MMXVI: a year of blogging

Bliþe Cristmæsse!  I hope you have all enjoyed the holiday period.  With another year coming to an end, I’ve been reflecting on the past year in blogging.

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St John hard at work.  London, British Library Additional MS 49598, fol. 19v.

I started this blog last year with the intention of (mostly) sticking to my major research topics of Anglo-Saxon prayer, liturgy and medicine.  For the first, I started out with a rather fun post,  Like, pray, share: Anglo-Saxon prayer memes, which, much like the medieval and modern material that it discusses, ended up being passed on and read far more than I ever expected.  I also wrote about an Old English confessional prayer, and speculated a bit about how the Anglo-Saxons might have envisaged God looking down upon them and hearing their prayers.  I marked the church’s liturgical year with posts on Easter and Michaelmas; and, while I decided not to write the full programme of posts on Anglo-Saxon medicine that I originally envisaged, I did find time to advise you all on how to ward off harm, go on a detox diet, and find a doctor when in early medieval England.

The busy life of a scribe.  Utrecht, Universiteitsbibliotheek MS 32, fol. 26r.

With an increasing number of medieval manuscripts becoming publicly available online, I took the time to introduce a couple of my favourites, of a similar age but distinctly different: a heavily-damaged novices’ prayerbook, and a beautifully-made psalter.  More commonly, however, I took a single theme and wrote a blogpost which made connections between several different manuscripts: on fruit, cheese, snakes, and one that I was rather pleased with on Syria and Anglo-Saxon England.  I even strayed out of the Anglo-Saxon period to talk about Middle English literature, each time by relating it to the present day: I used the late medieval play Mankind as a basis to talk about motivation and procrastination, and explained how Chaucer’s House of Fame makes me reflect on the forgetting of good people and their deeds.

Me, after a year’s work.  Cambridge, Trinity College MS R. 17. 1, fol. 23r.

Finally, towards the end of the year, I made a decision to broaden the interests reflected in my blog by going in two directions that I hope to pursue further in 2017.  Firstly, I wrote a post, which I am particularly proud of, on a legal document, a tenth-century charter by a woman called Wynflæd.  And I took some time to look more closely at the artistry of Anglo-Saxon script itself, in my first anniversary post on the letter Ƿ.

Wishing you a few more happy days of mead-drinking as we see MMXVI draw to a close.

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It’s party time!  London, British Library Cotton MS Tiberius C. vi, fol. 5r.

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