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for which their services were pledged, to repel the enemies of Britain. A second body of Saxons, in sixteen large vessels, arrived in A. D. 450; and a third, in forty ships, in A. D. 452. In a word, the Saxons, by policy and power, ultimately gained possession of this country.
On the arrival of the Saxons in Britain, they were totally ignorant of letters; but, in process of time, they acquired much of the learning, as well as most of the possessions of the Britons: and the alphabet they adopted was that anciently in use among the Welsh, and is still preserved among the Irish. & According to Verstigan, the name Saxons is derived from Seaxes or swords, not from any distinctive appellation given them in their own country, being Germans. And Turner, in his History of the Anglo-Saxons, says, that the etymology of this name from the weapons is most specious, and has the most numerous supporters.
The Saxons having once established themselves in Britain, brought so many Northern people to their aid, that, before the end of the following century, they drove out the Britons—some of whom fled to Armorica, or Brittany, in Gaul, some to Cornwall, some to the Picts and Scots, being forced to throw themselves on the humanity and charity of these ancient and avowed enemies for protection and support. Others purchased their lives by yielding to slavery; being compelled by famine they gave up themselves as slaves to the conquerors. But the most of them who escaped the sword, fled to the western parts of Britain, since known by the name of Wales, where the mountains, the fastnesses, and stern poverty, preserved the sad remains of the British nation. b
a Camb. Regis. vol. iii. p. 150. 6 Inett's History of the English Church, vol. i, p. 5.
Having thus overrun the greatest part of the British Isle, according to the different views and interests of the adventurers, the Saxons parcelled out their conquests. Hengist, who was general to the first comers, had the country of Kent for his share, and settled his kingdom about the year A. D. 455. The second kingdom, in order of time, was that of the South Saxons, containing the counties of Sussex and Surry, which began under Ella, about the year A. D. 481. The next was that of the West Saxons, of which Cerdick was the first king, about the year A. D. 522; this kingdom contained the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Wilts, Southampton, and Berks. The fourth kingdom was that of the East Saxons, and began about the year A. D. 527, under the first king Erchewine. The kingdom of Northumberland appears to have the next claim in order of time, and was erected about the year A. D. 547. This, at first, consisted of two kingdoms or provinces, one of which was called Bernicia, containing the country between the Tweed and the Frith of Edinburgh ; the other was denominated Deira, including the countries between the Humber and the Tweed. The sixth kingdom was that of the East Angles, containing the counties of Norfolk, Suffolk, Cambridgeshire, and the Isle of Ely, and was erected about the year A. D. 575. The seventh kingdom was that of Mercia, erected about the year A. D. 582, containing the counties of Gloucester, Hereford, Worcester, Warwick, Leicester, Rutland, Northampton, Lincoln, Bedford, Nottingham, Buckingham, Oxford, Derby, Stafford, Shropshire, and Cheshire. a
The Saxons, on their arrival in Britain, were not only totally ignorant of letters, but were pagan idolaters, and introduced their gods and worship into this country. Several authors have made particular mention of this subject, giving us a description of the objects of their idolatrous worship. Gildas states particularly the many idols to which they offered worship. He speaks of “the monstrous idols of our country, surpassing almost in number the very devilish devices themselves of Egypt; of which we behold as yet some, both within and without the walls of their forsaken temples, with deformed portraitures, and terrible countenances, after the accustomed manner, and mouldering away." a From some of these idolatrous objects, connected with the heavenly bodies, are the days of the week named.
a Inett's History, &c. vol.
p. 5, 6.
The Sun, to which the Romans, as well as several other nations, paid religious homage, was, in a peculiar manner, worshipped by the Saxons.
56 Unto the day dedicated to the idoll of the Sun, they gave the name of Sunday, as much as to say, as the Sunsday, or the day of the Sun. This idoll was placed in a temple, and there adored, and sacrificed unto, for that they believed that the Sun in the firmament did with or in this idoll correspond and co-operate. It was made like halfe a naked man, set upon a pillar, his face, as it were, brightened with gleams of fire, and holding, with both his armes stretched out, a burning wheele upon his breast ; the wheele being to signifie the course which he runneth, round the world ; and the fiery gleams, and brightnes, the light and heat wherewith he warmeth and comforteth the things that live and grow." }
a The Translator of Gildas to the Inhabitants of Britain, p. 6.
Verstegan, p. 68, 69.
The Moon also, engaging the attention of the nations, was likewise worshipped by our Saxon ancestors.
“ The next, according to the course of the dayes of the week, was the idoll of the Moone, whereof we yet retaine the name of Monday, instead of Mooneday. The forme of this idoll seemeth very strange and ridiculous, for, being made for a woman, shee hath a short coat like a man: but more strange it is to see her hood with such two long eares. The holding of a Moone before her breast may seeme to have beene to expresse what she is ; but the reason of her chapron with long eares, as also of her short coat and pyked shooes, I do not finde.”
“ Tuisco or Tuiscou (was] the father and conductor of the Germans, who, after his name, even unto this day, doe in their owne tongue call themselves Tuytsh, and their country of Germany Tuytshland: and the Netherlands using herein D for the T, doe make it Duytsh and Duytshland, both which appellations of the people and country, I doe here write right according as we, in our English orthography, would write them, after their pronunciation.”
The above is denied by the author of Magna Britannia, whosays, “Thor had a wife, a goddess among his posterity, whose name was Thisa. She was looked upon to be the goddess of Justice. From her the third day of the week was called Tijsday, or, as we now pronounce it, Tuesday; and not from Tuisco, as Verstegan vainly imagines.”
" The next was the idoll Woden, who was made armed, and, among our Saxon ancestors, esteemed and honoured for their god of battell, according as the Romans reputed and honoured their god of Mars.”
The author just alluded to, says, “ Woden was the first god among the Saxons. He was, according to their notions, to be appeased by human sacrifices, and to be made propitious by many barbarous rites. From this idol, the fourth day of the week received its name of Wodensdag, or, as we now call it, Wednesday.”
“ Odin [or Wodin) is believed to have been the name of the one true God among the first colonies who came from the east, and peopled Germany and Scandinavia, and among
their posterity for several ages. But at length a mighty conqueror, the leader of a new army of adventurers from the east, overrun the north of Europe, erected a great empire, assumed the name of Odin, and claimed the honours which had been formerly paid to that deity. From thenceforward, this deified mortal, under the name of Odin or Wodin, became the chief object of the idolatrous worship of the Saxons and Danes, in this island, as well as of many other nations. Having been a mighty and successful warrior, he was believed to be the god of war, who gave victory and revived courage in the conflict. Having civilized, in some measure, the countries which he conquered, and introduced arts formerly unknown, he was also worshipped as the god of arts and sciences. In a word, to this Odin, his deluded worshippers impiously ascribed all the attributes which belong only to the true God. To him they built magnificent temples, offered many sacrifices, and consecrated the fourth day of the week, which is still called by his name in England,