Talking about history in eleventh century England: the Encomium Emmae Reginae and the court of Harthacnut
Tyler, Elizabeth M.
Early Medieval Europe, 13 (4) (2005)
The Encomium Emmae Reginae was written in the early 1040s to support the interests of Queen Emma amidst the factionalism which marked the end of the period of Danish rule in England. This article argues that the Encomium was shaped by its production and reception in the distinctively multilingual environment of King Harthacnut’s court. Attention to Emma’s key role in negotiating the interaction of the English, Norse, French, Flemish and Latin literary and linguistic cultures which were present in the Anglo-Danish court reveals growing lay claims to Latin literary culture in eleventh-century England.
Recent scholarship has opened up to view the integral role which Queen Emma played in the production of the Encomium Emmae Reginae (1041–2). What has emerged is a text which was written to support her interests amidst the factionalism of the court of her son, King Harthacnut (1037–42). As a result, the Encomium has become a prime example of a Latin text which was produced in order to have a particular impact on a lay audience.