Christina Cleary – Editor’s Foreword
I am pleased to present the sixth edition of Cerae: An Australasian Journal of Medieval and Early Modern Studies, which focuses on the theme of ‘Landscapes’. This theme is timeless and relevant not only to our understanding of the medieval world, but also to interpreting social and political issues around landscape that prevail in the modern world, as well as the human experience.
As the contributors to this volume’s theme demonstrate, societies have used landscape throughout history to make sense of their surroundings, and their physical and emotional place in the world, by connecting features in theland to stories,mythand history. Andrea Maraschi shows in his contribution that mankind has always found solace and comfort in the exercise of understanding and interpreting the past: this message could not be more relevant as society enters a time of great upheaval in the face of a pandemic. The function of these stories was both practical and entertaining, which ensured their survival through the centuries. Indeed, the substantial body of Early Irish material known as dindṡenchas ‘place-lore’, transmitted as a corpus and featuring frequently in Early Irish literature, is a testament to the cultural importance of landscape; without it, a medieval Irish poet’s education was incomplete. Similarly, modern scholarship of the medieval period benefits from investigating the cultural and historical function of landscapes.
Cerae Journal also welcomes non-themed submissions throughout the year, and I am delighted to present an article that contributes to our understanding of the development of the role of the pious knight and the history of chivalrous ideals.
I would like to thank the Volume 6 Committee for their commitment and dedication to the journal, particularly Tess Watterson and Kirsty Bolton, who provided me with additional editorial support at various points. Every member of the committee deserves special commendation for their devotion to their respective roles and the journal, to providing a platform for early career researchers, and the pursuit of good scholarship. I wish to extend my thanks also to the authors, peer reviewers, and publishers, without whom this volume could not have been completed. Finally, I thank the University of Western Australia for their continued financial support of the journal.
Christina Cleary, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
Matthias Egeler – The Fluidity of Tradition: Place-Names, Travelogues, and Medieval Tales of the Western Icelandic Shoreline
Abstract: This article discusses the fundamental fluidity of Icelandic place-lore. It approaches this topic through the example of the settlement of Auðr the Deep-Minded in western Iceland as described by the thirteenth-century ‘Book of Settlements’ (Landnámabók). I undertake ananalysis of this medieval account, which places a central focus on the naming and narrative interpretation of the local landscape of the Hvammsfjörður fjord, with recourse to material preserved in nineteenth-century travel writing, folklore, and toponymy. I then relate my findings to classic perspectives in landscape theory and highlight the extreme ambivalences that become visible in the landscape construction represented by this material if one considers its linguistic minutiae.
Matthias Egeler, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich
Andrea Maraschi – Learning from the Past to Understand the Present: 536 AD and its Consequences for Man and the Landscape from a Catastrophist Perspective
Abstract: The global catastrophic consequences of the 536 AD ‘dust veil’ have been recorded by numerous contemporary observers. Recently, scholars have suggested that the event has been recorded, in the form of myth, in both the Elder and Snorri’s Edda. This ecocritical study aims to highlight the consistency between the description of the consequences of Fimbulvetr (‘Great Winter’) on the landscape in the Eddic tradition, and the effects of the ‘dust veil’ on the landscape of early medieval Europe. The primary intention is to endorse the opinion of scholars who hold that the myth of Fimbulvetr does in fact correspond to a historical catastrophic event that occurred in 536AD. Furthermore, this analysis will emphasize the importance of said myth in the construction of the cultural memory of the society that witnessed and recorded it in verses. I argue that the memory of the ‘GreatWinter’ was particularly valuable, for it was considered away in which important lessons could be taught to future generations: humbleness (similar catastrophes had already happened, and could happen again), hope (mankind survived the catastrophe), and respect (for the memory of what had happened in the past, and that could recur in the future).
Andrea Maraschi, University of Bari
Sofia Fagiolo – The Pious Knight in Medieval Hagiography, c. 930–1058
Abstract: Composed by Odo of Cluny (930–942), the Vita Geraldi is the earliest hagiographic work that proposes a layman as a model of sanctity, the Frankish count Gerald of Aurillac (d. 909). The importance and originality of this text lie in the fact that warfare is presented as an instrument for restoring order and protecting the defenceless. About a century later, the Vita of another pious arm-bearer was composed, the lesser-known Vita Burcardi. This short biography recounts the life of a powerful knight, Count Burchard of Vendôme (d. 1007), whois said to have been marked by piety and eagerness to defend the Church. Both Vita Geraldi and Vita Burcardi are interesting cases in the panorama of medieval hagiography as they reflect churchmen’s attempts to promote a new role for warriors as protectors of the weak and defenders of the Church during the Central Middle Ages. By focusing on these two vitae, this paper explores the ways in which the figure of the pious knight emerged and evolved in monastic hagiography between the tenth and eleventh centuries, in conjunction with the rise of the chivalrous ideals.
Sofia Fagiolo, University of Rome “La Sapienza”
Volume 6 Essay Prize Winner
Matthias Egeler, ed., Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe (Erica Steiner)
Matthias Egeler, ed., Landscape and Myth in North-Western Europe, Borders, Boundaries, Landscapes 2 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2019). Print. viii + 261pp, 21 b/w illustrations and maps, 3 tables, RRP €70. ISBN:978-2-503-58040-1.
Reviewed by: Erica Steiner, University of Sydney
Dimitra Fimi and Thomas Honegger, eds, Sub-creating Arda: World-building in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Work, Its Precursors, and Its Legacies (Felix Taylor)
Dimitra Fimi and Thomas Honegger, eds, Sub-creating Arda: World-building in J. R. R. Tolkien’s Work, Its Precursors, and Its Legacies, Cormarë Series No. 40 (Zürich: Walking Tree Publishers, 2019). Print. 464pp., £19.85/€22.50, ISBN: 978-3-905703-40-5.
Reviewed by: Felix Taylor, St Hugh’s College, Oxford
Siȃn E. Grønlie, The Saint and the Saga Hero: Hagiography and Early Icelandic Literature (Matthew Firth)
Siȃn E. Grønlie, The Saint and the Saga Hero: Hagiography and Early Icelandic Literature, Studies in Old Norse Literature (Cambridge: D. S.Brewer, 2017). Print, 306 pp., £70.00, ISBN: 9781843844815.
Reviewed by: Matthew Firth, Flinders University
Mícheál Hoyne, Fuidheall Áir: Bardic Poems on the Meic Dhiarmada of Magh Luirg c. 1377–1637 (Christina Cleary)
Mícheál Hoyne, Fuidheall Áir: Bardic Poems on the Meic Dhiarmada of Magh Luirg c. 1377–1637, Early Modern Irish Texts Series I (Dublin: Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies, 2018). Print, 489pp., €25, ISBN:9781855002388.
Reviewed by: Christina Cleary, Dublin Institute for Advanced Studies
M. Lindsay Kaplan, Figuring Racism in Medieval Christianity (Veronica De Duonni)
M. Lindsay Kaplan, Figuring Racism in Medieval Christianity. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). Print, 283pp., £22.99, ISBN: 9780190678241.
Reviewed by: Veronica De Duonni, Università degli Studi di Salerno
Sophie Page and Catherine Rider (eds), The Routledge History of Medieval Magic (Joanne Edge)
Sophie Page and Catherine Rider (eds), The Routledge History of Medieval Magic (Abingdon: Routledge, 2019), 550 pp., £190 (HB) ISBN9781472447302, £114 (ebook) ISBN 9781315613192.
Reviewed by: Joanne Edge, John Rylands Library, University of Manchester
Daniel Sävborg and Karen Bek-Pedersen, eds, Supernatural Encounters in Old Norse Literature and Tradition (Minjie Su)
Daniel Sävborg and Karen Bek-Pedersen, eds, Supernatural Encounters in Old Norse Literature and Tradition, Borders, Boundaries, Landscapes 1 (Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2018). Print. vii, 265 pp., € 75.00 excl. tax, ISBN:978-2-503-57531-5 (hardback).
Reviewed by: Minjie Su, Linacre College, Oxford
Marion Turner, Chaucer: A European Life (Kirsty Bolton)
Marion Turner, Chaucer: A European Life (Princeton and Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2019). Print. 624 pp., £34 ISBN: 9780691160092.
Reviewed by: Kirsty Bolton, University of Southampton
Elisabeth van Houts, Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300 (Kirsty Bolton)
Elisabeth van Houts, Married Life in the Middle Ages, 900-1300 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019). Print. 320 pp., £65 (£42.25 for ebook), ISBN: 9780198798897.
Reviewed by: Kirsty Bolton, University of Southampton
Nathasha R. Hodgson, Katherine J. Lewis, and Matthew M. Mesley, eds, Crusading and Masculinities (Francesca Petrizzo)
Nathasha R. Hodgson, Katherine J. Lewis, and Matthew M. Mesley, eds, Crusading and Masculinities, Crusades – Subsidia 13 (London: Routledge, 2019). Print. 366 pp., £110 ISBN: 978-1138054677.
Reviewed by: Francesca Petrizzo, University of Leeds
Featured image: Guillaume de Machaut, Le verger mystérieux dans Le Dit du Lion, BNF Fr 1586, f.103r