“The Self and the Other: Migration and Ethnicity in Late Anglo-Saxon England”

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 SESSION II: Who Do They Think They Are?

“The Self and the Other: Migration and Ethnicity in Late Anglo-Saxon England”

Arnaud Lestremau (Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne)

Summary

This paper examined and challenged the idea of Mediaeval people as “isolated” and that language was not the only definition of national identity since the 19th century. It posited that names were also an indicator of identity.  The paper examined a charter issued by Edward the Confessor and the name of “Orc” that appeared in that charter. The name “Orc” (also “Urc”) is not English but Scandinavian. The charters looked at lands issued in the west counties and some were concerned with lands in Dorset. These charters showed that Danish immigrants settled in Dorset. Unfortunately, only one manuscript of that charter was preserved but this was not uncommon for that period. What was the meaning of gens - in the Anglo-Saxon charters, gens represented people who were under the king’s dominion. e.g. res gentis Anglorum. What were other meanings of the word gens? There was the Biblical meaning = gentile and another meaning, “kindred”. Lestremau spoke about the three charters, and delved into the meaning of the name “Orc” in relation to these documents.

~Sandra Alvarez

Sharan Newman