2024 Paul E. Szarmach Prize Awarded article published in Viator 53/2

J-Michel Reaux Colvin's article Scoticitas: Reframing 'Scotus' in Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages (Viator 53, no. 2) was awarded with the 2024 Paul E. Szarmach Prize (Richard Rawlinson Center at Western Michigan University). The Prize, instituted by the International Advisory Board of the center in 2017, honored and since 2021 memorializes Szarmach for his role in the early development of the center, both as director of WMU’s Medieval Institute and on the center’s board.

This article is now available in free access until 30/06/2024 
on the BrepolsOnline platform.

Early medieval ethnic thinkers inherited a conceptual palette from their classical and late antique forebears. This inheritance included an essentially derogatory estimation of Ireland as an extreme place at the extremity of the known world and the Irish as thoroughgoing barbarians. Coupled with the persistence of this estimation of alterity was lexical innovation—especially in the realm of ethnonyms. The word “Scotus,” a Late Latin coinage of the fourth century CE, initially conveyed forward the semantic field previously established to refer to the “Otherness” of the Irish. Owing to “autoethnographic” reappraisals undertaken by the Scoti themselves and, consequentially, the “cultural brokerage” of Bede in his Historia ecclesiastica, Continental ecclesiastics grew to reassess these Scoti and to valorize them. So complete was this valorization that the word “Scotus” became uncoupled from its ethnonymic work as historians and hagiographers began to apply the word vocationally. In this sense, a Scotus was an itinerant, avowed, encloistered ecclesiastic abroad

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