marycatelli (marycatelli) wrote,

The Mead-Hall

The Mead-Hall:  Feasting in Anglo-Saxon England by Stephan Pollington

A big topic even if the evidence has to be pieced together from archaeological digs and literary remains.  To be sure virtually every surviving piece of Anglo-Saxon literature does have some evidence about the matter.

It covers the feast itself, and who did what, from the seating of the guests to the lady's giving the drink.  The social structure behind it -- kinship was counted on both sides, so there were not cohesive kinship groups.  The great loyalty was to the lord.  Accounts of fighting depicted warriors refusing to refrain from battle with their kin on the grounds that they were fighting for their lord.  And wereguild could be paid for murder, but not for treachery.

And what the hall looked like.  And what sort of metaphorical usages it had -- including religious, there are arguments about whether some passages are religious or not, but it was a central idiom.

Food and clothing and dishes.  And what positions from the lord to the servants were instrumental in the hall.  And what sorts of entertainment you could have from music and stories and riddles to board games.

Interesting stuff.
Tags: history reviews: medieval, world-building: food, world-building: nobility, world-building: social bonds

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