The Soliloquies of St. Augustine are a philosophical dialogue between Augustine’s mind and his faculty of reason concerning the nature of God and the immortality of the soul. The Soliloquies was translated into Old English in the late ninth century as part of King Alfred of Wessex’s (r. 871-899) program to revive learning and literacy in his kingdom. This volume contains complete texts of the Latin and Old English Soliloquies, as well as original, facing-page translations of both. Leslie Lockett’s elegant, readable, and accurate translation of the
Few medieval authors make it as easy for historians to crawl inside their minds as Ekkehard IV of St. Gall (c. 980–c. 1057). He gets as close as possible to becoming an actual person—which is, all things considered, quite a rarity in medieval historiography. However, tempting as it may be to get swept up in the life and thoughts of this author, it is precisely this “personality” that makes it so important to not simply take his texts for granted,
This book comprises the first English translation of John Tzetzes’ Allegories of the Odyssey, a long allegorical commentary on Homer’s Odyssey in 15-syllable verse. It is the authors’ second work on Tzetzes to be published in recent years, following their translation of the Allegories of the Iliad (Cambridge 2015). Tzetzes divides his commentary into 24 sections corresponding to the Homeric books. After a short summary of each book, he interprets allegorically the Homeric verses that refer to the pagan gods.
The neat, readable, scholarly, affordable Dumbarton Oaks Medieval Library series has made an immense contribution to my students’ experience of medieval literature. This volume of 22 anonymous prose Old English saints’ lives supplements the three-volume set of Ælfric’s Lives of Saints and together they provide (almost) complete coverage of early medieval vernacular hagiography. This is a remarkable achievement. Most texts presented here have not been edited for at least a century, and the editors point out six (Chad, James the Greater, Machutus,
Aelred, a native of the Scottish border regions of Northumbria, entered Rievaulx abbey north of York in 1134, just two years after its founding by French Cistercians. After a trip to Rome in 1142, Aelred became the third abbot of Rievaulx in 1147. He was a powerful abbot who lived in the perilous times of the anarchy, when Stephen and Mathilda contended for the throne. Aelred chronicled these struggles; he wrote a life of Edward the Confessor and also a
The Book of Syntipas the Philosopher (BSP) tells the dramatic story of the young son of King Kyros, who is falsely accused by one of the king’s wives of having raped her, and therefore faces capital punishment. This is a fascinating text, due to its intriguing narrative structure (multiple short stories embedded in a frame story) and the dramatic character of the embedded short stories, which frequently are about sex and crime, topics rarely found in Byzantine literature. In two