Multilingualism in Early Medieval Britain

Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review


In the words of its own historians, pre-Norman Britain held five languages and four peoples. Yet in modern scholarship, Old English is too often studied separately from the other languages that surrounded it. This Element offers a comprehensive synthesis of the evidence from the pre-Norman period that situates Old English as one of several living languages that together formed the basis of a vibrant oral and written literary culture in early medieval Britain. Each section centres around a key thematic topic and is illustrated through a series of memorable case studies that encapsulate the extent to which multilingualism appeared in every facet of life in early medieval Britain: religious and scholarly; political and military; economic and cultural; intellectual and artistic. The Element makes an overall argument for the dynamic extent of transcultural literary and linguistic culture in early medieval Britain before the arrival of the Normans.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherCambridge University Press
ISBN (Print)978-1-009-46789-6
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2023

Publication series

NameCambridge Elements


  • Medieval Britain


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