Have mercy, guide me, guard me: an eighth- (and eleventh-) century prayer

It’s Lent, and time for something a bit more penitential than some of the glorious manuscripts and linguistic fun that I have been writing about in recent posts.  It happens that a lot of my current work (adapting my doctoral thesis for publication) has been on confessional prayers of various kinds, which is pretty convenient.  … More Have mercy, guide me, guard me: an eighth- (and eleventh-) century prayer

Quid gloriaris? Psalm 51 in early medieval manuscripts

Quid gloriaris in malitia, qui potens es in iniquitate?  Why do you glory in malice, you who are mighty in iniquity?  Whatever the answer to the question posed in Psalm 51, it was important enough that medieval illuminators opened it with a glorious display page of its very own.  This is because the 150 psalms … More Quid gloriaris? Psalm 51 in early medieval manuscripts

Honey and peace will abound: Anglo-Saxon predictions for 2017

Happy New Year!  If you’re wondering what is to come in 2017, early medieval monks had the answers.  A number of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts include prognostics of various kinds – texts for predicting the future. One such manuscript is London, British Library Cotton MS Tiberius A. iii.  As mentioned in some earlier posts, I’ve worked with … More Honey and peace will abound: Anglo-Saxon predictions for 2017

Let your works be dead: the haunting House of Fame

In the summer of 2002, in preparation for my final-year university module on the works of Geoffrey Chaucer, I started reading a rather odd sort of poem.  The House of Fame made little immediate impact on me, other than the image of a magnificent (and truculent) eagle bearing the poet up to the heavens and … More Let your works be dead: the haunting House of Fame

Have mercy on me, O God: Psalm 50 in the Anglo-Saxon church

I have a new article out!  ‘Which Psalms Were Important to the Anglo-Saxons? The Psalms in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Prayer and Medical Remedies’ is part of a special edition of English Studies on the psalms in Anglo-Saxon and Anglo -Norman England, edited by Helen Appleton and Francis Leneghan, and I am grateful to both of … More Have mercy on me, O God: Psalm 50 in the Anglo-Saxon church

Naming names in Ælfwine’s Prayerbook

It’s strange how you think you know a manuscript well and then realise that there are things in it that you didn’t even know were there.  Take London, British Library Cotton MS Titus D. xxvii + xxvi (originally one manuscript, later divided into two), a compendium of liturgical prayers, private prayers, and scientific information.  It’s … More Naming names in Ælfwine’s Prayerbook