Seaxnēat

Meaning of Name:  The name is likely a compound consisting of ‘Seax’, which was a knife/ dagger carried by Saxon freemen and ‘genēat’, meaning ‘companion’ or ‘associate’.  The name is sometimes translated as “sword/knife friend”.

Pronunciation: The first ‘ea’ is pronounced as the ‘a’ in ‘cat’, and in the second, both ‘e’ and ‘a’ are pronounced individually due to the macron. The ‘ē’ is pronounced as the ‘a’ in ‘game’ and the ‘a’ is pronounced as the ‘a’ in ‘tall’. Essentially, Sax-Nay-awt.

Other Names: Sahsnōt (Old Saxon).

Iconography: Unknown, although the seax itself would serve as a suitable icon of the God.

Function: If we take Seaxnēat’s name to be “Knife Companion” or some variation thereof, it stands to reason that Seaxnēat is a protector and warrior deity.  As Seaxnēat is the tribal patron of the Saxons who followed his progeny over the sea to Britannia, He stands in a position of significance for one of the tribal entities who eventually formed the Old English. A god of iron and steel, He is warrior, protector, god of war, and a representative of tribal sovereignty.

Attested Sources:  Seaxnēat appears in the royal genealogies of Essex and in the Old Saxon Baptismal Vow.  Essex is notable because it is the only incidence in Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies in which Seaxneat is featured – the other kingdoms prefer Wodēn, instead.  That Essex, the kingdom of the East Saxons, and the Old Saxon Baptismal Vow feature Seaxneat pretty squarely positions Seaxnēat as a tribal deity.

Jacob Grimm and William Chaney associate Seaxnēat with Tiw, while Rudolf Simek views him as Ingui, given his association with bladed weapons.  Neither of these explanations are satisfactory, and the Larhus treats him as an individual deity, separate of those two figures.

Interpretatio Romana: None.

Contemporary Bīnaman: Þēodætta (Tribe Father, reconstructed OE form of Gaulish, ‘Toutatis’), Þēodōs (Tribe-God). Beadurōf (War Renowned), Beaduscearp (Battle Sharp)

Advertisements