Saturday, February 24, 2018

Until the Dragon Comes: Responses to Edwenden in Hrothgar's Sermon

Among the many themes of the Beowulf poem, perhaps none is as persistent throughout each of the poem's scenes, episodes, and digressions as that of "the change from despair to triumph... the sudden reversals of time," a concept the poet refers to as edwenden (Old English Verse 38). This post is a  close reading of Hrothgar's "sermon,"[1] which runs from lines 1700-84[2], which I believe contains the poem’s clearest thesis on this kind of sudden change, and suggests proper and improper responses to edwenden by which the poem’s characters may be judged.

More than Politeness (1700-7a)

Hrothgar begins his speech with pleasantries, justly praising Beowulf's valor, although not without creating an implicature. "A right and proper guardian of the homeland, an upholder of truth, would praise you," Hrothgar says, and then promptly goes on to praise Beowulf, thus hedging his position. This opening marks a tendency throughout Hrothgar's address to prefer elliptical phrasing and reserve direct statements for emphasis.[3]

The Trouble with Heremod (1707b-23a)

Beowulf has already been favorably contrasted to Heremod[4] in lines 898-906. Hrothgar repeats the comparison, but instead of a contrast he suggests the danger of a parallel. Like Beowulf, Heremod had been "blessed with strength, exalted with vigor." Given the station to which he had been exalted, Heremod should have been a help to his people—as Hrothgar implies Beowulf should be. Instead, Heremod grew bloodthirsty and miserly and fell victim to the violence and mistrust he perpetuated. The elliptical warning is punctuated by a direct imperative: "teach yourself by that, see manly virtue!" Hrothgar's superior age and wisdom—cleverly established at the beginning of the speech—allows him to make this direct statement, which might otherwise be perceived as a face-threatening act (Shippey 1993). But it also allows him to explain where things went wrong for Heremod—and where they could go wrong for Beowulf.

Where the Rot Sets In (1723b-57)

Until now we have not been told much about Heremod's shortcomings, beyond his violence and miserliness. Hrothgar's parable of the "man of famous family" indicates Heremod's avarice was more symptom than disease. The subject of this parable begins with everything going well for him—he "dwells in plenty, and not a whit do illness or old age hinder him... the world goes as he wishes." This might well describe Beowulf, flushed with victory after his fight with Grendel's mother. It might also describe Heremod or even Hrothgar early in their careers. This is the moment of greatest danger—the moment when the "slayer" strikes, and the man’s heart is filled with “evil counsels.”[5]

The turn comes when "that which he long possessed seems too little." Something causes this man to cling to what he has, which Hrothgar reminds us was a gift in the first place, and to forget and neglect "what is ordained to come." This phrase translates the single word forðgesceaft, nearly identical in meaning to the mælgesceafta "allotted time" or "what time has in store"[6] which Beowulf refers to later in the poem, during his final speech before his fight with the dragon. The echo is significant. The speech, which recounts the tragic history of the Geatish royal family and Beowulf's role as part of that family, serves as an apology for the hero's life. He argues that he has not followed in the steps of Heremod—that he has not forgotten what time had in store for him, but rather awaited it. He has passed Hrothgar’s test. But what exactly is that test? By forðgesceaft, does Hrothgar mean merely death, or is death only one example (albeit the most potent) of the kind of event for which he is trying to prepare Beowulf?

Edwenden Comes for All (1758-84)

After making his point elliptically by two different examples, Hrothgar now directly addresses Beowulf's situation, juxtaposing "wicked hostility" with "eternal gains.” This may seem an odd contrast until Hrothgar lays bare the source of the hostility which afflicted Heremod and the man of famous family in his parable: they resisted change. Beowulf must not. Beowulf is in the flower of his strength, but that will change "afterward" and "at once." Note that Hrothgar includes "terrible old age" among his list of kinds of sudden changes of fortune. Old age, when it comes, will seem just as sudden as death in battle.

All of this Hrothgar knows because he has experienced it himself. The word he uses is edwenden, "sudden change," and it and related words are used throughout the poem to refer to reversals both good and bad. It has a “curious neutrality” which resists simple characterization (Old English Verse 38). Even minor characters within the poem, such as Æschere and the Danish retainers experience edwenden; in their case for the worse (1280-2). Beowulf experiences edwenden too: we learn in the later third of the poem that Beowulf's triumph over Grendel and Grendel's mother came as a change to a bad early reputation among the Geats, and this change is described as edwenden (2183-9). Hrothgar, an aged and experienced king by the time Beowulf comes to Heorot, has lived long enough to experience both edges of the sword: the fall from the height and the rise from the valley. His first "sudden change" came when Grendel's crimes interrupted the golden age of his reign, his second when Beowulf slew Grendel and cleansed Heorot.

In the examples of his own and Heremod's reigns, and in his speculation about Beowulf's future, Hrothgar summarizes the qualities of edwenden: it is sudden, inevitable, but not always bad. Nor is it connected with any fault or merit on the part of the person to whom the change comes. Heremod does not experience edwenden because he is a bad king; he becomes a bad king because he resists edwenden. Similarly, Grendel does not come upon Hrothgar because of any sin which Hrothgar has committed. And even if Beowulf lives a long and virtuous life, death will still come for him in the end. As it happens, Beowulf's final edwenden is dramatic far beyond Hrothgar's expectations: he rules the Geats well for fifty years oð ðæt an ongan deorcum nihtum draca ricsian, “until one began on dark nights, a dragon, to rule” (2210-11).

Works Cited

Klaeber, Frederick, R. D. Fulk, Robert E. Bjork, and John D. Niles. Klaeber's Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. U of Toronto, 2008.

Shippey, Thomas A. Principles of Conversation in Beowulfian Speech. Collected in John M. Sinclair, Michael Hoey, and Gwyneth Fox, editors. Techniques of Description: Spoken and Written Discourse: A Festschrift for Malcolm Coulthard. Routledge 1993.

Shippey, Thomas A. Old English Verse. Hutchinson, 1972.

[1] First referred to as such by L. Etmulller in 1875 (Klaeber 213).
[2] All line references to Beowulf are from Klaeber 2008. Translations are my own.
[3] Tom Shippey identifies this tendency as one of the hallmarks of “Beowulfian Speech” (Shippey 1993).
[4] A Danish king whose violent end resulted in the interregnum which seems to have immediately preceded the founding of the Scylding dynasty in the poem's prologue.
[5] The “slayer” here echoes Anglo-Saxon references to the biblical devil (Klaeber 215). It might as easily refer to the man’s own pride.
[6] “Ic on earde bad mælgesceafta…” The commentary on this phrase in Klaeber notes the ambiguity of mælgesceafta. If we take it in the genitive, the phrase can be rendered "I awaited my destiny." If, on the other hand, mælgesceafta is in the accusative case, its meaning becomes "I lived out my allotted time." (Klaeber 256) While the meanings are similar, the former implies that Beowulf sees the dragon as his own special destiny, while the latter implies that Beowulf sees death in any form as a fate that is common to all men.

Hrothgar's Sermon: A Translation

The following is a translation of Hrothgar’s sermon from lines 1700-84 of the Beowulf poem. This translation was made using the critical text in Klaeber 2008, and aims to preserve the word-order of the Anglo-Saxon text as much as possible in Modern English. The section divisions are my own, intended to accompany a close reading of the text.

More than Politeness (1700-7a)

“That man may indeed say, he that truth and right upholds among the folk, remembers all from long ago, old guardian of the homeland, that this warrior was born the better man! Your fame is established over far regions, my friend Beowulf, among every people. You hold it with patience, strength with mind's wisdom. I shall perform to you my friendship, as we two earlier spoke.

The Trouble with Heremod (1707b-23a)

You shall prove a long-lasting comfort to all of your people, a help to warriors. Heremod was not so to the sons of Ecgwala, to the Honor-Scyldings; he did not grow to their pleasure, but became slaughter and killing to the people of the Danes. He cut down, swollen with rage, his table-companions, his shoulder companions, until he alone turned, famous prince, from the joys of man—although mighty God had blessed him with strength, exalted him with vigor, over all men had far advanced. Yet there grew to him in his heart a bloodthirsty breast-hoard; he gave no rings to the Danes for honor. Joyless he lived on, so that he suffered the misery of strife, a long-lasting affliction to his people. You teach yourself by that, see manly virtue! Wise with many years, I have recited this story for you.

Where the Rot Sets In (1723b-57)

It is a wonder to tell how mighty God to mankind through generous spirit wisdom deals out, land and lordship; he owns control of all. Sometimes he allows the mind-thoughts of some man of famous family to move about in desire, gives him earthly joy in his homeland to hold, stronghold of men; makes to him as subject the regions of the world, broad kingdom, so that he in his unwisdom may not conceive the end of it. He dwells in plenty, and not a whit do illness or old age hinder him, nor does evil care darken his mind, nor enmity anywhere, world-hatred, shows, but for him the world goes as he wishes. He does not know it worse, until to him from within the measure of arrogance grows and flourishes, when the guardian sleeps, the keeper of the soul; the sleep is too strong, bound with cares; the slayer is very near, he that with shaft-bow wickedly shoots. Then it happens that in his heart, beneath the helm, strikes the bitter shaft—he does not know how to protect himself—with dark, evil counsels of the wicked spirit. That which he long possessed seems too little; he hoards angry in thought, in pride does not give at all the plated torcs; and he then forgets and neglects what is ordained to come, because to him before God gave, the Ruler of Glory, a share of honors. It afterwards happens, in the end, that the bodily home, transitory, crumbles; fated to die it falls. Another seizes it to himself, he who ungrudging deals out treasures, the ancient wealth of noblemen, heedless of fear.

Edwenden Comes for All (1758-84)

Guard yourself against wicked hostility, dear Beowulf, best of warriors, and choose the better part: eternal gains; do not think of arrogance, glorious champion! Now is the flower of your strength, for a time; afterward at once it shall be that illness or the edge of the sword will deprive you of strength, or fire's grasp, or flood's whelm, or gripe of sword, or flight of spear, or terrible old age, or the brightness of your eyes will fail and dim. Soon, noble warrior, death will overpower you. So I the Ring-Danes a hundred half-years ruled under the sky, and protected them from war, from many nations across this Middle-earth; from spears and swords, so that I could not count to me any adversary under the sky's expanse. But to me for that, in my homeland, a sudden reversal [edwenden] came, grief after joy, when Grendel became, old enemy, my invader. I bore continual persecution there, mind-grief great. For this be the Ruler thanked, eternal Lord, in that I while I live I am able to gaze with eyes upon that bloodstained head after old strife. Go now to seat, experience the joy of the feast, O honored in war, and between us two shall a multitude of treasures be shared, when it is morning." 

Currently reading: Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction, by Benjamin Fortson
Current Audio Book: Heretics, by G.K. Chesterton
Currently Translating: The Old Saxon Heliand

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Latin Calques and Loanwords in Wulfila’s Bible

Wulfila was an Arian Christian bishop largely responsible for the conversion of the Gothic tribes during the fourth century. As part of his missionary efforts, he invented a Gothic alphabet and translated the Bible (supposedly all of it except for the four books of Kings) from Greek into Gothic. The vast majority of attested Gothic survives in fragments of copies of his translation made some time around the year 500 (Wright 196). Great attention has been paid over the years to the probable Greek text which Wulfila used, and to which his translation owes its syntax and possibly some of its more specialized vocabulary.[1] But an examination of existing Gothic vocabulary reveals several direct calques and loanwords from Latin. I will review three of these, and then consider the possible implications for how we should think about the complex linguistic and cultural milieu of Wulfila’s day.

*aket “vinegar”: This word, translating Greek ὄξος “vinegar” is attested only in the genitive singular. It is derived from Latin acetum. Since vinegar is made from wine, which was introduced to the Germanic tribes by Mediterranean and specifically Roman culture, this word was likely adopted well before Wulfila’s translation. The unpalatalized -c- of acetum suggests a borrowing no later than the third century AD (Lehmann 23-4).

*alew “oil”: This word translates Greek ἐλαίου “oil.” It is attested in the genitive singular form alewis. It is elsewhere used to refer to olives, as at fairgunja alewjin “at the mount of olives.” As with *aket, this loan word represents a material product associated with Mediterranean culture (olives and olive oil) and almost certainly predates Wulfila’s translation. What is less clear, however, is how the word entered Gothic. A straight borrowing from Latin oleum would suggest the form *auliw (see OE æle, OHG oli). Recent attempts have traced the route of transmission through the Roman province of Rhaetia, where surviving inscriptions show a dialectal variant of Latin which replaced -ō- with -ā-. If this transmission took place before the shift of the Archaic Latin diphthong ei > ē > Classical Latin ī, it would render the etymon *alewa- (Lehmann 26-7). But this would require interaction with the Goths sometime prior to 75 BC, much earlier than is generally supposed (Fortson 284). It seems more likely that the word was transmitted via one or more intermediary forms,[2] and that it came to Gothic as the result of indirect contact (probably via trade) with Mediterranean culture.

*armahairts “mercy, alms”: This word translates Greek ἐλεημοσύνη “alms,” and is attested in its nominative plural form. It is a compound of arma- from *arms “poor, pitiable,” and hairto “heart.” The latter is cognate, via Grimm’s Law, with Latin cor. Armahairts is thus an exact calque of Latin misericordia (Lehmann 42). Similar calques exist elsewhere in Germanic languages (see OE ælmesse, which is a more direct calque, via Vulgar Latin, of ἐλεημοσύνη), suggesting a word for this specific kind of gift-giving did not exist in Germanic culture prior to contact with Christianity, and needed to be borrowed. It is possible Wulfila introduced this word himself, although the use of a Latin calque seems curious unless the word was already known to his audience.[3]

By the time Wulfila translated the Bible into Gothic, the Goths had been in direct contact with the Roman Empire—as both enemies and mercenaries—for over a century. Although it is impossible to know just how much indirect contact they had before that, the linguistic evidence suggests that Mediterranean trade goods with Latin names had reached them. Wulfila’s missionary efforts did not take place in a cultural vacuum. His audience, having interacted with the Roman Empire during the heyday of its conversion to Christianity, was likely already familiar with the basic practices of the new religion.

[1] There are many words which appear to be Gothic transliterations of precise Greek words or phrases. Although it is likely that Wulfilas introduced these to supplement shortcomings in Gothic vocabulary, it is also possible that some of them already existed prior to his translation.

[2] An intermediary Celtic form of *olevom has been suggested, however there is no direct evidence for either this or the proposed Rhaetic form (Lehmann 26-7).

[3] As noted above, Wulfila’s tendency is to adhere (sometimes rigidly) to the syntax and meaning of his Greek source, and this practice seems to extend to compounds he introduced.

Works Cited

Fortson, Benjamin W. Indo-European Language and Culture: An Introduction. Wiley-Blackwell, 2010.

Lehmann, Winfred Philipp, and Helen-Jo J. Hewitt. A Gothic Etymological Dictionary: based on the third edition of Vergleichendes Wörterbuch der Gotischen Sprache by Sigmund Feist. E. J. Brill, 1986.

Wright, Joseph. Grammar of the Gothic Language. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1910.

Currently reading: Indo-European Language and Culture: And Introduction, by Benjamin Fortson
Current Audio Book: Black Ships Before Troy, by Rosmary Sutcliffe
Currently Translating: The Old Saxon Heliand

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Euangelia in Lingua... Danica?

Last night in class, we pulled up the high resolution photographs made available by the British Museum of the Old Saxon heroic lay/Gospel harmony Heliand (which is fantastic and is twice as long as Beowulf, in case you found the latter too short). We have been studying the Heliand using Cathy's text (more about that later), but last night we did some reading straight from the manuscript, translating as we went and stopping to consider points of grammar, paleography, and the sound changes that had produced differences between the Old English and Old Saxon forms. It was a magnificent way to spend an evening.

I was amused by this tidbit at the top of the MS, written by a much later hand (probably in the seventeenth century):

I'm very curious to know who looked at this poem and said, "Yep. Seems Danish."

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Gothic Digraphs ai and au

The vowels of Wulfila’s Gothic include the letters a, e, i, o, u, and the digraphs ei, iu, ai, and au. There is some question about the sound values of the latter two, the traditional understanding being that these digraphs were each used to represent three different sounds: a diphthong, a short vowel, and a long vowel. By this theory, the digraph ai was used to represent (1) the diphthong ái (identical to ei in German mein); (2) the short vowel (similar to a in English hat); (3) the long monophthong ai [e:]. The au digraph was used to represent (1) the diphthong áu (ou English house); (2) the short vowel (o in English not); (3) the long monophthong au (au in English aught).

There are several criteria we must consider when reconstructing the various sounds that may have been indicated by these digraphs. The first and most important of these is the comparison of Gothic with other Old Germanic languages. This criterion takes examples of words with the au or ai digraph and compares them to their cognates in other Old Germanic languages, as well as to the reconstructed Proto-Germanic form. Where we find a consistent type of sound across several forms, and in the reconstructed form, it is reasonable to assume the same type of sound is at work in Gothic.

Comparison of Gothic baíran “to bear” to cognates in other Old Germanic languages shows a short vowel: see OHG beran, ON bera. Similarly, daúhtar “daughter” is cognate with OHG tohter and OE dohtor, suggesting the au in this word represents a short vowel. Applying this same principle of comparison to other words suggests that under certain conditions these digraphs are used to represent a diphthong, under others a long monophthong. (Robinson 64)

Another criterion which is helpful for determining the value of these digraphs is the Gothic spelling of Biblical names. For instance, ai is used both to render Greek ɛ in the name Aíleisabaíþ “Elizabeth”, and the long Greek monophthong αι in the second syllable of Haíbraius “Hebrew” (Robinson 65). By carefully considering the list of attested forms, their cognates in other Old Germanic languages, and their use in rendering the spelling of Greek names, we can derive the following rules (Wright 1910):

appears only before r, h, and ƕ[1]

ai appears only before a following vowel

appears only before r and h

au appears only before a following vowel

This theory has recently been challenged: if these sounds were uniformly distinct, why would Wulfila, whose orthography is otherwise very precise, not have represented them using individual symbols? This objection posits a two-way distinction: a short vowel (ai as [e] and au as [o]) before consonants, and a longer vowel (ai as [e:] and au as [o:]) before vowels. But whether a three-way distinction existed in Wulfila’s time, Robinson maintains it is useful for the modern study of Gothic, since the suggested vowels aí ái and ai each derive from different sources in the proto-language. (Robinson 67)

Works Cited

Robinson, Orrin W. Old English and its Closest Relatives: A Survey of the Earliest Germanic Languages. Stanford, CA, Stanford Univ. Pr., 2003.

Wright, Joseph. Grammar of the Gothic Language. Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1910.

[1] Wright notes the possible exceptions of aíþþáu, waíla, and the reduplicated syllable of pret. strong verbs belonging to Class VII.

Currently Reading: The Development of Germanic Verse Form, Lehmann
Current Audio Book: The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien
Currently Translating: The Old Saxon Heiliand

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Hygelac's Raid and the Necklace of the Brosings, Pt 2

In last week's post, I began looking at the curious comments in lines 1192-1214 of the Beowulf poem regarding Hama, Eormenric, and the Necklace of the Brosings. In today's post, I consider the necklace itself, and offer some suggestions as to the juxtaposition of this episode with the foreshadowing of Hygelac's death in the Frisian raid to wit: the poem may be much less critical of Hygelac than is typically thought.

The Necklace of the Brosings

The Brosinga mene mentioned here seems related to the Brisinga men of Old Norse legend as related in Þrymskviða and Husdrapa. In both poems it is the necklace of the goddess Freyja, and its name is associated in the Elder Edda with brisingr, an Old Norse poetic word for fire. Taken this way, its name might mean “shining necklace” or “bright necklace.”

The usage in Beowulf of Brosinga mene suggests another etymology: it may have originally been a necklace particularly associated with the Brisings or Brosings. In a case parallel with the etymology of the sword Tyrfing in Hervarar saga ok Heiðreks, a name which was originally associated with a particular group of people has lost its meaning and become associated with a physical object: most scholars accept that the name of the sword Tyrfing in this saga probably refers originally to the Tervingi, a tribe of the Goths. Over time the memory of the tribe was lost to Germanic legend, but the name itself remained closely associated with the legends about the Goths, and was ultimately transferred to the cursed sword of legend (Turville-Petre 86).

In Husdrapa, the Brisinga men is stolen from Freyja by Loki. The god Heimdallr pursues Loki, and after an extended battle manages to reclaim the necklace and return it to Freyja. Andy Orchard has suggested this story may be a distant preservation of the same myth which inspired the story of Hama and Eormenric (Orchard 116).

But we cannot confidently say more than that the Brosinga mene was a necklace of great value, perhaps originally associated with some people group supposed to have been subjugated by Eormenric.  And as Klaeber notes, this does little to explain how this apparently successful raid is meant to influence our reading of the foreshadowing of Hygelac’s doomed trip to the Rhineland (Klaeber 194).

The answer may lie in the text of Beowulf itself.

Whatever the details of Hama’s story as the Beowulf poet would have known it, it seems clear that by bringing the necklace of the Brosings to þære byrhtan byrig [to that bright fortress] Hama accomplished two things: he searoniðas fleah Eormenrices [fled* the treacherous hate of Eormenric] and geceas ecne ræd [chose eternal counsel].

Searoniðas [treacherous hate] is one of a number of nið compounds in Beowulf, including bealonið “violent enmity, baleful rage,” færnið “hostile attack,” herenið “war-hate,” hetenið “hate-violence, enmity,” inwitnið “hostile act,” and wælnið “deadly hate, murderous violence.” Bealonið is of particular interest, for it is used again in close proximity with ece rædas in Hrothgar’s sermon:

Bebeorh þe ðone bealonið,  Beowulf leofa,
Secg betesta,  ond þe þæt selre geceos,
Ece rædas…
(Beowulf 1758-60)

[Guard yourself against wicked hostility, dear Beowulf, best of warriors, and choose the better part: lasting rewards…]

Hrothgar’s advice to Beowulf comes at the end of two instructive parallels: the first is the story of Heremod, a king of the Danes who was eventually overtaken by his own bloody-mindedness. The second was the more generic story of “the man of noble family,” an explanation of where the rot sets in in the heroic society of the poem. Hrothgar tells Beowulf to avoid nið and choose ece rædas. Hama has escaped nið and chosen ecne ræd.

Given this close parallel, it is tempting to suggest that Eormenric takes on a Heremod-like role in the story. But it is enough to say that however the story of Hama ended—and the German and Scandinavian versions all agree it ended violently—by Hrothgar’s standards at least he behaved as a hero should.

The proximity of this reference to the foreshadowing of Hygelac’s death suggests a sympathetic reading of the Frisian raid. Change, as Hrothgar later suggests, is certain. In the face of such overwhelming certainty, heroes should dare—not grasp to hold on to what they have. The poet, like Hrothgar, Beowulf, and Hygelac, accepts that the wages of heroism is death, but does not consider this an indictment.

Nor need this contradict a possible censure of Hygelac’s wlenco [pride**].  For as Tom Shippey writes, “Much of the complexity of… Beowulf stems from the existence in it of two possible and valid attitudes to the heroic life—one admiring its strength and beauty… the other considering its disastrous long-term effects on nations and individuals. Accepting one does not mean denying the other” (Shippey 51).

By the apposition of the story of Hama and Eormenric with Hygelac’s death in battle, the poet allows his audience to understand the latter by means of the former, and in doing so strikes the delicate balance which is the artistic hallmark of the poem.

Or perhaps “passed through” if one takes the MS reading of fealh, as Kiernan does (eBeowulf 1202).
** wlenco may also be translated "high spirits," and whether it is intended as a pejorative is debatable (Klaeber 459).

Works Cited:

“Ævilok Heimis ok Þiðreks konungs.” Edited by Guðni Jonsson, Þiðreks saga af Bern.

Chambers, R. W. Widsith: A Study in Old English Heroic Legend. Russel & Russel, 1965.

“Deor.” : Deor, Sean Miller,

Kiernan, Kevin and Ionut Emil Iacob. Electronic Beowulf, Online Fourth Edition. University of Kentucky, 2015,

Faulkes, Anthony. A New Introduction to Old Norse. Vol. 2, Viking Society for Northern Research, 2011.

Klaeber, Frederick, R. D. Fulk, Robert E. Bjork, and John D. Niles. Klaeber's Beowulf and the Fight at Finnsburg. U of Toronto, 2008.

Orchard, Andy. A Critical Companion to Beowulf. Brewer, 2004.

Shippey, Thomas A. Old English Verse. Hutchinson, 1972.

Turville-Petre, Gabriel, editor. Hervarar Saga ok Heiðreks. Viking Soc. for Northern Research, 2006.

Thorpe, Benjamin. Beowulf: Together with Widsith and the Fight at Finnesburg. Barron, 1962.

Currently Reading: The Legend of Brynhild, by Theodore Anderson
Current Audio Book: The Hobbit, by JRR Tolkien
Currently Translating: Skeireins (Gothic commentary on the Gospel of John)

Joining the Chorus of Martyrs: Culture, Evangelical Copypasta, and the 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste

Today, on the Revised Julian Calendar used by the Orthodox Church in America, it is the feast of the 40 Holy Martyrs of Sebaste. This feast ...