Æthelstan A is the name given by historians to an unknown scribe. He drafted charters by which the king made grants of land. The diplomas are written in elaborate Latin known as the hermeneutic style. After the death of Bede in 735, Latin prose in England declined.
About Æthelstan A in brief
Æthelstan A is the name given by historians to an unknown scribe. He drafted charters by which the king made grants of land. They are an important source for historians as they provide far more information than other charters of the period. The diplomas are written in elaborate Latin known as the hermeneutic style, which became dominant in Anglo-Latin literature from the mid-tenth century. After the death of Bede in 735, Latin prose in England declined. It reached its lowest level in the ninth century, when few books and charters were produced, and they were of poor quality. Few charters survive from the reigns of Alfred and his son, Edward the Elder, and none from 909 to 925. Until about 900, diplomas appear to have been drawn up in varying traditions and circumstances, but in later Anglo-Saxon times charters can be more clearly defined. It established that the land was to be held, with its appurtenances, free from the imposition of worldly burdens, with the exception of military service, bridge-work and fortress-work, and with the power to give it to anyone of its owner’s choosing. It is unlikely that he was of foreign origin, so it is likely that he may have been brought up in Mercia, and Sarah Foot’s view is he was probably intimate with Ælfwine of Lichfield. The witness lists of the charters consistently place the Bishop of Mercia in a higher position than his rank.
The Bishop disappeared from the lists at the same time as the ÆthelStan Aters ended, suggesting he may not have been a witness at all. The charters show the date and place of the grant, and have an unusually long list of witnesses, including Welsh kings and occasionally kings of Scotland and Strathclyde. Other charters which only existed in copies were allocated to other scribes on the basis of their style. In 2002 Simon Keynes listed twenty original and two copies of the original charters, of which two of the rest copies are on the boundary of the boundary and the original and the boundary boundary of the Old English. The original and boundary and the original Charters, on the original boundary and on the Boundary and the Boundaries of the Old and Old English, are on the boundary and boundary of the boundary of the Old English and theBoundary and the Bound and Boundaries of the Old English and are on the boundary and boundary between the two areas of England and Scotland and Strath Clyde and Wales and Ireland and Northern Ireland and Scotland and Scotland & Scotland. They are all written in the same Latin style as the diplomas, which is seen by historians as part of a rhetoric.
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