Theses - Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic


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  • ItemOpen Access
    Gereint and its Welsh Contexts
    Hellman, Dara
    This thesis explores three issues in the prose *Gereint vab Erbin* to argue that the text has roots in the culture, politics, and rhetoric of the Welsh narrative tradition. The text is placed in its Welsh contexts, historical and literary, and interpretations are considered. Without reference to the French "romance” tradition, a purposeful “native tale” can be discerned. There are three substantive chapters, which address the following: an examination of the deployment of the rhetorical figure of *rhethreg*; an exposure of the persistent use of the issue of advice in the narrative; a consideration of the problem of the anger of Gereint. It contains a total of five chapters: an introduction, including a survey of relevant scholarship; a chapter on the rhetorical figure of *rhethreg* in *Gereint* and compares it to *Breudwyt Rhonabwy* (the other Welsh prose narrative that engages a significant percentage of the rhetorical figure); a chapter on advice in the tale in question; a chapter on the anger of Gereint; a conclusion. In the chapters concerning advice and anger, there is a chronological *explication de texte* that exposes the persistent, purposeful, and intertwined uses of the three issues addressed in the present work. There are two appendices which compare the distribution of *rhethreg* across *Gereint vab Erbin* and *Breudwyt Rhonabwy*.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Interpretatio Hiberniana: Classical Influences in Medieval Irish Depictions of Otherworldly Characters
    Ehrmantraut, Brigid; Ehrmantraut, Brigid [0000-0002-3536-2533]
    Interpretatio Hiberniana: Classical Influences in Medieval Irish Depictions of Otherworldly Characters Brigid Kathleen Ehrmantraut This thesis examines the reception of Classical mythology in Ireland, primarily between the tenth and thirteenth centuries, and analyzes the influence of Classical literature upon medieval Irish depictions of Otherworldly beings and pre-Christian settings. The core texts I discuss are a corpus of vernacular Irish adaptations and loose translations of Latin epic and Classical mythological narratives produced in Ireland during this period. I situate these Classical adaptation texts within a broader intellectual milieu and argue for points of contact between them and other medieval Irish vernacular narratives. Roman attempts to translate the gods and mythological narratives of other cultures into their own familiar equivalents are known as interpretatio Romana. This thesis questions whether a sort of literary interpretatio Hiberniana took place in medieval Ireland, whereby Classical mythological figures were equated with or inspired Irish Otherworldly beings. The first half of this thesis investigates instances of interpretatio and intertextuality, while the second half turns to larger questions of world history writing and typology in medieval Ireland. Chapter 1 delineates the Irish and European intellectual milieux in which Classical reception and interpretatio occurred. Chapter 2 examines the names of the Classical gods in early Irish glosses and later glossaries as a learned background for subsequent Classical reception. It then addresses the development of a system of divine epithets for the Olympian gods across the Classical adaptations and particularly within Togail na Tebe. Chapter 3 reviews the extant scholarship on battle spirits, which represents the area of medieval Irish Classical reception which has been best studied to date. I frame my own contributions to the discussion by providing a lexical analysis of the word ammait, a term applied to both the necromancer Erichtho in In Cath Catharda (the Irish version of Lucan’s Bellum Civile) and the Furies in Togail na Tebe (the Irish version of Statius’s Thebaid), as well as a host of Otherworldly female characters in other works of Irish literature. Chapter 4 surveys the appearances of gods and supernatural figures in the Classical adaptation texts. It identifies similarities and differences in portrayals of these characters with reference to source texts, and elucidates attitudes towards paganism within each vernacular adaptation text. Chapter 5 is a case study of a single text: In Cath Catharda. I argue for a nuanced reading of In Cath Catharda grounded in medieval ideas of salvation history and eschatological thought. Chapter 6 explores Classical parallels to and influences on Irish vernacular texts that are not adaptations of Latin epic or Greco-Roman mythological narratives. I focus on the motif of magical thirst inflicted in battle scenes in Statius, Togail na Tebe, and medieval Irish literature. Chapter 7 analyzes Classical influence on medieval Irish depictions of druids. The first section catalogues claims about druids from works of Classical ethnography which were potentially available to the medieval Irish, concluding that there is minimal evidence for direct influence from Classical ethnographic texts on medieval Irish portrayals of druids. The second half of the chapter looks at the single exception to this: the adaptation and amelioration of Lucan’s druids in In Cath Catharda. I conclude that in medieval Ireland, literary interpretatio cannot be separated from translatio studii (the transfer of knowledge from the Classical world to medieval cultures), or from medieval uses of biblical typology to interpret Christian salvation history.
  • ItemEmbargo
    Þá varð hlátr mikill: On the role of laughter in Old Norse saga literature
    Hoßbach, Claudia
    The field of emotion research is vast and continuously growing, and laughter might be the most prominent and contagious of all emotions we experience. Even though the word ‘laughter’ can be found in a plethora of study titles, the reader is frequently left disappointed as the focus is most often humour, not laughter. Contrary to popular belief of both scholars and the general public, laughter is not about humour — it is about relationships. The question of laughter’s role in *Íslendingasögur*, *Íslendingaþættir*, and *fornaldarsögur* — both in terms of its literary function as well as means to convey moral and social conventions to a contemporary audience — takes centre stage in this dissertation. Together, these three corpora contain forty-nine sagas that depict more than one hundred instances of laughing, grinning, and smiling, represented by Old Norse *hlæja* (to laugh), *glotta* (to grin), *brosa* (to smile), and their cognates. Even though this analysis is informed by all of these instances, a selection has been made of the most intriguing and relevant examples to be looked at in close detail; occasionally, other Old Norse genres, as well as continental literature, both secular and religious, are referenced for comparison. Inspired by recent trends in the history of emotions and neurohistory, the phenomena are introduced from a neuroscientific perspective. This also serves to clearly separate the acts of laughing, grinning and smiling from the concept of humour. Afterwards, the main analysis adopts a binary structure. First, gender differences between laughing men and laughing women are examined. Secondly, the thesis sheds light on laughter in a courtly context by examining various texts in regard to kings and their followers laughing, on the one hand, and provides a detailed study of three *Íslendingaþættir* and their foolish protagonists, on the other. In addition, instances that are closely linked to Christianity will be discussed. Lastly, laughing, grinning, and smiling non-human and supernatural characters are analysed. Overall, this thesis demonstrates that the depiction of laughter, smiling and grinning in the analysed genres fulfils several important literary functions: they are deliberate literary instruments to structure the narratives, foreshadow events, indicate hierarchies, and characterise saga characters and through that steer the audiences’ sympathies, to name some. Furthermore, it argues that laughter, smiling and grinning are powerful tools — the depiction of the three phenomena conveys social conventions, morals and attitudes towards certain behavioural practices, to both contemporary and modern audiences. The analysis of these phenomena is a puzzle piece that adds to a better understanding of emotional behaviour in medieval Icelandic narratives and contributes a Scandinavian perspective to the research of emotions in the Middle Ages.
  • ItemOpen Access
    ‘hwonne habbe we ðonne ne gemotad?’; Narrative Strategies in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century English Property Disputes
    Hanlon, Brittany
    This thesis examines the language and narrative strategies employed by tenth and eleventh- century charter draftsmen in the composition of vernacular lawsuit documents. It poses the question: on what authority did late Anglo-Saxon property disputes close or remain closed, arguing that the document that preserved the details of the lawsuit itself formed a key strategy in the pursuit of victory. Building on Patrick Wormald’s handlist of Anglo-Saxon lawsuits and Simon Keynes’ checklist of vernacular records associated with processes of litigation, this study categorises and conceptualises lawsuit documents as a corpus of Anglo-Saxon diplomatic records in their own right, to be set alongside contemporary wills, writs, diplomas. The approach taken is a close reading of the narratives contained within lawsuit documents in order to understand how these texts fit into the broader body of early English legal documentation. Chapter One introduces the vernacular corpus, which dates approximately to 900–1040. It provides a definition of the corpus by outlining the commonalities shared between lawsuit documents and a historiographical overview, as well as a breakdown of the lawsuits’ contents and form, and a discussion of their preservation and provenance. Chapter Two moves on to discuss the common formulae of the lawsuit documents’ opening lines and main text. It compares them to contemporary wills, writs and law codes with the aim of understanding how lawsuit documents were perceived and how their draftsmen intended such documents to be received in a legal setting, such as the shire meeting. This chapter also seeks to understand the extent to which charter draftsmen appealed to the same terminology as contemporary law codes, with implications for the degree of lawsuit documents’ ‘legality’. Chapter Three examines lawsuit documents through the lens of memory, analysing the charter draftsmen’s emphasis on elite individuals’ names and localised historical events that helped to form partisan micro-histories of disputed estates. Chapter Four focuses on the charter draftsmen’s frequent use of the language of consensus and friendship, demonstrating how literary descriptions of the amicable closure of lawsuits often served to reinforce the practical methods used by litigants and members of the witan when closing a dispute. Chapter Five assesses the lawsuit documents’ references to violent acts committed by iii the Libellus Æthelwoldi, contemporary hagiography, and Æthelredian diplomas. This chapter firstly examines the meaning and function of the Old English noun reaflac and suggests that this term constituted a vernacular counterpart to the Latin rapina. The remainder of the chapter considers other common tropes, such as the image of violent criminals ‘being caught in the act’ as a justification for land forfeiture. The conclusion stresses that lawsuit documents were directly inspired by and constructed with a wide range of ‘legal’ and ‘non-legal’ language, formulation and rhetorical strategies in mind, but nonetheless followed a coherent enough set of models to set them apart from other contemporary charter forms.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Legendary Saga as a Medium of Cultural Memory: A Study of AM 589a–f 4to and AM 586 4to
    Valpola-Walker, Alisa
    This thesis examines the representation and historical significance of the legendary Scandinavian past in the Icelandic manuscripts AM 589a–f 4to and, to a lesser extent, AM 586 4to, both of which were produced by the same two scribes in the late fifteenth century. I begin in §1 by outlining the scholarly context, my methodology, and the sources. In §2, I provide a literary, intertextual analysis of AM 589a–f 4to, which draws on recent work on the ‘memory of literature’. In §2.1, I look at the texts in AM 589a–e 4to, focussing on how the legendary past is positioned in relation to romance. I argue that a kind of courtly culture is constructed that can accommodate traditional legendary material. This culture is depicted as originating in Troy and reaching its peak in Constantinople, with northern Europe presented as lagging behind its southern counterparts. In §2.2 and §2.3, I provide close analysis of the manuscript’s two final texts, arguing that Sturlaugs saga starfsama represents a break from tradition in its elevation of an anti-establishment protagonist who scorns the old heroic code. I contend that a new kind of hero is created in Göngu-Hrólfs saga, one who exhibits some continuity with traditional heroic values but who also participates in the culture of the manuscript’s southern courts. §2.3 concludes with a discussion of the apologiæ of Göngu-Hrólfs saga, which, by drawing attention to the boundaries of the saga as a form, reveal the limits of a purely literary approach to cultural memory. This idea is developed in §3, in which I look at ‘literature as a medium of memory’ across both AM 589a–f 4to and AM 586 4to, the latter of which I introduce in §3.1. Then, in §3.2, I examine the manuscripts’ ‘medium theory’, focussing on their relationship to orality and literacy. I argue that they participated in both spheres: they were written texts with popular appeal but were distinct from both the written texts promoted by the church and narratives circulated orally among the general population. In §3.2, I connect these insights, along with the discussion in §2, to the manuscripts’ fifteenth-century context. I provide some broad suggestions about the possible identities of their patrons and then show how the legendary past they promoted bolstered the political order upon which those patrons’ power was based. I go on to argue that the sagas’ participation in both oral and literate spheres formed a key part of their political appeal and enabled this literature to reach a broad cross section of society. Finally, I suggest that these manuscripts, and the performances they prompted, may have acted as arenas in which orally-transmitted knowledge and church teachings could be negotiated and, consequently, may have contributed to the development of Iceland’s unique discourses on magic that arose in later centuries.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Fingal Chlainne Tanntail: Text and Context
    (2010-09) Crampton, Robert John
    This dissertation consists of four main sections: (i) The Text ... (ii) The Classical Context ... (iii) The Medieval Irish Context ... (iv) A Parallel Text to FCT ... The thesis concludes by drawing together the findings of all four sections, with particular reference to the findings in (ii) concerning both the most likely types of source for the Classical material contained in FCT, and its unique content and apparent thematic preoccupations as discussed in (iii). These results are placed in the context of those found in (iv) in relation to Merugud Uilix meic Leirtis. The thesis points to other examples of medieval Irish Classical adaptations which appear to possess manuscript, source-type, and thematic similarities with FCT and which might therefore be worthy of further study using a similar methodology. The thesis also points to the socio-historical context of FCT which may have influenced its author, and to possible underexplored conduits for the unorthodox material contained within this and other medieval Irish literary works.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Performance, Ritual and Messaging in Encomium Emmae reginae
    Smythe, Ross
    ABSTRACT Performance, Ritual and Messaging in Encomium Emmae reginae This thesis examines the Encomium Emmae reginae primarily through the lens of demonstrative behaviour, which covers the gamut of actions from formal ceremonies to social rituals to individual acts of verbal and non-verbal communication. Chapter 1 establishes the need for a re-examination of the Encomium in light of the 2008 rediscovery of the Edwardian recension as well as advances in scholarship, particularly the emergence of demonstrative behaviour as a sub-field of history. A brief historiography of demonstrative behaviour ensues, concluding with how I use demonstrative behaviour to contextualise and glean insights into the Encomium. Chapter 2 contains discussions of the historical context of the Encomium; the Encomiast and his literary sources; the manuscripts of the Encomium relevant to this thesis; and the historiography concerning the Encomium, including especially Elizabeth Tyler’s recent work on the Encomium and its use of fiction. Chapter 3 focuses on the reception of the Encomium, including discussions of the Latinity required for audiences to understand the Encomium, the literary context of the Encomium, and evidence suggesting that the Encomium was performed/recited for a live audience. Chapters 4 through 7 are the main chapters of analysis. In narrative order, the demonstrative behaviours in the Encomium are identified and explicated. Patterns, performance cues and messages are identified and interpreted. Chapter 4 focuses on the Argument and Prologue, chapter 5 on Book I, chapter 6 on Book II, and chapter 7 on Book III. Chapter 8 gathers together the numerous messages from the narrative and identifies overarching messages regarding major and minor characters, identifies specific (and general) audiences, and examines the Encomium as a queenly project.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Young Sigurðr Section of the Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda (GKS 2365 4to): Compositional History and Interpretative Reading
    Colombo, Francesco
    The Codex Regius of the Poetic Edda (GKS 2365 4to) is one of the most important medieval Icelandic manuscripts. It contains many eddic poems, most of them only preserved in it, interspersed with prose passages providing the narrative background and context. The section of the manuscript about the youth of the hero Sigurðr (folios 26v–32v) is one of the least studied parts of the manuscript. Traditionally divided by editors into one prose passage (Frá dauða Sinfjǫtla) and four poems (Grípisspá, Reginsmál, Fáfnismál and Sigrdrífumál), it offers unique opportunities that have so far been missed to reassess the manuscript’s form and content through a combination of palaeography, philology, and literary analysis. The dissertation opens with an introduction outlining the main critical issues in the interpretation of the section, the most significant trends in past scholarship on it, and the principles upon which my approach is based. Some long-standing assumptions and the problems they entail are presented, highlighting the necessity to question and update them. The bulk of the dissertation is divided into two parts. Using the tools of palaeography and philology, Part 1, entitled ‘Compositional History’, offers an analysis of how the section was created. It starts with an examination of the paratext associated with the section in modern editions and in the manuscript, showing considerable and problematic differences between the two. Palaeographical analysis is then used to establish correlations between different types and combinations of large initials and headings on the one hand, and the types of divisions between compositions that they signal on the other. A new, manuscript-based subdivision of the materials in the young Sigurðr section is subsequently presented. The rest of Part 1 focuses on the Reginsmál-Fáfnismál-Sigrdrífumál complex. After a survey of the formal features that set it apart from the rest of the section and, indeed, the rest of the manuscript, the prosimetrum is compared to that of Helgakviða Hjǫrvarðssonar and Helgakviða Hundingsbana II, the only formally analogous section in the Codex Regius. A series of clues from both prosimetric sequences is examined in detail to establish how and by whom these compositions were created, updating old views and reaching new conclusions. In the light of this analysis, the similarities between the two sequences are revisited to suggest possible reasons behind their peculiar form. Part 1 ends with an overview of the layers of composition identifiable in the young Sigurðr section as a whole, including its prose introduction and Grípisspá. Part 2, ‘Interpretative Reading’, offers a reading, interpretation, and literary analysis of the whole young Sigurðr section. Each of the episodes of which it is composed is analysed and interpreted taking into account its compositional history and its relationship with the rest of the section. Close reading of some significant passages is combined with the analysis of narrative structure and mode, plot and characters, themes and their development, echoes and variations, and other literary elements across the whole section. Comparison with other primary sources is used to illuminate the role of the compiler and his handling of source materials. Through philological analysis, new answers to old questions, such as whether Sigrdrífa and Brynhildr are the same character, are found. The section is revealed as a unified whole focusing on the instruction of the hero and serving as a frame to showcase wisdom passages and reflections on key heroic concepts emerging from poetic dialogue. A conclusion to the dissertation brings together and expands the results of the analysis in both Part 1 and 2, drawing out their implications in full and reconsidering what the young Sigurðr section is, how it was created, and how it should be read. Some principles on which new editions of it should be based in order not to misrepresent it are then proposed. Conclusions are drawn about the ways in which the results of my analysis impact our consideration of the Codex Regius as a whole and its unique place in Old Norse literature alongside other products of the processes of recording of oral tradition. To close, avenues for further research are outlined.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Gender and Genre in Medieval Chivalric Rímur
    Colwill, Lee; Colwill, Lee [0000-0003-0436-4111]
    The increasing influence of continental chivalric romances on medieval Icelandic and Norwegian literature had a profound effect on discourses of gender in Norse texts, reflected in the wave of romance translations and original romances created over the thirteenth to fifteenth centuries. This thesis looks at how these questions of appropriate gendered behaviour continue to be negotiated in chivalric rímur (rhymed narrative poetry) of the fourteenth, fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. There has been very little literary criticism of medieval rímur at all, and while aspects of gender in these texts are sometimes touched upon in studies of individual rímur cycles, there has yet to be a genre-wide study specifically of gender in rímur. The basis for this thesis is a corpus of twenty-three pre-Reformation chivalric rímur cycles, which has been used for both corpus-wide surveys of gendered kenning types and character introductions and as a source of case studies through which to examine recurring themes in these texts more closely. The first part of this thesis examines the evidence for the performance context of medieval rímur and how this may have influenced the development of the form, downplaying the moral messages that underlie many of the romances in favour of ever more spectacular battle scenes in an effort to keep the audience entertained. As well as affecting the types of stories told by rímur poets, these conditions of performance also influenced the poets’ conceptualisation of themselves as poets, an effect particularly visible in the introductory mansöngur verses that became an increasingly integral part of the rímur form. The next chapter looks at the construction of masculinity in chivalric rímur, using the portrayal of the stories’ pro- and antagonists to argue that the idealised form of masculinity in these texts is inherently aristocratic, white, heterosexual and able-bodied. While the Norse adaptions of courtly romances were influential in shaping new modes of behaviour, I argue that, in these texts, there remain strong links to aristocratic behavioural models seen in earlier texts such as the kings’ sagas. The third part explores the portrayal of women. As with the chapter on men, this section looks at women who are demonised and praised in their narratives to argue that idealised femininity in these texts is complementary to and interactive with hegemonic masculinity. Though there are fewer prominent female characters than male in rímur, the case studies examined in this chapter reveal the ways in which rímur poets used a conventional framework of femininity to construct characters with individuality and nuance. Overall, this thesis argues that rímur poets build on the constructions of courtly gender seen in the prose romances, which, while differing from older models of gender in many ways, were not the total break with the earlier tradition that they are sometimes imagined to be. However, as Iceland’s position as a Norwegian dependency became more established, and with it the status of the new Icelandic aristocracy, so too did the courtly behavioural model. The rímur genre, arising perhaps as much as a century after Iceland’s accession to the Norwegian crown, had less need than the early prose romances to introduce and reinforce this model, and rímur poets therefore felt freer to create exaggerated fantasies of it: fantasies of increasingly circumscribed roles, in which every male protagonist is the mightiest warrior and every female marriage-prospect is the most beautiful and skilled woman in the world. Yet the very existence of these formulaic patterns of behaviour gave poets scope to play with the limits of categorisation and, on occasion, subvert their audiences’ expectations entirely.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Birds and Humans in the Old Norse World, c. 600-1500 AD
    Haley-Halinski, Kathryn
    The central aim of this thesis is to explore the complexities of human-bird coexistence in Scandinavia and the Norse North Atlantic from 600-1500 AD, primarily focusing on the period c. 800-1400 within this time period. In particular, this thesis explores if and how literary representations of birds correlated in any way with zooarchaeological sources concerning human-bird interactions. To explore this central question, I employ an interdisciplinary methodology that combines literary analysis of textual sources with interpretation of archaeological reports that include bird bones. I also employ the theoretical lens of Human-Animal Studies, as it centres the lives of animals and the interactions of humans and animals, rather than considering animals a ‘blank canvas’ for human desires, needs, and meanings. There are three key sections of this thesis. The first section is in a chapter on folk taxonomies, which explores one possible methodology for studying how medieval Icelanders understood and categorised the entities they referred to as fugl (‘bird’). The second section is a series of case studies concerning humans’ coexistence with specific kinds of birds: domesticated birds, wild waterfowl and songbirds, hawks and falcons, eagles, ravens, and swans. These case studies analyse literary sources, documentary sources, and archaeological reports to build a multifaceted look at these birds and how they were understood, interacted with, and thought about. In many cases, the imaginative uses of these birds appear to have been at a remove from human-bird interactions, but in some cases there was a significant overlap. For instance, ravens appear to have been held in relatively low esteem despite their mythological and literary significance, whereas the literary uses and real-life treatment of hawks and falcons appear to have been more closely related. The final section consists of a chapter on human-bird transformation and communication in Old Norse literature. This chapter considers the wider questions regarding how human and animal were defined. While pre-Christian concepts of human and animal are briefly considered, the majority of this chapter considers how Old Norse peoples reconciled Christian theological perspectives on what defines a human with their own pre-existing narrative traditions concerning human-animal transformation and interaction. This thesis is also accompanied by a list of Old Norse bird names and, where possible, their Modern English translations, etymologies, Modern Icelandic equivalents, and notes on their uses and attestation. This not only functions as a companion piece to the thesis, but is aimed to aid future research on birds in Old Norse textual sources by providing a collected vocabulary of bird names, a project that has not yet been done in Old Norse.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Competing Influences: Francia, Rome and the English in the Seventh Century
    Platts, Calum
    Francia and Rome loom large in English history in the seventh century. Both are visible in the evangelization of the English in the first half of the century, and their interaction is exemplified by Bishop Wilfrid’s career (c. 650–710), including his connections with Frankish bishops and his appeals to Rome. Recent scholarship has proven beyond all doubt the significance of Frankish links and has begun to challenge the traditionally assumed dominance of Rome in the early missionary activity in Kent. In addition, it has sought to discern which Frankish kingdoms were most involved, arguing Austrasia and Burgundy dominated the Gregorian mission, while Chlothar II’s (584–629) ultimate victory gave his kingdom of Soissons and later Neustria a more significant presence. This scholarship is scattered across various works and too often different threads of the narrative are divorced from one another—Wilfrid’s career, for example, is rarely understood in the light of the earlier links forged by the missionaries. Furthermore, the English are often reduced to mere pawns in wider Frankish power-struggles. This thesis consequently seeks to analyse this theme of engagement with the Franks and the papacy across the whole seventh century from an English perspective, directly comparing the competing influences of the papacy in Rome and the Franks upon the English and seeking to discern their relative importance, their nature and whether they alter across the seventh century. The thesis is structured around the ‘Age of Wilfrid’. The evidence for Frankish and Roman contact is strongest around the figure of Bishop Wilfrid and the contact of others, such as the archbishops of Canterbury, Theodore (668–690) and Berhtwold (692–731), is in part a reaction to him. However, Wilfrid’s contact was not unique and other figures must be analysed in their own right. It opens with a consideration of the evangelization, firstly from a Gregorian perspective (Chapter One) and then a Bedan perspective (Chapter Two), judging the relative significance of the Franks and the papacy in the evangelization and setting up the ‘Age of Wilfrid’. Chapter Three explores the evidence of travel across the ‘Age of Wilfrid’, highlighting the regions with which the English had contact in this period and exploring its nature. Chapters Four and Five analyse Wilfrid and the English in Francia and Rome respectively. Chapter Six considers Wilfrid in the English Church, appraising the evidence which locates the bishop within his own Church. It also considers the memorialisation of Wilfrid in the eighth century, in particular the vexed question of Bede’s attitude to the prelate. This thesis argues that both the Franks and Rome were important to the English across the seventh century but that their relative importance alters depending upon time and context. Rome consistently took precedence in ecclesiastical affairs, while the Franks seem to have mattered more to Anglo-Saxon courts. In the figure of Wilfrid, he conceptualised Rome as underpinning his authority. That being said, Frankish connections shift significantly in the seventh century. Ties of kinship and movement bound the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms principally to Neustria. By the end of the century, such socio-political ties are no longer visible, with the connections being dominated by Willibrord’s mission to Frisia under Austrasian protection. Wilfrid alone provides earlier evidence for contact with Austrasia and his links with Willibrord provide circumstantial evidence that Wilfrid was the figure about which this change occurred. While these Frankish and Roman links cannot be discounted, there is evidence both from Wilfrid’s monasteries and his career as a bishop that shows Wilfrid was both influenced by and engaged with his own Church. Bede honoured Wilfrid for his orthodox Roman and Frankish links but constrained him, in contrast to Stephen, by acknowledging they were not unique and allowing episcopal authority to be grounded in other factors, such as individual sanctity.
  • ItemOpen Access
    'Second-Stage' Iorwerth: Textual Change and Development in Medieval Welsh Legal Manuscripts
    Sigston, Alexander
    This thesis explores a set of legal manuscripts from medieval Wales, known as the Iorwerth recension. These manuscripts are placed in their historical and material settings, and a view of the development of the text is given. From an original thirteenth-century core, a story is told of the recension’s development across a range of further rearrangements and uses across the Middle Ages. The use of the Iorwerth text is analysed for what it might reveal of the intentions and mindset of the copyist. In the second half of the thesis, a more traditional textual account is given of the Iorwerth recension. Volume II contains tables and editions to accompany the arguments in the first volume.
  • ItemOpen Access
    A Survey of the Latin Manuscript Fragments in Danish Collections with Special Consideration given the Gospel Books of the Archdiocese of Lund
    Rossel, Sven
    This thesis offers a modern re-evaluation of the medieval fragmentary manuscript material kept in the two major collections in Denmark at the Danish National Archives and the Royal Library. The introduction offers an overview of the fragment collections in order to assess the Danish collections in Copenhagen and the unique challenges they pose. Next, Chapter One discusses various palaeographical difficulties of working with de-contextualised Pregothic script samples is discussed. This is followed by an examination of methodologies that are necessary and which are applied in order to work with the body of fragmentary manuscript material and achieve valid results. Chapter Two demonstrates the potential of the Danish fragment collections by investigating the fragments attributed to Scribe A, working at the Scandinavian archdiocese of Lund in the first half of the twelfth century. Following this scribe’s career, a model of his scribal hand development is constructed with a number of fragmentary manuscripts, pieces of which can be found across the various Scandinavian manuscript fragment collections, revealing a web of interconnected scribes working at Lund. Chapter Three concerns the gospel books associated with Lund. It is demonstrated that the manuscript Malibu, J. Paul Getty Museum, Ludwig II 3 (83.MB.67) was written by two Lund scribes, one of whom is Scribe A, the other being the main scribe of the gospel book KB, Thott 21 4to, Scribe T. A detailed study of the corrections of Thott 21 proves that Ludwig II 3 served for the most part as that manuscript’s exemplar. Chapter Four discusses the picture of scribal activity and interconnectivity at Lund in the first half of the twelfth century resulting from the close studies of the scribal hands involved in the writing of the manuscripts. In the conclusion, the findings are contextualised and further implications discussed, especially regarding the confraternal relationship between the archdiocese of Lund and the abbey of Helmarshausen in Germany. Finally, various other fragments are highlighted in order to demonstrate the further potential of Danish fragment scholarship, as well as which steps must be taken in the future in order to progress the field.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Critical Editions of Aided Ailella ⁊ Chonaill Chernaig and Aided Cheit maic Mágach with Translations, Textual Notes and Commentary
    Nuijten, Anouk
    This dissertation provides critical editions of two medieval Irish aideda (‘death-tales’): Aided Ailella ⁊ Chonaill Chernaig (‘The Death-Tale of Ailill and Conall Cernach’) and Aided Cheit maic Mágach (‘The Death-Tale of Cet mac Mágach’). The editions are accompanied by translations, textual notes and linguistic analyses, followed by discussions of the textual traditions of both tales and literary commentary. The thesis consists of two parts. Part I, entitled Texts & Traditions, introduces the manuscripts in which the tales are contained: both tales are preserved in Edinburgh, National Library of Scotland, Adv. MS 72.1.40, while another copy of Aided Ailella ⁊ Chonaill Chernaig is found in Dublin, Trinity College Dublin, MS 1319. Following Thomas Owen Clancy, it is argued that the former manuscript is of particular interest, since the gathering in which the two tales are found consists of a collection of seven Ulster Cycle aideda. These constitute an independent thematic unit that should be read as an anthology of aideda. An examination of the evidence for the compilation and transmission of the group is provided, tracing the existence of the collection back to the twelfth or possibly tenth century. This is followed by a thematic analysis of the aideda anthology, arguing that the group of aideda constitutes a narrative cycle based on its generic unity. Following on from this discussion of manuscript context, linguistic analyses of both tales are presented, each followed by the edited text and translation. Any textual ambiguities, problematic forms or interpretational issues are discussed in the textual notes. The second part of the dissertation, which is entitled Context & Commentary, is split into two sections. The first section examines how the two extant aideda relate to references to the deaths of Ailill mac Máta, Conall Cernach and Cet mac Mágach in other sources, shedding light on the traditions that surround the deaths of these literary characters. It is demonstrated that the narrative tradition of the death of Conall is depicted relatively uniformly across all sources, and shows a particular connection to East Bréifne. References to the deaths of Cet and Bélchú reveal that the traditions of their deaths may have undergone changes, pertaining specifically to the setting of the narrative and the character of Bélchú, who may once had a different role. The second section presents an analysis of the literary themes and motifs that appear in both tales, focussing in particular on interpreting the narratives as part of the aideda anthology in the Edinburgh manuscript. It is argued that the placement of Aided Chonchobair within the aideda anthology impacts upon the interpretation of the group, and that the tales should be read as anti-heroic tales. The tales depict Irish heroic society as one of dysfunction and self-destruction, caused by the tragic breakdown of the relationships upon which this society was founded. The literary commentary examines how these traditional relationships in Aided Ailella ⁊ Chonaill Chernaig and Aided Cheit maic Mágach are subverted, leading to social chaos and disorder.
  • ItemEmbargo
    The 'lexis' of medieval computus in selected Anglo-Latin and Old English prose
    (2021-05-24) Harris, Anthony
    The study of medieval computus (the calculation of the date of Easter) was popular amongst German scholars during the latter part of the nineteenth century, and American and German scholars in the early twentieth. Scholarly interest waned during the mid-late twentieth century, probably because computus is not the easiest subject to study without a firm grounding in mathematics, but the study of the ‘science’ has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years largely driven by the work of scholars at the National University of Galway. This revival is distinguished by the discovery of new computistical folios and manuscripts, an increased understanding of the Irish or ‘Celtic’ computus, significant discoveries of dating clauses by scholars such as Ó Cróinín and Warntjes, and new theories of transmission and dissemination. No study of the vocabulary of computus has presented itself although studies of Latin scientific vocabulary do exist which focus on medicine or natural sciences. Similarly, there are individual studies of vernacular vocabulary for works such as Byrhtferth’s Enchiridion, but these have tended to comprise little more than word lists rather than any detailed analysis of the lexis. Therefore, an opportunity presented itself to enhance scholarly understanding of the vocabulary used by computus specifically and to add to the body of lexicological scholarship in general. This doctoral dissertation has considered the development of the vocabulary of the Roman computus (the science of the calculation of the date of Easter according to the church of Rome) in the fields of arithmetic, astronomy, and theology in selected Latin and Old English texts between the fifth and the twelfth centuries. It has investigated whether the Latin vocabulary of computus underwent significant change as the science developed from Victorius of Aquitaine’s 532-year Cursus Paschalis (c. 457), through to Dionysius Exiguus’ 95-year (5 x 19 year) Easter Table and Argumenta in the sixth century (c. 532), to Bede’s De Temporum Ratione and 532-year Circulus Paschae Magnus (Great Easter Cycle) in the eighth (c. 723). It has also briefly considered later innovations by Abbo and the School at Fleury in the tenth and eleventh centuries respectively and, by way of comparison, studied and compared Ælfric’s and Byrhtferth’s late tenth/early eleventh vernacular computistical language. It has investigated whether the vocabulary of computus employed by Victorius and Dionysius was substantially different to the lexis employed by Bede, Abbo, Ælfric, or Byrhtferth and/or whether a standardised Latin or vernacular vocabulary might have been developed specifically for computus during the period (much as the Winchester vocabulary exists for works of theology). In summary, this research has sought not only to develop a better understanding of how the vocabulary of the Roman computus developed during the period of study but also how early medieval computists might have perceived and utilised the interrelationship between astronomy, theology, and the calculation of time.
  • ItemControlled Access
    The Dindshenchas in the Book of Leinster
    McCay, David
    This thesis explores the nature of the Dindshenchas in the Book of Leinster (s. xii2). The Dindshenchas is a twelfth-century compilation of stories, in prose and verse, which explain the etymologies and origins of medieval Irish place names. The textual history of the Dindshenchas is complex and not yet fully understood, however, the Book of Leinster, as the earliest manuscript, and the only to contain the so-called ‘Metrical Dindshenchas’, is evidently an important witness. Furthermore, the Book of Leinster is codicologically complex, being constituted out of several smaller manuscripts, which are the works of different scribes. In this thesis I explore the nature of the Dindshenchas in this manuscript from a material perspective. An investigation of the codicology reveals that the Dindshenchas was produced by four compilers, independent from one another to varying degrees. Furthermore, these individual collections were themselves compiled over a period of time as poems and items of prose were accumulated. The Dindshenchas in the Book of Leinster, then, is the product of many acts of compilation. This thesis interrogates these acts and their motivations, sitting at the intersection of the material and the conceptual. The physical and visual make-up of the collections – their paratext, mise-en-page, and ordinatio – are used to illuminate the critical categories, interpretations and intellectual frameworks of the compilers. Chapter I considers the nature of dindshenchas as portrayed in the scholarly literature, before situating its etymological kernel within the frameworks of medieval Etymologia and history-writing. Chapter II investigates the codicology of the Dindshenchas in the Book of Leinster in detail, defining the various codicological units which make up the corpus and providing insights into the processes of their compilation. The implications of this research on our understanding of the textual development of the Dindshenchas are profound and will be considered at the end of this chapter. Chapter III discusses the Prose Dindshenchas, exploring the ways in which it was used to structure historical narratives, and its interaction with the wider literary tradition as a text intended for consultation. Finally, Chapter IV turns to the so-called ‘Metrical Dindshenchas’, questioning the motivations behind the individual acts of compilation which produced so diverse a collection and, by extension, the nature of dindshenchas poetry as a meaningful historical category. Cumulatively, this thesis provides greater insight into the Dindshenchas, the Book of Leinster, and the contemporary critical and intellectual environment of the twelfth-century Irish scholars who compiled them.
  • ItemOpen Access
    The Function of Writs in England before the Norman Conquest
    Fenton, Albert
    This doctoral thesis offers a sustained re-examination of the corpus of Anglo-Saxon writs, a group of over 120 vernacular documents that survive predominantly from the later tenth and eleventh centuries, and which were issued by kings alongside a range of non-royal individuals. These short, nimble, epistolary-form texts contained an address clause that greeted the constituents of a regional or local court, or occasionally a single individual, and articulated an announcement or instruction. Such announcements typically regarded grants of land and clusters of associated privileges, but they also dealt with a variety of other issues including disputes over taxation and the possession of land, notifications of ecclesiastical appointments and permissions to create documents. Methodologically, the thesis employs an inter-disciplinary approach, drawing on the insights of palaeographical, diplomatic, art historical and inter-textual analyses. In doing so, it focuses sharply on the question of the function of these documents—attempting to elucidate their use and setting in the contemporary world of late Anglo-Saxon politics, kingship and court culture. Chapter One introduces the pre-Conquest writ corpus, providing a definition of this diplomatic typology alongside a historiographical overview and methodological outline. Chapter Two moves on to deal with the transmission and preservation of Anglo-Saxon writs, analyzing aspects of the nature and appearance of writs preserved as ‘original’ single sheets, and writs entered into manuscripts in a contemporary or near contemporary hand. This is followed in Chapter Three by an inter-textual analysis of the component diplomatic parts of the pre-Conquest writ, namely the protocol or address clause, the main announcement clause and the additional clauses (prohibitions, sanctions, valedictions etc.). It seeks both to describe and to understand the range of possible influences on writ diplomatic forms (for example, influence from other typologies of charter as well as legal and epistolary discourses), the relative stability and dynamism of these forms, and the question of their performativity, particularly in relation to the prevalent use of Old English alliterative formulae. Chapter Four considers the material and textual evidence for the association of Anglo-Saxon writs with seals (apparent in the collocation gewrit and insegel or ‘writ and seal’)—and interrogates the material evidence for the use of seals in pre-Conquest society, as well as textual evidence for the functions of such sphragistic devices. In Chapter Five, the thesis returns to the question of the legal function of writs with an analysis of the terms that constitute the legal register of many pre-Conquest writs: for example sake and soke, toll and team and their associated constellations. This chapter will also consider the important sub-group of writs issued by individuals other than kings, placing them in the wider context of the participation of non-royal élites in diplomatic practices. This is followed by the conclusion. Throughout the thesis, Anglo-Saxon writs are considered within the wider context of other genres of charter writing in both Latin and the vernacular, with a view to understanding how diplomatic forms interacted, and how writs functioned as part of a wider system of administration and governance in late Anglo-Saxon England—one that relied upon the production, use, performance and re-performance of written texts.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Studies in Medieval Irish Legal Ancillary Material
    (2020-11-28) Taylor-Griffiths, Alice
    Preserved in medieval Irish manuscripts are a number of legal texts, which generated a broad range of glosses and commentary. Focus has hitherto generally been on the older strata of material and their immediate glossing. This dissertation begins with in-text glossing, and goes beyond the immediate glossing context to consider other forms of what I call legal ancillary material. It is composed of two major parts: etymological glosses; and glossae collectae (independent sets of glosses). The introduction provides an overview of scholarship thus far on legal ancillary material and sets out the overall aim of this dissertation, which is to examine the purpose, function, and method of the composition and transmission of legal ancillary material. By treating glossarial material as primary sources in their own right, they give an insight into how scribes thought. Questions asked include: how do these glossing methods differ? What was their purpose? Why did scribes consider them relevant? What can they tell us about the way in which legal material was expanded and transmitted? In the ‘etymological glosses’ part of the dissertation, I demonstrate the previously overlooked significance of etymological glossing in a learning environment. Owing to the vast amount of etymological glossing across medieval Irish law texts, I use a sample group of eight legal texts from TCD H 2. 15A (1316) pp. 17a–42b, 47a–66b. As it is syllabic etymology which has drawn the most attention (negative or otherwise), it is this type which forms the core of this first major part of the dissertation. The main body of the discussion is split into two sections: the first is given to process, in which methodological aspects of first and final syllable etymology are examined in detail. The second looks at the purpose of etymological glosses. A key conclusion to arise from this discussion is the scribes’ preoccupation with preserving the consonant structure of the lemma, while the meaning of the lemma is maintained elsewhere in the same gloss. Such a technique is highly suitable for a learning environment to aid memorisation of legal language, and illustrates how legal material was transmitted in an educative context. Because very little work has been done on glossae collectae, this part of the dissertation begins by providing a summary of the glossae collectae in CIH. The bulk of this section focuses on two glossae collectae: Aidbriugh glossae collectae (TCD H 3. 18 (1337) pp. 61a–62b) and Adhmad glossae collectae (TCD H 3. 18 (1337) p. 422), for which I provide the text and translation. Both glossae collectae use the same base text (Bretha Nemed Déidenach) and - unlike other glossae collectae in CIH - show very little expansion from other base texts, but individually they represent different stages of development. As a result, they provide a point of comparison in how an ancillary document moves away from its primary textual focus and begins to incorporate material from other sources. Of especial use is that a copy of Bretha Nemed Déidenach exists, so that it is possible to identify how and where the scribes extracted lemmata. This dissertation has examined two aspects of medieval Irish legal ancillary material: etymological glosses; and glossae collectae. There is a clear pedagogical purpose in both, as learning aids of different methods and application. Skill and creativity in language, engagement with a variety of topics and texts, and a focus on both understanding legal terminology in context and a broader philological interest mark glosses and glossae collectae as the product of well-educated scholars who took an active interest in both the preservation of language and the rendering of the same into a more accessible format.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Pre-Christian Characters in Medieval Irish Literature: An Examination of Fástini Airt meic Cuind, De Suidigud Tellaig Temra, Aided Chonchobair and Aided Echach maic Maireda
    (2009-07) Imhoff, Helen Martha Burns
    This dissertation consists of an analysis of the representation of the pre-Christian protagonists of the four medieval Irish tales Fástini Airt meic Cuind, De Suidigud Tellaig Temra, Aided Chonchobair and Aided Echach maic Maireda. In examining the portrayal of pre-Christian characters, I have addressed a particularly characteristic feature of medieval Irish literature. The four tales discussed here have, for the most part, not previously been studied in detail. For this reason, the dissertation is divided into two parts. Part I (chs. 1–3) focuses on questions of date, literary context and manuscript transmission of three of the tales (Fástini Airt, De Suidigud and Aided Chonchobair) and it serves as background to the thematic analysis of all four tales in Part II (chs. 4–8). In the thematic discussion, the bible is shown to have been an important influence on the depiction of the pre-Christian period and its relationship with the Christian present (ch. 4). In addition, biblical characters, God and Christ served as models for the representation of the tales’ protagonists (ch. 5). In Fástini Airt and Aided Echach, saintly characteristics are applied to the protagonists, highlighting the extent to which Christian and pre-Christian ages were presented as part of a continuum (ch. 6). This view was not, however, universally shared, as the poem A chloch thall in Aided Chonchobair shows (ch. 6). In Fástini Airt and De Suidigud, kingship is seen to derive its authority both from the pre-Christian past and from Christian ideas (ch. 7), both tales perhaps illustrating the relevance medieval tales could have to contemporary developments. Finally, the pre-Christians’ salvation in these four tales is in accordance with the teaching of the bible and theological authorities, as all four protagonists have faith in God (ch. 8). A number of aspects emerge as common to the representation of the pre-Christian past in these four tales. The most important of these are the use of thebible as a model, the idea of continuity from the pre-Christian past to the Christian present and the possibility of acquiring Christian faith in pre-Christian times.
  • ItemOpen Access
    Craftsmen and Wordsmiths: An Investigation into the Links Between Material Crafting, Poetic Composition and Their Practitioners in Old Norse Literature
    (2020-10-01) Grant, Thomas
    In his first verse, the precocious poet Egill Skallagrímsson declares ‘eigi mun þú finna betra þrevetran óðarsmið mér’ (‘you will not find a better poetry-smith of three years than me’). Such metaphors are highly conventional in the skaldic poetry of the Viking Age and beyond. However, the link between the composition of verse and the construction of material objects was regarded as a topic of particular importance by Scandinavian poets such as Egill. In fact, connections between poets, craftsmen, their arts and their products resonate across the corpus of Old Norse literature—not only in skaldic metaphor, but also in historical, mythological and saga material. To judge by the frequency of their appearance in this literary corpus, these connections were clearly considered to be highly significant in Viking-Age and medieval Scandinavia. Nevertheless, they have received little attention in scholarship to date. This thesis investigates the nature and extent of the links between poets and craftsmen, and between poetic composition and material crafting. It investigates both what the origins of these connections were, and what they suggest about the artisans and creative processes concerned. This thesis begins by establishing precisely which poets and craftsmen form the focus of this investigation. As these figures appear in a large variety of different sources, it is also important to discuss the different categories of evidence considered in this thesis, and to confront any difficulties involved in their use. The first chapter proceeds by considering the links between poets, craftsmen, their arts and their products which are made in skaldic poetry. In the second chapter, skaldic poetry, sagas and archaeological material are analysed to build a picture of the links between historical poets and craftsmen working in late Viking-Age Scandinavia. This chapter considers the similar ways in which these figures interacted with the political elite, and the correspondences between the creation, dissemination and use of their products. The third chapter considers what skaldic and eddic poetry as well as Snorra Edda reveal about the mythological configuration of poetic composition, crafting and their practitioners. It explores the shared association of poetry and crafted goods with the distant past and with geographically remote spaces in the Old Norse cosmos, and the implications of these associations. In the fourth chapter, the shared characteristics of poetic composition, crafting and their practitioners are considered in the context of the Íslendingasögur. As many of the connections explored in the earlier chapters recur in this corpus, it constitutes appropriate evidence with which to draw the investigation to a close. In my conclusion, I reconsider the findings of each of the chapters and suggest that a deep conceptual similarity between poetic composition and skilled crafting runs throughout Old Norse literature, and that this encouraged the frequent associations between them which can be detected in this corpus. I also argue that poets and craftsmen were frequently connected on account of their shared role as threatening but highly necessary creator figures.