By Victoria Thompson
This wide-ranging research of later Anglo-Saxon tradition and society might be imperative to scholars of heritage, literature and archaeology. The death-bed and funerary practices of this era were relatively and unjustly missed through old scholarship; Victoria Thompson examines them within the context of confessional and penitential literature, wills, poetry, chronicles and homilies, to teach that complicated and ambiguous rules approximately demise have been present in any respect degrees of Anglo-Saxon society. a huge pastoral instruction manual for the confessor (Bodley MS. Laud Misc. 482) is right here given its first prolonged research. in addition to those various textual resources, her examine additionally takes in grave monuments, displaying specifically how the Anglo-Scandinavian sculpture of the 9th to 11th centuries might point out not just the prestige, but additionally the non secular and cultural alignment of these who commissioned and made them. What this learn tells us approximately pre-Conquest attitudes in the direction of the loss of life and the useless has implications for each point of tradition, faith and society.
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Extra info for Dying and Death in Later Anglo-Saxon England (Anglo-Saxon Studies)
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. 31–44, 32. J. O’Donovan, Annals of Ireland (Dublin, 1860), pp. 138–9. 36 Anglo-Saxon/02/p 30/3/04 11:53 AM Page 37 Dying and death in a complicated world 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 Ælfric and Wulfstan had a particularly chiaroscuro view of the religious landscape, and because their writings survive in unequalled quantities we tend to see that landscape through their eyes.
Excavations at York Minster, Volume I: From Roman Fortress to Norman Cathedral. Part 1: The Site (London, 1995), pp. 86–7 and Part 2: The Finds, pp. 500–5; cf. the ninth-century burial from Kiloran Bay, on Colonsay, where a man buried with a boat and a horse had two slabs scratched with crosses to mark the grave. H. Shetelig, ‘Ship-Burials at Kiloran Bay, Colonsay, Scotland’, Saga-Book 5 (1906–7), pp. 172–4. M. Biddle and B. Kjølbye-Biddle ‘Repton and the ‘Great Heathen Army’, 873–4’, in J. GrahamCampbell et al.
This chapter will first consider the wider context of the different cultures of Anglo-Saxon England, and how their interaction in fields such as politics, belief, land-holding and ethnicity might affect people’s responses to death. It then looks closely at Vercelli Homily IX, one of the most elaborate and considered attempts to define death in surviving Anglo-Saxon literature. What precisely does it mean, to have a Christian burial? One answer, based on the most authoritative biblical and patristic sources, would be a simple matter of disposal.