Latin in Medieval Britain - Sources, Language, and Lexicography

Vita S. Kenelmi

Lives and miracles of saints, especially local saints, were a popular devotional genre. The Vita S. Kenelmi (Life of St. Kenelm) concerns Kenelm, allegedly the seven-year-old heir of Coenwulf, king of Mercia, murdered by his ambitious sister Cwoenthryth. There was a cult based round his tomb at Winchcombe Abbey (Gloucestershire), and this twelfth-century manuscript was probably written there.

The DMLBS’s only example of the word ‘rebellatrix’, which we define as ‘rebellious, insubordinate (applied to a female person or feminine noun)’, is found here (four lines from the top). Here it is an adjective, but interestingly, the masculine form, ‘rebellator’, appears only as a noun, and in much later sources.

The image is from Oxford, Bodleian Library, MS Douce 368 f. 80v (image © Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford)

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12 century manuscript

DMLBS slip for 'rebellatrix'

DMLBS entry for 'rebellatrix'

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