History

Everywhere, The Glint of Gold

Eoforlic scionon
ofer hleorbergan gehroden golde,
fah ond fyrheard,— ferhwearde heold
guþmod grimmon. Guman onetton,
sigon ætsomne, oþ þæt hy sæl timbred
geatolic ond goldfah ongyton mihton;
þæt wæs foremærost foldbuendum
receda under roderum, on þæm se rica bad;
lixte se leoma ofer landa fela.

–Beowulf, lines 303-311

_46431950_gold1

"Rise up, o Lord, and may thy enemies be dispersed and those who hate thee be driven from thy face."

Though early modern history is mostly what we write about on this blog, finds like this remind us all what wonder all periods of history hold – and for an undergraduate Anglo-Saxonist like myself,  remind you of a good deal more. I read John Preston’s The Dig last year, and it’s marvellous to think Sutton Hoo is happening all over again. Inspiring, too, to consider all the ways our understanding of Anglo-Saxon Staffordshire and England will adapt and change to fit this new evidence. A friend of ours wrote his doctoral thesis on this county in this period, and we can only imagine the boggling currently going on in his brain. There’s a beautiful selection of images of items from the hoard on Flickr.

Anyway. Colour me very excited indeed. We’ll getting down to Birmingham Museum and Art Galleries, where the headline pieces from the find are being displayed until October 13th.

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6 thoughts on “Everywhere, The Glint of Gold

  1. danhartland says:

    Incidentally, the translation of those lines from Beowulf, from Gummere (1910):

    Then shone the boars
    over the cheek-guard; chased with gold,
    keen and gleaming, guard it kept
    o’er the man of war, as marched along
    heroes in haste, till the hall they saw,
    broad of gable and bright with gold:
    that was the fairest, ‘mid folk of earth,
    of houses ‘neath heaven, where Hrothgar lived,
    and the gleam of it lightened o’er lands afar.

    Suitably martial gleaming, I thought.

  2. 18thaureliano says:

    This is so bloody exciting! Can’t wait to get to have a look at the pieces. I imagine certain sections of our medieval department to be feeling very inspired indeed and I couldn’t help but think about what Matt must be thinking now 🙂

  3. danhartland says:

    Adam: thanks for the link, enjoyed reading. I think Steel’s being overly cautious, though; the commenter who refers to the joy getting in the way is probably on the button about the initial reception of the find (I confess to describing the hoard as ‘shiny’ in the course of conversation yesterday); but he surely underestimates at the very least the potential of this find. His caution, as necessary as it will be when the joy gives way, reads over-compensatory to me.

    Secondly, Dr Samuel Johnson is, as if we needed reminding, brilliant.

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