The Heroic Age

A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe

Issue 9 (Oct 2006)

Oswald, King and Saint: His Britain and Beyond   |   Issue Editor: Michelle Ziegler

Founded 1998   |   ISSN 1526-1867

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Holy Kingship

Locating Maserfelth

The King's Fragmented Body

Exogamous Marriages

Enemy's Eyes

St. Oswald's Martyrdom

Forum—Irish Hagiography

Forum—Refusing the Gaze

Electronic Medievalia

Continental Business



Bremmer, Rolf H. Jr. 2004. Hir is eskriven: Lezen en schrijven in de Friese landen rond 1300 [Here is Written: Reading and Writing in the Frisian Lands around 1300]. Hilversum: Verloren. 165 pages, 38 ills., map. ISBN 9065508171.

The Dutch complain about the lack of funding for the humanities almost as much as they complain about the weather, but looking at recent publications from the Netherlands one wonders how they could publish so many high-quality books if there were no money in that business. Rolf Bremmer's latest book, Hir is eskriven, is such a book, with an attractive cover and richly illustrated, and still only 17 Euro. His publisher, Verloren, is quickly establishing itself on the Dutch market, specializing in the Middle Ages and the history of the Netherlands and its (former) colonies, with an ever-increasing catalog (containing, for instance, ten academic journals). There clearly is a market for history in the Netherlands, and Verloren have tapped into it quite nicely, publishing an impressive array of very attractive books (recently a few titles appeared in English).

Bremmer is of course quite well-known in English-speaking circles also, and an expert on all Frisian matters, including the Frisian connection to Old English culture and literature. This latest book is the result of extensive research in a relatively small field: that of Frisian writing around the year 1300. The book's thesis can be summarized without too much difficulty: there is more to Frisian reading and writing than we have been led to believe; in fact, once we realize just how much Frisian writing we have lost since about the fifteenth century or so, and once we read carefully what we have left, we will see, according to Bremmer, that there is no need to look down on the Frisians as semi-literate newly-converted barbarians who, submitted by the Christian sword, only grudgingly accepted the Christian pen.

For every study of Friesland and the Frisians must reckon with the long-time subordinate political status of that part of continental Europe. For instance, the part of Friesland west of the Lauwers lost its independence in 1498 to count Albrecht of Saxony, and from then on all government documentation and correspondence came to be written in Dutch with a northern accent; within two generations Frisian had all but disappeared from both the public and even the private sphere, not to make its official comeback until the twentieth century. This book's scope is limited to the few centuries of literate Frisian independence and the later treatment by historians of this short-lived literary culture.

Bremmer's argument develops chronologically, starting with the first missionaries to Friesland, and in passing he mentions, of course, Willibrord's calender and the books scorned by Boniface's killers. Friesland remained without monasteries for a few centuries, and until a decided increase in the intensity of spiritual life in Friesland, there is no production of books to speak of (besides a Liber Vitae of the canons in Dokkum maintained until the eleventh century). But in the twelfth century, this changes, and a slew of monasteries are founded all over the Frisian lands, starting in the west, and as a result education takes off.

An account of these monasteries and the texts they have left us with constitutes the first major part of Bremmer's book. He describes the day-to-day activities especially in regards to any literate activity and milks all remaining texts for evidence on the operation and contents of monasteries' libraries; along the way he establishes, using very diverse textual sources, that there must also have been literate lay people, such as medical doctors and surveyors. At this point in time, however, 'literate' meant, of course, literate in Latin.

The book's second part begins with the first Frisian texts, collections of judicial documents that contain statutes dating back centuries. Bremmer argues, however, that it is very unlikely that these laws are based on written collections dating back to the eleventh and twelfth centuries, as some scholars believe: the social and legal infrastructure was simply not there, nor had Friesland developed any kind of pragmatic literacy. The development of vernacular writing in Friesland thus fits in seamlessly with developments in the surrounding areas and languages—the first administrative text in Dutch is produced in Middelburg around 1200, and is followed by official documents in Dutch in the larger cities to the north; in Saxony, just south of East Friesland, the Sachsenspiegel, a legal codex, is produced between 1225 and 1235. That the Frisian legal documents are very widespread already at the end of the thirteenth century Bremmer explains with a detailed account of the ties that bind the various monasteries and schools together all throughout the region; this is one of the sections, by the way, that make this book such a pleasure to read—Bremmer's conversational tone helps him make the most of sometimes limited evidence, and he manages to bring his characters to life.

The most interesting chapter, in my opinion, discusses the "Friese Vrijheid," the myth of Frisian independence granted by Charlemagne, as reward for Frisian aid in beating down a popular insurgency in Rome. Bremmer discusses various indirect sources, such as seals and documents that refer to these rights; many proclamations and letters contain passages based on that founding myth. The Gesta Frisonum, a Frisian text preserved in a codex ca. 1500 and based on a Latin Historia Frisiae, preserves the mythical history of the Frisians in great detail: starting on an island off the coast of India, the Frisians travel to their present land in a journey that parallels that of the Israelites. This history culminates in a bloodless battle between Charlemagne and the Danish king Redbad, decided in Charlemagne's favor. Bremmer actually derives his title from one of the aforementioned judicial codices: "Hir is eskrivin alsaden riucht, sa us God selva sette anti kinig Kerl urief": "Here is written such right as God himself set for us and King Charles granted us." A final note in this chapter, and Bremmer does well to dwell on it, comes from another codex, the Second Hunsingoer Codex (Leeuwarden Hs. R 3), a collection that contains (besides legal documents and historical texts) a poem that recounts Frisian mythological history, called "Fon alra Fresena fridome," "of the freedom of all Frisians." Written out as prose, whereas elsewhere (in England as well as continental Europe) poetry in Latin was written out as verse, the poem contains a number of non-Frisian (Middle Dutch or even German) forms used for the sake of rhyme: Bremmer concludes that the poet must have had access to or acquaintance with non-Frisian poetic texts, that Friesland, in other words, was not the end of the world but very much part of it.

In all, this is a very useful book, for those interested in Frisian matters but also for scholars of literacy, and really a microhistory of sorts that utilizes the remaining books very well (Appendix 4 is a preliminary list of 51 remaining thirteenth- and early fourteenth-century codices and fragments; the book also contains an extensive index and bibliography). Invitingly written and usefully illustrated, Hir is eskriven is accessible to scholars as well as an informed lay audience. Bremmer has done a great job of bringing to life a highly developed culture that for a long time seemed to never have had existed, and in doing so has reinforced the legitimacy not just of Frisian and Friesland but of other minority languages and subordinate provinces which these days are of such great interest to linguists and historians.

Michel Aaij
Auburn University Montgomery

Chase, Martin, editor. 2005. Einarr Skúlason's Geisli: A Critical Edition. 249 pp. Toronto, Buffalo, NY, London: University of Toronto Press. ISBN: 0-8020-3826-3 (cloth); 0-8020-3822-0 (paper)

Über-viking in life and rex perpetuus Norvegiae in afterlife, king and saint Óláfr Haraldsson is the subject of Geisli. The Icelandic cleric-skald Einarr Skúlason composed the poem, commissioned by King Eysteinn Haraldsson and Archbishop Jón Birgisson, and probably recited it on Óláfr's saint's day 29 July 1153 to commemorate Jón's consecration as first archbishop of Nixaróss (Trondheim). The seventy-one verses of Geisli (meaning 'sunbeam' or 'ray of light') make it the longest complete drápa ('praise poem') extant in the skaldic corpus. This publication of the author's revised PhD thesis (University of Toronto: 1981) divides into an introduction, text, commentary, a full and complete glossary, comprehensive notes, bibliography and index.

The introduction briefly discusses all manuscripts which contain stanzas of Geisli. Chase is clear enough in his editorial methodology: a corrected Flateyjarbók is employed as the best text with stanzas 31-3—missing from Flateyjarbók—supplied from Bergsbók. By Chase's own admission, both Flateyjarbók and Bergsbók are 'highly corrupt', but as Flateyjarbók contains a better arrangement of stanzas it is chosen as best text. Whereas earlier skaldic poetry was composed and transmitted within an oral culture, the twelfth-century 'monastic poets were working in a complex literate culture' and Geisli may have been written down 'shortly after, or even during' its composition (Chase, p. 3. See also Katrina Attwood. 'Christian Poetry', in A Companion to Old Norse-Icelandic Literature and Culture, ed. by Rory McTurk (Blackwells: Oxford, 2005), 43-63). Although not a focus of this critical edition, a discussion of the creation and written transmission of the drápa form as opposed to the oral transmission of earlier verse would have been welcome. Likewise, a brief consideration of the socio-historic background and circumstances of production of the Flateyjarbók base text would have been beneficial in the 'Manuscripts' section in order to better appreciate the subsequent cultural significance of this poem.

Chase provides a critical overview of previous editions, his edition now superseding Finnur Jónsson's Den norsk-islandske Skjaldedigtning as part of the current Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages project which will produce 'a new edition of the known corpus of Norse-Icelandic skaldic poetry, including runic inscriptions in metrical form' (See for the project). Chase considers the poem's relationship with older drápur about Óláfr such as Þórarinn loftunga's Glælognsviða (c. 1032), and Sigvatr Þórðarson's erfidrápa or memorial lay (c. 1042), both of which praise Óláfr in the context of his royalty and sanctity. Chase is honest in his assessment of the current knowledge of Geisli's literary analogues stating 'it is impossible to determine what, if any, literary sources Einarr used'. He suggests it 'equally impossible' to know whether the contemporary Passio et miracula beati Olaui, written by Archbishop Eysteinn of Trondheim, was composed independently or not from Geisli. What is clear, Chase argues, is that the skaldic drápa and Latin vita are both derived from the 'same milieu' and, following Lars Boje Mortensen, Chase reiterates that 'the model of two distinct literary spheres—a written, Latin ecclesiastical one and an oral, lay, vernacular one—is not tenable'(13). Certainly, it is not possible to ignore Einarr's expansive knowledge of both Christian texts and earlier skaldic traditions, and he makes good use of both to praise Óláfr in the hope of persuading Cardinal Nicholas Breakspear (later Pope Adrian IV) to canonise him.

In the section on poetics and in the appreciation and commentary to his edition, Chase is particularly attentive to syncretic cultural influences within Geisli. The poem follows a standard drápa format, with an introduction (upphaf), a body with refrain (stefjamél) and a conclusion (slœmr). Einarr works within existing skaldic conventions, but he is influenced equally by both the form and language of Christian texts, including hagiographical and legendary works. For example, Chase notes that the upphaf is comprised of three sets of six stanzas, further broken into an invocatio with a prayer for inspiration and a summary of the poem's theme (v. 1-6), a call for a hearing (v. 7-12), and an historical summary of the life of Óláfr prior to his martyrdom (v. 13-18). The invocatio is common to Christian rhetoric, and Chase would further argue 'a compressed summary of the whole appears to have been a skaldic technique, as well' (p. 28). In the invocatio, Einarr likens Óláfr to the geisli, the ray of sunlight, an allegory for his elevated role as saint to the sun which is Christ. This metaphor is rare in poetry and Einarr may have developed it himself (p. 24). Chase argues that the stefjamél, the body, was conceived by Einarr as nine sets of three stanzas, each ending in the stef, each describing a separate miracle of Saint Óláfr. The sequence of 3 x 3 x 3 is significant, and evokes the perfection of the Trinity, returning to the complex spiritual themes raised in the invocatio. Chase suggests that Geisli may have been conceived as a unit of 63 stanzas, with a 'balanced structure' of 18 + 27 + 18 stanzas. In this sense the traditional skaldic bid for a reward appears as an afterthought (v. 69-71), where Einarr suggests he might gain a reward ef hanum likar ('if it is pleasing to him': v. 69). This call for reward is ambiguously directed at 'him', either God or King Eysteinn, which one supposes is only right and proper for a cleric-skald who will take his reward in the afterlife?

One can see ambiguity in meaning and form in the entire text, and an equal admixture of Christian and earlier skaldic rhetorical and poetic traditions. But, as demonstrated by his creation of the central geisli metaphor, Einarr proves to be a most innovative poet in this hybrid cultural milieu. This poem may provide insight to the conversion process itself: it should be noted that many of Einarr's probable sources are of English origin.

Little fault can be found in the edition itself: the methodology is sound and the apparatus thorough. This reader would have appreciated a certain amount of commentary adjacent to the apparatus for greater appreciation of variations and alternate readings, in line with the suggested layout for the new skaldic corpus project. Chase states that the word þenning 'Trinity' is only found in Geisli (p. 124, 1.4) but the word is also attested in the younger anonymous poems Máríudrápa and Vitnisvísur af Maríu, Kálfur Hallsson's Katrínardrápa, and Eysteinn Ásgrímsson's Marian drápa Lilja. But, aside from a few minor typographical errors (e.g. the x missing from date ranges, inconsistencies of italicising Bergsbók and Flateyjarbók throughout), this is a carefully produced edition.

This critical edition of Geisli complements the edition forthcoming in Poetry on Christian Subjects as part of the Norse-Icelandic Skaldic Poetry of the Scandinavian Middle Ages series (Brepols). With its clear prose orthography, full glossary and detailed commentary, this edition is accessible and valuable for all students of skaldic poetry and Old Norse literature, whatever their experience, who will value this book equally for the edition and the appreciation which raises many questions for further research.

Shannon Lewis-Simpson
Memorial University of Newfoundland.

Ó Carragáin, Éamonn. 2005. Ritual and the Rood: Liturgical Images and the Old English Poems of the Dream of the Rood Tradition. Toronto: University of Toronto Press. xxxxii, 427 pp. ISBN 0-7123-4875-1.

Éamonn Ó Carragáin's Ritual and the Rood: Liturgical Images and the Old English Poems of the Dream of the Rood Tradition is an important, learned, and yet ultimately frustrating book.

The work's greatest strengths lie in its ambition and scholarship. In this book, Ó Carragáin sets out to construct a coherent reading of the surviving monuments of the "Dream of the Rood Tradition"—a complex matrix of texts and objects that includes the Ruthwell standing stone cross and inscriptions, the Bewcastle standing stone cross, the Vercelli Book Dream of the Rood poem, and the Brussels cross/reliquary and associated inscriptions. The members of this matrix span Anglo-Saxon England temporally and geographically: the Bewcastle and Ruthwell crosses are Northumbrian and usually dated by modern scholars to the mid-to-late eighth-century; the Vercelli Book is a late tenth-century, Southern manuscript; the Brussels cross is of Southern English manufacture and can be dated to the eleventh-century. The objects also are related to each other along various well-known planes: the Bewcastle and Ruthwell crosses show great similarities in iconography and style; the Ruthwell cross inscription and Vercelli Book Dream of the Rood poem are different redactions of a common vernacular text that is also echoed on the Brussels cross.

Ó Carragáin's interest in these objects, however, goes beyond the verbal and artistic parallels that most obviously bind them together. Through an extended discussion of liturgical themes in the iconography of the Ruthwell and (to a far lesser extent) Bewcastle crosses, Ó Carragáin constructs a convincing portrait of the liturgical context in which the stone crosses, and ultimately in transformed form the Vercelli poem and Brussels cross and inscription would be understood by contemporary audiences. In this discussion, Ó Carragáin is as interested in the relationship among elements of the crosses' iconography and inscriptions as he is the specific details of text and image itself. In constructing the context for his interpretation of the tradition, Ó Carragáin both provides detailed readings of the contents of individual panels and inscriptions and attempts to reconstruct the process and order through which these panels and inscriptions would be read by contemporary audiences.

In both cases, these readings and reconstructions are based on detailed analysis of a wide range of potential sources and analogues. It is, indeed, a central argument of Ó Carragáin's book that the Ruthwell cross in particular represents a uniquely confident synthesis of contemporary liturgical and iconographic ideas drawn from Roman and other liturgical traditions. Representations of the fractio panis on the Ruthwell cross's "West" (now North) face, 1 for example, show the influence of two distinct traditions: in the lower panel, "Paul and Anthony," the iconography is drawn primarily from Columban monastic tradition (153-160); in the upper panel, "Agnus Dei," the presentation echoes a "new chant for breaking the eucharistic bread at Rome" (164) recently adopted at Wearmouth Jarrow.

Ó Carragáin's approach to the tradition also attempts to reconstruct performative aspects of its reception. In the case of the Brussels, Bewcastle, and especially Ruthwell crosses, this involves a discussion of how the monuments would be understood by communal audiences. Thus, for example, Ó Carragáin argues that the Ruthwell cross is designed to be read from right to left (i.e. clockwise) following the movement of the sun:

The four columns in which the Ruthwell runic tituli on the lower stone are laid out suggests [sic] that the designer may have seen sunwise movement as a significant element in the cross's design.... The material structure of the Ruthwell Cross suggests that, if the designer intended any relationship between the narrow and broad sides, sunwise movement might provide a key (62; for elipsis, see below).

These attempts at the reconstruction of performative aspects of the monuments' reception, however, are at the same time among the most exciting and frustrating aspects of this book. They are exciting because Ó Carragáin's readings are often both very convincing and help overcome the strong smell of the study that he argues so much scholarship of this tradition. Ó Carragáin's argument concerning the clockwise orientation of the Ruthwell runic panels, for example, seems correct: in reading the cross's vernacular text, the reader is naturally drawn to move around the cross from right to left across the broad ("East") face that Ó Carragáin and others have argued begins the iconographic program of the cross (starting with the Annunciation). Whether or not one accepts Ó Carragáin's argument that the runic verse inscriptions and panel carvings on the broad face are contemporaneous, he makes a convincing case that the two elements came in practice (at the very least) to form a largely coherent artistic unity.

What is frustrating about this argument, however, is the "all or nothing" approach Ó Carragáin takes to its exposition. In this book, monuments of the Dream tradition are almost always clear, coherent, and brilliantly put together; little in the manufacture of these monuments is thought to be unplanned or fortuitous; their makers almost invariably do things for recoverable reasons. Thus, for example, the apparently odd arrangement of the Brussels cross inscription—the phrase BLODE BESTEMED is divided B / LODE BESTEMED with the first B on the cross's side, and LODE BESTEMED inscribed across the cross's top—is in Ó Carragáin's view only evidence of the designer's superior artistic judgment: "The slight effort of imagination needed to re-unite the word 'BLODE' calls attention to the alliteration of the line and to the crucial word in question" (347).

This may be true, though it seems an odd approach for the engraver to take—I would have thought that the alliteration would have been more obvious (and the phrase more striking) had the half-line been resized to fit as a whole along the top of the cross. But Ó Carragáin's certainty as to the designers' intent also extends to places where the evidence does not support his conclusions. Thus, in addition to the evidence of the "four columns" of runic poetry cited above in support of his argument that "sunwise" movement is a key principle in the design of the Ruthwell cross's artistic programme, Ó Carragáin also suggests that the principle extends to the presentation of the Latin inscriptions:

Most (but not all) of the Latin inscriptions on the broad faces of the lower stone encourage a similar sunwise movement: they often read across the top, down the right side, and then down the left side of the panels (62).

Unfortunately, the more important point here is not that some (or even many) of the Latin inscriptions read "right to left" (and hence "sunwise"), but that some (even a minority) do not: the inscription to the panel of the man born blind ("East" face) begins by running down the left hand side of the panel before continuing down the right; the difficult runic inscription along the edges of the Visitation of Mary panel ("East" face), likewise, begins at the bottom of the left-hand border, runs clockwise up the left-hand side, across the top, and back down the right. If we really are justified in seeing the layout of the other Latin inscriptions as supporting the "sunwise", "right-to-left" movement Ó Carragáin argues begins with the runic columns, then we must find a way of explaining how those panels which seem to contradict this rotation fit with our understanding of the designer's intention. If we cannot, then our interpretation is wrong or the evidence we are citing is not part of the original intent.

Ó Carragáin's certainty as to intention also extends to one other aspect of his argument: his account of the motivations and psychology of scholars with whom he disagrees. Scholars in this book are seldom ever simply right or wrong in the details of their fact or argument: when they disagree with Ó Carragáin's favoured views they are "quixotic" (30); when they agree, they are "more sensitive to the complex meanings" (56). Those who accept theories the author finds unconvincing are portrayed as propagandists: they "take up with exuberance" and "are wont to propagate" the ideas of their predecessors (see, for example, 74, n. 206); those who agree with preferred authors, on the other hand, "confirm" their findings (53). As the following passage suggests, moreover, unfavoured scholars are even denied the Johnsonian defence ("Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance") in explaining their mistakes: in the following passage, Orton is said not simply to have been unaware of a crucial bit of evidence, he "felt able to ignore" it (cf. 52-53, where Meyvaert and others also "ignore"—rather than "fail to discover" or "fail to recognise the significance of"—work Ó Carragáin finds convincing):

In order to revive Duncan's theory, Orton felt it necessary to dismiss Bainbrigg's statement (1599-1601) that he had recently seen the cross at Ruthwell: Duncan had not known that unpublished account when he independently reconstructed the monument as a cross. Evidently confident that he had demolished Bainbriggs account of the Ruthwell Cross, in the four articles he published between 1998 and 2003 Orton felt able to ignore the separate letters Bainbrigg (about 1601) and Roscarrock (in 1607) wrote to Camden stating that they had recently examined the cross at Bewcastle (30, emphasis added).

This kind of bare-knuckle scholarship is fun to read and Ó Carragáin carries it off with the verve and style of a dynamic lecturer. But while amusing, it also ultimately hurts this otherwise admirable and comprehensive book: given Ó Carragáin's stature in the field, I am sure most readers of this important book would rather know how he answers the arguments of his scholarly (and often equally prominent) "opponents" than simply what he thinks of them.


1. As Ó Carragáin argues (36), there is evidence to suggest that the Ruthwell cross has been turned approximately 45° clockwise from its original orientation in the course of its destruction, recovery, reconstruction, movement, and installation in its current location: thus the original "West" face now points to the North. Ó Carragáin cites the "original" orientation throughout.

Daniel Paul O'Donnell
University of Lethbridge

Marianne K. Kalinke. 2005. St. Oswald of Northumbria: Continental Metamorphosis: with an edition and translation of 'Ôsvalds saga' and 'Van sunte Oswaldo deme konninghe'. Medieval and Renaissance Texts and Studies Vol. 297. Tempe, Arizona: Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 207 pages. ISBN 978-0-86698-341-9 (hardcover)

Finally, at long last, a book-length discussion of the Germanic vernacular literature of St. Oswald in English! Oswald entered into continental vernacular legend by two divergent prongs: hagiography and vernacular versions of Geoffrey of Monmouth's History. For the most part (though not completely), these two prongs developed independently. Kalinke has taken the former, more fruitful, prong as her subject. To that end she has produced facing page edition-translations of Ósvalds saga (modern Icelandic-English) and Van sunte Oswaldo deme konninghe (German-English) that, when supplemented by JW Thomas' 1989 translation of the Münchner Oswald, gives Anglophones the three main versions of Oswald's primary Germanic literature. These texts competed side by side with the more traditional hagiographical material in Bede's History and Drogo of St. Winnoc's Life of Oswald, sermons and antiphons as sources for art and legends of St. Oswald throughout Europe.

Late medieval Europe produced five related vernacular pieces: two in verse, the best known Münchner Oswald and the closely related Wiener Oswald; and three prose legendaries, Der Heligen Leben "Oswald" (Middle High German), Dat Passionael "Oswald" (Low German), and Ósvalds saga (Icelandic from Low German). All of these survive from an oldest manuscript or imprint dating from the 15th to 16th century, although there is general agreement that they are all ultimately based on a *Proto-Oswald vernacular legend of about the 12th century. German scholars have long assumed that the Münchner Oswald is the closest text to the 12th century text but Kalinke strongly argues, with good reason I think, that Ósvalds saga is the closest to the original *Proto-Oswald. Her argument is too complex to dissect here but I found it convincing. Ósvalds saga has the advantage of having the best combination of the hagiographical material with vernacular motifs such as the bridal quest. Kalinke argues that the author of the Münchner Oswald extracted the bridal quest related material from a much longer and more hagiographical work because this type of material was the most appealing as entertainment for a vernacular audience.

The vernacular legend has four primary motifs: a coronation legend where Oswald peacefully comes to the throne, an evangelizing bridal-quest (and chaste marriage), a martyr legend, and a set of miracles. Not all of these motifs are found in all five works. The best-known Münchner Oswald is essentially only the bridal quest narrative that gives Oswald the peaceful death of a confessor king. Alternatively, Ósvalds saga gives him an elaborate martyrs death at the hands of Penda. Kalinke provides an informative discussion of each of these motifs. She has uncovered influences from the legends of Emperor Henry II the saint (Holy Roman Emperor and Duke of Bavaria), the evolving Clovis baptismal legend, and other saints that are fascinating. The legends of Sts. Henry and Cunegund are particularly influential.

My main criticism is that she does not seem to have considered British sources for some of the alterations to Oswald's traditional story. For example, she notes that the cross from Heavenfield has been relocated to the site of Oswald's death in Germanic and Icelandic legend (p. 90) but she has overlooked the likelihood that this originated in Britain. In 1136 Geoffrey of Monmouth placed the Heavenfield account immediately before Oswald's death and Gerald of Wales notes that Oswestry means Oswald's Tree, in Welsh Croes Oswald (Oswald's Cross) in 1188. Cross-fertilization between vernacular versions of Geoffrey of Monmouth and the *Proto-Oswald legend seems likely. On the ground in Britain, this was probably a duplication of the miracle working cross motif, but in Germany the first historical cross was dropped in favor of the peaceful coronation motif. Although I agree that the legends of Emperor Henry II influenced the Oswald legend, she also seems to disregard the possibility that the chastity motif was part of the legend transmitted from Britain, even though it is mentioned in Reginald of Durham (as she mentions on p. 63-64) and completely overlooks the fact that Judith of Flanders, a primary transmitter of relics and legends to Bavaria, was the sister in law of Edward the Confessor. The Hildesheim head shrine of St. Oswald depicts St Edward located next to Oswald in the miniatures around the base. The value of royal chastity is also found in Bede's History, although not specifically associated with Oswald. This is not to say that Henry's legend wasn't influential, just that it may not have been the only influence.

Kalinke has also overlooked some secondary scholarship in English on Oswald. Stancliffe and Cambridge's Oswald: Northumbrian King to European Saint (1995) appears to be virtually the only English source consulted. However, given the small number of relevant English language papers this is a minor criticism.

This book will be of great interest to German literary scholars for whom the Münchner Oswald is a central medieval text. These translations and the discussion of the literary motifs also will be welcomed by folklorists and all those interested in the portrayal of Anglo-Saxons in continental literature. Overall, this is a very welcome and worthwhile contribution to Anglo-Saxon studies, and Icelandic and Germanic medieval literature.

Michelle Ziegler
Independent Scholar