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Sometimes I am intrigued by what a story doesn’t say. Such is the case of the martyrdom of Saints Ewald the Fair and Ewald the Black in seventh-century Saxony.

It would be easy to see the pagan Saxon killers as my Frankish characters do – that they were nothing more than a bunch of brutes who hated Christians. Don’t get me wrong: nothing justifies the murder of the two priests. But when we put the story into the context of history and what the Saxons might have believed, it becomes more complex.

The story says the Saxons were convinced the Ewalds were trying to convert their lord and they feared the destruction of their temples. Such an act could offend the gods, the very beings who decided whether you had a bountiful harvest or famine, whether you had victory or defeat in battle.

To the pagan Saxons, the Ewalds might not have been two oddball priests but threats to their community. For more, see my post in English Historical Fiction Authors.

Martydom of Saints Ewald the Fair and Ewald the Black

Stained glass window depicting the martydom of Saints Ewald the Fair and Ewald the Black (photo by Raymakers, public domain image, via Wikimedia Commons)

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