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Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

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

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Unreadable things in Beowulf
James Paz

though she may be, Grendel’s mother is nevertheless demonstrating that she knows the rules of this game. According to Leslie Lockett, extant Anglo-​Saxon law codes ‘do not prescribe the display of corpses, but they do preserve the distinction between the legitimate killing of an offender and secret murder’. Lockett notes that whereas Grendel’s killings are without just cause and are therefore kept concealed, his mother’s ‘slaying of Æschere is –​at least from her perspective –​a legitimate requital of her own son’s death, for which reason she prominently displays the

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Duncan Sayer

. In particular, this chapter is interested in family, household and kinship, themes that have cropped up throughout this book. It situates the detailed explorations presented in each of the previous chapters alongside an exploration of Anglo-Saxon historical information, with a particular emphasis on contemporary (seventh-century) law codes. After all, the people buried in these sites were alive when the laws were first spoken about and written down, and as a result they were constructed from the same Zeitgeist , the same blood, sweat and attitudes of the

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries
Open Access (free)
Donna Beth Ellard

centuries, which interdict infant abandonment, with the exception of deformity, arguing that ‘[p]hysically impaired children … if reared, would present too great a demand on resources and in the future would be limited in providing for themselves and contributing to the community's economy’. 28 In addition to the sagas and law codes, which mention child abandonment with some frequency, archaeological evidence supports this practice as a fact of early medieval life. Archaeologists have, for several decades, discussed the

in Dating Beowulf
Duncan Sayer

because people’s multi-faceted identities were intertwined with material things, visual experiences, spaces and landscapes (Gosden, 2005 ). Moreover, objects are part of how people define themselves and each other, and are central to how people interact. How a person looks will influence how someone responds to them within a specific cultural setting, because objects are situated intermediately in relationships and act as fulcrums for interpersonal interactions. The aesthetic of relationships reinforces perception – for example, some of the earliest law codes

in Early Anglo-Saxon cemeteries