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.

StJohn Add49598.19v.PNG
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.

utrechtps-26r
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.

sleeping-trincamr17-1-23r
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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