Culture at the Court of King Alfred

Dr Elton Medeiros of the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil, the Visiting Research Fellow in the Department for 2013-14 working with Dr Ryan Lavelle, talked about his research to a well-attended meeting of the Wessex Centre on Thursday 21 November 2013. The pagan Anglo-Saxons traced their origins back to Woden or Seaxneat: perhaps their genealogies were read or chanted. From the mid twelfth century Trojan origins prevailed. In between, so Elton showed, the Anglo-Saxons traced their origins beyond Woden to Sceaf, an otherwise unrecorded fourth son of Noah born on the Ark. The Anglo-Saxons believed that they were the true heirs of the Israelites. Elton’s sources ranged from variants of the Anglo-Saxon chronicle and King Alfred’s Pastoral Care, to the Byzantine Cave of Treasures. This myth was known to the court and aristocracy: perhaps much more widely than that.

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