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Susan M. Johns

antiquarian scholars such as Sir Christopher Hatton, and to Sir Walter de Gray Birch, who did much to catalogue the extensive collections of extant impressions of British medieval seals.2 Ultimately, however, these approaches are unsatisfactory because they treat seals as interesting artefacts without taking account of the complex socio-cultural processes within which they were created. Equally difficult is the lack of precise contextualised chronologies which determine how seal images became conventionalised and why.3 Thus although it is now established that, for example

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Enigmas, agency and assemblage
James Paz

98 3 The riddles of the Franks Casket: Enigmas, agency and assemblage Since its recovery from Auzon, France, in 1859 by English antiquary Sir Augustus Franks, the whalebone chest known as the Franks or Auzon Casket has been a ‘fascinating enigma’ to those who have studied it and among the most ‘intriguing and irritating’ of Anglo-​Saxon artefacts to have survived.1 Now held in the British Museum, it has been dated to the early eighth century and is likely to be of Northumbrian craftsmanship, though more exact details of its original context are unknown. The

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Fragility, brokenness and failure
James Paz

this work have been the most important part of it? Alongside the religious, monastic audience of the Ruthwell monument, we must take into account its other audience: the British who were still living in the Solway region in the early Middle Ages. The kingdom of Rheged was an important component part of early Northumbria, though there are difficulties in pinpointing exactly when and where this kingdom existed: Rheged is mentioned in a number of British sources, yet, perhaps unsurprisingly, the name does not appear in Bede or the early ninth-​century Historia Brittonum

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
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Troubling race, ethnicity, and masculinity in Beowulf
Catalin Taranu

uinum (rough, inferior wine) and has a sinner speak wealode mid wordum (‘strangely’, ‘impudently’). 33 These associations survive in present-day British slang words such as ‘to welsh’ (to cheat) and ‘welsher’ (an untrustworthy person). 34 As Ryan Craig and Victoria Davis demonstrate, such discursive practices are not divorced from material realities and are often used to reinforce and sustain material inequity by

in Dating Beowulf
James Paz

’s development. In The Rise of Western Christendom, Peter Brown identifies this process as part of the formation of a ‘micro-​Christendom’ and points to the unusual wealth of Northumbrian kings and aristocracy in the seventh century that made a massive transfer of goods from the Continent to northern Britain possible. This practice can be seen early on with Benedict Biscop, a wealthy Northumbrian nobleman turned monk who was able to move across Europe as a Christian aristocrat, in search of Christian goods, returning to the north-​east with not only books but also relics

in Nonhuman voices in Anglo-Saxon literature and material culture
Open Access (free)
Daniel C. Remein and Erica Weaver

Beowulf be on anyway? The cool convenience of an app, of swiping right, a pay-to-play matchmaking service, or OkCupid? It would be difficult to get a date with Beowulf – not that function of the text that we name its hero, but the poem itself. If we take the poem's material state quite literally – the sole surviving copy in the charred manuscript held behind glass in the British Library now known as London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius MS A.xv – this is all the more true. Is that the name it puts on its Tinder account, the British Library shelf-mark that

in Dating Beowulf
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Susan M. Johns

. Even so, Helen, although trained to rule, is also endowed with outstanding beauty, and fulfils her function by marrying and producing a male heir to the kingdom. Yet Geoffrey’s women could in fact be cruel and as vicious as any male character. He recites the tale of Gwendolen and Estrildis. Locrinus, one of the three sons of Brutus, the mythical founder of Britain, after defeating one of his brothers in war, reserved for himself the spoils of war, which included Estrildis, a native princess. Geoffrey provides a lyrical description of her beauty, a standard topos to

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

stretches back to the inception of British medieval studies,22 imply that an understanding of the gendered nature of lordship will have implications for our understanding of land tenure in general. Sir James Holt’s analysis of twelfth-century social structures saw noblewomen as pawns of men, used to seal political alliances through marriage, their key role being to transmit land and titles to their husbands. Holt’s view is important for the way it located the interactions between the key structures of family and lordship which defined twelfth-century women’s roles. His

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Open Access (free)
Susan M. Johns

saints’ lives. This theme was explored in greater detail in a discussion of the role of noblewomen as patrons of the chroniclers and narratives. Such female influence may well have 198 conclusion affected the popularity of important texts in the twelfth century such as Geoffrey of Monmouth’s History of the Kings of Britain. The activity of noblewomen as patrons affected the way that specific genres developed, and they had important roles to play in the process of cultural diffusion. The development of views of women in chronicles and narratives was discussed in

in Noblewomen, aristocracy and power in the twelfth-century Anglo-Norman realm
Christopher Abram

Vampyre of the Fens is potentially a splendid title for the poem we know as Beowulf , or at least for that part of the poem that takes place in Denmark. We must always remember that the title Beowulf , as solid and definitive and obvious as it is, is an invention of modern antiquarianism. We have no idea what the Anglo-Saxons called this poem – or even if any of them ever read it. (The two scribes responsible for copying Beowulf into London, British Library, Cotton Vitellius A. xv certainly

in Dating Beowulf