Wihtlaeg, king in Angel
Wermund, king in Angel
Offa, king in Angel
(-Abt 456)


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Offa, king in Angel

  • Died: Abt 456

   General Notes:

He was the most famous hero of the early Angles (Anglii in Latin). His name and story are the earliest history of any English speaking person. He is said by the Old English poem Widsith to have ruled over Angel, and the poem refers briefly to his victorious single combat, a story which is related at length by the Danish historians Saxo and Svend Aagesen.

Offa (Uffo) is said to have been dumb or silent during his early years. His aged and blind father, King Wermund believed him to be a simpleton and in order to preserve his son's position as king had him marry the daughter of Freawine, a neighbouring warlord/king so that he would assist Offa when he became king. However it did not come to pass as Freawin was killed by a marauding Viking warlord (apparently a Swede called Atisl). Wermund subsequently raised Freawin's sons Ket and Wig as his own, however they would eventually cause great dishonour to the Angles when they ambushed Atisl in a forest as he walked alone and slew him. The surrounding peoples began to mock the Angles, accusing them of cowardice and dishonour. Eventually the neighbouring Saxons decided that Wermund was too weak to resist their requests for him to surrender his kingdom to them and they sent their emissaries to Wermund's court where they proceeded to mock the blind man, Wermund challenged their king to a duel, but he stated that he would not fight a blind man. It was then that Offa regained his speech and revealed that his silence had been caused by the great dishonour involved in Atisl's death. He promptly challenged the prince of the Saxons and one of his champions to a duel in order to regain the Angles honour.

Offa's combat took place at Rendsburg on an island in the Eider River, and Offa succeeded in killing both his opponents. According to Widsith, Offa's opponents belonged to a tribe or dynasty called Myrgingas, but both accounts state that he won a great kingdom as the result of his victory. A somewhat corrupt version of the same story is preserved in the Vitae duorum Offarum, where, however, the scene is transferred to England.

It is very probable that the Offa whose marriage with Mod■ry­, a lady of murderous disposition, is mentioned in Beowulf is the same person; and this story also appears in the Vitae duorum Offarum, though it is erroneously told of a later Offa of Mercia. Offa of Mercia, however, was a descendant of Offa, King of Angel. It is probable from this and other considerations that the early Offa lived in the latter part of the 5th century.

   Marriage Information:

Offa, married Mod■ry­ MYRGINGAS.

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