Name/TitleThe martyrdom of King Edmund of East Anglia, Morgan Library MS M.736. ff.14&16r
About this objectBy the 9th century, the kingdom of East Anglia in Britain was Christian, under the diocese of Norwich. When its king, Edmund (r. c.855–869) was defeated by Viking invaders, he was put to death and beheaded for refusing to denounce his Christian faith. A legend grew around his death, telling that his head rolled away from the body but was guarded by a wolf until it could be reunited with the body for burial in a local tomb, the episode depicted here. The wolf might be a reference to the Wuffinga dynasty of the previous, non-Christian, rulers of East Anglia.
A life of Edmund (Passio Sancti Eadmundi) was written by Abbo of Fleury (c.945–1004) during his 985–7 visit to Ramsey Abbey in Cambridgeshire from his French monastery. This was translated and adapted by Ælfric of Eynsham (c. 955–1025). Edmund's body was moved to Bury St Edmunds which became an important Christian centre.
Subject and Association KeywordsEncounters
Subject and Association DescriptionLearn More: Abbo of Fleury: The Martyrdom of St. Edmund, King of East Anglia, 870 (trans.)
Medium and MaterialsInk and pigments on parchment
Credit LineMorgan Library
Object numberEXH53: MS M.736