“The Anglo-Saxon Death Lists: Crisis and Categorization”
David Lennington (Princeton University)
The Exeter Book details the various ways of dying. In The Fates of the Apostles, is martyrology and deals with the terminal illness and death of a child. Why do Anglo-Saxons want to list and categorize ways to die? Lennington believes it is the process of intellectualization of processing death through an intellectual framework. The issue is not to be saved from death but to control/prepare for it when it happens. It allows the person to feel like they are doing something even though it is just intellectual and not physical; it is a means of confronting death. Anglo-Saxons have strained relationship with death. Exposure to violent death is psychologically affecting – intellectualization helps one to cope. Death on the Gallows, death by falling, the list goes through the steps of each death and breaks the process down.The following are a few of the modes of dying: Dying by fire (8th way of dying) Dying by Sword (9th mode of dying) Dying by Suicide (10th mode of dying) – drinking oneself to death/killing oneself with alcohol.