The Heroic Age

A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe

12 (May 2009)  |   Issue Editors: Larry Swain

Founded 1998   |   ISSN 1526-1867

Issue Navigation

Issue Homepage

Office for St. Cuthbert

Metrical Foregrounding

King Alfred's Scholarly Writings

Forum—Digitizing Numismatics

Forum—Regna et Regnum

Forum—Saints and Sacred Space

Electronic Medievalia

Continental Business


Philological Inquiries


Letter from the Editor

§1.  Sumer is icumen in! Or so said the poet, in agreement with the weather prognosticators for once. It is both a frustration and an embarrassment that the Winter issue is seeing the light of day as summer is fast approaching, but regrettably that is too often the state of affairs in academic publishing. But it isn't for lack of trying.

§2.  So, I'd like to begin by mentioning the important people who volunteer their time to make The Heroic Age happen each issue. First, and foremost, there are three people who work very hard to make each issue come together, edited, polished, and coded. Deanna Forsman, our webster, formats and codes each page on our website, including each issue, taking time from her own academic duties and courses, family, and leisure to do so. Without her efforts, there would be no The Heroic Age. Eileen Joy has done an enormous amount of work for the journal. Not only is she now editing a column for us, but she has been a reader, an editor, and copy editor. It is not as if she is not busy elsewhere: in addition to her work for us, she has been editing volumes of essays (, putting together a new journal (, blogging at In the Middle (, and other activities. I am very grateful for all her efforts with The Heroic Age. Last but certainly not least, Bill Schipper is our archivist and is another of those wonderful people whose helping hand is everywhere. In addition to his work with us, Bill is planning and hosting the next meeting of The International Society of Anglo-Saxonists, hosts and manages several well-known email lists in early Medieval Studies, and of course has his own work to undertake. My very grateful thanks to each of these three for their very hard work on my behalf.

§3.  In addition to those three, others have had a hand in producing this issue who should be mentioned: Rolf Bremmer, Tim Clarkson, Michael Treschow, Linda Malcor, Dan O'Donnell, and Michel Aaij have all undertaken editing at several levels. Finally, I will mention our readers, who will remain nameless for obvious reasons, but they know who they are. The only reward I can offer all these people is my sincere gratitude. If you have a moment whether via email or at a conference, please say "thanks" to these folk who have made this issue possible.

§4.  Before turning to the issue itself, there are some exciting developments in connection with the links pages hosted at the journal's site. For this issue, the Anglo-Saxon links have been culled, weeded, and expanded. Ten years ago, in winter 1999, when I first split the Anglo-Saxon links off into their own subpage, I had grand plans to do the same for other subfields within the journal's purview. While it won't make it for Issue 12, there is at least one subsection and possibly two in development that will make debut appearances in Issue 13.

§5.  More importantly, and in my view far more exciting, is a new development for some older but useful tools. As many know, the Richard Rawlinson Center at the Medieval Institute ( of Western Michigan University once hosted several online bibliographies and other projects that covered a range of subjects in Early Medieval Studies. A few years ago, some decisions were made that caused the removal of these tools from the Richard Rawlinson Center website, at that time intended to be a temporary situation. Several years later, however, the bibliographies remain inaccessible to the medieval researcher. These bibliographies are now in the process of being migrated to The Heroic Age site and will be linked off the HA links pages. There are many to thank for these developments. First, and foremost, Paul E. Szarmach, now Director of the Medieval Academy of America (, James M. Murray and Elizabeth Teviotdale of the Medieval Institute, and Bill Schipper and the good folks at Memorial University of Newfoundland ( are all owed a deep debt of gratitude for allowing this to happen and making the migration possible. As of this writing, the first such bibliography, Robert Fulk and Kari Ellen Gade's online edition of A Bibliography of Germanic Alliterative Meters, is almost ready to go to its new home and may be included in Issue 12's update links release.

§6.  Turning to our regular features for this issue, I would like to draw your attention to a new column: Philological Inquiry written by Michael Drout and Scott Kleinman. The plan is for this to be a recurring column on philological approaches to the field. This first foray examines the word "Merovingian" in Beowulf in order to "illuminate culture, history and politics and shed new light on an old problem." Please join me in welcoming Mike and Scott and this new contribution to our columns.

§7.  Eileen Joy has edited a second offering in our still new "babelisms" column. The column is devoted to publishing essays that explore convergences between early medieval and modern texts and ideas. In this issue's column, Helen T. Bennett offers a meditation on halls in Beowulf: "The Postmodern Hall in Beowulf: Endings Embedded in Beginnings."

§8.  In Michel Aaij's Continental Business column, Michel reviews and discusses recent scholarly works on Rabanus Maurus, and Dan O'Donnell returns as columnist of Electronic Medievalia with "Byte me: Technological Education and the Humanities." This rounds out our recurring columns.

§9.  Elsewhere in this issue's Forum, Jonathan Jarrett, well-known to many as the blogger behind A Corner of Tenth Century Europe ( and author of the forthcoming Pathways of Power in late-Carolingian Catalonia: Charters and Connections on a medieval frontier from the Royal Historical Society, contributes to our ongoing series about current developments in subfields of medieval studies. He offers us "Digitizing Numismatics: getting the Fitzwilliam Museum's coins to the world-wide web." As this issue's installment of our series introducing projects in the field, Margaret Cormack introduces us to her site and asks for readers' aid in a column titled "Saints and Sacred Space: An Interactive Database—A Call for Collaborators." Howard Wiseman offers a review essay on a fiction novel, Albion. Finally, Cullen Chandler offers a review essay discussing several recent books on things Carolingian in his contribution titled "Regna et Regnum: Studies of Regions within the Carolingian Empire."

§10.  We have three excellent articles in this issue. Karmen Lenz examines the liturgy for St. Cuthbert in her Liturgical Readings of the Cathedral Office for Saint Cuthbert. This is followed by Douglas Simms who contributes an article focused on linguistics titled Heavy Hypermetrical Foregrounding in the Old Saxon Heliand and Genesis Poems. Rounding out the General Article section is a team-sponsored article titled King Alfred's Scholarly Writings and the Authorship of the First Fifty Prose Psalms by Michael Treschow, Paramjit Gill, and Tim B. Swartz that examines the attribution of these psalms to Alfred. These three very solid and interesting articles complete the issue.

§11.  Looking ahead, Issue 13 is already well under way. Originally imagined as an issue to focus on medieval manuscripts, as it turns out, the issue will instead focus on translations from early medieval texts! Nonetheless, the issue will also include articles on Old Norse, Hincmar, and Arthur plus our usual columns.

§12.  Issue 14 is in development as well. Its a twin-themed issue guest-edited by Andrew Rabin and Eileen Joy. Andrew is collecting and editing a group of essays on Early Medieval Law. Eileen has gathered and is editing a number of essays on the topic of theory and early medieval literature. I myself enjoy the juxtaposition of a traditional topic with a more cutting-edge, perhaps even edgeless topic and placing these in conversation. If all goes well, this issue should be published in early 2010.

§13.  The Heroic Age will celebrate its first decade in 2010. We formed the board in late 1999 and published our inaugural issue in Spring 2000, imagined then as appearing quarterly. That first issue was all about Arthur. Our fifteenth issue is scheduled to be published in mid-2010 and is seeking papers on "Arthur-related" topics, revisiting the edges of that first issue. The three sections currently planned for that issue will cover the world of Late Antique Britain and Gaul, connections with the rest of the continent in Late Antiquity, and new views of the Adventus Saxonum. The second section will examine Arthur and Arthurian literature. The third section will include studies of Late Antique and Early Medieval authors.

§14.  Even further ahead, Issue 16 is already gathering papers. A special section on Alcuin is being guest-edited by James LePree. Issues 17 and 18 are in the planning stages as well. One will be guest-edited by Jonathan Jarrett, mentioned above, on "Carolingian Border-lands" and Issue 18 will focus on Old French/Provencal/Occitan studies. That takes the editorial planning up through the beginning of 2012.

§15.  As always, feedback is appreciated. I now turn you over to the issue itself, lest this note become as long as what it introduces! On behalf of the editorial board, our readers, and editors, I hope you the reader enjoy the issue.