Lives Journal 15

Jaka Jarc



About the 10th Century Anglo-Saxon Manuscript known as MS Bodleian Junius XI

and the Context of its Unique Poetic Takes on Biblical Stories

(part II)


Narrowing examination parameters – possession, rights and obligations


When treating long manuscripts, it is necessary to set oneself some limitations if we are to extract as much as we can from our source. A simple read through the text may be entertaining and interesting, but in order to best understand what the author and editor may have had in mind, a method must be constructed by which we can limit the impact of our preconceptions on our understanding as much as possible, because we tend to always filter that which we read through our own predispositions, imaginings, conceptions – through the way we understand the world around us. As a result, that which we read mostly does not equal that which the author intended to convey. This problem is exacerbated when the author and the audience stem from different cultural environments, such as 10th-century Anglo-Saxon England and 21st-century Slovenia. As anyone who has travelled or spent a noteworthy period of time in a foreign land may have noticed, even the smallest peculiarities of the way people live in individual environments add up to considerable cultural dissimilarities; for example, the specific way the Danish view work ethic or time management as opposed to Macedonians; how everything that results from this difference impacts daily life, the countries’ economic status, social welfare, and health services. Such differences of course grow notably greater between environments divided by as many as a thousand years. Can we truly imagine a world without Internet, before World War II and its holocaust, or before the USA, the EU, the countries of Europe, before Protestantism, nationalisms, before science? We cannot. The consequences of these and other differences act like ripples of numerous pebbles cast into water, unforeseeable and immensely too complex to fathom. This is why I decided to read the poems of Junius XI with a focus on the rights and obligations which tie directly to individual types of possession. Of course, I will not do so accounting for context to the best of my ability as conscious of my personal limitations as possible. When scholars make conclusions it is our desire and expectation that said conclusion will at some point be followed up by reasoned and substantiated commentary. This is how we our understanding of the themes of our interest can gradually grow through time.




The Scholarship of Possessions, Rights, and Obligations


I. Scholarship Using Old English Literary Sources


The rights and obligations of possession fall primarily under the purview of history. Themes of these discussions that are most relevant to this thesis include Anglo-Saxon social hierarchy, various types of moveable possessions1, land tenure, slavery, and legal concepts. My discussion will focus on interpreting poetic passages and comparing them to their scriptural sources and analogues. I will therefore discuss literary scholarship on social themes as well as symbolism and allegorical subtext tied to possessions within individual poems of Junius XI.

I will also discuss Anglo-Saxon historical scholarship to identify the main issues of rights and obligations relative to individual types of possession. Historical discussions of social interactions, rights and obligations are usually not dependent on poetic sources though occasionally, depending on the object of historical examination, the poems provide the needed context. For example, Barbara Rosenwein has included poetry in her examination of emotions in history adding that even historical sources in Anglo-Saxon England are often literary in nature; she demonstrated that the context of literature can be invaluable to our understanding of the history of emotions.2 The purpose of the final chapter of this thesis is similar. Even though the conceptions of social relations and possessions are at first glance more static and objective than emotions, our understanding of their social context should benefit from a literary narrative context, especially where the narrative has been adapted to the cultural environment of the audience. Anglo-Saxon historians also occasionally use poetry to support conclusions from other sources. I will give examples of scholarship discussing treatment of individual types of possessions and social interactions below beginning with the closest approaches to my own, namely those that focus primarily on poetry.

The approach most relatable to the focus of my subsequent chapter is Elizabeth Tyler’s in her Old English Poetics.3 Much of her discussion has proved applicable in my research; she included poems from Junius XI in her discussion and also systematically enumerated and discussed individually named possessions that comprise or represent treasure. Her systematic distinctions will be used as a point of departure for my discussion of the significance of treasure as a common denominator of a cultural unit of people as well as a device of social stratification. She chose to focus on treasure in part because it can be historicized in the context of social, political, as well as artistic and economic changes in the long Anglo-Saxon period.4 Like her I think it useful that items comprising treasure can be compared to the archaeological and written record.

The same rationale can be extended to my examination of landed possessions and, at least where written record is concerned, possession of slaves. Her discussion analysed the place of treasure within Old English verse and defined it as a poetic convention. She then turned to the vocabulary of treasure, discussing five terms individually: maðm, hord, gestreon, sinc, and frætwe.5 Her terminological framework will prove helpful in my own examination of moveable possessions as indicative of the accumulation of treasure, especially where I will construct a discussion of the significance of inherited treasure, in bestowal, and in exchange. This thesis will not discuss treasure as a stylistic convention, instead a part of the subsequent chapter will build on her interpretation of the nature of treasure. It will examine treasure in its capacity to co-define cultural traits of the Israelite people within the narratives of the Junius XI poems.

Elizabeth Tyler elsewhere pointed out the link between treasure, and cultural identity as well as its social implications in discussing Ædward’s treasure in the eleventh- century Vita Ædwardi Regis.6 The vita genre has characteristics of a historical source, but also elements of literary writing (for example, it can be written in verse). My examination of biblical poems also taps into two different areas: on the one hand biblical narrative, which may be remote from an Anglo-Saxon experience, but on the other, is also steeped in Anglo-Saxon literary traditions (such as typescenes, formulas, word compounds, and typical imagery). The poems of Junius XI were imbued with Old English formulaic and symbolic subtext bringing them closer to the vita, while the vita is strongly Christian and dipped in allegory, which brings its style closer to the poems of Junius XI. Therefore, I find Elizabeth Tyler’s discussion of the cultural and social significance of treasure entirely applicable to my own discussion of the Junius XI poems. She reviews the role of treasure in gift-giving as an idealized mode of governance in poetic sources;7 she discusses the Scandinavian traits of Edward’s golden ships as part of his treasure and demonstrates how such possessions can contribute to the depiction of cultural identity and political emphasis;8 finally she reviews the lavishness of dress which Edward rejects as either indicative of foreign cultural identity or improper non-ecclesiastical display. My discussion is informed by Tyler’s above discussion of governance and cultural identity in relation to treasure.

Aside from the cultural and social significance, the notion of treasure also contains a theological aspect. Timothy Reuter’s discussion of the role of treasure in tenth-century medieval governance is informative about the significance of the notion of treasure in medieval Christian thought. He reviewed the notion of treasure as a theological category and discussed the difference between the scriptural treatment of heavenly treasure as a positive representation of wealth and the amassing of valuables as a reprehensible act.9 He further argued that the distinction between spiritual and amassed physical treasure is evident from the fact that European elites in the middle ages would “invest” (in their wills) their fortunes in monasteries for the good of their souls.10

The distinction between spiritual treasure as marker of cultural identity and material treasure as marker of political influence and social status will be correlated to the evidence of the Junius XI poems in the second chapter with a view to pointing out where the two categories overlap.

In the second part of the second chapter, I will review the moral implications expressed by the Junius XI poets concerning the exchange of moveable possessions for services. This discussion is influenced by Godden’s article ‘Money, Power, and Morality in Anglo-Saxon England’ which examines the attitudes towards money and payment exhibited in scriptural instruction, for example Alfred’s introduction to Boethius or Ælfric’s homilies. Godden links the ideal of poverty in late tenth- and eleventh-century Anglo-Saxon England to the monetary economy where a shift from an economy largely based on bullion or exchange to a nascent coin-based fiscal system influenced the Christian doctrine concerning wealth.11 In discussing the concept of wealth and its implication for governance he demonstrates the change through the evolution of the Old English word rice and shows how the central emphasis of rice shifts from a meaning of (political) ‘power’ in Beowulf, to meaning both ‘power’ and ‘wealth’ in the ninth-century Old English version of Bede’s Ecclesiastical History, to denoting benefits tied to wealth in Ælfric’s homilies.12 The second half of his article then constructs a review of the morality of amassing wealth in late Anglo-Saxon Christian writing. He reviews Ælfric’s position, wherein distinction by wealth was a natural occurrence but it was the responsibility of the rich to share the wealth. The amassing of wealth, according to Godden, is morally questionable which Ælfric addresses by finding justifications for the rich.13 Barbara Rosenwein comments that in the tenth and eleventh centuries the attention to the moral implications of actions were shifting from the external act to the inner intention; not merely actions but already intentions could be sinful.14 In discussing the moral implications of the exchange of goods for services (see pp. 62-71) I will discuss how the Junius XI poems, in particular Genesis B and Daniel, reflect this ‘awakening of the conscience’.15

Possessions exchanged in a social context can also symbolise rank or station within social hierarchy. The historical and archaeological scholarship both discuss these possession exchanges within the framework of ‘heriot’, “a death-due which originated in the return of the weapons with which a lord had outfitted his man.”16 The two disciplines view it as a device of lordship in forming their following. My discussion of the role of swords and types of dress in determining social hierarchy must and will take into account the general currents of historical debate concerning heriot. Anglo-Saxon military history reserved for the elites or a mass levy or even both.17

The discussion was recapitulated by R. P. Abels, who began by discussing the notion of a generally conscripted military force and noted Stenton’s adherence to the view of the military service as an obligation of lower social ranks.18 He also discusses the opposing views of Chadwick, Maitland and Vinogradoff.19 In Junius XI the notions of military obligation are often tied to the oath of loyalty accompanied by bestowal of moveable possessions. This thesis will examine hierarchical relation both by discussing the category of loyalty and the significance of items bestowed as part of the reciprocal agreement between lord and follower.

Whilst the poems only touch on heriot and military obligation tangentially, the notion of loyalty and obedience to one’s lord was often the focus of scholars discussing the poems of Junius XI. Peter Lucas examined the notions of loyalty and obedience in the poems Genesis A and Genesis B; he discussed Noah’s and Abraham’s obedience to God which he tied to the Covenant as an agreement of rights and obligations on the part of the patriarchs.20 Brockmann, on the other hand, argued that the sources Genesis A, even those often ascribed to what he called the ‘heroic ethos’, stemmed from scripture. He viewed the Old English secular content not as opposed to scripture but as coexisting with it.21 His examination of secular social topoi of the Cain and Abel episode will inform my examination of the role of possessions in the exile of Cain and other instances of exile where the exiled are dispossessed of possessions as part of the dissolution of an agreement of mutual rights and obligations.

The dissolution of a lord-retainer agreement will also be discussed in relation to the fall of Lucifer as depicted by Genesis B. Cherniss discussed how scriptural matter in Genesis B is informed by vernacular style, cultural allegiances and preconceptions of the author while tying the narrative to the historical realities of the time of the poem’s translation at the time of King Alfred or slightly after around 900.22 Like Cherniss, I will form a part of my argument about hierarchical relationships and the freedom of choosing a lord by focusing on references to the possession of items, people and authority at the heart of what is essentially Lucifer’s failed coup d’état in Genesis B.23 Unlike Cherniss, who focuses on the heroic ethos and direct social interactions, I will focus on rights and obligations within hierarchical relations observed through the exchange of possessions featured in the poem.

In addition to moveable exchanged possessions, land also figures in the workings of a lord-retainer agreement.

I will discuss rights and obligations tied to landed possessions in the narrative of Junius XI poems in my fourth chapter. It was H. J. Berman who provided the primary guideline for my discussion of landed possessions in the social context of the poems of Junius XI; he noted in the middle ages land was not owned by anyone but that it was held by superiors in a ladder of tenures leading to the supreme lord; in the poems of Junius XI this lord was God.24

Recently Scott Smith discussed landed possessions in various sources;25 he examines representations the vocabulary of land tenure in Latin diplomas, charters, legal, philosophical and homiletic texts, and finally poetry. His approach is beneficial to my examination because he includes poetry among his sources. In his chapter five he discusses poetic appearances of terms tied to land-tenure, among them are eðelriht, which he defines as ancestral land with hereditary right, and landriht [‘a right to land’]. He juxtaposes the acquisition of land in Guthlac A as a “transformative and salvatory experience” with the use of the same compound in Deor where he sees the loss of land as erasure of social identity.26 Smith notes that landriht in Beowulf is held collectively and sees the loss of landriht as an erasure of an entire people; he notes in passing that in Genesis A and Exodus landriht is also communal, however he does not discuss these two Junius XI poems at length.27 His connection of that which I call cultural identity with the right to a homeland will be discussed in my third chapter which deals with social implications linked to landed possessions, however my discussion will be focused on the evidence of the poems of Junius XI.

The question of communal land has been the subject of some debate by historians, particularly in connection to the division between the terms bocland and folcland. The debate concerning bocland and folcland spans a century during which time it has been greatly transformed and finally largely discarded; early on, Vinogradoff in his discussion of the notion of communal property put great emphasis on the term folcland itself.28 Vinogradoff was, according to Kennedy, reviving a view “supported by most scholars until the publication of John Allen’s Inquiry into the Rise and Growth of the Royal Prerrogative” in 1830.29 Maitland adopted Vinogradoff’s negation of the notion of communal property and systematically explained the term in the context of the documents containing it and presented an evolution of a legal notion of “national land”. Maitland’s contention that ‘book-land’ is contrasted with ‘folk-land’30 now has to be viewed in concert with other proposed definitions of folcland as well as with the notion that folcland may not be an extremely important category in the first place. Already in 1933, Turner proposed that folcland could refer to the land of the crown other than King’s personal property; as such it would serve to provide maintenance of the army and finance the affairs of the realm.31 More recently Wormald proposed that folcland simply stood for land other than bocland.32 Susan Reynolds notes that there exist only five texts where folcland is mentioned, of these The Wife’s Lament uses it to refer to the general notion of country, she notes citing the Microfiche Concordance.33

Hudson also takes into account the scarcity of appearances of folcland and proceeds to draw our attention to several other existing Old English compounds which complicate the discussion of types of landed possessions: earningaland or erninglond (‘land held for services’), frelond (‘free land’), and heregeatland (‘heriot land’), geneatsland, thegnland, bisceopa land, and preostaland. Joined by so many terms closely defining the types of rights and obligations to land, it is impossible to subscribe to the simplified division between land held by book and a land freely used by the general public.34

Still scholars at times continue to facilitate their discussion by employing the categories of folcland and bocland in their discussions. For example Scott Smith based his survey of correlations between historical and literary attitudes towards land-ownership on a tripartite division of bookland, folkland, and loan-land.35 Since the terminology is problematic, I will not employ the category of folcland in my review of the rights and obligations pertaining to landed possessions. Nevertheless, the underlying notion of communal land tenure will be examined as an expression of the people’s right to a homeland. This notion of patria or homeland will be reviewed in concert with the notion of security provided by the granting lord. The notion of land in the Junius XI poems, particularly in the Exodus poem, often inextricably binds the allegorical significance of the Promised Land with the tangible notion of homeland as a consequence of binding oral contract between a lord (God) and his people, rather than merely a vision of allegorical promise (more on allegorical significance of land in said chapter), so much so that Remley noted that the informing theme of Exodus’s patriarchal narratives is the land-right of the Israelites.36

The focus of the fourth chapter will be on people as objects of social exchange in the same way as chapters two and three will have focused on moveable and landed possessions. Among people as objects of hierarchical exchange, slaves are at the bottom of the framework of rights and obligations. I will show that the literary context of the poems of Junius XI is useful for the examination of Anglo-Saxon slavery in context because the poets have a tendency to adapt biblical social hierarchies in their own ways while retaining and even elaborating the discussion of scriptural slaves. Albeit briefly, Pelteret’s seminal examination of Anglo-Saxon slavery refers to literary sources for context of other sources.37 He concluded that the disappearance of Anglo-Saxon slavery, though brought about by several factors, was primarily the consequence of the higher cost of keeping slaves than of having free dependants.38

This view has been challenged by Wyatt, who deemed the economic factors as much less significant than Pelteret; Wyatt also argued that slavery was more common in late Anglo-Saxon England than Pelteret would have us believe.39 However, Wyatt’s focus on the combined evidence of Anglo-Saxon, Irish, and Scandinavian slavery allowed him less space for the examination of literary evidence; he introduces Beowulf only.40 Pelteret, on the other hand, has been able to include a larger portion of Old English poetic evidence including Genesis A, B, Exodus, and Christ and Satan. Pelteret’s approach is therefore more easily correlated to this thesis. I will discuss Pelteret in more detail in the introduction to my fourth chapter. I will build on his definition of slavery to define how the poems of Junius XI frame not only the rank of slave but other hierarchical ranks as well.

My discussion of the significance of possessions in the frame of rights and obligations will culminate in the review of authority as a social conception (in the fifth chapter). The defining scholarship on the exertion of authority lies in the domain of legal history and is not usually critically discussed by literary scholars. Anglo-Saxon legal scholarship dealing with jurisdiction typically does not focus on poetic sources, and to my knowledge no work has discussed jurisdiction or authority specifically in the poems of Junius XI. This is why I will focus on scholarship focused on more general aspects of the exertion of authority. To that effect, Barabara Rosenwein’s book Negotiating Space, which discusses the wider geographical area of medieval Europe,41 provides valuable background enabling a better understanding of how rights work in different social contexts. She discusses rights and obligations in her evaluation of the notion of immunity of residential space and personal immunity in medieval Europe as types of freedom tied to the authority as well as protection of various lords. My examination of security will frame rights in a similar way, as a reflection of peace and freedom guaranteed by a lord. Rosenwein discusses examples from accross the whole of medieval Europe and also points to the development of certain immunities in specific parts. Though she discusses Anglo-Saxon England at the outset of her final chapter, she focuses said discussion on immunities in their narrowest sense, utilising this part of the chapter merely as a short link connecting the wider discussion of European medieval immunities and modern day immunities in the English-speaking world. Therefore, for the examination of specifically Anglo-Saxon legal conceptions of the basis of authority and jurisdiction I will complement her approach with the more specialised scholarship on Anglo-Saxon law.

My examination of the Anglo-Saxon exertion of authority will strongly benefit from scholarship on Anglo-Saxon legal historical views of jurisdiction, and rights and obligations. In places my discussion of the literary context of authority will refer to Patrick Wormald’s exhaustive examination of legal conceptions, ideals and representations.42 I will also refer to Hudson’s entries on jurisdictions and types of authority.43 These are more general in nature and ordered by topic and chronology and thus easier to relate to literary matter. I will adapt Hudson’s subdivision of jurisdiction into the categories of personal jurisdiction (based on personal relationships) and legal jurisdiction (based on grants through written medium or intermediaries) to the wider notion of authority and distinguish between personal and legal authority.44



II. The Literary Scholarship of Allegory and the Interpretation of Possessions as Markers of Social Exchanges in the Junius XI Poems


Literary scholarship has identified several instances of allegorical subtext of the scriptural narrative of the poems of Junius XI. This has resulted in a much greater appreciation of the theological knowledge of the poets than was previously acknowledged. For example in 1974, Irving retracted his own statement from 1953, noting that the Exodus poet was better versed in Christian doctrine that he previously thought.45 This is an excellent illustration of the shift of respect for Old English poets’ knowledge of scripture and understanding of scriptural allegory. Several scholars have presented cases for inclusion of distinctly profound allegorical readings of individual excerpts from Old English poetry.46 In discussing individual appearances of possession in the poems of Junius XI, allegorical readings must therefore be taken into consideration; this way the additions to the biblical narrative made by the Old English poets are discussed within the context of an Old English Christian culture rather than, as was all too keenly interpreted in the nineteenth century, as part of some covert pagan literary production.47 In addition, the allegorical symbolism of possessions within a social exchange can illuminate the side of social structure which was in the minds of the audience inextricably linked to religious categories. Of the several allegorical interpretations of the Junius XI poems, some can shed light on the role of possessions in social exchanges. However, due to the scriptural nature of the text and the (as I argue below) instructional intent of the manuscript, such social implications will here be cautiously approached as ideals rather than reflections of reality of the time.

Various types of moveable possessions appearing in the Junius XI poems have been interpreted as allegorical representations of valuables. In Exodus Noah’s ark is referred to as the greatest treasure chest. Vickrey argued that the treasure implied to be on board was an allegory for people as the ultimate treasure which the ark safeguarded.48 Ferhatoviæ used Vickrey’s conclusions to construct part of his argument concerning the appearance of burhweardas [‘city-guardians’] as the guardians of material culture in Exodus to refer to urban civilisation of the Egyptians.49 Though his interpretation reaches beyond rights and obligations linked to moveable possessions, or even people as possessions, Ferhatoviæ’s insights will feature in my discussion of cultural identity of a people.

My subsequent chapter focused on landed possessions will also correlate the practical implication of land as a possession alongside its allegorical significance, including its promise, fertility and symbolism. In 1970, Keenan interpreted the colour green in the Exodus poem as indicative of paradise.50 His discussion will be linked to Ananya Kabir's discussion of the nature of the interim paradise as an allegorical landed possession.51 Kabir's vivid and innovative approach was not aimed at land tenure, but rather at the nature of paradise in Anglo-Saxon Christian perception. Among other Old English sources, her analysis included the Junius XI poems. She, however, did not focus on social conceptions, but rather exclusively on theological imperatives across the most part of the Old English literary corpus. The fourth chapter of this thesis will build on Ananya Kabir’s detailed analysis of allegorical representations of homeland and correlate the theological imperatives of the Christian realms of Earth, Heaven and Paradise with rights and obligations in the social context of both possessing a homeland and the personal right to inhabit and use land.





There are indisputable impracticalities tied to examining the categories of social history in a purely literary source, and this must especially be taken into account in the poems of the so-called ‘heroic genre’. As Elizabeth Tyler points out, we are encumbered by our preconditioned understanding of Old English poetic devices and by the longevity of poetic tradition itself as a historical social phenomenon; furthermore, she maintains that the nature of conservation of style and convention of Old English poetry often fails to receive its due attention.52 Old English poetry retains similar phrases, imagery, and other conventions through the centuries virtually unchanged. The oral transmition and preservation of the earliest Old English verse is generally accepted, though it remains an open question, whether at the time of written distribution, oral transmission continued.53

What is evident from the Old English poetic corpus, as noted by Scragg, is that even in written form Old English poems retain techniques and rhetorical devices developed in an oral tradition and so reflect the needs of that tradition.54 Pasternack, in explaining the primacy of aural nature of Old English poetry, even attempts to reframe the entire terminology of Old English written poetry; she replaces existing terms in order to depict a truer image of the significance of orality in the written verse; for example she replaces the term ‘writing’ with ‘inscribing’, the term ‘poem’ with the term ‘verse sequence’ in order to accentuate its accretive and evolving nature.55 Though I view these terminological innovations as excellent tools of explanation and give credence to the distinctions in questions, I continue to use generally accepted terms to avoid undue confusion.

We are unsure of who the authors were, or indeed how many were involved in creating the poems by the time they were included in Junius XI in the late 10th or early 11th century. The poems, though similar in content, are dissimilar to each other in style and emphasis. Where Genesis A and Daniel are linear, Exodus is interspersed with digressions as is, in its own way, Christ and Satan. Exodus culminates in a single event of the crossing of the Red Sea, while Genesis A’s dramaturgical structure has no single culmination. Even the dates of individual poems, where scholars dare propose them, are far apart. It is therefore difficult if not impossible to approach the poems by way of authorial intent. However their inclusion in a single manuscript, in the order that they appear, testifies to an editorial intent. Furthermore the Junius XI manuscript, once assembled, impacted the audience of the 11th century. The incontrovertible facts in interpreting the poems are their inclusion in a single manuscript and their intended exposure to an Old English audience, predominately dated to c. 1000.

Since nothing can be asserted about the authorship of the poems, reception theory is the most viable approach in interpreting these poems. This theory takes into account the audience as an essential contributor to the received narrative where the narrative is understood by way of a process of reaction and even interaction between the audience and the text.56 In a way, Old English poetry doubly demands the application of reception theory, since the poems are the product of accretion over time and therefore every addition to an original narrative is executed by a person who was originally a member of the audience. Furthermore, since Junius XI poems are composed as adaptions of scriptural narrative to a specific genre and cultural environment, the very initial stages of their composition are in fact a documented reaction on the part of an educated audience member to scripture.

It is important in this interpretation to take into account the specifically literary characteristics of my sources. The oral style of Old English poetry is framed by form, which assists memorisation through poetic devices such as rhythm and alliteration, perhaps more aptly named ‘rhetorical devices’.57

Old English poets were assisted by a large vocabulary of imagery set in standard phrases and epithets within a formulaic system which allows for creation of ever-new formulaic phrases, as well as repetitive use of pre-existing ones. Such style necessitates word economy, which in turn results in a frequent use of compounding where the two elements form a compound-word. Individual compounds can be interpreted to form a variety of simultaneous layers of meaning at once depending on how the two elements are taken to correlate (do they enlarge or diminish the semantic range, do they contradict or support their relative meanings).58 Such style is ubiquitous throughout the Old English poetic corpus. These styles also transcend geographical specifics and are therefore problematic in terms of dating, allocating and even interpreting in historical context.

In treating specific features introduced by the Old Endlish literary acculturation of Old Testament narratives into the Old English vernacular poetic style it is vital to take into account the correlation or relationship of typical Old English poetic content and general Christian content. Robinson, in his excellent examination of Beowulf and the Appositive style, went beyond merely identifying features of poetic style.59 His subject of examination was Beowulf. The poem’s narrative takes place outside Anglo-Saxon political space and before Christianisation. Robinson exposed the complexity of poetic language by exposing polysemy, used in Christian terminology echoing a pagan past, as a purposeful effort on the part of the poet, attempting to present Anglo-Saxon pagan forebears in a less than abhorrent light. He argued that the poet wanted to retain the audience’s sympathy while remaining critical of paganism. The poet was argued to purposefully lend the protagonists’ the capacity to know morally laudable behaviour without the benefit of baptism or Christian doctrine. Robinson’s observations can be adapted to my discussion of the poems of Junius XI since these also contain the very elements of Beowulf which Robinson focused on: the Old Testament narrative of the Old Testament poems of Junius XI is likewise set outside the scope of Anglo-Saxon geographical realm and in pre-Christian times. The poets of Beowulf and the poems of Junius XI continuously sympathise and even identify with the Israelite people, though they were, strictly speaking, just as pagan as the Geats in Beowulf. To this effect Richard Marsden pointed out that as Anglo-Saxon audience would be able to draw analogies between the plight of the Israelites and their own situation of constant threat of subjugation; Marsden supported his contention with Ælfric’s homily on the biblical Judith wherein explicit parallels are drawn between Viking attacks on the English and the Assyrian threat against the Israelites.60

Therefore I will proceed with my search for social conceptions in the originality of the poems of Junius XI mindful of the complexity of poetic language, the difficulty of allegorical interpretation, the skill of the poet and the formulaic nature of poetry, spurred on by the sentiment of Paolo Borsa, Christian Høgel, Lars Boje Mortensen, and Elizabeth Tyler, namely that “written texts of a given period, area or social network within medieval Europe are in need of further promotion as a fitting subject for both literary and historical scrutiny.”61



Opombe / Notes


1 Posest se od lastnine razlikuje v tem, da je lahko podeljena v uzhivanje le za dolocheno obdobje, recimo dosmrtno, ali pa za chas trajanja sluzhbe ali zvestobe. / Possession is different from property insofar as possessions are bestowed for use for a set period of time, even a lifetime, or a number of generations.

2 Rosenwein, 'Worrying About Emotions in History', str. 825

3 Tyler, Old English Poetics.

4 Ibid., str. 7.

5 Ibid., str. 25-37, kolokacije na str. 38-101.

6 Tyler, ‘‘When Wings Incarnadine with Gold Are Spread’’.

7 Ibid., str. 86-90.

8 Ibid., str. 90-99.

9 Reuter, ‘You can’t Take it With You’, str. 11-12.

10 Ibid., str. 14.

11 Godden, 'Money, Power and Morality in Late Anglo-Saxon England'.

12 Ibid., str. 41/54.

Slovenci poznamo podoben primer pomenskega enachenja bogastva in politichne mochi iz 10. stoletja, in sicer v Brizhinskih spomenikih se fraza v Ochenashu she glasi “pridi bogastvu tvoje”, danes je bogastvo zamenjala beseda kraljestvo (kasnejshi izraz kralj izhaja iz imena Karl). / In Slovenian literary history the 10th century Paternoster in Slovenian (i.e. Freising Monuments) uses the term “bogastvu” (riches) to denote kingdom. Later the word is replaced by the term “kraljestvo” from the root “kralj” for king, believed to be derived from Karl, the Slovenian variant of Charles (the Great).

13 Godden, 'Money, Power’, str. 59.

14 Rosenwein in Little, 'Social Meaning in the Monastic and Mendicant Spiritualities', str. 19.

15 Izraz je skoval Chenu v L'éveil de la conscience dans la civilisation médiévale.

16 Abels, 'Heriot’.

17 Stafford, 'King and Kin, Lord and Community'; Brooks, 'Arms, Status and Warfare in Late Anglo-Saxon England'; Abels, Lordship and Military Obligation in Anglo-Saxon England.

18 Abels, Lordship and Military Obligation in Anglo-Saxon England, str. 117-19; Stenton, Sir, Anglo-Saxon England.

19 Chadwick, Studies on Anglo-Saxon institutions, str. 158-62; Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond, str. 156-61; Vinogradoff, English Society in the Eleventh Century, str. 22-38, 74-89.

20 Lucas, 'Loyalty and Obedience in the Old English Genesis'.

21 Brockman, ''Heroic' and 'Christian' in Genesis A'.

22 Cherniss, 'Heroic Ideals and the Moral Climate of Genesis B'; chas kralja Alfreda je predlagal Timmer, The Later Genesis, p. 43. Doane prevod datira enako v Doane, The Saxon Genesis, str. 54.

23 Pri tem bom uporabil tudi druge chlanke na temo druzhbene hierarhije v Genesis B / I will also make use of the following articles: Cherewatuk, 'Standing, Turning, Twisting, Falling'; Evans, 'Genesis B and its Background'; Lucas, 'Loyalty and Obedience in the Old English Genesis and the Interpolation of Genesis B into Genesis A'.

24 Berman, Law and Revolution, str. 312; Reynolds, 'Bookland, Folkland and Fiefs', str. 212.

25 Smith, Land and Book.

26 Ibid., str. 173-4, 199-200.

27 Ibid. str. 199-200.

28 Vinogradoff, ‘Folkland’, str. 11.          

29 Kennedy, 'Disputes About Bocland’, p. 176; Allen, Inquiry into the Rise and Growth of the Royal Prerrogative; Stalishche, da folcland oznachuje javno posedovano zemljo, zastopa tudi John, Land Tenure in Early England; John, Orbis Britanniae / the position that folcland refers to publically owned land is also represented by John, Land Tenure in Early England; John, Orbis Britanniae.

30 Maitland, Domesday Book and Beyond, str. 244.

31 Turner, ‘Bookland and Folkland’.

32 Wormald, 'On Þa Wæpnedhealfe', str. 267. Tudi/Also: Baxter and Blair, 'Land Tenure and Royal Patronage in the Early English Kingdom’, str. 18-23.

33 Reynolds, 'Bookland, Folkland and Fiefs'; Healey, Venezky, Dictionary of Old English Project, A Microfiche Concordance to Old English.

34 Hudson, The Oxford History of the Laws of England II, str 103-6.

35 Smith, Land and Book, str 18-20.

36 Remley, Old English Biblical Verse, str. 229.

37 Pelteret, 'Slavery in Anglo-Saxon England'; Pelteret, Slavery in Early Mediaeval England.

38 Ibid.

39 Wyatt, Slaves and Warriors in medieval Britain and Ireland, str. 26-35.

40 Ibid. Str. 182-87.

41 Rosenwein, Negotiating Space.

42 Wormald, Legal Culture in the Early Medieval West; P. Wormald, The Making of English Law.

43 Hudson, The Oxford History of the Laws of England II.

44 Ibid, str. 56.

45 Irving, ‘Exodus Retraced’, str. 209; komentira: Irving, The Old English Exodus.

46 Lapidge, ‘Versifying the Bible in the Middle Ages’, str. 11-40; M. Lapidge, Anglo-Latin Literature 900-1066; M. Lapidge, ‘Surviving Booklists from Anglo-Saxon England’, str. 33-89; M. Lapidge, The Anglo-Saxon Library; R. Marsden, The text of the Old Testament in Anglo Saxon England; J.D.A. Ogilvy, Books Known to the English 597-1066; B.F. Huppé, Doctrine and Poetry; R.I. Page, ‘The Study of Latin Texts in Late Anglo-Saxon England’; J. Morrish, 'King Alfred's Letter as a Source on Learning in England', str. 87-107.; S. Keynes, ‘King Athelstan’s Books’, str. 143-201.; K. Powell and D. Scragg (eds.), Apocryphal Texts and Traditions in Anglo-Saxon England; J. Gardner, The Construction of Christian Poetry in Old English; T. Hall, ‘Biblical and Patristic Learning’, str. 327-344; in mnogi drugi.

47 Ta proces sta izchrpno obdelana v Chadwick, The Heroic Age; in Stanley, The Search for Anglo-Saxon Paganism.

48 Vickrey, 'Exodus and the Treasure of Pharaoh'.

49 Ferhatovich, 'Burh and Beam, Burning Bright'.

50 Keenan, 'Exodus 513; The Green Streets of Paradise'

51 Ananya Kabir, Paradise, Death, and Doomsday in Anglo-Saxon Literature.

52 Tyler, Old English Poetics, str. 3.

53 Ustno izrochilo sta npr. zagovarjala Magoun Jr., 'The Oral Formulaic Character of Anglo-Saxon Narrative Poetry'; Scragg, 'The Nature of Old English Verse'.

54 Scragg, ‘The Nature of Old English Verse’, str. 55-6.

55 Pasternack, The Textuality of Old English Poetry, str. 2, 22.

56 Teorijo Rezeptionsästhetik, ki se je odtlej she razvijala, je leta 1970 prvi razvil nemshki literarni zgodovinar Hans Robert Jauss, Rezeptionsästhetik: Hans Robert Jauß und Wolfgang Iser tudi v angleshki izdaji: Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception./ The reception theory was first developed in 1970 by Hans Robert Jauss, Rezeptionsästhetik: Hans Robert Jauß und Wolfgang Iser. English edition: Jauss, Toward an Aesthetic of Reception.

57 Scragg, 'The Nature of Old English Verse'.

58 Ibid., str. 165-6; Robinson, Beowulf and the Appositive Style, str. 14.

59 Robinson, Beowulf and the Appositive Style.

60 Marsden, 'The Death of the Messenger’, p. 150.                                

61Borsa, Høgel, Mortensen, and Tyler, 'What is Medieval European Literature', p. 9.





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