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Thread: The Saxon tribe

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    Member Variner's Avatar
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    Post The Saxon tribe

    Saxons, Germanic people, first mentioned by Ptolemy in about 150 AD. Ptolemy says that the Saxons were from lower Jutland and what is now Schleswig-Holstein in Germany. The "founding tribes" of the Sachsen may have included the Reudigni and Aviones, mentioned by Tacitus. The theory that the Saxons were groupings of tribes states that the subgroups of the later Saxons were very numerous, including:
    Agradingun, Angeron, Aringon, Astfalon, Bardongavenses, Derlingun, Firihsetan/Virsedi, Guddingen/Gotingi, Holtsaeten, Nordalbingi, Nordliudi, Nordsuavi, Norththuringun, Sahslingun, Scopingun, Scotelingun, Steoringun, Sturmarii/Sturmera, ThiadmThora, Waldseton, Waledungun, Wigmodia/Wihmodi, Uuestfali.

    THE SAXON TRIBE

    There arose in Germany during the third and fourth centuries after Christ the great tribal confederations of the Alamanni; Bavarians, Thuringians, Franks, Frisians, and Saxons, which took the place of the numerous petty tribes with their popular tribal form of government. With the exceptions of the Saxons all these confederations were ruled by kings; the Saxons were divided into a number of independent bodies under different chiefs, and in time of war they elected a duke.

    The Saxons (Lat., Saxones) were originally a small tribe living on the North Sea between the Elbe and Eider Rivers in the present Holstein. Their name, derived from their weapon called Sax, a stone knife, is first mentioned by the Roman author Claudius Ptolemæus (about 130 A.D.). In the third and fourth centuries the Saxons fought their way victoriously towards the west, and their name was given to the great tribal confederation that stretched towards the west exactly to the former boundary of the Roman Empire, consequently almost to the Rhine. Only a small strip of land on the right bank of the Rhine remained to the Frankish tribe. Towards the south the Saxons pushed as far as the Harz Mountains and the Eichsfeld, and in the succeeding centuries absorbed the greater part of Thuringia. In the east their power extended at first as far as the Elbe and Saale Rivers; in the later centuries it certainly extended much farther. All the coast of the German Ocean belonged to the Saxons excepting that west of the Weser, which the Frisians retained. The history of the powerful Saxon tribe is also the history of the conversion to Christianity of that part of Germany which lies between the Rhine and the Oder, that is of almost the whole of the present Northern Germany. From the eighth century the Saxons were divided into the four sub-divisions: Westphalians, between the Rhine and Weser; the Engern or Angrians, on both sides of the Weser; the Eastphalians, between the Weser and Elbe; the Transalbingians, in the present Holstein. The only one of these names that has been preserved is Westphalians, given to the inhabitants of the Prussian Province of Westphalia.

    A number of Saxons and Angles went to Britain in the 5th century AD, although Ammianus Marcellinus records Saxon attacks on Britain in about 365 AD and the mid-fifth-century Gallic Chronicle mentions another attack in 410 AD, with the fall of Britain to the Saxons in 441 AD. For isotope analysis of Anglo-Saxons,
    http://www.dur.ac.uk/p.d.budd/isogeochem/west_hes.html {link doesn’t work}. We do know that the Saxons joined up with the Franks to help destroy the Turingii tribe at the River Unstrut in 531 AD [I have also seen the date 530 AD].

    In 566 they were subjugated by the Franks and forced to pay tribute. The Old Saxons waged intermittent war with the Franks until the end of the 8th cent., when they were conquered by Charlemagne and absorbed into his empire. After this conquest they were forcibly converted to Christianity. In the division of the empire by the Treaty of Verdun (843), the lands of the Saxons were included in the section that formed the basis for modern Germany.

    { … } The tomb of an East Saxon king, believed to date from the early 7th century, has been discovered at Priory Crescent, Prittlewell, Southend-on-Sea, Essex. One story states that the burial chamber is almost certainly that of either King Saeberht or Sigeberht. Saeberht was England's second Christian king. He died circa 617 AD. This find rivals the Sutton Hoo ship burial in Suffolk, discovered in 1939. { … }

    Holding the area at the mouth of the Elbe River and some of the nearby islands, they gradually extended their territory southward across the Weser River. A politically unified people, the Saxons were ruled by princes or chieftains. Their assemblies, in which all classes except slaves were represented, were consulted on all issues of war and peace. In the 3d and 4th cent. the Saxons were active in raiding expeditions along the coasts of the North Sea.

    The European coast from the Loire to the Scheldt rivers and the southeastern coast of Britain, where defenses were erected against their piratical raids, were known to the Romans as litora Saxonica [Saxon shores]. By the 5th cent. Saxons had established settlements along the north shore of Gaul, especially at the mouth of the Loire, and eventually these Saxons came under Frankish domination. As the Roman occupation of Britain weakened, the Saxons increased their marauding attacks and also began (c.450) to make settlements there, resisting all efforts to drive them off. By the end of the 6th cent. they and their neighbors the Angles were firmly established in the island, laying the foundations of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms (see Anglo-Saxons). Wessex, the kingdom of the West Saxons, became dominant. After the migration to Britain, the Saxons on the Continent came to be identified by historians as the Old Saxons. By virtue of their conquest
    (531) of Thuringia, they occupied NW Germany.

    With an area of 18,400 sq. km. and a population of 4.6 million, Saxony (German Sachsen) is tenth largest in area but sixth in population among Germany's sixteen federal states. Created upon Germany's reunification in 1990, it occupies the approximate area of the former kingdom (1806-1918) of the same name. The capital is Dresden.

    In the early Middle Ages the term "Saxony" referred to a different region, occupying today's states of Lower Saxony and Bremen and the northern (Westphalian) part of North Rhine-Westphalia. The Saxons, after whom the area was named, had migrated from the area of present-day Schleswig-Holstein during the second quarter of the 1st millennium AD. See the history section below for more details.

    In company with the German tribe of Angles a part of the Saxons settled on the Island of Britain from which the Romans had withdrawn, where as Anglo-Saxons, after having accepted Christianity about 600, they laid the foundation of Anglo-Saxon civilization and the present Great Britain. In attempting to reach Gaul by land the Saxons came into violent conflict with the Franks living on the Rhine. The Frankish king Clovis (481-511) united the various Frankish tribes, conquered Roman Gaul, and with his people accepted Christianity. The new Frankish kingdom was able to bring all German tribes except the Saxons under ist authority and to make them Christian. For more than a hundred years there was almost uninterrupted warfare between Frank and Saxon. Many Anglo-Saxon Christian missionaries sought to convert the Saxons, some were killed, some driven away; the names of only a few of these men have been preserved, as St. Suitbert, St. Egnert, the saint called Brother Ewald, St. Lebuin, etc. St. Boniface also preached without success among the Saxons. The Saxons were finally brought under Frankish supremacy by the great Frankish ruler, Charlemagne, after a bloody struggle that lasted thirty years (772-804). Charlemagne was also able to win them to Christianity, the Saxons being the last German tribe that still held persistently to belief in the Germanic gods. At different times the Saxon wars of Charlemagne have been called "religious wars" and the assertion, which cannot be proved, has been made that Pope Adrian had called upon Charlemagne to convert the Saxons by force. Charlemagne's campaigns were intended mainly to punish the Saxons for their annual marauding expeditions to the Rhine, in which they burned churches and monasteries, killed the priests, and sacrificed their prisoners of war to the gods. The earliest date at which it can be proved that Charlemagne had the conquest of the Saxon districts in view is 776. It is evident that if peace was to be permanent the overthrow of the Saxons must be accompanied by their conversion to Christianity. The necessity for this was based also on the nature of the Frankish kingdom in which politics and religion were never separated. At the same time it is true that various measures taken by Charlemagne, as the execution of 4500 Saxons at Verdun in 782 and the hard laws issued to the subjugated, were shortsighted and cruel. The Church, however, cannot be made responsible in any case for this policy of Charlemagne's which it never approved. Although the opposition in Saxon territories to Christian teaching had been obstinate only a few decades before, the Saxons grew accustomed to the new life. The Christian conception of life sank deep into the hearts of the people, and in little more than a hundred years the Saxons were the messengers and defenders of a Christian, German civilization among the Slavonic tribes. The work of converting Saxony was given to St. Sturmi, who was on terms of friendship with Charlemagne, and the monks of the monastery of Fulda founded by Sturmi. Among the successful missionaries of the Faith were also St. Willihad, the first Bishop of Bremen, and his Anglo-Saxon companions. After St. Sturmi's death (779) the country of the Saxons was divided into missionary districts, and each of these placed under a Frankish bishop. Parishes were established within the old judicial districts. With the generous aid of Charlemagne and his nobles large numbers of churches and monasteries were founded, and as soon as peace and quiet had been re-established in the different districts, permanent dioceses were founded.

    http://michaeljohnbenze.net/GermanHistory/Saxony.html

    Another German site on the Old Saxon tribe, their origin, history, language, belief etc.: http://www-user.uni-bremen.de/~bremhist/sachsen.html

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    Member Variner's Avatar
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    Post AW: The Saxon tribe

    Quote Originally Posted by Variner
    The Christian conception of life sank deep into the hearts of the people, and in little more than a hundred years the Saxons were the messengers and defenders of a Christian, German civilization among the Slavonic tribes.
    But first there had to be Heliand, an epic poem on Jesus' life in Old Saxon language. It's written in a more Germanic, more warrior-like style, therefore the Saxons were willing to accept and to embrace this new god. (Therefore and because of politics ). Jesus is a great chieftain, the apostels are his thegns and when Petrus hews off Malchus' ear with his sword then this becomes a true slaughter. It's funny to imagine how some long-bearded men, who wear leather amours and iron helmets with spears in their hands, are lost in this Saxon gospel .

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