Dusty Phrases

Hi! Welcome to “Dusty Phrases.” You will find a phrase below, in one ancient language or another, along with its English translation. You may also find the power to inspire your friends or provoke dread among your enemies.

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Old English:

Se wer sceal ealum gieldan


This gentleman will pay for everything.

The Old English language, often called Anglo-Saxon, was spoken in Anglo-Saxon England from 450 AD to 1100 AD. It was spoken by the Anglo-Saxons, who came to Great Britain from what is now Germany and Denmark. Different Anglo-Saxon kingdoms spoke different dialects, but a western dialect became the main literary version. Both modern languages of England and Scotland (English and Scots) came from the language of the Anglo-Saxons.

Old English is very different from Modern English and has many more Germanic words. In early centuries, it was rarely written down and even then was in runes. After the 9th century, the Latin alphabet was used more often. Old English grammar is difficult, with complex inflections, and close to Old German. Latin was used by churchmen like the venerable Bede. Old English gradually turned into Middle English after the Norman Conquest of 1066.

Beowulf is written in Old English in an alphabetic script.

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