The Afterlife of the Dead: Reform in Attitude Towards Medieval Burials, Corpses and Bones

The International Medieval Congress is taking place at the University of Leeds, I’m on hand this week to report on the conference. This blog post reports on my first session.

Like a Duck to Water: Representations of Aquatic Animals in Early Anglo-Saxon Literature and Art

In the second book of his Life of Columba abbot Adomnan of Iona relates some details regarding the second and third voyages of the monk Cormac in search of ‘a desert place in the ocean’.

St. Ninian of Whithorn

My interest here is in finding usable information regarding the centuries before Bede and in the way in which new data, especially the outstanding recent archaeological discoveries at Whithom in Wigtownshire (which is certainly the site of Candida Casal. might support and add to his picture of St. Ninian and the importance of his church at Candida Casa.

Nessie: Stories of the Scottish Highlands from the Vita Columbae

The first story that influenced my decision to use this manuscript was Columba’s encounter with the Loch Ness Monster. It caught my attention that a common folk tale that everyone knows of today was already in existence in the 690s AD.

Britain’s Medieval identity Crisis

Clare Downham considers how a set of saints’ lives written by a13th century monk in Cumbria help us understand how national allegiances were understood in medieval Britain.

The Irish Christian Holy Men: Druids Reinvented?

The druids as members of the pagan ‘priestly class’ were an important, high-status force in Celtic society. This class of druids was one of the most formidable groups that early Christian saints and missionaries had to face and overcome in order to establish firmly the roots of Christianity in pagan Celtic Ireland.

Miracle Stories and the Primary Purpose of Adomnán’s Vita Columbae

Adomnán, the author of the VC, was Columba’s ninth successor to the abbacy at Iona. 1 A great deal about his career, concerns and life can be found in contemporary literary evidence.

Colmcille and the Battle of the Book: Technology, Law and Access to Knowledge in 6th Century Ireland

Nowadays people can get heavily fined or even jailed for copyright infringement7 but it is not generally a capital offence. So how could a holy man, of all people, derive such a sense of righteousness and glory from the carnage of war, especially one apparently triggered by something as innocuous as the copying of a single manuscript?

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