Sunday, 20 September 2009

Characters in Bernard Cornwell's Saxon Series: Jannel, Bjorn and Oslac and Finan

Jannel Finnish A male given name, a pet from of Johannes and related names, with full name status since mid-twentieth century.

German cycle

Bjorn and Caradoc
980 Abbot Aethelgar was hallowed bishop on May 2nd to the bishopric at Selsey. In this year a force of Vikingar ravaged Omtune and most of the towns folk were slain or taken prisoner. In the same year the islands of Thanet and Mona were harried; also in the same year Legacaestir Saetan was harried by the Host.Bjorn Styrbjornsson, Sturaesman of Wessex, led warriors of his Lethang to Bremesgraefen, they were Rollo Kilfyarsson, Thorkel, Erik Haraldsson the Archer and Owen Cynfawr. They sailed in the Golden Fjord and lost one of their shields on the journey but eventually arrived safely. Once there they fell in with Morrigan and the Mercians Caradoc, Frytha the Fair, Sven of Mercia and Skallagrim. All these warriors fought hard for the Host and they were able to greatly improve their fortunes. With such good gains the Host feasted well, they held sporting contests and sang merry songs.
The towns of Norrovik and Cantwaraburh suffered from the attentions of the Host, they took much property away from those places. After this Jarl Ragnar led the Host to the isle of Mon in Guined and there fought the forces of Stefe Ap Groom. Bjorn Styrbjornsson again led Rollo Kilfyarsson, Thorkel, Erik Haraldsson the Archer and Owen Cynfawr to join Ragnar's Host. Caradoc, Morrigan, Euan the Stout, Skallagrim, Baradoc the Smutti, Frytha and Yr An Distaw the Well Man came from Mercia and fought with Bjorn under Ragnar. Two of Ragnar's warriors were captured by the Wealsh and tortured to death, this greatly angered him, he determined to show the foe no mercy and use any trick to defeat them. In a fierce battle the Host drove the Wealsh from the field and burned their homes, no mercy was shown to any they caught.

The boy's name Bjorn \b-jo- rn\ is pronounced bee-YORN. It is of Scandinavian and Old Norse origin, and its meaning is "bear". Variant of Bernard. Swedish tennis champion Bjorn Borg. Bjorn has 4 variant forms: Bjarn, Bjarne, Bjorne and Bjornsterne.
The barrow of Björn Ironside (Björn Järnsidas hög) on the island of Munsö, in lake Mälaren, Sweden. The barrow is crowned by a stone containing the fragmented Uppland Rune Inscription 13.

Björn Ironside (Old Norse and Icelandic : Björn Járnsíða, Swedish: Björn Järnsida) was a legendary Swedish king who would have lived sometime in the 9th century. Björn Ironside is said to have been the first ruler of a new dynasty, and in the early 18th century a barrow named after a king Björn on the island of Munsö was claimed by antiquarians to be Björn Ironside's grave.
A powerful Viking chieftain and naval commander, Bjorn and his brother Hastein conducted many (mostly successful) raids in France in a continuation of the tradition initiated by their (possibly adoptive) father Ragnar Lodbrok. In 860, Bjorn led a large Viking raid into the Mediterranean. After raiding down the Spanish coast and fighting their way through Gibraltar, Bjorn and Hastein pillaged the south of France, where his fleet over-wintered, before landing in Italy where they captured the coastal city of Piza. Proceeding inland to the town of Luna, which they believed to be Rome at the time, Bjorn found himself unable to breach the town walls. To gain entry, he sent messengers to the Bishop that he had died, had a deathbed conversion, and wished to be buried on consecrated ground within their church. He was brought into the chapel with a small honor guard, then amazed the dismayed Italian clerics by leaping from his coffin and hacking his way to the town gates, which he promptly opened letting his army in. Flush with this victory and others around the Med (including in Sicily and North Africa) he returned to the Straits of Gibraltar only to find the Saracen navy waiting. In the desperate battle which followed Bjorn lost 40 ships, largely to Greek fire launched from Saracen catapults. The remainder of his fleet managed to return to Scandinavia however, where he lived out his life as a rich man.
The Annales Bertiniani and the Chronicon Fontanellense tell of a Viking leader named Berno who pillaged on the Seine in the 850s, and c. 1070, William of Jumièges referred to him as Bier Costae ferreae (Ironside) who was Lotbroci regis filio (son of king Lodbrok).[Ragnarssona þáttrRagnarssona þáttr tells that Björn was the son of the Swedish king Ragnar Lodbrok and Aslaug, the daughter of Sigurd and Brynhild, and that he had the brothers Hvitserk, Ivar the Boneless and Sigurd Snake-in-the-Eye, and the half-brothers Eric and Agnar.
Björn and his brothers left Sweden to conquer Zealand, Reidgotaland (here Jutland), Gotland, Öland and all the minor islands. They then settled at Lejre with Ivar the Boneless as their leader.
Ragnar was jealous with his sons' successes, and set Eysteinn Beli as the jarl of Sweden, telling him to protect Sweden from his sons. He then went east across the Baltic Sea to pillage and to show his own skills.
Ragnar's sons Eric and Agnar then sailed into Lake Mälaren and sent a message to king Eysteinn that they wanted him to submit to Ragnar's sons, and Eric said that he wanted Eysteinn's daughter Borghild as wife. Eysteinn said that he first wanted to consult the Swedish chieftains. The chieftains said no to the offer, and ordered an attack on the rebellious sons. A battle ensued and Eric and Agnar were overwhelmed by the Swedish forces, whereupon Agnar died and Eric was taken prisoner.
Eysteinn offered Eric as much of Uppsala öd as he wanted, and Borghild, in wergild for Agnar. Eric proclaimed that after such a defeat he wanted nothing but to choose the day of his own death. Eric asked to be impaled on spears that raised him above the dead and his wish was granted.
In Zealand, Aslaug and her sons Björn and Hvitserk, who had been playing tafl, became upset and sailed to Sweden with a large army. Aslaug, calling herself Randalin rode with cavalry across the land. In a great battle they killed Eysteinn.
Ragnar was not happy that his sons had taken revenge without his help, and decided to conquer England with only two knarrs. King Ella of Northumbria defeated Ragnar and threw him into a snake pit where he died.
Björn and his brothers attacked Aella but were beaten back. Asking for peace and wergild, Ivar the Boneless tricked Aella into giving him an area large enough to build the town of York. Ivar made himself popular in England and asked his brothers to attack again. During the battle Ivar sided with his brothers and so did many of the English chieftains with their people, in loyalty to Ivar. Ella was taken captive and in revenge they carved blood eagle on him.
Later Björn and his brothers pillaged in England, Wales, France and Italy, until they came to the town Luna in Italy. When they came back to Scandinavia, they divided the kingdom so that Björn Ironside took Uppsala and Sweden.

Hervarar saga
The Hervarar saga tells that Eysteinn Beli was killed by Björn and his brothers as told in Ragnar Lodbrok's saga, and they conquered all of Sweden. When Ragnar died Björn Ironside inherited Sweden. He had two sons, Refil and Erik Björnsson, who became the next king of Sweden.
Heimskringla: history of the kings of Norway, Part 7277 By Snorri Sturluson, Lee Milton Hollander

Óslác is a theophoric Anglo-Saxon given name, cognate to Old Norse Ásleikr/Áslákr (latinised Ansleicus, modern Scandinavian Aslak) and to Old High German Ansleh (Anslech, Ansleccus). It is composed of ós "god" and lác "play, sport; offering, sacrifice".
Historical individuals bearing the name are a son of Æthelfrith of Northumbria (recorded in MS E of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle s.a. 617), king Oslac of Sussex (8th c.), Oslac of Hampshire, butler of Æthelwulf of Wessex (9th c.) and earl Oslac of Northumbria (10th c.). Anslech de Bricquebec, nephew of Rollo of Normandy (10th c.). Ansleicus is the name of a Dane converted to Christianity in 864 according to the Miracles de St. Riquier. This Ansleicus subsequently mediated between Charles the Bald and the Viking invaders of Normandy.
The Norman French toponym Anneville is from Anslecvilla "the estate of Ansleicus".
The name is attested in a late Viking Age (early 12th century) runic inscription on a sword scabbard, reading Asmundr gerosi mik Asleik a mik "Asmund made me, Asleikr owns me" (Ewart Oakeshott, Records of the Medieval Sword, p. 77).
As a given name, English Oslac unlike Norse Aslak is mostly extinct, but it survives into Modern English as a surname, besides Oslac also in the spellings Aslock and Hasluck.
Based on the Anglo-Saxon, Old High German and Old Norse cognates of the name, Koegel (1894) assumes that the term *ansu-laikom may go back to Common Germanic times, denoting a Leich für die Götter, a hymn, dance or play for the gods in early Germanic paganism. Grimm (s.v. "Leich") compares the meaning of Greek χορος, denoting first the ceremonial procession to the sacrifice, but also ritual dance and hymns pertaining to religious ritual. Hermann (1906) identifies as such *ansulaikom the the victory songs of the Batavi mercenaries serving under Gaius Julius Civilis after the victory over Quintus Petillius Cerialis in the Batavian rebellion of 69 (according to Tacitus), and also the "abominable song" to Wodan sung by the Langobards at their victory celebration in 579. The sacrificial animal was a goat, around whose head the Langobard danced in a circle while singing their victory hymn. As their Christian prisoners refused to "adore the goat", they were all killed (Hermann presumes) as an offering to Wodan.

Oslac (fl. 966–975) is regarded as the first ealdorman (or earl) of York and its dependent territories, roughly the southern half of Northumbria. His background is obscure because of poor source documentation, resulting in disagreement amongst historians regarding his family and ethnicity. It is believed that he took over the position of ealdorman of York in 966, holding the position until his downfall in 975.
He appears to have been the first ealdorman of southern, as opposed to a united, Northumbria, though an alternative tradition puts the division of Northumbria into two ealdormanries after his death. Little is known of his career as ealdorman, except for a legend that he escorted King Kenneth II of Scotland to the English royal court, and that he was expelled from England in 975. His life after this is unattested. He had one known son, but it is not clear if that son ever succeeded him.

Oslac's origins are unclear and no specific relationship with any previous known figure can be established from available sources. Oslac's name suggests to some historians that he was a Norseman. Susan Whitelock points out that the name Oslac is often an anglicisation of the Old Scandinavian name Áslákr, while the writers of the Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain entry on Oslac comment that the name suggests an origin in the Danelaw, a suggestion supported by the fact that Thored, Oslac's son, held lands in Cambridgeshire.
On the other hand, Oslac is also a genuine English name, and the common Os element Oslac's name shared with the name of Osulf of Bamburgh, previous ealdorman of York, points to a connection with the Bamburgh family of the English far north.

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, as recorded for the year 966, states that Thored, son of Gunnar, raided Westmorland and that Oslac "took the ealdormanship". Some historians take this to mean that Oslac became the "senior ealdorman of all Northumbria, including the territory of the high-reeves of Bamburgh."
Records exist of Oslac witnessing charters as early as 963; this may mean he was ealdorman by 963, and would imply the death or deposition of his predecessor Osulf. Some of these charters are problematic as source documents, however, having been recorded only in later cartularlies, which may have resulted in alterations. Moreover, a charter dated 966 of a grant by dux Thored is witnessed by Oslac minister (i.e. "thegn"), which would suggest against accession to the ealdormanship of York before 966.

Division of Northumbria
De primo Saxonum adventu, an 11th- or 12th-century compilation from earlier sources, claims that after the death of Osulf, Northumbria was divided into two parts, with Eadulf Evil-child receiving the lands between the Firth of Forth and the River Tees, and Oslac receiving the lands between the Humber Estuary and the Tees.
According to John of Wallingford, King Edgar made this division during a council at York, in order to prevent the whole area from becoming the inheritance of one man. The Historia Regum claims that such a division took place not in Oslac's time but Osulf's, and that the division line was the River Tyne rather than Tees; this account is considered to be likely apochrypal.

King Edgar

Oslac frequently attested the royal charters of King Edgar, and appears to have been a faithful servant.
De primo Saxonum adventu claims that Oslac, along with Eadulf of Bamburgh and Ælfsige Bishop of Chester-le-Street, escorted the Scottish king Cináed mac Maíl Coluim to the Wessex-based English king Edgar the Peaceable:
The two earls [Oslac and Eadwulf] along with Ælfsige, who was bishop of St Cuthbert [968—90], conducted Cinaed to king Edgar. And when he had done homage to him, king Edgar gave him Lothian; and with great honour sent him back to his own.
This must have occurred - if it happened at all - between 968 and 975, i.e. between Ælfsige becoming bishop and Edgar dying. Richard Fletcher dates it to 973.
The historian Geoffrey Barrow believes this to mark the beginning of Scottish control over all the lands between the River Tweed and Firth of Forth (defining "Lothian" in this manner), though Alex Woolf has suggested that the part about Lothian may have been fabricated later to give credence to the claim that the Scottish kings owed homage to England for lands in Lothian.

Downfall and legacy
In 975, not long after the death of King Edgar, Oslac was banished from England. No reason is given by the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle in the report of the expulsion. Version C of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle describes the events thus:
The valiant Oslac was driven from the country, over the tossing waves, the gannet's bath, the tumult of the waters, the homeland of the whale; a grey-haired man, wise and skilled in speech, he was bereft of his lands
The historian Richard Fletcher guesses that Oslac's downfall may have been the result of opposing the succession of Edward the Martyr.
Oslac is said by the Historia Eliensis to have had a son named Thorth, that is, Thored. His successor was a man named Thored, but it is not clear whether this was Thored Oslac's son or Thored son of Gunner; historians tend to favour the idea that Thored the successor was son of Gunner

Oslac was a King of Sussex. He reigned jointly with Ealdwulf and Ælfwald, and probably also Oswald and Osmund.
Oslac witnessed an undated charter of Ealdwulf, believed to be from about 765, with his name corruptly recorded in the surviving revision as Osiai rex .
After the conquest of Sussex by Offa, King of Mercia, Oslac witnessed a charter of Offa, dated 772, as Oslac dux, with his name placed after Oswald, Osmund, and Ælfwald, suggesting that he was the most junior of the former kings.
His latest surviving charter is dated 790, and the original still exists; in it he is styled Oslac dux Suthsaxorum

"Oslac 7", Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England, The Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England Database Project, 2005,, retrieved 2009-01-19
Anderson, Alan Orr, ed. (1908), Scottish Annals from English Chroniclers A.D. 500 to 1286 (1991 revised & corrected ed.), Stamford: Paul Watkins, ISBN 1-871615-45-3
Arnold, Thomas, ed. (1882–85), Symeonis Monachi Opera Omnia, Rerum Britannicarum Medii Ævi Scriptores, or, Chronicles and Memorials of Great Britain and Ireland during the Middle Ages; vol. 75 (2 vols.), London: Longman Fletcher, Richard (2003), Bloodfeud: Murder and Revenge in Anglo-Saxon England, London: Penguin Books, ISBN 0-14-028692-6
Kapelle, William E. (1979), The Norman Conquest of the North: The Region and Its Transformation, 1000–1135, London: Croom Helm Ltd, ISBN 0-7099-0040-6
Rollason, David (2003), Northumbria, 500—1100: Creation and Destruction of a Kingdom, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, ISBN 0-521-04102-3
Seebohm, Frederic (1902), Tribal Custom in Anglo-Saxon Law : Being an Essay Supplemental to: (1) The English Village Community, (2) The Tribal System in Wales, London: Longmans, Green & Co.
Whitelock, Dorothy (1959), "The Dealings of the Kings of England with Northumbria", in Clemoes, Peter, The Anglo-Saxons: Studies in some Aspects of their History and Culture presented to Bruce Dickins, London: Bowes & Bowes, pp. 70–88
Williams, Ann; Smyth, Alfred P.; Kirby, D. P. (1991), A Biographical Dictionary of Dark Age Britain: England, Scotland and Wales, c.500–c.1050, London: Seaby, ISBN 1-85264-047-2 Woolf, Alex (2007), From Pictland to Alba, 789–1070, The New Edinburgh History of Scotland, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, ISBN 978-0-7486-1234-5

De primo Saxonum adventu is a historical work, probably written in Durham during the episcopate of Ranulf Flambard (1099–1128). It recounts the coming of the English (called the "Saxons") to Great Britain, treating individually the history of the rulers of the Kingdom of Kent, of the Kingdom of East Anglia, of the Kingdom of Northumbria (to Erik Bloodaxe), as well as the archbishops of Canterbury and the archbishops of York, the bishops of Durham and the earls of Northumbria.
Although it exists in many recensions updated in later years, the earliest version contains a list of Durham bishops ending with Ranulf Flambard. It was written in the time of Symeon of Durham, and thus Symeon may have had a role in the authorship of the text. It appears to be related to a text called the Series regum Northymbrensium, a list of rulers of Northumbria beginning with Ida and ending with Henry I, a text existing only in the manuscript Cambridge University Library, Ff. i.27, one of the ten manuscripts containing the Libellus de exordio.

Rollason, David, ed. (2000), Libellus de exordio atque procursu istius, hoc est Dunhelmensis

The name Finan is a baby boy name. The name Finan comes from the Irish origin. In Irish The meaning of the name Finan is: Blonde child. An old Irish name originally spelled Finán.

St. Finan
Second Bishop of Lindisfarne; died 9 February, 661. He was an Irish monk who had been trained in Iona, and who was specially chosen by the Columban monks to succeed the great St. Aidan (635-51). St. Bede describes him as an able ruler, and tells of his labours in the conversion of Northumbria. He built a cathedral "in the Irish fashion", employing "hewn oak, with an outer covering of reeds", dedicated to St. Peter. His apostolic zeal resulted in the foundation of St. Mary's at the mouth of the River Tyne; Gilling, a monastery on the sight where King Oswin had been murdered, founded by Queen Eanfled, and the great abbey of Streanaeshalch, or Whitby. St. Finan (Finn-án — little Finn) converted Peada, son of Penda, King of the Middle Angles, "with all his Nobles and Thanes", and gave him four priests, including Diuma, whom he consecrated Bishop of Middle Angles and Mercia, under King Oswy. The breviary of Aberdeen styles him "a man of venerable life, a bishop of great sanctity, an eloquent teacher of unbelieving races, remarkable for his training in virtue and his liberal education, surpassing all his equals in every manner of knowledge as well as in circumspection and prudence, but chiefly devoting himself to good works and presenting in his life, a most apt example of virtue".
In the mysterious ways of Providence, the Abbey of Whitby, his chief foundation, was the scene of the famous Paschal controversy, which resulted in the withdrawal of the Irish monks from Lindisfarne. The inconvenience of the two systems — Irish and Roman — of keeping Easter was specially felt when on one occasion King Oswy and his Court were celebrating Easter Sunday with St. Finan, while on the same day Queen Eanfled and her attendants were still fasting and celebrating Palm Sunday. Saint Finan was spared being present at the Synod of Whitby. His feast is celebrated on the 9th of February.

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