Anglo saxon dating
Much of the information given in the Chronicle is not recorded elsewhere.
In addition, the manuscripts are important sources for the history of the English language; in particular, the later Peterborough text is one of the earliest examples of Middle English in existence.
Almost all of the material in the Chronicle is in the form of annals, by year; the earliest are dated at 60 BC (the annals' date for Caesar's invasions of Britain), and historical material follows up to the year in which the chronicle was written, at which point contemporary records begin.
These manuscripts collectively are known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle.
Variously viewed as a moral poem about how to face up to your own fate, a wholly religious poem, and as a great secular poem, ‘The Seafarer’ is a fine and accessible example of Anglo-Saxon poetry.
Ezra Pound produced a loose translation of the poem in the early twentieth century, but we’ve linked to a parallel text version above, with the original Anglo-Saxon included on the left and a modern English translation on the right. Like the riddles above, this poem was preserved thanks to the , when he jotted it down in Latin translation in one of his books.
The earliest extant manuscript, the Parker Chronicle, was written by a single scribe up to the year 891.
Here’s a riddle for you: what hangs down by the thigh of a man, under his cloak, yet is stiff and hard? This is one of a number of riddles found in the , one of the jewels in the crown of Anglo-Saxon literature. At just 53 lines, this is one of the shortest works of Anglo-Saxon literature included in this list.
When the man pulls up his robe, he puts the head of this hanging thing into that familiar hole of matching length which he has filled many times before. It’s a cry of despair and grief, told from the perspective of a wife whose husband has been exiled.
The poem also features the rather useful Anglo-Saxon word , the story of St George and the dragon, and even Lewis Carroll’s ‘Jabberwocky’.
It chronicles the hero’s exploits, notably his slaying of the monster Grendel – actually only the first of three monsters Beowulf has to vanquish.