By Michelle P. Brown, Carol Farr
The dominion most sensible remembered for Offa and his well-known dyke used to be not just a dominant strength at the island of england within the 8th century, but in addition an important participant in early medieval eu politics and tradition. even though the quantity makes a speciality of the 8th and 9th centuries whilst Mercian strength used to be at its peak, it additionally seems to be again to the origins of the dominion and ahead to the interval of Viking payment and West Saxon reconquest. With cutting-edge contributions from specialists in palaeography, paintings background, archaeology, numismatics and panorama - in addition to from historians - this booklet establishes a brand new baseline for Mercian scholarship, via protecting the increase and fall of the dominion, its significant associations, relatives with different political entities in addition to its visible and fabric tradition.
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Additional info for Mercia: An Anglo-Saxon Kingdom in Europe (Continuum Collection)
It comprises a list of 35 peoples or 'tribes', each given in the genitive plural and accompanied by an assessment in hides. Although often referred to as a tribute list (Hart, 1971: 133; 1977: 44; Davies and Vierck, 1974: 225; Sawyer, 1998: 110), there is nothing in the text itself to confirm this theory. Certainly, assessment for tribute or taxation remains the most probable purpose of the list; nevertheless, there are indications that the text may have been tampered with or updated, which opens the possibility that the list meant different things at different times in its history.
Genealogies clearly evolved over time, often in response to political alliances or propagandic needs (Dumville, 1977). King Offa of Mercia (757-796) may have deliberately developed parallels between himself and his heroic namesake. Matthew Paris's Vitae Duorum Offarum (Chambers, 1967: 217-43) seems to have drawn on material with origins in the reign of Offa that was preserved in his community at St Albans, one of the religious houses favoured by the king (Vaughan, 1958: 189-94). Complimentary references to the heroic Offa in Beowulf and Widsith (11.
However, it may have acted as a reference work, chiefly for ecclesiastical matters, or possibly even as a school book (cf. Barnwell, 1991). The Tribal Hidage, coupled as it is with a piece that describes the characteristics of nations, may have served as a sort of verbal atlas, describing the relative sizes or resources of the peoples listed. Recension B exists only in a seventeenth-century copy made by Henry Spelman in his Archaeologus in modum Glossarii ad rem antiquam posterium (Dumville, 1989: 225-30).