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An Alternative View of Saxon History

As a history student I have come to realize that many modern scholars do not have the ability to think outside of their own biases to see that there are two sides of every story. They fail to take their christian blinders off before assessing European history. History is written by the victors, and to understand true history, we must see both sides of the story.

For one example, Charlemagne is remembered as a ruler who brought peace, order, and civilization to Europe. As a Frankish king, he is described as a hero in his own country’s annals. However, careful reading of the Royal Frankish Annals (written during Charlemagne’s lifetime) gives us many insights into a very dark side of Charlemagne:

“While the king (Charlemagne) spent the winter at the villa of Quierzy, he decided to attack the treacherous and treaty-breaking tribe of the Saxons and to persist in this war until they were either defeated and forced to accept the Christian religion or be entirely exterminated." (See The Royal Frankish Annals published by Ann Arbor Paperbacks, translated by Bernhard Walter Scholz, p.51)

Another example of scholarly christian bias is how scholars praise the grandfather of Charlemagne, Karl Martel (Charles Martel). Charles Martel and his Frankish army defeated the Muslim army at the Battle of Tours in 732 AD. Scholars have commonly taught that Charles Martel was the “savior of Europe” saving “Europe from a bloody forced conversion to Islam.” This is clearly a biased view, because had the Muslim armies defeated the Christian Franks at the Battle of Tours, today these scholars would claim that the Muslims saved Europe from the evils of forced conversion to Christianity. An honest look at history would see that Europe was doomed either way, Europe would face a bloody conversion to monotheism no matter which army won. The Battle of Tours only determined which banner of evil would be forced on the peoples of Europe.

The above map shows the Roman Empire in the first century BC. Magna Germania was never conquered by Romans. The map below shows Germanic-speaking language areas of the Holy Roman Empire in the year 962 AD. Please note that each Germanic tribe had its own language (and religion) and had its own culture and nationality. “Alt-Sachsisch” is modern German for “Old Saxon.” Remember, the Saxons were far north of the Roman Empire, and were never conquered by the Romans. Charlemagne was the one responsible for the Saxons’ forced conversion over 300 years after the Roman Empire fell. The Saxons were a tribal confederation with their own language, religion, and culture, before they were forcefully christianized.

“Charlemagne” means “Charles the great.” Charlemagne was the conqueror who brought Europe under christian rule. He is the grandson of Charles Martel, who drove the muslims out of Europe, a major turning point in European history. While the Arabs lost the battle to muslimize Europe, eventually Charles Martel, and his offspring through his great-great grandchildren, did the same thing to Europe that the muslims would have done: force monotheism in a bloody manner over the Heathen peoples of Europe.

Lucidcafe Library, “Serving Coffee, Art, History and Literature Lovers on the World- Wide-Web since 1995”, summarizes the modern view of Charlemagne quite well:

"Charlemagne was determined to strengthen his realm and to bring order to Europe. In 772 he launched a 30-year military campaign to accomplish this objective. By 800 Charlemagne was the undisputed ruler of Western Europe. His vast realm encompassed what are now France, Switzerland, Belgium, and the Netherlands. It included half of present-day Italy and Germany, and parts of Austria and Spain. By establishing a central government over Western Europe, Charlemagne restored much of the unity of the old Roman Empire and paved the way for the development of modern Europe."

Margaret Deanesly, in her book A History of Early Medieval Europe 476-911 states the following in her very first sentence in the chapter dealing with Charlemagne’s conquest of the Saxons (p.356): “The heaviest and the most protracted of Charlemagne’s conquests and the one most important for the civilization of Europe…”

Clearly, modern history books and websites view christianity and “civilization/order” as going hand in hand. They also view older Germanic tribes as uncivilized, idol worshiping people. Christianity is viewed as a “natural progression” of “barbarians” to civilized European culture.

Julius Caesar and Tacitus, Roman military men, wrote books in antiquity describing the Germans, whom they called “Barbarians.” Tacitus acknowledges that Germans are made up of different tribal confederations. He also generalizes them as one people. Tacitus says in the second chapter of his book Germania, written in 98 AD, that physically the Germans appeared to be a distinct race, not an admixture of their neighbors. In chapter 7, Tacitus describes their government and leadership as somewhat merit-based and egalitarian, with leadership by example rather than authority and that punishments are carried out by the priests (pagna). He mentions in chapter 8 that the opinions of women are given respect (unlike Roman women’s opinions). In chapter 9, Tacitus describes a form of folk assembly (public Things) recorded in later Germanic sources. In these public deliberations, the final decision rests with the men of the tribe. Tacitus further discusses the role of women in chapters 7 and 8, mentioning that they often accompany the men to battle and offer encouragement. He says that the men are often motivated to fight for the women because of an extreme fear of their women being taken captive. Tacitus says in chapter 18 that the Germans are mainly content with one wife, except for a few political marriages, and specifically compares this practice favorably to other non-German barbarian cultures, perhaps since monogamy was a shared value between Roman and Germanic cultures. He also records in chapter 19 that adultery is very rare, and that an adulterous woman is shunned afterward by the community regardless of her beauty.

Tacitus’ view of the Germans as having government, order, monogamy, and not tolerating adultery is far different from how historians view these pre-christianized people today.

Another common and ‘christian’ view of the Saxons is that they were idol-worshippers, and worshippers of devils. Einhard, writing just after Charlemagne’s death, states this about the Saxons:

“No war ever undertaken by the Frank nation was carried on with such persistence and bitterness, or cost so much labor, because the Saxons, like almost all the tribes of Germany, were a fierce people, given to the worship of devils, and hostile to our religion, and did not consider it dishonorable to transgress and violate all law, human and divine.” (See Einhard: The Life of Charlemagne, chapter 9)

Many sources inform us that the ancient Saxons worshiped at a giant tree pillar, called the “Irminsul.” Charlemagne is recorded as having destroyed this “idol” and its “temple” in the Royal Frankish Annals. However, the Saxons did not worship the Irminsul, any more than christians worship a christmas tree. The christians simply called any god that was not Jesus or the One True God a “demon.” Saxons certainly did not view their Gods as dark spirits following “Satan.” Calling the Irminsul an idol would be like a Heathen calling a christmas tree an idol. Both serve similar cult purposes in their religions.

Bede, an Anglo-Saxon monk in the 8th century, writes in his Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Ecclesiastical History of the English People (Penguin Classics) Bede, D. H. Farmer, Ronald E. Latham, Leo Sherley-Price Pgs 278, 281, 283) that the Old Saxons (those Saxons who remained in Germania and did not migrate to Britannia with Angles, Jutes, and Frisians) were a republic in which all classes (noble, free, and servile) had equal representation in government. I note this to slam modern historians. Most modern German history books start with the Third Reich and move backwards through German history, explaining how years of monarchical rule led to dictatorships, tyrannical governments, when Germans from antiquity wanted democracy all along, the kind born in West Germany in 1949 and continuing today. Scholars forget that the Saxons were a true republican democracy before Christianity was forced on them. Charlemagne became the dictator over the Saxons, the very object in which their government was set up to avoid. Charlemagne imposed a mandatory tithe over the entire Saxon population, and Heathenry was forbidden by execution.

If anything, Saxon Heathenry taught a democratic republic and the Saxons lost their democratic republic through Christianity. Therefore, I would argue that Christianity took away civilization from Europe. There was a time when Christianity ruled the world, and it is called “The Dark Ages”, when science and medicine were shunned as anti-faith, anti-God, and men like Galileo were excommunicated. What the Heathens called “magic”, Christians called “science.” It is common knowledge that science was long shunned by Christendom.

Scholars often discuss human sacrifice by “barbarians”. I agree, ancient Germanic tribes did engage in human sacrifice. The Saxons for example sacrificed prisoners of war to their Gods Thunar, Uuoden, and Sassnoth. (They did not sacrifice their own people to their Gods. Human sacrifice was really executions of prisoners of war.) However, I can list a plethora of Biblical examples of men doing human sacrifice in the Bible (Jephtah sacrificing his own daughter to god in Judges Chapter 11, Abraham being ordered by god to sacrifice his son Isaac in Genesis Chapter 22, and more examples.) Christians claim “Well that is Old Testament! Christianity never taught human sacrifice!” I find this christian claim totally ignorant, as their salvation stems from Jesus, a human sacrifice, on a Roman cross. Since god forbade human sacrifice, he either committed it himself in the form of Jesus, or it was some other form of suicide or deicide on the cross for the salvation of mankind. The christian bible still contains the Old Testament, further weakening christians’ claims. Yahweh (god) himself commands much genocide in the Old Testament. See Joshua Chapter 6 where he commands the Israelites to kill all the women, children, men, and animals in Jericho. Or see Exodus chapter 12 where Yahweh himself performs genocide by killing all the first-born males in Egypt. There are many examples of Biblical commands of genocide and acts of genocide by “The One True God.” Heathenry doesn’t have scriptures where Gods command such ugly actions or do such ugly actions. Since the Old Testament is still christian scripture, christians still acknowledge that Yahweh, albeit in the form of Jesus, is their god and did indeed command and perform genocide in the Old Testament.

Christianity has changed over the centuries. However, historically, it has been as militaristic as the muslim faith, leading to many genocides, crusades, and religious wars. Few church going christians know that many “reformers” such as Huldrych Zwingli died in battles, where protestant fought other protestants and catholics. How many church goers know of the murder of thousands of Jews in the Rhineland by the crusader army on their way to the First Crusade? (The years 1095-1096, under Gottschalk and Folkmar, and the People’s Crusade.) How about the Thirty Years War, a battle of catholics and protestants in Germany over church lands? The list is long.

Christianity today (in North America) has become more peaceful. If the Saxons won the Saxon Wars, and remained Heathen, I certainly believe their Heathenry would have changed as well over the centuries, but the Heathens were never given that chance. Jesus himself (assuming he existed) said, “You travel over land and sea to make yourself a single convert, and in the end, you make him twice as much a son of hell as you are.” (Matt 23:15) Considering what the Germans became under christianity that portion of the Bible proved accurate.

As I stated above, history is written by the victors. The only surviving historical sources of the Saxon Wars are Frankish. Therefore, you would expect the Frankish history books to show Charlemagne as a truly magnificent man. Let us revisit our earlier quote from the Royal Frankish Annals, written by the Franks:

“While the king (Charlemagne) spent the winter at the villa of Quierzy, he decided to attack the treacherous and treaty-breaking tribe of the Saxons and to persist in this war until they were either defeated and forced to accept the Christian religion or be entirely exterminated." (See The Royal Frankish Annals published by Ann Arbor Paperbacks, translated by Bernhard Walter Scholz, p.51)

Here is Karl (Charlemagne) whom Germans today revere as the man who brought them christianity (civilization), in his own royal annals portrayed as a man bent on forceful conversion or genocide as the only two options. This is a Frankish source.

After Saxon “rebels” defeated one of Charlemagne’s armies on the battlefield, and returned to their Heathenry after forced baptism, Charlemagne responded by marching out against the Saxons, defeating them, and beheading 4,500 Saxon “rebels” for breaking their christian oaths. (See The Royal Frankish Annals published by Ann Arbor Paperbacks, translated by Bernhard Walter Scholz, p.61) This beheading of 4,500 Saxon prisoners is famous today. To Germans it is known as “The Massacre of Verden.”

The modern German nation encompasses the lands of several tribal nations. Those in central Germany (like Frankfurt), are living in lands of the Franks, one of the tribes whose land became part of the modern nation of Germany. Therefore, there are many in Germany, who wish to view Charlemagne as a man who did not commit genocide of “fellow countrymen.” (Please note, the Saxons and the Franks were two different tribes before forced conversion and christianization.), in its article on the “Massacre of Verden” states the modern scholarly view of the massacre (H “The veracity of this event is questioned. There may have been a misspelling in the original source by which the Latin delocabat (meaning exiled or displaced) erroneously became decollabat (meaning beheaded).” Wikipedia acknowledges that it is German scholars that came up with this view (1,200 years after the Royal Frankish Annals were written). Wikipedia implies scholars are wrong to view this as Charlemagne exiling 4,500 Saxons. It implies that they were beheaded as the 8th century Frankish source claims. Wikipedia continues: “The first challenge to the historical records of the massacre was apparently published by Karl Bauer in 1937 in his Die Quellen für das sogenannte Blutbad von Verden (Münster, 1937). Since then, this view has been repeatedly endorsed in ecclesiastical circles who wish to see Charlemagne's role in the conversion of the Saxons to Christianity without blemish. Ironically, this was published as part of a National Socialist effort to rehabilitate Charlemagne as a Germanic leader.” The German National Socialist Party was the “Nazi Party.” The National Socialists created the Sachsenhain in 1935. Let me quote Wikipedia again: “In 1935, Nazi Germany assembled the Sachsenhain (Saxon Grove), consisting of many large stones in Verden, to commemorate the event (Massacre of Verden).”

Since Charlemagne’s First Reich lasted 1,000 years, Hitler had a dream that his Third Reich would last a thousand years. (Charlemagne and his grand-children founded the Holy Roman Empire/Reich of the German Nation, which lasted until Napoleon defeated it in 1806.) Hitler understood how effective Charlemagne’s techniques of genocide worked to forge a “German Empire.” Therefore, we must remember that Hitler and the German National Socialists (Nazis) wished to view Charlemagne in a positive light. In their view, they were his successors. What is also essential in understanding Wikipedia’s quote, is that “since then” those in “ecclesiastical circles” want to see Charlemagne without blemish. “Since then” implies that since the Third Reich those in christian circles wish to view Charlemagne differently than a murderer.

When Charlemagne was crowned Holy Roman Emperor in the year 800, history now had turned full circle, with Barbarians ruling in the name of Rome. Charlemagne took the title “Caesar” (in German “Kaiser.”) He was crowned Emperor/Caesar in Rome by Pope Leo in a Mass on Christmas Day in the year 800. Eventually, the Saxons would briefly rule the Holy Roman Empire, having five Kaisers rule for over a century. The most famous of these was Otto the Great, who was crowned Emperor in Rome by Pope John XII on February 2, 962. Otto the Great led wars against the Slavs and Sorbs on his eastern borders, and naturally converting them by force was also his mission. Otto the Great carried on Charlemagne’s legacy all too well. It took less than two centuries to convert the Saxons from a Heathen republic to a murderous kingship spreading christianity with the sword.

I am shocked that modern scholars do not realize that if Charlemagne lost the Saxon Wars, the history of Europe would have been completely different. Maybe even the Holocaust would have been avoided. Today, the Swastika and symbols of the Third Reich are outlawed in Germany. I look forward to the day when the Cross, the symbol of the First Reich, is also seen as a symbol of hate and is outlawed in Germany.

What if Charlemagne offered the Saxons an opportunity to join his empire without giving up their ancestral traditions? Perhaps 33 years of warfare with the Saxons to forcefully convert them would have been avoided, and a stage set for a European civilization of tolerance and pluralism, rather than one of intolerance and fanaticism that continued in Europe through the 20th century. Perhaps then, Charlemagne would have been the hero he is portrayed as by the history books. Unfortunately, the alternative viewpoint of Charlemagne, as a conqueror bent on destruction and genocide, is his only legacy.

In the land encompassing the modern German nation today there lived many Germanic tribal nations/confederations: Bavarians, Hessians, Thuringians, Franks, Saxons, and others. Today, the descendants of many tribes encompass what people define as “German.” These tribes lost their religion and their languages, thanks to the First Reich and Charlemagne. The First Reich was the initial step in forming the modern nation of Germany. The First Reich was also called “The Holy Roman Empire of the German nation.” Below is a picture of the Reich in the year 1600. Please join us on the Facebook group"Saxon Heathenry", and visit our Facebook page "Germanic Heathenry."

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