HA: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe

HA is a fully peer-reviewed academic journal.

HA 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. We welcome approaches that focus on 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

Theseus as an Indo-European Sword Hero, with an Excursus on Some Parallels between the Athenian Monster-Slayer and Beowulf

Abstract: This paper compares Theseus and Beowulf. Both heroes come from afar, enter dangerous, underground realms, and slay ravenous monsters with magical swords. It is suggested that the two figures have a common origin and are part of the Indo-European sword-hero complex.

Holocene Relative Sea-Level Changes in Western Scotland: The Early Insular Situation of Dun Add (Kintyre) and Dumbarton Rock (Strathclyde)

Abstract: Dun Add, an important center of the Dalriadic Scots, was established on a rocky outcrop that now protrudes from the land-locked flats of Crinan Moss, an unlikely situation for a defensive fortification. Given well-established post-glacial changes in sea levels, the outcrop was clearly once an island in Crinan Bay; however, it is not known whether the stronghold was first constructed on an island or later, when falling sea-levels had already abandoned the outcrop above the shoreline. Consideration of the present situation of the site above local mean sea level, the extent of peat deposition overlying buried estuarine terraces, and post-glacial uplift in the vicinity, indicates that when the fortification was first constructed (circa 300 BC) the outcrop was largely surrounded by the sea, and retained promontory or island status as late as AD 460–770. To validate uplift data, relative sea-level changes were compared against historical records for Dumbarton Rock. These records (i) provide independent validation of the model for local post-glacial uplift and (ii) demonstrate that the first fortifications at this second site, in or before the sixth century, were also constructed when the outcrop was an island. Post-glacial uplift could have contributed to recorded siege and seizure of Dun Add in the sixth/seventh centuries.