Claiming St Hild

One of the most perplexing 'mistakes' in the Liber Eliensis is the claim that St Hild's sister Hereswitha was the mother of St Æthelthryth. Bede makes it very clear that this is not the case and we know that the author of the Liber Eliensis leaned heavily on Bede. The heavenly pedigree leans on other... Continue Reading →

LKM: Bernicia/Bryneich

Bernicia or Bryneich? We know that the name of the kingdom was British and their name for it was Bryneich. No one has put forth a compelling translation for Bryneich. It appears to have been the southern part of Votandini (Gododdin) territory under the Romans, although it may have been independent then just without its... Continue Reading →

Bede on the Plague

In John Maddicott's article "Plague in Seventh Century England" reprinted with slight modification in Plague and the End of Antiquity (2007), he discusses how Bede alone of the writers of the Justinian plague did not see the plague as a curse or punishment from God. Northumbria's Golden Age Maddicott points to Bede's recognition that the... Continue Reading →

Epidemiology, Climate Change, and the Justinian Plague

I've been reading Robert Sallares book chapter "Ecology, Evolution, and Epidemiology of Plague" this weekend. Its a fascinating read. Epidemiology of the plague brings up all kinds of factors of medieval culture that are largely invisible by other means. In his contribution to the same book, Michael McCormick wrote that "it is just imaginable that... Continue Reading →

PW: King Ecgfrith of Northumbria

On May 20th, 685 King Ecgfrith of Northumbria fell deep in Pictland at Dunnichen to King Bridei, who was somehow his cousin. As far as we know, Ecgfrith's death at Dunnichen marked the deepest incursion into Pictland that we know of in the Anglo-Saxon period. Given that Ecgfrith invaded to prevent loosing hegemony, it is... Continue Reading →

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