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Dying and Death in Later Anglo-Saxon England by Victoria Thompson

By Victoria Thompson

This wide-ranging research of later Anglo-Saxon tradition and society could be fundamental to scholars of heritage, literature and archaeology. The death-bed and funerary practices of this era were relatively and unjustly ignored through historic scholarship; Victoria Thompson examines them within the context of confessional and penitential literature, wills, poetry, chronicles and homilies, to teach that advanced and ambiguous rules approximately loss of life have been present in any respect degrees of Anglo-Saxon society. a massive pastoral guide for the confessor (Bodley MS. Laud Misc. 482) is right here given its first prolonged research. in addition to those different textual assets, her examine additionally takes in grave monuments, displaying specifically how the Anglo-Scandinavian sculpture of the 9th to 11th centuries may possibly point out not just the prestige, but in addition the spiritual and cultural alignment of these who commissioned and made them. What this research tells us approximately pre-Conquest attitudes in the direction of the demise and the useless has implications for each point of tradition, faith and society.

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Example text

The case therefore came back to court, and Æthelred and Æthelflæd pressed Werferth (heo ealle to me wilnodon) to agree that Eadnoth be allowed to hold the land in return for an annual fifteen shillings and the performance of penance (him eac *one scrift healde). The chief interest of this text for us lies in the description of the death of Eastmund, the second man to hold the Sodbury estate and presumably himself in holy orders: Ond he *a Eastmund ær his ende bebead on *æs lifgendan Godes noman *am men *e to *am lande fenge, *æt he *onne on *a ilcan wisan to genge *e Mired bisceop bebead; gif he *onne to *an gedyrstig wære *æt he *æt abræce, *æt he wiste hine scyldigne beforan Godes heahsetle æt *am miclan dome.

1 and 116; Liebermann, Gesetze I: V Æthelred 34, p. 244; VIII Æthelred 44, p. 268; X Æthelred 1, p. 270. D. Bethurum, The Homilies of Wulfstan (Oxford, 1957), XVIII, lines 47–65 and 104–7, pp. 247–9. Assmann XI, pp. 138–43, lines 119–20. D. Whitelock, M. Brett and C. N. L. Brooke, Councils and Synods of Great Britain with Other Documents Relating to the English Church. Volume I. Part 1, 871–1066 (Oxford, 1981), p. 210. L. Abrams, ‘The Conversion of the Danelaw’, in Graham-Campbell, Vikings and the Danelaw, pp.

The men who made up the late ninth-century micel hæ*en here (great heathen army) of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles may have been behaving in a fashion the chroniclers found shockingly unchristian, but the phrase is not necessarily defining them as committed to a systematically pagan way of life, nor as entirely ignorant of Christianity, nor indeed as foreigners. 54 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 II Cnut, 5–7, Liebermann, Gesetze I, p. 312. K. Jost, Die ‘Institutes of Polity, Civil and Ecclesiastical’ (Bern, 1959), pp.

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