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Open Access When Aldhelm Met the Vikings: Advanced Latinity in Ninth-Century Mercian Charters

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A series of charters from ninth-century Mercia were written in a Latin style that was far more sophisticated than that usually practiced by contemporary charter draftsmen. Drawing heavily on the work of Aldhelm, Abbot of Malmesbury, and Bishop of Sherborne (d. 709/10), this way of writing was highly incongruous in the context of a pre-tenth-century charter; moreover, it goes against the general trend of cultural stagnation and the decline in standards of learning and literacy which have so often been associated with ninth-century England before the Alfredian "renaissance." This article will discuss the authenticity of these charters, analyze the style of their Latin, and address the questions of how and why such sophisticated language came to be used at this time.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2014

More about this publication?
  • Until a short time ago, in German speaking countries there has neither been a periodical dealing primarly with interdisciplinary research of the Middle Ages, nor has there been a forum for regular publications in other languages. Wishing to close this gap, the journal «Mediaevistik» therefore pursues two aims: 1. To publish research methods and results which deal with studies within the different categories of the Middle Ages as a subject, and 2. to offer a forum for studies in all other important European languages and thus stressing and furthering the internationality of this particular field of research. The time frame is approx. the 8th to the 16th century, corresponding with the geographical boundaries of Latin Christianity in the High Middle Ages.

    All articles in Mediaevistik are published as full open access articles under a CC-BY Creative Commons license 4.0. There are no submission charges and no Article Processing Charges as these are fully funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched, resulting in no direct charge to authors.

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