Aelfric of Eynsham

c.955-c.1010

Aelfric was a cleric and writer, also known by the name Grammaticus. Aelfric entered the church as a monk at Winchester, and later became abbot of Cerne Abbey (Dorset) and Eynsham (Oxfordshire). He was a prolific writer, and held to be the finest writer of prose in the late Saxon era.

Many of his prose works are written in Old English, in an attempt to make his words more readily accessible to readers who might not have mastered Latin. Among his books are double set of sermons entitled Catholic Homilies, and Lives of the Saints. He also authoured a Latin grammar text to help English students learn Latin.

Around 1005 he became the first abbot of the new monastery at Eynsham, and he died sometime around 1010. Apart from the scholarly focus of his Latin grammar and several similar works aimed at helping educate scholars, his main theme was God's mercy. He also held rather more modern views towards women than most of his contemporaries.

Aelfric was variously known as Aelfric the Grammarian, Aelfric of Cerne, and Aelfric the Homilist.

Time period(s): Saxon


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