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

Editors' 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.

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

Wicked Queens and Cousin Strategies in Beowulf and Elsewhere

Abstract: This essay sets the "Modthrytho Episode" of Beowulf in the context of historical and legendary "wicked queens" in Anglo-Saxon England, and suggests that a consistent factor in such stories may be the alternative "cousin strategies" available to far-sighted rulers.

The Germanic Sword in the Tree: Parallel Development or Diffusion?

Abstract: In this paper we consider whether the Norse story of the "Sword in the Branstock" and the Arthurian tale of the "Sword in the Stone" may represent two variants of a tale about a celestial event that occurred 2160 B.C.E.