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Whether Widukind, leader of eighth century Westphalian Saxons in today’s Germany, was a freedom fighter depends on whose side you’re on.

To a people conquered by foreigners and shaken down for tithes following a new religion they did not understand, Widukind must have been a hero. To the Franks, he was a villain who always got away, only to come back and rouse the Saxons to again forsake their baptismal vows and loyalty oaths, burn churches, and slaughter indiscriminately.

Who’s right? For a novelist, it depends on which character is telling the story. My Franks in The Cross and the Dragon and my work-in-progress want him dead. My Saxons in The Ashes of Heaven’s Pillar cheer when he escapes.

See today’s post on Unusual Historicals for more about Widukind and the complexities of the history, especially when seen through medieval eyes.

Detail of statue in Herford, Germany.

Detail of statue in Herford, Germany. (Image via Wikimedia Commons used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)