Monday, September 10, 2012
I will not attempt to persuade anyone that the Anglo Saxon Chronicles is a gripping yarn. But, if a person likes the image of a chronicler settling down to a day of chronicling, his quill sharpened, his ink pot properly watered, paper very precious, then there's a chance. And there he is, probably tonsured, staring at the wall, understanding the day's purpose, perhaps wondering when coffee might be invented, but never once in the least objective, because of all people in the world at that time he was amongst the very few who could read and write.. And here I'd like to paraphrase the little note a chronicler placed at the end of his account of the year of A.D. 796 - "Oh! by the way, also in this year King Offa of Mercia died after ruling the wretched midlands for forty years."
From the following year, of A.D. 797 a person might prefer actual text: "This year the Romans cut out the tongue of Pope Leo, put out his eyes, and drove him from his see; but soon after, by the assistance of God, he could see and speak, and became pope as he was before. Eanbald also received the pall on the six day before the ides of September, and Bishop Ethelherd died on the third before the calends of November." Current dictionary defines one meaning of 'Pall,' this way - "To become insipid, boring or wearisome." However, Eanbald did go on to become Arch Bishop of York, so I think more likely "The Pall' referred to in this wonderful translation into Modern English of the Chronicles, is the little bit of cloth that covers a communion chalice. Bishop Ethelherd was from Wessex, which in the Eighth Century AD, included Hop Country as well as Cornwall, and I could go, but I do not wish to receive the pall.