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The earliest Anglo-Latin poet: Lutting of Lindisfarne

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 December 2013

Michael Lapidge*
Clare College, Cambridge


In a ninth-century manuscript now in St Gallen (Stiftsbibliothek, 254) are found three Latin poems in three different metres dedicated by a poet who names himself as Lutting, in memory of his master Bede who, according to the first of the poems, died in AD 681 (and cannot, therefore, have been the much better known Bede of Monkwearmouth–Jarrow). In the St Gallen manuscript the poems are transmitted alongside Cuthbert's Epistola de obitu Bedae; judging from the language of Bede's ‘Death Song’ which it contains, the Epistola was copied from a Northumbrian exemplar, and the same is apparently true of the three Latin poems. The fact that the names of Lutting and his master Bede are found near to each other in the Durham Liber Vitae raises the possibility that they were together at Lindisfarne; and detailed metrical analysis indicates that two of the poems follow Hiberno-Latin metrical practice in significant ways, which also points to the Irish cultural milieu of Lindisfarne. In an Appendix, the poems are edited for the first time, with translation and commentary.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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