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MEDIEVAL-RELIGION  June 1999

MEDIEVAL-RELIGION June 1999

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Subject:

Danish incursion into Eastern England in 870

From:

"Ron Hornsby" <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Ron Hornsby

Date:

Fri, 4 Jun 1999 13:15:19 +0100

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (107 lines)

Dear Graham Jones

Thank you.  I wonder how that Danish force got from York to Eastern England?
By boat,  first down the Ouse, then the Trent, landing at one of the
Stathers?  Could it have been Burton upon Stather? There was probably a
Saxon church at BUS at the time but I know of no record of its having been
sacked or the (Christian)  priests killed.   BUS was the leading town (as
well as being the  local inland port) in the Saxon Kingdom of Lindsey at the
time.  Which is the reason for my interest.  Any record of the Danes'
journey?

Ron Hornsby



>Dear Ron (and Fellow-Listmembers generally)
>
>As well as the well-known and much-discussed killing of the East Anglian
king,
>Edmund (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle under the year 871, for 870), a number of
other
>martyrs were later claimed as having died during the incursion into eastern
>England of a Viking land force from York. These include such saints as
Ragener
>of Northampton, known only from a (much) later account of his supposed
>translation in the mid-eleventh century and said to have been a nephew of
>Edmund (the name looks Continental Germanic to me, but I'm no expert.
Comments,
>anyone?), and the hermits of Thorney (Tancred, Torthred and Tova: more
>Continental names?). There are other supposed martyrs of both kinds,
individual
>nobles and groups of monks or clerics.
>
>I'm suspicious for several reasons:
>
>1. There's precious little evidence of Vikings targetting monasteries
because
>they were _Christian_ (and lots of evidence that they targetted deposits of
>portable wealth indiscriminately).
>
>2. Ditto the killing of religious personnel.
>
>3. The supposed martyrdoms take place in this single military episode. Why
no
>accounts of similar persecutions during any of the many other such episodes
>over a _very_ long period in England?
>
>4. Eight years after the supposed martyrdoms, the main Danish army in
England
>makes peace and its leader becomes a Christian. Very shortly thereafter
begins
>the officially-promoted East Anglian cult of Edmund under Danish
occupation.
>
>5. That official Danish promotion continues up to and during the reign of
the
>Anglo-Danish kings, beginning with Cnut.
>
>6. The names suggest some context other than the killing of _English_
>victims.
>
>7. The sources are so much later than the events described, except in the
case
>of Edmund, that it is very possible that the historicity (if there is any)
has
>been tampered with.
>
>Because such issues as ethnicity are in play in these matters, it's highly
>likely that there has been recent scholarly writing about them. I'd be
grateful
>for any steers in that direction. Indeed, I suppose there may be
Continental
>parallels, so I'd like to hear about any recent discussions of those, also.
>
>With so much fog of uncertainty clouding these accounts, it may be
difficult to
>figure out what was happening. But I was struck by the nearness in time of
the
>Cordoban martyrdoms (under benign Muslim rule) and the uniqueness of the
870
>'persecution'.
>
>Any comments will be most appreciated.
>
>Best wishes
>
>Graham Jones
>Leicester
>
>> > Dear Graham Jones
>> > You wrote:
>> > I've been toying with the possibility of an element of imitation of the
>> > Cordoban martyrs in the
>> > case of the supposed victims of the 'Danes' in eastern England c. 870.
>> >
>> >
>> Could you tell us more, please,  about this "victims of the Danes"
business
>> in eastern England in 870.?
>>
>> Ron Hornsby  (Danish name, from that time!)
>



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