Aelfric: Lives of the Saints

(1743 words)
  • Gabriella Corona (University of York)

Æ;lfric’s Lives of Saints represents the earliest hagiographic collection written in a European vernacular. The Lives were written immediately after the two series of Catholic Homilies (See separate entry) while Æ;lfric was a monk at Cerne Abbas (Dorset) and under the patronage of the noblemen Æ;thelweard and Æ;thelmær to whom the work is dedicated. The precise date of composition of the Lives is uncertain. On the basis of the sparse biographical information on the author and his dedicatees, we can say that the collection was completed and began to circulate between 993 and 998. Like other Æ;lfrician works, the Lives contain two Prefaces, one in Latin and one in Old English. The title …

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Corona, Gabriella. "Lives of the Saints". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 15 June 2005
[, accessed 01 October 2016.]