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Royal Feuds and the Politics of Sanctity in Anglo-Saxon England and Ottonian Saxony

Laura WANGERIN

Mirabilia 18 (2014/1)

This paper is an examination of sanctification and politics in Anglo-Saxon England and Ottonian Saxony. The evidence suggests that a feud culture and feuding behaviours were the reasons for the proliferation of sanctified murdered Anglo-Saxon kings in the late-eighth through mid-ninth centuries, a phenomenon unique to England in this time period. An investigation of the nature of royal feuds in England, in contrast to those in Saxony, further suggests that the sanctification and cults of these Anglo-Saxon murdered kings were a strategic part of feuding interactions and negotiations between families. It also supports arguments for the relationship between a feud culture and the proliferation of legislative activity by the Anglo-Saxons, and offers new possibilities for understanding the dearth of legislative activity by the Ottonians.

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