Topics: Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, Old English, Alfred the Great Pages: 14 (5415 words) Published: December 7, 2012
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The initial page of the Peterborough Chronicle.
Translation of this scanned page. [1]
| Wikisource has original text related to this article: Anglo-Saxon Chronicle| The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle is a collection of annals in Old English chronicling the history of the Anglo-Saxons. The original manuscript of the Chronicle was created late in the 9th century, probably in Wessex, during the reign of Alfred the Great. Multiple copies were made of that original which were distributed to monasteries across England, where they were independently updated. In one case, the Chronicle was still being actively updated in 1154. Nine manuscripts survive in whole or in part, though not all are of equal historical value and none of them is the original version. The oldest seems to have been started towards the end of Alfred's reign, while the most recent was written at Peterborough Abbey after a fire at that monastery in 1116. Almost all of the material in the Chronicle is in the form of annals, by year; the earliest are dated at 60 BC (the annals' date for Caesar's invasions of Britain), and historical material follows up to the year in which the chronicle was written, at which point contemporary records begin. These manuscripts collectively are known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The Chronicle is not unbiased: there are occasions when comparison with other medieval sources makes it clear that the scribes who wrote it omitted events or told one-sided versions of stories; there are also places where the different versions contradict each other. Taken as a whole, however, the Chronicle is the single most important historical source for the period in England between the departure of the Romans and the decades following the Norman Conquest. Much of the information given in the Chronicle is not recorded elsewhere. In addition, the manuscripts are important sources for the history of the English language; in particular, the later Peterborough text is one of the earliest examples of Middle English in existence. Seven of the nine surviving manuscripts and fragments now reside in the British Library. The remaining two are in the Bodleian Library at Oxford and the Parker Library of Corpus Christi College, Cambridge. Contents [hide]  * 1 Composition * 2 Surviving manuscripts * 3 Relationships between the manuscripts * 4 History of the manuscripts * 4.1 [A]: The Winchester Chronicle * 4.2 [B] The Abingdon Chronicle I * 4.3 [C] The Abingdon Chronicle II * 4.4 [D] The Worcester Chronicle * 4.5 [E] The Peterborough Chronicle * 4.6 [F] The Canterbury Bilingual Epitome * 4.7 [A2]/[G] Copy of the Winchester Chronicle * 4.8 [H] Cottonian Fragment * 4.9 [I] Easter Table Chronicle * 4.10 Lost manuscripts * 5 Sources, reliability and dating * 6 Use by Latin and Anglo-Norman historians * 7 Importance * 8 History of editions and availability * 8.1 Editions of the individual manuscripts * 9 See also * 10 Notes * 11 Footnotes * 12 References * 13 External links| [edit] Composition

All of the surviving manuscripts are copies, so it is not known for certain where or when the first version of the Chronicle was composed. It is generally agreed that the original version was written in the late 9th century by a scribe in Wessex.[2][3][notes 1] After the original Chronicle was compiled, copies were made and distributed to various monasteries. Additional copies were made, for further distribution or to replace lost manuscripts, and some copies were updated independently of each other. Some of these later copies are those that have survived.[4] The earliest extant manuscript, the Winchester Chronicle, was written by a single scribe up to the year 891. The scribe wrote the year number, DCCCXCII, in the margin of the next line; subsequent material was written by other scribes.[5] This appears to place the composition of the chronicle at no later than 892;...
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