Soldier Saints and Holy Warriors: Warfare and Sanctity in the Literature of Early England

TitleSoldier Saints and Holy Warriors: Warfare and Sanctity in the Literature of Early England
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2003
AuthorsDamon, John Edward
Number of Pages327
PublisherAshgate
CityBurlington, VT
Abstract

Christian authors of the Late Antique period deliberately set themselves the ambitious goal of revolutionizing the world of Latin letters. In this study, the author explores how medieval English writers followed Christian writers in the changing classical world who revised their approach to literature to reflect the new spiritual, political and social realities of a Roman society in transformation from a pluralistic polytheism to univocal monotheism. Focusing on the body of early English Christian literature from the arrival of Roman Christianity in England through the period of the Crusades, the author notes the stark difference in attitude between the earliest works and those that came later, especially in texts on the theme of war. From Bede's "Historia Ecclesiastica", through the works of Alcuin and Aelfric, to the "South English Legendary", the author traces the subtle evolution in Christianity from the celebration of pacifist saints to the glorification of the new breed of holy warrior who not only died but also fought for Christ.

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606987922

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