The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe

The Heroic Age is a fully peer-reviewed academic journal.

The Heroic Age is dedicated to the exploration all aspects of early medieval Northwestern Europe, from a variety of vantage points and disciplines from the beginning of the fourth century through the beginning of the thirteenth. By bringing various points of view to the table, we hope to open new vistas of investigation and strengthen ties among early medieval studies and its popular bases. The title "Heroic Age" is applicable to literary, historical, folkloric studies and the material culture that lies behind the people who lived, wrote, and championed their beliefs and created cultures in the period. We will strive to understand and promote understanding of this dynamic early medieval period.

Issue 19: New Feminist Voices in the Heroic Age

Editors' Note: New Feminist Voices in the Heroic Age

Ic ane geseah idese sittan: The Woman and Women Apart in Old English Poetry

Abstract: Old English poetry does not particularly lack for women, but it does lack for relationships between women. The present article builds upon previous observations of this absence as it elaborates on the ways in which the depiction of such relationships is forestalled in the corpus: it establishes in detail how rarely women speak to each other, are named in each other's company, and indeed are shown to interact in Old English verse. The isolated woman tends to feature instead. This gendered asymmetry of social interaction is then, finally, considered in a literary-historical longue durée.

"Her temper was still the same": Women Resisting Colonialism in Modern Viking Narratives

Abstract: Most twenty-first century audiences know about Norse sagas or "Viking culture" through Hollywood films and video games such as The Vikings (1958), Thor: Ragnarok (2017), Hellblade: Senua's Sacrifice (2018), and God of War (2018). As scholarship has demonstrated, Viking films and games are a hybrid of old customs and modern principles and are often not concerned with historical accuracy but rather with current issues. Like the Norse sagas that inspired them, the women presented in modern Viking narratives, specifically those I identify as colonized women, can still be understood as advocates of agency through their use of language. My use of the term colonized women refers to the ideology of the colonizer: men, who are not a part of the woman's original culture, forcing those women to submit to their ideology—a concept often referred to as internal colonization. Colonized women in modern Viking narratives often use language, a representation of the self, as a means of recovery in their foreign new world (i.e. a new physical place or even a new mental state). These women are shown as fighting against a "foreign" enemy, displacement, and general patriarchy. I argue that modern Viking films and games are concerned with how women can demonstrate agency through language. Such an analysis is important in consideration of modern society's continuous struggle with gender equality as seen through the #MeToo movement, where women's testimonies are giving rise to a greater movement of resistance and change against unbalanced gender power dynamics.

Issue 19: General Articles

Patriarchal Rituals: Anglo-Saxon Readings of Genesis and the Shift from Pagan to Christian Religious Practice

Abstract: The Biblical book of Genesis provides a touchstone for Anglo-Saxons, a world not so much different than their own. Anglo-Saxon understanding and treatment of Genesis as a text that offered cultural elements familiar from their pre-Christian past now resignified in a Christian context aiding conversion to the Christian world-view.

The Year in Medieval Archaeology


Hostetter, Political Appetites: Food in Medieval English Romance

The P-Celtic Place-Names of North-East England and South-East Scotland

Abstract: This article focuses on the region between the Firth of Forth to the north and the River Tees to the south, to gather together those names identified by past scholars as possibly p-Celtic, providing a new assessment as to whether each contains p-Celtic elements. With the identification of eighty-four names probably containing p-Celtic elements, and forty-five further possible examples, it emerges that p-Celtic toponyms in the region are more numerous than has usually been assumed. Moreover, there is reason to think that the distribution of p-Celtic names is historically significant: generally speaking, the distribution of the earliest identifiable Old English place-names (those ending in -hām and -ingahām) is mutually exclusive of p-Celtic names. The most obvious interpretation of the evidence in this study is a synthesis of mass-migration and elite-takeover models. Large-scale Anglian cultural influence, and therefore implicitly settlement, seems likely along the major river valleys south of the Lammermuir and Moorfoot hills (following the Tyne, Tees, Alne and Tweed), with slower diffusion of influence elsewhere. It seems likely that p-Celtic speech survived longest in the area between the Lammermuir and Moorfoot hills, a supposition supported by archaeological evidence. The study takes the opportunity of online publication to develop new strategies for presenting place-name evidence, including a full appendix of data hyperlinked to the main text, and an interactive distribution map (implemented by Alaric Hall).

Relics and Reliquaries in the Vita Germani Auctore Constantio: the Capsula

Abstract: The use of the word capsula in the Vita Germani appears to be unique for the late antique period. This paper will shed light not only on the originality of Constantius's semantic choice, but also on how the term capsa—of which capsula is one of the variations—seems to have undergone an evident semantic shift during Constantius's years, and how his text appears to be the first literary witness to this shift. It will be shown how the change in meaning of the term is rooted in the evolution and diffusion of the burgeoning cult of saints during the fourth and fifth centuries.

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