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.
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.
The Viking-era states of Denmark, Sweden and Norway emerged from several North Germanic tribes in Scandinavia. These tribes also included the Geats who were prominently featured in Beowulf. In this episode, we explore the early history of these tribes and discuss the historical context of Beowulf. We also explore how the Old Norse language of the Vikings impacted the Old English language of the Anglo-Saxons.