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Anglo-Saxon England is a podcast looking at the history of Anglo-Saxon England, beginning with the end of Roman Britain and ending with the Norman Conquest. We will not only talk about the history but also the literature, culture, and historiography of the Anglo-Saxon period. This show strives to offer an accessible but scholarly rigorous overview that will appeal both to beginners and to experts.
 
The Wanderer. This is a podcast for Anglo-Saxon Heathenism. We will discuss subjects such as Yggdrasil, the world tree, the Anglo Saxon Runes, The people who were alive at the time when Heathenism was the only religion open to them, how the people worshipped their gods, and which gods were most popular to different sections of Anglo Saxon Society. This is a PayPal link if anyone wants to donate a dollar or a pound to help keep the podcast going. paypal.me/EnglishFightingArts
 
Do the Anglo-Saxons still have relevance? Do they really matter? I’d like to posit that they do, and in this podcast, we'll be hearing directly from the Anglo-Saxons themselves in order to better understand who these people were and how they viewed the world around them. Join me, as we read from Bede's Ecclesiastical History, Alfred's Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Beowulf, and more.
 
An audio book series following the fates of three young warriors. The 9th Century is growing old and the great Pagan host of the Vikings has conquered the Saxon lands. All except for the final kingdom: Wessex. In the fight that follows, who will emerge with their life, and who's cause will be just? A new episode will be released on 10.10.16
 
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Michael Lapidge called Aldhelm the first English ‘man of letters’ on account of his vast learning. Bede said of him that he was ‘most learned in every respect’ and that he was both a mast of style as well as possessing an unrivalled knowledge of both classical and patristic writings. Aldhelm’s writings set the standard for Anglo-Latin literature th…
 
In Anglo-Saxon mythology, Valhalla is a majestic, enormous hall located in Asgard, one of the Nine Realms. It is ruled over by the god Woden, and is the destination of the souls of warriors who die in battle, known as einherjar. The einherjar is chosen by Woden and his valkyries, who are female figures who decide who shall live and who shall die in…
 
It’s probably no exaggeration to say the Alfred the Great is one of the most, if not the most, famous Anglo-Saxon of them all. The only British monarch given the epithet ‘the Great’, the traditional account of his life is one of a scholar forced into the role of a war leader who defied the odds to save and unite not just his people, but all the Eng…
 
Much like the Advent Lyrics, the second Christ poem, which I will refer to as ‘The Ascension’ is focused on another key moment from the Christian story; the ascension of Christ 40 days after the Crucifixion. The poem is one of four written by the mysterious poet Cynewulf who drew on a wide array of scriptural and extra-biblical sources in the creat…
 
Founded by nut the great, the Danish ruler of England in the early 11th century, the Huscarls were modelled upon the Joms Vikings although new research has found that the Joms Vikings weren't as disciplined as was thought, and the Saga was probably embellished. Cnut established them as a permanent body of professional warriors, They were 3000 stron…
 
Æthelwulf’s will attests to his desire that upon his death Wessex would pass into the hands of his sons. This desire was fulfilled when his eldest surviving son Æthelbald became king following his father’s death in 858. The years that passed between this accession and the rise of the youngest son, Alfred, to the throne in 871 would see a complex de…
 
Apart from high policy and legislation, the business of government lay with the local authority, and the local authority was the local assembly of freemen. The local unit was the tun or township, the village, the group of households whose members occupied the surrounding land and settled such of their affairs - as a required settlement in the town'…
 
Saxnot also appears in the Old Saxon Baptismal Vow of the 9th century alongside Woden and Thunear. "I renounce all the deeds and words of the devil, Thunear, Wōden and Saxnōt, and all those fiends that are their companions." Based on the date of the Baptismal Vow it appears that Saxnot remained an important deity to the Saxons.…
 
Æthelwulf, father of Alfred the Great, was perhaps the most innovative king Wessex had seen since the reign of Ine. Although he would dedicate much of his reign to securing the throne, through the dual impact of intense Viking raiding and personal hubris his experiment would finally explode in his face casting a permanent shadow on his legacy but a…
 
In 786 King Cynewulf was murdered throwing Wessex into disorder. In the midst of the feuding that followed King Offa of Mercia moved in to secure the West Saxons’ passivity by elevating a puppet to the throne. He did this in the form of his son-in-law Beorhtric. This manoeuvre did not go unchallenged, though, and Beorhtric faced opposition from at …
 
The Theft of Mjolnir Thor's Hammer Of all the strange Norse tales that survived, the theft of Mjolnir Thor's hammer must be the funniest and somehow awkward. Many questions might come to mind, like who dared to steal Mjolnir or how Thor retrieved Mjolnir back. This blog post on BaviPower would retell the story in the most concise way. One day, Thor…
 
What is Old English poetry? How does it work? In this unlocked bonus episode I walk you through the ways that Anglo-Saxon poets created their work and how this distinctively English art form worked. For more of these cultural bonus episodes go to the shows Patreon page: https://www.patreon.com/anglosaxonengland Credits – Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmu…
 
Following Ine’s abdication in 726, the rest of the eighth century was a time of uncertainty for Wessex. It is a period that is not well served by the primary evidence, and we don’t really get detailed accounts of the kingdom’s history again until the rise of Ecgberht in 802. It is a period in which Wessex was often threatened by the ascendant power…
 
This week, I conclude my look at the form of Christianity that came to be practiced in England across the Anglo-Saxon period. In this episode I look at beliefs about death, the afterlife, and the end of the world. https://www.patreon.com/posts/anglo-saxon-part-74741793?utm_medium=clipboard_copy&utm_source=copyLink&utm_campaign=postshare_creator Lea…
 
In this episode I interview author and historical reenactor John Fletcher about his book 'The Western Kingdom: The Birth of Cornwall'. It's an accessible and fascinating history of Cornwall in the early middle ages and well worth picking up if you are at all interested in the history of south-western Britain or in Cornwall since it really dives int…
 
This week, I begin a two part wrap up of our look at the major themes of Old English literature by looking at the form of Christianity that came to be practiced in England across the Anglo-Saxon period. This and the next episode are actually recordings of two chapters from my PhD thesis which aimed to provide an overview of the theology and practic…
 
The Fortification of Asgard A certain smith arrived at Asgard one day and offered to build the gods a high wall around their home to protect them from any who might wish them ill. The smith (certainly a giant himself) said he could complete his work in a mere three seasons, but demanded a steep compensation: the hand of the goddess Freya in marriag…
 
Of all the kings of Wessex prior to the reign of King Alfred, Ine is the one with probably the greatest reputation. This rests mostly on the respect afforded to his law code by King Alfred in the preface to his own collection of legal rulings. There Alfred explicitly set himself in a tradition following from Moses and Ine in making laws for his peo…
 
Upon the abdication of Centwine in 685 the Gewisse were thrown into chaos. From the forests on their eastern frontier came news of an exiled noble massing an army to press his claim to the throne. He had already cut his teeth on the South Saxons by driving out their king and facing a revolt by his nobles, but now he was looking to return home to se…
 
The Anglo-Saxons prised wisdom. It permeated every aspect of their culture and they created an elaborate literature of wisdom meant to convey both profound truths and practical knowledge. In this bonus episode we take an overview of Old English wisdom literature; its characteristics and subjects, and we also talk a bit about gnomes. Learn more at P…
 
The period between Cynegil’s baptism in 636 and the rise of Cædwalla in 685 is one in which the political history of the Gewisse becomes extremely complicated. This is because the political structure of the Gewisse that had developed by this time was one in which any male heir of Cerdic was entitled to claim the throne. Thus while the Anglo-Saxon C…
 
Ragnar Lodbrok(Old Norse Ragnarr Loðbrók, also anglicized as Ragnar Lodbrok), whose epithet means 'Hairy-breeches' or 'Shaggy-breeches', was a legendary Viking king, with Old Norse sagas, poetry, and medieval Latin sources telling of his accomplishments in Scandinavia, Francia, and Anglo-Saxon England during the 9th century CE. Commonly occurring e…
 
'Heroic’ isn’t a term the Anglo-Saxons used, rather it refers to a general type of poetry dealing with heroes, men who live by a code and put their lives at risk upholding said code while performing marvellous deeds. The heroic ethos in Old English literature is not just one thig, rather it’s a collection of related ideas and tendencies that togeth…
 
Our first secure historical date for the people who became the West Saxons occurred at some point in the 630s when a missionary called Birinus baptised their king, Cynegils, at his royal palace near Dorchester on Thames. According to traditions which circulated among later generations of West Saxons they already had a century of history prior to th…
 
Now available on Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/anglosaxonengland) Old English poetry can be grim, but why? And is it as grim as it seems? In this second bonus episode I consider why so much Old English poetry is focused on death and loss and look at the deeper cultural tendencies that shaped the Anglo-Saxon's attitudes to life and joy. Learn mor…
 
Following the Battle of Ellendun, Mercia entered an uncertain new phase in its history. No longer the supreme power in England, it was forced to regroup and rebuild amid dynastic strife and encroaching threats from without. It would survive for only a further half century after Beornwulf's death, but rather than being solely a time of decline, that…
 
The pub name “The Green Man,” then, seems to have originated in the 17th century and to have referred in its earliest forms to the leaf-covered Green Man common in 16th-century pageantry. As we've seen, Lady Raglan was drawing on this tradition when she named the foliate head “Green Man.” Glance upwards as you approach or enter many of Britain’s gr…
 
The Mercian Supremacy collapsed within just five years of Coenwulf's death, a dramatic reversal of fortune. Why did this happen and what role did the political instability which gripped Mercia at this time play in the course of events? This episode, follow me as we look at how something as successful as Mercia could come crashing down in such a sho…
 
In this episode we look at the reign of the last king of the Mercian Supremacy: Coenwulf. We look at how he rebuilt a fractured Mercian dominion in the wake of Offa's death, how he struggled to incorporate the Church into his overlordship, and how a 10th C legend about his son's death was used to explain the whole collapse of the Mercian supremacy …
 
Tamworth in Staffordshire proudly announces it's history as 'capital of the kingdom of Mercia' to all who visit. In this episode we look at the history of the town and how it's origins as a major royal site rest decisively with King Offa, who cemented its place in history as the heart of Mercia. Credits – Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening http…
 
Reasonable Force A person may use such force as is reasonable in the circumstances for the purposes of (in the alternative): - self-defence; defence of another; defence of property; prevention of crime; lawful arrest. In assessing the reasonableness of the force used, prosecutors should ask two questions: was the use of force necessary in the circu…
 
Offa of Mercia is one of the great figures of Anglo-Saxon history. Casually known in English textbooks, his true greatness is often only alluded to. He was a great visionary king who aspired to remake the political system of Mercia, to centralise it, and even to found an empire in Britain. Credits – Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdening https://ww…
 
Athelbald of Mercia was yet another Anglo-Saxon king to return from exile and rejuvenate a stagnating kingdom. More than any king we've discussed so far, he fundamentally altered the way politics in his kingdom worked through daring use of royal power to cement the position of the king of Mercia as a legal warrior diplomat at the head of an economi…
 
After Penda's death in 655, Mercia faced a grim future. Cowed by a dominant Northumbria and ruled by a puppet king there seemed to be little hope for the people of march. But, in the shadows, nobles plotted with Penda's second-born. The puppet was killed and when Oswiu's attention was elsewhere, they raised their banner in rebellion to expel the No…
 
Penda's career is one of the most dramatic in Anglo-Saxon history yet very little is known about him apart from what others tell us about him. In this episode I cut through the uncertainty to give you a glimpse of this man, what he accomplished, and how he not only helped forge a singular Mercian identity but also set the stage for future Mercian s…
 
A Choice of Anglo-Saxon Verse contains the Old English texts of all the major short poems, such as 'The Battle of Maldon', 'The Dream of the Rood', 'The Wanderer', and 'The Seafarer', as well as a generous representation of the many important fragments, riddles and gnomic verses that survive from the seventh to the twelfth centuries, with facing-pa…
 
Robin Hood was the legendary bandit of England who stole from the rich to help the poor. The stories about Robin appealed to common folk because he stood up against—and frequently outwitted—people in power. Furthermore, his life in the forest—hunting, and feasting with his fellow outlaws, coming to the assistance of those in need—seemed like a grea…
 
Mercia, the kingdom which grew out of the English Midlands, dominated England south of the Humber from the 620s until its final fall in the late 800s. It was a military and cultural powerhouse for much of that time, yet its origins are mysterious, even more mysterious than those of the other Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. In this episode, we begin our look …
 
The collapse of Northumbria in the ninth century was a result of long standing crises being compacted by the sudden arrival of a new threat the likes of which they could not have imagined. The memory of Northumbria would echo down the centuries, but as the smoke cleared a whole world had come to an end and the future seemed more ominous than ever. …
 
A 48‐line fragmentary poem in Old English dealing with part of the tragic tale of Finn and Hildeburh, a later part of which is sung by the scôp in Beowulf, II. 1,063–1,159. The fragment is included by F. Klaeber in his edition of Beowulf (1922, etc.) and in other editions. The fragment of the Finnsburh poem and the Finnsburh reference in Beowulf so…
 
Even as its glory days slipped into the past, Northumbria was still able to produce one last great mind who would have a profound impact on the rest of the world. Alcuin of York came from an obscure family but would go on to find success in the court of Emperor Charlemagne as one of his advisors and teachers. Here he would help formulate new standa…
 
This episode, ahead of the big episode on the Northumbrian collapse, we take a break from politics to look at one of the most important artefacts from Anglo-Saxon England: the Lindisfarne Gospels. It is my hope that this episode will give you a grounding in the history and features of this remarkable manuscript. I think you will agree that the deta…
 
After Osred's death in 716, Northumbria entered a period of political upheaval which eventually saw the emergence of a new dynasty to claim the throne. This family, descendants of Leodwald, quickly achieved prominence during a period of peaceful foreign relations and cultural dynamism. But just as quickly as they rose, equally quickly they fell bac…
 
This episode of the Wanderer has David Casserly as a guest. David Casserly was born and brought up in Bolton where he still lives. His first book "Massacre, The Storming of Bolton" published in 2011, came after a lifelong fascination with the subject and in learning the facts behind the story. He is a guest speaker for Blackpool and Fylde College o…
 
Mead was a very important part of a heathens civilization and culture. It helps define their leisure time and identity as a people and thus gets a prominent role in their stories and myths. Mead is no different from the Northern peoples during the Viking age. So important, in fact, that they use the drink as essentially a metaphor for how the inspi…
 
This week we look at fallout of Nechtansmere and the end of Athelfrithing domination of Northumbrian politics. Ironically, this coincided with one of the more famous kings of the dynasty, famed for his wisdom and piety. But wisdom and piety cannot save a crumbling powerbase or end subjugation to external powers. Music: 'Wælheall' by Hrōðmund Wōdeni…
 
Woden was a war god, and he appeared in heroic literature as the protector of heroes; fallen warriors joined him in Valhalla. The wolf and the raven were dedicated to him. His magical horse, Sleipnir had eight legs, teeth inscribed with runes, and the ability to gallop through the air and over the sea. Woden was the great magician among the gods an…
 
This episode is very short, but It is a fun episode that talks about the Teutonic Knights fighting the Undead, This article is presented as fact from the sources I read. It is clearly complete fantasy but it was a great read. Unfortunately, I can no longer find this information on the internet. But I hope you enjoy the episode.…
 
This episode is a short talk about the quarterstaff, it discusses some of the histories of the staff, and some of the people that used the staff as a weapon of defense. We go through a brief explanation of how the staff has progressed down through the ages to modern times. The name "quarterstaff" is first attested in the mid-16th century. George Si…
 
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