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 20: Emotions in the Carolingian Age

Editor's Note: Emotions in the Carolingian Age

Benedict of Aniane, Adalhard of Corbie, and the Perils of Contentio

Abstract: In the Carolingian era, monasteries were treated as isolated havens of tranquility. The texts associated with the monastic reforms propagated by the Carolingian court usually also represented them as such, in order to highlight the harmony and community they stood for. However, underneath the surface, debates and conflicts about the proper way of life would continuously take place—and sometimes these boiled over into the public sphere as well. Starting from a single instance of such a public contentio (between Benedict of Aniane and Adalhard of Corbie), this article analyses how and why this could happen, and especially also what could make author decide to record the existence of such conflicts for later generations: as a warning, but also as a way of teaching that the perfect (monastic) life is in constant need of updates.

Haimo of Auxerre's Angry Smile: Emotional Experience in Ninth-Century Francia

Abstract: Haimo, the master of the monastic school at Saint-Germain (Auxerre) never wrote a treatise on emotions. Understanding his thoughts about anger, therefore, requires reconstructing them from the various references scattered throughout his commentaries and homilies. In this essay I perform that reconstruction. Haimo focused not on whether anger was good or bad, or on whether or not one should avoid it. Indeed, Haimo assumed that people would by nature become angry. Instead, he focused on the duration of anger once felt. Haimo's concern was for emotion as experience, and for the transformation of one emotional experience into another.

Claudius of Turin's Insane Fury: The Rhetoric of Emotions and Community

Abstract: Jonas of Orléans's attack on Claudius of Turin in De cultu imaginum utilizes specific emotion words that present Claudius as an outsider and enemy of the community of Christians and saints and associate him with past heretics, political enemies, and the devil and demons. Claudius’ fury, pride, excessive zeal, and lack of shame and fear led to his conflict with the rest of the Church. Jonas encouraged patience, humility, and love as ways to restore peace and order in the Church. He portrayed Claudius's heresy as an issue of wrong emotion, not simply wrong doctrine, and offered an image of orthodox worshipers united in detestation, fear, and grief in response to heresy and in love and joy in the presence of relics. Jonas reinforced the image of Claudius as outsider by contrasting this ideal emotional script with Claudius's emotions. Jonas's use of emotions illustrates how authority accompanied a specific set of emotions that were evoked in order to define membership and preserve and promote proper hierarchy within a community while excluding, discrediting, and silencing oppositional voices by labeling their emotions as unacceptable.

Issue 20: General Articles

"The Dream of Maxen Wledig": The Medieval Topics of "The Loss of Britain" And "The Loss of Spain"

Abstract: The tale of "The Dream of Maxen Wledig" depicts the life of Magnus Maximus, a Roman emperor from Hispania whose memory and legacy were forgotten in medieval Christendom but kept strongly alive in Welsh history. A source of legitimacy and prestige for the Welsh kings, this tale is an idealized reformulation of the Roman past of Britain, built in the Middle Ages as a link between a lost "Golden Age" and the idea of the right of the Welsh people to recover the hegemony of Britannia. After reviewing its historical sources and fictional elements, this paper finishes with a brief comparative study between the themes of the "Loss of Britain" and the "Loss of Spain."

Reviews

Grønlie, The Saint and the Saga Hero

Adomnán, Iona, and the Life of St. Columba: Their Place Among Continental Saints

Abstract: If we are to believe Adomnán, ninth abbot of Iona and author of the Life of St. Columba, the reputation of the Saint reached beyond Ireland and Britain to "Spain and Gaul and Italy beyond the Alps, and even Rome itself, the chief of all cities." Is this literary embellishment or historical realism? This paper will explore the ways in which Adomnán connects Columba with the continent and how those connections are intimately linkied with his purpose(s) for writing the Life.

King Alfred's Scholarly Writings and the Authorship of the First Fifty Prose Psalms

Abstract: A great part of King Alfred's renown comes from his translations of Latin writings into Old English. The group of translations that he gets credit for, however, has changed over the years. Presently four translations are attributed to him: the Pastoral Care, the Boethius, the Soliloquies, and the first fifty Prose Psalms. The first three works openly name Alfred as translator and provide strong internal evidence that they are Alfred's work. The Prose Psalms, however, lack Alfred's name. Although now widely endorsed as Alfred's on the basis of studies by Janet Bately and Patrick O'Neil, the Prose Psalms do not allow the same confidence in Alfred's authorship as with the three named translations. Bately's and O'Neill's arguments exhibit several weaknesses. Their conclusion, moreover, breaks down when stylometric analysis is applied to the translations associated with Alfred. The statistical methods employed in this study indicate that Alfred should not be regarded as the translator of the Prose Psalms after all.