Verstegan sought to provide solid evidence for his proposition that England and France were once joined. He contends that the Cliffs of Dover (pictured here) at England's southern edge look nearly identical the ones on the northern coast of France at Cap Blanc-Nez.
He writes that both the Cliffs of Dover and the cliffs at Cap Blanc-Nez (pictured here) are made of chalk and flint, “appearing to be broken off from some more of the same stuffe or matter, that it hath sometime by nature beene fastned unto.”
Plus, they are situated only about 24 miles apart.
The rather charming portraits of each idol eventually became the most long-lived part of the book, as they were copied and re-copied for other books.
Pictured: The Idol of the Sun
Still, in creating these depictions at all, Verstegan disregarded the idea from Tacitus, his main source, that the ancient Germans in fact did not think it was appropriate to portray their gods with human likeness.
Pictured: The Idol of the Moon
To round out his description of the gods, Verstegen also included information about how they influenced later England.
Pictured: The Idol Tuisco
For instance, Woden’s name remained in use in “sundry places where in great likely-hood he was adored,” such as “Wodnesborough in Kent, Wodnesfeild in Stafford shire,” and others.
Pictured: The Idol Woden
According to one historian, the use of onomastics (the study of the history of proper names) to recover the significance of Anglo-Saxon sites was “certainly a novelty around 1600.”
Pictured: The Idol Thor
Verstegan felt these linkages established a substantiated etymological connection between the ancient Germans and the modern English.
Pictured: The Idol Friga
To that end, he chose to depict the idols for which he believed the seven English days of the week were named: The Idol of the Sun, The Idol of the Moon, Tuisco, Woden, Thor, Friga, and Seater.
Pictured: The Idol Seater
Book photos: Emma Priesendorf at the Rare Book Room, Linda Hall Library | White Cliffs of Dover: Wikipedia | Cap Blanc-Nez: Robby G. C.