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Computus and chronology in Anglo-Norman England

Lawrence-Mathers, A. ORCID: (2018) Computus and chronology in Anglo-Norman England. In: Cleaver, L. and Worm, A. (eds.) Writing History in the Anglo-Norman World: Manuscripts, Makers and Readers, c1066-c1250. Boydell, Woodbridge, pp. 53-68. ISBN 9781903153802

Text (Chapter 3. Computus and Chronology in Anglo-Norman England) - Published Version
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This paper examines the growing concern amongst computists and historians in the late eleventh and early twelfth centuries as they grappled with what turned out to be an insoluble problem. The issue was that the information provided by the gospels as to the dating of the first Easter was impossible to match with the information included in the Easter Tables of Dionysius Exiguus, upon which the Church calendar and the dating of major festivals were based. Several scholars attempted to find solutions to the problem, and one of the most influential was Marianus Scotus, a computist and chronologer who wrote in Mainz in the late eleventh century. Marianus’s work was brought to England by another skilled computist, Robert, bishop of Hereford, who believed so strongly in Marianus’s solution to this “scandal” that he compiled a forceful exposition of its key points. This was known and studied in several English centres; yet, apart from John of Worcester, no chronicler in England or Normandy adopted Marianus’s re-dating of the Christian era, and the problem was left to computists. There are, however, traces of the arguments posed and the solutions offered in the works of chroniclers from the leading centres of Anglo-Norman historical writing, as this paper shows.

Item Type:Book or Report Section
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies (GCMS)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > History
ID Code:70299
Additional Information:This title is available under the Open Access licence CC−BY−NC−ND. The Open Access publishing fee was funded by University of Reading.


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