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For themes of conflict, present in any country, see Studying War.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Enger - Widukind, Saxon Bane of Charlemagne

Widukind. Saxon. Wittekind. 
No Uniform Spellings in That 8th Century Time


Some names culturally will not die.  Widukind is one.  He led the Saxons for decades against Charlemagne and the Pope, in the 8th Century in northern Europe. The Century's horrors for people who sought to remain independent in their own lands extended into the 9th, when Widukind appears to have been elevated from folk hero to legendary heroic; and to the present.  Like the Symphony without the glorious affirmation at the end. Just slaughter for the resistors. Is that so? Widukind capitulated to Charlemagne and agreed to convert after decades of fighting, in exchange for safe passage of the people.  Charlemagne responded by slaughtering 4500 Saxon prisoners in a single day.  See ://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/ChurchHistory220/LectureTwo/TimeLineCharlemagne.htm


Was "religion" used as a weapon. Convert or die. Is it now. Believe this way, or we will get you.

Widukind cut an impressive figure.  Here is the original statue, a photograph of it from the Enger Widukind Museum.  This stood, as we understand it, at the church, then was moved to the town square.
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Enter Enger.  Enger is the town that lays claim to Widukind.  We had seen the photo of the statue and had come to see it.  The photo shows a life-size representation.  See the head of a real person below -- note the very distinguished top-hatted gentleman at the lower right.  The original Monopoly model.

Someone there even still claims direct descendance.

So could we (shall we? with tongue in cheek aimed at runes, we do, see Riding the Royal Ingwaz) with the Wid word root meaning wood, or forest, or underbrush; and the -ing or its equivalent as to ingwaz and old concepts for king.

It is said that the 10th Century Holy Roman Emperor Otto is descended therefrom -- see if you are interested in the leads of Wiki, ://en.wikisource.org/wiki/1911_Encyclop%C3%A6dia_Britannica/Otto_I/  People there are skeptical of the contemporary claim of a Duke, so we heard  when we asked. Smiles of indulgence.  No way to prove anything. Other overviews: at ://www.artquilt.com/Widukind/encyclopedia.htm


We went back to the church after services concluded to see if Widukind is buried at the church, as some said.  They also (coffee shop) said it was not clear at all if that was Widukind. Later post.

The Church at Enger is said to have been begun by Widukind. 

Doubtful. The town was not even there, see ://www.wordiq.com/definition/  Enger: again what is fiction and what is fact in the almanac that has to turn a local heroic figure into something the Church can embrace and justify as one of its own.  Remaking history is a global phenomenon, and one that sometimes can be noted with some fondness, depending on the intent of the distortion to glorify the historian's cause
. Here, however, after the killing of the Saxons, Widukind as sincere and continuing convert is dubious. Vet it yourself.

Best source we see yet:  Read the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, for ongoing questions that even the Church people had as to their own positions, and perhaps a better summary of Widukind's life (what do we know?)  than we get now, at ://books.google.com/books?id=3FEsAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA618&lpg=PA618&dq=widukind+church+enger+germany&source=bl&ots=8AwAtrpA7P&sig=S6CCbYeTalFuLLp87oGFOZO9JQQ&hl=en&ei=pEcOTfK5OoG0lQeKhty8DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CCMQ6AEwAg#v=onepage&q=widukind%20church%20enger%20germany&f=false



Enger is charming -- really.  Twisting streets up the hill to the church, elegant patterns of shingling.




We arrived as the service was starting at the church, so walked around looking for Widukind on our own.  Oh - here is the town square.  What?


Is this it?  Is this Big Widukind? Squint up closer.  It is absolutely tiny.


What does the loop and ball pattern represent? It looks like a topper to a well, but no well is beneath. Oh ....

Yet, there is a pedestal over there.  Not here, but by the building, another lovely half-timber. And at the square also.


He is not here. Was the pedestal brought from the church grounds, or was it always here? Where is Widukind? We saw the fine photograph!

Enter the museum.  There he is, a reproduction of what had been that huge monument, now in a little glass case.  But looking regal and very winged, as we had hoped, but in such a shrunken state.  What happened?


Compare this with the original photograph at the top.  It is very close, but not exact.  Perhaps the small one was done only from the photograph, and not from the original. Have to find out.  Still, what happened to him? 

Q:  Why is he not on his pedestal?

A: The Nazis

See them celebrate Widukind with the people, at a parade before the war, Widukind's original statue as shown at the top.  We believe this is part of the same series of photographs in the museum, but would have to check again.  Notes are not always detailed enough.





Could this event have been after the War began?  Possibly.

After celebrating the town, and their cause, either way, the Nazis returned and removed the statue of Widukind and melted it down for munitions.
Far more cared for, is this modern representation of the German soldier, the "Wanderer"


We believe this to be at Enger, but have to check. The point is the same:  history's Widukind, diminished, cartoonish in public view;  the WWI soldier with weeping woman, child, imposing, living on.

Enger claims Widukind, but Enger should commission a real statue of him. But money is tight, we know. Money is tight and memories are shorter.


"WANDERER, DASS DU DIE SONNE, NOCH SIEHST, DAS DANKST DU DEN HELDEN! BEUGE DEIN KNIE UND GEDENKE IHRER IN STILLEM GEBET!"

Google translator: they want to know if we mean "denkst" instead of "dankst". We looked back, and it says on the statue, "dankst". Moving along with denkst, the translation is:

WANDERER, THE SUN THAT YOU STILL SEE THE THANK YOU TO THE HEROES! BEND YOUR KNEES AND THEIR MEMORIAL IN SILENT PRAYER!

And with "denkst" --

WANDERER, THE SUN THAT YOU STILL SEE THAT DO YOU THINK THE HEROES! BEND YOUR KNEES AND THEIR MEMORIAL IN SILENT PRAYER!

...................................................................

FN 1  The Pope and would-be Emperor in Chief, see timeline at ://faculty.cua.edu/pennington/ChurchHistory220/LectureTwo/TimeLineCharlemagne.htm; combined philosophies and forces.  Deference to the Pope and dogma lent Charlemagne the "motivator" force he otherwise lacked; and as to the Pope, he needed Charlemagne to further his own expansion of the religion he created out of a mild Iesu. Convert or die, said they, and so they did. Saxons died, tribes died, people trying to hold on to their traditions. 

So, that sad retrospective on Western "Christian" expansion rant over, meet what we know -- or don't know -- of Widukind.

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