Anglo-Saxon Remedies, Charms, and Prayers From British Library Ms Harley 585: The Lacnunga Volume Two

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The Anglo-Saxon Lacnunga is a miscellaneous collection of almost two hundred mainly herbal remedies, charms, and prayers found only in a mostly 10th-11th century manuscript in the British Library. The collection is written mainly in Old English and Latin, and includes a version of a remarkable 7th century Hiberno-Latin prayer known as the Lorica of Laidcenn; there are also corrupt passages in Old Irish, Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. It is one of the oldest extant vernacular medical collections in Northern Europe. Study of it sheds light on the dissemination, understanding, and translation in Anglo-Saxon England of remedies from classical and classical-derived collections such as the Historia Naturalis of Pliny, the Medicina Plinii, and the Physica Plinii. The collection also includes a large number of ‘magical’ charms which offer a unique insight into native beliefs in elves, spirits, witches, and sentient plants. The collection is therefore of prime importance to the history of folk medicine in Europe.
This two-volume edition is the first to provide an accurate representation of the manuscript, edited and translated in the light of newly discovered source and analogous texts. It is also the first to include: a detailed discussion of the nature of the collection and its status in Anglo-Saxon England; discussions of the collection’s palaeography and codicology, sources, analogues, and language (with full glossaries of Old English and Old Irish words); an extensive commentary that takes into account a wealth of previous scholarship, and finds new solutions to old cruces; and a full bibliography, in addition to individual bibliographies for each of the collection’s Old English metrical charms.


“. . . a valuable addition to scholarship and will be of interest to scholars in a wide range of disciplines, including Anglo-Saxon studies, folklore and the history of medicine.” – Jane Roberts

Table of Contents

Volume One:
Table of Contents:
Foreword; Preface
1. Lacununga: An Anglo-Saxon Remedy Collection: Overview; Remedy Composition and Preparation; Charms and the Irish Connection; Concepts of Disease Causation
2. Survey of Previous Scholarship
3. Reassessment of Lacnunga: Collection Characteristic of Anglo-Saxon Medicine; Who Composed and Used Lacnunga?
4. Table of Major Editions (Complete and Partial)
5. Table of Entry Headings
Lacnunga: Text and Translation
Appendices: Description; Variants, Sources, Analogues, Old English; Old English Glossary; Old Irish Glossary; List of Old English Plant Names
[MCET 6a] : 0-7734-7555-9 $99.95/£59.95 348pp. 2001
Volume Two:

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