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Title: The iconography of late Anglo-Saxon kingship representations of kings Æthelstan, Edgar, and Cnut in three illuminated manuscripts
Author: Fraser, Charikleia Konstantina
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis examines the iconography of Anglo-Saxon kingship through analysis of three late Anglo-Saxon prefatory manuscript illuminations. The compositions of these pictures are considered in detail and reinterpreted with reference to theological ideas of the period. The miniatures depict King Æthelstan holding an open book, King Edgar a closed book and King Cnut holding onto a cross. The crowned kings are depicted standing respectfully before sacred and divine authorities. Comparison of the prefatory miniatures in question with analogous compositions in Anglo-Saxon, Carolingian and Ottonian manuscript illumination reveals a variety of visual sources used to suggest ecclesiastical and divine sanction for the monarchs and their policies. An assessment of medieval textual sources is used to aid interpretation and understanding of the iconography associated with later Anglo-Saxon kingship. Historical and political issues are fully taken into consideration, an assessment of the propagandistic aspects of the iconography forming an important aspect of this. In evaluating the iconography of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy, the thesis focuses on the following themes: intercession and liturgical commemoration; coronation ceremonials; the interaction of monarchy with the Church; the use of biblical texts as a model for the practice of kingship, the relevance of increased literacy for safeguarding the upholding of good government; the tradition of donations to the Church. The thesis argues that the presence of the patron saints of the monastic foundations standing next to the Anglo-Saxon kings suggests scenes of intercession with strong overtones of salvation. The iconography of the three prefatory miniatures does not only record actual events of presentation, but manifests the spirituality, real or implied, of Anglo -Saxon monarchs in order to suggest the anointed king's exclusive relationship with God, assuring him of God's sanction and the salvation of his soul.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available