Rethinking the pillar of Eliseg

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Rethinking the pillar of Eliseg. / Edwards, Nancy.

In: Antiquaries Journal, Vol. 89, 22.05.2009, p. 143-177.

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Edwards, Nancy. / Rethinking the pillar of Eliseg. In: Antiquaries Journal. 2009 ; Vol. 89. pp. 143-177.

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TY - JOUR

T1 - Rethinking the pillar of Eliseg

AU - Edwards, Nancy

PY - 2009/5/22

Y1 - 2009/5/22

N2 - The Pillar of Eliseg, originally an ambitious round-shafted cross, stands on a barrow near the Cistercian abbey of Valle Crucis. It was carved with a lengthy inscription, now illegible, but transcribed in 1696 by Edward Lhuyd. Two copies have survived, enabling a reconsideration of the significance of the inscription. This article reassesses the history of the monument, its archaeological context, form and function. The inscription shows that the cross was erected by Concenn, ruler of Powys (d ad 854), to honour his great-grandfather, Eliseg, who had expelled the Anglo-Saxons from this part of Powys. The inscription also links the rulers of Powys with the Roman usurper Magnus Maximus and the sub-Roman ruler Guarthigirn. It is argued that the inscription was intended to be read out loud and that the monument was an important piece of public propaganda erected at a time when the kingdom of Powys was severely under threat.

AB - The Pillar of Eliseg, originally an ambitious round-shafted cross, stands on a barrow near the Cistercian abbey of Valle Crucis. It was carved with a lengthy inscription, now illegible, but transcribed in 1696 by Edward Lhuyd. Two copies have survived, enabling a reconsideration of the significance of the inscription. This article reassesses the history of the monument, its archaeological context, form and function. The inscription shows that the cross was erected by Concenn, ruler of Powys (d ad 854), to honour his great-grandfather, Eliseg, who had expelled the Anglo-Saxons from this part of Powys. The inscription also links the rulers of Powys with the Roman usurper Magnus Maximus and the sub-Roman ruler Guarthigirn. It is argued that the inscription was intended to be read out loud and that the monument was an important piece of public propaganda erected at a time when the kingdom of Powys was severely under threat.

U2 - 10.1017/S0003581509000018

DO - 10.1017/S0003581509000018

M3 - Article

VL - 89

SP - 143

EP - 177

JO - Antiquaries Journal

JF - Antiquaries Journal

SN - 0003-5815

ER -