajocassini or the Saxons of Bayeux are mentioned under that name by Gregory of Tours (Sec.. 27. 10. 9); and in a charter of Charles the Bald there is the notice of a pagus in the same district called Ot linguae. Zeuss reasonably suggests, as an emended reading, Otlinga; in which case we have one of the numerous equivalents of those local names which, in the modern English, end in -ing, and in the Anglo-Saxon, in -ingas—Palling, Notting, Horbling, Billing—AEsclingas, Gillingas, &c., &c. Who were these? When we hear of Bayeux again, i.e., in the tenth century, it is alluded to as the most Scandinavian or Norse town of Normandy, the only one indeed where the Norse language and customs were decidedly retained. These Saxons, then, may have been Norsemen. But they may equally easily have been Angles, or Frisians; since a Norse conquest in the tenth is perfectly compatible with a German in the fifth century; and, in Britain, such was actually the case.

2. The Littus Saxonicum is a term in the Notitia Dignitatum, which appears in three places. In chapter xxxvi, where we have the details of the sea-coast of Gaul, under the denomination of the Tractus Armoricanus, the first officer—

[Sec.. 1.] Sub dispositione viri spectabilis Ducis Tractus Armoricani et Nervicani—

Is—

[A] [1.] Tribunus Cohortis Primae Novae Armoricae Grannona in Littore Saxonico.

b. CAP. xxxvii. [Sec.. 1.] Sub Dispositione viri spectabilis Ducis Belgicae Secundae—

[1.] Equites Dalmatae Marcis in Littore Saxonico.

c. These but give us a Littus Saxonicum in Gaul. The 25th chapter supplies one for Britain, and that with considerable detail—

[Sec.. 1.] Sub dispositione viri spectabilis comitis Littoris Saxonici per Britanniam:

[1.] Praepositus Numeri Fortensium Othonae.

[2.] Praepositus Militum Tungricanorum Dubris, &c.

It is not necessary to go through the detail. It is sufficient to say that we find stations at the following undoubted localities—Brancaster, Yarmouth, Reculvers, Richborough, Dover, Lymne, and the mouth of the Adur. Putting this together it is safe to say that the whole line of coast from the Wash to the Southampton water was, in the reign of Honorius, if not earlier, a Littus Saxonicum—whatever may have been the import of that term.

Looking over the preceding details we find how hazardous it would be to predicate concerning the several populations designated as Saxons any single statement beyond that of their having been pirates from the north-German sea-board. Some may have been Angle, some Frisian, some Platt-Deutsch, some Scandinavian. Nay, the name AdovacriusOdoacerOttocar, may have belonged to a Slavonian captain, whatever may have been the country of the crew.

FOOTNOTES:

[20] The compound is of the same kind with the English words Dor-set, and Somer-set, i.e., from the Anglo-Saxon saetan=settlers.

[21] This is so mixed up with Danish as scarcely to be Frisian.



CHAPTER X.

THE ANGLES OF GERMANY—IMPERFECT RECONSTRUCTION OF THEIR HISTORY— THEIR HEROIC AGE.—BEOWULF.—CONQUEST OF ANGLEN.—ANECDOTE FROM PROCOPIUS.—THEIR REDUCTION UNDER THE CARLOVINGIAN DYNASTY.—THE ANGLES OF THURINGIA.

As the previous chapter has shewn that a Saxon population, considered simply as such, and without reference to the particular fact of its date, locality, and similar important circumstances, may be in any or no ethnological relation to the Angle (i.e., absolutely Angle under a Keltic name, or, on the other hand, as little Angle as the Slavonians), the attempt at the reconstruction of the history of all the Germanic conquerors of Britain during the period of their occupation of Germany, although, perhaps, not impracticable as the subject of a special investigation, and as the matter of an elaborate monograph, must, in a sketch like the present, be limited to that of the unequivocal and undoubted Angles—this meaning those who are not only Angle in reality, but whose actions are described under the name of Angle. It is only when this is the case that we can be sure of our men. A Saxon, as aforesaid, may be anything, provided he be but a pirate. The greater part, too, of the actions of the Saxons can be shewn to have been effected by the Old-Saxons rather than the Anglo-Saxons, and even by Franks and Frisians. Indeed, it is not too much to assert that, with the exception of the invasion of Britain and Sleswick, there is no recorded act of any Saxon population which cannot be more fairly attributed to some of the other allied sections of the Germanic stock than to the Angle. That this was the case with the Saxons of the Gallic frontier—the Saxons that, in the earlier periods of their history, came into collision with Julian, and, in the later ones, with Charlemagne, is undoubted; and, that it was also the case with the earlier Saxon pirates of the coasts of Gaul and Britain is likely—though I do not press this point. What I am considering now is the unequivocal history of the Angles of Germany under their own proper name. I have said that it is fragmentary. It is more than this. The fragments themselves are heterogeneous.

An Englishman, representing as he does the insular Angles, and looking to the part that they have played in the world, may, with either pride or regret, as the case may be, say that on their native soil of Germany, the Angle history is next to a non-entity. It is like that of the Majiars of Asia. What our ancestors did at home before they became the Englishmen of Great Britain may have been of any amount of importance, or, of any amount of insignificance. They were deeds without a record. As to our own collateral relations, they suffered rather than acted. They have, indeed, a history, but it is a history neither full nor glorious.

The poem of Beowulf, an extract from Beda, and a similar extract from Procopius constitute the notices that continue the history—if so it can be called—of the Angles from the time of Ptolemy to the beginning of the seventh century, and even these are doubtful in their interpretation.

Beowulf is a poem in the Anglo-Saxon language, and, in the alliterative metre of the Anglo-Saxon compositions in general, of unknown date and authorship, of upwards of six thousand lines; a poem which, although preserved in England, and in a form adapted to English hearers subsequent to the conversion of our island to Christianity, is essentially pagan and German—pagan in respect to its superstitions and machinery, and German in respect to the scene of action; for in Germany, and not in England, are all its actions achieved. This being the case, it cannot but tell us something of the ancient Germans; and, as the hero is an Angle, the ancient Germans of whom this something is told, are, more or less, the Angle ancestors of the English in their original continental home.

Much more than this it is unsafe to say. The composition itself is a poem—a romance—an epic. This is against the historical value of its subject-matter. Then, it has taken its present form under the hands of a Christian. This is against its value as cotemporaneous evidence. Thirdly, it has the character, to no small extent, not only of a rhapsody, but of a rhapsody of which the elements are heterogeneous. This is against its value as a piece of Anglicism.

Nick and Grendel—the old Nick of the present English, and Grendel—probably, the Geruthus of Saxo Grammaticus—are the chief supernaturals, demons of the swamp and fen. These best localize the legends in which they appear; for which most parts of Hanover and the Cimbric Chersonesus suit indifferently, the Frisian portions pre-eminently, well. The more exalted mythology of Woden, Thor, and Balder, so generally considered to have been all-pervading in Germany and Scandinavia, finds no place in Beowulf. Our Devil and the Devil's Dam are rough analogues of Nick and Grendel.

Heort is the great palatial hall of Hroethgar, the kingly personage of the poem, Beowulf being the hero. It stands in some part of the Cimbric Chersonese. Seeing in this, as a word, only another form of the name Hartz, I also see in it a proof of the rhapsodical character of the poem, and the heterogeneous character of its elements.

An episode, of which Sigmund is the hero, gives us a narrative in which we have, in an altered form, and an obscure outline, a portion of the Nibelungenlied cycle—an element from the Rhine.

Another gives us an adventure apparently without a hero, or rather an adventure whose hero has no proper name, but only a designating adjective. Considering the indistinct shape which all legends take in Beowulf, I cannot but think that the individual whose name stands in the text as Stearc heart, and in the translation as Strong-heart, is neither more nor less than the great Danish hero Starcather, of a not unlike legend in Saxo.

Danes, Geats, Frisians, and Sweas (Swedes), are the populations with whom the Angles are most brought in contact; and the following extract shews the manner of their mention. The parties, here, are Jutish Danes and Frisians.

1. "Hroethgar's poet after the mead-bench must excite joy in the hall, concerning Finn's descendants, when the expedition came upon them; Healfdene's hero, Hnaef the Scylding, was doomed to fall in Friesland. Hildeburh had at least no cause to praise the fidelity of the Jutes; guiltlessly was she deprived at the war-game of her beloved sons and brothers; one after another they fell wounded with javelins; that was a mournful lady. Not in vain did Hoce's daughter mourn their death, after morning came, when she under the heaven might behold the slaughterer of her son, where he before possessed the most of earthly joys: war took away all Finn's thanes, except only a few, so that he might not on the place of meeting gain any thing by fighting against Hengest, nor defend in war his wretched remnant against the king's thane; but they offered him conditions, that they would give up to him entirely a second palace, a hall, and throne, so that they should halve the power with the sons of the Jutes, and at the gifts of treasure every day Folcwalda's son should honour the Danes, the troops of Hengest should serve them with rings, with hoarded treasures of solid gold, even as much as he would furnish the race of Frisians in the beer-hall. There they confirmed on both sides a fast treaty of peace. Finn strongly, undisputingly, engaged by oath to Hengest, that he would graciously maintain the poor survivors according to the judgment of his Witan, that there no man, either by word or work, should break the peace, nor through hostile machinations ever recall the quarrel, although they, deprived of their prince, must follow the slaughterer of him that gave them rings, since they were so compelled: if, then, any one of the Frisians with insolent speech should make allusion to the deadly feud, that then the edge of the sword should avenge it. The oath was completed, and heaped up gold was borne from the hoard of the warlike Scyldings: the best of warriors was ready upon the pile; at the pile was easy to be seen the mail-shirt coloured with gore, the hog of gold, the boar hard as iron, many a noble crippled with wounds: some fell upon the dead. Then at Hnaef's pile Hildeburh commanded her own son to be involved in flames, to burn his body, and to place him on the pile, wretchedly upon his shoulder the lady mourned; she lamented with songs; the warrior mounted the pile; the greatest of death-fires whirled; the welkin sounded before the mound; the mail-hoods melted; the gates of the wounds burst open; the loathly bite of the body, when the blood sprang forth; the flame, greediest of spirits, devoured all those whom there death took away: of both the people was the glory departed.

"Thence the warriors set out to visit their dwellings, deprived of friends, to see Friesland, their homes and lofty city; Hengest yet, during the deadly-coloured winter, dwelt with Finn, boldly, without casting of lots he cultivated the land, although he might drive upon the sea the ship with the ringed prow; the deep boiled with storms, wan against the wind, winter locked the wave with a chain of ice, until the second year came to the dwellings; so doth yet, that which eternally, happily provideth weather gloriously bright. When the winter was departed, and the bosom of the earth was fair, the wanderer set out to explore, the stranger from his dwellings. He thought the more of vengeance than of his departing over the sea, if he might bring to pass a hostile meeting, since he inwardly remembered the sons of the Jutes. Thus he avoided not death when Hunlaf's descendant plunged into his bosom the flame of war, the best of swords; therefore were among the Jutes, known by the edge of the sword, what warriors bold of spirit Finn afterwards fell in with, savage sword-slaughter at his own dwelling; since Guethlaf and Oslaf after the sea-journey mourned the sorrow, the grim onset: they avenged a part of their loss; nor might the cunning of mood refrain in his bosom, when his hall was surrounded with the men of his foes. Finn also was slain. The king amidst his band, and the queen was taken; the warriors of the Scyldings bore to their ships all the household wealth of the mighty king which they could find in Finn's dwelling, the jewels and carved gems; they over the sea carried the lordly lady to the Danes—led her to their people. The lay was sung, the song of the glee-man, the joke rose again, the noise from the benches grew loud, cupbearers gave the wine from wondrous vessels."

Hengist appears here as a Jute. Another English name, that of Offa, occurs in the following:

2. "Haeredh's daughter; she was nevertheless not condescending, nor too liberal of gifts, of hoarded treasures, to the people of the Geats; the violent queen of the people exercised violence of mood, a terrible crime; no one of the dear comrades dared to venture upon that beast, save her wedded lord, who daily looked upon her with his eyes, but she allotted to him appointed bonds of slaughter,—twisted with hands: soon after, after the clutch of hands, was the matter settled with the knife, so that the excellent sword must apportion the affair, must make known the fatal evil: such is no womanly custom for a lady to accomplish, comely though she be, that the weaver of peace should pursue for his life, should follow with anger a dear man: that indeed disgusted Hemming's kinsman. Others said, while drinking the ale, that she had committed less mighty mischief, less crafty malice, since she was first given, surrounded with gold, to the young warrior, the noble beast: since by her father's counsel she sought, in a journey over the fallow flood, the palace of Offa, where she afterwards well on her throne in good repute living, enjoyed the living creations, and held high love with the prince of men, the best between two seas of all mankind, of the whole race of men, so far as I have heard: for Offa the spear-bold warrior was far renowned both for his liberalities and his wars, in wisdom he held his native inheritance, when he the sad warrior sprang for the assistance of men, he the kinsman of Hemming, the nephew of Garmund, mighty in warfare."

Beowulf approaches his end; the ceremonies of his funeral are described in detail, the political complications created by his death are alluded to:—

3. "Now is the joy-giver of the people of the Westerns, the Lord of the Geats, fast on the death-bed, he dwelleth in fatal rest: by him lieth his deadly foe, sick with seax-wounds; with his sword he could not by any means work a wound upon the wretch. Wiglaf, Wihstan's son, sitteth over Beowulf, one warrior over the other deprived of life holdeth sorrowfully ward of good and evil: now may the people expect a time of war, as soon as the fall of the king becomes published among the Franks and Frisians: the feud was established, fierce against the Hugas, after Hygelac came sailing with a fleet to Friesland, where his foes humbled him from his war, boldly they went with a superior force, so that the warrior must bow, he fell in battle, nor did the chieftain give treasure to his valiant comrades: ever since peace with the sea-wicings denied us: nor do I expect peace or fidelity from Sweeden, but it was widely known that Ongentheow deprived of life Haetheyn the Hrethling, beside Hrefna-wood when for their pride the war-Scylfings first sought the people of the Geats. Soon did the prudent father of Ohthere, old and terrible, give him a blow with the hand; he deprived the sea-king of the troop of maidens, the old man took the old virgin, hung round with gold, the mother of Onela and Ohthere, and then pursued the homicides until they escaped with difficulty into Hrefnes-holt, deprived of their Lord: then with a mighty force did he beset those that the sword had left, weary with their wounds: shame did he often threaten to the wretched race, the whole night long: he said that he in the morning would take them with the edges of the sword, some he would hang on the gallowses, for his sport: comfort came again to the sad of mood, with early day, since they perceived the horn and trumpets of Hygelac, when the good prince came upon their track with the power of his people.

"For him then did the people of the Geats prepare upon the earth a funeral pile, strong, hung round with helmets, with war-boards and bright Byrnies, as he had requested: weeping the heroes then laid down, in the midst their dear lord; then began the warriors to awake upon the hill the mightiest of bale fires; the wood-smoke rose aloft, dark from the foe of wood; noisily it went, mingled with weeping: the mixture of the wind lay on till it had broken the bonehouse, hot in his breast: sad in mind, sorry of mood they moaned the death of their lord:—The people of the Westerns wrought then a mound over the sea, it was high and broad, easy to behold by the sailors over the waves, and during ten days they built up the beacon of the war-renowned, the mightiest of fires; they surrounded it with a wall, in the most honourable manner that wise men could devise it: they put into the mound rings and bright gems,—all such ornaments as the fierce-minded men had before taken from the hoard; they suffered the earth to hold the treasure of warriors, gold on the the sand, there it yet remaineth as useless to men as it was of old. Then round the mound rode a troop of beasts of war, of nobles, twelve in all: they would speak about the king, they would call him to mind, they would relate the song of words, they would themselves speak: they praised his valour, and his deeds of bravery they judged with praise, even as it is fitting that a man should extol his friendly Lord, should love him in his soul, when he must depart from the body to become valueless. Thus the people of the Geats, his domestic comrades, mourned their dear Lord; they said that he was of the kings of the world, the mildest and gentlest of men, the most gracious to his people, and the most jealous of glory."

That Norse, Frisian, Angle, and other Germanic elements are combined in this poem is certain; and, looking to the extent to which Beowulf, the hero, besides other points of indistinctness in respect to his personality, is Geat as well as Angle, I cannot but suspect an incorporation of some Slavonic and Lithuanic ones as well. Finn, too, as a hero, not of the Laps and Finlanders (to whom he would be the proper eponymus), but of the Frisians, creates a further complication.

Hroethgar, too, the Dane or Jute, has a name inconveniently unlike that of the more historical Radiger who will soon come under notice.

The chief fact we get from Beowulf is, as is generally the case with early poems, one in the history of Fiction; and, to guard against disparaging such facts as these, let us remember that the history of Fiction is the history of the Commerce of Ideas.

Now Beowulf tells us that, at the time of its composition, at latest, and, probably, much earlier, there was a certain interchange of legend or history between the Danes, Swedes, Lombards, Franks, Angles, Frisians, and Geats. We may say, then, that the Angli had an Heroic Age.

In respect to their historic epoch, a well-known notice in Beda, freely adopted by most of his after-comers, deduces the Angles from that part of Germany which he calls Angulus, between the provinces of the Jutes and Saxons, and which up to his own time remained a waste—"patria quae Angulus dicitur, et ab eo tempore usque hodie desertus inter provincias Jutarum et Saxonum perhibetur."

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