These sections are designed to supplement the editions of all three homilies presented earlier. For full textual correspondences to source material see Appendix I. All Latin biblical quotations are taken from the Biblia Vulgata, and biblical translations into Modern English are from the Douay-Rheims version (Stuttgart, 1953). Bibliographical and historical notes are compiled from a variety of sources: P. R. Ackroyd and C. F. Evans, The Cambridge History of the Bible: From the Beginning to Jerome (Cambridge, 1987); W. A. Elwell, Encyclopaedia of the Bible (London, 1990); B. M. Metzger and M. D. Coogan, The Oxford Companion to the Bible (Oxford, 1993); and D. Williams, The New Concise Bible Dictionary (Leicester, 1989). To ease reference, Latin quotations are listed in italics, and Old English in bold typeface.

  1. Judith
  2. Esther
  3. The Maccabees

1. Judith

l.1. ‘Incipit de iudith quomodo interfecit olofernem’:– W retains the title ‘Desideratur Rubrica, Tracta autem Historiam Judithæ & Holofernis, & de S. Malcho’.

ll. 2-21. ‘We secgað nu...wæs Cambises gecweden’:–MS Boulogne-sur-mer 63, ff.25r-25v:-

Duos reges fuerunt qui Nabochodonosor appellati sunt, sub quorum priore, scilicet rege Chaldeorum, captiuus ductus est Iudaicus populus de Hierusalem in Babiloniem. Secundus uero Nabuchodonossor rex fuit Assiriorum, Cambises altero nomine dictus, Cyri Persarum regis filius subquo Iudith historia conscribitur, quo in tempore post transmigrationem Bibilonis supradictus populus iterm in Hierusalem fuisse cognoscitur, sicut in prefata historia aperte manifestatur ex uerbis Achior.

The Boulogne manuscript can be seen to be a partial source for the opening lines of the homily (more so for ll. 2–4), but other sources are involved. For a full analysis of this manuscript see E. M. Raynes, ‘MS Boulogne-sur-mer 63 and Ælfric’, 26 (1957), pp. 65–73; P. Clemoes, ‘The Old English Benedictine Office, CCCC, MS 190, and the Relations between Ælfric and Wulfstan: A Reconsideration’, Anglia 78 (1960), pp. 265–83; M. McC. Gatch, ‘MS Boulogne-sur-mer and Ælfric's First Series of Catholic Homilies’, JEGP 65 (1966), pp. 482–90.

Ælfric can be seen to be paying close attention to his source material (e.g. the text in both MS Boulogne-sur-mer 63, and the Vulgate). However, if one assumes that Judith is based on an historical incident (itself a matter for much debate), then one should look to the conquests of Nebuchadrezzar II, c. 584 B.C. onwards (the most generally accepted identification). Therefore, the Vulgate is wrong when it states that he was Assyrian (he was actually Chaldean), and that his capital was Ninevah (when it was actually Babylon). For notable similiarities in other pieces by Ælfric, see his homilies Dominica .II. Post Aepiphania (Godden, 1979, IV, ll. 86-88) and the Dominica XII Post Pentecosten (Godden, 1979, XXVIII, p. 432, ll. 98–133).

l. 4. Chaldeisca:–Chaldea was a land bordering the Persian Gulf (often used synonymously with Babilonian).

l. 11. Babiloniam:–The great city of Babylon was situated on the bank of the Euphrates (now in southern Iraq). Babylon is mentioned several times by Ælfric in conjunction both with Cyrus and Nabuchodonosor (e.g. see Dominica in Septuagesima (Godden, 1979, V, ll. 247–8)).

l. 38. Holofernem:–Modern scholars have often attempted to identify Holofernes but with little success. It is possible to provide only a list of some of the suggestions put forward. These include links with the historical figures of Ashurbanipal, Cambyses II, Orophemes of Cappadoia, Nicanor (defeated by Judas Maccabees, hence a possible link with that era), Scaurus, and Serverus.

ll. 43-49. ‘7 tobræc ælce...fornumene, friðes biddende’:–Ælfric is encapsulating all the conquests detailed in the Vulgate 2:12-17, but at the same time plays around with the order. The comment ‘swa þæt his ege asprang ofer ealle þeoda’ is from 2:18, but the subsequent detail of the numbers of men and archers in the army is from the earlier 2:7.

ll. 49-54. ‘Cwædon þæt him...heora land gewann’:–Ælfric loosely paraphrases the events of Chapter 3 here. In the Vulgate (3:3-6), the surrender of the kings of Syria, Mesopotamia, Syria Sobal, Libya, and Cilicia is detailed, along with the pleas of the various conquered tribes.

ll. 59-60. ‘7 hi anmodlice...hi ne forwurdon’:–The actions of the Jews are detailed in the Vulgate (4:7-16), but condensed or omitted by Ælfric. The Old English owes much to 4:8, 10, and 17, but ignores the extensive prayers of Eliachim and such details as the Bethulians donning haircloth garments.

ll. 61-4. ‘Holofernis þa siððan...hi hi fordydon’:–These lines are without a direct source in the Latin.

l. 70. Achior:–All that is known about Achior (meaning ‘brother of light’ and thus possibly symbolic, see Numbers 34:27) is that he was an Ammonite, who occupied the region centred on the rivers Arnon and Jabbok.

ll. 71-123. ‘Leof, ic þe...his gewuna is’:–Ælfric provides a very close translation of Achior's speech (5:5-25), ignoring only 5:7-8, and 20.

l. 76. him:–Assmann mistakes O's ‘e’ in hi\e/ for an overline and transcribes it as ‘him’ in keeping with C.

l. 82–3. ‘endemes to þam ælmihtigan’:–In O, from ‘endemes’ to ‘æl-’ there are distinct signs of washing and scrubbing. However it is impossible to discern the original text.

l. 84. syllice witu:–The torments referred to by Ælfric are the ten plagues that the Lord visited upon Egypt (see Exodus 7:14–12:36).

l. 100. yrnende:–In C the word reads ‘hyne[]de’ with the gap originally containing a ‘t’ or ‘e’ which was subsequently changed to an ‘n’ (correctly identified by Assmann).

ll. 124-30. ‘Holofernes þa sona...ealle eaðelice fordeð’:–Holofernes's speech is a heavily condensed and reordered version of the material in 6:1-3.

ll. 131-43. ‘He het hine...þone forsædan Achior’:–Ælfric omits the details in the Vulgate that the servants of the Assyrians were forced to flee due to attacks from the Israelites (possibly to emphasize the Bethulians passivity). The Vulgate 6:16 (‘Finito itaque fletu, et per totam diem oratione populorum completa, consolati sunt Achior’) is heavily condensed into ll. 142-3, and Ælfric does not choose to stress the piety and misery of the Bethulians.

l. 136. 7 he him eall sæde:–The Vulgate (6:12-13) details Achior's retelling of the events that took place between himself and Holofernes. He explains that he spoke for the Jews, and that, as punishment, he was to suffer their fate.

ll. 146-56. ‘Hwæt, þa Holofernus...hi moston libban’:–The actions of Holofernes are loosely dealt with by Ælfric, with most of his material being drawn from 7:11-12. For example, the important step taken by the Assyrians of blocking up the aqueduct (7:6) is omitted in the homily. It would appear that the results of the siege were far more important to Ælfric than the methods of warfare. The more detailed account of the siege of Bethulia as given in the Vulgate (7:1-22) is as follows. Holofernes details 120,000 infantry and 220,000 cavalry (plus levies) to undertake the siege. He later discovers (7:6) an aqueduct on the south side of the plateau which was being used by the Bethulians as their chief water supply. This is consequently sealed off, and a guard of 100 men is placed at every other water-hole (7:7).

l. 148. æmn:–The MS has on næmn possibly due to faulty word division.

ll. 163-76. ‘Ða wæs on...ege butan unhlisan’:–Ælfric treats his source material rather liberally at this point. Not surprisingly, given his general omission of specific details of people and places, Ælfric chooses to ignore Judith's lengthy genealogy found in the Vulgate 8:1 (‘erat filia Merari filii Idox filii Ioseph filii Oziae filii Elai filii Iammor filii Gedeon filii Raphaim filii Achitob filii Melchiae filii Enam filii Nathaniae filii Salathiel filii Simeon filii Ruben’), preferring instead merely to extol the virtues of the heahfædera cynnes (l. 165). The order of details as presented in the Old English differs from the Vulgate. The detail of 'swiðe gelefed mann...æfter Moyses æ' (ll. 165-7) is either unsourced or referring loosely to 8:8. Thereafter the homily intermixes details from 8:5-7 with Ælfric elaborating on her character with 'on clænnysse' (l. 172).

l. 168. hætan:–In C the ‘æ’ in hæten is altered from an original ‘a’.

ll. 177-89. ‘Ðeos Iudith ofaxode...hi æfre ahredde’:–The homily greatly condenses Judith's statements covered in the Vulgate by 8:9-23. In the Latin, she states that it is wrong to set a time limit on the Lord, and anybody that has previously done so has perished. Furthermore, she remarks that they have nothing to fear as they have always been faithful to God (8:18), and that this is just a test (8:21), similar to the ones faced by Abraham and Isaac (8:22-3), to see how strong their faith is.

ll. 189-190. ‘Hine we sceolon...earfoðnysse us generige’:—It is difficult to pin-point the source material in the Vulgate for these lines. Judith advocates that the Bethulians pray to the Lord for help throughout 8:30-34 and perhaps this is a simple reference to this.

l. 191. ‘Æfter þisum wordum 7 oðrum gebedum’:–The actions and the prayers of Judith in Chapter 9 of the Vulgate are omitted by Ælfric. In the Latin, after donning garments of haircloth, she addresses the Lord at some length. She recalls how he allowed Simeon to have vengence on those who had wronged their women, and called for him to help her, a mere widow (9:1-3). She states that everything that happens is designed and planned by the Lord (9:4-5), and thus the wrath that he visited on the Egyptians could equally be brought upon the Assyrians (9:6-9). In 9:12 and 9:13 Judith is more specific when she calls for ‘his [Holofernes’s] pride’ to ‘be cut off with his own sword’ (which is exactly the fate that befalls him) and ‘Let him be caught in the net of his own eyes’ (possibly inspiring the fleohnet in the poetical version). Finally, she recalls that the Lord has always aided the meek, and asks him to remember the Covenant.

ll. 191-3. ‘heo awearp hire...mid ænlicum gyrlum’:–It is slightly surprising that Ælfric misses out 10:4:

And the Lord also gave her more beauty: because all this dressing up did not proceed from sensuality, but from virtue: and therefore the Lord increased this her beauty

This would have clearly given him the opportunity to mention Judith's humility, and thus avoid the need to stress it in his summary at the end. However, some of the details appear later in the homily. First, the point that her actions ‘did not proceed from sensuality’ can be found in ll. 241-2 heo com þa geglenged for nanre galnysse. Second, the reference to her incomparable beauty is reflected in such comments as Hi ða wundrodon hire wlites swiðe (l. 204), scinendan nebbwlite (l. 207), and swylc wimman nære on ealre eorðan swa fægeres wlites (ll. 222-3).

ll. 208-9. ‘7 heo aleat...to his fotum, sæde’:–The homily provides a highly condensed form of the Vulgate 10:20 (‘et, cum in faciem eius intendisset, adoravit eum prosternens se super terram; et elevaverunt eam servi Holofernis, iubente domino suo’). Furthermore the material covered by 11:1-7 is omitted. In the Latin this details Holofernes's assurances to Judith of her safety, whilst she in turn praises Nabuchodonosor. As one already has the example of the omission of 10:15, it is clear that Ælfric wished to avoid relaxing the tension of Judith's situation.

ll. 221-3. ‘He gelyfde þa...wis on spræce’:–Ælfric provides a very close translation of the Vulgate 11:19 (‘Non est talis mulier super terram in adspectu, in pulchritudine et in sensu verborum.’) with his ‘swylc wimman nære...wis on spræce’ (ll. 224-5).

l. 224. maðmcleofan:–The alteration of madmum to maðmcleofan is justifiable on contextual grounds. First, ‘maðmum’ (madmum is clearly a scribal error) on its own resembles the dat. pl. form maððum (‘treasure/hoard etc.’), when some word for chamber might be expected. Therefore, one has the possibility of suitable compounds such as maðmhus or maðmcleofa (both implying ‘treasure chamber’). The latter is chosen on the grounds of a similar appearance at l. 233 of maðmcleofan.

ll.226–30. 'Ac heo nolde...mid weorcum gefylde.':–A loose paraphrase of the conversation between Holofernes and Judith in 12:1-4.

ll. 231-41. 'Iudith þa abæd...þa foresædan Iudith':–In the Vulgate, Holofernes wants Judith to come to his tent of her own accord—a point which is ignored by Ælfric—‘For it is looked upon as shameful among the Assyrians, if a woman mock a man, by doing so as to pass free from him’ (12:11).

l. 241. ‘7 he swa dyde’:–In effect, this is the author's version of 12:12-14.

ll. 241-49. ‘Heo com þa...ofer his gewunan’:–That Judith went adorned for nanre galnysse (l. 242) is Ælfric's own addition.

l. 254. Iudith geseah þa:–The homily omits Judith's prayers, before the decapitation of Holofernes:

(13:7) Strengthen me, O Lord God of Israel, and in this hour look on the works of my hands, that as thou hast promised, thou mayst raise up Jerusalem thy city. And that I may bring to pass that which I have purposed, having a belief that it might be done by thee.
(13:9) And when she had drawn it [Holofernes's sword] out, she took him by the hair of the head, and said: Strengthen me, O Lord God, at this hour.

In contrast, this section of the Latin is greatly expanded in the Old English poem Judith (ll. 83-97), which in effect transforms the murder into a divine act.

ll. 264-67. ‘7 comon endemes...anum steapum beorge’:–The homily provides a loose paraphrase of 13:15-16, but in so doing, alters the order of the material as presented in the Latin. For example, mid leohte hire (l. 265) is from 13:16, whilst hi wendon þæt heo ne com na ongean (ll. 265-6) is from 13:15.

ll. 267-77. ‘7 ætywde þæt...on eowre alysednysse’:–Here, Ælfric mentions that she showed the head to all the Bethulians (taken from 13:19), before he details her speech (13:17-18 and 13:20). It should also be noted, that her declaration that the Lord slew him by manum feminae (13:19) is omitted in the Old English.

l. 268. ic:–The word is subpuncted in the MS for no obvious reason.

ll. 268-9. se þe ne forlæt on hine gelefende:–This is a rather troublesome construction. It is possible that a word such as þa has been omitted by accident. However, as it stands a possible translation is ‘he does not abandon those who are believing (gelefende as pres. ptc.) in him/believers in him’.

l. 278. ‘Hi sceawodon þa þæt heafod mid swiðlicre wafunge’:–The Vulgate has no indication that the head was actually examined, and thus this statement should be strictly viewed as without no known source.

ll. 279-83. ‘7 Ozias heora...mærð ne ateorað’:–A loose paraphrase is provided by Ælfric at this point of the Vulgate's 13:22-25. Indeed, from this point on to explication of the narrative (ll.339 onwards), Ælfric increasingly summarises the Latin source material seemingly wishing to bring the story to a close.

ll. 290-1. ‘7 gelyfde siððan...þæs maran heretogan’:–This material is taken from a later passage in the Vulgate (14:6): ‘Then Achior seeing the power that the God of Israel had wrought, leaving the religion of the Gentiles, he believed God, and circumcised the flesh of his foreskin, and was joined to the people of Israel, with all the succession of his kindred until this present day.’

ll. 295-7. ‘Þonne beoð eowre...word on him’:–The presence of þonne three times (ll. 295, 295, 296) makes this sentence rather difficult to punctuate. One possibility is ‘When they find their leader headless, then your enemy will be afraid of (for) you’, but equally acceptable is ‘...; when they find their leader headless, then you may perform your..’. The latter is clearly the form favoured in the Vulgate, but the ambiguity of the Old English may be intentional.

l. 308. cynehlaford:–In C the ‘y’ in cynehlaford was originally a ‘u’ and subsequently altered.

ll. 319-21. ‘7 hi ealle...7 on dreame’:–Once again, the order of the material as presented in the Latin is altered by Ælfric. He draws from 15:14-15, before reverting to 15:9.

ll. 331-38. ‘Iudith þa herode...eac lange syððan’:–This is a very loose paraphrase of the whole of Chapter 16, virtually omitting Judith's Canticle, a triumphant hymn which praises God for the victory, and the apocalyptic feeling to which has led many to believe that Judith should be looked upon as a parable. Ælfric does offer a close translation of 16:30 (‘In omni autem spatio vitae eius non fuit qui perturbaret Israel, et post mortem eius annis multis’), as a finishing point for his version of the text with ‘.c. geara heo...eac lange syððan’ (ll.335-6). As one would expect, l. 339 to the end of the homily (the author’s discussion of the meaning of the book, and the incomplete Life of St Malchus) is not in the Vulgate, and no obvious source is to be found elsewhere.

l. 339. stent:–Assmann claims that O has ‘stentt’ but this is incorrect.

l. 339. þus:–Assmann, without the aid of ultra-violet light read þus as nis. However, his transcription does have important implications as Eric Stanley points out in ‘Ælfric and the Canonicity of the Book of Judith: ‘hit stent on leden þus on ðære bibliothecan’, N&Q 32 (1985), p.439. Here, Stanley notes the fact that Ælfric uses the word bibliotheca to refer particularly to the scriptures in Jerome's canon, thus forcing Assmann's edition to imply that Ælfric saw Judith as being non-canonical. However, this is clearly not the case. The apparent inconsistency is resolved however, when the manuscript is viewed under ultra-violet light and nis can clearly be seen to be the word þus.

ll. 352-4. ‘Ac hit næs...binnan þam weallum’:–Ælfric's use of irony is at its most apparent here. Judith promised Holofernes that she would bring him into Bethulia, and, as Ælfric points out, she was not lying, since she eventually brings his head binnan þam weallum.

ll. 356-60. ‘Heo nolde agan...habban ænige synne’:–These lines are somewhat troublesome and a possible translation should be offered: ‘She did not wish to own, just as the account tells us, the clothing of the cruel one, which the people gave to her; but she cast aside entirely his dress, she would not wear it, but cast it off from her; she would not have any sin through his heathenship’.

l. 370-1. Fornicatores & adulteros iudicabit Deus:–Hebrews 13:4 ‘For fornicators and adulterers God will judge’.

ll. 372-81. ‘Ic wylle eac...to worulde! Amen.’:–The beginning of this incomplete Life of St Malchus appears in only one MS (O), plus Wanley's few lines in his Catalogue. According to Wanley the complete Judith originally occupied ff.143-151a of O, i.e. 17 sides. In the extant form the only material left of Judith is on ff.29 and 30. In total these cover 99 lines of this edition, i.e. each side covers, on average, 25 lines of edited text. By multiplying the original number of sides (17) by this average (25) one gets the figure of 425 lines. That is to say, if O retained the complete version, when collated this edition would have presented a version of Judith of c.425 lines. As can be seen from the edition as it stands it is only 381 lines long. Therefore, c.44 lines are missing (i.e. one folio). This clearly was devoted to the Life of St Malchus by the fact that f.30 of O ends with the Life just beginning and Wanley notes that it carried on to the end of the piece.

The Life in total then, at most, can only have been 40-50 lines long which means that it was too short to stand alone as a separate piece and is therefore secondary to Judith in importance. It serves purely to explain further the virtues of chastity.

Malchus, as Ælfric states, wunodon æfre on clænnysse (ll. 379-80) and therefore mirrors well the role model set by Judith. He was born in Maronia, near Antioch (Syria), and joined a monastery at Chalcis to evade marriage and thus retain his celibacy. However, although he was an exemplary monk, he finally succumbed to curiosity (tempted by the Devil) about the welfare of his parents and left the monastery to visit them. On his journey home he was set upon by Saracen bandits and taken as a slave. His chastity is once again tested when his master tries to force him to marry another slave, Malcha, but Malchus resists and the two live as brother and sister. Eventually they escape and return to Syria (Judith, ll. 376-80). They live out their days in service to God but remaining celibate throughout. Before they died though they were visited by St Jerome and told him their story which he then wrote down to form his Vita Malchi Monachi Captivi (PL XXIII, cols. 53-60). Malchus then was clearly the ideal role model to follow on from Judith, important also because he was a monk himself and thus directly applicable to Ælfric's comments aimed at the nuns in l. 356ff.

As it is incomplete one can only guess at the source material. Assmann stated (1888, p. 79, n. 3) that: ‘Die quelle dazu ist die von Hieronymus abgefasste Vita Malchi Monachi Captivi...Der bei Wanley erhaltene schluss stellt das zehnte kapitel der Vita dar. Ælfric gab also nur einen kurzen auszug aus seiner quelle. Ein unterschied gegenüber der quelle besteht darin, dass Hieronymus den Malchus seine geschichte selbst erzählen lässt, während Ælfric dieselbe in der dritten person vorträgt’. Pringle (1975) also cites Jerome as the probable source and in the absence of other information one is forced to agree.

2. Esther

l. 1. Be Hester:–M has O Be Hester, with the O reflecting a capitulum sign in the original MS from which L'Isle was transcribing.

l. 2-6. ‘Iu on ealdum...7 seofon scira’:–Ælfric expands the explanation of the geography of Asuerus's kingdom by adding ‘þæt is fram...to þam Silhwearum.’ (ll. 4-5).

l. 3. Asuerus:–Some scholars have linked Asuerus with Cambyses II, son of Cyrus II, but this is now generally accepted as unlikely. It is more probable that he was in fact Xerxes (ruled c.485-465 B.C.), who was a vain and flamboyant character (possibly explaining some of the curious events in the story). Xerxes was the King of Persia who was most notable for his failed invasion of Greece (see also the note for l. 277).

l. 14. gyldene 7 sylfrene, selcuþ æfre:–It is difficult to see how these words are interlinked. The simplest explanation could be to simply connect them with the ap. seldcuðan mærða. Ælfric is attempting to summarize the Vulgate 1:6-7 but is rather unsuccessful. Following the Latin the gyldene 7 sylfrene should refer to the gyldenum beddum (lectuli quoque aurei et argentei) and the selcuþ æfre to the uniqueness of the drinking vessels (1:7; possibly though beddum could be an error by L'Isle and should read beodum, i.e. ‘bowls’). For this to be acceptable though, the -e endings would have to be taken as dp.

ll. 24-30. ‘Heo worhte eac...his seofon burðenas’:–The burðenas are named in the Vulgate (1:10) as Mauman, Bazatha, Harbona, Bagatha, Abagatha, Zethar, and Charchas.

ll. 31-3. ‘mid hire cynehelme...cynehelm on heafode’:–Reference to crowns (royal and martyrs) appear in several passages in Ælfric's writings. For example, see the Life of St Sebastian (LS, V, l. 55); and the Life of St Cecilia (LS, XXXIV, ll. 76-7). This latter reference is notable for its description of the crown. However, Ælfric does seem to be indicating that although this was their seode that seo cwen werode cynehelm on heafode it was not that of the Anglo-Saxons. This is borne out by Asser's Life of King Alfred. In Section 13, dealing with King Æthelwulf's marriage to Judith, Asser states: ‘For the West Saxons did not allow the queen to sit beside the king, nor indeed did they allow her to be called ‘queen’, but rather ‘king's wife’’ (S. Keynes and M. Lapidge, Alfred the Great (London, 1983), p. 71). Asser explains this custom as originating from Eadburh's expulsion from the queen's throne after the death of King Beorhtic (see Keynes and Lapidge, 1983, pp. 234-5, n.25 and n.28). Apparently this reluctance to honour queens with a cynehelm or indeed the title ‘queen’ continued into Ælfric's time.

l. 39. witan:–The witan are named in the Vulgate (1:14) as Charsena, Sethar, Admatha, Tharsis, Mares, Marsuna, and Mamuchan.

l. 42. ealdormen:–The Vulgate identifies the king as Mamuchan (1:16).

l. 43. Medan:–Meda, or Medes, was the land of an Iranian branch of the Aryan race, kindred to the Persians.

l. 43. Persan:–Persia lay on the east side of the Persian Gulf, bounded in the north by Meda, the south by the Gulf itself, the west by Elam, and the east by Karmaria. Its original capital was the city of Pasargada, which was subsequently superseded by Perspolis. The Persians were Aryans, kindred of the Medes, and consisted of ten tribes.

l. 57-8. ‘7 Vasthi geseah þa, þæt heo forsewen wæs’:–No equivalent in the Latin. Ælfric's addition serves to heighten the poignancy of her loss.

l. 59-66. ‘Hit wearþ þa...Susa, Mardocheus gehaten’:–The Old English greatly condenses the Latin for these lines, and, as expected, omits Mardocheus's genealogy (‘filius Iair filii Semei filii Cis de stirpe Iemini’ 2:5).

ll. 66-7. ‘Se gelyfde soðlice...æfter Moyses æ’:–This material is without source in the Vulgate. For a similar comment see Judith l. 167.

l. 66. Susa:–Susa, or Shashan, was for many centuries the capital of Elam, and thereafter one of the three capitals of the Persian Empire.

l. 66. Mardocheus:–Mordecai (or Mardochai) means ‘belonging to Merodach’. His genealogy is given as ‘son of Jair, son of Shimei, son of Kish, a Benjamite’ (2:5).

l. 68. Ester:–Esther (or 'Hadassah') was from a family of the tribe of Benjamin, and thus strictly a captive of Persia. She has been identified with Amestris, the only queen of Xerxes . However, it is more likely that, like Vasthi, she was a favourite of the ‘seraglio’ (a point which Ælfric does not refer to).

l. 72. wæs ardlice:–The reading by Assmann wæsard is emended to wearð, noting the original form in L'Isle's transcript. An alternative explanation is that the form in the manuscript used by L'Isle read wæs ardlice or wæs arodlice, which one of the scribes misread. The adverb ardlice is very popular with Ælfric (occuring at least seventy times in his writings), although he never uses the actual phrase ‘wæs ardlice þa’.

ll. 80-82. ‘Heo wæs swiðe...on wæstme cyrten’:–The homily omits the details about Abihail (Esther's father) and Egeus (the king's chamberlain) which can be found in the Vulgate, presumably to allow the story to progress more rapidly.

l. 105. Aman:–The Old English omits Aman's genealogy (filium Amadathi, see above ll. 59-66), but adds for his upahafennysse (l. 112) to stress Aman's character from the beginning. Aman (Haman) was the son of Hammedatha, and is described as an Agagite (a race of ancient enemies to the Israelites, being descended from the Amelekite, King Agag).

ll. 119-22. ‘Aman þa smeade...æfter Godes gesetnyssum’:–These lines, which develop Aman's treacherous nature, are possibly taken from 3:7, though the details on the dates of the casting of the lots are omitted.

l. 125. scirum:–The transcript lacks scirum, and thus would read ‘in each [of the parts]’ with ‘of the parts’ being assumed. It is likely that at some point a medieval scribe mistakenly omitted scirum (or something equally similar). The case for inserting the word scirum, as opposed to another similar word, is re-inforced by the presence in l. 134 of ælcere scire.

l. 127. gif:–In M the ‘i’ in ‘gif’ is badly written, hence Assmann's mistaken reading of ‘gyf’.

ll. 134-8. ‘Aman þa sona...he him gewissode’:–Ælfric condenses the material presented in 3:12-13; notably, he does not detail the recipients of the letters as fully as the Vulgate, nor does he provide any dates for the events.

l. 136. sæmtinges:–The word, like wæfersyne (l. 143), is underlined in M. As the transcription is a collection of notes and jottings by L'Isle and his associates, then these words were possibly underlined for use in a future dictionary.

l. 137. on anum dæge:–The Jewish feast of Purim (‘lots’, by which Aman decided upon the day of slaughter) is derived from this biblical event.

ll. 141-7. ‘7 gesæde hit...swa micelre frecednysse’:–The homily greatly condenses the Vulgate (4:2-15), detailing the correspondences between Esther and Mordecai. In the Latin, Mordecai and the Jews don haircloth garments. Esther initially misreads the situation and sends him fresh clothes, but it is only through Hatach the eunuch, who acts as a go-between, that she learns of the imminent genocide (4:5).There is no mention in the homily of the lengthy dialogue between Esther and Mordecai, in which she argues that it is impossible for her to go to the king unsummoned (4:11), whilst he points out that if she does not then the Jews will die. The material in 4:16 is direct speech by Esther in the Vulgate, but is presented in narrative in the Old English.

ll. 147-59. ‘Þa eode seo...to his inne’:–Ælfric condenses much of the material as presented in the Latin, mixing details from 5:4 and 5:8.

ll. 159-61. ‘Mardocheus þa sæt...þam Godes þegene’:–The homily omits much of the dialogue found in 5:5 and/or 5:9, where the queen requests both the king's and Aman's presence at the feast.

ll. 168-9. ‘Þa cwædon his...ænne heagan gealgan’: Aman's wife is named in the Vulgate as Zares, and the height of the heagan gealgan is actually given as 50 cubits (5:14).

ll. 178. burcnihtas:–The Vulgate names the burcnihtas (l. 178) as Bagathan and Thares.

ll. 186-7. ‘Hwæt, þa on...hete ahon Mardocheum’:–Ælfric greatly condenses the material of 6:4-5. In the Vulgate, the king asks who it is that is coming into the court, and the servants reply that it is Aman.

ll. 187-207. ‘Ac se cyning...to his cnihtum’:–Ælfric omits all of 6:13, which contains Aman's complaints to his wife.

l. 218. swilcere:–Assmann emends swilcere to 7 hwilcere presumably to maintain the alliteration with Hwæt in l. 217. Although this is acceptable on the grounds that the alliteration is frequent throughout the text (though far from perfect), no alteration has been made as the transcript makes good sense.

l. 256. þære:–The insertion of cwene by Assmann is for rhythmical reasons. However, þære as dsf. pron. ‘that [one]’ is acceptable, and no emendation is needed.

ll. 263-76. ‘Þis wearð þe...rædfæst on weorcum’:–The Old English lines that comprise the end of the homily are very loosely based on the Vulgate. For example, the mention that Mordecai was praised thereafter (l. 270) is from the Vulgate 8:15, whilst the mention of Abraham and Moses is the author's own (ll. 263-7) and serves to remind the audience that the characters lived under the old law of the Old Testament, and also to heighten the piety of their actions.

l. 277. ‘7 he hæfde oþerne naman: Artarxerxes.':–Vulgate 11:2 is the first mention of Asuerus's other name.

3. The Maccabees

l. 1 ff.:–Due to the fragmentary nature of manuscripts Q and V, the ends of several lines are missing.

l. 1: KAL’ AUGUSTUS:–August 1st or Lammas Day (see l. 180). This feast was formally suppressed in the revision of the Roman Calendar in 1969. In C, in the right-hand margin the title is repeated. E, above the title, has ‘Reliquiæ libri Machabeorum’ in a later hand.

l. 2. ALEXANDER:–In the Old Testament the only mention of Alexander is in this section of the I Maccabees. The reference is to Alexander III, king of Macedonia (336-323 B.C.), surnamed ‘the Great’. His kingdom did indeed fragment after his death (l. 3), and in the space of forty years the Seleucid dynasty (of which Antiochus in l. 7 was a prominent member) took the greatest power, ruling Asia Minor and Syria.

l. 4. hi:–E retains heo and above it there is the gloss illi. Throughout manuscript E there are numerous interlinear glosses, and marginal additions which are not noted in this edition (due to the confines of space).

ll. 6-7. ‘An ðæra cyninga...uppahafen, Antiochus gehaten’:–Ælfric chooses to omit the past history of Antiochus detailed in the Vulgate.

ll. 7-13. ‘Se feaht on...his mihta truwigende':–The Vulgate gives further details of the conquest of Egypt in verses 17-19, and 21, which Ælfric ignores, thus omitting such details as naming the Egyptian king as Ptolemy. The Old English 7 afligde ðone cynincg (l. 8) refers to an incident in the Vulgate, verse 19.

l. 7. Antiochus:–The name Antiochus needs clarification as it was in fact given to thirteen rulers of the Seleucid Dynasty. Here, the reference is to Antiochus IV surnamed ‘Epiphanes’, son of Antiochus III (‘the Great’). Antiochus Epiphanes siezed the Syrian throne in 175 B.C., and after major military campaigns managed to conquer Coele-Syria, Palestine, Egypt (l. 8) and thus Jerusalem itself. He is renowned for the cruelty with which he attempted to destroy the Jewish faith (the reason for the Maccabean revolt), and for replacing it with Hellenistic ideals (similar to Nabochodonossor in ‘Judith’). He died in 164 B.C during a campaign in Persia.

ll. 14-28. ‘Eft, æfter sumum...on bocum ræddon’:–The enforced hellenization of conquered countries by Antiochus, and in particular Israel, is detailed in the Vulgate verses 43-67. Ælfric greatly condenses this, omitting the material of verses 26-42 in which the reader is told of the mourning of Israel, and a subsequent second (and ultimately successful) attack by Antiochus on Jerusalem. Furthermore, Ælfric treats the hellenization procedure briefly, omitting the more barbaric details of verses 63-4.

l. 15. ærendgewritum:– In C there is a mark between ‘ærend’ and ‘gewritum’ (possibly an ‘e’).

l. 20. Godes:–Skeat reads drihtnes from MSS C and E, presumably to maintain alliteration. However, although the phrase Godes weofode appears four times in his writings (i.e. Godden, VI, p.57, l. 144; Godden, VII, p.64, l. 117; Godden, XV, p.156, l. 217; with the phrase also appearing in his Letter to Wulfsige, Cambridge, MS Corpus Christi College 190 in Fehr, 1914, l. 122). At no point does Ælfric (or for that matter any other author) use the phrase drihtnes weofode.

l. 28. tobrecan:–In J, the ‘e’ in ‘tobrecan’ was clearly an ‘æ’ and subsequently altered.

ll. 29-33. ‘Hwæt, þa wearð...þære gastlican getacnunge’:–The tone of the previous lines acts as a good introduction to some form of spiritual rebellion against the king's orders (the actual physical rebellion occurring later), which indicates the overiding moral of the martyrs' story. The transition to II Macc is done skillfully, and the flow of the story is not interrupted in any way. Indeed, if one did not have prior knowledge of the order of the Biblical material, then this progression would certainly seem logical. Furthermore, the reference to þe hi on bocum ræddon (l. 28, possibly taken from I Macc 1:60) links expertly with the introduction of Eleazar, the chief of scribes.

ll. 33-76. ‘We moton nu...et nu swaðeah’:–This discourse on clæne and unclæne meat is the first digression in the homily. The ultimate source for this is clearly Leviticus 11:

1) And the Lord spoke to Moses and Aaron saying

2) Say to the children of Israel: These are the animals which you are to eat of all the living things of the earth.

3) Whatsoever hath the hoof divided, and cheweth the cud among beasts you shall eat.

4) But whatsoever cheweth indeed the cud, and hath a hoof, but divideth it not, as the camel, and others: that you shall not eat, but shall reckon it among the unclean.

5) The cherogrillus [rabbit or hedgehog] which cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof, is unclean.

6) The hare also: for that too cheweth the cud but divideth not the hoof.

7) And the swine, which, though it divideth the hoof, cheweth not the cud.

However, the Vulgate provides more detail than needed by Ælfric. Loomis (1931) suggests that the Old English lines may also indicate knowledge by Ælfric of Bede's In Pentateuchum Leviticum (PL 91, col. 345-6). The author provides his own reference to Paul (l. 68), presumably from the letter to Titus 1:15:

All things are clean to the clean: but to them that are defiled and to unbelievers, nothing is clean: but both their mind and their conscience are defiled.

This theme is also evident in Romans 14:20:

Destroy not the work of God for meat. All things indeed are clean: but it is evil for that man who eateth with offence.

This is an attempt by Ælfric to show how Old Testament teaching changed æfter Cristes tocyme, reinforcing his own distinction between the ealdan and niwan æ.

l. 36. ðære ealdan æ:–This phrase appears frequently in Ælfric’s writings, and always refers to the religious law before the coming of Christ (see ll. 49-53).

ll. 57-9:–The variants for these lines are particularly difficult to grasp from the variants section. The difficulty stems from the addition made in J:

\getacnað þæt/ we tocleofan ure clawa on þam twam gecyðnyssum. þæt is on ðære ealdan æ, 7 on ðære niwan \gecyðnysse/

E omits ‘þæt getacnað þæt...ðære niwan gecyðnysse’ (i.d. ll. 56–9), whilst C reads:

we tocleofan ure clawa on þam twam gecyðnessum. þa ealdan. 7 þa niwan

Skeat combines elements from the manuscripts, relying more on J than C, and has the following text (see his footnote for l. 66, on p.71):

‘þæt we to-cleofan ure clawa on þam twam gecyðnyssum on ðære ealdan. and on ðære niwan...’
(ll. 65-6)

In keeping with the rest of this present edition, the text, as it appears in the base manuscript J has been retained. Furthermore, it should be noted that in J both þæt is and 7 on ðære niwan are very condensed (appearing on ll. 24-5 of f.140v) and are possibly later additions. It should also be noted that the ‘dan’ in ‘ealdan’ (l. 58) and the ‘æ’ stray into the right-hand margin of the folio.

l. 77. ærðan:–In E this was originally ‘ærðam’ and then altered.

ll. 92-6. ‘Þa wurdon ða...his lif geendode’:–The homily omits Eleazarus's dying speech in which the scribe states that his fear of pain is surpassed by his fear of the Lord.

l. 112. ðære fiftan bec:–The fifth book of the Pentateuch (Deuteronomy).

l. 128. he:–E originally had ‘heo’ but this was altered to ‘he’.

l. 135. mihte:–In E, at the end of f.330r the MS originally had ‘mih’ with ‘te’ continuing on f.330v. However the ‘mih’ was subsequently deleted and a later hand adds it to the ‘te’ on f.330v thus retaining the correct form.

ll. 145-50. ‘Þa wundrode heora...for his æ’:–Ælfric condenses the praise of the mother (II Macc 7:20), but still retains the forceful emotive appeal of her speech.

l. 151. arleasa:–E has ‘arleas[]a’ with space for an erased letter (now illegible).

ll. 165-73. ‘Þa clypode se...is ana God’:–It seems probable that Ælfric chose to condense this lengthy speech (II Macc 7:30, 34, and 37) on the grounds that it is repetitious. He leaves out the young boy's account of the king's guilt and the promise of future retribution.

ll. 180-4. ‘Þyssera martyra gemynd...swa bealdlice ðrowodon’:–These lines, not in the Vulgate, are Ælfric's attempt to enforce the importance of the story recounted. The martyrs are the Seven Sons, their mother, and Eleazarus, all of which were celebrated on Lammas Day (1st August, see below). The fact that they are called the Maccabees leads to some confusion when one recalls that the only figure referred to as being a ‘Maccabee’ is Judas, son of Mathathias. In fact, Jewish scholars and theologians did not refer to them by this name at all. Thus it seems that later writers, who saw in the Maccabees a similar plight to that suffered by the Christian martyrs, applied their own nomenclature. It is possible therefore, owing to the popularity of the story, that the later acts of the Seven Brothers (second-century martyrs whose feast day was on the 10th July) were an attempt at remodelling the story to suit a more Christian ideal. Until 1930 relics housed in Rome were assumed to be those of the Maccabees, but scientific research at the time revealed the remains to be those of a canine origin. The feast day of the Maccabees was eventually suppressed in the revision of the Roman Calendar in 1969.

l. 180. Hlafmæssan dæg:–This phrase, which can be translated as ‘loaf-feastday’, i.e. Lammas Day, is celebrated on the 1st August. Ostensibly the festival of the grain harvest, Lammas Day was also one of the old quarter days, equivalent to Midsummer. At the church celebration, each worshipper was expected to bring a loaf of new-wheat bread as an offering. The use of the phrase on Hlafmæssan dæg by Ælfric does seem to indicate that Section I was not actually designed to be read on August 1st itself. Had it been so one would have expected him to use todæg instead.

ll. 186-8. ‘We wyllað eac...sægð seo racu’:–Ælfric here returns to I Macc as main source. He removes any element of supsense by indicating from the beginning that there will be a morally satisfying ending to the tale. The declaration swa swa us sægð seo racu is an example of the author's constant desire to validate his writings by basing them on authoritative texts.

l. 186. awritan:–In J above ‘awritan’ there is the gloss ‘+asecgan’.

ll. 189-94. ‘Mathathias wæs gehaten...on heora life’:–The homily omits Mathathias's genealogy (‘filius Iohannis filii Simeonis sacerdos ex filiis Ioarim ’ 2:1), and all the surnames of the sons.

l. 189. Mathathias:–The name means ‘Gift of Yahweh’. Son of John, priest of the order of Joarib, and father to the Maccabees, he was originally of Hasmonean descent, and it was his action of defying the decree of Antiochus Epiphanes that sparked off the rebellion.

l. 190. fif suna:–Each of the five sons is also given a surname, or princely title, in the Bible as follows: John, Gaddi; Simon, Thassi; Judas, Maccabees; Eleazar, Avarin; and Jonathan, Apphus. The main character is clearly Judas. His surname, Maccabees (possibly meaning ‘hammer’) is taken as the title for the four books, as well as for the rebellion as a whole. It was he who took over after the death of Mathathias and by 165 B.C. had been so successful that he was able to re-purify the temple at Jerusalem. He campaigned against the Edomites, Ammonites, and the Syrians in such areas as Galilee, Gilead, and the lands of the Philistines. Despite all his success he never aspired to the highpriesthood preferring always to remain a military leader. He was eventually defeated by Bacchides.

After Judas’s death, Jonathan Apphus led the rebellion. Although his power was intially weakened, he eventually, due as much to Syrian inter-struggle as his own skill, established the Hasmonean dynasty on the throne in Jerusalem. As well as being the military leader, Jonathan was also appointed high-priest. Upon his death Simon Thassi took over, claiming also the title of high-priest. He embarked on a scheme of refortification, managing ultimately to gain independence from Demetrius I in 142 B.C. He was eventually murdered by his son-in-law Ptolemy, leaving his heir, John Hyrcanus to take over.

The final son, Eleazar Avarin, was never a leader of the rebellion. However, his importance is recognised in II Macc 8:23ff., where we are told that he was appointed to read aloud the sacred book. He died in the battle near Beth-zacharias against Antiochus Eupator.

ll. 194-5. ‘7 noldon abugan to ðam bysmorfullan hæðenscipe’:–The Vulgate, verses 2:7-14, details a lengthy speech by Mathathias and the insults performed against Jerusalem and its temple. This is omitted by Ælfric, whose concern is to make the important point that Mathathias would not comply with the Hellenists' regulations.

ll. 195-9. ‘Þa asende se...his gramlican ðreate’:–Here, the Old English is a very loose paraphrase of the Latin, with the omission of the important fact that some of the Jews were not as resilient as the Maccabees and chose to accept the new edicts.

ll. 200-9. ‘Efne, þa eode...ða manfullan forsawon’:–Verses 2:17-22 of the Vulgate contain a further speech by the messengers of Antiochus and a forceful response by Mathathias. Ælfric omits these, moving straight to the actual start of the rebellion (i.e. the killing of the blasphemous Jew and a representative of the king). The only major detail omitted is from verse 26 where the previous actions of Phinees are cited as a comparison to Mathathias (see also Numbers 25:13).

ll. 212-5. ‘Þa wearð þær...ofslean on unscæððignysse’:–The Old English ultimately relies on verses 2:33-9, which detail the refusal by some to fight on the sabbath.

ll. 215-20. ‘Þæt werod weox...eac God fylste’:–I Macc 2:40-2 highlights the resolution of the Israelites, and it is possible that the Old English phrase Þæt werod weox ða swyðe refers specifically to verse 42, when the Assideans join the rebels. Ælfric supplies his own line 7 Godes æ arærde, 7 him eac God fylste, but omits the detail of the circumcision of the children.

l. 219. ehte:–J originally has ‘ehtæ’ but this was subsequently altered.

ll. 221-40. ‘He ealdode þa...on godum biggencgum!’:–Ælfric keeps closely to the Latin, providing a virtual translation of verses 62-3 with his lines 232-5. He does, however, omit some of the references made by Mathathias to past biblical characters (contained in 2:54, 56, 58-9).

l. 225. wuldre:–C originally had ‘wundre’ but the ‘n’ was altered to an ‘l’.

l. 225. getrywe:–J originally read ‘getrywæ’, which was then altered. The alteration of ‘æ’ to ‘e’ is common throughout the manuscript (e.g. l. 258 ‘æðel’ to ‘eðel’, l. 256 ‘gecwæden’ to ‘gecweden’, etc.).

l. 227. Ioseph:–Son of Jacob and Rachel, and one of the main ancestral heroes of the Jews. His importance is matched only by Jacob and Abraham in the history of the Jews.

l. 227-8. Hiesus Naue:–Known as Joshua, son of Nun, and attendant to Moses. He led the Israelites against the tribes of Canaan, and is said to have lived to the age of 110.

l. 228. Dauid 7 Danihel:–Both were very important Biblical figures in terms of the major parts they played in the history of the Jewish race. David was the second king of Israel, famous for, among other things, his slaying of Goliath (Samuel 1:17); whilst Daniel was the famous Jewish prophet in Babylon (see the Book of Daniel).

l. 233. his:–E has ‘h[]is’ with space for an erased letter (now illegible).

ll. 245-57. ‘Hwæt, ða Iudas...þam ytemestan landum’:–Here Ælfric provides a fairly close translation of the Latin (viewing the introduction of Judas as very important). He retains such details contained in the Vulgate as the description of his breastplate (l. 250), and the comparison of him to a lion.

l. 252. leon gelic:–The lion is mentioned frequently throughout the Old Testament, and being likened to it implies strength and fortitude. The title is also given to Daniel, Saul, Jonathan and to the whole of Israel.

l. 258. Appollonius:–A general of Samaria, officer of Antiochus Epiphanes, who is ultimately slain by Judas in 166 B.C. He has also been identified as either the son of Menestheus, an ambassador of Antiochus Epiphanes, or the son of Genneus, a Syrian general.

l. 259. Samarian byrig:–A capital city in the north of Israel, with surrounding district of the same name. Founded by Omri originally, it suffered a series of sieges throughout Old Testament times, notably by John Hyrcanus, son of Simon (Judas Maccabees’s brother).

ll. 265-72. ‘Eft, ða wæs...gewinne 7 meteleaste’:–As might be expected, Ælfric omits the geographical detail given in the Vulgate that Seron's invasion reached Bethoron, a point which would have meant nothing to an English audience.

l. 265. Seron:–Commander of the Syrian army under Antiochus Epiphanes, ultimately defeated at Bethoron (ll. 282-85) by Judas in 166 B.C.

l. 285. Philistea lande:–Later to become Palestine, the lands of the Philistines were centred around Gaza, Ashkelon, Ashdod, Ekron and Gath. The Philistines themselves were assimilated to the Canaanites, and are associated with an image of being ‘uncultured’.

l. 294. Lisias:–A general and trusted advisor to Antiochus Epiphanes.

ll. 297-300. ‘Iudas þa gehyrte...wið þa hæðenan’:–Ælfric treats his source material rather liberally for these lines, omitting major sections of the Latin. Verses 40-2 deal with the selling of Jewish slaves to rich merchants, and the alerting of Judas to the new threat. Verses 45-56 give a lengthy account of the condition of Jerusalem at the time, and the mustering of the Israelites. The detail fæston ænne dæg is from verse 47, whilst fultumes biddende æt þam ælmihtigan gode is an indication of the lengthy speech of verses 50-3. The importance of preserving the templ (ll. 299-300) possibly reflects verse 43.

ll. 300-1. ‘Hi ferdon ða...þam gefeohte werd’:–As with Bethoron earlier, Ælfric omits the placename of the battle of Emmaus.

ll. 301-12. ‘7 Iudas eft...þe Israhel alyse’:–Judas's speech is brought together from two separate incidents. The first rallying (ll. 300-6) is taken from 3:57-60. The Old English then omits 4:1-8, in which Gorgias's attempts to destroy the Jews through a night attack are discussed. Ll. 306-12 are taken from a second speech by Judas, after these events and before his own attack on the Gentiles. The effect given is clearly of one complete discourse. The events of ll. 307-9 refer to the events listed elsewhere in Exodus 14:23-8.

ll. 312-7. ‘Machabeus þa genealæhte...sume þreo þusend’:–Ælfric loosely paraphrases the events of the battle as presented in the Vulgate. The geographical details of verse 15 are omitted in the Old English.

ll. 318-21. ‘7 Iudas þa...eallre his godnysse’:–Ælfric omits the details of verse 16-22, in which there is a second confrontation between the two forces.

l. 318. ‘þa ða he fram fyrde gecyrde’:–In J this is inserted into the margin. In the body text, after ‘funde’ there is a ‘+’ to indicate the addition.

ll. 337-40. ‘7 hi ferdon...geleafan 7 sange’:–Ælfric states simply that the temple was resanctified, and does not go into the elaborate details of the procedures given in verses 37-61. The rejoicing and worship of God (l. 340) brings this section to a close.

ll. 345-8. ‘Efne, ða on...sum þusend manna’:–Ælfric adds his own detail that sum þusend manna were slain (although possibly linked with I Macc 5:13), and does not name Timotheus as the leader of the Gentiles.

l. 349. Galileiscum lande:–An area of northern Palestine, and the place of Christ’s childhood. At the time of the Maccabean rebellion it was under Jewish control.

l. 352. befran:–In C this originally read ‘befram’ but was subsequently altered by subpuncting the third minim of the ‘m’.

ll. 353–4. ‘7 far to...ðe ða man’:–In E this is the top line of f.334v. It is badly spaced to imply that the whole line is a later addition.

l. 355. Galaað:–A country in North Moab, which could possibly be the present-day Busr-el-Hariri.

ll. 363-7. ‘Iudas eac ferde...him forð syððan’:–The content of verses 5:25-7 are omitted; in them the Nabutheans tell of recent events in the area and they direct Judas to various cities, including Bosor.

l. 363. Iordanen:–The River Jordan (‘the descender’) runs from Mount Hermon through the sea of Galilee and into the Dead Sea. It is the lowest depression on earth, at one point plunging 393 metres below sea level. The widgille wæsten (l. 364) is not easily identified but could be the Huleh basin, north of Galilee.

ll. 368-79. ‘Efne, ðæs on...hi bysmorlice ofsloh’:–The treatment of the source material here is interesting. First, mid cræfte (l. 370) refers to the Vulgate's mention of ladders and engines. Second, the reference to the fact that the enemy nyston þæt Machabeus mid þam mannum wæs (ll. 370-1) is given prominence by Ælfric. Third, the author omits the battle-cry of Judas in verse 32, which is surprising, because he usually retains anything that enhances Judas's prowess. Finally, the burga of l. 379 is named as Maspha in the Latin, but, as usual, Ælfric omits the unfamiliar name.

ll. 380-7. ‘Þa com Timotheus...gewendon him ham’:–The ford of l. 381 is that of the river Raphon. The Latin contains further details of the prelude to the battle in verses 5:38-42. Again, the Vulgate placename (this time of Carnaim) does not appear in the Old English, where there is reference simply to anre byrig (ll. 384-5).

l. 380. Timotheus:–An Ammonite leader who was defeated on several occasions by Judas, in the process losing numerous areas such as Jazar and Bosor.

ll. 388-401. ‘Þa wæs þær...swa micelre frecednysse’:–The mycel burh actually besieged is that of Ephron.

ll. 449-68. ‘Gif hwa nu...þone heofonlican hælend’:–In these lines, clearly not from the Vulgate narrative, Ælfric attempts to explain the miraculous events he has just been describing. He is indeed correct when he states that intervention by angels occurs frequently throughout the Bible (ll. 450-4), possibly referring to such examples as Zechariah 1:12, or Job 33:23. Angels were originally thought to be manifestations of God, but then began to take on a more separate identity.

Angels appear often in Ælfric's writings. Elsewhere he gives some insight into their nature; for example, see the Nativity of Christ (LS, I, ll. 28-30, 51-2: details the form of angels); the Life of St Agatha (LS, VIII, ll. 87-8: intervention by angels); and the Life of St Oswald (LS, XXVI, ll. 279-82: their role as conveyers of souls).

Once again though, Ælfric seems to be concerned with the difference between the Old Law, and the New Law, i.e. the instructions received from Christ. Compare his discussion earlier of the clean and unclean food (ll. 33-76).

ll. 470-90. ‘Betwux þysum ferde...he sylf wolde’:–The death of Antiochus is treated by Ælfric in an interesting fashion which illustrates the freedom he felt in composing the homily. Although all the details presented in the Old English can be found in the Vulgate, the author here amalgamates material from I Macc 6 and II Macc 9 (thus Loomis is wrong in listing the sources as being simply I Macc 6:1-27 and II Macc 9:9). From Section V it is clear that Ælfric felt free to draw from both books as best suited his needs, and it is difficult therefore to decide which book holds the better authority for the opening of Section VII. The most striking correllations are listed in Appendix I. In summary, it appears that ll. 470-90 reflect a careful version of the two accounts of the death of Antiochus.

l. 486. Eupator:–E has ‘eut\p/ap\to/or’ with the first ‘t’ crossed through and the second ‘p’ subpuncted. Antiochus V Eupator (‘the virtues of his father’) was too young to rule when his father Epiphanes died, and so was left in the care of Lysias. Together they managed to defeat the Maccabees at Beth-zacharias. Eupator, along with Lysias, was eventually captured by Demetrius I and executed.

ll. 491-5. ‘Hwæt, þa Eupator...mid wundorlicum cræfte’:–The homily numbers the elephants as 30 instead of the 32 in the Vulgate (see l. 497) as we have it. The phrase mid wundorlicum cræfte, useful for alliteration, may anticipate the account of the construction of engines in verse 6:31.

l. 494. ylpas:–In L there is a marginal gloss of ‘elefanz’ written in a later hand.

ll. 495-6. ‘Fif hund gehorsedra...mid ælcum ylpe’:–Ælfric ignores most of the details of the build-up to the battle of Bethzacharam, choosing purely to mention that 500 cavalrymen escorted each elephant.

ll. 496-8. 7 on ælcum...mid gecneordnysse farende’:–Curiously, the author again alters the numbers (this time the crew of each elephant is changed from 32 to 30, in keeping with the previous difference, see ll. 491-5). The homily also omits the reference to the Indian controller.

ll. 499-507. ‘Sumum menn wile...hi mæg gewyldan’:–See J. E. Cross, ‘The Elephant to Alfred, Ælfric, Aldhelm and Others’, SN 37 (1965), pp. 367–73, for two possible sources for this digression: Isidore’s Etymologiarum (XII, PL 82, cols.11-12, 14-16), and Ambrose (Hexameron VI v, PL 17). The former appears to correspond more directly with the Old English, as Cross suggests.

l. 506. nytena:–In J after ‘nytena’ there is a lengthy erasure, long enough to indicate that the scribe in error copied the word twice.

ll. 508-10. ‘Þa hæðenan ða...is metta leofost’:–Ælfric returns to the Vulgate and picks up this earlier mention of the effect of mulberries on the elephants.

ll. 510-19. ‘Þær wæs swyðe...egðer oðres slaga’:–Ælfric follows the Latin closely for the episode of the slaying of the elephant, but he adds the detail that Eleazar struck the creature at the nauelan (l. 518). The implication is that this was its weakest point (see Cross, 1965). This is possibly from Isidore again, where it is stated that a rhino kills the elephant by stabbing upwards into its stomach with its horns (Etymologiarum XII, PL 82, cols. 11-12). Compare, however, Beowulf ll. 2699-70 with Wiglaf’s slaying of the dragon.

l. 513. Eleazarus:–Son of Saura.

ll. 519-25. ‘7 Iudas siððan...þær abutan gehwær’:–The final lines of section VII summarize 6:47-63 and 7:1-4. In the Latin Judas returns to Jerusalem (verse 47) and continues the fight (verse 48). Eventually, Lysias sues for peace (verses 49 and 60) only to break it immediately. News then arrives of the coup by Philip and he returns swiftly to Antioch (verses 55 and 63). Lysias and Eupator eventually perish at the hands of Demetrius (7:1-4).

l. 524. Demetrius:–Demetrius I Soter, was king of Syria and son of Seleucus IV Philopator. During the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes he was exiled to Rome, but upon his escape, he returned, seized control, and executed the then leader Eupator and his regent Lysias.

l. 525. Antiochian byrig:–The city of Antioch on the river Orontes was founded in 300 B.C. by the Seleucid kings. It is now known as Antakya in South-East Turkey.

ll. 527-30. ‘Hwæt, þa Alchimus...geswencte ða Iudeiscan’:–Alchimus first appears in 7:5, where he makes a lengthy speech to Demetrius, pleading with him to wage war on Judas (verses 6-7). The Latin then informs the reader that Bacchides was sent to investigate the situation and secure Alcimus as high priest (verses 8-22). Judas, hearing of these new evils, restores order, forcing Alcimus to flee (verses 23-5). These details are not in Ælfric's text, and he turns instead to the incidents surrounding Nicanor’s intervention.

l. 527. Alchimus:–Appointed by Demetrius I as high-priest to please the hellenist factions, Alchimus operated a severe programme of repression, but was eventually forced to withdraw against growing Jewish hostility under the guise of the Nationalist party, led by the Maccabees. Upon the failure of Nicanor to aid him, Alchimus was eventually allowed to return to his position after Bacchides, another of Demetrius’s generals, killed Judas and thus extinguished the Maccabean threat for some time.

l. 530. Nicanor:–A Syrian general sent by Demetrius to aid the hellenistic programme initiated by the high-priest Alchimus. However, the campaign was a failure and Nicanor was defeated by Judas at Capharsalama and Adasa.

ll. 530-40. ‘oðþæt he sende...afyrhte for Iudan’:–Once again, Ælfric omits the naming of the battle-site (this time it was fought at Capharsalama), as well as the fact that Judas was actually afraid of Nicanor (verse 30).

l. 541. sceawode:–In J, before ‘sceawode’ a word has been erased.

l. 541. Salomones templ: Ælfric provides his own detail that the events took place in Solomon’s temple. Often refered to merely as the ‘temple’, this was the centrepoint for the Jewish faith in Old Testament times. It was situated in an area known as ‘Haramesh-Sherif’ in the East side of Old Jerusalem, although nothing remains of it now.

ll. 545-7. ‘Hwæt, ða sacerdas...hine ardlice fordyde’:–The Old English condenses the elaborate pleas of the priests made in verses 36-8, but still maintains the overall sense of urgency.

ll. 554–5. of heom an...7 hundeahtatig þusenda’:–The various MS readings for this text are as follows:

J: ‘of hi\eo/m an hund þusend manna 7 hundeahtatig þusenda’ (‘an hund þusend manna’ is added over a washed/scraped part of the manuscript)

C: ‘of him hundteontig þusenda 7 hundeahtegig þusenda

E: omits ‘of heom an...manna 7 hundeahtatig

L: ‘of hym huntweontig ðusenda 7 hundeahtatig þusenda

ll. 558-65. ‘Hi fengon þa...for his teonrædene’:–The details of the battle are summarized by Ælfric, with the geographical locations, Adazer and Gazara (verse 45), being omitted, as well as the mention of Jerusalem as the resting place for the trophies.

l. 562. hi man:–In J ‘hi’ was originally ‘him’ (as in C & L).

ll. 566-70. ‘7 þancodon þa...oferwunnan heora fynd’:–Identification of the source behind these lines is troublesome. There is no mention in the Vulgate that the people þancodon þa Gode (l. 566) after the victory, although 7:48 and 7:50 mention subsequent rejoicing. Furthermore, Ælfric ignores verse 49 which states that the date was the 13th of Adar.

The emissary sent to Rome (ll. 567-70) is all that is taken from chapter 8; in which there are lengthy details of the fame of the Romans. The correspondence between Judas and the senators, and a subsequent decree by the latter to Demetrius to make peace with the Maccabeans are only hinted at in the homily.

l. 568. to Rome:–The ambassadors sent to Rome by the Jews received a favourable reception. However, although the Romans warned Demetrius to abstain from action against the Jews, the Syrians ignored the threats and continued the attacks regardless.

l. 574. Bachidem:–Bacchides was a general of Demetrius who was sent to Judea after the failure of Nicanor to aid the high-priest Alchimus. He defeated Judas at Elasa, and held Judea until the death of Alchimus in 159 B.C. He was eventually forced to make peace with Jonathan, the new leader of the rebellion, after internal problems in the Syrian homeland.

l. 579:–In C there is a major crease in the manuscript. The words affected by this are wið (l. 579), gewanod (l. 581), and andwyrde (l. 582). Naturally, this affects the text on f. 354v of C, and here the forms difficult to read are feorðe (l. 632) and X (l. 634).

ll. 580-87. ‘Þa cwædon his...butan bysmorlicum fleame’:–The exchange between Judas and his troops before the battle is based loosely on verses 9-11. Ll. 580-2 are from verse 9, and Ælfric adds the detail that Judas eall cene wæs (l. 583).

ll. 588-95. ‘Hi comon þa...þa oðre ætflugon’:–Although Ælfric avoids the almost apocalyptic tone surrounding the start of the battle (verse 13), with the surface of the earth shaking, he retains the detailed account of the tactical manoeuvring and outflanking found in the Latin.

l. 596. Modin:–Modin, situated in Judea, was the residence of Mathathias and his sons.

ll. 598-601. ‘Ne synd swaþeah...us bec secgað’:–The statement that Judas performed other deeds too numerous to mention is in keeping with the spirit of the Vulgate. L. 601 is an example of Ælfric's wish to establish the validity of his previous statement by quoting his authority.

ll. 602-33. ‘7 he is...7 endeleas sorh’:–These lines are independent of the Vulgate. Ll. 602-20 are a bridging passage in which Ælfric reworks the discussion of the ealdan æ and the new understanding after Christ's coming. ll. 624-33, the listing of the four types of war, is from Isidore's Etymologiarum (18, PL 82, col. 639, 2-4).

It is probable that Ælfric realised how bellicose his Judas material had become, and wished to temper it with some authoritative Christian work on the subject of warfare, and thus turned to Isidore for help. It is interesting to note the clear reference to the Vikings (ll. 628-9), which reinforces the idea that one of the aims of the homily was a patriotic call to arms.

l. 601. Menigfealde:–In J after ‘menigfealde’ there is an erasure. Close examination indicates that the scribe wrote a second ‘fealde’ and then realised his mistake.

l. 619. gehealtsumnysse:–In J this originally read ‘gehealdsumnysse’ but was subsequently altered.

l. 635. Israhela:–In C the manuscript actually reads ‘srahela’ awaiting a capital ‘I’ that never appeared.

ll. 637-41. ‘swa swa hi...an þusend manna’:–Once again, in the opening of a section Ælfric treats his source material freely, omitting major sections of the Vulgate. Verses 32-53 detail Jonathan's heroic struggle against Bacchides, which the Old English mentions only briefly. It is possible that Ælfric considered the exploits of Judas sufficient, and did not wish to complicate the story by detailing those of Jonathan as well.

l. 645. teonfullan:–J originally read ‘teonfullum’ and was subsequently altered.

ll. 646-50. ‘Ionathas wunode on...his leode ware’:–The battles waged by Jonathan are presented in verses 57-73 of chapter 9, and the whole of chapters 10-12; however, these are omitted by Ælfric. The mention that cynegas hine wurðodon (ll. 647-8) is a reference to the separate emissaries from Demetrius (10:3-7) and Alexander Balas (10:15-20). The death of Jonathan, through an act of deception by Tryphon, is recorded in 12:50.

ll. 651-60. ‘Symon þa syððan...þæt land bewerode’:–As with Jonathan (see note on ll. 646-50) Simon's exploits, detailed in chapters 13-16, are given little attention in the Old English. It is noted only that Simon succeeded Jonathan, and ruled successfully. Ll. 657-60 mention John's role and are from 16:23-4.

ll. 662-3. ‘We habbað forlætan...willaþ secgan nu’:–The sudden shift to the story of Heliodorus is well signposted. The material comes from II Macc 3 and one can only surmise as to what might have led Ælfric to this story. The most probable answer is that, familiar with both books of the Maccabees, he had kept this particular incident in mind, to be told after the full history of the rebellion had been completed. As it is a wunderlic ðincg (l. 663) it acts as a good balance to the passion at the beginning of the homily, with both stories separated from the rebellion chronologically. The moral behind the tale of God's power overcoming the strength of evil is in keeping with the general themes of the sequence.

l. 663. secgan:–In J there are signs of alteration at this point. It is possible that the manuscript originally read ‘awritan’ but was subsequently altered.

ll. 663-70. ‘On ðam dagum...bewerian wið hunger’:–The homily at this point is a loose paraphrase of the Latin. The detail that the money was for widewan 7 steopbearn (l. 670) is from verse 10.

l. 665. Onias:–Probably Onias II, the high-priest of Jerusalem. In the Books of the Maccabees he is constantly presented as a pious figure.

l. 666. Seleucus:–Seleucus IV, Philopator, son of Antiochus the Great, ruled from 187-175 B.C. The popular story is that Apollonius, a governor, induced him to send Heliodorus to raid the temple at Jerusalem (an attempt which ultimately failed). Philopator was eventually murdered by the same Heliodorus in 175 B.C. His son, Demetrius I, eventually succeeded him after the reigns of Antiochus Epiphanes and Eupator.

l. 667. þæs:– In J this originally read ‘þær’ but was altered at a later point.

ll. 671-6. Þa ferde sum...feoh mid reaflace’:–The leogore of l. 671 is named in the Latin as Simon, of the tribe of Benjamin, in verse 4.

l. 672. Appollonius:–This is Apollonius, son of Thraseas, and governor of Coele-Syria. He should not be confused with the character of the same name who appears earlier.

l. 675. Heliodorus:–Heliodorus was chancellor to Seleucus IV, Philopator, (the cynincg of l. 674).

ll. 677-80. ‘He com þa...ælmihtigan to lofe’:–The goddra manna of l. 679 may refer (in part) to Hircanus, son of Tobias, mentioned in verse 11.

l. 682. ðeowum:–In E the ‘w’ in ‘ðeowum’ was originally a ‘d’ and then altered accordingly.

ll. 694-703. ‘He læg ða...þa him fram’:–The fact that Onias prayed for Heliodorus because he was afraid that the king may have brought retribution on the Jews for his death (verse 32) is omitted from the homily. Thus Ælfric's text implies that the action was one of mercy.

l. 714. mundað:–In L the manuscript originally read ‘mund’ with the ‘d’ then altered to an ‘a’ and a ‘ð’ inserted (all in the main hand).

ll. 722-73. ‘ITEM ALIA. Qui...ænne fugel acwellan’:–No exact source for this ‘Item Alia’ has been found (although, as suggested earlier, Ælfric may have been influenced by I Macc 5:67). Ælfric presents a similar discussion in his Letter to Sigeweard (Crawford, 1922, ll. 1207-1220, pp.71-2) and Wulfstan also points to this three-fold structure of society in his Institute of Polity:

Ælc cynestol stent on þrim stapelum, þe fullice ariht stent; An is Oratores, And oder is Laboratores, And þridde is Belatores. Oratores syndon gebedmen þe Gode sculon þeowian and dæges and nihtes for ealne þeodscipe þingian georne. Laboratores sindon weorcmen, þe tilian sculon, þæs þe eal þeodscipe big sceal libban. Bellatores syndon wigmen, þe eard sculon werian wiglice mid wæpnum. On þisum þrim stapelum sceal ælc cynestol standan mid rihte.
(Jost, 1959, ll. 24-9, pp.55-6.)

The idea can be seen to have been popular throughout medieval society. Alfred the Great states in his translation of Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy (Keynes and Lapidge, 1983):

In the case of the king, the resources and tools with which to rule are that he have his land fully manned: he must have praying men, fighting men, and workingmen.
(p. 132, and p. 298, n. 6)

However, although one can point to similarities in other texts, they remain only that, and no clear ‘source’ can be found (see also D. Dubuisson, ‘L'Irlande et la Théorie Mediévale des ‘Trois Ordres’’, Revue de l'Histoire des Religions 188 (1975), pp. 35–63; G. Duby, The Three Orders: Feudal Society Imagined (London, 1980); M. R. Godden, ‘Money, Power, and Morality in Late Anglo-Saxon England’, ASE 19 (1990), pp. 41–66). The exploration of the discussion on ungesewenlican versus gesewenlican fynd (ll. 730-743) may reflect parallels in a sermon by Augustine (PL 39, col 1905), although not enough to be cited as direct source. Similarly, the incident concerning Julianus and Appollonius (ll. 744-56) can also be found in Rufinus's Historia Monachorum: De Appolonio (PL 21, col. 410ff.; for a new edition see E Schulz-Flugel, Historia Monachorum Sive de Vita Sanctorum Patrum (Berlin, 1990)), although there are not enough similarities to indicate that this was definitely used by Ælfric. The reference in ll. 759-61 is to the episode in the garden of Gethsemane during Christ’s Passion. In Matthew 22:51-2 it states:

Then Jesus saith to him: Put up again thy sword into its place: for all that take the sword shall perish with the sword.

Similar passages are to be found in Mark 14.47, and Luke 22.50. However, it is only in John 18.10 that Peter is actually named.

l. 757. sceolon:–In R the manuscript originally read ‘sceoldun’ with the ‘u’ then altered to an ‘a’.