Prophecy, Politics and Place in Medieval England

Prophecy, Politics and Place in Medieval England

From Geoffrey of Monmouth to Thomas of Erceldoune

Victoria Flood





A study of the prophetic tradition in medieval England brings out its influence on contemporary politics and the contemporary elite.
The period from the twelfth century to the Wars of the Roses witnessed a dominant tradition of secular prophecy engaged with high political affairs, which this book charts, discussing the production of prophetic texts forecasting the rule of the whole of Britain by the kings of England. It draws on the prophetic works of familiar authors and names, such as Geoffrey of Monmouth and Thomas of Erceldoune, alongside previously unpublished manuscript material, to study identity formation among medieval political elites. Alongside English prophetic texts, the author explores competing visions of the British future produced in Wales and Scotland, with which English prophetic authors entered into an overt dialogue; this was a cross-border exchange which in many ways shaped the development of this deeply influential discourse. Prophecy is revealed to be a dynamic arena for literary exchange, where alternative imaginings of the future sovereignty of Britain vied for acceptance, and compelled decision making at the highest political levels.

Dr Victoria Flood is Lecturer in Medieval and Early Modern Literature at the University of Birmingham.


4 black and white, 1 line illustrations
252 pages
23.4x15.6 cm
Hardback, 9781843844471, December 2016
eBook, 9781782048688, December 2016
BISAC LIT011000, HIS037010
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Related Titles

Table of Contents

Introduction: An Island of the Ocean
'Cadualadrus Conanum uocabit': Political Prophecy in England, the Welsh March, and Ireland, ca. 1130s-1260s
'E si finerount les heirs d'engleterre hors de heritage': Galfridian Prophecy and the Anglo-Scottish Border, ca. 1301-1330s
'Whan shal this be?' The English Erceldoune Tradition, ca. 1310s-90s
'A dede man shall make bytwene hem acorde': Cock in the North and Geiliawc y North, ca. 1405-85


Will appeal to a wide range of readers, including those interested in prophecy, border writing, Geoffrey of Monmouth and the translation and transmission of medieval texts. ENGLISH HISTORICAL REVIEW

Author Bio

Leverhulme Early Career Fellow, Department of English Studies, Durham University