- d. 709
- Sherborne, Malmesbury
abbot of Malmesbury and later, bishop of Sherborne; known as an author of a number of elaborate Latin tracts in prose and in verse
See also references for related subjects.
Ireland, Colin A., “Where was King Aldfrith of Northumbria educated? An exploration of seventh-century Insular learning”, Traditio 70 (2015): 29–73.
The superior learning of King Aldfrith of Northumbria (685–704) was acknowledged in both Anglo-Saxon and Gaelic contemporary sources by such renowned scholars as Bede of Wearmouth-Jarrow, Aldhelm of Malmesbury, Adomnán of Iona, Stephen of Ripon, and Alcuin of York. Both Aldhelm and Adomnán knew him personally, and texts composed by these two scholars and presented to Aldfrith help delineate the breadth of his educational background. He was educated among the Gaels, and their records described him as sapiens. By examining texts of other seventh-century Gaelic sapientes, and the comments of Aldhelm and Bede about Gaelic intellectual life and educational opportunities, we can expand our purview of the scope of his education. The nature of seventh-century schooling was peripatetic, and Aldfrith's dual heritage requires a broad search for locations. Many scholars accept Iona as the likely source of his learned background, but this essay will argue that, among other likely locations in Britain and Ireland, Bangor in Northern Ireland is best supported by surviving evidence. His benign reign is placed at the end of the first century of the Anglo-Saxon conversion, but his education benefited the kingdom of Northumbria through generations of Gaelic scholarship, as exemplified by peregrini such as Columba and Columbanus, and sapientes like Laidcenn mac Baíth, Cummíne of Clonfert, Ailerán of Clonard, Cenn Fáelad mac Ailello, and Banbán of Kildare. Aldfrith's rule ushered in a period of cultural florescence in Northumbria that saw the first hagiography and earliest illuminated manuscripts produced in Anglo-Saxon England and that culminated in the extensive library authored by Bede (d. 735).
Yorke, Barbara, “Aldhelm’s Irish and British connections”, in: Barker, Katherine, and Nicholas Brooks (eds), Aldhelm and Sherborne: essays to celebrate the founding of the bishopric, Oxford: Oxbow, 2010. 164–180.
Probert, Duncan, “New light on Aldhelm’s letter to King Gerent of Dumnonia”, in: Barker, Katherine, and Nicholas Brooks (eds), Aldhelm and Sherborne: essays to celebrate the founding of the bishopric, Oxford: Oxbow, 2010. 110–128.
Barker, Katherine, and Nicholas Brooks (eds), Aldhelm and Sherborne: essays to celebrate the founding of the bishopric, Oxford: Oxbow, 2010.
Dempsey, G. T., “Aldhelm of Malmesbury and the Irish”, Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 99 C (1999): 1–22.
The relative scale of Aldhelm of Malmesbury's indebtedness to Irish, as opposed to Continental, intellectual influences has long been a vexed question. Dismissed by the previous generation of Anglo-Saxon scholars as hopelessly 'Hisperic' and obscurantist, Aldhelm has been reclaimed by this generation as 'the first English man-of-letters'. An untoward consequence of this restoration of Aldhelm's native standing, however, has been a Hiberno-sceptical depreciation, amounting to a denial, of any Irish influence on Aldhelm. This study, primarily through a close reading of writings by or associated with Aldhelm, redresses the balance. The tradition of Aldhelm's early schooling under Irish tutelage is substantiated. This educational grounding was apparently so thorough that it produced in Aldhelm-once he had been exposed, as a mature student, to the intellectual riches of the school at Canterbury of Archbishop Theodore and Abbot Hadrian-a nativist backlash that emerged in the abusive allusions directed at Irish scholars and scholarship that pepper virtually all of his writings.
O'Sullivan, Sinéad, “Aldhelm’s De virginitate—patristic pastiche or innovative exposition?”, Peritia 12 (1998): 271–295.
Wright, Neil, History and literature in late antiquity and the early medieval West: studies in intertextuality, Variorum Collected Studies Series 503, Aldershot, Brookfield: Variorum, 1995.
1–28 [XIV] “Aldhelm, Gildas, and Acircius”
Law, Vivien, “The study of Latin grammar in eighth-century Southumbria”, Anglo-Saxon England 12 (1983): 43–71.
Winterbottom, Michael, “Aldhelm’s prose style and its origins”, Anglo-Saxon England 6 (1977): 39–76.
argues against the supposed Irish origins of Aldhelm’s style of prose writing