Anglo-Saxon helmet

Sutton Hoo ship-burial helmet (early 7th century AD)

Courtesy British Museum


Old English, also known as Anglo-Saxon, was the West Germanic language spoken in England from the 5th to 11th centuries. Old English is closely related to other older West Germanic languages, such as Old Frisian, Old Saxon, and Old High German, and it shares Germanic ancestry with Old Norse and Gothic as well. As the language of the earliest recorded English, Old English survives in written form in medieval manuscripts and inscriptions from the Anglo-Saxon literary period (ca. 650-1066 AD). Old English texts preserve a variety of genres, including heroic poetry such as Beowulf, elegy, riddles, proverbs, homilies, translations of Latin works, and historical records such as the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicle

Subject Guide