Powerful Patens in the Anglo-Saxon Medical Tradition and Exeter Book Riddle 48

Megan Cavell
2016 Neophilologus: An International Journal of Modern and Mediaeval Language and Literature  
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. Additional information: Use policy The full-text may be used and/or reproduced, and given to third parties in any format or medium, without prior permission or charge, for personal research or study, educational,
more » ... r not-for-prot purposes provided that: • a full bibliographic reference is made to the original source • a link is made to the metadata record in DRO • the full-text is not changed in any way The full-text must not be sold in any format or medium without the formal permission of the copyright holders. Please consult the full DRO policy for further details. Abstract This article discusses Exeter Book Riddle 48 in light of its proposed solutions. While commonly solved as either "chalice" or "paten," I argue that the riddle points toward the latter solution (OE husel-disc). This riddle is usually read in relation to its counterpart, Riddle 59, which scholarly consensus solves as "chalice" (OE calic or husel-faet). However, Riddle 48 should be analysed in its own right, especially given evidence from the medical tradition that prescribes writing on patens and performing psalms and other prayers over them in order to cure sickness. It is to this practice and to the psalms that Riddle 48 gestures in its use of the term galdorcwide (incantation), as well as the direct quotation that appeals to God to heal the speaker. Keywords Old English Á Riddle 48 Á Solution Á Husel-disc Á Paten Á Medicine Like many of the riddles in the tenth-century Exeter Book, Riddle 48 1 has had its fair share of proposed solutions. Although it is most commonly interpreted as a sacramental vessel-either a chalice or paten-it has also been read as a book or finger ring, and analysed briefly in relation to coins, bells and brooches. 2 While all of these readings acknowledge the high-status nature of the object depicted in & Megan Cavell
doi:10.1007/s11061-016-9490-8 fatcat:oz7qj7yqmrg3za52dtqeadxmju