Social Organization in Anglo-Saxon England

If we are to give a broad outline of the modes of social organization seen in Anglo-Saxon England, then we may make the following claims.                 Around the fifth century, territories were often defined in terms of tribal settlements. An honor system of avenging death, in this pre-imperialist age, had taken the place of economic relationships…Read more »

Medieval Literature: A Very Short Introduction (A Review)

What do we think of when we think of medieval literature? Probably texts which are dry and filled with moral and religious platitudes; maybe though we will think of Arthurian literature, however, and be filled with a bit more enthusiasm for adventure and courtly love. No matter what we view of medieval literature, however, there…Read more »

Anglo-Saxon Poetry

Anglo-Saxon poetry is an interesting affair. Since it existed before the time of many different articulations of the poetic scheme, Anglo-Saxon rhyming was bare bones compared to today. Poetry written by the Anglo-Saxons utilized alliterative schema; this means that each line of a poem had four stressed syllables with a “wild” sound inserted somewhere in-between…Read more »

A Literal Translation of an Old English Passage

Today, we will examine the nuance of an Old English passage. Deconstructing some aspects of the passage before translating the vocabulary words, this post hopes to give readers some insight into some of the hassles Old English presents when attempting to learn the ins and outs of the language. The following selection is taken from…Read more »

Ohthere’s Voyage to the White Sea & Wulfstan’s Visit to Estonia

Both of these short extracts are simple travel narratives. They do not pretend to be epic meditations on the human condition nor do they recount epic legends; rather, they are but the record of two gentlemen—the former a Norwegian, the latter perhaps another Norwegian or maybe an Englishman— who traveled abroad in order to discover…Read more »

“I Saw a Strange Creature” or, Thirty-one Riddles

I’m going, to be honest, and say that I was never a big fan of riddles. Whether they be modern brain-teasers or Anglo-Saxon poems, riddles simply never held my attention. Why relates to simply how my mind works—it is skilled in abstracting reality but not piecing an abstraction back together (almost ironic). So I tend…Read more »