After the Flood, by Bill Cooper


Appendix 8

The Descent of the East Saxon Kings

The genealogy of the East Saxon kings (from whom the English county of Essex derives its name) was discovered comparatively recently. It was being used as part of the binding of an old book. However, it was happily retrieved and published by Sweet in The Earliest English Texts. (Oxford Univ. Press. 1885. p. 179). In the original document the genealogy is set out as follows, the letters appearing here in parentheses belonging to those small portions of the document that had been cut away when binding the book:

de regibus orientalium seaxonum

Offa sighering, sighere sigberhting, sigberht s(aweard)ing, saweard saberhting, saberbt sledding, sle(dd) aescwining, aescwine offing, offa bedcing, bedca sigefugling, sigefugi swaepping, swaeppa antsecging, ants(ecg) gesecging, gesecg seaxileting.

item de regibus orientalium seaxonum

Swithred sigemunding, sigemund sigeharding, si(gehard) sebbing, sebbe seaxreding, seaxred sab(erhti)ng, saberht sledding.

item de regibus orientalium seoxo(num)

Sigered sigericing, sigeric selereding, selered sigeberhting, sigeberht sigeb(aldi)ng, sigebald selerferthing, selerferth sigeferthing, seaxing, seaxa sledding.


...all of which translates, in today's genealogical terms, into the above table of descent. The point most worthy of consideration here, however, is the method used by the early Saxons for safeguarding against omissions and accidental repeats (or 'scribal doublets' as they are known), the very things, in fact, that modernist scholars assure us render these lists untrustworthy. Although the system was not one hundred per cent foolproof (what system is?), it was nevertheless so simple, it was ingenious. As an exercise, try copying out the list as it is laid out in the original. While spelling mistakes may well occur, you will see that it is virtually impossible to omit a name or accidentally repeat it, for each name is written twice, once with the suffix -ing (which simply means son of), and once without it.

Indeed, not only the written record was secured against error by this method of recording, but oral transmission was made that much easier and more dependable by the poetic rhythm that was set up by reciting the names thus.

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