Harvard Divinity School

Paganism to Christianity in Anglo-Saxon England Author(s): William A. Chaney Source: The Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 53, No. 3 (Jul., 1960), pp. 197-217 Published by: Cambridge University Press on behalf of the Harvard Divinity School Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1508400 . Accessed: 21/04/2011 17:29
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PAGANISM TO CHRISTIANITY IN ANGLO-SAXON ENGLAND
WILLIAM A. CHANEY
LAWRENCECOLLEGE APPLETON,WISCONSIN

IN Anglo-Saxonas in Christianhistory, many roads lead to Rome. This has been correctly and at times overemphasizedin matters ranging from Augustine to Whitby, from numismatics to law, from banners to Bede. Indeed the Roman road has been so broad and so well markedwith recordedmiliariathat we may have missed the growth-ridden Germanic by-paths which were actually trod by the tribes in England. But surely the impact of culture on cult is as important in history as the reverse, and the terms in which the newly converted Anglo-Saxonsinterpretedthe Christian religion were shaped by the tribal culture, impregnated,as it was, by the heathenismof the old religion. Gregorythe Great's famous letter to the Abbot Mellitus,1advising that pagan temples in England be used for the worship of the Christian God that the people "ad loca quae consuevit, familiarius concurrat,"and that the sacrificial animals of heathenism be now devoted to Christian festivals, agrees with the responsa of the same pope to Augustine concerning the choosing of local customs best suited to the conditions of the converted.2 In a way, this study is a scandalous footnote to that wise anthropologicaladvice, with the intention of setting forth some of the similarities of the old and new religion which allowed a syncretic merging. Thus many features of the Conversion period which have been interpreted post eventum as Christian were undoubtedly seen with other - and familiar-overtonesby the Woden-sprungrulers and their people. In the first place, although the Conversionof England transpired
'Ven. Bede, Historia Ecclesiastica, I, 30. 2 Ibid., I, 27; on the genuineness of the responsa, cf. Wilhelm Levison, England and the Continent in the Eighth Century (Oxford, 1946), p. 17, n. I; W. J. Moore, The Saxon Pilgrims to Rome and the Schola Saxonum (Fribourg, Switzerland, 1937), P. 9, n. 3. M. Deanesly and P. Grosjean, "The Canterbury Edition of the Answers of Pope Gregory I to St. Augustine," The Journal of Ecclesiastical History, X (1959), PP. 1-49, have recently examined the arguments against the authenticity and have concluded that, within limited distinctions not touching the responsa cited above, "the libellus may be held to be Gregorian."

3 as Christ on earth had summonedhis thanes to him. 9 Ibid. Hist. It is not merely that the new theology was translatedinto terms of northern life.. II. by Sir Cyril Fox and Bruce Dickins. 456-458. Attenborough. 8 Bede. 219.g. 1922). the fourth of Bede's bretwaldas.Aethelberht's grandson. 93."' In the last surviving Kentish law code. ' Wihtred c.198 HARVARDTHEOLOGICAL REVIEW with little violence and few dramaticstands by organizedheathenism. In Kent King Eadbald. 5. Christ. p.' In See. Early English Christian Poetry (New York. returned to the older faith. 514. p.D.5 There is no evidence that it was outlawed in Kent until A.Ungloomy Aspects of Anglo-Saxon Poetry. Cf. Hist. But heathenismitself continued. 3 for dating of code. W. Jean I. son of the converted Aethelberht.is perhaps too well known to cite. 47-48. leading his people ad priorem vomitum. to Bethany": Christ. 1952). / The Prince of splendour. Line references to Anglo-Saxon poems throughout this paper are. and. Chadwick Memorial Studies. when King Eorcenberht. / The well-loved band. it is still necessary for King Wihtred to forbid both freemen and slaves from making offeringsto devils. the Ruler of all peoples" giving mund to his fyrd from his high-seat in the wine-hall of Heaven. III. New York. Krapp and Dobbie.' In the realm of the East Saxons. II. the opposition of tradition and embeddedculture can be seen as the chief bulwarks against the triumph of the Cross. all of whom had remained pagan. Cambridge. 276. with "the Chief of princes. M. The Lord's Prayer II. 6 Ibid. Christ and Satan.. p. with his attempt to serve both Christ and the old gods.. in C. I5." The Early Cultures of North-West Europe (H. "was the first of the kings of the English who orderedby his supremeauthority that the idols in his whole realm be abandonedand destroyed. from The Anglo-Saxon Records (ed. II. 1931-1953). 1950). SBede. The Laws of the Earliest English Kings (Cambridge. e. summoned His thanes.8 The apostasy of Redwald of East Anglia. Kennedy. 309. 98.' This often startling imagery has frequently been commented upon. 4 "The mighty Lord. "Glaed waes ic gliwum . 13: F. the three sons of King Sabert. p. 26. ed. transl. Eccl... Young. 12. "gave free licence to the people subject to them to worship idols" after their father's death. unless otherwise stated. Christ. L. Eccl. Bede tells us. 640. 5. 8. and I have no desire to do so again. the people could not be recalled to faith in Christ even after Sabert's sons had been killed in battle against the West Saxons. dating from the very end of the century. cf. ' .

Mercia. "the abominable rites of the pagans have sproutedagain in your parts. 1948). Athelstan. 1948).12 The numerous references to heathen practices in Anglo-Saxon laws after the invasions . esp. Lethbridge. pp. 27-48. Storms. G. Edmund. This volume has been used for many sources in this paper because of its convenience to most readers. the earliest law code. Merlin's Island (London. a contemporary of Wihtred of Kent. P. cit.Anglo-Saxon Magic (The Hague. since we have these laws only in Alfred's edition of them. C. 519'1 Maxims II. and. and Cnut . 1' F. which was assimilated to them. does not legislate against heathenism. pp. remained staunchly heathen at least until Penda's death in 654-11 Even before the reintroduction of paganism by the Viking invasions. as Pope Formosus wrote to the bishops of the English in the 89os. the recorded forfeiture of an estate in the late tenth century because of the practice of witchcraft: Whitelock. English Historical Documents c. Grendon. p.. . for example. 114-115..under Alfred.. Lethbridge's explanation that this was probably the kingdom in which "the race of Angles remained relatively free from a large admixture of British blood". he uses the word "valkyries" for the latter but apparently not in the customary Scandinavian sense of the term. pp. cit. 134. as Miss Whitelock has recently remindedus. 1 Whitelock. "Woden wrought idols. p. In Wulfstan's "Sermon to the English.as well as in canonical collections13 stem undoubtedly largely from their reintroduction in an age when. T. C. 129. Cf. cit.. 132-133. 500-1042 (London. 772. op.7 That the culture of the tribes and the old religion which helped form it in their turn shaped Christianity. pp." Journal of American Folk-Lore. 12 Whitelock. p. XXII (1909).1"the latter is well attested .PAGANISMTO CHRISTIANITY 199 Wessex." says a gnomic poem. op."14 However much the merging of the two strands complicates the problem of survival. that of King Ine." probably preached in 1014. 1' in discussing the presence of "wizards and sorceresses" in England. 75. 820. cit. p. the synod of Clovesho in 747 and the legatine report to Pope Hadrian in 786 give evidence of the strength of a continuing paganism. Grendon.1othis proves nothing about the latter's survival. 123. ibid. "The Anglo-Saxon Charms.perhaps especially in the Anglo-Saxon charms16 and the resulting syncretism at times makes for a virtual neo-polytheism. 331. the Lord wrought the spacious skies. 1955).. ~3References are collected in F. ed. is in its principle surprising to no historian of the Conversion 1"Dorothy Whitelock.. of course. i. for the Christianization of the charms. op. op. Edward the Elder. 859 and n. 140-142. Aethelred the Redeless. 115-117. but. " This is true even though one may hesitate to accept T.

"20 The rites of pre-Saxon gods in England. and passim. pp.. is not steeped in it. 1898). where this point is insisted upon. The rites of the older faith. We shall examine this continuity from paganism to Christianity primarily in two areas." English Studies. The Buried Gods (London.' is an unrealistic approach. e. "The Anglo-Saxon Settlement in Eastern England.. Friedrich Brincker. almost no poem from before the Norman Conquest. Thus. in relation to the heavenly and earthly leaders of the folc. that "womb of nations. Wessex. Leeds (D. It did not mean that people were not Christian. Mercia.21 cursors of the Christian God seem to have been no less vigorous. 21 Ibid. ' Lethbridge. T. . 203-204. the societal emphases in Anglo-Saxon Christianity may themselves be a test of the vexed problem of AngloSaxon paganism's similarities to the religion of early Scandinavia. B. P. esp. but that they could see a lot of sense in the old beliefs also. Deira.. such as Helith at Cerne Abbas and Gourmaillonat Wandlebury. East Anglia. p. and Lindsey all record the descent of their kings from Woden. 19 Cf. also Lethbridge. XXXV (1954). p. 159 (in which the imaginative author tells of a May ist night spent looking in vain for still surviving rites at the head of the fertile Cerne Giant). no matter how Christian its theme. Germanische Altertiimer in dem angelsichsischen Gedichte "Judith" (Hamburg. are practised all over the country today. now regarded as superstition. A Reassessment. London. cf. 1956)." as Jordanes calls it. cf. Studies Presented to E. ed.. the Sutton Hoo finds have revealed hitherto unsuspected connections between at least the East Anglian royal house and the Uppland district of Sweden.'" and the evidences for pagan survivals and their integration into the new faith go beyond even the literary sources. Bernicia. Harden. p. Whitelock's The Beginnings of English Society in Speculum." Dark Age Britain.200 HARVARDTHEOLOGICAL REVIEW period. "Beowulf and King Hygelac in the Netherlands. for an extensive bibliography of SwedishEast Anglian connections. 81-82. As a result. 1957). XXVIII (1953). The genealogies of the royal houses of Kent. As a matter of fact. Magoun's review of D. pp. 5. as Lethbridge reminds us.. 'this is a monument erected in Christian times and therefore the symbolism on it must be Christian. 136. 220. II9. Jr.'8 Although no Anglo-Saxon work gives us full information on pre-Christian religion in England. The kings of Essex trace their lineage from SeaxIs F. P. Magoun. Prof. The importanceof Woden for both is proverbial. 23. Gogmagog. theology and kingship.g. "to say. survived the coming of and the Germanicpreboth the Anglo-Saxonsand Christianity.

a god known among the Saxons of the Continent. 34 (Seaxneat). the great pre-Saxon earthwork. 719-722 A. ' L. 152 (bibliography). with collected references on p." Essays and Studies.. 79. of course. but of more importanceto us is the assimilation of his cult to the new religion.22 Divine descent was a claim of Northern royalty.PAGANISM TO CHRISTIANITY 201 neat. PP. 293. Gordon Copley. 154-155. '1954). 12-13. cf. 1955). op. by so much is their power enfeebled. Ladislaus Mittner. Jolliffe. pp. und Theologie (Urbana. cit. including that of the Angli. 12. pp.which is. The Conquest of Wessex in the Sixth Century (London. .D. "Anglo-Saxon Royal Genealogies. n. A. Bruce Dickins. Indeed."Alcuin writes. E. IIi. 59. 24 Letter to Eanbald of York. p. Philippson."24 The name of Woden continued in England in the "Nine Herbs Charm"and in place-names such as Wansdyke (Woden's Dyke). even his animals the wolf and the raven-apparently continue in a sacral manner. Die Genealogie der G6ltter in Germanischer Religion. Wurd. 1924). XXXIX (1953). K. E. ' H. 44. he was.23and its continuation along with that of the Woden-cult is to be expected among a people which continued to identify itself by its ancestry. "English Names and Old English Heathenism. 72. 40 (references in Bede). ' Brincker. "andby as much as their lineage is uncertain. For other place-names containing forms of Woden's name. 309-314. in the first place. XIX (1934). PP. The Origin of the English Nation (Cambridge. 288. before the settlement of England. and local tradition maintained in time that it was built by the Devil on a Wednesday." Proceedings of the British Academy. V.. 1953). 1953). The Ancient Burial-Mounds of England (2nd ed. 134 (Woden in the West Saxon king-lists). identified both as a son of Woden and as the god Tiw (Tyr). for example. 88.. P. cit. cf. for recent and useful discussions. Woden's day. pp. Munro Chadwick. The importance of such divine descent for Germanic kings is testified to not only by the persistence with which it was clung to even after their conversion but by the results of its loss. Sisam. Grinsell. London. equated with the Christian Devil. 38-39.. The Constitutional History of Medieval England (New York. Wansdyke. cf. p. "scarce one of the ancient royal kindreds survives. 1947). Mythologie. 323. since the culture of Woden-sprungkings and Woden-worshipdid not allow the name or cult to perish.was also known after the introductionof Christianity as the Devil's Ditch. J. Bishop Daniel's letter to Boniface. Ill. Das Sakrale in der Altgermanischen Epik (Bern. PP. op. 6. 300-303.26 The burial-moundon the Wiltshire downs known 22 Whitelock. only the Sussex royal genealogy is not known but there is little reason to believe that it too was not Woden-sprung. PP. n.25 As might be expected.

"30 Othinn.Woden or others were metamorphosedinto giants. B. according to the Icelandic poem Havamal. N. He set and sent them to the seven worlds. as WodenOthinn masters the magic runes of wisdom by hanging on his Cosmic Tree. pp.. p. 79. he smote then the adder that it flew apart into nine parts. evidence for which dates from Saxon times. A worm came crawling. 8o. Certainly many pre-Christian barrows became associated with the Devil. barrows were named for them. Storms. used. 29 Ibid. as the Scuccan hlaew (the Devil's barrow) of Anglo-Saxon land-charters. 261-262. 189. In the much discussed Anglo-Saxon "Nine Herbs Charm" the Christian emendator of an originally pagan charm against poison has added that the nine herbs. Dickins. it is not in the Anglo-Saxon text. Post-Conquest though some of these may be. hanging and fasting on the World-tree. 31Havamal 138 f. A. For the parallel of Woden and the Latin Mercurius. Much more significant is the equating of Woden with Christ. 30 Storms. op. showing a conversion of these sites from the gods of paganism. the Cross. cit. were invented by Christ while He hung on the Cross. to the wretched and the fortunate. so Christ creates the magic herbs as He hung on His Tree. In the new edition by G. the twelfth century "translation" of skeletons from barrows to monasteries and into saints' relics is well recorded: ibid." Acta Philologica Scandinavica. . cf. 78. cf. London. others date from Saxon times. 188 and discussion of these lines on p. van Hamel. cit... who also created letters. with Anglo-Saxon text on p.29but their association with Woden is at the most tenuous. cit. Many relationshipsare focused here: Woden and Christ as the Hanging God. The AngloSaxon Chronicle (Everyman's Library." Then the older god appears: "These nine have power against nine poisons. Grinsell.. whose virtues are extolled in the charm. the "Christianized" form of Adam's Grave is. op. cit. p. 1953). "They were created by the wise Lord.. Yggdrasillthe World-treeand the 27 Sub annis 592 and 715. 31 here.28 As the gods . VII (1932). p. op. p. 154. as a help to all. with examples of long and round barrows associated by 28" tradition with the Devil. Garmonsway.. the Norse Woden. although whether this Christianization took place in our period or later is now impossible to say. holy in heaven as He hung (on the cross). For Woden took nine glorytwigs. 195.202 HARVARDTHEOLOGICAL REVIEW in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle27as Woden's Barrow became in time called Adam's Grave. G. 195. pp. it killed nothing.. unfortunately. p. op. iio. "Othinn Hanging On the Tree. had gained knowledge of runes by sacrificing himself to himself.

and 272-276. the sacrifice of Woden to himself.35 this "arcane" transition makes the West Saxon rulers collateral relatives. This is an evolution that leaves no room for the doctrine that a myth of Othinn should have been influenced by a christian legend. Halvorson. good this would lead a culture saturated with Woden-worshipto take up with ease the cult of the new Hanging God when the old one literally "the old one. p. . in which the Scyld-Sceaf traditions are analyzed. Doctrinal Terms in Aelfric's Homilies (Iowa City. Woden is sixteenth in descent from "Sceaf. 1932). Furthermore. the victim and the priest. reported by Tacitus (Germania. and the casting of lots associated with the Crucifixion. Sisam.. 315. " Thus in MSS. Although the problem of Christian influence on the Havamal is undoubtedly insoluble. the Germanic casting of lots with twigs marked by runes. 256--267.. . with the Sacrifice of Christ. c. op. SChadwick. if so." There is at least 32 reason to believe that the traditions are independent. The christian God never supplanted the pagan deities. pp. who is the son of Noah and was born in Noah's Ark. He only proved the stronger one. se ealda sceocca. as Professor Magoun 2 Ibid. the genealogies of the Woden-sprungkings have been assimilated to Christianity.PAGANISMTO CHRISTIANITY 203 redeeming Cross. p. p. 262. the Parker Chronicle omits three generations and has Hrathra born in the Ark. ~ Nelius O. the existence of Woden's association with runes in a partially Christianized charm still known among the Christian Anglo-Saxonswill perhaps lead us to van Hamel's conclusion that "if a certain similarity should exist between the popular traditions of early christianity and pagan mythology. B and C. on Bedwig as the ancestor in the Ark. cf. 29.proves less potent. Iowa. In the familiar mythical lineage of King Aethelwulf of Wessex in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle sub anno 855. the creative act in suffering and death displayed in Woden's mastery of the runes of knowledge and Christ's creation of the herbs. as Aelfric calls the Devil 33.. . as the priest that offers and the victim that is offered. op. cit. cit. would it not be more natural to accept a fundamental affinity than a borrowing? ." thone ealdan deofol."34 Appropriateas it is to have generated in the Ark one who in traditions recorded by Aethelweard and William of Malmesbury had drifted as a child in a boat to his future kingdom. xo).

this has its parallel in the court-pedigree of Hywel the Good.D. Biblical names. a theme probably reintroducedduring the later Norse settlement. "Old English Modification of Teutonic Racial Conceptions. Creator of the world. 47-48. MGH. Wade-Evans. p. with our Lord.D.. 1957). p.204 HARVARDTHEOLOGICAL REVIEW has pointed out. p.. and the assimilation of a royal genealogy to the new religion would indeed be analogous to the Anglo-Saxontransition."3 These. XLVI (I951). 499. N. 522. 7 (in which the appelation refers to Christ). Nennius's "History of the Britons" (London. Studies in Early British History (Cambridge. The Lost Gods of England (London. " A. P. cf. Athelstan the Glorious is described as being "like a thunderboltto rebels. whom they say to be the sister of the Virgin Mary." Studies in Language and Literature in Celebration of the 7oth . 'oBrian Branston. P. I.. Fiske. the god Belenus. I believe. and Beli Mawr may be.. 1957). p." or a generation earlier (A. "by the abundant grace of God and the gratuitous gift of him who thunders and rules. Oxford.40 Neither of these identifications can be accepted with ' F. cf.. and Godeschalk. Fichtenau. 1954). pp.. The Carolingian Empire (transl. 120-12I. 36-38 is the suggested source for the Review. io ff. However. The absorptionof the other gods into Christianitycan be treated more summarily. Munz. 1938). but less likely. a variant of Danu. " Whitelock.. 116-117. would be seen by northernersless in terms of Jupiter Tonans or of the "sons of thunder" of Mark's gospel and more in terms of northern religion. "King Aethelwulf's Biblical Ancestors. PP." For non-Anglo-Saxon parallels of God as "the Thunderer. 249-250. our Lord would be the nephew of the Mother of the gods. 490. 196.. H. Poet. In the case of Thunor or Thor the Thunderer. "In the name of the High Thunderer. no.. the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ". op.3 since Anna is probably Ana or Anu. ibid. 872) to the phrase. 102. One of the panels of the Gosforth Cross in Cumberlandhas recently been interpretedas Thor's fight with the Midgard Serpent. Magoun. ed. Hibernicus exul. 132. Chadwick. Jr. a grant of 977: "inspired with speech of the Thunderer. the Earth Mother. W. 94. pp. 280. we may well ask if an Anglo-Saxonwarriorwould react as we do to a land-grantof King Edwardthe Elder in A. 901 which opens. 8 Ibid. v. cit. who was the son of Beli the Great and his mother Anna."3 As late as William of Malmesbury. 395. Christabel F. who traced his descent from "Amalech. as have three fragments of crosses in Durham Cathedral as his battle with Mdkkurkalfi ("Cloud Calf"). pp. p." If I may be permitted an excursus into wild Wales. Pp." Modern Language Luke iii." cf.

Loki.PAGANISM TO CHRISTIANITY 205 certainty. R. op. N. XXIII (1940). 6. op. Also. he is. cit.42 Perhaps the most puzzling parallelisms. 2) to the bound Satan. . pp. especially Loki. pp.. Satan as the "faithless retainer" and "eternal exile" would be understandableto AngloSaxon society. (I953). even more significantly. 35). Olaf cult and Thor cult in the North.. 282-285. has been used as the basis for the following. E.PP. io5. pp.41but he appears perhaps more often than any other pagan deity in place-namesin England. the bottom scene on the west side is interpreted as the bound Loki (P. p. even though the relationships of Christian Devil. Sir Frank Stenton. Woolf. 2-4. Woolf has suggested. " R. 1-24 and map. PP. cit. however. never mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon charms." The Early Cultures . p. For the Gosforth Cross." Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes. in more general terms." Review of English Studies. " H. E. Axt und Kreuz bei den Nordgermanen (Berlin. is partly because the Devil. the twilight of the pagan gods. pp. pp." partly because as the Devil is the evil-bringer. IV. "The Gosforth Cross.43 But the analogy goes beyond this.so Loki brings evil to the gods.. as R.." Transactions of the Royal Historical Society. with the smith's tools as the symbols of Birthday of James Morgan Hart (New York. "The Historical Bearing of Place-Name Studies. "Gods and Heroes in Stone. as the bound figure on the Gosforth Cross.S. like Loki. incidentally. 41Storms. op. this important article. and smith have not been fully developed in it. pp. This. The bound Satan of the Caedmonmanuscriptshas more relationshipwith the bound Loki and bound gods of the pagan North than with any Biblical source.. Dickins.58). p939).with virtually insoluble problems. on relation of St. although it does not fit the known versions of the Weland story. on three sides and the Christian rebirth and victory of the Cross on the east side. Peter Paulsen. and partly because. 1910).44 Two mutilated carved stones from Leeds also show a bound figure who has been suggested as Weland the Smith because of the presence of what seem to be smith's tools at its feet. is the archetype of "motiveless malignity. both of the Viking Age. 132-133. cf. 42 Branston. to whom I shall confine myself. in which the Cross panels are interpreted as scenes of Ragnarok. 123-139. 155-156. Knut Berg. 27-43. on identification of Thor with the Devil. are those between the Devil and characters of northern paganism. 187-233. cf. For the identification of eleven of his shrines in southern and eastern England. "The Devil in Old English Poetry. XXI (19. Loki and the otter have been suggested as an interpretationof the Ramsey carving and. I should suggest the bound Loki. cit. in spite of the reference in Revelation (20. 148. Ellis Davidson.

" Davidson. op. 71. op. 48 Guthlac. after all. c. 1354s For the later Norse similarities between Loki and Satan. pp.familiar to us in his horns and tail ..which. 205. 16. 136-138. .D. in Aelfric's homiletic descriptionsof the Devil. where these works are discussed. Davidson. would have further meaning because of its presence on a Christiancross. E. cit. cf. here "the " Skaldskaparmal. 73.48 The relations of these figures to the animal-headedor bird-headedfigures on the Kirklevington Cross and similar figures at the foot of a Lancaster Cross.. Jean I. 0 Halvorson. 30. cit. since smith's tools are found elsewhere on scenes of the Crucifixion. A. . Young. 285. 127-129. is paraphrasedby the later Snorri Sturand the Angloluson as "Forger of Evil" and "the Bound God. even though here probably connected either with the Sigurd or the Weland story. p. 48. Loki.206 REVIEW HARVARDTHEOLOGICAL that god.. Brodeur. and. pp. 56. important sections of which are carved on the pre-Viking Age Ruthwell Cross (c.49but the possible translation of Satan and lesser devils of Christianity into these terms remains too strong to ignore." Loki.. by projection. op. with its probable relationship to a group on the Franks Casket and the figure between two beasts on the pursemount from Sutton Hoo.was known to Germanicpeoples before the coming of Christianity and continues in part . transl. p. A. cit. the fettered god. cit. 700) draws almost undoubtedly in its non-Biblical portrayal of the Crucifixionupon the death of the god Baldur. op. even though they translated the new religion into sometimes wondrous forms? The Dream of the Rood. p.""6 This would help to explain the puzzling presence of smith's tools on the Halton Cross from Lancashire... esp.47 but I believe they are more readily explained as the triumph of Christ over the "Forger of Evil. over the bound Satan. 1916). It may simply be noted here that a devil as human form with animal characteristics. 114-115. Philippson. These have been suggested as symbols of the tortures of Christ.for example.50 May I now simply list other characteristics of Anglo-Saxon paganism which were so much a part of the tribal culture and outlook that the transition to Christianity was facilitated. The Prose Edda by Snorri Sturluson (New York. in place of the soldiers. cf. G. pp. cit. serve to complicate the picture with possibilities of pre-Christian ritual. op. A.""4 Saxon Guthlac describes the devils as "smiths of woe. for example.

heaven and earth. Hbnir. in Christ and Satan. Andreas 746-750. op. then on the right hand of Christ Himself the pure people shall be gathered . by R. ". 67-68. "Lo!. Lord wert born into the world by my daughter to aid men. when the sport of throwing darts at him turned into the cosmic tragedy of the "bleeding god. Now is it manifest that Thou are God Himself... and Frey in Uppsala. op. 173. pp. 73. . where "frea" is used seventeen times for "lord. I was wounded unto death with darts"." But examples are numerous. "prince. K. the God of heavenly hosts. 12-13. shall sit on his throne. the radiant Creator. the eternal Author of all creatures. Gordon. and the possible continuation of the cult in England." which has become identified with "Lord. "Frey. Odin.PAGANISMTO CHRISTIANITY 207 young hero" mounts "the marvellous tree" and is wounded by darts: "the warriors left me standing laced with blood." ("I saw there the Frey of mankind"). Wili. Gefion. cit. the Son tends to be merged with the Father and appears often as the Creator. Jafnhar. and We." And in the Andreas. 42-52. and other trinities of Odin.. and Har. Freyja. 36. 19. 52 Branston. Cf. cit..."5 Furthermore.53 The possibility of an early pagan trinity of gods in the North. 243-267. op. "Thou. on relation of Frey.. op. . Anglo-Saxon Poetry (Everyman's Library. * Birger Pering. . Thor. the use of baldor. and there the evil-doers shall be assigned to the left hand in the Creator'spresence. venient ed. . 157-162. p. 76. "When Christ. and Lodur (Loki). 14-15. and Thor as a trinity. and Thrithi54 would aid the assimilationof the ChristianTrinity. theological confu51Branston.. pp." in Judith relates this god to ruler-cult: Brincker. pp. . Chadwick.. cit. based on the later evidence of Odin. Tyr. as they are in the ScandinavianNorth. London." is used for "the Lord": "geseah ic tha Frean mancynnes ."52even though the goddess Freyja and her maidensnowhere appear to be "converted"into the Virgin Mary and three (or nine) Marys.certainly an exaggeration of the spear at the Crucifixionbut as Baldur was in the pagan myth. In the con'Christ. Christ and Satan 439-440. in the Anglo-Saxon world-view." Eve says. Heimdall (Lund. the Father almighty. "Philippson. However. Odin." states the poem Christ. p. Him who with hands wrought land and sea."Or again. cit. reference is made to "the immortal Son of God ye call man. and the " raging waves. pp. I37. the same poem may relate not only Baldur to Christ but Frey as well to the Christian Lord. Origin . 1216-1227. this is found in a more general sense in Beowulf. . 1941).

and of Hell and the Germanic regions of Niflhel. 9 George H. "On Some Survivals of Pagan Belief in Anglo-Saxon England. 146. 130o. io-II. Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen (Halle. 61 heavenly Grace appears in Beowulf as Christianized mana..was also full of the creating Christ. op. 161. XL (1947). Gordon. fate. ed. . 1903). 126. Jr. 35-37. To a people accustomed to conceiving of god or the gods as immanent in nature. II (1927)." Speculum. the Comforter. 58 indeed. 214." Harvard Theological Review. 786-787). S. cit. Cook and C. esp. 1951). 82-83. cit. op. 213. 0 Brincker. pp. pp. as Grendelturns into the seed of Cain. pp. cit. The Norman Anonymous of iioo A. 99. 171. 63 the possibility of a Flood story in the North independentof the Christian imporas tation of Noah's Flood appears. 6o wyrd. 6 Mittner. Boniface (New York. S.. p. 215 (all from Andreas. becomes Christianized among the AngloSaxons. Magoun. I should have suspected Anglo-Saxondeterminationin this matter in the Norman Anonymous.. Liebermann. as in the Christ: "The third leap. cf. 160 (Christ. B. Boston. 85-95. op. 59 the Scandinavian home of the Normans. XVIII. pp. 201-204). 33-46. 80. ed. p. p. 32. 8. respectively. 700oo-703. In the Gnomic Verses of the Cottonian MS. 659-660). we find "God alone knows it. Brincker. however. Mass. 99. Emerton. tr. "King Oswy and Caedmon's Hymn.. 102-108. the bound of the heavenly King. cit. cit.D. 87. had not the President of the American Society of Church History removed him firmly from York to the archepiscopalpalace of Rouen. 62 the monsters of paganism become absorbed into the new faith also. other examples on pp. Williams.. pp. 6 Branston.. p.64 does the possible use of the word husel (related to the Gothic hunsl. 1940). 68. cf.. p. Its influence continues. 2.""5 This is not Roman or Mediterranean in origin.n. but Germanic.. the Father.. (Harvard Theological Studies. on reference in 7th-8th century Voyage of Bran to Christ as Creator. our Father the Savior": A... was raised on the cross. ' Beowulf. PP. pp. Tinker. op. 26 f. 206. 1926). Select Translations From Old English Poetry (revised ed. * E. 144 (Christ and Satan. abound in poems such as the Anglo-Saxon Judith. A. Parallels of Heaven and Valhill. op. 324-328. I.208 HARVARD THEOLOGICAL REVIEW sion reigns even more completely when the Three Persons are merged. 71I. this refusal to distinguish a transcendent Father from an immanent Son is perhaps not surprising. The Letters of St. Cook. 726-728. Christ. was when He.. 62 Francis P. Cambridge. a sacrifice) before the Conversion for a sacrificial victim and after Anglo-Saxon Chris1926). p. 8 F. as in a letter from Boniface to King Ethelbald of Mercia57and the dooms of Alfred the Great. 123.

g. cit. not only was Woden or Odin the god of the ruler.. he represented and indeed was the "luck" of his people. was to be part of medieval rulership throughout the Middle Ages."7 The king's god was the people's god. A violent conversion to the new religion was unnecessary when the old provided so many parallelisms that the tribal culture could absorb the conqueringGod without disruptingmany of its basic preconceptions. and the king as heilerfiillt stood between his tribe and the tribal gods. pp. when politico-cultural opposition is greater. cit. 289-292. Geburtstag von Alfons Dopsch (Baden bei Wien. 2-3. 42. Chadwick.66 but the ruler was the leader of the tribal cult. when translated into Christian eschatology. M. It is this factor also that dominates the character of the Germanic conversion. At the beginning it may be well to emphasize an important point. op. 1-12. esp. by so much is religious opHalvorson. Axel Olrik. Pering. It is in this Germanictradition that the Anglo-Saxon ruler is to be seen. cf.. 96. "stands the sacrificialking. pp. "Die Magische Seite des Altgermanischen K5inigtums und Ihr Fortwirken in Christlicher Zeit. op. and it is to this that I turn in conclusion.. only in time were these to give way before an ecclesiastical conquest. cit. 146-148. 61-62. inasmuch as English kings were converted without violent incident. Tied into temporaland cosmic history by divine descent." as Jolliffe says. cit." 1s Consequently the conversion of the folc stemmed from the conversion of the king to the more powerful deity. op. " Jolliffe. "5 but perhaps the point is now clear. this royal function. ' . "just within the shadow at which the records of English history fail. p. Nordisches Geistesleben in Heidnischer und Friihchristlicher Zeit (Heidelberg. 116-119. as under Olaf Tryggvason and Olaf the Holy." Wirtschaft und Kultur. 1908). pp.. pp. pp. Not only in concepts of theology but in those of rulershipas well was a syncretism between pagan culture and Christian cult possible. by so much is tribal conversion without great external drama. Festschrift zum 7o. 284... SCf. since it was the king's relationshipwith the gods which "saved"his people as much as did the gods themselves. as often occurred in Scandinavia. For the role of kings in the migration period and the pre-invasion development of Anglo-Saxon kingship. "making" the year. pp. sacrificing for victory and plenty. op. e. 41.PAGANISMTO CHRISTIANITY 209 tianization for the sacrifice of the Mass. in northern paganism. 295-303. 8 Hans Naumann. H. 1938).

and the latter continued to "make the year. XXXIII (1933).. op.." as the Anglo-SaxonChrist calls him70 was seen in these terms of the god of the king. and victory over their foes" were given "by the aid of God" to King Ecgfrith and Queen Aethelthryth. fruitful years. pp. op.. "let us all in common urge the aforementionedking to reform himself with his people.D. "that the whole nation. but that. 74 Eddius Stephanus." "In the king's righteousness. 793. cit. 19 in ibid.and Church History. of course. 783 (letter of Alcuin to Offa of Mercia). ed. the Lord of great kings."72 If the leaders do not serve God. 70 Christ. Life of Bishop Wilfrid."73 Further. mildness of the seasons. victory in war. c. 941-942." wrote Boniface to the priest Herefrith concerningAethelbald of Mercia. F. It is for the king to atone with God for his whole people. p. Gordon. 43. p. p. 694. he may by his example guide his own people back to the way of salvation. 7 Naumann. rulers of Deira and Bernicia." Church History. cf. but when the king was no longerat one with the bishop. the new ChristianGod . 853. God is often described as a king. with its prince. The fate of the folc is related to the fate of its prince. op. which in time will transform the Folklore Kingship of the 69Helmut de Boor.. cit. . "is the common weal. nQuoted in Jolliffe." Mitteilungen der Schlesischen Gesellschaft fiir Volkskunde. 7 Ibid. 316: "Then the Ruler of heaven radiant as the sun shall sit on the high throne glorified with his crown" (from Doomsday). freedom from pestilence.7" possibility of division between two functions of the pagan Anglo-Saxon royal persona mixta appears. p. W. 757. pp. 166. p. XI (1942). his "luck"left him. "Barbarian and Greek . 22."the Almighty. 7-9. 72 Whitelock. Aelfric preaches in one of his homilies. as long as they were obedient to Bishop Wilfrid."71 In these Christiantranslationsthe earlierpagan "luck" of the Anglo-Saxonking is heard in not too transposeda key. cit." Thus. 26-51. Pp. may not perish here and in the future life.. "God will manifest to them their contempt of him either by famine or by pestilence. p. Buckler. abundanceof crops. "Germanische und Christliche Religiosidit. "peace and joy among the people.. p. cit. by amending and reforming his own life.. unlike the old religion in which there was no powerful priesthood to be equated with the Divine Will and the principes themselves the performedpriestly functions. cf. 784 (letter of Alcuin to Eardwulf of Northumbria). op.74Here."wrote Alcuin to King Aethelred in A.210 HARVARDTHEOLOGICAL REVIEW position greater.

discusses this and suggests Anglo-Saxon familiarity with the Roman custom of damnatio memoriae. i. 30. Hist. 664665. "he understood that a province forsaken by its prelate was rightfully forsaken also by divine help. however. Suffice it here to add that apostasy from the Christian faith was regardedas bringing about the loss of kingdom and on occasion the deletion from the line of Woden-sprungmonarchs who had made the proper sacrifices. 78 Bede. he was restored to his realm. even though his subjects followed him.-S.e. Bede reports that he "refused to accept the faith and sacraments of the heavenly kingdom and not long after lost even the power over his earthly kingdom. "king of victories." 7 Anglo-Saxon Chronicle sub anno 634 (MS.so and who was still listed as a bretwalda. not surprising that the old concept of the king as bringer of victory also continues. though. however.PAGANISMTO CHRISTIANITY 211 post-Conversion period into the Liturgical Kingship of a later period. Chronicle sub anno 616. Eccl. But that is another story." i.76 And both Bede and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle assign an extra year to King Oswald of Northumbria "on account of the heathen practices which had been performed by those who had reigned the one year between him and Edwin. when his kingdom lacked a bishop. which adds that the British King Cadwallon slew them both without delay iusta ultione. pp. when Eadbald of Kent apostacized after the death of his father Aethelberht... Hist.D.." gave triumph to the earthly rulers who served 7 Bede. Peter Hunter Blair. Cynegils of the West Saxons. Bede. The Christian God. Thus. III..77 However. Hist. Ibid.79 In both cases. of Redwald of East Anglia. 8o .. Later also. III. 248-249. Eccl. Hist. 7. Osric of the Deirans and Eanfrid of the Bernicians. 5.. he was not removed from the king-lists. III. 9 Bede. in this case to the God who had conquered Woden. 15. II. . E) . while the tribal culture was still strong enough after the Conversion to bring royal apostacy. this cannot be said. II.. A. both the old and the new religions related the fate of the kingdomto the cult of the king. they returned to the faith. was still rememberedin Bede's day.78 nor was Sighere of the East Saxons when he returned "with his part of the people" to his ancestral gods during the great plague of A. Eccl. . Thus. It is. consequently. Eccl. when Cenwealh succeeded his father. whose temple to the old gods. whom he worshipped along with Christ." When he was converted in East Anglia." The Early Cultures . "The Moore Memoranda on Northumbrian History.

as Edwin. 10o837 (Henry Bradshaw Society.-S. H. 83. Chronicon ex Chronicis (Rolls Series). LV. pp. Chronicle sub anno 633. Whitelock. received increased power also in his earthly dominion. Chronicle sub anno 937 at Brunanburh. at Ashdown in 871 A. I. Chadwick. p.85 The frequent examples of sainthood bestowed upon kings who die violent deaths may well be regardedas a Christian substitute for the ritual king-slaying of paganism. 1918). went into battle and was slain. SBede. respectively. 409-41o. c. Paris. 414-415. 26. "ipse professionis suae non imto carry a weapon but.. and 792 (794). in a British source. Andrew Rugg-Gunn. 236. The Origin of Kingship (London. Bede. M.. King of the East Angles. 9. Eccl.and refusing to leave for the battle until worship was concluded. Hist. 1940).. p.was forced to come forth to lead the fyrd into battle against Penda.87 So in England kings such as Edwin and Egfrid of Northumbria and Edmund of East Anglia. Willibrord from MS.occupying himself with blot . Lat. Aethelred remained praying at Mass . p.. op. IV. 1883). cit."s3 On the other hand. ed."84 So much is the royal person associated with victory in battle and royal devotion to God or the gods a part of maintainingthe kingdom's "luck" that Sigbert. A. M. s2 From memor. H. Hist. A. op. s Ynglingasaga. who fell in battle against the heathen. s4 Wade-Evans.""s Aelfric cites Alfred. dating from the first quarter of the eighth century. 301-302. 116-117. Osiris and Odin. pp. 301 " A. "in omen of his receiving the faith and the heavenly kingdom.D. s7 Vigfusson and Powell. Judges.g. Chronicle sub annis 870. Chadwick. however. with only a little rod in his hand." he--like the priests of Anglo-Saxon paganism- refused . cit. Athelstan.. and others who died unjust and violent deaths become popularsaints. cit. who had retired to a monastery. Not only were northern kings sacrificed to get good crops. cit. and Edgar as three kings victorious through the help of God. 65o/651. op. 83. commemorates Edwin. p. Eccl. Vigfusson and Powell. eds. as the Ynglingar Domaldi and Olaf Tretelgia of Sweden.. I.-S. Aethelberht of East Anglia.-S. cit... I.. beheaded by Offa of Mercia. H.. 18 and 47. The Calendar of St. who was murdered by King Oswiu.8sbut kings were worshippedafter their death. III. London. op.. S E. and "the faith of the Christian king availed him much with God": Florence of Worcester. 854. pp. op. II. Oswini of Deira. for example.8" l Ibid. Corpus Poeticum Boreale (Oxford.212 HARVARDTHEOLOGICAL REVIEW him. 18. pp.s2 and many battles are won by Christiankings "Christaiding. Wilson. A. Nennius reportsthat the pagan Penda of Mercia "was victorious (at Maserfelth) by diabolical agency.

J. heathen though he was. xxii. p. The continuation of earlier attitudes toward ritual king-slaying is further evidenced. op. P. 88. Romuald Bauerreiss. . the latter remarkable in view of his excision from the king-lists as an apostate. cit. which were predominantly Roman in character. 31. 91 F.. believes the early cult of St. the ecclesiastical organization. among the commemorationsof Christianized royal sacrificial victims. n. 90 his violent slaying by Cadwallon placed him. Cuthbert and St. 92 A. however. Robertson. I see no difficulty in this cult. LI (1933). in P. In spite of the general adoption of Pope Gregory's advice. Whitelock. and Oswini. p. Osric. ' Levison. Another early eighth century calendar. in spite of its apparent blessing of these saints and the popular cult. Here indeed we see the enshrinementin the new religion of kings "sacrificed"by violence. wary of royal saints. cf. Liebermann.. so Anglo-Saxon kings of the new dispensationorderedreligious duties to be fulfilled by the folc for the same reason." in the light of the evidence concerning Egfrid. except for a church of St. Oswald near the spot where King Elfwald of Northumbria was murdered. these early English king-saints were not represented in the early dedications of churches.. Die Heiligen Englands (Hanover. commemorates Egfrid and King Osric of Deira. slain by Cadwallon. in the commemoration in an early eighth century Anglo-Saxon calendar of the very Osric of Deira who was excised from the king-lists of Northumbria for returning to the old gods. the saints. passim. King Edgar was the first to do so in his fourth code (A. 1889). "Ein angelsdichsisches Kalendarfragment des bayrischen Hauptstaatsarchivs in Miinchen.91 As pagan priest-kings staved off tribal calamity by offering blot even themselves to the gods.92 Egfrid. 179. 29.PAGANISMTO CHRISTIANITY 213 On the other hand. et al. The Laws of the Kings of England from Edmund to Henry I (Cambridge. cit. 962-963). 36. as we see the royal nature of mediatorship with God in the fact that most Anglo-Saxonsaints belong to royal families. and the entire concept of the "sacrificed" king. o See above. op. besides Oswald. P." Studien und Mitteilungen zur Geschichte des Benediktinerordens und Seiner Zweige. which was issued as a result of a pestilence which the king related to sin and the non-payment of tithes.D." I suggest that the Church regardedit as dangerous to strengthen royal cults by official dedications of churches. p. 1925). since their localization might lead analogously to the local "high places" and sanctuaries of heathenism. Edmund of East Anglia "is understandable only on the assumption that something other than his death in battle took place. preferred Roman dedications. introd.

When the fourth doom of Ine of Wessex states that "Churchdues shall be renderedat Martinmas.. cit. and in sanctuary connected with the king's person. cit. pp. 9 On the three annual great festivals of Scandinavia. op.i. and Summer's Day (May 7).. "every freeman between the feast of All Saints and the feast of St..214 HARVARDTHEOLOGICAL REVIEW Church dues were a subject of royal dooms previously. and that November in pagan England was blotmonath. p. 45-46. 9. The dating of these ecclesiastical requirements is interesting. I. 228. op. I954). Margaret Murray finds comfort for her theory of the Divine King in England in the fact that all but two of these died violent deaths and so are. and on November as sacrificial month in England. the great feast day closest to the old Winter's Day festival of November 7th. tithes in the second code of King Edgar are due at Pentecost. . p. p. p. the largest artificial mound in Europe. at Midwinter for good crops. 21. pp."9 it should be noted that St. were the great ceremonial feasts when the king sacrificed for the people. 84. cit. PP. cit. op. if in other forms: Grinsell. 414. although never as an equivalent for blot to end the anger of the Deity. op. on Winter's Day for a good year. the prefix "Os-. 81. These. since in seventh and eighth century Northumbria. on Palm Sunday and feasting there extended back into Saxon times. royal sacrificial victims. pp. Chadwick.97 We need not go this far. 1954)." Cf.. 9. and on Summer's Day for victory in battle."is to pay the lord what he is bound to pay": Melville Richards. Martin's Day was (and is) November IIth.it was difficultnot to become a royal sacrificialvic9"Attenborough. on which the king sacrificed for a good year. Martin" . The Divine King in England (London. 227-228.. on the blessing of herbs in Anglo-Saxon England at three Masses on Midwinter's Day. Midwinter's Day (December 25). op." probably signifying "divine. cit. Vigfusson and Powell. Of the first. op. The Laws of Hywel Dda (Liverpool. 42: "The three high feasts of English heathendom were Winter's Day (November 7). SMargaret Murray. H. to her. cit. in the pagan North. the month of sacrifice.95 Reflecting the mixed characterof this dating. SRobertson.. one only wishes one could know whether the former custom of visiting Silbury Hill in Wiltshire.96 Nor do the festivals of the two religions alone relate the king to the transition from paganism to Christianity. p. 5 Storms. 37. Storms. and Martinmas. the equinox. 404-405. The sacredness of the king continues in a persistent traditionof royal "divine"names... cit. cf. in the charactermixtus of the English ruler. p.e. go. 218.." occurs in the names of twelve Northumbriankings. cit. op. pp... 136. Cf. ." The popularity of the feast of St. M. op. Jolliffe. in the Welsh laws of Hywel Dda. between November ist and November IIth . John the Baptist (June 24th) is undoubtedly a continuation of the Midsummer observance of paganism. 248.

Whitelock.PAGANISMTO CHRISTIANITY 215 tim. 101F. pp. Stenton. 1954).I believe. 83. H. 1913). PP. as he does in the laws. History of the English. and intermediate. Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte (Heidelberg. PP. a culture imbued with priest-kings would receive its new cult in those terms. as Stenton suggests in discussing the ownership of heathen shrines. pp. Ab Ithel. XVII). 1947). 147. " F. a priest who was made king in Kent. op. the charter is Birch 201B. Liebermann. 543. "Das Eigenkirchentum in England.. LXXIV). 764-765. cit. 10 T. 142-143. with the king as lay lord of monasteries.102 We know from Bede's story of Coifi Storms. ed. 1921). the northern smith also makes his appearance in this charm: pp. 54-55. ed. p. p. in a charm against rheumatism. 1913). spirits of the North and a word applied in Icelandic to all the gods but who appear only once in Anglo-Saxon. pp. 77. Formen des Asylrechts und ihre Verbreitung bei den Germanen (Frankfurt-am-Main. It is in that light that we may see the AngloSaxon king speaking as a homilist. W.100 too complicated to enter into here. p. Helm.."9 The problem of the Eigenkirche. i9. in which they are combined with elves and hags. primarily clerical. The "Os-" prefix has also been suggested as a reminiscenceof the Aesir. M. 102 Ortwin Henssler. cf. 217. 741-743. p. 246. Anglo-Saxon England (2nd ed. pp. esp. Secondly. the names are not without significance for the penetrationof the heilerfiillt king of paganisminto Christiantimes. 140-141. 538-539. cit. " . Boehmer.98 But harking back to an age when elves were larger. and signing a charter at the head of the bishops and at the head of the princes. lay abbot. Arnold. Oxford. K. the "peace" of certain places and the right of asylum. Archdeacon of Huntingdon (Rolls Series. one may well conjecturethat the syllable "Os-"rang bells in an AngloSaxon head that it does not in ours.. so that the "mixed character"of the ruler would continue. 50. attending assemblies primarily lay. op. 27.. 141. Brut Y Tywysogion (Rolls Series. but it may be regarded. The National Assembly in the Anglo-Saxon Period (Halle. Corvoc was king and bishop of Ireland: J. so common in Anglo-Saxon law. and perhaps even bishop (if Henry of Huntingdon is correct in describing the ninth century is King Aethelwulf as Bishop of Winchester).. 146-147 (in which he is related to Weland the Smith). on King Osred tonsured at York and deposed. 852.101 Thirdly. by Henry. as influenced by pagan background. nonetheless. and on Eadberht Praen. 794." Texte und Forschungen zur Englischen Kulturgeschichte (Halle. 839. 101-102. I7. stem here not from constitutional but from sacral realms. 719. 338-339. the question of asylum is intimately linked with the transition from the old to the new religion in the light of tribal culture. p.

I. Chadwick. Toller. p. pp..or rather nine nights here . Hist. Eccl. Chadwick. p. which is the magic number of the north. op. II. op. p."110 Here the pagan North breaks througheven more... 493. p.. connected with King Aethelstan. 9Io-c." For the ecclesiastical "mile" of asylum at Ripon and Beverley. but more largely to the whole problem of the "king's number.. he shall have respite for nine days. 149. "Germanic Heathenism. Whitelock. io6o A. found also in the other two laws of royal asylum. 11 This complicated problem. 302-303. magic. in Liebermann. op.'?9 In the latter. Bosworth and T. the length of a grain of barley as one of the measures of the king's grith combines with the number nine. cf. Die Gesetze . which I plan on treating elsewhere.216 HARVARDTHEOLOGICAL REVIEW defiling the pagan temple that priests of the Angli were forbidden to carry arms and that weapons were banned from their temples. cit. related to fertility. p. 302-303.?07This continues in Anglo-Saxonlaw. op. M. 407. p. Edward the Confessor's shrine granted asylum to a thief even before the king was canonized.. In yet another law. op. where we read in IV Aethelstan 6 that "if (a thief) seeks the king. op.. pp. is also related to the "Nine Herbs Charm. 74. 10"Bertha Phillpotts. as they were in Scandinavia. 42.. 391). 10 From Pax. 71-73.D. this right. the origin of which is unclear but which was apparently a measure of about six inches. . 470. cf."'o4 Icelandic saga informs us that an outlaw was not permitted by the god Frey even in the vicinity of his temple. dating c. 1898). An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary (Oxford.. cit. o10 Whitelock. and royal cult. p. 13.. 1913). which is granted also to an archbishop or a prince. H. pp. cit. op. Vigfusson and Powell. however.103 This priestly peace is continued in Christiantimes in the same area of the North in the Law of the Northumbrian Priests: "If a priest comes with weapons into the church." above.. he is to compensate for it. 1osAttenborough. cit. op... p. 1ooLiebermann. or the archbishop."'1 And with these o10Bede. but . I. 390 (with Latin text of Quadripartitus. cit. Henssler. cit. Die Gesetze . M. II. 105 this and the early northern notion that the area surroundingthe king was mikill grithastathr ("a place of great peace") 106 are undoubtedly based on the premise that one who enters a sacred area becomes himself heilerfiillt. 437. I. 821.or a holy church of a God... the king's peace is said to extend from his burh-gate"III mila and III furlang and III aecera braede and IX fota and IX scaeftamunda and IX berecorna. can be extended beyond the nine days ." Cambridge Mediaeval History (New York. For scaeftamunda. J."'08osroyal asylum granted also in the eleventh century laws Be Grithe and be munde. cit. cf. p. 1" Henssler. 106 H.by the king. p. cit.

is impossible. 2. since he was presented on the altar at Ely by his parents while still in his cradle. for example. 13. which formed and even warped it. "Gifstol."as Bede calls him. pp. Anglo-Saxon Writs (Manchester. LXIX (1954). of course." which has the meaning of both places. the hanging of sacrifices to Woden. however. been put forward in extreme form by Margaret Murray in The Divine King in England. One need not go so far. E. cf. Germanictree cult and its connections with Heimdall and Christ. cf. Our view of both politics and religion is consequently influenced. I do not myself detect covens of witches everywhere nor regard Charles I as a royal sacrificialvictim of the old religion. Arthur E. culture and cult are related. to see more heathenism lurking behind the manuscripts and artifacts than is visible to the twentieth century eye. To become an Anglo-Saxon. to move from example to thesis.this thesis has." Modern Language Notes. pillars of light above Anglo-Saxon royal saints. royal protection against pestilence. shaped by paganism. n. PP. I think. but we divorce too much. sanctuary and the king's person. King Oswald as a Bavarian and Tyrolean lord of the weather. I do not think.pagan or Christian.PAGANISMTO CHRISTIANITY 217 overtones of sacred number. the holiness of altar and throne is apparently reflected in the word "gifstol. then the Confessor was heilerfiillt almost at birth. and the raven of Woden and Oswald as a sacral bird. fertility cults. 222. without considering the relation of the Cross which he erected at Rowley Water and northern pillar cult. 546-549. that one can understandKing Oswald. a dimension is added in the past-enmeshed Conversion story in the transition from paganismto Christianityin Anglo-SaxonEngland. division of the king's body after the battle of Maserfelth of with dismemberment kings to protect their realm. If I plead that the break between pagan and Christian England has been overemphasized. the hand and knee as sacral objects. Indeed. F. Dubois. 1952). a dimensionis given to the wars of Northumbria and Mercia. . If only some of these make sense. we must draw this to a not very Christianclose. And if. Anglo-Saxon Christianity from the culture. "the most holy and very victorious king of Northumberland. Harmer. barley and sacrifices for good crops.