2004 Student Research Conference:
17th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Iona: The Melding of Political Community in the Imagined Community of Christianity
Jill D. Hamilton
Dr. Christine Harker, Faculty Mentor

The modern nations of England and Scotland developed their identities through a history of acknowledged distinctions, rooted in differences such as language, heritage, and territorial control. While their geographical borders were not rigidly drawn, Early Medieval “England and “Scotland” were already recognizably separate communities. Amidst the clash of ossifying nationhood, the Christian faith reached northern Britain in the hands of Irish monks, whose close ties to the Scots conflicted politically with the Anglo-Saxons. However, Christianity existed as a single, Latin-based community within the imaginations of men. In the northern versions of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the scribes praise the monastery of Iona, founded in 563 AD by Irish prince-monk Colum Cille, showing an acceptance of Irish Christianity while lauding the budding English nationalism. Through discussing the views of English nationhood in Anglo-Saxon texts, this essay establishes Iona as a blending point for two politically adverse “nations” in an imagined religious community.

Keywords: England, Scotland, Iona, Colum Cille, Anglo-Saxon, Venerable Bede, Nationalism, Medieval Britain


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 8-2
Location: VH 1320
Time: 8:45

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