Spiritual Politics, Anglo-Saxon style

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inscription.jpgFor what it’s worth, here’s my guess: The fabulous Anglo-Saxon hoard discovered by that unemployed metal detectorist in Staffordshire was booty taken by King Penda of Mercia in his victory over the saintly King Oswald of Northumbria at the battle of Maserfield in 641 or 642. The hoard includes some Judeo-Christian bric-a-brac, as reported by John Burns in today’s New York Times:

The three Christian crosses in the find had been bent into folds, as
had a strip of gold with a biblical inscription in Latin of a kind
likely to have been favored by an ancient warrior: “Rise up, O Lord,
and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from
thy face.”

The inscription is taken from the Vulgate, either Psalm 67 or Numbers 10:35. (How’d that work out for you, Oswald?)

Penda was a pagan who could have cared less about the spiritual value of that stuff–folding it up for its metallic value. He’d just kicked some serious Christian butt, dismembering his adversary in the process. One tough dude.