Anglo-Saxon Laws

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Anglo-Saxon Laws


records of the customary laws of the Anglo-Saxons, seventh to ninth centuries.

As distinguished from other barbarian laws, which were written in Latin, Anglo-Saxon laws were written in Old English; they reveal no Roman influence. In the Kentian laws of Aethelberht (early seventh century), Hlothhere and Eadric, and Wihtred (late seventh century), the differentiation of society into the nobility (eorls, gesiths) and the ordinary free tribesmen (ceorls) is already obvious. The Wessex laws of Ine (late seventh century) testify to the growth of the landholdings of the king, his servitors, and the church, at the expense of some of the commoners, who had fallen into dependence on the aristocracy. The difference between the king’s noble servants, the thanes, and the peasants began to grow into class opposition. The laws of Alfred (Wessex, late ninth century), while preserving in part the features of a law code, were already a collection of royal and church enactments having force for all the territory under Alfred’s power.


Die Gesetze der Angelsachsen. Edited by F. Liebermann. Vols. 1–3. Halle/Saale, 1898–1916.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
He stands for a multitude of cold Anglo-Saxon laws, adamant, incorruptible, inflexible - as certain as the laws of Nature herself.
He said: "Wales had its own laws, traditions, and politics, way before the German/ Anglo-Saxon laws came into being here.
Unlike the USA, which was an organic outgrowth of a political system rooted in Anglo-Saxon laws, customs, traditions, and language, the political entity created through the SPP--in effect, the United States of North America (USNA)--would be a forced three-way marriage of wildly incompatible cultures and political systems.
McCarthy's remarks about the Anglo-Saxon laws seem curiously dated.
This is, for instance, made clear by the different provisions of the Anglo-Saxon laws concerning the payment of wergild.
of the Anglo-Saxon Laws, of readings taken from allegedly once-extant
Dumville on editing for historians, and Richard Dammery on editing the Anglo-Saxon laws - readers will find valuable observations on important issues.
We are reminded that many of the 'standard' editions of Old English texts owe their existence to the compilation of The Oxford English Dictionary; and that the 1558 publication of the Anglo-Saxon Laws was partially attributable to Nowell.
In Jerusalem and Galilee, Tancred searches for the origins of Anglican Christianity in ancient Judaism, just as the narrators of Coningsby and Sybil search for the origins of modern political institutions in ancient Anglo-Saxon laws and institutions.