Talk:Massacre of Verden

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search


A better English translation of "Blutgericht" would be "Bloody Verdict". If there is agreement on this, I suggest to rename/redirect this page to "Bloody Verdict of Verden".Cosal 18:13, 27 January 2006 (UTC)

Well, it definitely sounds better, at any rate. :bloodofox: 19:02, 27 January 2006 (UTC)
no, this isn't a better translation: Blutgericht is a legal jargon term, and it will not do to just choose an ad-hoc literal translation. I've discussed this with Lupo, and I think we had some evidence that 'blood court' is used in English literature (although rarely) - if in doubt, we should resort to using the untranslated Blutgericht. dab () 07:15, 6 October 2006 (UTC)
Indeed. We must not make up our own translations, that would be original research. Srnec 05:18, 24 March 2007 (UTC)


I've been trying to learn about this event from several different sources, and I have only found anything about the possibility of it actually being an exile from Wikipedia. Where is that information coming from? (talk) 20:12, 16 December 2007 (UTC)

Well, two points. First, "Massacre of Verden" is a horrible translation of the German "Blutgericht"; it's not even a translation. "Gericht" means court or judgment or verdict. The verb "richten", from which the word derives, means to judge, to pass verdict. So "Bloody Judgment of Verden" would be the best title for the article. Second, any serious literature about Charlemagne's Saxon Wars will discuss this event, as it was the final straw that pretty much broke Saxon resistance (whether or not the number of people killed was exaggerated or not, and whether or not they were executed or merely exiled). But it will rarely be referred to as the "Massacre of Verden"; no wonder you can't find it. Cosal (talk) 07:21, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Sentence necessary?[edit]

'Christians who conquered Germanic and Celtic lands often practiced magic, claiming Jesus gave them the power to throw lightning bolts and fireballs, and their portrayal of Christ was often an imitation of pagan practices.' - I wonder whether this sentence is really necessary here. Asharidu (talk) 09:05, 5 June 2008 (UTC)

Legacy section a bit odd[edit]

It says- "In 1935, Heinrich Himmler ordered Wilhelm Hübotter, a noted Nazi-landscape architect, to build the Sachsenhain (Grove of the Saxons), a monument consisting of 4,500 large stones in Verden, to commemorate the alleged massacre.[2] Supposedly, each stone came from one of 4,500 villages in Lower Saxony, and is today noted as an example of pseudoarchaeology: it is "probably the most comprehensive work of ersatz prehistory ever undertaken."

I looked at the reference and it appears to be a typically pithy quote from Johnathan Meades, the food writer and architecture broadcaster, who isn't necessarily an authority such that one can affirm "it is". However foul the nazi regime was, Himmler's construction would appear to be a memorial or monument to a real recorded historical event (even if there is some argument that it may not have happened, as with many historical events, e.g. events in religious history. So far as we know, this event probably did happen, so Himmler was just creating a memorial to it. There was no intention so far as I can see to pass of this new monument as being ancient. What is "ersatz"? (talk) 00:55, 10 December 2009 (UTC)

  • _Ersatz_ means 'substitute'. I agree that this part is a bit flimsy. I can't see any 'ersatz' or the intention to create something as 'a substitute' to a supposedly (???) non-existing prehistory? There's no ersatz and we're dealing with history, not prehistory. So, while a critique may constitute original research, it would probably best to leave out the citation as it's a rather obscure opinion or statement and hardly relevant for understanding what Himmler did. --Simha (talk) 12:14, 23 December 2009 (UTC)
  • The intention is probably to discredit Himmler. However, that's hardly necessary as it should be clear that nazis misused the event for their own ends (ultimately mass murder on a vastly greater scale). Hence it's rather counterproductive to criticize Himmler in that way. Anybody who knows anything about Himmler knows the really relevant crimes he commited. --Simha (talk) 12:14, 23 December 2009 (UTC)


The wlink Nordmannia redirects to Satyrium (butterfly). Can someone pipe the link to where Widukind fled? I'm not sure what "Nordmannia" refers to (Scandinavia? Normandy?).--Brianann MacAmhlaidh (talk) 06:35, 19 September 2012 (UTC)

Means Denmark. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:17, 24 July 2016 (UTC)


Ok, all the numbers in this article were screwed up by the last edit. I will reset it to the status quo ante.Drow69 (talk) 10:15, 28 September 2012 (UTC)


In its current form, this entry bases its strong conviction that this event actually happened as described entirely on the opinion of one single historian. As this appears to be a controversial issue, more voices should be added. The German version of this page for example presents a much more nuanced picture, emphasizing that there is doubt about the location, the number of victims and whether the massacre happened at all. IMO an encyclopedia should certainly reflect this. This has nothing to do with exonerating historical figures for their actions, which anyway have to be viewed in the context of their times.Drow69 (talk) 10:26, 28 September 2012 (UTC)

We can always expand this article, but the German article is a mess, unfortunately typical of German Wikipedia articles on related material. It flatly states theory as fact and seems to be under the influence of voices stemming from the Third Reich and beyond (recent edits here even left out the eventual celebration of Charlemagne under the Third Reich). This isn't how to write an objective article and fortunately we're not under the same spell here. Barbero is a specialist scholar on this matter and we present his survey and his results neutrally, but there's always room for more. :bloodofox: (talk) 10:50, 23 December 2012 (UTC)
Hmm, not sure what you mean exactly. The German article certainly needs a lot of work, but the introduction specifically notes the conflicting views of historical events. Most of the entry is focussed on the debate between historians - and this section states no facts but simply describes views. There is an admittedly exaggerated weight on works published in the 1930s. However, to some degree that may be unavoidable as the controversy about the event probably peaked under the Nazi regime, with various leaders siding with either the executed Saxons (as "true Germans") or with Charlemagne. From conversations with people who have read a lot about the early middle ages in Germany, I get the impression that Barbero is an exception rather than the rule, as most historians today seem to be quite sceptical of the massacre's historicity.Drow69 (talk) 15:09, 26 December 2012 (UTC)
Sources from Nazi Germany are not acceptable any way we slice it. Today, the massacre is widely accepted to have occurred and revisionism about Charlemagne widely rejected. Given Charlemagne's status in popular culture, especially in particular right wing circles, it's no surprise that this article gets flack now and then about the topic, but it's the reality of the situation. :bloodofox: (talk) 16:10, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
Those are clearly statements that need referencing, but I think we can help with that. Currently the article leans heavily on one source. The German article is better balanced and cites a much wider field of sources, although to be fair one would probably reach a similar conclusion i.e. that the event happened. Not too surprising; the usual punishment for treason or rebellion in those days was death. However, deliberate execution is not normally categorised as massacre (see the link article) which is usually considered indiscriminate and brutal killing. From the evidence we have it wasn't indiscriminate but very targeted. But we can address the title separately from its discussion of the sources.
To that end my suggestion is we balance it up by incorporating the following well-referenced section from German Wikipedia into the article. It'll need some restructuring as there is overlap. --Bermicourt (talk) 18:21, 15 May 2016 (UTC)
A massacre is simply the deliberate killing of a large number of people.
I don't think cribbing from the German article is a good idea. In pretty much every respect, this article is far superior. Bringing its problems over here will not help anything. All we need to do is add to this one to improve it.
In addition, forcing "balance" is also a bad plan—modern academic consensus is that the event did indeed happen, as digging through modern scholarship on the topic makes clear, and that claims that there was some kind of scribal error are extremely dubious. Let's stick to modern scholarship and definitely avoid anything from World War II-era Germany. :bloodofox: (talk) 18:36, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

I think we should use change the description to something with less of an Anti-Charlemagne bias. The whole point of Wikipedia is that is that it be unbiased. It really bothers me that the current description can be so easily summed up as as "Charlemagne murdered blameless Saxons in cold blood and anyone who says otherwise is wrong!". I think that the article on it should include multiple sources, both from historians who condemn the act as well as from historians who approve of the act and even from historians who argue that it wasn't a massacre. And I'm not comfortable with a claim that Historians unanimously condemn the Verden Executions unless someone can cite a survey of historians. BornInMarch (talk) 23:40, 15 May 2016 (UTC)

As regards the historicity of the event, it does not seem that it is much in dispute, certainly not at all among English-speaking historians. The controversy among contemporary historians, mainly German, is over the number. For example, Bachrach, an American historian, likes the number 4,500 because he believes in large early medieval armies. Historians who believe in much smaller armies will be more inclined to see the number as an exaggeration. Srnec (talk) 03:41, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
@Bloodofox. Yes I don't think anyone is suggesting we re-write the article to say "it didn't happen". The point I was making is that the German text below describes a wide spectrum of scholarly views, fully referenced, whereas the current article is dominated by one author as others have said. "Sticking to modern scholarship" is not a justifiable reason to exclude information and not encyclopaedic; also modern isn't automatically better. It is more balanced to describe all relevant scholarship; readers can see the dates for themselves. And there's certainly no reason to hide the interesting Second World War debate - the current article already covers it anyway. Finally, just to say my definition of "massacre" is from the Oxford Dictionary of English. A Blutgericht is not a massacre in this context; it's a court with the power to issue a death sentence.
So in sum my proposal is to a) merge the section below into the article and b) change the word "massacre" to "Blutgericht" (and explaining its true meaning in the lede). I'm assuming from your defence of the current article that you'll oppose that, but I want to give other editors a chance to express their views too. Bermicourt (talk) 19:42, 16 May 2016 (UTC)
I support including the material from German Wiki. Between 1871 and 1939 Verden was a recurring topic of interest to German historians. Our article does not have much to say about it, but it is the background for almost all the things modern scholars have to say about Verden. It can go in the "controversy" section if Bloodofox would prefer. I also agree that "massacre" implies indiscriminate slaughter, but it is also widely in use. I am still trying to find a source that discusses Verden from a legal standpoint. Srnec (talk) 02:31, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
@Srnec. Actually I agree that the most common name for the event in English sources is "Massacre of Verden" even though it is not a translation of the German name, Blutgericht von Verden. So I'm happy to withdraw that proposal and we can explain what a Blutgericht was in the text. --Bermicourt (talk) 07:29, 17 May 2016 (UTC)
I checked my library and came up with two recent books on Charlemagne (from 2013 and 2015, I believe) that both deal with Verden. I'll quote the material here when I get a chance. In summary, both historians grant that Saxons were executed but say that the numbers were likely much smaller than 4,500. Both also emphasize the poor quality of the historical sources on this...which to me implies that an encyclopedia should describe this subject less in terms of established facts and more as a balanced summary of current thinking on what happened. It should be noted on what evidence these views are based. There is also nothing wrong with quoting views from the 1920s or 1930s, as long as they are clearly labeled as such and thus distinguished from up-to-date (and hopefully less biased) historians' views.Drow69 (talk) 12:40, 18 May 2016 (UTC)

Research history[edit]

Ever since Wilhelm von Bippen challenged the traditional account in 1889,[1] its verisimilitude has been disputed. In the early 20th century, many articles appeared that viewed Charlemagne’s role in a critical light. This stance was especially well represented in neo-nationalist circles, where they rejected or ignored the doubts that Bippens had raised. The clearest position in the field of influential amateur researchers was taken by Wilhelm Teudt with his work Germanische Heiligtümer ("Sacred Germanic sites"). To the adherents of the (partly neo-pagan oriented) nationalist movement, the pagan Saxons were idealised as the last bastion of Germanic resistance against welsch ("foreign") Christianity.

After a scandal had been sparked off by a play about Widukind written by a supporter of the Ludendorff movement that had been performed in early 1935 with the express consent of Propaganda Minister, Joseph Goebbels, at Hagen Theatre,[2] there was an intense public debate that resulted in a change to prevailing opinion. Historians like Hermann Oncken rejected the propagandist portrayal of the executions in this theatrical piece as the culmination of allegedly violent proselytizing of Old Lower Saxony, emphasizing instead the strongly political character of Charlemagne’s measures and spoke of the subjugation of Saxony as the necessary precondition for the subsequent "colonisation of the Slavic region on the far side of the Elbe".[3] It was difficult to contradict this euphemistic interpretation of the executions, because they drew on the experience gained from the Drang nach Osten policy advocated since starting of the 19th century and Hitler had also announced a renewed eastward migration (Mein Kampf: "We stop the endless Germanic advance to the south and west of Europe and look to the land to the east").

An important role in this debate is played by the book Karl der Große oder Charlemagne? by eight renowned historians[4], that deals with the executions in the light of Franco-German opposition and praises Charlemagne "as a true example of Germanic-German character and breeding", in order to claim him for Germany. The theologian and church historian, Karl Bauer, also defended Charlemagne in his book Die Quellen für das sogenannte Blutbad von Verden '(Münster 1937) He sees a scribal error in contemporary sources – the word decollati ("decapitated"), should have been delocati ("relocated"). There had never been a massacre in the first place, the prisoners were resettled.[5] The liberal pacifist historian Ludwig Quidde, in exile in Geneva, supported by Bippen[1] and Heinrich Ulmann,[6] rejected the execution of 4,500 Saxons: "Charlemagne is not the mass murderer, the butcher of the Saxons of tradition."[7]

Today, a number of professional historians hold firmly to an exculpatory reading of the reports of the "Massacre of Verden": for example Dieter Hägermann argues that only a group of a few dozen prisoners were executed by Charlemagne's men.[8] Wilhelm Kohl, former head of the Münster State Archives, takes a midway position, by suggesting only 400–500 beheadings.[9] By contrast Ernst Schubert in Lexikon des Mittelalters defends the reports of the sources against "toned down speculation".[10]

Several historians argue that Charlemagne may have "dictated punitive action out of revenge or momentary bitterness", but that it was "hardly likely to have resulted in 4,500 executions."[11]


  1. ^ a b Wilhelm von Bippen: Die Hinrichtung der Sachsen durch Karl den Grossen. In: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 1, 1889, pp. 75–95. (Complete test at Wikisource)
  2. ^ Stimmen und Urteile: In Sachen Widukind In: Weiße Blätter. Monatszeitschrift für Geschichte, Tradition und Staat, Ausgabe Februar 1935
  3. ^ Stimmen und Urteile: Nochmals: Karl der Große! In: Weiße Blätter. Monatszeitschrift für Geschichte, Tradition und Staat, March 1935 edition
  4. ^ Karl Hampe, Hans Naumann, Hermann Aubin, Martin Lintzel, Friedrich Baethgen, Albert Brackmann, Carl Erdmann, Wolfgang Windelband: Karl der Große oder Charlemagne? Acht Antworten deutscher Geschichtsforscher. Berlin, 1935 122 pp. (Rezension in Geschichte in Wissenschaft und Unterricht, 5/6/2000)
  5. ^ Karl Bauer (1937), "Die Quellen für das sogenannte Blutbad von Verden" (in German), Westfälische Zeitschrift, Zeitschrift für vaterländische Geschichte und Altertumskunde (Münster: Regensbergsche Verlagsbuchhandlung) Band 92: pp. 22, Retrieved 2016-01-21 
  6. ^ Heinrich Ulmann: Zur Hinrichtung der Sachsen 782. In: Deutsche Zeitschrift für Geschichtswissenschaft 2, 1889, pp. 156–157. (Full text at Wikisource)
  7. ^ Ludwig Quidde: Karl der Große – der Sachsenschlächter? In: Pariser Tageblatt, Jg. 3, No. 491 dated 17 April 1935, p. 4 (Part 1) and No. 492 dated 18 April 1935, p. 4 (Part 2).
  8. ^ Dieter Hägermann: Karl der Große. Herrscher des Abendlandes. Berlin 2000, S. 214 ff.
  9. ^ Wilhelm Kohl: Bemerkungen zur Entstehung der Pfarrorganisation im alten Sachsen, vornehmlich im Bistum Münster. In: Johannes Mötsch (ed.): Ein Eifler für Rheinland-Pfalz. Band 2, 2003, S. 920, Anm. 16.
  10. ^ Ernst Schubert: Verden, Blutbad v. In: Lexikon des Mittelalters. Vol. 8, 1997, Col. 1500 f.
  11. ^ Arnold Angenendt: Toleranz und Gewalt. Das Christentum zwischen Bibel und Schwert. Münster, 2007, pp. 387.

Waffen-SS connection?[edit]

What connection is there between a Waffen-SS unit composed in 1944 of Frenchmen and the massacre of Verden? "Charlemagne's legacy"? Are we to believe that Himmler (on the losing side of the 1934–35 debate) named a French military unit after Charlemagne because of Charlemagn's massacre of Saxons? Does anybody say so? The "Charlemagne" brigade/division was created out of the Légion des volontaires français contre le bolchévisme. —Srnec (talk) 22:58, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

The final section of this article discusses the role of the massacre in the years leading up to Nazi Germany and into Nazi Germany itself. There was some debate in proto-Nazi currents about exactly how the massacre should be perceived and whether Charlemagne was a monster or, well, great. This ended when Nazi Germany decided that Charlemagne was in fact fantastic, massacre and all, and subsequently Himmler OK'ed a division of the Waffen-SS named after him. The link is simply there as a follow up. We should, of course, get more information about the Massacre of Verden and how it was discussed in Nazi Germany, as well as how it is perceived now, particularly in modern Catholic and Heathen circles. :bloodofox: (talk) 23:16, 2 May 2016 (UTC)

Quotes from sources[edit]

Ok, here is what I found. Did not get a chance to translate it, though...

"4500 Sachsen habe er damals, im Jahr 782, hinrichten lassen […]. Die Zahl mag übertrieben sein, der Sachverhalt ist nicht zu bezweifeln."

Johannes Fried, Karl der Große – Gewalt und Glaube, C.H. Beck 2014, ISBN 978-3-40665289-9, p. 160

"Diese blutrünstige Tat brachte Karl dem Großen einen nachhaltig schlechten Ruf ein, vom „Sachsenschlächter“ war die Rede. Der Universalgelehrte Leibniz nannte 1716 die Tat „ein Verbrechen und eine ewige Schmach Karls“, der Dichter Klopstock bezeichnete den Frankenkönig missbilligend als einen Mann, „der uns mordend zu Christen machte“, für den Philosophen Herder war er der „Mann, der Deutschland würgte“. Eingefleischte Patrioten wie […] Hermann Löns […] sahen in dem Franken nur noch den rohen Schlächter. Die Nationalsozialisten schrieben die Geschichte endgültig zu ihrem Nutzen um und machten aus den gefallen Sachsen heroische Vorkämpfer für „Volk und Rasse". Zur Sonnenwendfeier 1934 marschierten 60.000 Angehörige der SA, der Hitlerjugend und der Wehrmacht in Verden auf […]. Vor allem die hohe Zahl der Toten gab Anlass zur allgemeinen Entrüstung. Doch gerade, was die Anzahl der Ausgelieferten betrifft, ist Vorsicht angebracht. Mittelalterliche Zahlenangaben sind häufig gehörig übertrieben und nicht wörtlich zu nehmen. 4500 Mann – das entspricht für frühmittelalterliche Verhältnisse einer kompletten Armee, die sich wohl kaum freiwillig ausgeliefert hätte. Karl, der mit rasch zusammengerafften Truppen an die Aller eilte, wird selbst wohl kaum genügend bewaffnete Kämpfer zur Verfügung gehabt haben, die zur Gefangennahme und Bewachung so vieler Gefangener nötig gewesen wären. Auch ist die Überlieferung der Zahlenangaben im Handschriftenmaterial nicht eindeutig: In einem Zweig der handschriftlich tradierten Reichsannalen fehlt die Zahl komplett, in anderen Exemplaren erscheint sie nachträglich eingefügt. In den übrigen zeitgenössischen Quellen wie den Briefen Alkuins, der sich sehr kritisch mit Karls Missionsmethoden auseinandersetzte, fehlen Hinweis auf ein „Blutbad“ ganz, auch die spätere sächsische Geschichtsschreibung weiß davon nichts zu berichten. Auf dem Höhepunkt der Debatte um den „Sachsenschlächter“ Karl wartete Mitte der 1930er Jahre der Historiker Karl Bauer mit einer ganz anderen Theorie auf: Er glaubte, dass es sich um einen Schreibfehler des Kopisten handeln könnte, der aus dem Verb „delocare“, umsiedeln, versehentlich „decollare“ , enthaupten, machte. […] Doch mangels weiterer Beweise blieb diese Entlastungstheorie reine Spekulation. Wie auch immer: Es wird wohl ein Strafgericht Karls gegen die Anführer des Aufstands gegeben haben, in welchem Ausmaß ist jedoch nicht mehr zu klären. Ob es Dutzende oder Hunderte Hingerichteter waren, weiß man nicht. […]"

Karin Schneider-Felber, Karl der Große – Der mächtigste Herrscher des Mittelalters, Theiss 2013, ISBN 978-3-8062-2602-7, p. 75-76

Based on this, I think the number as a statement of fact needs to go from the lede.Drow69 (talk) 17:50, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

As with anything else, we should simply adjust the lead to make it clear what the primary sources say versus what some scholars have taken issue with. :bloodofox: (talk) 18:43, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
I think that's right. The lede doesn't need to take a view on the debate; just state that there is one and, as you say, what particularly they have taken issue with. --Bermicourt (talk) 19:09, 19 May 2016 (UTC)

"Massacre" versus "Mass Execution"[edit]

"Massacre" keeps getting swapped out for "mass execution" (which just redirects to massacre) here. What gives? Is there some proposal out there to rename the common name for the event to the Mass Execution of Verden? :bloodofox: (talk) 21:01, 20 May 2016 (UTC)

No, please calm down and read what other editors say. On my part, I withdrew that proposal a while back and no-one else has taken it up. We're only changing the lede because:
It adds nothing to say "the massacre was a massacre".
According to the Oxford Dictionary a massacre is indiscriminate. This event was not indiscriminate; it was targeted. It was also the outcome of a legal process; that's what a Gericht is.
It clearly was a mass execution.
We also need to recognise that massacre is often an emotive and pejorative term that needs to be used carefully; otherwise it looks like we have an agenda. It is interesting that the German article doesn't use it, even though it appears to favour the line that the event happened and didn't reflect Charlemagne in a good light. Hope that helps. --Bermicourt (talk) 12:59, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
The vast majority of reliable sources on the subject quite clearly and blatantly prefer to the event as a massacre. This "mass execution" nonsense is not only unwieldy WP:OR but is also misleading to the readers ("execution" usually implies some kind of official due process, which is entirely absent here—in a convert-or-die atmosphere, Charlemagne's forces rounded up a bunch of "rebels" and killed them). We have articles like List of events named massacres for a reason. :bloodofox: (talk) 13:43, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
Whatever your POV about what the sources say, please stop reverting other editors when you have not achieved a consensus for your view as it clear from the above discussion. Looking back, you have a history of reverting other editors without proper discussion even when there is an emerging consensus for a different view. That is not how Wikipedia operates and it could also look like you're pushing a particular perspective. Unless you want to involve an admin, we need to move forward by consensus, not by engaging in edit-warring. --Bermicourt (talk) 14:10, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
I have a history of writing articles here to WP:GA standards, which inevitably involves disputes because of the mechanics of Wikipedia. In fact, this article was rewritten by myself some time ago.
Wikipedia does indeed operate on a cycle of reverts, adjustments, and discussion, for better or worse. A few editors working an article does not a "consensus" make. Before accusing other editors of edit warring, you should first take your own reverts into account.
If you're going to continue to push this "mass execution" nonsense rather than simply reporting what the sources state (overwhelmingly and quite inarguably referred to as a massacre), we certainly could use more eyes here.Your desire to inject some kind of artificial and neologistic concept of "mass execution" into the article smells more and more like ideology creeping into the article. :bloodofox: (talk) 16:00, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
"Charlemagne's forces rounded up a bunch of 'rebels' and killed them". This is not at all what the sources say. That's why I insist on the execution wording. The sources, which are of course not unbiased, present it as a mass execution after a public assembly (court). The secondary sources likewise make this clear. As Bermicourt has said, the "the massacre was a massacre" wording is awkward. For one scholar who uses the phrase "mass execution" in reference to Verden, try Timothy Reuter. He's not alone. Srnec (talk) 17:13, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
Except that's not the wording. We've got a proper noun as the subject here, not a common noun followed by another common noun. The sources overwhelmingly refer to it as a massacre. The term massacre has its own historical issues and nuances, but it's common usage among scholars, like it or not.
And that's exactly what the sources say. Charlemagne had a bunch of 'rebels' rounded up, said they're to die (obviously), and had them wholesale killed. There wasn't some kind of judicial process here other than a death sentence. :bloodofox: (talk) 17:23, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
Both versions of the RFA credit the Saxons with handing over the 4500. "There wasn't some kind of judicial process here": that's your interpretation. What do scholars say?
Although we capitalize it, the title is not a proper name. Just a common phrase. Srnec (talk) 18:33, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
Come on, I know you know what a proper noun is. This is getting very weasel-y, let's stick to the most commonly used term and avoid any controversy and disagreement. :bloodofox: (talk) 19:57, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
Readers will presume that the event called a massacre was a massacre. We need to inform them what kind of a massacre it was. This is why our article on the Battle of Waterloo doesn't begin by describing it as a battle. Since nobody is proposing to re-title the article, the proper noun issue is a distraction. There should be no controversy or disagreement that this was a series of executions (a mass execution). Srnec (talk) 20:21, 22 May 2016 (UTC)

Proposal for changes to the article[edit]

The issues with this article have been discussed for the best part of a decade and some are still unresolved despite being comprehensively debated above. To begin to reach a resolution I have the following proposals for editors to consider:

  1. That we accept the common English name in the sources is "Massacre of Verden"
  2. That the first sentence is changed from "The Massacre of Verden was a massacre..." to "The Massacre of Verden" was a mass execution..."
  3. That the section Research history above is merged into the article along with its references
  4. That the reference to the Irminsul in the lede is removed as it is not specificially related to this event.

Please vote for 1-5 in the normal way. --Bermicourt (talk) 17:01, 21 May 2016 (UTC)

To be clear, there's not like there's some running dispute going on with this article, certainly nothing lasting a decade.
  1. This is English Wikipedia. The common German term for the event has no influence whatsoever on the modern English term. We can discuss whatever it's called in other languages in a "terminology" section, sure.
  2. No—that's obviously a violation of WP:OR because the event is inarguably and overwhelmingly referred in secondary sources as a massacre, plain and simple. As slippery as the term may be, we stick to the sources.
  3. No—sure, check the references, source them, but don't wholesale drop things into the article from the all-too-often-craptastic German Wikipedia without considering how they fit into this article.
  4. I'm fine with the removal of the mention of the destruction of the Irminsul (it's one of many examples of religious warfare during the Saxon Wars) but the Christianization-by-force element should stay for purposes of context. :bloodofox: (talk) 17:20, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
"that's obviously a violation of WP:OR". No. I've cited one source and could cite more. And that's just for the exact phrase "mass execution", not just "execution". The term "massacre" is general, the proposed term is specific: there's no contradiction between them. We don't use sources in a nose-counting fashion. Srnec (talk) 18:41, 21 May 2016 (UTC)
It's pretty inarguable that the term massacre is overwhelmingly used to describe the event in the English language. :bloodofox: (talk) 19:55, 21 May 2016 (UTC)