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Anglo-Saxon England

A Guide to Online Resources

Section Editor: Brad Bedingfield, Tokyo Metropolitan University


by Stuart Lee, Oxford University Computing Services

This section of the On-Line Reference Book for Medieval Studies concentrates on the period of English history dating from the mid-fifth century to the mid-eleventh century. As with all dating in the medieval period these chronological boundaries are open to question. The starting date represents the beginning of the Anglo-Saxon invasions, i.e. the invasion/migration of the tribes termed the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes from the northern part of modern Germany to the island of Britain. Similarly, the end-date of the mid-eleventh century centres on the Battle of Hastings (14th October, 1066) which saw the defeat of Harold Godwineson, the last Saxon king, at the hands of William the Conqueror thus transferring control of England to the Normans. Yet this simple cut-off date blurs historical reality. Although Saxon resistance to the Normans post-Hastings was ineffectual, their language did survive developing (influenced, of course, by Norman French) into Middle English (the language of Chaucer).

Despite the questions arising about the beginning and end of the Anglo-Saxon period there are some certainties which can be asserted. First, this was the period in which England developed a national identity, emerging from the early fragmented kingdoms of the invading Germanic tribes to a unified nation (initially under Athelstan in the early part of the tenth-century) and, at times, a singular head of state (e.g. Edgar, Canute, Edward, Harold). Second, this was the first period in which the English language appears in written form in such historical documents as The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle , or literary works such as Beowulf. This period of the English language is referred to as Old English (or occasionally Anglo-Saxon). Recorded in manuscripts from the later part of the period, most students will encounter the form of Old English known as Late West Saxon - a standardised version of Old English appearing in the tenth century under the learning program instigated by the dominant kingdom of Wessex. However, it should be noted that dialectal variations do appear and students should be prepared for some unfamiliar spellings.

This section will offer a series of resources to the student and teacher of Old English. If you have any comments/additions/or material you would like to submit please contact the editor, bbedingfield@yahoo.com.

Preliminary Outline for this Section:

·  ORB Encyclopedia--Original Essays


·         John Houghton's Bede Index



Note:  The following resources are external links, and should be used with caution.  External links have not undergone ORB editorial review.  Please read the ORB Disclaimer regarding external links.


           ·  Featured Site


     ·    Apocalyptic Ideas in Old English Literature, by Carolin Esser.

Deals with manifestations of theological and poetic explorations of the apocalypse in Latin and Old English sources.  Includes a rich body of contextual material.


·  Primary Sources--Electronic editions, online texts, contextual material


·         Electronic Editions

o        Aelfric's Homilies on Judith, Esther, and The Maccabees, ed. Stuart Lee.

o        Anglo-Saxon Charters on the World Wide Web

o        The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, by Tony Jebson

o        An Anglo-Saxon Glossary (11th-century), electronic edition by David W. Porter.

o        Beowulf on Steorarume, edited by Benjamin Slade (includes contextual material, Glossary, and links to audio readings)

o        The Paris Prose Psalter, Latin and Old English, edited by Richard Stracke.

o        The Seafarer , electronic edition by Corey Owen (see also Ezra Pound's The Seafarer).

o        E-Sermo Lupi, electronic edition by Melissa J. Bernstein.

o        The Voyage of Ohthere, edited by Grant Chevallier.

o        Wulf and Eadwacer, edited by Michael Donald Livingston.

o        Wulfstan's Eschatological Homilies, electronic edition by Joyce Tally Lionarons.

o        The Wanderer, e-Edition by Tim Romano.

·         The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, from the Labyrinth Library.

·         The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, translation for Brittania History.

·         Apollonius of Tyre: A Hypertext Edition, by Catherine N. Ball (Old English, with translation).

·         The Battle of Brunanburgh, text, translation, and contextual information, by Tom Kinsella.

·         Guide to The Electronic Beowulf, by Kevin Kiernan (online supplement to the CDRom e-edition).

·         OE Bede, story of Caedmon

·         Bede’s Account of the Poet Caedmon, with Glossary

·         Beowulf for the Palm Pilot

·         Preface to Genesis, Aelfric

·         Rood and Ruthwell:  The Poem and the Cross, by Alex Bruce.

·         The Battle of Maldon, trans. with map and pictures

·         The Lord's Prayer in Old English, text, translation, and readings (.wav files) by Cathy Ball.

·         Preface to the Pastoral Care, Alfred

·         Psalm 23 -- Old English Glosses, table by Juris D. Lidaka.

·         The Wife's Lament, trans. Henry Ahrens (Old English, translation, bibliography).

·         Anglo-Saxon Charms, translated by Karen Jolly.

·         Introduction to Old English Texts and Translations. An excellent guide has been provided by Cathy Ball in her Old English pages. Regularly updated.

·         The Oxford Text Archive

·         Labyrinth Library: Old English Literature - part of Georgetown University's extensive Labyrinth project. Includes the poetry from the ASPR.

·         The MLA's Guide to Electronic Editions


·  Bibliographies

·         Anglo-Saxon History: A Select Bibliography, by Simon Keynes (updated to 1998).

·         Anglo-Saxon Studies, (3rd edition) by Carole Biggam, Universities of Strathclyde and Glasgow.

·         Beowulf Bibliography, 1979-1994, provided by Bob Hasenfratz.

·         Beowulf:  A Student’s Bibliography (Annotated), by Martin Irvine.

·         A Bibliography of Germanic Alliterative Meters, compiled by Kari Ellen Gade and R. D. Fulk, Subsidia 28, Old English Newsletter

·         Old English Language and Literature:  A Select Bibliography (at the University of Virginia)

·         Janet Bately's "Anonymous Old English Homilies: A Preliminary Bibliography of Source Studies."

·         A Bibliography of The Battle of Maldon, by Wendy E. J. Collier

·         Bibliography on Anglo-Saxonists (16c-20c), by Carl T. Berkhout

·         Pre-Modern English Bibliography (Lowlands-L)


·  Resources for Teaching

·         Bede Net

·         Old English at the ORB

·         The Labyrinth:  Pedagogical Resources (on-line courses and syllabi).

·         Teachers of Old English in Britain and Ireland


·         On-line Teaching

o        Old English:  An Introductory Course, by Murray McGillivray, University of Calgary.  From the ORB Testbook Library.

o        Old English at the University of Virginia, Professor Peter S. Baker (includes Old English Aerobics).

o        Bright's Old English Glossary

o        Hwæt! Old English in Context, Professor Catherine N. Ball.

o        Learning Old English, by Tony Jebson.

o        Old English Lessons (Brown University)

o        Old English Paradigms, by Harry Smith (see also his Palm Pilot tools)

o        Readings of Old English Poetry, from Ða Engliscan Gesiþas (needs RealAudio/RealPlayer).


·         Works of art

o        Early Manuscripts at Oxford University, digital facsimiles, includes several Anglo-Saxon MSS.

o        The Alfred Jewel

o        The Alfred Jewel (from several angles)

o        Images of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts

o        The Bayeux Tapestry , digital edition by Martin Foys (password needed)


·         Maps

o        Map of Anglo-Saxon England

o        Map of the Anglo-Saxon Heptarchy

o        A Map of Alfred's Kingdom

o        Brittania's Historical Maps of Anglo-Saxon England

o        The Dialects of Old English

o        Cottonian World Map

o        Maps of Medieval Britain


·  Related Websites


            ·  Apocalyptic Ideas in Old English Literature, by Carolin Esser.  Deals with  

                manifestations of theological and poetic explorations of the apocalypse in

                Latin and Old English sources.  Includes a rich body of contextual material.

·  The Labyrinth

·  Cathy Ball's Old English Pages

·  Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England (PASE)

·  The Cross in Anglo-Saxon England Project

·  The Early Medieval Corpus of Coin Finds in the British Isles, 410-1180

·  The Voice of the Shuttle (Anglo-Saxon and Medieval)

·  The Anglo-Saxons, Brown University

·  Anglo-Saxon Links, for The Heroic Age

·  Dan Mosser's WWW Medieval Resources

·  Links to Medieval Language Resources (Edwin Duncan)

·  Anglo-Saxon Archaeology Links

·  Life of St Wilfrid by Edmer

·  Old English Bible

·  The Vercelli Book Project

·  History of the English Language pages (Dan Mosser)

·  Alfred the Great pictures from his millenary celebration.

·  The Gregorian Chant Home Page

·  Bodleian Library's Projects of Digitising Manuscripts (mainly Middle English and Celtic)

·  Cottam: Anglian and Anglo-Scandinavian Settlement (Reports)

·  Anglo-Saxon Derbyshire:  Site Database

·  Old English Tools for the Palm Pilot (Dictionary and Paradigms)

·  Old English Journals and Articles

·  Fontes Anglo-Saxonici

                        ·  Sources of Anglo-Saxon Literary Culture

·  The Directory of Individual Liturgical Sources (Sarah Larratt Keefer)

·  Introduction to Academic Discussion Groups (Edwin Duncan)

  • Old English Societies


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