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.
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
Enger is charming -- really. Twisting streets up the hill to the church, elegant patterns of shingling.
Is this it? Is this Big Widukind? Squint up closer. It is absolutely tiny.
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?
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.