Anglo-Saxon Chronicle


Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
an early history of England, written in Old English. It ends in the 12th century, but mostly covers the period from the time when the Romans came to Britain until the Norman Conquest in 1066.

* * *

      chronological account of events in Anglo-Saxon and Norman England, a compilation of seven surviving interrelated manuscript records that is the primary source for the early history of England. The narrative was first assembled in the reign of King Alfred (871–899) from materials that included some epitome of universal history: the Venerable Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum, genealogies, regnal and episcopal lists, a few northern annals, and probably some sets of earlier West Saxon annals. The compiler also had access to a set of Frankish annals for the late 9th century. Soon after the year 890 several manuscripts were being circulated; one was available to Asser in 893, another, which appears to have gone no further than that year, to the late 10th-century chronicler Aethelweard, while one version, which eventually reached the north and which is best represented by the surviving E version, stopped in 892. Some of the manuscripts circulated at this time were continued in various religious houses, sometimes with annals that occur in more than one manuscript, sometimes with local material, confined to one version. The fullness and quality of the entries vary at different periods; the Chronicle is a rather barren document for the mid-10th century and for the reign of Canute, for example, but it is an excellent authority for the reign of Aethelred the Unready and from the reign of Edward the Confessor until the version that was kept up longest ends with annal 1154.

      The Chronicle survived to the modern period in seven manuscripts (one of these being destroyed in the 18th century) and a fragment, which are generally known by letters of the alphabet. The oldest, the A version, formally known as C.C.C. Cant. 173 from the fact that it is at Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, is written in one hand up to 891 and then continued in various hands, approximately contemporary with the entries. It was at Winchester in the mid-10th century and may have been written there. It is the only source for the account of the later campaigns of King Edward the Elder. Little was added to this manuscript after 975, and in the 11th century it was removed to Christ Church, Canterbury, where various interpolations and alterations were made, some by the scribe of the F version. The manuscript G, formally known as Cotton Otho B xi (from the fact that it forms part of the Cotton collection of manuscripts at the British Museum), which was almost completely destroyed by fire in 1731, contained an 11th-century copy of A, before this was tampered with at Canterbury. Its text is known from a 16th-century transcript by L. Nowell and from Abraham Wheloc's edition (1644).

      The B version (Cott. Tib. A vi) and the C version (Cott. Tib. B i) are copies made at Abingdon from a lost archetype. B ends at 977, whereas C, which is an 11th-century copy, ends, mutilated, in 1066. Their lost original incorporated into the text in a block after annal 915 a set of annals (902–924) known as the Mercian Register.

      The D version (Cott. Tib. B iv) and the E version (kept at the Bodleian Library, Oxford, Laud Misc. 636) share many features, including the interpolation of much material of northern interest taken from Bede and from annals also used by Simeon of Durham; hence they are known as the “northern recension.” D has also dovetailed into its text the Mercian Register and contains a fair amount of northern material found in no other version. It is quite detailed in the English descent of Queen Margaret of Scotland. D, which is kept up until 1079, probably remained in the north, whereas the archetype of E was taken south and continued at St. Augustine's, Canterbury, and was used by the scribe of manuscript F.

      The extant manuscript E is a copy made at Peterborough, written in one stretch until 1121, and kept up there until the early part of 1155. It has several Peterborough interpolations in the earlier sections. It is the version that was continued longest, and it includes a famous account of the anarchy of Stephen's reign.

      The F version (Cott. Domit. A viii) is an abridgment, in both Old English and Latin, made in the late 11th or early 12th century, based on the archetype of E, but with some entries from A. It extends to 1058. Finally, the fragment H (Cott. Domit. A ix) deals with 1113–14 and is independent of E, the only other version to continue so late.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle — The Anglo Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo Saxons. The annals were created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great. Multiple manuscript copies… …   Wikipedia

  • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle — Chronique anglo saxonne La première page de la Chronique de Peterborough. La Chronique anglo saxonne (Anglo Saxon Chronicle) est un ensemble d annales en vieil anglais relatant l histoire des Anglo Saxons. Elles datent de la fin du …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle —    The term Anglo Saxon Chronicle refers not to a single text but to a group of anonymous texts written in OLD ENGLISH prose compiled at various places around England and all deriving ultimately from an original core text. The Chronicle is the… …   Encyclopedia of medieval literature

  • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle —    The most important source for the history of Anglo Saxon England, especially for the period from the mid ninth century until the fall of the Anglo Saxons to William the Conqueror in 1066, the Anglo Saxon Chronicle also provides useful… …   Encyclopedia of Barbarian Europe

  • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle — Die Anglo Saxon Chronicle oder Angelsächsische Chronik ist eine Sammlung von Annalen aus dem angelsächsischen England. Die Einträge wurden ab dem Ende des 9. Jahrhunderts regelmäßig aufgezeichnet und an einigen Stellen sogar über die normannische …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • (the) Anglo-Saxon Chronicle — The Anglo Saxon Chronicle [The Anglo Saxon Chronicle] an early history of England, written in ↑Old English. It ends in the 12th century, but mostly covers the period from the time when the Romans came to Britain until the ↑Norman Conquest in 1066 …   Useful english dictionary

  • Anglo-Saxon literature — (or Old English literature) encompasses literature written in Anglo Saxon (Old English) during the 600 year Anglo Saxon period of England, from the mid 5th century to the Norman Conquest of 1066. These works include genres such as epic poetry,… …   Wikipedia

  • Anglo-Saxon Charters — are documents from the early medieval period in Britain which typically make a grant of land or record a privilege. They are usually written on parchment, in Latin but often with sections in the vernacular, describing the bounds of estates, which …   Wikipedia

  • Anglo-Saxon architecture — was a period in the history of architecture in England, and parts of Wales, from the mid 5th century until the Norman Conquest of 1066.Anglo Saxon buildings in Britain were generally simple, constructed mainly using timber with thatch for roofing …   Wikipedia

  • Anglo-Saxon paganism — refers to the Migration Period religion practiced by the English in 5th to 7th century England. As such it is a form of Germanic paganism. Anglo Saxon paganism was a polytheistic religion, revolving around a pantheon centred on the god Woden. Due …   Wikipedia


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.