Tag Archives: Anglo-Saxon


Corsned: The Morsel of Execration

In Anglo-Saxon times, the corsned was a common “trial by ordeal” in which an accused person was given a chance to prove his or her innocence by undergoing a physical test—in the case of the corsned, swallowing a small piece of bread or cheese. If the morsel of food—which had been blessed by a priest—stuck in the throat of the accused, it was taken as a sure sign of guilt. History records at least one instance of that very outcome. What common phrases may have originally referenced the corsned? More… Discuss





The Alfred Jewel

The Alfred Jewel is a 9th-century Anglo-Saxon ornament made during the reign of King Alfred the Great. Discovered in 1693, the teardrop-shaped ornament consists of a colorful enamel image of a man covered with a clear, polished piece of crystal and set in gold. Its purpose is unknown, but it was probably attached to a rod at one time. Words around the edge read “AELFRED MEC HEHT GEWYRCAN”—meaning “Alfred ordered me made”—yet the man portrayed in the center of the object is not Alfred. Who is it? More… Discuss


This Day in History: J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is Published (1937)

J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit is Published (1937)

The Hobbit is a fantasy novel written by J.R.R. Tolkien, a professor of Anglo-Saxon and of English language and literature at Oxford University. Adapted from stories Tolkien told his kids, The Hobbit is recognized as a classic in children’s literature but also attracts adult readers. Its sequel, The Lord of the Rings, is one of the 20th century’s most popular and influential works of fantasy literature. What changes did Tolkien make to later editions of The Hobbit? More… Discuss