Anglo-Saxon Aloud – Add some Old English to your iPhone

anglo-saxon sutton hooI believe I’ve found the ideal solution to ‘what music will we play in the office’. As we never seem to be able to reach agreement on the channel (really? Brit pop? Sounds from outer-space?), for tomorrow, I suggest we tune in on ‘Anglo-Saxon Aloud’, a website by Michael Drout that contains daily* readings of the entire Anglo-Saxon Poetic Records – which includes all poems written in Old English.

Professor Michael DCDrout (an American teaching English at Wheaton College, blogs at Wormtalk and Slugspeak, and *has a dog named Lancelot that likes lfric a lot – or not at all) over the years – his first recording dates from 2007 – has build up an impressive collection of sound Anglo-Saxon literature samples. Consider it the must-have audiobooks for the history-geek. From the famous poem ‘Beowulf’, to the death of of Alfred (a very happy poem, as it describes how in 1036 the Atheling Alfred was captured by Godwine, blinded, and turned over to the monks at Ely 😉 and even more practical advice in Old English – charms to retrieve lost as well as stolen cattle. Be aware, the charm to retrieve lost life stock needs to be quoted as soon as you notice the cattle has gone!

But what if you don’t have internet access when you discover your daily portion of meat (or fresh milk) has ran off? No need to panic! You can subscribe to Professor’s Drout iTunes feed, or download the Anglo-Saxon sound files to your phone, so you’ll always have them handy when in dire need of some Old English. What will go on my iPhone? I considered learning Genesis in Anglo-Saxon rather than Latin (really, who would study that still nowadays?), but after listening to (almost) the entire collection, my favourites from the whole Anglo-Saxon lot must definitely be the different versions of Bede‘s Death Song. Find them all here. No iPhone yet? For the die-hard Old English fans, there’s the ultimate audio CD: ‘Anglo-Saxon Aloud:The Greatest Hits‘.

Thanks to Professor Drout’s efforts to introduce the ‘illiterate’ to Old English, I’ve actually changed my opinion and am looking forward to the ‘Old Norse’ in Mel Gibson’s movie, as I’m assuming I’ll be most likely to understand some of it without subtitles. Really, Igot most of the ‘lost cattle’ one! Must be my Germanic (or Gaul, they’re still debating that, as far as Iknow) inheritance.

There’s just one Anglo-Saxon language question these sound files do not answer. How do I pronounce ‘Run!The Vikings!’ in Old English? I’m pretty sure this might come handy – some day.

Of course, I trust, if you are using iTunes, you are already subscribed to recieve our totally awesome and sublime ancient world videos as soon as they are released. Right?