Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Dr. Beachcombing contemplates early medieval genocide

Dr. Beachcombing's Bizarre History Blog continues to amuse, amaze and educate. See, for instance, what he has to say about scholars downplaying massacres.

Beachcombing has noted before the refusal of archaeologists to face up to some of the bloodier customs of our ancestors. And what better example of this than the way that most archaeologists go into denial on coming across any evidence of mass killings or human sacrifice in Dark Age Britain? Indeed, despite there being straightforward references in contemporary histories and in the archaeological record, archaeologists prefer to talk of ‘exaggerations’ or ‘misunderstandings’ and move on.

Take as an example Caedwalla’s conquest of the Isle of Wight. In c. 685 this king of the southern Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex decided that he needed some Lebensraum. The result was that he called up his army and Beachcombing will allow the early English historian Bede to tell the rest.

4, 16 After Caedwalla had possessed himself of the kingdom of the Gewissae [in the Thames Valley], he also took the Isle of Wight, which till then had been entirely given over to idolatry, and by cruel slaughter endeavoured to destroy all the inhabitants thereof, and to place in their stead people from his own province…

And that's just the beginning...

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