The Champion Hadugoth
To introduce you to the European champion Hadugoth, I need to ask you to follow me on a brief journey. It will take us through early Germanic, Gallic, proto-Lombard, Saxon, and Roman history, to provide us the full scope, depth, and cultural impact of the man some call Hadugoth. Long before the end of this account, it will be obvious why it is fitting that I draft Hadugoth's bio on this 4th of July weekend.
Reconstructing history, at times, can be a bit like a jigsaw puzzle. You have hundreds of pieces, commentary from various sources, spanning centuries and countries, but you don't always have the picture in front of you of what the assembled puzzle is supposed to look like. But sometimes, we get to see the box cover, or are granted larger clues. True story: a young man was courting a beautiful young lady, He gave her a gift with a message of his affection for her. It was a complex jigsaw puzzle that he had initially assembled, flipped upside down, and written a lengthy message on the back. He then took it apart, put it back in the box, and gave it to her. They talked shortly afterward, and she mentioned to his surprise that the puzzle was already assembled, and she thanked him for the message. When asked how she assembled it so quickly, she said that when she noticed there was writing on the back, that she assembled the puzzle pieces upside down, using the letters as a guide to rapid completion.
This reconstruction/restoration of Hadugoth is of a similar nature. I have at my disposal a brief account, written over 2,000 years ago, that provides me more context about him than anything else. It is an account that few historians have read. But like the message extended between two people, it informs this reconstruction.
My rendering of Hadugoth is simply this: the champion from the Saxon origin account written by Widukind lived, not in the 500's AD, as some historians claim, but in the 50's BC. (In subsequent paragraphs, you'll see my basis for that conclusion, and can weigh it to arrive at your own judgment on the matter.)
The hero Hadugoth traces back to the earliest arrival of the German people. He embodies the tribal memory of their arrival by sea, and helps explain and unify Lombard, Germanic, and Saxon origins. He is also at the center of a crucial snippet of Gallic history, when the region was being invaded by Roman legions under Julius Caesar, when freedom fighters arose to the challenge. Some fought for a time, and then saw the wisdom of retreating where Rome could not reach them, which was eastward across the Rhine for some, north across the English channel for others. While some stayed and made their final stand, and paid the ultimate price for freedom.
In 53 BC, the freedom fighter said by Julius Caesar to be the ringleader of those opposing his invasion of Gaul/France/Belguim, the rallying point behind the entire Gallic fight for freedom, was accused of treason (oddly enough, against Rome), summarily tried, and executed in the ancient Roman fashion (likely scourging and crucifixion).
With his death, some of the wisest among his people fled out of reach of Roman legions, while many of them and their neighbors resolved to make a final stand against Rome. And chieftains from across Gaul and Belgium sent thousands of warriors to march on Alesia. I won't bother to describe in detail the epic battle that took place there, other than to say two things. First, twelve Roman legions fought in that desperate struggle, one in which they could have all very easily been destroyed. Second, the battle was so pivotal, and resonated so much through ancient society, that over eighty years later, something was said in a garden in Jerusalem about what twelve legions could accomplish, alluding to Alesia, from a man remembered later as the greatest of heroes, greater even than the hero Hadugoth. In that garden, that other hero, prior to his crucifixion, left a poignant warning of the pending destruction of Jerusalem...by Roman legions.
My public reasons for asserting that Hadugoth lived and died in the 50's BC are threefold. First, that is precisely when a people called Germans first appeared in northern Europe, said to have recently arrived from across the moving water, as attested by Julius Caesar himself in the opening paragraphs of his account, and corroborated a few generations later by the Roman historian Tacitus in the opening sentences of his Germania. Second, that timeframe for Hadugoth is corroborated by cross-checking early Lombard origin accounts, Roman history, and the name of the earliest Lombard leader, answering to the freedom fighter, the ringleader, executed in 53 BC. Third, as Lombards occupied the same lands later occupied by Saxons, several historians believe that the Saxon confederation was assembled from the remnants that arose from such surrouding peoples including the early Lombards, strongly suggesting that we reconsider the supposedly two different origin accounts (Lombard and Saxon) as two facets instead depicting the exact same origin narrative.
So, as mentioned, this reconstructon of the hero Hadugoth corroborates and reconciles Roman, Gallic (French), and Germanic (Lombard/Saxon) history, and thereby has relevance to anyone with ancestry from these early Gallo-Germanic heroes who spread centuries later, after toppling Rome, to all of Europe and North Africa, and from there to the four corners of the earth.
According to a Saxon Chronicle written by Widukind, Hadugoth led his people across the sea to their landing on the coast of northern Europe. Widukind places his arrival at the time of a specific ruler, which most historians claim to be one who lived in the 500's AD. I offer two serious challenges to that hasty conclusion, with an offered major correction.
- Those historians know that peoples calling themselves Saxons were known to exist on the continent centuries earlier.
- An arrival on the continent in their proposed 500's AD timeframe therefore doesn't make sense for a Saxon origin account. So some historians either discard that account, deeming its seeming incongruence unreliable for *any* semblance of history, or interpret it to mean a group of Saxons retreating from defeats in Britain to find land for themselves on the continent.
A Suggested Correction
My approach to that origin account is first to simply note that the name of Hadugoth's claimed contemporary was also common among leaders on the continent five centuries earlier, and second, to thereby posit that this Saxon origin account is none other than an early companion account of Lombard origins in the 50's BC, since the German (Lombard/Saxon) people trace back to a common origin.
Those already familiar with my earlier restoration of Lombard origins, might recall that Romans first encountered a people known as Lombards (Langobards) around 5 AD near the Elbe River (where people calling themselves Saxons would later arise). Some might also recall that the Lombards themselves attest to have previously been known as Winnili, which aligns in name, location, chronology, and manner with the Venilli, the seafaring people in northwestern Gaul said by Julius Caesar around 57 BC to have been the people who were the earliest ringleaders in that region's fight to thwarting his conquests. And the Lombards themselves attest to that proto-group deciding to split into three subgroups, one of which migrated eastward, towards the rising sun, to later adopt the name Lombards. The geographic names they mention in their eastward migration chart a course eastward across Gaul, crossing the place from where another freedom fighter, the one who was later the greatest thorn in Caesar's side, was executed by Caesar in 53 BC.
A tradition among some in Gaul at this time was that they kept their given names secret to outsiders, and took upon them a different public name. For example, we don't know Vercingetorix's real name, as that personna's name has been rendered to mean in Gallic something along the lines of "Great Warrior King," acknowledge by historians to be something other than his birth name. Which brings us to Hadugoth. Among the Lombards, he was remembered centuries later (in their language which had become a blend of Germanic and Italian) as Aggo and Agio. His brother Ybor, also mentioned in Lombard history, was likely the leader of the elusive Eubor-ones encountered by Julius Caesar. Their mother Gambara, was likely leader of the Su-Gambri sicambri, (ancestors of Merovingian/Frankish/French kings). And the people said by Caesar to be their newly arrived neighbors, kindred, and allies (Tencteri/Tungri, and Usipites/Usipi) were the first to be known as Germans, and the first to call themselves Ger-man, a word which in Latin simply means brother (closely related, as in "ger-mane", compare Spanish Her-mano). Their message upon arrival was a simple desire to coexist in peace, but Caesar violated his truce with them, attacked them as new invaders encroaching on the Gaul he wished to conquer. In response to that direct violation of treaty, the senator Cato at Rome, proposed before the Senate that Caesar be arrested for war crimes, and turned over to the German people for punishment.
The Germans, who had every reason to wish vengeance, opted instead to serve Julius Caesar, thereby likely stunning him and his contemporaries. The people he had treacherously betrayed, attacked, and killed, under a flag of truce, instead stepped forward and decided to serve as his trusted bodyguards, perhaps one of the oddest twists in military history. Instead of vengeance, they offered to lay down their lives in defense of Caesar. It is then little wonder that the Tencteri/Tungri name is generally thought to mean "the faithful." They were so true to their charge, that subsequent emperors followed suit, also selecting their personal guard from the now-trusted German people. Thus the Praetorian Guard in the Western Empire, and the Varangian Guard late in the East, would turn to German troops as their must trusted bodyguards.
Had Julius Caesar's trusted phalanx of German bodyguards not been waved off and dismissed by him as he entered the assembly with Rome's Senators on the Ides of March, Caesar would not have died that day at the dagger-filled hands of the Roman Senate.
There is extensive cause to believe that the forgiving German bodyguard, these Hermano, or brothers, whatever we deem their original culture to have been, were the catalyst that led a change of heart in Caesar to atypically forgive his mortal enemies repeatedly throughought the later Roman Civil War (49-45 BC), an act which was unheard of in Roman society. And it was oddly that very clemency which those forgiven by him came to loathe and view as weakness, which bizarely led such forgiven Senators to plan and carry out Caesar's assassination on the Ides of March (44 BC), the year after their Civil War had supposedly ended.
According to the Saxon account, upon arriving on the continent by sea, Hadugoth's people received word that the following morning, they were to be attacked and killed as unwelcome invaders. In assembly, many of his people spoke of the wisdom of packing up and fleeing. Hadugoth arose, put his hand on their banner, reminded them of their heritage, and said that if they followed him to battle for their right to live there, not one of them would lose their lives. Rallied to the cause of freedom, they then followed him in silence that night to the fortified camp of those who had sworn to destroy them. Hadugoth and his people let themselves down over the walls of the enemy encampment in the dead of night, surrounded the enemy, and in the ensuing rout, not one of Hadugoth's people was killed. And when the sun rose, they celebrated their victory with sacrifice, and commemorated that day for generations, their independence day. I happen to believe that day is the forgotten origin of Oktoberfest.
The name Hadugoth, first recorded that way over eight centuries later, was earlier pronounced differently in different languages and dialects. There is cause to believe that Ha-du-goth was originally known among those speaking his original tongue as something closer to Ha-goth, akin to how the leader Chlo-do-vich was otherwise known as Clovis. Among the Lombards, he was 'Aggo, later Agio. And according to Caesar, he was called Acco.
Some accounts render Hadugoth's name as Hadugotu. However, those who are familiar with the challenges of reading early handwritten script, and who are familiar with early Germanic naming conventions, might readily acknowledge that what some mistakenly thought was a "u" was instead a mistranscribed "h" in the original manuscripts. Thus this Ha-goth, (Aggo or Acco in Latin accounts), is likely also the earliest patriarch Gaut of the German Goths, who later migrated south to Spain and Portugal. Those who deem such things to be wordplay might be well-served to remember that kennings were key to understanding early culture, and that those such as Odin were remembered under multiple names. Hadugoth/Hadgoth/Gaut in Germanic. And Aggo and Acco in Latinized accounts. Also, an initial "H" is simply not pronounced in some langauges and dialects just as in Cockney, Henry Higgins of My Fair Lady fame was called 'Enry 'Iggins. (And just as Herman in the Netherlands is the same name as Armand, Armando, Armani, Armann, or Ermanno, depending upon which European country we're talking about.)
Who was it that this Ha-du-goth or (Aggo, Acco) attacked? Over eight centuries after the events in question, Widukind said the arriving Saxons were supposedly allied with a leader of another people on the continent called Theodoric. It just so happens that a Roman commander serving under Julius Caesar was called Sabinus who had served early among the proto-Lombards in the NW of Gaul around 57 BC, and vanished overnight with his men three years later in 54 BC in NE Gaul, where the proto-Lombards/proto-Germans (Hadugoth and his people) just happened to have migrated, supposedly succumbing to an attack on his winter camp. However, those who are familiar with Caesar's writings know that he repeatedly exaggerated things to his benefit, and likely obfuscated other things to the same end.
So I ask, what really happened between Sabinus as these Venelli/Lombards/Germans?
Based on several of the details that Caesar *did* choose to disclose, and what I know of the culture of Hadugoth's people, I suggest that Sabinus and many of his men actually survived. For Sabinus' full name was Quintus Titurius Sabinus. With that, I offer for your consideration that the "Theo-dor-ic" named over eight centuries later is none other than "Ti-tur-ius" (Sabinus), linguistically the same name as Theodoric. And that Sabinus and most of his men did *not* die in 54 BC, as Caesar claimed, but instead went native, and allied with the newly arrived Germanic/Lombard/Saxon people, and withdrew eastward across the Rhine. And it was that betrayal by Sabinus which Caesar dared not disclose in his writings lest it spread among his troops, and among the Gauls, and among his enemies at Rome. And it was that event which led Caesar to chase into Germania, and then into Britain trying to track down his quarry. And it was that betrayal which led to Caesar's execution of the ringleader Acco (Hagoth/Hadugoth), on the otherwise unexplainable charges of treason.
Such a reconstruction, with Caesar's own legate and hundreds of troops going over to the supposed enemy, reconciles the Saxon account of Hadugoth's alliance with Theodoric, Hadugoth's almost bloodless capture of an encampment by night, Sabinus' disappearance, Lombard orgin accounts, the Lombard migration leader Aggo, and the 53 BC execution of the otherwise unheard of ringleader Acco. Thus the Lombard migration leader, the Saxon hero, and the Gallic freedom fighter are one and the same.
Additionally, I propose that the seafaring A-tta-cott-i, who descended upon Britain later, at the same time as Saxons, were likely Saxon allies and kinsmen, named after the Saxon hero Ha-du-goth.
As mentioned earlier, it was the brutal execution of the renowned freedom fighter Acco, at the hands of Caesar, which sparked the rest of Gaul to rise up and assemble at Alesia, in what was by far the most pivotal battle in early France.
To those who might initially take issue with a Gallic leader being later remembered as a Germanic/Lombard/Saxon hero, remember that the Germans (brothers) first surfaced in Gaul in the 50s BC, otherwise known as eastward-migrating Venelli, the proto-Lombards (where the other 2/3 ended up is a story for another day).
BR>As a later connection for these ancient seafaring Venelli, much later, when Germanic Vikings landed in the new world, they called it Viniland and Vinland. In my view, as documented elsewhere that name was an acknowledgement that they had returned to the land of the Venilli, ancestors of their earliest proto-German ancestors, the seafaring people who were first mentioned by Caesar in the 50's BC.
On that note, on this Independence Day weekend in America, I recommend that the reader learn all that they can about a man named Hagoth, and the freedom fighters in the early Americas from whom Hagoth drew his courage. Those who do will find in the pages leading up to Hagoth's shipbuilding, the man that I believe was soon to become Hadugoth, Aggo, and Acco in Europe. Those who find the record about Hagoth, should also turn to earlier chapters there, to find the account of brave leaders, who at night scaled the walls of enemy encampments and lowered themselves down into the camp, to use darkness, bravado, and surprise to spare the lives not just of their own people, but compassionately of the invading soldiers too. The very tactics which the early Saxon hero Hadugoth used, a few year later, in 54 BC.
Among such pages, one will read of the surroundeded invading enemy being invited by Hagoth's former countrymen to stop their bloodshed, and halt their invasion, and to instead come join and live among them in peace. Which is precisely what I believe, based on Caesar's account, was the offer extended to the Roman legate Sabinus in 54 BC, by Hadugoth's men. I believe that in 54 BC, Sabinus and many of his men chose, rather to die in an unjust cause, to go rogue and join ranks with Hadugoth/Aggo/Acco. A choice which, the following year, Acco paid for with his life, under charges of treason.
To those who find, read, and carefully consider Hagoth's 2,000 year old account, an account describing events in ancient Viniland shortly before Hagoth and his proto-Germans sailed to Europe, I invite you to join us, in brotherhead and peace.
A relevant song inviting such brotherhood, was sung at a freedom festival that I had the privilege to attend last week. May such a plea for freedom and brotherhood, regardless of ethnicity, langage, or ancestry, soon span every shining sea, continent, language, and people. In closing, a rendering of that song offered from a group that President Reagan once called "America's Choir":
Patriots' Plea for Brotherhood
Copyright 2017, John D. Nelson