Now open: Anglo-Saxon Exhibition at the British Library

Hwæt!  The British Library’s new exhibition, Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms: Art, Word, War, has now opened.  I have had the great privilege of working alongside the curators, being one of the first to see the completed exhibition, and of celebrating the official opening. A number of the manuscripts which I have written about in my blogposts are…

God bless my epiglottis: why I love the Lorica of Laidcenn

In this blog, I have written a lot about Anglo-Saxon prayer, medicine and poetry. Of course, these aren’t exclusive categories: medicine sometimes involved prayer, and prayers could be in the form of poetry. And sometimes, the same text can be all three. The Lorica of Laidcenn is a good example of this. A lorica is…

Egyptian Days and Ayurvedic Man: medical cultural connections

One of the advantages of working in central London is the sheer number of interesting exhibitions and other events going on all around me.  The other day I wandered into the Wellcome Collection to see if they had anything interesting to see, and was rewarded with a free exhibition called Ayurvedic Man: Encounters with Indian…

In the Seven Sleepers’ den

There must have been many people who have come across this line from John Donne’s seventeenth-century poem and wondered who the Seven Sleepers might have been – or why the poet might have snorted there.  The second question has a quick answer: it simply means ‘snored’.  But who were the Seven Sleepers? In June last…

New article published: ‘Which Psalms Were Important to the Anglo-Saxons? The Psalms in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Prayer and Medical Remedies’

My latest article is now available online in a special issue of English Studies! ‘Which Psalms Were Important to the Anglo-Saxons? The Psalms in Tenth- and Eleventh-Century Prayer and Medical Remedies’ English Studies, 98:1 (2017): 35-48 This article examines the use of the Psalms in sixteen short prayer programmes, found in tenth- and eleventh-century English…

Lots of Wynn

It is one year to the day since my first ever post on For the Wynn!  Thanks to all of you who have read my posts, commented on them, and passed them on.  Today I’m celebrating my bloggiversary by writing about the letter Ƿ (wynn).  Ƿ is the Anglo-Saxon letter w, meaning ‘joy’; and, as…

Who treated the sick in Anglo-Saxon England?

Recently in the UK there have been a number of strikes by hospital doctors over the new contract handed to them by the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt.  On a couple of these occasions, I spent a brief period, before going to work in the morning, holding banners with doctors and their supporters at my local…

How to protect yourself from harm in Anglo-Saxon England

What was medieval Christianity anyway?  Sometimes, we know more about the views of people in positions of power, or of reformers who sought to tighten up religious practices, than about those of the average person.  But how to what extent do their works reflect what happened in reality?  In my research, I have come across…

The power of plants (and an Anglo-Saxon cold remedy)

This blogpost is part of a series on Anglo-Saxon medicine, which was introduced here. The other day, I came across one of the Old English language’s many words related to battle and heroism and realised that it had been a long time since I had encountered it. On reflection, however, it occurred to me that…

Get well soon (Anglo-Saxon style)

I can remember exactly when it was that I discovered Anglo-Saxon medicine. For one of my undergraduate assessments in Old English, I had to write an edition, translation and commentary of an Old English text – in my case, a riddle. The speaker (I won’t ruin the riddle by giving its solution: you can find…