Exhibition Shows 80% of All Surviving Old English Verse Together for First Time in History

The Daily Times reports that “something like 80 percent of all surviving Old English verse survives in four physical books, and for the first time in recorded history they are all together.”

An exhibition in British Library in London, displays an “array of documents, books and archaeological evidence to form a dense picture of the Anglo-Saxon period, including a burial urn with runic inscriptions in early English from Loveden Hill, Lincolnshire, England.”

Medieval historian Mary Wellesley told BBC Culture that “the period that is represented by Old English is about 600 years, which is like between us and back to Chaucer. Imagine if there were only four physical books that survived from that period, what would that say about our literature?”


Image Via BBC (Credit: The Trustees of the British Museum)


Modern English has its roots in 5th-Century Germany, “from where the Anglian, Saxon and Jute tribes came.” When the Roman legions withdrew around 410AD, the Saxon war bands landed and an era of migration from the Continent and the formation of Anglo-Saxon England began.” The word ‘English’ derives from “the homeland of the Angles, the Anglian peninsula in Germany.”

Early English used the runic alphabet, and was closely related Germanic languages “such as Old Norse, Old Saxon and Old High German.”


Image Via BBC (Credit: British Library Board)


If you want to know more information about this, I suggest you check out the article written by BBC.


Featured Image Via BBC.com (Credit: Reproduced courtesy of the Chapter, Canterbury Cathedral)