Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms

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Hi, would anyone handy with Old English be able to help with Cliviger#Toponomy? "the origin was Saxon, from "clivvig" and "shire", meaning "rocky district"" doesn't feel right to me. Although I'm sure all the members of this project are fluent, incase I'm wrong, can anybody suggest where I might go next? --Trappedinburnley (talk) 19:59, 2 March 2015 (UTC)

You could try here. Dudley Miles (talk) 18:21, 3 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks for the suggestion. I spent a little while there trying to figure it out but nothing I could find looks even remotely like the source. I think I'm just going to remove the clivvig shire part of the sentence. Cheers.--Trappedinburnley (talk) 18:18, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
@Trappedinburnley: KEPN, from Nottingham University, suggests "cliff acre" from Old English 'clif' + 'æcer' [1]. Jheald (talk) 11:37, 26 February 2016 (UTC)
Thanks Jheald, KEPN looks very interesting. However that (probably better) origin is already in the article. The problem I had/have is if "clivvig" and "shire" is a reasonable alternative. Now I know that shire = scīr, but an OE word meaning rocky that looks like "clivvig" (which is actually an interpretation of what is printed in the source)? I was going to remove it, but never got round to it, so if you have any ideas? Trappedinburnley (talk) 20:09, 26 February 2016 (UTC) has all the English Place Name Society volumes collated into a database. That would a gold-standard source for old attested forms of the name, which can often resolve questions like this (and give a check on folk-etymologies). But unfortunately it looks like Lancashire is one of the few counties that hasn't been published yet. Also it's not in Domesday [2], so that doesn't help.
The "-shire" ending could sometimes get tacked on to places that are no longer thought of as shires today, eg Blackburnshire, but that actually encompassed Cliviger, and Google doesn't find any hits for "Clivigershire", so there's no obvious smoking gun for running those two elements together.
The "-ig" ending is not uncommon for adjectives in modern German, roughly cognate to the "-y" ending in English, I think (though not quite so frequently occurring), so "clivvig" for "cliffy" doesn't seem completely implausible -- but as I don't know much about Old English, I should probably hand over now to somebody better read. Jheald (talk) 21:58, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

House of Wessex family tree[edit]

I have made a translation of User:Mark J's wonderful graphic File:Wessex family tree.jpg into wiki markup, at House of Wessex family tree.

It's the first one of these that I've done, so I'd welcome any comments or suggestions.

I haven't translated the whole graphic -- this section of the English monarchs family tree continues onwards from the children of Alfred the Great, so I haven't duplicated that.

But I don't know whether people would think it would be useful to preserve having the whole of the House of Wessex tree on one page? One way to do so, if people do think that would be a good idea, would be to template the 10th & 11th century part, so then it would appear on both pages. Would that be worth doing? (On the other hand a downside is that content would then fall off people's watchlists, unless they now watched the template too).

A couple of other things that aren't now included on either page are

-- both of these are considered somewhat unlikely, according to our articles, so I don't how much of a loss people think they are. If necessary, they could perhaps be dealt with by translating File:Aelfgifu-genealogy.svg into markup.

Finally, I note that there is an unresolved merge proposal still on House of Wessex family tree. Do people think it would be appropriate to move the content to House of Wessex, presumably in a collapse box like the boxes on the English monarchs page? Or is the tree sufficiently useful that it is worth keeping on a page of its own? Jheald (talk) 21:36, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

Thanks for all the work you have done. It is a great improvement, but the chart does still include a lot which is guesswork or unreliable. I only have the knowledge to comment on Egbert onwards. 1. Redburh is only recorded in a late and unreliable source which is not accepted by historians, and should be deleted. 2. Æthelwulf is Egbert's only known child and Editha and Athelstan should be deleted. (Athelstan is the same person as Æthelstan king of Kent, who is recorded in one source as a brother of Æthelwulf, but most historians think he was a son). 3. Almost all dates of birth are unknown. The only exception so far as I know is Alfred, who was recorded by Asser as born 849 (not 847 as in the chart). Æthelred is thought to be a year or two older. You could shown Alfred's DOB and Æthelred as c.848, but apart from that it would be better just to give the death date. 4. Alfred and Edward the Elder are generally given the title 'King of the Anglo-Saxons'. 5. It would be helpful to check the dates against the articles on each person. e.g. Æthelbald is generally considered to have reigned 858-60 (not 856-60), Æthelwold died 902 (not 901), and Æthelhelm is only recorded in Alfred's will which is dated to the mid-880s. I would show him as "fl. 880s". Dudley Miles (talk) 22:28, 16 January 2016 (UTC)
@Dudley Miles: Many thanks for that. A good thing about having the tree in wikitext is it makes it really easy to edit. I have now removed Redburh, Editha and Athelstan, changed the dates for Alfred and Æthelred, and changed the titles for Alfred and Edward the Elder. The rest of the dates I'll check as I go through.
The other good thing about wikitext is that now it is very straightforward to add footnotes, so where there is guesswork, or where there are variant relationships in some sources, such as for Æthelstan of Kent or some of the earlier kings such as Cynegils, these can now all be discussed -- so that's the next stage to start to work on. :-) Jheald (talk) 10:11, 17 January 2016 (UTC)

Ælfgifu tree[edit]

I have now gone ahead and made a wikitext version of the File:Aelfgifu-genealogy.svg, showing theories for the ancestry of Ælfgifu, whose marriage to Eadwig was annulled in 958.

I have put it into the article, (diff) -- however I am not sure whether it works there yet. Unlike an image, which you can see alongside the text, the rather big wiki table sits underneath it, and it's not so easy to read the text and look at the tree at the same time. (At least not on-screen). Even just looking at the tree on screen, it's quite difficult to get an sense at a glance of the broad shape of what is being suggested.

Does anyone have any good thoughts on this? (Or even whether it should be reverted back to the image that was previously there?)

Thanks, Jheald (talk) 23:10, 5 February 2016 (UTC)

I have made an SVG thumbnail of the chart. It's not particularly beautiful, and does have a couple of rendering issues; but I think it makes a helpful thumbnail that people can be able to see as they're reading the text, while still able to click through to the full wikitext tree. Not perfect, but a good enough solution, I hope.
(I've asked at Help:SVG as to whether anyone's got any ideas to make the thumbnailing method better). -- Jheald (talk) 21:20, 6 February 2016 (UTC)
Sorry to be critical but I am not sure whether a family tree is helpful, and certainly not one as complex as this one. I think you need to have a good understanding of the relationships to understand it, and then you do not need it. An alternative you might consider is to delete all persons not directly relevant, (Alfred and Æthelred's brothers, Edward the Elder, Æthelstan, Edgar etc) and have two separate trees showing the different theories. One would show Æthelred I to Æthelgifu and her children, deleting the link from Æthelhelm as it has very little support among historians. The other would show the descent from Æthelwulf of the Gaini to Æthelstan Half King and his relatives, leaving out anyone not part of their immediate family. Dudley Miles (talk) 22:41, 7 February 2016 (UTC)

PASE template[edit]

I have made a new template, {{PASE}}, for links to the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England, and started migrating links over to it (eg diff).

The template should make links much easier to adapt, if they change the URL format again; and also should make the data easy to port to and then track against Wikidata. (Property proposals there currently in progress).

There are still a lot of A-S people articles without PASE links, so if people feel like looking some up and adding them I think that would be very useful. (I think it would be great if PASE links for A-S people could become as overwhelmingly present and expected as say an IMDB link for a film).

Please let me know if there are any tweaks and changes that should be made to the template -- eg are there any other formatting styles that would be useful, such as for use in references, or does what's now there work well enough?

All best, Jheald (talk) 21:51, 16 January 2016 (UTC)

COPYVIO problem[edit]

It seems we have a WP:COPYVIO problem on Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain.

A problem with the latter article was actually flagged on the talkpage at Talk:Anglo-Saxon_settlement_of_Britain/Archive_2#Plagiarism in May 2014, but never followed up. Some discussion of issues found in the main article can be found in Talk:Anglo-Saxons#Social_differentiation.

In each case, the problem can be found within extensive material added to the articles by J_Beake, in January 2014 (the settlement article) and February 2015 (the main article), respectively.

The pattern appears to be the same in both cases. Content appears to have been knitted together from whole sentences (including references) lifted verbatim from source texts, without credit. These can often be revealed simply by googling the sentence.

Only one section in each article has been looked at so far; but the whole of these expansions should probably be considered "at risk" and in need of investigation.

If anyone has experience with this kind of thing, it would be good if they could take this forward. I have left a message on J Beake's talk page, but I think he hasn't edited for some months, so may or may not see it. Jheald (talk) 10:53, 26 February 2016 (UTC)

It seems that this article has been neglected for several months. There seems to be little initiative on anybody's part to make the necessary corrections. I highly recommend reading my comments in the talk page for this article. Thank you. Gordon410 (talk) 13:03, 17 June 2016 (UTC)

This obviously needs considerable work to sort out. I have replaced the plagiarism with a quote in the settlement article as a temporary fix. Dudley Miles (talk) 21:56, 20 June 2016 (UTC)

Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain Wikipedia Article Revision[edit]

If anyone wants to look at the full paper, I will send it to you via email. Unfortunately, Wikipedia does not have the option to upload files. Thus, the footnotes are lost.

Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain Wikipedia Article Revision: Equally and Simultaneously Valid Theories

Gordon White


Have you ever argued with a friend about something, only to realize that both of your views were equally valid? Afterwards, the competition was over and you likely walked away in agreement. If this ever happened to you, you may relate to the following historical debate. The section ‘Romano-Brittonic’ peoples’ fate in the south-east in the Wikipedia article, Anglo-Saxon Settlement of Britain, claims that there are two competing theories: (1) the natives were invaded, enslaved, and genocided and (2) the natives had “a strong Celtic contribution to Englishness.” The first theory was proposed by Edward Augustus Freeman, and the second was held by Grant Allen, an essayist. From the information given in the Wikipedia article, the theories of Freeman and Allen appear simultaneously valid.

The article appears to introduce two valid theories. Despite this, the theories are claimed to be in competition with each other. In order for the theories to compete, only one theory can win – this is what makes two theories compete. However, from the information given in the article, one cannot claim that one theory is definitely correct and the other theory is definitely incorrect. By making the claim that the theories compete, Wikipedia is making a generalization. In fact, according to the information given in this particular Wikipedia article, both theories may be correct. Keep in mind, only information in the article itself will be used here. It will be shown that the information given in the article concerning invasion, slavery, and genocide are not in competition with a Celtic contribution to Englishness. It seems fair that I only need to look at this particular article to see if the theories truly are simultaneously valid. If there is information somewhere else that demands the two theories must be opposing, by all means, we should not ignore it. However, this Wikipedia article ought also to include any information that demonstrates that the two theories are opposing. Yet, this is not the case. There is no demonstration in the article explaining how one theory opposes the other theory.

It is possible that the theories are in competition with each other. However, the article does not explain why the two theories are opposing. Therefore, by the information given in the article, the two theories appear equally and simultaneously valid. One must not mistake validity of a theory for truth of a theory. I am not advocating that the theories are absolutely both true. I am only saying that both theories can be true.

To go about proving that both theories appear simultaneously valid, I will expose the vagueness of each theory, and I will show how one theory is compatible with the other. First, it is important to understand the events of the Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain before one can understand the validity of either theory. I would highly recommend reading the Wikipedia article first before continuing. The following account is not necessarily historically accurate, but it is my best attempt at relating the event. The information I state has been inspired by several sources; however, one should understand it is mere conjecture – not fact.

The Roman Empire controlled Britain until the Roman Empire lost control of Britain to outside forces early in the 5th century AD. Plagued by Pict and Scott invasion and famine , Britain weakened. The tyrant of Briton (possibly Vortigern ) resorted to asking the Anglo-Saxons to help defend Britain against the Picts. The Anglo-Saxons already occupied parts of Britain during the latter parts of Roman rule, and they were continuing to arrive from the continent onto the East Coast of Britain. Although the Anglo-Saxons claimed to be the protectors of Britain , the Briton civilians, natives of Britain, were suspicious of the Anglo-Saxons' true intent of protection. Likely, many of the Britons saw the protection as an Anglo-Saxon decoy to seize power of the land. Eventually, the Anglo-Saxons demanded more and more of the Britons' supplies and food. [Why are footnotes on wrong pages?] The Britons and Anglo-Saxons scuffled over the wages for defense, and the Anglo-Saxons refused to assist the Britons anymore, but the Anglo-Saxons remained in Britain anyway. The Britons resisted the Anglo-Saxon settlement for some time. However, the much stronger Anglo-Saxon army rose to prominence, built kingdoms, and established the law and government of the land. Thus, the Britons were subjects of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom and were treated as the low social class. The Anglo-Saxon language became dominant according to the contact and transfer principles of language. This is an examination to see if the theory that the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain works alongside the theory that the natives contributed heavily to Englishness. If one finds no fault in the two theories occurring simultaneously, he can conclude that both theories are simultaneously and equally valid theories. According to the Wikipedia article, at a high estimate of Anglo-Saxon population and a low estimate of native population, the “Britons are likely to have outnumbered Anglo-Saxons by at least four to one.” The possibility for a successful Anglo-Saxon invasion of the natives with a ratio of one to four is the matter of discussion. Until a possibility of invasion under the given population estimates is determined to be either high or low, any truth of one theory is independent from the truth of the other. However, if it is shown that an invasion could not have occurred with a minority force of invaders, the Celtic contribution may be shown to invalidate the invasion theory and vice versa. But it has not been shown to be so. Thus, the possibility of both/either theories being correct/incorrect with the given population estimates is not determined. From this, we conclude that both theories are equally and simultaneously valid.

If the Anglo-Saxons invaded, given with all research and evidence of population estimates, a strong genetic contribution of the natives is quite likely. If the two populations were split in half, two to three, three to seven, or a ratio near those ranges, the Celts would continue contributing through their genes. The words “strong contribution” do not imply a majority of contribution from the Celts. One half is equally strong as another half. If the text said “stronger”, it would imply something different. However, it merely says strong. Nevertheless, as it stands, the Celts seemed to fairly outnumber the Anglo-Saxons. If the Celts were invaded and furthermore defeated, they still remained in the land. Perhaps they lived alongside the Anglo-Saxons as slaves or as a poor social group.

The exact meaning of invasion is rather vague. Only some of the Anglo-Saxons may have invaded and it might have been a combination between invasion and strategic settlement. Who knows to what extent the Anglo-Saxons invaded Britain? The number of men could have been as low as a thousand or as high as ten thousand men. The exact figures and the extent they were successful are unknown. Even through a peaceful migration, some new Anglo-Saxons may have arrived on the shores to put down rebellious natives. And who is to say that the invasion was so successful? It may have contributed to the weakening of the native forces, but by no means must it be the only way they attacked. As they may have attacked through deception as well. Two scenarios are possible: we ignore population estimates and look at the two theories blindly. Or we can look at population estimates and compare each theory to the estimates. First, let us ignore population estimates. In that case, it is scenario one. The Anglo-Saxons invade the native’s land. The Anglo-Saxons succeed and win whatever struggle ensues against the natives. The Celts remain in the land as a conquered people or perhaps even slaves. But, of course, their genes are carried on, and their strong contribution is genetic.

Including population estimates, scenario two arises. The Anglo-Saxons, outnumbered four to one, invade the native’s land. The Anglo-Saxons succeed, and they win whatever struggle ensues against the natives. The Celts remain in the land and become a conquered people. But, of course, their genes are carried on, and their strong contribution is genetic.

Now, scenario one seems the more likely to happen with no other knowledge of events. Considering the Anglo-Saxons were far outnumbered, it seems less likely that scenario two could have happened. Regardless, one cannot reject that possibility. After all, the possibility for the natives to outnumber the invaders at those numbers and the invasion to still be successful is not yet determined. Is the possibility greater than 50 percent or less than 50 percent? One just cannot say. That would be entirely based on speculation and interpretation, but not fact. Wikipedia should not be based on one’s speculation or interpretation. Therefore, both theories are equally valid until the possibility can be told by a reasonable scholar. Enslavement and Celtic contribution being combined into one working theory is easy to construct. No matter what the population was, one can pretty much conclude that the Anglo-Saxons became dominant. This can be seen through language and culture. Also, we can pretty easily conclude that enslavement was somewhat alive in Britain, at least with the Welsh, whose name is derived from the word Wealas, which came to mean “slaves.”

Now, similarly to the first section, one must wonder how so many natives were enslaved by so many. But my argument is similar. We just don’t know to what extent slavery ensued. We know the natives were the poor and subservient society. Does that make them slaves? Well to some it depends on your interpretation on slavery. Perhaps, some natives may have been so desperate for food and shelter they were forced to give up their freedom and subjected themselves to slavery. The probability the slavery did or did not happen is unknown.

This is an examination to see if the theory that the Anglo-Saxons at one time committed acts of genocide against the natives of Britain works alongside the theory that the natives contributed heavily to Englishness. According to the United Nations Genocide Convention, genocide is "acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group". The key words are "in part". That definition of genocide does not mean a complete destruction of a people. The Anglo-Saxons may have killed off several groups or clans of the natives yet still not enough to completely wipe them out. Therefore, even with a strong Celtic contribution, genocide of perhaps maybe 10 percent of the native people would not change the fact that the Celts outnumbered the Anglo-Saxons just a little less than four to one. It may turn to 3.5 to 1, or even as low as 1 percent of the population was killed systematically which would still be considered genocide. Even though the Anglo-Saxons were largely outnumbered, who is to say that the natives outnumbered the Anglo-Saxons in all places? In certain areas, such as Anglo-Saxon settlements, some surrounding natives may have been clutched into the wrong hands as a result of the dispute of land. To teach the natives a lesson, the Anglo-Saxons may have raised a hand against the natives. Whether this was a result of possible hundreds of years of war between the natives and Anglo-Saxons or whether it was not, who is to say that no genocide ever was committed against the natives? Once again, we don’t know how likely or unlikely genocide is when in view of a Celtic contribution which would be in this case, once again, genetic.

Now, it would only be fair to put all three of Freeman’s theories, invasion, slavery, and genocide together and combine them with Allen’s theory of Celtic contribution to Englishness to see that if they all can work together in agreement and demonstrate the validity of each theory at the same time. The Anglo-Saxons, out-numbered four to one, invade the native’s land. Through acts of deception and perhaps some genocide in places, the Anglo-Saxons succeed and win whatever struggle ensues against the natives. The Celts remain in the land and become a conquered people. Thus, the Britons were subjects of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom and were treated as the low social class, even possibly so low they had to resort to becoming slaves just to survive. But, of course, their genes are carried on, and their strong contribution is genetic.

One doesn’t know the likelihood or unlikelihood of all these theories working together and therefore we cannot form a foundation to say they are in disagreement or that they agree completely. One just doesn’t know. He can even form a logical conclusion, but it does not change the fact that we cannot say the probability of one theory working while another theory is not working at the same time. Therefore, both theories are valid together and both theories are equally valid simultaneously until a substantial evidence shows that one theory is incompatible with the other. Each theory holds its own validity within recognition of the other. These theories are too diverse to draw any conclusions either that they completely disagree or that they completely agree. See, in order for two theories to be in competition, one theory must pose threats to the other theory. Yet they are just too different for the two of them to be competing. I have shown the methods to validate each theory to be accurate simultaneously to some extent. Therefore, a competition of the two theories is not shown to be existent in this Wikipedia article. Since both theories are equally valid, the claim that there are two competing theories is false.   Bibliography De Excidio XXI, 1, Winterbottom, Gildas, p. 24.

General Assembly of the United Nations. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. 1949.

Gildas, and J. A. Giles. De Excidio Britanniae. Willits, CA: British American Books, 1900. (Gildas, The Ruin of Britain)

Going, Chris, and Robin Boast. "BRITAIN AND ROME: A LASTING AFFAIR?" Cambridge Anthropology 17, no. 2 (1994): 103-18.

Higham, N. (2004), From sub-Roman Britain to Anglo-Saxon England: Debating the Insular Dark Ages. History Compass, 2: **. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-0542.2004.00085.x Page Three.

Wikipedia contributors, "Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, (accessed June 1, 2016).

Ward, John H. "Vortigern and the End of Roman Britain." Britannia 3 (1972): 277-89.

Ward-Perkins, Bryan. "Why Did the Anglo-Saxons Not Become More British?" The English Historical Review 115, no. 462 (2000): 513-33.

Gordon410 (talk) 11:53, 11 July 2016 (UTC)