Talk:Cerdic of Wessex

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Can anyone clarify if the name "Cerdic" is Germanic in origin, and if so, give its meaning?

It's actually believed to be British rather than Germanic, which is a bit odd and has been puzzled over a bit. I'm glad you pointed it out, I'll add something about it. Everyking 19:49, 12 Feb 2005 (UTC)
I think it probarly comes from , Cedric , and is thus Germanic. The name Ceretic or Caradog (in Latin Caratacus)is sought to far in my opinion.I don't get it how people search so far for an answer while there can be a much more obvious one.
Cedric was a mis-spelling of the name Cerdic made by Sir Walter Scott in his novel Ivanhoe of 1819, it became a popular name in Britain in the 19th century much in the same way as the invented name Wendy (from Peter Pan) did a little later. It doesn't have a deep Germanic etymology at all.Urselius (talk) 10:47, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Origins of Cerdic[edit]

I removed the line about Cerdic being "patriach of the House of Saxony" because we have no sources to back this up. Also, I'm going to make a few more revisions concerning his background and possible origins. Let me know what you think. Fergananim 20:55, 26 September 2005 (UTC)

Cerdic is quite definitely a British name and related to Ceretic, Caradoc and, ultimately, Caratacus. Welsh sources name a British king called Caradoc Strongarm who ruled in what is now southern England.

The West Saxon royal family has a number of British or at least Celtic-related name connections. Cynric, Cerdic's successor appears to have a perfectly understandable Anglo-Saxon name, meaning "Kin-ruler." However, it is a plausible anglicisation of yet another native name Cunorix, which would mean "Hound-king," There were a number of near-contemporary British "hound" named rulers, the most celebrated being Maglocunus "Great-hound" otherwise known in Early Welsh as Maelgwn.

The most famous hound king, Cunomorus (Hound of the Sea) was a spurious Duke of the Dumnonii, who held land in Briitain and Britanny. Linked with King Mark of Cornwall - he is a good candidate to have been Cynric, I feel. John D. Croft (talk) 09:22, 9 August 2011 (UTC)

Ceawlin, Cynric's apparent successor also seems to bear a non-A-S name, probably related to Colin, a Celtic name. There was a near contemporary British (Welsh) saint named Kollen. Anglo-Saxon etymologies for Creoda and Esla are also lacking.

A later West Saxon king was named Caedwalla, seemingly after the mighty British ruler Cadwallon, King of Gwynnedd, who killed Edwin of Northumbria.

Urselius 22:26, 16 March 2007 (UTC)

The Historia Britonnium of Nennius says there was a certain Ceretic who was the Saxon Translator of Vortigern. I wonder if this could not be the same as Cerdic. John D. Croft (talk) 09:20, 9 August 2011 (UTC)


Can someone provide a source for Cerdic's date of birth as 467? Is it given in the Chronicle? Cerdic 03:53, 12 May 2007 (UTC)

It's not in the Chronicle. Richard Fletcher, in his "Who's Who in Roman Britain and Anglo-Saxon England", just gives Cerdic's dates as "fl. c. 490-530?" which seems less misleading to me. Without a source I'd think we can remove the birthdate. Mike Christie (talk) 05:02, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
I looked through "The Anglo-Saxons" (ed. James Campbell) and "The Blackwell Encyclopaedia of Anglo-Saxon England" (ed. Lapidge, Blair, Keynes and Scragg) and it's not given in either of those sources either. As far as I know, neither Bede, Gildas or Nennius mentions it. One of the external links points to a website that has 467 (presumably the source for the date in this article) but its main page warns us not to regard it as authoritative, so I chose to heed their advice and deleted the birthdate. Also, you may want to fix the links to your references  ;) Cerdic 08:20, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
OK, thanks for the heads-up. I'm about to get on a plane and will be travelling for about twenty hours or so, so I'll have to do it later. Thanks. Mike Christie (talk) 08:33, 12 May 2007 (UTC)
No problem. I didn't do it right away because I wasn't sure how at the time but I figured it out. Cerdic 09:00, 13 May 2007 (UTC)

Appearances in Literature[edit]

Is there enough to create an additional section for this? I looked this guy up due to an appearence in Steve White's 'Debt of Ages' as a major character in an England where the Western Romans beat the invading Goths in the 500s and eventually unified the Empire - and the story has him as King Arthur's son (a bastard by-blow resulted from raiding onto the Continent). I don't know how much of the story is based in fact, but it was my first encounter with this historical figure. I wonder what else he might have appeared in - and there is a basis for modern appearences in fiction and literature by historical figures: Joan of Arc. Bengaley 19:41, 6 July 2007 (UTC)

How is the name pronounced?[edit]

How is the name pronounced? Is it "SUR-dik" or "KAYR-dik" or what? SpectrumDT 20:30, 18 October 2007 (UTC)

I believe that in Old English it's be pronounced something like 'chair' followed by 'ditch'. These days most people say it with an S, though, I suspect. (talk) 11:58, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

Wrong Charford link[edit]

The link in the article goes to that about a place of the same name in Worcestershire, rather that to the correct location in Hampshire, which is split over two stub entries, North Charford and South Charford. (talk) 13:23, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

85+ year gap[edit]

"J.N.L. Myres noted that when Cerdic and Cynric first appear in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in 495 they are described as ealdormen, which at that point in time was a fairly junior rank. Myres remarks that, .....It looks very much as if a hint is being conveyed that Cerdic and his people owed their standing to having been already concerned with administrative affairs under Roman authority on this part of the Saxon Shore."

If the Romans left in 410, wouldnt the 85 year gap make this impossible? (talk) 16:12, 12 February 2010 (UTC)

A fair comment, except that Roman administration in Britain didn't cease in practice when the imperial legions left, any more than it stopped in Rome the moment the last western emperor Romulus August was deposed. Riothamus, High King of the Britons, is addressed in a letter by Sidonius Apollinaris dated in the latter 400s, and is mentioned as being ambushed by the Goths in central France around the year 470. The Romans didn't clearly distinguish between Britons in Great Britain and those across the Channel in Armorica, perhaps because there was no such clear distinction, as people from both areas frequently crossed the Channel for trade, settlement and war since ancient times (as Caesar witnessed) and continued to do so well into the 15th century. The Bretons maintained the form of Roman administration without a break into the High Middle Ages, as did the Franks, despite the presence of multitudes of aggressive Goths. In Britain, a few incursions by the Picts and the Irish wouldn't have put an end to the law courts. Zoetropo (talk) 01:00, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Cerdic's father and/or grandfather?[edit]

I'm trying to trace the ancestry of Elizabeth II and came to Alfred the Great, and then came to this page (Cerdic of Wessex). Does anyone know who his father is? ( (talk) 2:39, 1 May 2010 (UTC)

Legendary ancestors of Cerdic of Wessex merge to[edit]

This above linked article appears to be extensive OR concerning Cerdic ancestry which ought to be merged into the main article. Sadads (talk) 02:41, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

If your only reason for merging is that it appears to be OR, it is not - none of it. I will go back and add in-line citations. Agricolae (talk) 13:41, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
The combination of length (its longer than the main Cerdic article), poor sourcing (only a couple sources) and no in-line citations led to that suggestion. If you can fix it please do. I just happened to come across it in our tagging effort for WP:WPASK. Sadads (talk) 16:00, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
In-line sources have been added. To compare its length to that of the Cerdic page is meaningless, as this is not just a minor sub-issue regarding Cerdic - it is the royal pedigree myth of the English kingdom, with Cerdic just being the jumping-off point. If you think it needs a different name to clarify this, then suggest something. Should such a page exist? That is a different question, but in the deletion discussion for the Esla page, it was though such a page would be useful, whatever it was called. Agricolae (talk) 16:37, 18 May 2010 (UTC)
Now I understand, the in-line work is good. Thank you, sorry about that, article is in good shape for now I suppose. By the way, are you interested in WP:WikiProject Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms? We could really use some more experienced editors.16:45, 18 May 2010 (UTC)

Where did he land from?[edit]

If we know he "landed," presumably we know where he came from. I realize that the early life of Cerdic is unknown, but this means we ought not to have a section called "early life." Wherever he is introduced, we should be clear about what historians think. If he landed someplace it is natural to think he wasn't born there. If he wasn't born there, or did not miraculously appear, where did he come from? Can someone add this to the article or revise it accordinly? Slrubenstein | Talk 20:10, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

I think this is covered in the article, albeit not in the first part. The AS chronicle says 'he landed,' no departure point is mentioned though Angeln or Old Saxony in Northern Germany would be inferred. However, it has been shown that Cerdic's ancestry was fabricated and that he had a native Celtic name. Both of these would suggest that his landing in Britain was just invented and that he was a native noble who attracted the services of a partly Germanic war-band. The idea that "nationality" was important to people in this period is undoubtedly greatly exaggerated, personal relationships were far more important, warriors would follow any leader who was successful and could reward them. The Roman Aetius had loyal Burgundian and Hunnic warrior-retainers.
In short, the only source saying that he landed does not say where he landed from, and most probably he was a native Briton who gained the support of an Anglo-Saxon war-band and was successful enough to retain their loyalty.Urselius (talk) 21:55, 25 January 2011 (UTC)

Well, we can't have original research - are there any secondary sources that argue that he departed from Northern Germany, or secondary sources that argue that he was a native Briton? If o, these viws should be made explicitly with proper citation. Slrubenstein | Talk 18:44, 26 January 2011 (UTC)

I've added an inline reference for Myres, which was a rather glaring omission, but I think "the landing" is referenced to the AS Chronicle in the text, and the AS Chronicle is linked as an external link; also the theories of a British or partly British origin for Cerdic are covered by a number of inline citations. Urselius (talk) 11:17, 28 January 2011 (UTC)

Thanks, Slrubenstein | Talk 19:19, 29 January 2011 (UTC)

Quite right, we cannot have original research, but it surprises me that no scholar has observed that Cerdic's name is similar in form to those found, near-contemporaneously, across the Channel, e.g. King Budic of Brittany. Or noticed that the White Dragon emblem of Wessex is just the Red Dragon of Wales recoloured. Or connected the story of Cerdic's landing with the fact that, in subsequent centuries, Bretons landed in Hampshire. Indeed Count Alan Rufus (c. 1040-1093), leader of the Bretons in the early Norman era, owned properties in Hampshire and was active in Southampton. I think it reasonable therefore to hypothesise that Cerdic had come from Domnonea, the dominant state in northern Brittany, which had been founded from Dumnonia (which included modern Devon and surrounding areas) in southern Britain. Vortigern was the elected President of the British Senate in London, so the story of Vortigern's castle collapsing because it was built over two dragons perpetually fighting sounds much like a metaphor for Vortigern failing to reconcile two conflicting British factions, perhaps one from Wales and another from Dumnonia. The claim that the red dragon would eventually win seems suspiciously like a retrofit, because the historical victors in this conflict were the House of Gwened (Vannes), founded from Wales, of which Alan Rufus ("the Red") was the representative in England. Alan's red-haired father Count Eudon (c. 999-1079) was granted Penteur, which corresponds geographically quite closely to Domnonea, another instance of the bearers of the red emblem conquering those of the white. Zoetropo (talk) 00:52, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
The Golden Wyvern of Wessex is shown as a standard flying over the English troops on the Bayeux Tapestry, immediately next to the inscription "King Harold is killed". However, your theory is predicated on the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle statement concerning the landing of Cerdic in Britain being factual, which is doubted by many scholars. The name Cerdic is essentially identical to the names of two native British rulers: Ceretic of Elmet and Ceretic Guletic of Strathclyde, so looking for a Breton parallel is unnecessary. Urselius (talk) 08:50, 26 November 2014 (UTC)
Cerdic's historicity is currently irresolvable, but several points arise from Urselius's objections to the Breton origin hypothesis. (1) Any number of scholars are entitled to doubt Cerdic's existence, but it's not valid to argue that the origin theory held by the ruling house of Wessex itself can be dismissed out of hand, no matter how much a scholar dislikes it. (2) The existence of two, distinct, native British rulers named Ceretic from regions unrelated to Wessex implies not confusion but popularity of the name, so should come as no surprise to find a third Ceretic or Cerdic. (3) One should never overlook the extent of Britain's cultural and trading connections with the Continent: in the Late Roman perios, Britons settled as far afield as Galicia in north-west Spain, founding there a colony named Britonia which maintained a separate Bishop who was recognised at the First Council of Lugo in 569 continuing until the Fourth Council of Toledo in 633. Antique and early medieval Britain and Brittany should certainly not be seen in isolation from each other: these two nations had close relations and frequent interaction from pre-Roman times (as Caesar's "Gallic Wars" attests) until Brittany was finally conquered by France in 1488. (4) Are we supposed to accept, without demur, that the Franks, Saxons, Angles and Jutes migrated across the North Sea, but that crossing the Channel was too difficult a task for one of the many ambitious Breton warlords? This despite Breton nautical proficiency and the historical record of several such crossings undertaken for military purposes? (Examples: Mathuedoi in 914, Alan II in 936, numerous occasions during the reigns of the Norman kings.) (5) It's therefore unreasonable to argue somehow that a Cerdic (or any other Briton) either didn't exist, or to draw a line through the English Channel and claim it unlikely that he came from a few miles across the Narrow Sea. (6) Harold Godwinson's use of the Wyvern to represent Wessex does beg the question, why use the same "mascot" as the Welsh? Zoetropo (talk) 00:51, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

You mistake my reasoning. I think that Cerdic's British name, set as it is at the head of an "Anglo-Saxon" dynasty, makes his historicity more likely than if his name had been Germanic. At the time that Cerdic is supposed to have existed the distinction between Briton and Breton was essentially meaningless, the same people lived on both sides of the English channel and some of their kings ruled on both sides simultaneously. This, and the doubt placed by many scholars on the A-S Chronicle's statement about Cerdic 'landing in Britain', is why I think your Breton origin theory is not particularly useful. Personally, I think the Wessex dynasty was native British in origin and rose to power by employing Germanic warriors and thereby became Anglo-Saxonised. Given that the last king of the dynasty to bear a British name died in the 680s, it was a long process. Urselius (talk) 08:49, 1 December 2014 (UTC)

Cerdic, Son of King Arthur[edit]

The book "The British Chronicles" by David Hughes (2007) cites noted historian Geoffrey Ashe as a source that states that Cerdic of Wessex was the son of King Arthur. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2001:558:6002:6:144C:53AD:D286:640F (talk) 04:07, 4 August 2012 (UTC)

Geoffrey Ashe is more of a populist, rather than strictly academic, historian. I'm sure that he didn't 'state' that such a relationship existed, but merely hypothesise the possibility. Urselius (talk) 09:17, 4 August 2012 (UTC)