ALDHELM

ALDHELM 639 709. The first Anglo-Saxon literary personality. Born ca. 640 into the royal family of Wessex, he studied first with the Irish Maeldubh, then with Hadrian of Canterbury, then again with Maeldubh. He was a monk, then priest, of the abbey of Mahmesbury, where he became abbot in 676. He was bishop of Sherborne in 705, though retaining direction of the abbey, and died 25 May 709. His writings show his principal interests to have been literary, something exceptional in that age. They include five carmina ecclesiastica in hexameters, proposed as inscriptions for the dedication of churches, and De virginitate, a topical eulogy of the celibate life written first in verse and then again in prose, and esp. De metris et aenigmatibus ac pedum regulis, written ca. 695 and dedicated to King Aldfrid of Northumbria. More than just a work on metric, its complicated and bizarre course is carefully worked out in alternating prose and verse, with alternating subjects. Noteworthy is an ample treatment of the symbolic value of the number 7, an explanation of the prosody of the hexameter, a block of 100 riddles in hexameters of various length, and finally more treatment of metric and prosody. This work is entirely typical of Aldhelm: literary ambition, Irish-derived whimsy, mastery of the written word which becomes a real game of skill and obscure complexity, the prevalent interest in grammar and metric, the considerable cultural and scholarly base, and the desire to display all this knowledge in the most conspicuous way possible. Some of his letters remain, in whose formal complication one sees the ingenium of the author and the norm of the genre. One letter defends Roman customs regarding Easter and the tonsure, while the others are literary: in Ep. 5 Aldhelm says that Britain can now produce teachers no less capable than the Irish. CPL 1331-1339; PL 89, 63-314; MGH, AA, 15; H. MayrHarting, The Coming of Christianity to Anglo-Saxon England, London 3 1991, 192-204; A. Orchard, After Aldhelm: The Teaching and Transmission of the Anglo-Latin Hexameter: Journal of Medieval Latin 2 1992 96-133; Id., The Poetic Art of Aldhelm Cambridge Studies in Anglo-Saxon England 8, Cambridge 1994.
Saint Aldhelm, Bishop of Sherborne-Sarum holidaymapq

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ALDHELM

St. Aldhelm (c. 639 709) holidaymapq

ALDHELM

Aldhelm abbot of Malmesbury Britannica.com holidaymapq

ALDHELM

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