The Carmen de Hastingae Proelio of Guy, Bishop of Amiens

The Carmen de Hastingae Proelio of Guy, Bishop of Amiens

The Carmen de Hastingae Proelio of Guy, Bishop of Amiens

The Carmen de Hastingae Proelio of Guy, Bishop of Amiens

Synopsis

The Carmen de Hastingae Proelio is one of the most discussed sources for the Norman Conquest of England. For this second edition, Frank Barlow has written an entirely new and substantial historical introduction, incorporating the scholarly research of a generation. He has also provided a fresh translation and notes, as well as revising the Latin text of the 1972 edition by Catherine Morton and Hope Muntz.

Excerpt

The ninth centenary of the Norman conquest of England, celebrated in 1966, triggered an explosion of historical commentaries on the invasion and the battle of Hastings. Most were popular in tone. But a few difficult technical problems received a scholarly airing; and one of these was the authorship and value of an anonymous poem on the Norman Campaign, Carmen de Hastingae proelio. The appearance in 1972 of the first adequate edition of the poem, the work of Catherine Morton and Hope Muntz, only fuelled the debate. They accepted its attribution to Guy of Amiens and regarded its account of the events most favourably. But these views were anathema to some established scholars working in the field; and since neither editor was a trained historian with an academic post, their work had a generally cool, occasionally hostile, reception.

I got to know Morton andMuntz in 1967, when they wrote to me on some matter concerning the poem. Indeed, they approached a good number of scholars for advice or to air their opinions. And, although from the start I could not accept all their views, I always thought that they were right on the authorship and respected them as enthusiastic and indefatigable workers. When the question of a second edition arose, as both Morton and Muntz had died, I offered to undertake the necessary revision. This has, perhaps inevitably, led to a much more radical rewriting than I had expected. Their Latin text, although it has been roughly handled by some critics and many corrections and 'improvements' have been suggested, seemed to me, after checking with photographs of the manuscripts, to require only a little revision. There were just a very few faulty transcriptions and two misprints. Textual improvements, beyond the correction of obvious scribal errors, should not be allowed to get out of hand. But, with regard to the editorial matter, as there has been so much new work in this field since 1972 and I have my own views on most of the topics, it seemed pointless not to take the opportunity to express them. Accordingly, the new introduction, translation, and subject notes are my own work.

In preparing this edition I have taken into account all the critical literature that has come to my notice, and have found much of it . . .

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