In this episode, we look at the English terms associated with kings and nobility and explore the concept of Anglo-Saxon kingship. We also look at the poetry of the 9th century poet Cynewulf. The link between kings and Cynewulf is a shared root word which gave us the modern word ‘kin.’ Lastly, we examine the initial phases of Viking raids in Francia and Britain.
At the end of the 8th century, Western Europe saw its most powerful kings to date. That included Charlemagne in Francia and Offa in Britain. Those kings shared a close relationship which extended to their currency. The establishment of an official currency in both kingdoms spurred trade in northern Europe. And the remote beneficiaries of that trade were the Scandinavians. Meanwhile, Charlemagne’s reforms in Francia led to the emergence of the Carolingian Renaissance. In this episode, we explore the impact of these events on the English language.