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Circolwyrde 2004: New Electronic Resources for Anglo-Saxon Studies


Martin K. Foys, Hood College, Maryland

Circolwyrde is an annual OEN feature which considers digital resources that have been developed or substantially revised in the past year or so, or that have not been mentioned in previous surveys. The title Circolwyrde is a hapax legomenon from Byrhtferth's Manual that means "mathematician" (literally "the state or event of cycles"). Carl Berkhout reinvents the term as "computer" in his neologized lexicon of Old English technology terms (Circolwyrde Wordhorde http://www.u.arizona.edu/~ctb/wordhord.html), and thus renders it an apt embodiment of the form and content of Anglo-Saxon digital resources. Circolwyrde's coverage has no pretensions to comprehensiveness, and welcomes notices of any other new or substantially revised electronic materials or commercial products. Please send any such notices to Martin Foys at foys@hood.edu.



The Museum of London Archaeological Services (MOLAS)'s report on the 2003 discovery Prittlewell Prince (http://www.molas.org.uk/pages/siteReports.asp?siteid=pr03) documents what is arguably the most important Anglo-Saxon burial find since Sutton Hoo. The website provides a detailed overview of the excavation and finds, including surmises on the identity of the figure buried, a reconstruction of the burial chamber, images of objects found, and even x-ray images of objects not yet excavated from their soil blocks. The MOLAS main site (http://www.molas.org.uk) frequently provides reports of Anglo-Saxon excavations and finds within the Greater London area.

David Hinton has overseen some groundbreaking work on the digital reconstruction of St. Laurence Chapel, Bradford-on-Avon, one of the best-preserved Anglo-Saxon buildings (http://www.arch.soton.ac.uk/research/bradford/alt/ind ex.html). Using 3D modeling software, Hinton and his students have digitally extrapolated architectural remains to reconstruct missing sections of the Anglo-Saxon structure, even going as far as to model interior and exterior reconstructions with lighting effects. Hinton also provides a careful summary and analysis of the recent excavations of the chapel.

The Corpus of Anglo-Saxon Buckets (http://www.arch.ox.ac.uk/archives/asbuckets/) provides an archaeological database, collating the half-century of work of the late Jean Mary Cook on Anglo-Saxon buckets. This site contains a comprehensive overview of these objects, charts of spatial distribution, bibliography, and a searchable database.

The Sutton Hoo Society site (http://www.suttonhoo.org/) provides an overview to the Anglo Saxon Royal Cemetery at Sutton Hoo, including a brief archaeological history of the site with a click-on-map highlighting individual parts of the barrow complex. The contents pages and abstracts of the Society's newsletter, 'Saxon', with the full text of a few articles, are also available.

The past four years of excavations at Bamburgh Castle (http://www.bamburghcastle.com/bc-archaeology.htm), including investigations of the Anglo-Saxon well, cemetery, and other, possibly royal, structures, are presented in both summary and diary form for each year. Similar information may also be found at http://www.bamburghresearchproject.co.uk/.

St. Peter's Church, Barton-upon-Humber, Lincolnshire (http://www.stpetersbarton.org.uk/), remains one of the most architecturally important churches in Britain, containing examples of Anglo-Saxon and Saxo-Norman overlap architecture. The site presents details of nineteenth- and twentieth-century excavations, as well as a full chronology of the structural developments of the church between c. 970 AD and 1897 AD.



Dick Ringler's "Beowulf: A New Translation for Oral Delivery" (http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/Beowulf) is designed to be read aloud and attempts "to provide a somewhat stricter imitation of the meter of the original Old English text … [and is] intended to be as accurate as possible within the metrical constraints of colloquial Modern English." This version, published only in electronic form, also presents an extensive discussion of meter in verse forms in Beowulf.

A comprehensive website details the new movie Beowulf and Grendel (http://www.beowulfandgrendel.com/), which went into production in Iceland in late 2004. The site contains extensive photos of the locations, sets and costumes, storyboards, interviews with the cast and crew, and weblogs by some of members of the film.

John William Sutton has created Beowulfiana: Modern Adaptations of Beowulf (http://www.lib.rochester.edu/camelot/BeowulfBooklet.htm). Sutton's site functions as an annotated bibliography for such discourse, surveying works in fiction, children's literature comic books, music, film and scholarship.


Bible and Exegetical Resources

Sections of the West Saxon Gospel of Saint Mark, adapted from Bright's 1905 edition, are available in plain-text format at http://www.webspawner.com/users/richrhodesmk/index.html (Chapters 1-2) and http://www.webspawner.com/users/richrhodesmk2/index.html (Chapters 3-6).

Mark Davies' The Polyglot Bible (http://davies-linguistics.byu.edu/polyglot/) provides a parallel corpus of the entire Gospel of Luke in thirty languages, and allows full-text searching and side-by-side comparison of up to seven languages, including, notably, comparisons of eleventh-century Old English, fourteenth-century Middle English, and Icelandic.

Roger Pearce has collated English translations of numerous writings of early Church fathers (http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/) not included in the published thirty-eight volume collection of Ante-Nicene, Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. These additions include texts by Gildas, Isidore, Gregory the Great, Jerome, Origen, Eusebius, and other writers known to Anglo-Saxon England.



The Regesta Imperii (http://regesta-imperii.uni-giessen.de/), a bibliographic inventory of all documentary and historiographic sources of the Romano-German kings, as well as the Popes of the early and high Middle Ages, also contains numerous listings of Anglo-Saxon materials. (In German)

Feminae: Medieval Women and Gender Index (http://www.haverford.edu/library/reference/mschaus/mfi/mfi.html) currently contains over 10,000 detailed entries for journal articles, essays in collections, and book reviews from 1992 onward, including pieces from the Old English Newsletter. Searching can occur through many fields, including subject, century, geographic area, illustrations, and manuscripts.


Catalogues, Libraries and Archives

The Access to Archives (A2A) database (http://www.a2a.org.uk/) contains catalogues describing archives held throughout England and dating from the 900s to the present day. The A2A allows one to search across 7.3 million entries from detailed catalogues from over 340 repositories in England, including The Society of Antiquaries of London, English Heritage National Monuments Records, York Minster Archives, The Tolkein Society Archive.

Corpus Christi College and the Stanford University Libraries have made available, for free (registration required), a prototype of Parker on the Web (http://parkerweb.stanford.edu/), "an interactive, web-based workspace designed to support use and study of the manuscripts in the historic Parker Library." While digital images of only two, non-Anglo-Saxon, Parker MSS are currently available (Matthew of Paris's Chronica Maiora), the site also allows users to search M.R. James's index to his two-volume catalogue of Parker Library holdings by keywords, and usefully, to download all of James's catalogue in PDF format.

Between 1990 and 1997, Nigel Ramsay, under the auspices of the University of Sheffield Humanities Research Institute, compiled a bibliography of the British Library's Cotton Manuscript Collection. This bibliography, which incorporates and builds upon Planta's original 1801 catalogue, has been converted to SGML, and is now available on-line for browsing and searching (http://www.shef.ac.uk/hri/bl/cotframe.htm). As the site reports, the entries "represent only a partial bibliography of publications of manuscripts in the collection, but are intended to provide first building blocks for a new catalogue."

The digitization project Codices Electronici Ecclesiae Coloniensi (CEEC; http://www.ceec.uni-koeln.de) has finished the digitization of the manuscript holdings of entire cathedral library and also those of a number of minor institutions around Cologne, amounting to some 145,000 pages, all presented in an astonishingly high (8000 dpi) resolution. Cologne's library contains a number of MSS of interest to Anglo-Saxonists, including texts by Bede and Alcuin, and texts related to the Anglo-Saxon missions to Germany.



Anglo-Saxon.net (http://www.anglo-saxons.net/hwaet/?do=show&page=Charterssts Sean Miller's impressive charter search engine, which allows searches by archive, kingdom, king, Sawyer catalogue and full text.

The DEEDS Corpus of private Latin charters (http://www.utoronto.ca/deeds/research/research.html) now includes "more than 8,000 dated medieval property exchange documents from England and Wales, extracted from more than 150 printed Cartulary sources." Though most of these documents come from the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, a number of eleventh-century charters are also accessible. Every charter is encoded in XML, and searchable.


Cultural/Historical Resources

Dawn Hayes has constructed a resource site for Pregnancy and Childbirth in Anglo-Saxon England (http://www.medievalmaternity.org/anglosaxon/index.htm). The site provides summaries of surviving evidence (archaeology, manuscript images, and texts), annotations of seventeen interpretative areas (e.g. Diet, Labor Positions, Weregilds for Pregnant Women), as well as a substantial bibliography.

In addition to a basic introduction to Anglo-Saxon England (billed as "England c. 450-1066 in a Nutshell"), Sean Miller's Anglo-Saxon.net (http://www.anglo-saxons.net/hwaet/) provides a number of resources, including a searchable timeline, a series of maps, a database of charters, and facing page translations of "The Wanderer," "The Seafarer," "Deor," and "Hávamál."

The Institute of Name Study's A Key to English Place-Names (http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/english/ins/epntest/intro.html) is a digital, map-based guide to the linguistic origins of England's town- and village-names, in an ongoing process of development and nearing completion of its first phase, wherein the 14,000 parish-names of all 42 historic English counties are logged. Currently, information can be retrieved by way of interactive maps, or by searching name or name elements. Searches can be restricted by county, and by language (English, Norse, Celtic, etc.). In 2005, the project plans to enter its "Domesday phase," and focus on "adding data on the remaining settlement-names from Anglo-Saxon sources and from Domesday Book [and treating] the names of the ancient administrative units known as hundreds and wapentakes."



The Dictionary of Old English has updated its website (http://www.doe.utoronto.ca/), which now includes progress reports, and a word of the week feature. The site also includes ordering information for The Electronic Corpus of the Dictionary of Old English on CD-ROM (US $200). The CD contains 3047 works, "a complete record of surviving Old English except for some variant manuscripts of individual texts." The corpus is presented in three formats (HTML, SGML, XML), but no software or search engine is included.

Sean Crist's work with the German Lexicon Project (http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~kurisuto/germanic/language_resources.html) continues to refine and develop on-line dictionary resources for Old English. The GLP still hosts scanned versions of Bosworth-Toller, Clark Hall, and Bright's reader (http://www.ling.upenn.edu/~kurisuto/germanic/aa_texts.html). Even more impressively, one can now search Bosworth-Toller online (http://penguin.pearson.swarthmore.edu/~scrist1/scanned_books/query/aa_search_advanced.html), and cross-reference this search with Proto-Germanic (Fick, Falk, and Torp, 1909) and Old Icelandic (Cleasby and Vigfusson, 1874). Much of this work is volunteer-based, and the GLP is currently looking for volunteers to help correct the online editions of Bosworth/Toller and Cleasby/Vigfusson.


Digital Technology, Practice and Theory

Blackwell's new on-line journal Literature Compass (http://www.literature-compass.com) contains a number of articles on both Anglo-Saxon studies and digital media:

  • David Johnson's "Digitzing the Middle Ages" (http://www.literature-compass.com/viewpoint.asp?section=1&ref=391ovides "an initial taxonomy and overview for the field of medieval digitization," and concludes "with a suggestion for an inexpensive and very practical digitization technique that takes advantage of readily available manuscript materials."
  • Kathryn Powell's "XML and Early English Manuscripts: Extensible Medieval Literature" (http://www.literature-compass.com/viewpoint.asp?section=1&ref=377rveys recent work in the use of markup languages in general and the Extensible Markup Language (XML) in particular in the creation of electronic texts based on early English manuscripts, with particular reference to the University of Manchester's Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies recent projects.
  • Martin Foys's "The Virtual Reality of the Anglo-Saxon Mappamundi" (http://www.literature-compass.com/viewpoint.asp?section=1&ref=392gues that reading the Anglo-Saxon Cotton Map as a "form of a virtual world more analogous to the digital environment of virtual reality than physical geography can reveal much about this famous map's cultural mechanics and meaning."
  • Alex Burghart's "An Introduction to the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (http://www.literature-compass.com/viewpoint.asp?section=1&ref=376ports on the progress of the five year PASE project as enters its final year.

The Digital Medievalist Project (http://www.digitalmedievalist.org/) is an international web-based Community of Practice for medievalists working with digital media, designed to help medievalists by providing a network for technical collaboration and instruction, exchange of expertise, and the development of best practice. The project operates an electronic mailing list and discussion forum, on-line refereed journal, news server for announcements and calls for papers, resource centre, and project wiki. It also organizes conference sessions at international medieval and humanities computing congresses.

Dan O'Donnell has written an on-line article on the evolution of digital editing and strategies for insuring the longevity of such work in The Heroic Age (http://www.mun.ca/mst/heroicage/issues/7/ecolumn.html).



The Skaldic Editing Project has designed a specialized font, ReykholtTimes 2.3 (http://skaldic.arts.usyd.edu.au/docs/fonts.html), for use in editing skaldic poetry. The new version also works to overcome some of the problems encountered translating between Mac and Windows platforms, and is therefore, of course, available for both Windows and Macintosh (OS X) operating systems.



Maþeliende: the newsletter of Anglo-Saxon and Medieval studies (http://virtual.park.uga.edu/~mathelie/) is an undergraduate and graduate journal "centered on all aspects of medieval culture and literature … [and] provides an opportunity for the publication of critical papers dealing with topics from Anglo-Saxon to Middle English and late Medieval literature."

Blackwell's Literature Compass has a medieval component edited by Andy Galloway and Elaine Treharne (http://www.literature-compass.com/section.asp?section=1; see above for some individual entries), and currently includes numerous essays on Anglo-Saxon literature, with a particular emphasis on digital innovation.


Language and Literary Resources

The Manchester Centre for Anglo-Saxon Studies (MANCASS) has developed the C11 database (http://www.art.man.ac.uk/english/mancass/data/index.htm), through which one may search for spelling variants of words used in eleventh-century English manuscripts, and one can then look up the context of any of the words returned (MANCASS continues to upload MSS to the database). The database features the ability to look up all the words that evidence a specific spelling substitution or gemination, in addition to a paleographic catalogue containing information on the scribal hands used, and an interactive catalogue of paleographic images that allows one to discover similar hands by clicking on images of letterforms in combination to search for scribes who use those combinations. See the essay by Kathryn Powell in OEN 38.1 (http://oenewsletter.org/OEN/archive.php?file=reports/powell38_1.txt) for more details.

The Richard Rawlinson Center has published David W. Porter's A Glossary of Architectural Terms from Two Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts (http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/research/rawl/architecture/index.htm). This study of two important sets of Anglo-Saxon glosses to two Latin glossaries (Antwerp, Plantin-Moretus Museum 16.2 and London, British Library, MS Harley 3826) "presents the text of the architectural glossary, with a particular view to elucidating the scribes' working methods." Sections include an edition, with English translation, of the list of Latin architectural terms from the Antwerp and Harley manuscripts; a consideration of the glossary in relation first to its continental source and then to the Latin-English list; and an analysis of the glossary compilers' methodology.

The Thesaurus of Old English project has completed its user survey on the online TOE, and posted the collated results (http://www2.arts.gla.ac.uk/SESLL/EngLang/thesaur/info.htm). Additionally, this site contains a progress report for the TOE and a copy of the paper given at the 13th International Conference on English Historical Linguistics (ICEHL).

The Oxford Text Archive (http://ota.ahds.ac.uk/) also makes available the Dictionary of Old English Electronic Corpus (search for "0163"); a hard copy of a request form must be submitted first, however. The OTA also makes available the following Anglo-Saxon texts (to find, search on the number; "R" indicates a restricted resource requiring a printed form, while "F" may be freely downloaded): 0511, Walter Birch's Cartularium Saxonicum (F); 0813, King Alfred's version of Augustine's Soliloquies (F); 0815, King Alfred's Orosius (F); 1477, the Helsinki corpus of English texts (R); 1936, Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records (F); 2425, The York-Helsinki parsed corpus of Old English poetry (R); 2450, Metric syntactic scan of the ASPR (R); 2453, Fontes Anglo-Saxonici (F); 2462, The York-Toronto-Helsinki Parsed Corpus of Old English prose (R); 2463, Ancrene Wisse Preface (R); 2470, The Brooklyn Corpus of Old English: TEI XML conformant edition (F). The OTA remains quite interested in increasing coverage, with more modern editions, of Old English texts. Any electronic texts these areas would be welcome; to do so, contact the archive at info@ota.ahds.ac.uk.

From a related field of study, the Skaldic Editing Project (http://skaldic.arts.usyd.edu.au/) aims to produce a new edition of the known corpus of Norse-Icelandic skaldic poetry in book and electronic form. While an ongoing process, the project already has marshaled some impressive resources, including a skaldic database, which includes lists of skalds, poems and groups of verses, sagas and prose texts, manuscript collections, bibliographic entries, first lines of verses, word forms in concordance, and indices of kennings, names, and places.



Melissa Bernstein's groundbreaking 1996 hypertext edition of Wulfstan's Sermon Lupi ad Anglos has moved to a permanent home: http://english3.fsu.edu/~wulfstan/.

Bernard Muir and Nick Kennedy have overseen a number of recent and shortly forthcoming CD-ROM publications of electronic editions (all available through http://evellum.com), including MS Junius 11 (Bodleian Digital Texts 1). Muir and Kennedy's edition of Junius 11 provides a savvy, elegant, and intuitive design that should become the inspiration, if not the template for future electronic editions in the field. This facsimile edition provides high and low resolution images of the manuscript (along with images of the Old Saxon Genesis and MSS of Junius's own comments on the manuscript), translations, transcriptions, background materials, search function and bibliography. Its real strength is the ease and speed with which one can explore the images. Regrettably, however, Muir and Kennedy have chosen to yoke their program to Microsoft's beleaguered Internet Explorer browser, and therefore limit this version's usefulness and longevity. Another Muir/Kennedy project is The Life of Saint Wilfrid by Edmer of Canterbury: a twelfth-century biography (with Victoria, Australia, Ballarat Fine Art Gallery, MS Crouch 10), a digital edition of Eadmer's Vita Wilfridi which includes a full facsimile of a relatively unknown witness, MS Crouch 10. The edition also considers all known manuscript witnesses and provides a full study of the printed tradition, as well as considering the relationship between this Vita and related works by Eadmer, Fridegode and others. The analysis of the printed tradition challenges "traditional views concerning the authority of the Acta Sanctorum, Patrologia Latina and other early editions." Finally, The Exeter Anthology of Old English Poetry, due to be published in late 2004, builds upon Muir's print edition from 2000. In this version, Muir expands upon the four hundred new readings he presented in his first edition, and has updated and reorganized the Bibliography and Commentary to include critical works that appeared between 1994 and 1999.

Bibliotheca Augustana contains the Old English version of "The Battle of Maldon" (http://www.fh-augsburg.de/~harsch/anglica/Chronology/10thC/Maldon/mal_intr.html), as well as a bibliography of basic editions of the poem.

Images of the causeway (still existing) used by the Vikings in the Battle of Maldon, as well as maps of the area, may be found at http://www.wuffings.co.uk/WuffSites/Maldon.htm, http://www.airflow.net/maldon/appendix.htm, and http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~hanly/oe/503images.html.

Sean Miller's Anglo-Saxon.net (http://www.anglo-saxons.net/hwaet/?do=show&page=Literatures facing page translations of four texts: "The Wanderer," "The Seafarer," "Deor," and "Hávamál." Miller provides a series of basic footnotes for each work, as well as the options to view the text without translation, with word order translation guides, or to change the verse line numbering.

Benjamin Slade's ever-growing Beowulf site now contains diacritically marked facing page translations of six other Anglo-Saxon texts (http://www.heorot.dk/beo-suppl.html): "Deor," "The Fight at Finnsburh," "Waldere," "Woden's Nine Herbs Charm," "Charm against a Sudden Stitch," and Bede's Account of Cædmon.

Thomas Head's Prologue to the Hodoeporicon of St. Willibald (http://urban.hunter.cuny.edu/~thead/huneberc.htm) publishes a translation of the Latin prologue of Huneberc of Heidenheim's "Hodoeporicon of Saint Willibald." In this prologue, Huneberc's justifies how she, a woman, can be an author. Head also gives a brief background on this eight-century Anglo-Saxon author and her Continental journeys.

Christine Rauer's The Old English martyrology: an annotated bibliography (http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~cr30/martyrology/) includes indices for saints, feasts and persons named in the manuscript; criticism on the dating and sources of composition for the text; research on its language, style and historical importance in terms of earlier Anglo-Saxon hagiography. Originally based on the bibliography of the late James E. Cross, this resource has now considerably superceded this previous work.



Michelle Brown's Introduction to Anglo-Saxon Manuscripts (http://www.fathom.com/course/10701049/index.html) presents a basic seminar on manuscripts and manuscript culture of Anglo-Saxon England, in five sections: Anglo-Saxon England and the Book; Reading and Writing the Manuscripts; Spiritual and Secular Worlds; Materials and Techniques; and Illustration and Ornament. Brown seeks to "explore the questions posed by medieval manuscripts with illustrations of some of the most notable documents … [and trace] their visual development from the earliest survivors through to the spectacular creations from the years around the first millennium." The lesson comes supported by a great number of high-quality illuminations from British Library manuscripts.


Important Indices

Most of the following resources are not actually new, but because of their utility each year's Circolwyrde ends with such a list. Though dozens of Anglo-Saxon hyper-indices may be found on the Web, few are as comprehensive or as mindfully updated (i.e. less "dead" links, though this seems to be inevitable to some degree) as those listed below. If you are looking for a particular aspect of Anglo-Saxon language, history, culture or literature, start with these trusted indices. Note: the addresses for some of these resources have changed recently; so updated URLs have been given.

The Old English Pages are now a part of the Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies (ORB); the Anglo-Saxon section of ORB (http://www.the-orb.net/encyclop/early/pre1000/asindex.html) contains original essays, a substantial list of on-line texts and editions, and a broad range of teaching materials, other indices, and Old English Societies. ORB encourages submissions, and directs users to http://orb.rhodes.edu/text/about.html for further information.

Ansaxdat (http://www.mun.ca/Ansaxdat/), the full-text database for the Listserv discussion group ANSAXNET allows one to search through thousands of postings from the past fifteen years for specific discussions of Anglo-Saxon studies.

The online journal The Heroic Age maintains a sizable list of Anglo-Saxon links (http://members.aol.com/heroicage1/as.htm), ranging from scholarly to local levels, and including hyperindices of bibliography, history, archaeology, literature, education, art, manuscripts, religion, projects and journals.

The Labyrinth Library, Old English Literature (http://labyrinth.georgetown.edu/; choose "Old English" and "All fields") provides a basic, but lengthy, set of Old English links. The Labyrinth's alphabetical index to Old English poetry (http://www.georgetown.edu/labyrinth/library/oe/alpha.html) provides quick access to almost all Old English poems. Additionally, Labyrinth has indexed its resources in a database, allowing for quick and concise searching of its architecture.

Though the Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland (TOEBI) Web Resources Page (http://www.hcu.ox.ac.uk/toebi/www.html) includes textual and cultural catalogues similar to the indices described above, TOEBI's strength lies in its list of on-line teaching materials.

Continuously updated and ever growing, the Humbul Humanities Hub (http://www.humbul.ac.uk) "aims to be UK higher and further education's first choice for accessing online humanities resources." Searching on "Anglo-Saxon" or "Old English" reveals hundreds of records for relevant on-line resources, all annotated by a Humbul reviewer.