Comment of the Day: Erik Lund: "'Cerdic' appears to be a Brittonic name, 'Ceretic', or, in reconstructed British, Caraticos, tolerably close to 'Caratacus', a heroic leader of British resistance against the Roman invader, who appears in the Latin historians, Tacitus and Dio Cassius. It seems to be a minority argument that 'Cerdic' is 'Caratacus'. Tracing royal ancestry back to Woden is an Anglo-Saxon affectation, we all agree. (In spite of a strong argument that it is actually everyone else copying Bede, and Bede trying to patch up an acceptable genealogy for the post-Osred Bernician kings, who could no longer trace their ancestry back to Ealdfrith, and had to resort to the much less satisfactory, legendary figure of Ida.) But the House of Wessex claiming an ancient British hero as apex ancestor? That's whack...

...Nor is this likely to be the genealogy of the House of Wessex. Rather, what we have here is probably the forced merger of two traditions, that of the Gewisse, a kingdom north of the upper Thames Valley that found it important to assert British origins, and of a more southerly kingship that might have been the original Wessex. We don't really know, because later Wessex regimes seem to have ruthlessly suppressed the original geography of religious centres in the south in favour of Winchester and a royal cult of Alfred. Interestingly, both Beohtric and St. Edward the Martyr were buried at Lady St. Mary in Wareham, strongly suggesting that it was an episcopal seat for a (suppressed) diocese.

>The important point being that the ruthless ecclesiastical politics of the "Viking" Age --and afterwards-- repressed many early religious institutions. When the memory of losing institutions like Iona, Lindisfarne and Kildare could not be repressed, Viking and Magyar marauders were imported into the narrative to do the necessary work.