In the case of Anglo-Saxon England the authors have fragments of three sacramentaries that provide information on Anglo-Saxon prayer. The chief evidence comes from some thirty Anglo-Saxon gospel books, which sometimes reveal which gospel passages were chosen to be read on particular days. Among these, six manuscripts have marginal notes indicating such uses: the Lindisfarne Gospels; London, BL, Royal I B vii; Durham, Cathedral Library, A II 16 and A II 17; and two sixth-century Italian gospel books. From these six manuscripts scholars have tried to reconstruct the liturgical system of gospel lections in use in Anglo-Saxon England before 800. This chapter is a discussion of one of these witnesses. Durham, A II 16 is a substantial part of a large and impressive gospel book. The remarkable feature of Durham, A II 16 is that the script in which the Synoptic Gospels were written changes dramatically.
Paris, BNF Latin 4629, is a manuscript containing Frankish law-codes, capitularies of Charlemagne and formulae, most probably copied in Bourges at the start of the ninth century. It has been linked with the court of Charlemagne by Donald Bullough. Amid the legal texts, it contains a dialogue that offers insights into some of the questions Charlemagne's subjects sought to answer. By offering a transcription and a translation, this chapter first provides a teaching source for those who want to understand Frankish thoughts, especially about religion and ethics, and then explores where these questions and answers may have come from, and why they might have been copied here. That exploration is, of course, an exercise in what some call historical imagination and others call guesswork. As such, it stands as a tribute to the scholar who has given the author the strongest support for guessing how Carolingians thought and acted.
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.
Janet nelson was born in 1942 and grew up in Blackpool, Lancashire. After graduation she proceeded directly to postgraduate research under Professor Walter Ullmann, completing a PhD in 1967. Her thesis title was 'Rituals of Royal Inauguration in Early Medieval Europe. The research gave her an understanding of the political resonance of the liturgy in the early Middle Ages and a thorough grounding in that intellectually rigorous scholarship which is the hallmark of her work. Janet Nelson's concern with how ideology, ritual and political thought might be combined in practical action, and with how individuals made choices according to needs and opportunities, led her to work on the reign of Charles the Bald, a figure rather in need of historical rehabilitation. The result was a model of political history that set the pace for a series of studies that rethought the history of the later Carolingians.