After the Flood, by Bill Cooper
It would not be difficult to go out and buy literally hundreds of books that deal with the history of the Saxons in England. It is a fascinating and popular subject, and the market abounds with books ranging from the seriously academic to 'coffee-table' books filled with pictures of Anglo-Saxon weaponry and other relics. Virtually all the popular works on the subject begin with the middle of the 5th century AD when the Saxons began to migrate to this country from their continental homes. Some books may even refer briefly to those continental homes in order to demonstrate to the reader that the Anglo-Saxons did not simply materialise but actually came from somewhere real. But that is virtually the only mention that is given to the pre-migration history of the Saxons. All that came before, we are left to assume, is lost in the mists of antiquity, and the pre-migration history of the Saxons is simply left as a blank page. Now why should this be? Is it because the Saxons themselves left no record of what came before? Or, as in the case of the early Britons, is it because what the Saxons did have to say about their own past, runs counter to the modernist creed?
To be fair, the Saxons do not seem to have brought over with them a detailed chronicled history of their nation like that possessed by the Britons or, indeed, the Irish Celts which we shall examine later. That is not to say that none existed, of course just that none has survived to the present day from that pre-emigration period. What has survived, however, is a detailed genealogy of the pre-migration, and hence pre-Christian, kings of the Saxons, and this enables us to take Saxon history back, generation by generation, to the earliest years after the Flood. But this is no new discovery. It was everyday knowledge to the historians of previous centuries. On Thursday 6th July 1600, for example, a certain Elizabethan tourist, Baron Waldstein, visited London's Lambeth Palace. His journal tells us that in one of the rooms there he saw:
'...a splendid genealogy of all the Kings of England, and another genealogy, a historical one, which covers the whole of time and is traced down from the Beginning of the World.' (1)
Later, arriving at Richmond Palace on 28th July, he saw in the library there:
'... beautifully set out on parchment, a genealogy of the kings of England which goes back to Adam.' (2)
Such genealogies were immensely popular, and as fascinating to the general public as they were to historians and other scholars. As tables of descent, they provided a continuous record of human history from the Creation, through the post-Flood era, down to modern times. But it was these very attributes that made these records unpalatable to certain scholars who delighted to call themselves Rationalists, and who sought from the 18th century onwards to replace such history with certain anti-biblical notions of their own. (3) Such was their success in this, that today hardly a scholar can be found who would dare to base his history on the truth and reliability of these records. So what is in the early Saxon records that renders them so unpalatable to modernist taste, but which might interest us in our present enquiry?
The pre-migration records that have come down to us are in the form of genealogies and king-lists, and I have assembled the table of descent which opens this chapter from each type. That table shows the (sometimes simplified) descent of six of the Anglo-Saxon royal houses of England. The houses are those of Wessex (Occidentalium Saxonum); of Lindsey (Lindis fearna); of Kent (Cantwariorum); of Mercia (Merciorum); of Northumbria (Northa hymbrorum); and of East Anglia (Estanglorum). But it is the treatment that these records have received from the hands of modernist scholars that is as fascinating, and as telling, as the records themselves, and we shall here consider the veil of confusion and obscurity that modern scholarship has thrown over them.
We are commonly asked to believe that these six royal families concocted these lists, and that the lists are thus rendered untrustworthy and false. We are asked to accept that, say, the House of Kent concocted a list of ancestral names that just happens to coincide in its earlier portions with that of, say, the House of Northumbria, in spite of the fact that the two kingdoms lay hundreds of miles apart, spoke different dialects and whose people hardly ever wandered beyond their own borders unless it was to fight. And, moreover, that this happened not between just two of the royal houses, but all six! To put it mildly, that is a lot to ask, and we shall take this opportunity to examine these records, whose earlier portions can be dated back to well before the dawning of the Christian era amongst the Saxons, so that they may speak for themselves.
During the summers of 1938 and 1939, there came to light one of the greatest archaeological discoveries of the century. It was the Sutton Hoo burial ship of one of the great kings of East Anglia. It is commonly believed to be that of Raedwald (or Redwald) who became Bretwalda in the year AD 616 (his name appears on the genealogy). The royal title of Bretwalda appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (MS. C - British Museum Cotton MS. Tiberius. B. i.) as Bretenanwealda, and means literally the one ruler of Britain. In other words, Raedwald was the supreme king to whom all the other provincial kings owed obeisance. Now Bede (4) tells us that Raedwald was born of the Wuffingas, as were all the East Anglian kings, and it is this title that tells us something of the seriousness with which the Anglo-Saxons kept their pedigrees.
Indeed, such was the veneration shown to ancestors in general that some of those ancestors who founded dynasties or who otherwise achieved distinction, were later worshipped as gods. But even if a certain ancestor was not actually deified, if he simply founded a branch from the main stock, then that branch ever after bore his name. And one such example is Raedwald's ancestor Wuffa.
Now Wuffa was not the first king of East Anglia. That honour normally goes to his father Wehh, or Wehha, who reigned in the early 6th century, and for lack of record we are left to wonder what otherwise distinguished Wuffa from his father for him to be regarded with such distinction that all his descendants named themselves after him rather than after his father, who was, after all, the very founder of the royal line of the East Anglian kings.
Wuffa, of course, was not the only Saxon to found a clan. Sceldwea, otherwise known as Scyld (pronounced 'shield') founded the Scyldingas. Geat, (pronounced 'geet' or likewise founded the Geatingas.0 Beowulf of epic fame (see chapter 12) was a Geating, and Geat himself was inevitably given a place in the Saxons' ancestral pantheon. Nennius tells us that he was one of the false gods whom the pagan Saxons worshipped, and we read the same in Assher and other sources. (5)
Most of the characters in the later part of the genealogy are well known to us. Ethelbert, for example, is famous as the king of Kent when Augustine landed here in AD 597 with instructions to bring the English under the dominion of the papacy. His (Ethelbert's) sister, Ricula, married into the East Saxon dynasty in the year AD 580 or thereabouts (see Appendix 8), thus uniting two very powerful royal dynasties. Cerdic of Wessex, reigned from AD 519. But of great interest to us is one of the pre-migration ancestors of Cerdic, namely Gewis, who illustrates even more powerfully the veneration for ancestral names and the purity of pedigree that was considered so important to the early Saxon settlers of Britain.
Gewis founded the clan of the Gewissae who later settled in the west of England, and in the charters that have survived, the kings of Wessex are each styled Rex Gewissorum. However, when Alfred of Wessex translated into Old English Bede's Historia Ecclesiasticae, he suppressed the title Rex Gewissorum, and his reason for doing this was undoubtedly the blatantly pagan connotations of the name. Alfred himself, as a supposedly good and Christian king, wanted no such association of his name with that of Gewis. It would have had the same uncomfortable sound as styling himself king of the children of Woden, and this would have been anathema both to himself and to his Christian clerical ministers. And yet, and here we come to the significant point, in his own authorised biography (i.e. Asser's Life of Alfred), which Alfred himself undoubtedly oversaw with great care, the name of Gewis is allowed to stand proud as one of Alfred's ancestors! Alfred, whilst willing enough to drop for himself the hitherto royal but pagan title of Rex Gewissorum, was clearly not prepared to expunge the name of Gewis from the royal line, simply because the royal genealogies were themselves sacrosanct and inviolable. And this should be carefully considered before any further assurance is given that these royal genealogies were freely tampered with, an allegation that has been made and repeated in countless modernist works on the subject.
But it is not only alleged that these genealogies were tampered with. It is just as often stated that they were freely invented, the motive for this extraordinary act supposedly being to enhance the legal credibility of any upstart king's otherwise illegal claim to the crown. And this has led on more than one occasion to a most questionable state of affairs. Consider, for example, the case of Alfred's father, Aethelwulf, and the treatment that has been extended to his genealogy by certain scholars who should, perhaps, have known better.
Magoun (6) treats the genealogy of Aethelwulf, which appears in Asser's Life of Alfred, in the following way. Asser gives the line from Woden back to Noah exactly as it appears in our table, with the exception that the name Freawine is omitted. This is all well and good, because such gaps do occur and must be expected. However, Asser goes on to recite the ancestors of Noah back to Adam, and the names he gives (in ascending order) are exactly the same as those that appear in descending order in Genesis 5, the book of the Generations of Adam. Now, these same names are given exactly (except that they appear in ascending order) in Luke 3:36-38, and Magoun tries to make a case for arguing that Asser borrowed his names not from Genesis 5, but from Luke. We look in vain for any solid reason why Magoun should favour Luke as the source rather than Genesis, other than the fact that Luke, like Asser, lists his names in ascending order. And for want of a good reason, we are left merely with Magoun's somewhat self-assured statement, '...I am confident that...
But now we arrive at exactly why it is that Magoun wishes to assign a Lucan origin to the names rather than an origin in Genesis. It is this:
'By virtue of this association (what association?) with Luke's genealogy of Jesus the total effect is to make Aethelwulf by accident or design, but in any case in a pointed way, a collateral relative of Our Lord.'
In other words, Magoun is alleging that this genealogy is yet another 'pious fraud' concocted by Christian monks who sought to enhance Aethelwulf's standing amongst his gullible subjects by somehow likening or relating him to Christ. But does the allegation stand up to the evidence? No! After Noah, Asser's list bears no resemblance whatever to that of Luke, and if Magoun is suggesting that by virtue of Aethelwulf's descent from Noah, Aethelwulf is thus made a collateral relative of Our Lord, then Magoun has clearly not considered the fact that as all men are descended from Noah, then the royal Aethelwulf would have been no better than the common man! A regal contradiction if ever there was one. Surely, if, as Magoun suggests, Aethelwulf had truly wished to be seen as a blood-relative of Christ, then he would have concocted a list that went back to the royal house of David, from whom Jesus was descended through His mother. But nothing of the kind is offered. Rather, Aethelwulf's line is traced through that of kings who were notorious in the early annals for their paganism, and Magoun's charge, so often quoted and so revered in modernist circles, falls flat on its proverbial face. The genealogy runs counter to all that is alleged against it.
Yet that is not the end of the folly, for Keynes and Lapidge propose the most astonishing notion of all, and it is one which draws our attention to the name of Sceaf on our genealogy, (pronounced 'sheaf' or 'shaif'). Making the most of the fact that Asser allegedly misspelt Sceaf's name as Seth in the royal genealogy, they blandly inform their readers that:
'Towards the end of the genealogy, Asser's "Seth", son of Noah, corresponds to Sem (i.e. Shem) of Luke iii...' (7)
In other words, Keynes and Lapidge are attempting the same thing as Magoun, (and they were aware of Magoun's paper for they cite it), by trying to tie in the Saxon genealogies with those of the New Testament, namely the gospel of Luke, so that the wearisome charge of 'pious fraud' could again be made. But they have merely succeeded in rendering their own argument very doubtful, for in the attempt to link Asser's list with that of Luke, they are compelled to conclude that in this case the Saxons were fraudulently trying to pass themselves off as Semites! Now, there are admittedly phases of Germanic history that are vague. But to suggest that there ever was a time when the Germanic races of all people wished to propagate the view that they were Semitic is truly extraordinary. Anti-Semitism has been an inherent feature of Germanic cuhure since time immemorial (it was by no means the invention of the Nazis), and to accept such a proposal we would have to fly in the face of all that we know about Saxon and Germanic culture. We would, moreover, have to ignore the fact that there exists not the slightest etymological link between the names of Seth and Shem. But was Asser's alleged misspelling of Seth for Sceaf truly an error on Asser's part? Or did Asser know something that modernist scholars have missed?
The question, surprisingly enough, is answered in part by one of the more skeptical investigators of modem times, Sisam, who, when dealing with the identities of Seth and Sceaf, is forced to admit that:
'Iafeth [i.e. Japheth] was usually regarded as the ancestor of the European peoples, and the possibility that the last four letters of his name have something to do with the error Seth cannot be excluded.' (8)
To further the identity of Asser's Seth with the Sceaf of other chronicles, we have the testimony of Florence of Worcester, who wrote in AD 1118 that, 'Seth Saxonice Sceaf,'--and in another of his manuscripts (9) the name of Sceaf--is written over an erasure of the name Seth by a later scribe. 'Which shows that confusion over the names had arisen by the first half of the 12th century at the very latest, and needed to be sorted out.' (10)
But after his eminently sensible observation, Sisam then went on to create problems of his own, for having written an extremely involved and in-depth study of the Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies, when it came to the lists of the various biblical patriarchs whose names appear in the earliest parts of those same pedigrees, he dismissed them thus:
'The Biblical names show the artificial character of this lengthened pedigree and the crudeness of the connexions lacked muster. Otherwise they need not detain us.' (11)
This rather large assumption, however, merely led him into further difficulties, for he was then led to dismiss with equal abruptness everything else that he had previously written concerning the lists of even non-biblical names!:
'Beyond Cerdic, all is fiction or error, and if the names themselves are old, they were not attached to the ancestry of the West Saxon kings by old tradition.' (12)
We could ask what they were attached by if not by old tradition, although it is more to our purpose to consider that Sisam recognised that one part of the Saxon genealogy depends very much upon the other. If one section collapses, then so do the others.
However, there are more points to consider concerning the all-important identity of Sceaf. Sisam has already pointed out that Japheth was considered by the Saxons to be the founder of the European nations. Significantly perhaps, he does not specify whether this was exclusively the belief of the later Christianized Saxons, or if it was shared by their pagan forebears. However, the Saxons themselves had something to say concerning Sceaf, and it was this:
Se Sceaf waes Noes sunu and he waes innan theare earce geboren. i.e. 'This Sceaf was Noah's son, and he was born in the Ark.' (13 )(My translation)
Clearly, the early Saxons identified Sceaf as a son of Noah, and not a distant descendant of his, and it is equally clear that Japheth is here being referred to. But, and here is the point of greatest significance, was Japheth known as Sceaf to the later Christianised Saxons? The answer is no! The later Christianised Saxons always referred to Japheth as Japheth. No later Saxon scholar knew him as Sceaf, as is witnessed in the following extract from Aelfric of Eynsham's 10th century work, On The Beginning of Creation:
'...ac ic wille gehealden the aenne and thine wif and thine thrie suna Sem Cetam and Jafeth.' '...and I will save thee alone and thy wife and thy three sons, Shem, Ham and Japheth.' (My translation)
This rendering of Japheth's name, Iafeth, is absolutely typical of Christianised Saxon usage, for the simple reason that it is the Latin-cum-Hebrew rendering that appears in the Vulgate and Old Latin versions of the Bible, which were the only versions known to the Christianised Saxons and copied by them. Moreover, we have to consider the remark connected with the older form of Sceaf, namely how Sceaf was not only Noah's son, but that he was born in the Ark. Now, anyone who was familiar with the Genesis account, and the book of Genesis was very much the favourite book of the Christianised Saxons, (14) would have known that Japheth helped to build the Ark. He could not have been born in it. Which brings us to the following question, namely:
If it really had been a fact that certain unscrupulous Christian monks had fraudulently invented the pre-migration Saxon genealogies, as modernists so often insist, and had it really been in their own and their present king's interests to prove that Saxon kings were royally descended from Japheth, then is it at all conceivable that they would have used a form of Japheth's name that was utterly unfamiliar to those very readers whom they hoped to convince? And surely, no educated monk would have made such a silly error over Japheth being both in the Ark when every one of his readers would have known that Japheth, far from being born in the Ark, had helped to build it! Saxon scholars were every bit as contentious as are the scholars of any age, and there were plenty of rival schools even in those days who were more than willing to bring down a scholar or two if they made a faux pas of this magnitude. But then, we are not here considering merely the allegedly nefarious activities of just one Christian monk, for in an altogether separate source we read:
Beowi Sceafing, id estfihius Noe, se waes geboren on thaere Earce Noes. i.e. 'Beaw [alias Bedwig] the son of Sceaf that is the son of Noah, who was born on Noah's Ark.' (15) (My translation)
The pre-migration ancestral list of the Anglo-Saxon kings would be an astonishing record even if it existed on its own. But in the next chapter we shall be considering corroborative sources from other countries altogether, which confirm the earliest parts of the Saxon genealogies in great and explicit detail. It will thus become increasingly obvious that, in spite of all modernist protests to the contrary, we are not dealing here with any attempted fraud or piece of Christian fiction. What we are dealing with is something with which we are already familiar from the chronicles of the early Britons, namely, another historical account that is quite independent of the Genesis record, but which it nevertheless verifies to a considerable degree.
1. Groos, T.W., The Diary of Baron Waldstein, Thames & Hudson. London. p. 61.
2. Groos, p. 169.
3. For an invaluable introduction to this subject, see Bowden's Rise of the Evolution Fraud, pp. 7-17. (See Bibliography).
4. Bede,. p. 130. See Bibliography.
5. .. flu Geta, quiJitit, ut aiunt, fihius Dei: non ipse est Deus deorum...sed unus est ab idolis eorum, quod ipsi colebant. (Nennius §31); (i.e. 'the son of Geat), who was, they say, the son of God. But he was not the God of gods...but one of their idols whom they worshipped.' (My translation). Morris's translation of this sentence reads a little oddly--'...son of Geta, who said they were son of God...(sic!)' (Morris, p. 26. See Bibliography).
6. Magoun, (pp. 249-50. See Bibliography).
7. Keynes and Lapidge, (p. 229. See Bibliography).
8. ibid., p. 316. See Bibliography.
9. Corpus Christi College Cambridge, MS XCII (Parker Library).
10. Sisam, p. 317. (See Bibliography).
11.ibid., p. 320.
12.ibid., p. 322.
13. Reliq. Antiq., p. 173. See Bibliography.
14. It was, for example, the sole subject of the illiterate Caedmon's songs and poetry. See Bede p. 252.
15. MS. Cotton, Otho. B. XI., cit. Magoun p. 249.
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