Decapitation in Anglo-Saxon Saints’ Lives



 
 Decapitation in Anglo-Saxon Saints’ Lives

Dyson, Gerald

Academia.edu – Folklore and Biblical Precedent Graduate Paper (2010)

Abstract

In the Lives of several Anglo-Saxon saints, there are instances of decapitation. Often,very strange circumstances surround these events and there seem to be few parallels for them in Continental hagiography, greater parallels being seen in the biblical text, though the context in which decapitation occurs in the Bible is often quite different. Many of these gruesome hagiographical “innovations” seem to be rooted in the Anglo-Saxon landscape and are at least somewhat illuminated by archaeological findings. The incidence of decapitation in early English hagiography in rooted in the culture and folklore of Anglo-Saxon England.

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