Anglo Saxon Chronicle|
Welcome to Britannia's online version of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, one of the most important documents that has come down to us from the middle ages. It was originally compiled on the orders of King Alfred the Great in approximately A.D. 890, and subsequently maintained and added to by generations of anonymous scribes until the middle of the 12th Century. The original language was Anglo-Saxon (Old English), but later entries were probably made in an early form of Middle English.
We like to think of this document as the ultimate timeline of British history from its beginnings up to the end of the reign of King Stephen in 1154. The Chronicle certainly does not present us with a complete history of those times and is probably not 100% accurate, either, but that doesn't diminish its enormous value in helping us to arrive at a clearer picture of what actually happened in Britain over a thousand years ago.
The entire Chronicle runs to almost 100,000 words and so is a bit unwieldy, in one piece. We have trimmed it down into 52 manageable bites and have arranged it by date, so that you can pick a date below and click to see what was going on, during those years.
This translation is by Rev. James Ingram (London, 1823). The text of this edition
is based on that published as "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" (Everyman Press, London, 1912). This electronic edition, which is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN in the United States, contains excerpts from the translation of Dr. J.A. Giles (London, 1847), which were included as an appendix in the Everyman edition; the preparer of this edition has elected to collate these entries into the main text of the translation. Where these collations have occurred, the entry has been marked with a double parenthesis (()).
This electronic edition was edited, proofed, and prepared by Douglas B. Killings,
July 1996. At present there are nine known versions or fragments of the "Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle" in existence, all of which vary (sometimes greatly) in content and quality.
The translation that follows is not a translation of any one Chronicle; rather, it is
a collation of readings from many different versions.
Known "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" MS:
A-Prime The Parker Chronicle (Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, MS. 173)
A Cottonian Fragment (British Museum, Cotton MS. Otho B xi, 2)
B The Abingdon Chronicle I (British Museum, Cotton MS. Tiberius A vi.)
C The Abingdon Chronicle II (British Museum, Cotton MS. Tiberius B i.)
D The Worcester Chronicle (British Museum, Cotton MS. Tiberius B iv.)
E The Laud (or "Peterborough") Chronicle (Bodleian, MS. Laud 636)
F The Bilingual Canterbury Epitome (British Museum, Cotton MS. Domitian A
viii.) NOTE: Entries in English and Latin.
H Cottonian Fragment (British Museum, Cotton MS. Domitian A ix.)
I An Easter Table Chronicle (British Museum, Cotton MS. Caligula A xv.)
The footnotes of Rev. Ingram have been included, but we must state that they should
be used with extreme care, since, in many cases his views are badly
out of date. This does not mean the Rev. Ingram's conclusions are necessarily incorrect, just that 175 years have passed since his time and that modern scholarship has done much to clarify the picture of the Anglo-Saxon era. These notes will provide a starting point for inquiry, but should not be treated as the last word on the subject.
Classen, E. and Harmer, F.E. (eds.): "An Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
from British Museum, Cotton MS. Tiberius B iv." (Manchester,
Flower, Robin and Smith, Hugh (eds.): "The Peterborough Chronicle
and Laws" (Early English Text Society, Original Series 208,
Taylor, S. (ed.): "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: MS B" <aka "The
Abingdon Chronicle I"> (Cambridge, 1983)
Garmonsway, G.N.: "The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" (Everyman Press,
London, 1953, 1972). HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Contains side-by-side
translations of all nine known texts.
Bede: "A History of the English Church and People" <aka "The
Ecclesiastical History">, translated by Leo Sherley-Price
(Penguin Classics, London, 1955, 1968).
Poole, A.L.: "Domesday Book to Magna Carta" (Oxford University
Press, Oxford, 1951, 1953)
Stenton, Sir Frank W.: "Anglo-Saxon England" (Oxford University
Press, Oxford, 1943, 1947, 1971)
Click on Chronicle Years Below:
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