Copyright 2013 by Paula S. Jordan
New Year’s greetings from deep in the throes of preparing my post on not-quite-finding the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, one of the key goals in my Reader’s Quest. It’ll be posted next Thursday. In the meantime, here’s a little wonder that I just had to share.
Edel Mulcahy’s blog, Medieval Pilgrimage, reports that the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles contain a number of tales about medieval Irish Christians who devised a sea-going means of pilgrimage “… in search of an ascetic life and a oneness with the divine.” In one such story, three Irishmen arrived on the Cornwall coast in a boat with no oars and only a week’s supply of food, thus “… demonstrating their total dependence and devotion to God.”
The most famous of such voyages was Saint Brendan’s search for the ‘Island Promised to the Saints,’ which some historians suggest landed him somewhere in Iceland or Greenland, or maybe on the North American Continent. His voyage was illustrated thusly around 1460 AD in the Manuscriptum translationis germanicae. [From Wikipedia]
These and similar stories from the Chronicles, Mr. Mulcahy proposes, strongly influenced the development of two of Chaucer’s female characters, one in Emaré and the other in The Man of Law’s Tale. As a form of exile, both were cast out to sea in rudderless boats.
Not my choice of travel, but it does make a dramatic story!