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

Æthelberht's and Alfred's Two Skulls

Abstract: This paper argues that the unique term hion in Æthelberht §36 should be interpreted as tabulum of the skull, connecting it to the use of heafod-ban in Alfred §40.

Carolingian Catalonia: the Spanish March, 778–988

Abstract: When Charlemagne crossed the Pyrenees into Spain in 778, he sought to extend his dominion over lands and peoples, to expand the realm of Christendom. By no means did he intend to create, over the next two decades, the nucleus of a principality. Yet ultimately, the creation of the Carolingian Spanish March did set the stage for the gradual development of Catalonia over the following two centuries. Frankish might carved a handful of counties out of Muslim-held territory in the eastern Pyrenean region, where the population consisted of Christians labeled as Goths and Hispani. In the context of the ninth and tenth centuries, however, it is quite clear that the Frankish conquest and connection to the monarchy, not a treasured memory of the Visigothic past, was the defining element of the region’s politics and culture.

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