Thursday, December 07, 2006

more news

News of the Week:
St. Petersburg:

UNESCO Church in Sofia Reopens with New Frescoes:

Saxon jewelry:

An interesting take on the medieval in the modern:

Of note:

Dec 1:

Birthday of:
1088: Anna Commena

660: Eligius of Noyons

Anniversary of the death:
1135 Henry I


1170: Becket returns to Canterbury

Dec 2:

361: St. Bibiana

Anniversary of the Death:
537: Pope Saint Silverius

Dec. 3

Birthday of:
1368 Charles IV, King of France

649: St Birinus of Wessex

Anniversary of the death:
1154 Pope Anastasius IV
1181 St. Galgano, a knight who plunged his sword into a stone as an
act of renunciation of warfare.
1469 Piero de'Medici

1059 BCE Earliest probable recorded observation of Halley's Comet

Dec 4:

Birthday of
1383 antipope Pope Felix V
1585 John Cotton, Puritan clergyman in Massachusetts Bay Colony

235: St. Barbara (old calendar)
1099: St. Osimund, Bishop of Salisbury, aka Edmund

Anniversary of the death
771 Carloman, co-ruler of the Franks
1099 St. Osmund
1214 William, "the Lion," King of Scotland
1334 Pope John XXII at Avignon

Saint Day
306 St. Barbara, virgin, martyr (about 306)
450 St. Peter Chrysologus, archbishop of Ravenna - His Feast Day is
July 30th
655 St. Siran or Sigirannus, abbot in Berry, confessor
1075 St. Anno, archbishop of Cologne, martyr
1099 St. Osmund, bishop and confessor

265 Last of the wall around Verona, Italy, built
1093 Archbishop Anselm, of Canterbury, consecrated
1154 Election of Pope Adrian IV (only English Pope)
1183 The Siege of Castle Kerak is lifted; Saladin withdraws

Dec 5:
Birthday of
1443 Pope Julius II, patron of Michelangelo, Bramante, Raphael

Saint Day
304 St. Crispina, martyr
532 St. Sabas, abbot
566 St. Nicetius, bishop of Triers
1109 St. Gerald, Abbott of Moissac, who was appointed choir
director of the Cathedral of Toledo.
1160: Christina of Markgate

St. Nicholas's Eve (Netherlands)
Sven name day in Sweden
1212 Frederick II chosen King of Germany...again
1484 The Pope sets severe penalties against German witches and
1492 Columbus discovers Hispaniola
1496 King Manuel I orders the expulsion of all Jews from Portugal

Dec 6:

Birthday of
1421 Henry VI, King of England
1478 Baldassare Castiglione, Italian diplomat, writer, poet

346: St. Nicholas!
484: St. Dionysia with her son, Majoricus, and sister Dativa

Anniversary of the death
342 St. Nicholas
1185 Alphonso I, King of Portugal
1352 Pope Clement VI
1475 Castilglione

Election Day of the "Boy-Bishop:":
1240 Mongols take Kiev, Russia
1273 St. Thomas Aquinas ceases writing
1323 John of Nottingham and Robert Marshall of Leicester undertake
the murder of Edward II, King of England, by witchcraft
1362 Coronation of Pope Urban V
1491 Marriage of Duchess Anne of Brittany to Charles VII of France
1492 Haiti/Santo Domingo discovered by Columbus

Dec 7
Birthday of
521 St. Columba (Colum Cille)
1598 Giovanni Bernini

374: Ambrose of Milan, see below

Anniversary of the death
983 Otto II, Holy Roman Emperor
1254 Pope Innocent IV

374:St. Ambrose Ordained


haplography-the inadvertent omission of a repeated letter(s) in
writing (e.g. writing philogy for philology)
This is encountered frequenly in working on medieval manuscripts and

machination--Anglo-Norman and Middle French machination plotting,
wicked contrivance or stratagem (13th cent. in Old French) and its
etymon classical Latin machinatio-machine making. The word enters
English in the second half of the 15th century.

skulk-a word borrowed from Old Norse, skulka--to lie in wait, lie
watching and comes into the English language fairly early. Maybe some
of our Scandinavian friends can speak to its continued life in those
languages. In the early period the word is usually used with adverbs,
so to "skulk away", or to skulk about. In English it seems to have
acquired a negative connotation almost right away, used in an early
Middle English version of the Ancrene Wisse (The Anchoresses' Rule)
warning against skulking away.

nawab--an originally Arab word, borrowed into medieval Persian, it was
taken over by Urdu from whence this form comes and referred first to a
native governor under the Moguls, then to a Muslim of high status in
India during the Muslim centuries.

Quote of the Week:, in honor of the holidays:

>From Carmena Burana:

Bibit hera, bibit herus,
bibit miles, bibit clerus,
bibit ille, bibit illa
bibit servus cum ancilla. (14.33-36)

The wife drinks, the husband drinks,
the soldier drinks, the priest drinks,
he drinks, she drinks,
barkeeper drinks, waitress drinks.'
Send suggestions, information, correction, or submissions.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Medieval News of the Week

Medieval Events of the Week:

Nov. 10-Martin Luther's Birthday

No. 12-Boniface III (d. 607) and Canute the Great (d. 1035)

Nov. 13: Augustine of Hippo born (b. 354) and King Edward III of England
(1354); Pope Nicholas I died, 867,

Nov. 14: Emperor Justinian (d. 565) and Alexander Nevsky (d. 1263)

Nov. 15: Pope Nicholas IV born (1397), and Albertus Magnus died (1397)

Nov. 16: St Hugh of Lincoln (1200) and Henry III of England (1272) died
on this day

Nov. 17: Hild of Whitby (d. 680) and Elizabeth of Hungary (d. 1231)

Nov 18: Odo of Cluny died (942)

Recreation of a Viking Trip:

An Early Medieval Saxon Sword:

Free LIbrary of Philadelphia announces online Medieval and Renaissance mss:

A blog discussion on Eusebian Canon Tables, not medieval, but something every medieval bible contained:

Words of the Day for the week:

From Wordsmith:
tween-tween is a form of between that shows up first in the late 13th century, it comes from Old English between (I've not included the OE and ME spellings) which originally was a prepositional phrase bi + tweonum and variants, "by two", a dative plural. Constructions such as frith freondum be tweon(um), lit, peace by two friends, means peace between friends. bi tweonum, bi tweon in time became a preoposition in its own right, between, shortened in some Middle English texts to tween.

ONe Word A Day
For the 16th, OWD offered abetment, a nominalization of the verb abet. Abet came into English from French, a (from Latin ad) beter, to bait, urge on, hound on, from Old Norse beita, to bite, and cognate to Old English bitan, to bite. The word has since fallen out of French as far as I can tell (though some here will correct me if I'm wrong). Abet (ME abetten) gave rise to a noun abette, incitement, urging, also from Old French, and abettement, a specifically Anglo-French coinage meaning incitement to commit a crime or offense. These meanings are now obsolete in favor of a more general "to give aid or encouragement" most often in a negative sense.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Dissertation

Here's how the project is shaping up at the moment.

There's a brief introduction, mostly the type of thing that I sent to the MAA as my application or my prospectus explaining what this Letter to Sigeweard is and why it is important to study etc.

Chap. 1 is a biography of Aelfric, which probably didn't need to be redone, but I've taken the minority position that Aelfric is a little older than is usually stated and that there are indications that he was already on the rise at Wincester before going to Cerne Abbas. I wasn't going to keep this, but material in later chapters keeps referring back to material in this first chapter, so in it goes.

Chap. 2 is a lengthy discussion originally modeled on Drew Jones' chapter for Letter to the Monks at Eynsham: author, recipient, date, occasion, content, structure, themes etc. The bulk of the chapter though sets the Letter into the intellectual contexts: 1) as a catechetical text a) in the catechetical tradition and literature of the Benedictine Refore and other Anglo-Saxon era catechetical instruction b) in the more specific context of Aelfric's catechetical works. Further, I focus for a number of pages on Aelfric's various treatments of the Hexameral tradition and explain why this Letter and that to Wulfgat emphasize a certain aspect of that tradition, namely Lucifer not wanting God as his Lord, and further building on articles by Dave Johnson and Michael Fox, argue for specific connections between Aelfric and Genesis A and B. Finally, I discuss Aelfric's discussion of the books of the Bible in the context of previous such discussions: Eusebius (through Rufinus), Jerome, Augustine, Cassiodorus, Isidore, and Alcuin.

Chapter 3 is a discussion of Aelfric's canon: the order of the books that Aelfric discusses is best matched by Cassiodorus and I explore how that situation might have come about since there is no evidence that Aelfric knew Cassiodorus directly.

Chapter 4 is a discussion of the manuscripts and the manuscript context of the Letter; there will also be some discussion of readers/users and audience. I'm also thinking about the fact that a section of the Letter that I have for some time taken as a story from Eusebius' in Rufinus' translations (which is still the ultimate source) is in actual fact the Old English translation of a sermon in Peter the Deacon's homiliary, and may have been recognized as such by readers of the Letter who separated that section out to serve as a stand alone sermon in other sermon collections.

Chapter 5 is a discussion of William L'Isle and his edition of the Letter. I've not even begun this section.

Following these chapters are my edition, translation, and commentary on the text. This is the section that is both the easiest and the most difficult. But the commentary is a mix of source identification, explanation, grammatical and semantic notices, etc.

That's how it looks at the moment.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

The Letter to Sigeweard

This is really in answer to Derek the Anglican's question on the last post, but my reply became so long and detailed that I thought it'd make a good post. So here it is:

Derek asked:
You may well be right. I can't think of any others if narrative is a requirmenet. Martin of Braga's is the clost I can think of but I haven't read Pirmin.

btw, what do you think of Jerome's first letter to Paulinus of Nola?

Yes, Martin's is close and makes many of the same points other patristic writers and Aelfric makes. BUT at the same time there are some key differences. The chapter keeps going, because I keep finding new material to cover. Right now, all I can do though is say with Day and Godden that Martin may have been an inspiration for De Initio...we know that Aelfric makes use of Martin's sermon in other contexts (De Falsiis Deis, Cath Homs I.6, Lives On Auguries), but in the neither the Letter to Sigewaerd, De Initio or for that matter other hexameral discussions of Aelfric is there a quote or citation of Martin or even matching phrases (having just compared the texts phrase by phrase I can say that).

Jerome's Letter LIII? I'm assuming you're referring to the list of the books? I have a long section of this same chapter that compares the Letter to all the previous discussions of the contents of the Bible that I could find: Jerome's letter 53, Prolgus Galeatus, Augustine's De Doctrina, Rufinus' translation of Eusebius' Church History, Cassiodorus' Institutes, Isidore in the Etymologies and in the Proemia, and finally Alcuin's Bible poems. A) Aelfric's order is unique except for Cassiodorus...these are very close and I suggest a reason for that since there is no evidence that Aelfric knew Cassiodorus or that a copy of the Institutes was in A-S England. B) Aelfric's content is by and large different than all the foregoing. Sometimes a similar point is made about a particular book of the Bible, but in different phrasing so at most all one can say is that these previous treatments if known to Aelfric (and some were since he quotes the text in other places) can only be said to be inspirations to him, and sources of knowledge that he is now passing on, but indirectly, not directly. If that makes sense....

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

More Aelfric

Its all Aelfric, all the time. Right now I'm up to my neck in the hexameral tradition. Something I didn't know though, and may still be wrong on, is that Anglo-Saxon England seems the first place where we find a single, connected NARRATIVE about Creation, Fall of the Angels, Creation and Fall of Man etc...all these are talked about in several places in patristic and early medieval exegesis and so on, but not all in one place, and certainly not as a narrative that I've been able to discover so far.

I'm working on the question of Aelfric's dependence on the tradition and finding that while he is quite orthodox, he isn't dependent on a lot of sources that one would expect.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Some ideas I'm working on:
Aelfric is influenced by Genesis A, which may come from Aethelwold's school (the manuscript, not necessarily the texts), sometime between 960-987. Later Aelfric begins to differ from Aethelwold on some of the details, becoming more Augustinian.

Further, why did Aelfric write the Life of Aethelwold? Unverified and unchecked theory: after his Letter to the Monks and other texts in which he differs from Aethelwold, perhaps there was political need to reiterate his relationship with that school and tradition.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Wow--I thought I would blog the Congress. That didn't happen! But here are some thoughts on Congress 2006:

As usual I was busy, esp. on Thursday. But not as busy! Of the four sessions, I was only in 2, and only had committments for breakfast and lunch. BUT! For the first time, my paper truly sucked. I simply didn't have the time or resources i needed, not like I thought when I actually did begin work on it back in Oct. I thought I might get away with it in a small, out of the way session....but no, several big names showed up. Ah well....just make sure next year's paper is fabulous.

The good thing about Congress this year is that I was able to spend more time with friends, and less time networking; I have to say that my networks are pretty strong and now friends and networkings are beginning to merge. And that's all good!

Heard some good papers, but not a large number, and wandered about the book exhibit, visiting each place at least once. I can not believe some of the prices though! I saw a new paperback by a major scholar ON SALE for $90! An average size PAPERBACK! And don't get me started on Ashgate.....oi.

So short comments, but there's the gist. A good time, some intellectual challenges, some failures, some successes......

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Ok, I do this every year coming up to Kalamazoo. I wait until the last minute to finish the paper. Why do I do that???? OI! Anyway, I'm going to try something new this year and blog the event. Since no one reads this yet, it should make for some good practice.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Kzoo is coming! Kzoo is coming! I'm excited this year.