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Prognostics defined

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Chapter Summary

This chapter defines the genre of prognostics as "a codified means of predicting events in the life-time of an individual or identifiable group of individuals, using observation of signs and times, or mantic divination". Prognostics are found in a number of different manuscript contexts. The structure of prognostics is threefold and consists of: the thing to be observed; the (sometimes implicit) subject of the query; and outcome of the query. In the publication history of Old English texts, prognostics have enjoyed a relatively brief vogue. The chapter traces the publication history of the prognostics in chronological order. The first edition ever of some Anglo-Saxon prognostics is unique in that it provides an unparalleled, in-depth analysis of medieval folkloric customs and all manner of medieval feast days.

Keywords: Anglo-Saxon manuscripts; Anglo-Saxon prognostics; medieval folkloric customs; Old English texts



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