• The Broken Body in Eleventh to Thirteenth-Century Anglo-Scandinavian Literature

    Author(s):
    Matthew Firth (see profile)
    Date:
    2019
    Group(s):
    Early Medieval, Medieval Studies
    Subject(s):
    Anglo-Saxon studies, Corporal punishment, Hagiography, Icelandic literature, Medieval, Medieval history, Medieval law and literature
    Item Type:
    Article
    Tag(s):
    Icelandic Sagas, medieval law, Wergeld
    Permanent URL:
    http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/0sdt-2k60
    Abstract:
    Anglo-Scandinavian literary and legal texts give evidence of two cultures which shared similar attitudes to punitive acts of violence; whether as literary trope or legislative recourse, deliberate mutilation was a familiar form of retribution. Why this is the case is not always clear within the context of the texts in which such episodes are narrated, or punishments prescribed. Anglo-Saxon England and Scandinavia had a long history of cultural contact. Both were German cultures that, by the time their laws, narratives, and histories were recorded, were also Christian cultures. Moreover, Scandinavians had been visiting English shores for three-hundred years from the eighth century, raiding and settling, culminating in 1017 in the ascension of the Danish prince Cnut to the English throne. At each point of cultural contact, the exchange of ideals and values may have aided in facilitating acculturation as it related to societal attitudes to the body. By analysing selections from legal texts, Anglo-Saxon hagiography, and Íslendingasögur (Icelandic family sagas) that portray or engage with acts of deliberate mutilation, this paper explores the origins and evolution of shared Anglo-Scandinavian attitudes to punitive violence.
    Metadata:
    Published as:
    Journal article    
    Status:
    Published
    Last Updated:
    3 months ago
    License:
    All Rights Reserved
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