Anglo-Saxon historians are in an enviable position when it comes to electronic resources.
The publisher’s blurb for Marilyn Dunn’s new book claims that it is ‘the first work on the subject to combine a historical approach with insights provided by ethnography and anthropology’. As is often the case with publisher’s statements, this is something of an exaggeration.
Æthelstan might not, to the uninitiated, seem a very likely candidate for a volume in the prestigious Yale English Monarchs series. He lacks the name-recognition associated with a Conquerer or a Confessor, and is not the subject of any compelling anecdotes about beaches or cakes which have wormed their way into the popular consciousness.
The volume’s stated aim is to investigate the influence of Christian theology and religious beliefs on Anglo-Saxon society. In doing so Foxhall Forbes endeavours to show the wider population’s engagement with Christian theology, which has usually been regarded as the preserve of the educated elite.
‘When medieval men and women thought and wrote about power in the early Middle Ages – what it was, what it should be, what it had been – peace was never far from their thoughts’ (p. 271). Thus writes Paul Kershaw in the last paragraph of this important work on the ideas behind rulership but it explains perfectly the previous 270-odd pages.
It is the title which gives away a great deal about this very fine book, and should alert us to Tom Lambert’s ambition for this project, which has grown out of a University of Durham PhD thesis. ‘Law’ positions it as a work of legal history, but it is the component of ‘order’ which offers the second and bolder half of Lambert’s argument.
The 13 essays in this book are the outcome of a conference (with the addition of a few other papers) held at Winchester University in September 2011.
This book offers an investigation into the Anglo-Saxon cultural province of Francia during the eighth century (more specifically the area between the Middle Main and Tauber valleys), which, to borrow the author’s own words, ‘argues that the Christian culture of that region was thoroughly gender-egalitarian and in many ways feminist’ (p. 3).
In The Formation of the English Kingdom in the Tenth Century, George Molyneaux investigates how territories under the dominion of the Cerdicing kings of Wessex developed into a clearly defined and conquerable kingdom. The book’s fundamental argument is that the period 871 through 1066 cannot be treated as a cohesive block of history.
In this masterful monograph, Alice Rio revisits one of the central questions in the historiography of early medieval Western Europe: how did the transition from slavery to serfdom take place?