salvianus: (Lunt)
[personal profile] salvianus
so many pretties:

PAS photo's:

I love the presumably protective inscription on cat. number 550:
[.] I R G E : D N E : D I S E P E N T U // [.] F I N I M I C I T U I
[:] E/T [.] U G E N T Q U I O D E R U N // T T E A F A C I E T [U] A
read as:
'surge d[omi]ne [et] disepentur (for dissipentur) inimici tui et
fugent (for fugiant) qui oderunt te a facie tua'
(Rise up, o Lord, and may thy enemies be scattered and those who hate
thee be driven from thy face).
This passage is from the Psalms (this is given in most reports as
67:2, which is the numbering in Jerome's Vulgate, but Psalm 68:1 in the
NIV) which itself quotes Moses' invocation as the ark set out each
morning in the desert warded by the pillar of smoke, Numbers 10:35.

Another text from Anglo-Saxon England also quotes this passage:
Felix's Vita S. Guthlaci, written in c.730-49 one extant manuscript
fragment dating from the late eighth or early ninth century. In this,
at one point Guthlac uses the Psalm to ward off evil spirits:
"þone sealm sang: Exurgat deus et dissipentur, et reliqua. Sona swa he
þæt fyrmeste fers sang þæs sealmes, þa gewiton hi swa swa smic fram
his ansyne"
(sang the psalm: Exurgat Deus et dissipentur, et reliqua. As soon as
he had sung the first verse of the psalm, they departed like smoke
from his presence).

which itself refers to the continuation of the Psalm: "Just as smoke
vanishes, so may they vanish, just as wax flows away before the face
of fire".

I suspect some of the soldiers of Honorius were equally militant! I
just really, really hope they can tell us what it might have been
attached to. The treatment of the complete cross suggests the treasure was not buried by a believer, and thus if this strip did adorn a Christian warrior's gear
it may not have saved him, but as the inscription is on both sides, my guess is that it is part of another cross. Given that the hoard was deposited within sight of Lichfield Cathedral, the first building built in 700 to house the bones of St. Chad, I prefer to hope it was extracted from a pilgrim on their way to dedicate it to the shrine, or perhaps even lifted from the altar itself: a similar cross was buried with St Cuthbert.

Professor Michelle Brown believes the uncial lettering used implies a date of 7th or early 8th century, while Professor Elisabeth Okasha thinks the style of insular majuscule suggests the 8th or early 9th century. The St Chad Gospels housed in the Cathedral since the tenth century were written in the 8th, perhaps around 730. The script is mostly Insular majuscule but has some uncial characteristics and is thus called semi-uncial.

(much info from

Date: 2009-09-27 02:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Thanks very much for an illuminating footnote! Now we have to work that into a prayer at a show... :)


Date: 2010-01-26 11:07 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I had a couple of good looks at the exhibition and also spoke to some of the staff. One of the first things I noticed was that there were some wild inaccuracies in the information made available to the public, as well as some misinterpretation of some objects (such as scabbard mouths misinterpreted as sword hilts).

The assemblage is most likely to be the spoil from a battlefield, collected for its bullion value. Looking through Bede and given the general location of the find, as well as the treatment of certain objects in the assemblage, the most likely occasion for its deposition would be the battle in cAD679 near the river Trent between King Ecgfrith of Northumbria and King Aethelraed of Mercia. We can be sure that the (Christian) Northumbrians lost the battle and that the (pagan) Mercians won. Christian altar crosses have been folded up without regard for religious significance and what appear to be book and reliquary mounts are also present. Most of the cloisione decoration looks similar to that of other items known from the early to mid seventh century and at least one piece has decoration which is very similar in style to the style of some of the decoration in the Book of Durrow, which is generally dated to around AD650.


Re: Dating

Date: 2010-01-31 05:59 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Excellent stuff! Such an early date is great news for us early types :-)


salvianus: (Default)

February 2011


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