Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Anglo-Saxon Foundation's hilarious mangling of English history and religion

I planned to cover this in my post about the Anglo-Saxon Foundation member Clive Calladine, but deleted it to save space. However, it was too good to leave out altogether...

Here's a post Calladine made on Facebook under the pseudonym "Harold Godwinsson":

"The Warriors prayer before Battle - Lo there do i see my Father, Lo there do I see my Mother, and my Sisters and my Brothers. Lo there, do I see the line of my People/Angelfolc. Lo, they do call to me, they bid me take my place beside them in the Halls of Valhalla, where the brave may live for EVER!"

Calladine seems to think that this is a genuine Wodenist prayer; he has even gone through the trouble of translating it into old English.

Unfortunately for him, however, it was actually lifted from the Hollywood film The 13th Warrior.

The film was adapted from Michael Crighton's novel Eaters of the Dead, itself based on the writings of Ahmad ibn Fadlan, a tenth century Arab traveller who encountered Vikings and wrote about them at length.

Here is the version from the film. This is the version that Calladine quotes, although he adds in an element of his own by mentioning "Angelfolc" (Anglo-Saxons).

Lo, there do I see my father.
Lo, there do I see my mother, my sisters and my brothers.
Lo, there do I see the line of my people back to the beginning.
Lo, they do call to me.
They bid me take my place on Asgard in the halls of Valhalla,
Where the brave may live forever.

Here is the version found in Crighton's novel:

Lo, I see here my father and mother.
Lo, now I see all my deceased relatives sitting.
Lo, there is my master, who is sitting in Paradise.
Paradise is so beautiful, so green.
With him are his men and boys.
He calls to me, so bring me to him.

And here is the version that was transcribed by ibn Fadlan, which is quite different to the one from the film:

Behold, I see my father and mother.
I see all my dead relatives seated.
I see my master seated in Paradise and Paradise is beautiful and green;
With him are men and boy servants.
He calls me.
Take me to him.

What's more, while Calladine refers to this as a warrior's prayer before battle, it is actually no such thing. In the original document, it is actually recited by a slave girl (hence the reference to "my master") before she is sacrificed.

So, the historian Clive Calladine has taken a prayer spoken by a Viking's slave girl - specifically, a version of the prayer that was significantly rewritten by Hollywood - and tried to pass it off as an Anglo-Saxon warrior's prayer. Some historian!

Go here to read the history that Calladine couldn't be bothered to research himself. A short excerpt:

'The "prayer" is a part of the ritual described by the real Ibn Fadlan where a slave girl/concubine of a deceased Rus chieftain is about to be sacrificed to accompany her master to the grave. It is not used by any of the Rus warriors themselves. The movie uses it twice, once during the chieftain's funeral, and again towards the end of the movie in the mouths of the warriors.'

There's more. Check out the website of Saxon Faction, an Essex-based nationalist outfit; I don't know exactly who owns it but I would be surprised if he is not a member of the Anglo-Saxon Foundation himself (the two groups share a similar "Englisc" philosophy). Here is a sample of the home page:

There it is again, the version of the prayer from The 13th Warrior. There is no citation - was the owner of the site aware of the quotation's origin? I doubt it, somehow.

Here's another posting from the Anglo-Saxon Foundation:

Well, at least this fellow acknowledges that the prayer is from a film. However, he still seems to think that it represents the personal opinion of Woden, and is a reasonable basis for a country's policy on race relations.

Now, let's sit down and think about this for a bit. Aside from the absurdity of these people conflating modern fiction with genuine religious practice, take some time to consider what they are actually saying.

This prayer was uttered by a slave girl shortly before some Vikings killed her in sacrifice to an entirely hypothetical entity named "Odin". Here is the exact description of her death from the account:

'Then the old woman siezed her head and made her enter the pavillion and entered with her. Thereupon the men began to strike with the sticks on the shields so that her cries could not be heard and the other slave girls would not seek to escape death with their masters. Then six men went into the pavillion and each had intercourse with the girl. 
Then they laid her at the side of her master; two held her feet and two her hands; the old woman known as the Angel of Death re-entered and looped a cord around her neck and gave the crossed ends to the two men for them to pull. Then she approached her with a broad-bladed dagger, which she plunged between her ribs repeatedly, and the men strangled her with the cord until she was dead.'

If I were an Odinist or Wodenist, I would be ashamed of this incident.

And yet, the Anglo-Saxon Foundation and Saxon Faction have taken the last words of this sacrificed slave and portrayed them as something that English people should be proud of. As representative of a religious system that we should return to.

How utterly perverted can you get?

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