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    The Soldiers and the Victory

    September 2, 2009 by Brandy Vencel

    Two days ago, during Ambleside Time with E., we read this:

    Harold [of England] did not stop to gather his army together again, but set out as quickly as he could with the few soldiers he had.

    [snip]

    The fight was fierce and long. Sometimes it seemed as if the English would win, sometimes the Northmen. In the very thickest of the fight rode the two kings, each cheering on his men.

    [snip]

    But at last both Earl Tostig and King Harold Hardrada were killed, and their soldiers fled in all directions.

    Our Island Story

    Harold of England defeated his brother Tostig and King Harold Hardrada the Northman with an insufficient army. The seven-year-old was mystified. How in the world could he defeat an enemy so great, when his own soldiers were off harvesting their crops? I didn’t answer him completely, mostly because the question was a good one, and I needed to give it some thought. What I told him was that it makes you think that perhaps there is more to victory than simple size and skill of the army, now doesn’t it? And he ran off with that glimmer in his eye that he gets when he is pondering some great question.

    Yesterday, in my afternoon study time, I read this:

    The Almighty God is sigora Sopcyning, the “true King of victories.” “No man could enter the tower, open hidden doors, unless the Lord of Victories, He who watches over men, Almighty God Himself, was moved to let him enter, and him alone” {ll. 3053-3057}. Whether the victory is Grendel falling before Beowulf, or Satan crushed beneath the heel of Christ, God is the only one to bestow any victory.

    Angels in the Architecture

    Today, before we read on, I’ll be presenting him with this quote on a sheet of paper. Knowing him, he will whisk it away and bury it in the depths of his pocket, rereading it throughout the day.

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    1 Comment

  • Reply Mystie September 2, 2009 at 8:53 pm

    Especially during the medieval period, and especially the more northern (until England) you get, the more it was a commonly held assumption that God granted victory, too, so it wouldn’t have been lost on the army or country or king. Of course, this assumption also led them to believe in trial by combat and the like. 🙂

    I love old English words.

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