Origin Legends in Early Medieval Western Europe


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This volume contains work by scholars actively publishing on origin legends across early medieval western Europe, from the fall of Rome to the high Middle Ages. Its thematic structure creates a dialogue between texts and regions traditionally studied in isolation. Part I (Regions) introduces the corpus of origin texts from the areas under this volume’s purview. Part II (Themes) identifies key themes that appear in origin legends and introduces new arguments on a wide range of early medieval material. The chapters in Part III (Approaches) conclude the volume by highlighting a range of disciplinary, methodological, and theoretical approaches to origin legends.
Contributors are Lindy Brady, Erica Buchberger, Thomas Charles-Edwards, Michael Clarke, Marios Costambeys, Katherine Cross, Helen Fulton, Shami Ghosh, Ben Guy, Judith Jesch, Catherine E. Karkov, Robert Kasperski, John D. Niles, Conor O’Brien, Alheydis Plassmann, Andrew Rabin, Helmut Reimitz, Robert W. Rix, and Patrick Wadden.

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Lindy Brady, Ph.D. (2012), University of Connecticut, is Assistant Professor of History at University College Dublin. She has published Writing the Welsh Borderlands in Anglo-Saxon England (Manchester, 2017) and The Origin Legends of Early Medieval Britain and Ireland (Cambridge, 2022).
Patrick Wadden, D.Phil. (2012), University of Oxford, is Associate Professor of History at Belmont Abbey College, North Carolina. He has published articles and book chapters on the early medieval history and historiography of Ireland and Britain.
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

1 Introduction
Lindy Brady and Patrick Wadden

PART 1: Regions

2 Origin Legends of Visigothic Spain in Isidore of Seville’s Writings
Erica Buchberger
3 Origin Legends in Ireland and Celtic Britain
T.M. Charles-Edwards
4 Origin Legends in Italy in the Early Middle Ages
Marios Costambeys
5 Origin Stories in the Viking Diaspora—Norway, Iceland, Orkney
Judith Jesch
6 The Origin Legend of the Goths in the Getica by Jordanes
Robert Kasperski
7 The Early History of Frankish Origin Legends, c.500–800 C.E.
Helmut Reimitz

PART 2: Themes

8 The Legend of Trojan Origins in the Later Middle Ages: Texts and Tapestries
Michael Clarke
9 Fallen Angels and the Island Paradise
Catherine E. Karkov
10 The New Israel Motif in Early Medieval Origin Legends
Conor O’Brien
11 Out-of-Scandinavia: New Perspectives on Barbarian Identity
Robert W. Rix
12 Oral Tradition and Origin Legends
Shami Ghosh

PART 3: Approaches

13 Origin Legends and Objects
Katherine Cross
14 Historiography and the Invention of British Identity: Troy as an Origin Legend in Medieval Britain and Ireland
Helen Fulton
15 Origin Legends and Genealogy
Ben Guy
16 Myths of the Eastern Origins of the Franks: Fictions or a Kind of Truth?
John D. Niles
17 Origines gentium and the Long Shadow of Rome
Alheydis Plassmann
18 Myth, Memory, and the Early History of the Diocese of Tours in Gregory’s Decem libri historiarum
Andrew Rabin
19 Conclusion
Lindy Brady and Patrick Wadden

This book will be of interest to undergraduate and postgraduate students and scholars in the fields of early medieval European history and historical writing, and myths and legends of origin.
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