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Massacre of Verden: 4,500 Victims Got Slain

Massacre of Verden: 4,500 Victims Got Slain

Verden an der Aller or simply Verden is a town in Lower Saxony, Germany. Along the course of history, this plot of land seems to witness many happenings. One of them is the Massacre of Verden in 785.

The year was 785 that the Aller and Weser rivers were full of blood. Charlemagne was the Roman Catholic King of Franks, King of Lombards, and later Roman Emperor. He ordered a mass execution of 4,500 Saxons who took the roles of chieftains and the heads of the families. Charlemagne believed that these victims were those who led the revolt against his project to convert the their tribe into Christians. During the time, Charlemagne was attempting to spreading his power in many regions. And he came up with the idea that: to control a nation, control their religion.

Massacre of Verden
Massacre of Verden
Charlemagne set out to convert his victims into Christians.

Ten years before the Massacre of Verden, the Saxons raided and plundered a Frankish Christian church. Gradually, the pressure of these new comers made the King come into a decision to remove these pagans.

The angry Charlemagne in 785 in the name of revenge for his nobles in the battle against the pagans carried out the massacre. However, many scholars believed that revenge was just a superficial reason. And Charlemagne was motivated by the lust of conquest.

Charlemagne

When the king heard of this disaster he decided not to delay, but made haste to gather an army, and marched into Saxony. There he called to his presence the chiefs of the Saxons, and inquired who had induced the people to rebel. They all declared that Widukind was the author of the treason, but said that they could not produce him because after the deed was done he had fled to the Northmen.

But the others who had carried out his will and committed the crime they delivered up to the king to the number of four thousand and five hundred; and by the king’s command they were all beheaded in one day upon the river Aller in the place called Verden. When he had wreaked vengeance after this fashion, the king withdrew to the town of Diedenhofen…

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