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Did Raedwald death mark the final passing of England's Pagan heritage?

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Introduction

Did Raedwald death mark the final passing of England's Pagan heritage? Raedwald was a king of East Anglia, descendant of Tyttla. He was 4th of the great Bretwalda. Raedwald was the king of the East Anglian people from 599-615AD. Raedwald lived in either Sutton Hoo or Rendlesham. At this period of time in Britain, Paganism was the main religion. It was brought over by tribes after the collapse of the Roman Empire. Before this, Britain was mainly Christian and even during the pagan years there were many strong Christian believers. In this essay I will be looking at the evidence for whether Raedwald death marked the final passing of England's Pagan heritage King Raedwald was believed to be buried at a Pagan burial site called Sutton Hoo. The burial site housed many different mounds, two of them boat burials. As Raedwald was buried in Sutton Hoo you can safely say that he had a Pagan burial, this can be proved by the fact he was buried in a boat and many objects such as a bucket made from yew; (a poisonous wood, which was also very expensive - the yew bucket is a symbol of high status and importance) ...read more.

Middle

For instance the neighbouring states in Europe were Christian, including our close neighbours; the Franks. An example of Political gain was when King Ethelbert married a Frankish Princess; he consequently converted to Christianity - therefore keeping the Franks sweet and on the right side. It was all about Politics and trade. Kent had been a Christian Kingdom since 597, and we know that Raedwald got baptised here. Again this has to do with Political gain, Raedwald getting Baptised proved the fact he was Christian. Thus the tribe of Kent would not see Raedwald as a threat. Another example is the King of Northumbria (617-633) He converted to Christianity when he married a Kentish Princess. Therefore despite the evidence of Sutton Hoo it seems as though England was already in a state of transition before Raedwald death. It would seem that Paganism would have been dying out after all the evidence of Kings converting to Christianity, but this was not the case. Raedwalds sons 'Eorpwald' and 'Sigebert' were actually Christian kings after the death of Raedwald. ...read more.

Conclusion

So, did Raedwald death mark the final passing of Paganism? The answer is no. Even before Raedwald had died the country was in transition between the two religions, including Raedwald. It was all about Political gain and Trade, not necessarily about what and who they believed in. The fact that even today Christian festivals are celebrated on Pagan days shows that there are still links with Paganism. This helps prove that even after the death of Raedwald Christians used familiar dates for the Pagan religion for their own Celebratory times - showing that there were Pagans still around. Rather like the way when the Roman Empire collapsed and Paganism took over as the main religion; Christianity still stayed in the background. There is no right/wrong, yes/no answer to this question, some people may say that because Paganism was not the main religion after Raedwald died that it had in fact disappeared, whilst other people could argue and say that because there are still links with Paganism it never did die out. All in all the evidence does suggest that Paganism did not die out, but just slipped into the background as Christianity was the more favourable religion for Political Gain and Trade. ...read more.

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