25 the annals of clonmacnoise being annals of ireland

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25The Annals of Clonmacnoise, being Annals of Ireland from the Earliest Period to A.D. 1408 / Translated into English A.D. 1627 by Conell Mageoghagan, ed. D. Murphy (1896) [hereafter AC], p.149 : s.a. 928 (recte 934); the Irish obit for Æthelwulf King of Wessex who died in 858 uses exactly this form: Adulf rex Saxan(AU, s.a. 857, recte858). The contraction of Æthelwulf to Æthulf is not an unexpected one, and may appear in English sources relating to the same era (e.g. Chronicon Æthelweardi, pp. 3435, 37, 39, supplying Aðulfand Athulffor Æthelwulf). An auslaut ‘d’in pre-twelfth-century Irish should represent a dental fricative /ð/; ‘t’ would be expected for /d/ in this environment, and this is the case in the same Clonmacnoise entry for his father Eadwulf (Etulf). Other candidates are not particularly probable; for instance Eadwulf and Ealdwulf, even ignoring the ‘d’ in both, are unlikely because the Clonmacnoise form would then be distinguishing the same two stressed vowels (both represented in Old English as ea). Genitive vowel-raising might be a possibility, but Eadwulf is especially unlikely on anthroponymic grounds (i.e. in requiring the son to have the same name as the father); see fn. 35. 26Chronicon Æthelweardi, pp. 5253 : iv.4. 27For rex,see Chronicon Æthelweardi,p. 50; for dux, ibid., p. 46; see also ibid., p. 53, for Myrciorum superstes, translated by Campbell as ‘lord of the Mercians’; generally, unstable or
reluctance of West Saxon sources at any given time to refer to Eadwulf or his sons by the title of ‘king’ is to be expected even if they held the honour, and so is not good evidence that they lacked it. On the contrary, the styles in the Irish annals indicate that both Eadwulf and his son Adulfheld the Northumbrian kingship. The Irish annals had also noted the death of Ælla in the same way as they had honoured his alleged grandson and great-grandson: Alli, rex Saxan Aquilonalium.28The same title is used (in three different languages!) for three potentates, and the consistency in these and other entries appears to indicate that ‘Northern English’ arose from a specific proper-unusual vocabulary to describe the position of a potentate indicates that the position was difficult to place within or reconcile with an author’s mental order of things; see also M. R. Davidson, ‘The (Non)submission of the Northern Kings in 920’, in Edward the Elder, 899924, ed. N. J. Higham and D. H. Hill (2001), pp. 20305, and Woolf, Pictland to Alba, p. 147. 28AU, s.a. 866 (recte867).
name used in Irish to refer to the Northumbrians and their kingdom.29While it might be tempting to see such use of ‘king’ as merely a generic style for any dominant warlord in northern England, this is very special pleading. A rexor was a particular type of officeholder who, in both English and Irish culture, was a public figure and had undergone formal rituals of inauguration and community recognition. Referring to the Northumbrian monarch as ‘king of the North’ was a well-established variation, and can be found as early as the writings of Aldhelm.

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