Sacred Texts  Sagas and Legends  English Folklore  Index  Previous  Next 


THE term Saracen is always now supposed to apply to the Moors. This is not exactly correct. Percy, for example, in his "Essay on the Ancient Minstrels," says, "The old metrical romance of 'Horn Child,' which, although from the mention of Saracens, &c., it must have been written, at least, after the First Crusade in 1096, yet, from its Anglo-Saxon language or idiom, can scarcely be dated later than within a century after the Conquest." I think this ballad, and several others of an early date, prove the application of this term to some Oriental people previous to the Crusades. Soldàin, soldàn, regarded as a corruption of sultan,--

"Whoever will fight yon grimme soldàn,

Right fair his meede shall be,"

is clearly n much older term, applied to any grim Eastern tyrant, and especially to the Oriental giants. It would not be a difficult task to show that the word "Saracen," as used in Cornwall,--' 'Atal Saracen !" "Oh, he's a Saracen !" &c., was applied to the foreigners who traded with this country for tin at a very early period.

Next: The Tinner of Chyannor