[Daily article] January 2: English Benedictine Reform

The English Benedictine Reform in the late tenth century was the most
important religious and intellectual movement in the later Anglo-Saxon
period. The reformers sought to replace married secular clergy in
monasteries with celibate contemplative monks who followed the Rule of
Saint Benedict. The court of Æthelstan (924–39), the first king of
the whole of England, began a cosmopolitan trend; future reformers such
as Æthelwold of Winchester, Oswald of Worcester, and Dunstan,
Archbishop of Canterbury, learned from Continental exponents of
Benedictine monasticism. The reformers had close relations with the
crown, furthering its interests and depending on its support, especially
under King Edgar (959–75). Influential artistic workshops established
by Æthelwold reached a high standard of craftsmanship in manuscript
illustration, sculpture and gold and silver, and his monasteries
produced scholarship and competent prose and poetry in the elaborate
hermeneutic style of Latin. His Winchester school helped create the
standard vernacular West Saxon literary language, and his pupil Ælfric
was its most eminent writer.

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Today’s selected anniversaries:


American Revolutionary War: American forces under the command
of George Washington repulsed a British attack at the Battle of the
Assunpink Creek near Trenton, New Jersey.


Second World War: Llandaff Cathedral in Cardiff, Wales, was
severely damaged by German bombing during the Cardiff Blitz.


Vietnam War: The Viet Cong won its first major victory in the
Battle of Ap Bac.


The Gale of January 1976 began, which resulted in coastal
flooding around the southern North Sea coasts, leading to at least 82
deaths and US$1.3 billion in damage.


Sharon Pratt Dixon was sworn in as mayor of Washington, D.C.,
thus becoming the first African American woman to lead a major American

Wiktionary’s word of the day:

(US) A Norwegian style of stylized floral decoration with scrollwork and
geometric elements.

Wikiquote quote of the day:

  The saddest aspect of life right now is that science gathers
knowledge faster than society gathers wisdom.  
–Isaac Asimov

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