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.
Long before the invention of the mechanical clock, the monastic computes offered
a model of time that was visible, durable, portable and objectifiable. The
development of ‘temporal literacy’ among the Anglo-Saxons involved not only the
measurement of time but also the ways in which the technologies used to measure
and record time — from sundials and church bells to calendars and chronicles —
worked to create and reorder cultural capital, and add new scope and range to
the life of the imagination. Techniques of time measurement are deeply
implicated in historical consciousness and the assertion of identity; this paper
proposes some avenues of exploration for this topic among the Anglo-Saxons.
Over six hundred years before John Milton’s Paradise Lost, Anglo-Saxon
authors told their own version of the fall of the angels. This book brings
together various cultural moments, literary genres, and relevant comparanda to
recover that story, from the legal and social world to the realm of popular
spiritual ritual and belief. The story of the fall of the angels in Anglo-Saxon
England is the story of a successfully transmitted exegetical teaching turned
rich literary tradition that can be traced through a diverse range of genres:
sermons, saints’ lives, royal charters, riddles, as well as devotional and
biblical poetry, each genre offering a distinct window into the ancient myth’s
place within the Anglo-Saxon literary and cultural imagination.
This book offers readers a new understanding of the methods of religious instruction and the uses of religious texts in Anglo-Saxon England, capturing the lived significance of these texts to contemporary audiences. An examination of Anglo-Saxon texts based on their didactic strategies, succeed at teaching theology, and blended cultural influences allows us to evaluate both celebrated and neglected texts more even-handedly and in a new light. The book first deals with the history and character of the theology of Christ's Ascension. It traces the history of Ascension theology from its scriptural roots to its patristic elaborations and to its transmission in Anglo-Saxon England, presenting those doctrines and themes that become most relevant to insular authors. The history of Ascension theology shows that Anglo-Saxon authors make deliberate and innovative choices in how they present the inherited patristic theology to their contemporary audiences. The book then contends that both the martyrologist and the Blickling homilist recognize the importance of liminality to Ascension theology and use the footprints as the perfect vehicle to convey this. It also examines the ways in which Anglo-Saxon authors construct spatial relationships to establish symbolic relationships between three major Christological events: the Ascension, the Harrowing of Hell, and Christ's Entry into heaven. Analysing individual Rogationtide and Ascension homilies, both Latin and vernacular, the book moves from the formal preaching of theology to the spatial practices of Rogationtide liturgy to the popular beliefs about boundaries and the earth.