In Late Antique and Early Medieval Christian literature, the sin of gula is presented as “Adam’s vice”, door of vices and origin of all other sins. This idea is taken up again by Late Anglo-Saxon writers : Ælfric of Eynsham, Wulfstan archbishop of York, and other anonymous homilists, who wrote their sermons between the mid-10th and the early 11th centuries. What they have mainly done is to transfer to a lay audience, and in the vernacular, the ideas of their predecessors. But they have also developed a few original reflexions. The link between gula and lust (luxuria), which had been observed and affirmed for centuries, is no longer seen as purely genealogic, as it was exposed by the Fathers of the Church (even if this dimension does not disappear), nor is it explained in the broader context of medical and humour theories. It is included in a speech about galnes, an Old English word which could be translated by “immoderation” or even “misrule”. For them, gluttony, under its two main aspects, oferfyllo (literally “over-filling”) and druncenness (the meaning is here transparent), is a door to galnes, that is the absence of measure and rules. This interesting shift may be explained as an adaptation to specific social conditions of the Early Middle Ages at large, and of Anglo-Saxon England in particular.

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