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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 173: The Parker Chronicle.

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Cambridge, Corpus Christi College, MS 173: The Parker Chronicle.
Alternate Title:
Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. Anglo-Saxon Laws. Sedulius
English, Old (ca. 450-1100) and Latin
ff. 56 + 27
Publication Info:
Approximate Date:
[ca. 1099]; Winchester, [ca. 700 A.D. - 1099]
Parker Manuscripts
In CCCC MS 173 is found the Parker Chronicle, one of the most important manuscripts for our understanding of Anglo-Saxon history. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the earliest history written in English, seems to have originated under the impetus of Alfred the Great's educational reforms, and a core set of annals was composed which were then augmented variously over the years in different places. Every version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is therefore different and has its own complicated transmission history. The Parker Chronicle, also known as the A-version, is the oldest manuscript surviving. It was started in the late ninth century and continued into the eleventh. It originated somewhere in Wessex, probably Winchester where it has mid tenth-century provenance, but had moved to the cathedral priory of Christ Church, Canterbury by the end of the eleventh century. Although the Chronicle is the most famous part of the manuscript, it also contains other very important material. In the same section as the Chronicle there are important early texts of the Old English laws of Alfred the Great and the late seventh-century laws of his distant predecessor on the throne of Wessex, King Ine (d. in or after 726), as well as a list of bishops and popes. A second volume was already bound with the Chronicle manuscript in the Middle Ages: this contains works by the late Antique poet Sedulius (fl. first half of the fifth century), in particular his Carmen paschale, a retelling of the gospels in bombastic Virgilian Latin verse. This part of the manuscript is older than the Chronicle, probably dating to the third quarter of the eighth century, and is an important witness to English scholarship before the disruption caused in the ninth century by Viking attacks. It seems to have the name of Frithestan, bishop of Winchester 909-31, on f. 57r. The volume was greatly valued by Parker and his circle; Parker brought the list of archbishops of Canterbury up to date to include own name. It was also used in the earliest printed book in Old English, Parker's Testimonie of Antiquitie.