Our header image

Posted on 6 November 2009 by Jane

The image in our header is taken from British Library, Cotton Claudius B. IV fo. 59, the Old English Illustrated Hexateuch. The manuscript was produced in Canterbury and dates from the second quarter of the 11th century.

Images relating to the law or the legal process in this period are hard to come by; even more so those which need no explanation in order to be readily understood. Moses as lawgiver, complete with horns, is today not the most obvious of symbols. The picture we have chosen shows Pharaoh overseeing the hanging of the chief baker. It illustrates the story of the chief butler and chief baker in Genesis XL: 1–23. Both men had their dreams interpreted by Joseph, with the news being broken to the latter that ‘within three days Pharaoh will lift up your head – from you! – and hang you on a tree; and the birds will eat the flesh from you’. His words proved to be all too prophetic.

You can see the full manuscript image at the British Library’s Images Online, with the sleeping figure on the right of our header restored to his rightful position at the foot of the folio.

We have arrived!

Posted on 5 November 2009 by Jenny

And, so we have finally arrived. At least it feels that way. The last two weeks has certainly seen us pass two big milestones in the life of this project: our first annual workshop, and, the launch of the project website.

The first Early English Laws workshop on ‘Editing the laws of medieval England’ took place on Saturday 24 October. The morning session saw Lisi Oliver and Richard Sharpe give papers on the problems and possibilities with editing the laws from single versus multiple manuscript witnesses, while Marilyn Deegan and Paul Spence gave us an insight into how research in the humanities is being transformed by advances in technology.  In the afternoon, everyone joined in with sessions ranging from the practical considerations of editing and then digitising vernacular and Latin texts, to actually trying some digitising of one of the law codes. These break-out sessions were particularly useful in giving the project team some food for thought for how we will go about analysing and then displaying the different texts on the website and the issues facing researchers and students wanting to use the final product.

The event was well attended by both students and more established academics and there seemed to be a good mixture of people from a range of different historical backgrounds. Fortunately, with the exception of a certain locked door(!), the event also passed without any hiccups.

Most of our time over the past few months has been spent finalising the structure and look of our website and it is therefore especially pleasing that it has been launched this week. All of the technical team has done a sterling job, not least in putting up with my constant emails demanding various changes! The research team certainly thinks it looks good and we hope that as the months go on, users from around the world will find some interesting and useful material on there.

We have arrived of sorts, but like any good train journey we are hoping to soon chug along to the next station, so you’ll need to check back regularly for updates and news on the project. In the meantime, enjoy browsing the website and let us know if you have any comments or suggestions.


The Project Officer