IMC 2012: Sessions

Session 808: Political Rupture in the Early Middle Ages

Tuesday 10 July 2012, 16.30-18.00

Moderator/Chair:Helmut Reimitz, Department of History, Princeton University
Paper 808-a'Domine, quid multiplicati sunt': The Alfredian Old English Psalms and the Carolingian Liturgies of War
(Language: English)
Lucrezia Pezzarossa, Department of English & Related Literature, University of York
Index terms: Language and Literature - Old English, Mentalities, Military History
Paper 808-bPrinciples Know No Law: Justifying Insurgency after the Carolingians - Boso, Robert of Neustria, and the Saxons
(Language: English)
Geoffrey Koziol, Department of History, University of California, Berkeley
Index terms: Charters and Diplomatics, Law, Political Thought, Politics and Diplomacy

Paper -a:
This paper will consider the Old English translation of the first fifty psalms, a key constituent of the ‘Alfredian canon’, in the context of 8th and 9th-century Continental liturgies of war, a complex system of public ceremonies, religious services and prayers of intercession connected to military activity. My aim will be to show how these liturgies can help us to understand the origin and meaning of the Prose Psalms, as well as to shed light on the earliest development of a Christian ideology of war in Alfredian England.

Paper -b:
This paper will examine the contemporary justifications of three unusual insurgencies: those by Boso (879), Robert of Neustria (922-3), and the Saxons (1073-5). In each case, what is unusual is that sources affiliated with the insurgents indicate that they knew their actions and claims were so extreme as to violate ‘the rules of the game’. And where we might expect them to justify their insurgencies as permissible by the rules (e.g., as a ‘diffidatio’ following a denial of right), these three did the opposite: they underscored their violation of ordinary norms by appealing to fundamental principles beyond the law. They knew what they were doing was extraordinary.