Depicting one of the defining conflicts of tenth-century England, The Battle of Maldon immortalises the bloody fight that took place along the banks of the tidal river Blackwater in 991, poignantly expressing the lore and language of a determined nation faced with the advance of a ruthless and relentless enemy. But, as Mark Atherton reveals, The Battle of Maldon is more than a heroic tale designed to inspire courage and unity in a time of crisis: rather, it celebrates ideals of loyalty and friendship and commemorates an event which changed the face of English culture.
Using Atherton’s own vivid and illuminating translations from Old English, The Battle of Maldon: War and Peace in Tenth-Century England evokes the chaotic ebb and flow of the battle while also placing ‘Maldon’ in the context of its age. Seeking to reconstruct the way of life, the spirituality and the worldview of the original audience, Atherton examines how and why the poem encouraged its readers to relive the visceral experience of battle for themselves.
With this exciting study, Atherton provides an authoritative treatment of this iconic text, its history and its legacy. As such, this important book will be a vital resource for all readers of Old English literature and early medieval history.