Episode 47: The Man Who Saved English

King Alfred is the only English monarch to be known as “the Great.” His struggles and ultimate victory over the Danes ensured the survival of the Anglo-Saxon culture and the English language.  In this episode, we explore the life of King Alfred and the historical events which led to the defeat of the Danes in Wessex.  We also explore the history of certain words related to topography.

Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

Map Prepared by Louis Henwood (Click Map for Larger Image)

7 thoughts on “Episode 47: The Man Who Saved English

    • Yes, I enjoyed that series. Though the storyline was fiction, it was based around actual events. I’m looking forward to the second season/series.

  1. Hi Kevin. I’ve only just discovered your excellent podcasts and am enjoying them immensely.
    I would like to offer one correction, if I may. King Edmund of the East Angles was, according to legend, killed by the the Vikings who used him as arrow target practice. He was buried in an East Anglican town that now bears his name – Bury St Edmunds. If you visit the town today you’ll see the ruins of the once great abbey that served as his shrine as well as contemporary statues representing Edmund’s martyrdom. I think it was actually Ella, king of the Northumbrians who, according to legend, suffered the blood eagle.
    I’m very much looking forward to catching up on my listening.

    • Thanks. It has been a long time since I prepared this episode, so I don’t recall the specific resource I used for the story of Edmund receiving the blood eagle. Maybe I mixed up the two murders. Anyway thanks for the note, and I’m glad you’re enjoying the podcast!

  2. I was inspired to look up Ragnar Lodbrok and – oh boy, yuck – blood eagle. Wikipedia suggests that both might only have been literary creations. Phew! In the meantime, completely off topic, but you have mentioned at least twice the etymology of garlic = spear + leak: In Hungarian, the word is ‘fokhagyma’ = tooth + onion. As always, thank you very much for this informative & entertaining series.

  3. Kevin, I just discovered your podcast a few weeks ago. My last listen was chapter 47″The Man Who Saved English.” I must say your podcast is one of the most addictive and informative that I’ve ever listened to. I listened to every episode of BBC. 4’s history of the world through 100 objects podcast series. It was good but as nothing compared to yours!
    Not only am I learning a lot about the history of English and therefore Western Civilization but as a native Dutch speaker I’m learning a lot about my milk language as well!
    Bravo sir! You richly deserve any success you realize from this endeavor. I will be adding my name( my real name that is) to your patreon list.

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