Dream of the Rood

Ranked #170 on the list Best Poem of All Time

6.50
Based on 2 votes

About Dream of the Rood

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The Dream of the Rood is one of the earliest Christian poems in the corpus of Old English literature and an example of the genre of dream poetry. Like most Old English poetry, it is written in alliterative verse. Rood is from the Old English word rod 'pole', or more specifically 'crucifix'. Preserved in the 10th century Vercelli Book, the poem may be considerably older, even one of the oldest works of Old English literature. There are sections from “The Dream of the Rood” that are found on the Ruthwell Cross that dates back to the 8th century. It was an 18 foot, free standing, Anglo-Saxon Cross, perhaps intended as a "conversion tool". At each side of the vine-tracery the runes are carved. On the cross there is an excerpt that was written in runes along with scenes of Jesus healing the blind, the annunciation, and the story of Egypt. Although it was torn down and destroyed during initial Protestant revolt, it was reconstructed as much as possible after the fear of iconography passed. Fortunately during that time of religious unrest, those words that were in the runes were still protected in the Vercelli Book, so called because the book is kept in Vercelli, Italy. The Vercelli Book

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