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

Miracle Stories and the Primary Purpose of Adomnán's Vita Columbae

Abstract: Scholars argue about the purpose of Adomnán's Vita Columbae, viewing it as either political, didactic or an endorsement of Iona scholarship. Although the vita is based on hagiographical models, it is not merely a re-production. In addition to the evidence presented by the analysis of the miracle stories, it is maintained that Adomnán wrote his work for the monks on Iona; therefore, the argument for a didactic purpose is the strongest.

The Rhetoric of Heresy: Alcuin, Adoptionism, and the Art of Language

Abstract: The twilight of Alcuin of York's career, following his appointment as abbot of St. Martin of Tours in 796 and prior to his death in 804, witnessed two major themes in his writing: the composition of treatises on language (i.e., De Dialectica and Diputatio de Rhetorica et de Virtutibus) and works against the pervasive Spanish "heresy" of Adoptionism. Despite Alcuin's reputation for assisting in the renaissance of classical and late antique grammatical and rhetorical work among the Carolingian intellectual elite, few scholars have investigated the extent to which Alcuin applied classical rhetorical or dialectical forms either within his political or theological treatises and letters. Considering the copious amounts of material Alcuin presented against the Adoptionist controversy throughout his career, this material provides an excellent resource with which to see how (or if) Alcuin employed his study of language outside the realm of the educational treatise. The use of rhetorical or dialectical devices to argue against the Adoptionist "heresy," what Alcuin considered to be the most important theological controversy of his lifetime, will augment our understanding of the evolution of Christian discourse and the role of language during this period.