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From the Sword to the Pen

An Analysis of the Concept of Loyalty in Old English Secular Heroic Poetry


Nicole Gardiner-Stallaert

In this exhaustive study, Nicole Gardiner challenges two views widespread among Old English scholars: namely, that the concept of loyalty as reflected in Old English secular heroic poetry has remained unchanged since Tacitus' time; and that the same body of literature interweaves two different traditions, the native Germanic and the Latin Christian. Through detailed analysis of original source material, the author demonstrates that both views treat Old English secular heroic poetry as a homogeneous body of writing and fail to distinguish between the various ways different Christian poets adapted the Germanic concept of loyalty to a Christian way of thinking.
Contents: This book analyzes the concept of loyalty considered to be typically Germanic and dating back to Tacitus' time in Old English secular heroic poems: Widsith, Deor, The Finnsburh Fragment, Waldere, Beowulf, The Battle of Brunanburh, and The Battle of Maldon.<