Boydell Press, 2005 - History - 576 pages
This is the first ever translation from Latin into English of an important source for English and ecclesiastical history. The Liber Eliensis is an account of the history of the Isle of Ely compiled by a monk of Ely monastery in the later twelfth century. He uses evidence from the monastery's Latin and Old English archives, combined with chronicle data and biographies of saints and heroes, to tell the story of Ely in three parts. The first book, chiefly concerned with the abbesses of Ely (St Aethelthryth founded the house as a double house under female leadership), extends from the conversion of East Anglia to Christianity to the aftermath of the Danish sack; the second book covers 970-1109, when the Benedictine monastery was ruled by abbots, and includes an account of Hereward's resistance to William the Conqueror; the third book begins at the point when Ely first became the seat of a bishop, and extends to the compiler's own times, ending with the martyrdom of Thomas Becket. The translation does full justice to the compiler's gift for story-telling and his wide range of source material; it gives priority to the readings of the oldest manuscript of the Liber Eliensis, but covers all the material in the later but fuller recension of the Latin text presented in E.O. Blake's 1962 edition. The volume is completed with notes on the text and sources and an introductory essay. JANET FAIRWEATHER is a freelance researcher and translator, a member of the classics faculty, Cambridge University.
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