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Encyclopedia > Widewuto

Widewuto or Waidewut, legendary early king of the Prussi, ruled along with his brother, the priest Bruteno in the area known as Prussia, according to sagas recorded in later times.


Recorded in 999 in vita St Adalbertus St. Adalbert of Prague (died in 997) was martyred by the Prussians after the holy oak of the Prussians was felled by Adalbert, Bishop of Ermeland, with an axe given to him by Christ himself. After seeing the power of their gods destroyed, the Prussians became Christian.


According to sagas, Waidewut had twelve sons, after whom were named the districts of and adjoining Prussia.


Some of these names are coincidentally and anachronistically linked to the names of leaders of other peoples, for example, the Karantanian merchant leader King Samo, known to us from the Chronicle of Fredegar (circa 685). King Samo ruled from 622-658 in probably mainly in Moravia, Lower Austria, Slovakia and Carinthia.


More recent historiography posits the theory that Adalbert was murdered less for his opposition to "Prussian tradition" and more because he was believed to be a Polish spy. It should be pointed out that the story of the holy oak and its felling mimics closely the story of Saint Boniface felling the holy oak of the Saxons or the earlier Saint Martin of Tours felling a sacred oak in western France. It is possible that either the evangelist or the story-tellers imitated earlier examples.


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Widewuto (254 words)
Widewuto or Waidewut, legendary late 10th century king of the Prussi[?], ruled along with his brother, the priest Bruteno[?] in the area known as Prussia, according to sagas recorded in later times.
According to the sagas, St. Adalbert of Prague (died in 997) was martyred by the Prussians under Widewuto and his brother, after which the holy oak of the Prussians was felled by Adalbert, Bishop of Ermeland, with an axe given to him by Christ himself.
After seeing the power of their gods destroyed, the Prussians became Christian.
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