I only have the Broadview book at the moment, so my blog post will be about the aspects of that reading that I found most interesting. First off, I was interested in how the book points out specific instances in which different manuscripts paint moments in history quite differently. On page XLVII, a writing done by a scribe in Peterborough that accounts King Harold’s murder at the hands of William during the Norman conquest is quoted. The scribe briefly mentions King Harold’s death, simply stating that William killed him along with Earl Tostig in one sentence. Later in the same paragraph, the scribe goes on to say, “Leofric, Abbot of Peterborough, was at the campaign and fell ill there, and came home and died soon after…God have mercy on his soul. In his days there was every happiness and every good at Peterborough, and he was beloved by everyone…” Here, the book makes a point to suggest that the effects of the Norman Conquest and Battle of Hastings may not have been immediately felt by the people of Britain or, furthermore, seen as significant to the culture as we have come to view it today. Going off on this same idea, the book quotes a scribe in Winchester who wrote of the same events. Similarly to the previously mentioned scribe, William’s conquest and Harold’s death are mentioned briefly in one sentenced and, subsequently, followed by a noting of the building of a church and a sighting of a comet. These manuscripts show that our conceptions of history can be altered by different authors and time itself. Events in history, such as the Norman Conquest, that we see today as holding historical significance could very well have been regarded with less importance to the people of the time period, and major effects of the events may have occurred so much later after the events themselves that the scribes of the time never noticed a change to record in their life times.
I just read the first line of this and immediately hopped on to ensure that you check your email and see that I’ve posted PDFs of the readings from the OUMEM book to the course blog schedule page, so you can now prepare those for tomorrow.