The Anglo-Saxon Version, From the Historian Orosius

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by Orosius

The Anglo-Saxon Version, From the Historian Orosius

Title page from The Anglo-Saxon Version, From the Historian Orosius, volume one, George Wythe Collection, Wolf Law Library, College of William & Mary.

Author Orosius
Editor {{{editor}}}
Translator Anglo-Saxon translation attributed to Alfred, King of England; English translation by Daniel Barrington
Published London: Printed by W. Bowyer and J. Nichols
Date 1773
Edition First
Language English and Anglo-Saxon
Volumes 2 volume set
Pages {{{pages}}}
Desc. 8vo (22 cm.)
Location Shelf B-1
  [[Shelf {{{shelf2}}}]]
Bookplate of George Sackville-West, fifth Earl De la Warr, front pastedown.

Paulus Orosius (born c. 375, died after 418) was a priest, historian, theologian, and a student of Augustine of Hippo.

Alfred the Great, son of King Aethelwulf of Wessex, was born in 849.[1] He reigned from 871 to 899, and died with charters referring to him as king of the Anglo-Saxons.[2] Much of what is known about Alfred comes from a biography by Bishop Asser, a man who was close to the king.[3] Four books are attributed to Alfred and he had other works, “books necessary for all men to know," translated.[4]

An anonymous translator, most likely inspired by Alfred's enthusiasm for Latin learning,[5] produced an Old English version of Orosius's Historiae Adversum Paganos. In 1773, Daniel Barrington translated the Old English and produced The Anglo-Saxon Version, From the Historian Orosius. Unfortunately, the Barrington's text received "much criticism for its unreliability."[6]

Evidence for Inclusion in Wythe's Library

Listed in the Jefferson Inventory of Wythe's Library as Barrington’s Orosius. Saxon & English. 8vo. and given by Thomas Jefferson to his grandson Thomas Jefferson Randolph. The only edition of Orosius translated by Daines Barrington was published in London in 1773. Both George Wythe's Library[7] on LibraryThing and the Brown Bibliography[8] list this particular work. The Wolf Law Library followed their suggestions and purchased the 1773 title.

Inscription, half-title page, volume one.

Description of the Wolf Law Library's copy

Bound in quarter calf with marbled boards. Spines feature bands and gilt rules and green morocco labels with gilt lettering. The front pastedown of each volume includes the bookplate of the Right Honourable George John, Earl De la Warr—George Sackville-West, fifth Earl De la Warr—the stamp of the Order of the Bath and a shelf designation. Both half-title pages inscribed "St. Petersburg, 1774." and "W. Tooke." Purchased from Pazzo Books.

Images of the library's copy of this book are available on Flickr. View the record for this book in William & Mary's online catalog.

See also

Map of Europe, volume two.


  1. Patrick Wormald, "Alfred (848/9–899)," in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford University Press, 2004), accessed September 25, 2013.
  2. Ibid.
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Michael Lapidge, "Scholars at King Alfred's court (act. 880–899)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed September 27, 2013.
  6. David Philip Miller, "Barrington, Daines (1727/8–1800)" in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, accessed September 27, 2013.
  7. LibraryThing, s.v. "Member: George Wythe," accessed on November 13, 2013.
  8. Bennie Brown, "The Library of George Wythe of Williamsburg and Richmond," (unpublished manuscript, May, 2012) Microsoft Word file. Earlier edition available at:

External Links

Read this book in Google Books.