Key terms for Old English


Old English / Anglo-Saxon
wynn, thorn, eth, ash
long vowel
i-mutation (umlaut)
short syllable, long syllable
nominative, accusative, genitive, dative, instrumental
strong and weak verbs
grammatical gender, natural gender
parataxis vs. hypotaxis

449, traditional date for the arrival of Hengest and Horsa, the first Anglo-Saxon invaders/settlers of Celtic Britain
ca. 675 Caedmon
ca. 8th C, creation of Beowulf
735 death of Bede
793 Sacking of Lindisfarne
849-899 King Alfred
10th C, Benedictine revivial
ca. 1000, Beowulf manuscript copied
1066 Norman Conquest

 What does Old English poetry sound like? W.W. Norton provides audio links to readings of eight Old English poems. In addition you'll find recordings of Seamus Heaney reading from his translation of Beowulf.

Readings of Old English Poems Scroll to the bottom of the page.