and controversy regarding dating and editing work. Fustel de Coulanges relied heavily on formulae as a source in his Monarchie franque , and his work can be said to represent the only serious attempt to use them comprehensively in a general history on the same level as, for instance, the law codes or narrative histories. 5 By the 1930s, formulae looked set to become established as a source for the Frankish kingdoms
discussion of earthly goods, of women and of adultery, and the relatively simple theological instruction offered, might both suggest that the answers relate to lay concerns, but goods, women and even law codes occupied the thoughts of monks: the distinction between lay and clerical was a permeable boundary. 35 The dialogue form used here may suggest that the answers were to be learned by heart. There has been
I N 763-4, A RENEWED version of the oldest Frankish law-code, Lex Salica , was issued in the name of the first Carolingian king, Pippin. A verse prologue celebrated the achievements of ‘the invincible race of the Franks’, among whose many qualities, it was claimed, was that they were ‘immune from heresy’. 2 As Pippin’s reign is beginning to emerge from the
creation of (Offa’s) Mercian law code.89 She is the mother of the heir to the kingdom, who was under age. She ruled as a powerful widow in the stead of a minor and after her death her son took over. Thus she is situated within a family context, ruling for her son. Women in contemporary society were at the most powerful stage of the female life cycle as widows, so Geoffrey here draws on a cultural norm to reinforce his message because Marcia’s situation as a widow was one with which secular society could identify.90 Happy marriages feature in Geoffrey, for example the
This volume of essays in honour of Dame Jinty Nelson celebrates the way in which Jinty has used her profound understanding of Frankish history as a frame for reflecting upon the nature of early medieval culture and society in general. It includes a tabula gratulatoria of those very many others who wish to express their appreciation of Jinty's work and their warm personal gratitude to her. She has remained at King's throughout her entire career. Her early career was combined with young motherhood, a tough experience that has made her strongly supportive of colleagues trying to balance work and family. Although she continued to write about early medieval inauguration rituals, a new departure came with the 1977 paper 'On the limits of the Carolingian Renaissance'. The book discusses what factors determined and informed their particular take on the Frankish world, and how this compares to law-codes and charters. It considers the possibility that land was sometimes taken in early medieval Europe, whether by kings or local lords, for what they claimed was the common good. Whenever only meagre information was available, it was impossible to make sense of the past, that is, to take a prosaic approach to a sense of oblivion. The book explores both the roots of the historical interpretation and the stimuli for change, by considering the long historiographical tradition, attitudes to textual sources, and the changing political environment. The subjects of queens and queenship have figured prominently among Nelson's publications.
The Welsh borderlands were a distinctive territory where two peoples came together throughout the Anglo-Saxon period. It was here that men skilled at law drew up the Dunsate Agreement, to solve the impending problems with cattle theft. This book explores what sets the Dunsate Agreement apart from other Anglo-Saxon law codes grappling with cattle theft, highlighting that creators of this document, and the community that it concerns, included both Anglo-Saxons and Welsh. It argues that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle represents the military culture of the Welsh borderlands in a distinctive way which aligns its inhabitants with outlaws. The book articulates a discernible culture in the Welsh borderlands prior to 1066. Bede's The Historia Ecclesiastica has long been interpreted as a narrative of Anglo/British strife. His rancour towards the pagan Mercians provides substantial information about the life of Penda of Mercia, whose entire reign over this borderlands kingdom was defined by consistent political and military unity with Welsh rulers. Expanding on the mixed culture, the book examines the various Latin and Old English Lives of the popular Anglo-Saxon saint, Guthlac of Crowland. Vernacular literary tradition reveals a group of Old English riddles that link the 'dark Welsh' to agricultural labour through the cattle they herd, and who have long been understood to show the Welsh as slaves. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is frequently cited as a paradigm of Anglo/Welsh antagonism. The book reveals that the impact of the Norman Conquest on the Anglo-Welsh border region was much greater than previously realised.
. That society proves imperfect and that its bonds prove weak is not Beowulf’s fault – the tendency to murder and destruction present in the myth of Cain is to be found even in Hrothgar’s Heorot, and undoubtedly was there in the hall of every Anglo-Saxon Christian ruler. The poet’s presentation of the myth of the Flood does not articulate any law code or any offer of salvation, though the simple
, that is because it almost always was a man, but women too might have owned cattle and made use of the agreement.) The types of problem faced by the men who wrote the Dunsæte Agreement were not unusual in early medieval Britain,1 and neither were most of the solutions they decided upon.2 What sets the Dunsæte Agreement apart from other Anglo-Saxon law codes grappling with cattle theft is that the men who created this document, and the community that it concerns, included both Anglo-Saxons and Welsh. The text’s prologue states that ‘Þis is seo gerædnes, þe Angelcynnes
cattle: chattel in early medieval Britain The argument that the imagery of these riddles alludes to both slaves bound by Welsh raiders and cattle herded by Welsh labourers draws support from the frequent equivalence of slaves and animals in both the Anglo-Saxon textual corpus and Welsh law codes, which makes their parallel captivity in these riddles a natural one. It has long been noted that slaves were ‘bought and sold as cattle’16 in Anglo-Saxon England based on sources such as the 85 Writing the Welsh borderlands Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, which equates the two as
appeals on the rulings of local assemblies to kings. 50 However, the law codes do not envision reeves as enforcers of rulings if there was resistance – armed action was apparently not part of their duties. 51 When kings granted their estates to other lords, reeves passed into the service of these bishops, abbots or lay aristocrats, such as ealdormen, and they seem to have continued to fulfil the same duties, including, at least in the early tenth century, the legal tasks. With the emergence of the hundred system in the second half of the tenth century, reeves seem to