Scotch-Irish-L Archives

Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886540083

From: Martin Roberts <>
Subject: Re: early Picts/Anglo-Saxon Chronicles
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 1998 15:08:03 -0600

Linda, I agree with Gordon on this. I read them many years ago. In fact I
did a college paper on them!

After a lifetime's reflection, I offer this:

- They have no known author. With an author, we can assign a time and place
and connect the writing to them. Without, they can be stories from anywhere.

- The most charitable idea about their source is one of the local Saxon
kings who may have been educated, asked his scribe to write down the
stories that were being told around his dinner table. These tales obviously
came from a verbal tradition, but without an author assignation, it is
impossible to say they were from a single tradition.

- There are elements of Greco/Roman tales included, not just Germanic. Some
of the Greco/Roman tales have roots in Persia or even India. People telling
stories around a table will tell whatever they think will amuse the prince,
regardless of source.

- The bulk of the Chronicles have as a framework the establishment of Angle
and Saxon kingdoms in Britain and the battles that were fought. Soldiers
often embellish the tales of their battles.

- The least charitable opinion is they are straight myth, stories brought
up to entertain princely children. The Odyssey is the prototype for mythic
literature. People who knew of it, but did not know it in detail would
pattern their own tales after it. The structure of some tales in French
medieval lays
is straight from the Odyssey.

My opinion is they are creative fiction, what we today would call
historical fiction. Without a cheat sheet, the myth can't be separated from
the fact.

Martin Roberts

This thread: