IMC 2004: Sessions

Session 202: Cultural Exchange and Cultural Clash in Anglo-Saxon England

Monday 12 July 2004, 14.15-15.45

Moderator/Chair:Sarah Foot, Department of History, University of Sheffield
Paper 202-aEbroin and the Anglo-Saxons
(Language: English)
Deanna Forsman, North Hennepin Community College, Minnesota
Index terms: Politics and Diplomacy
Paper 202-bCulture, Conflict, and Compromise: The Evaluation and Reconciliation of Difference in Anglo-Scandinavian England
(Language: English)
Susanne Kries, Institut für Anglistik und Amerikanistik, Universität Potsdam
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English

grouped by Mary Swan (30/10/03):
Abstract paper -a:
This paper examines the policies of Ebroin, the Neustrian Mayor of the Palace (659–680) toward the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. Ebroin viewed Anglo-Saxon involvement in Merovingian affairs as a legitimate threat on at least two occasions: when Theodore, recently appointed archbishop of Canterbury, travelled from Rome to England; and when Leudesius, a rival claimant to the position of Mayor of the Palace, fled with the Neustrian king towards the English Channel. I examine Ebroin’s policies in these incidents within the context of both Frankish and Anglo-Saxon politics to argue that these neighboring kingdoms were more closely intertwined than scholars have acknowledged.

Abstract paper -b:
Negotiating boundaries is essential in the process of defining cultural and national identities. Contact with Scandinavians in England forced Anglo-Saxons to redefine their own identity, usually in contrast to the Scandinavian ‘Other’. Although England was integrated into the Latin Middle Ages, it could also draw upon an abundance of Germanic cultural traditions. This feature provided a common ground in times of competitive Anglo-Scandinavian interests that could be exploited to political ends. This paper explores Anglo-Saxon England’s literary strategies in bridging cultural difference. Our interpretation will focus on texts like Widsith and the Old English Orosius paraphrase.

Abstract paper -c:
Æthelstan was perhaps the most innovative of the Anglo-Saxon kings. More so than any English king before him, Æthelstan promoted various cultural exchanges with major continental and Scandinavian powers through marriage alliances and fostering of several royal princes. Fostering was not a common practice in England, it was a Scandinavian custom. However, Æthelstan saw its value and adopted it with very good results. This paper will focus on the three young princes who were fostered at Æthelstan’s court, Louis d’Outremer, Hakon of Norway, and Alain of Brittany, and the influence that Æthelstan had upon them and, by extension, upon Europe.