BL blogpost: In praise of the psalms

I have written another blogpost for the Medieval Manuscripts blog of the British Library!  This one is on a manuscript, Harley MS 2928, which we catalogued for the Polonsky England and France 700-1200 project, which turned out to include a copy of a text which I know very well.  De laude psalmorum (‘In praise of…

What happened before the Books of Hours?

As promised in earlier posts, my monograph has now been published by De Gruyter/Medieval Institute Publications! Although it is based upon my 2011 doctoral thesis, it departs from it considerably in several places, reducing the attention given to the Carolingian period and adding two extra chapters.  Many of the subjects discussed in the book have…

Quattuor/feower

Four are the elements from which the rainbow takes its colours Quadricolor enim est . ex omnibus elementis in se rapit species.  De celo enim trahit igneum colorem . de aquis purpureum . de aere album de terris collegit nigrum. For it [the rainbow] is of four colours, and takes its appearance from all of…

Established in our spirit-chests: the Old English Lord’s Prayer III

‘Everyone must know their Lord’s Prayer and their creed.’ So wrote Ælfric of Eynsham in the early eleventh century. It may be for this reason, and also because churchpeople may in any case have wished to pray in their own language, that several copies of the Lord’s Prayer or Paternoster survive in Old English translation,…

Divination for a day of birth

This is my 100th blogpost on For the Wynn! In celebration of this, I am going to share a full version of a fascinating little text which I mentioned briefly in this blogpost for the British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts blog: a divinatory text by which you can discover a person’s fortune based on the position…

BL blogpost: A medieval guide to predicting your future

Which day of the month is bad for starting a new project? How do you find possessions which have been stolen from you? What will your fortune be? Medieval people knew the answers to these questions! Find out in my new blogpost for the British Library’s Medieval Manuscripts blog.

Rivers of tears, softening stone

“Jesus wept.”  Famously the shortest verse in the Authorised English version of the Bible (John 11:35), when Jesus weeps at the death of his friend Lazarus, this is actually slightly longer in Latin, usually a more succinct language than English: Et lacrimatus est Iesus. A major focus of my work is on the circumstances surrounding…

‘Lord, my teeth hurt…’ Prayers to and for St Peter

It’s the 29th of June, and today is the feast day of St Peter (and also of St Paul).  Peter is my favourite Bible person, because he’s a bit of an idiot quite a lot of the time, but he really wants to be good. Take, for example, the narrative of the Transfiguration of Christ. …

A treasure-chest of pearls

Þas þing synt earfoðe on Englisc to secganne, se we wyllað þurh Cristes fultum hig onwreon, swa wel swa we betst magon, and þas meregrota þam beforan lecgan þe þisra gyman wyllað.  Þæs anes dæges wanung, hu he byð geworden binnan nigontyne wintrum we wyllað gecyðan. These things are difficult to say in English, but…

BL blogpost: How many alphabets?

As part of my work on the Polonsky Foundation England and France digitisation programme at the British Library last year, I wrote a blogpost on the different writing systems used in early medieval Latin manuscripts.  This has just been published on the Library’s Digitised Manuscripts blog, in conjunction with the new exhibition Writing: Making Your…