The Anglo-Saxon Monk looks to the law of Ethelbert for some Easter reflection... and comes up with mutilation, adultery and hair-cutting.
The most important Christian festival approaches: a time for reflection and, for all Anglo-Saxon folk, a time for confession. Now I'm loath to acknowledge it, but my sources tell me that Easter in the twenty-first century is less about the Resurrection of our Lord and more about eating rabbits made of a confection that I only know about because I'm a time traveller. Shame on you! Though I wouldn't mind trying one of those Cadbury's Creme Eggs I've heard about – once my fasting is over, of course.
Well now, to the point at hand. I won't say that Bertie's law code contains anything directly related to Easter but there are a number of rulings in there – pretty much all of them in fact – that were you to contravene you would most certainly be obliged to seek out your confessor before Easter
So in the spirit of Christian love and, frankly, with a dispiriting awareness of your moral frailty, here are my top three crimes for Easter confession. Well, being as I'm advocating honest confession, I should admit that they're actually just the first three random laws that caught my eye. Well, I can't spend all day ruminating over your eternal salvation. I have things to do!
'Hot off the printing press' is how you refer to it in your twenty-first-century world, or at least that's what I've been told. Here in my alternate eleventh-century dimension, I have another four hundred years or more to wait for the printing press to be invented, and in the meantime I wear my fingers to the bone working the vellum. But I never complain.
Complaining, however, seems to be the order of the day in this marvellous new book for all you blessed children out there: You Wouldn't Want to Be an Anglo-Saxon Peasant. The book is written from the perspective of a young ceorl's son in seventh-century England. So that's back-breaking work, a famine and murderous feuding, though I will just say that it's not complete gloom and doom; our young hero does make some wise, essentially Christian, choices to bring some respite to everyone's God-cherished soul.
I do feel compelled to inform all my dear readers that the life of an Anglo-Saxon monk
would rival any peasant's in terms of real hardship. You have no idea, blessed ones, how tough it is sticking to all the rules! I will, by the way, be starting a new series of posts on the Benedictine Rule, which governed monastic life in late Anglo-Saxon England. So much to look forward to!
Finally, in case you're wondering why I'm promoting this particular book, well I really have no choice. My alter ego, Dr Chris Monk, worked as a consultant for the publishers, Salariya, and so I am, regrettably, obliged to promote almost everything with which he's involved. He's quite the demigod, I'll have you know!
You can click on to the image above to go to the publisher's website or the button below to buy the book. Please note, the book is not released in the USA until March 10, 2016.