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«Prayer to Ward against Vikings» [--][historical]


Probably the earliest surviving written example of prayer against Vikings*1 occurs on fol. 24 of the Antiphonary of Charles the Bald*2antiphonaire de Charles le chauve ») (third qtr. of 9th century [ca. 870]) of the Abbaye Saint-Corneille de Compiègne. It is now housed in the National Library (BnF), Ms. Latin 17436.

An antiphonary is a collection of choral music. And this piece too has musical notation above each "lyric." Thus this might be better referred to as a "chant" or plainsong than recited prayer.

—Else Rosenthal, David M. Wilson ed.,
From Viking to Crusader
Antiphonary of Charles the Bald *3

Summa pia gratia nostra conservando corpora et custodita, de gente fera Normannica nos libera, quæ nostra vastat, Deus, regna. Senum jugulat et juvenum ac virginium puerorum quoque catervam.
Repelle, precamur, cuncta a nobis mala. Converte rogamus, Domine supplices nos ad te rex gloriæ es qui vera pax, salus pia, spes et firma. Dona nobis pacem atque concordiam. Lagire nota spem integram, fidem simul veram, karitatem continuam concede nobis et perfectam. Sanctorum precibus nos adjuvemur ad hæc impetranda, de quorum passione g[r]atulamur modo gloriosa. Sit laus, pax et gloria Trinitati quam maxima cuncta per sæcula. Amen.
—transcription of the antiphonal*4
Pity [us] the highest favor by preserving and guarding our bodies, free us from the savage Norman tribe who devastates our realms.
They aged and young would have their throats slit, and maidens and lads too, and the multitudes also. Repel the evil from us, we altogether implore [thee]. Bring thee the ruling realm, we plead on our knees, to the king of glory, who pity us with true peace, soundness, hopes and strength. Give us peace and harmony. Bestow us unmitigated hope, genuine faith also; concede us continual charity and let completed be. Sanctify our prayers that we be availed in achieving this, that we be rejoiced in glorious measure. Praise be peace and glory, to the Trinity who [is] wholly most-magnificent for the people. Amen
—tr. mine.*4a, *4b




*1 Cf. Viking Answer Lady article on the "Origin of the phrase, "A furore Normannorum libera nos, Domine"

*2 Also "antiphonal" or "antiphoner".

*3 Else Rosenthal, David M. Wilson ed., From Viking to Crusader: The Scandinavians and Europe 800-1200 (New York, Rizzoli:1992.) p.80, cat. no. 351. The book provides numerous color photographs and descriptions of historical artifcats of the norsemen.

*4 Delisle, Léopold, 1826-1910. Litterature latine & histoire du moyen age (?) 1890, 17f; Latin transcription and commentary in French.

*4a Rosenthal & Wilson (op. cit.), quotes a small piece of the transcription (citing Delisle above) and provides this translation "Grant us freedom, Lord, from the wild Norman people who lay waste our realms.)

*4b The Viking Answer Lady (op. cit.) quotes a portion of the prayer found in Magnus Magnusson, Vikings! (New York: E.P. Dutton. 1980): "Our supreme and holy Grace, protecting us and ours, deliver us, God, from the savage race of Northmen which lays waste our realms."


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