Old English Orosius is the name usually given by scholars to an adaption into Old English of the Latin by Paulus Orosius (fl. c. 400). Malcolm Godden's 2016 edition instead calls the text the Old English History of the World, emphasising the degree to which the Old English text selects, adapts, and abets Orosius's. Produced around the year 900 in the West-Saxon dialect, the Old English version was produced by an anonymous writer, possibly encouraged or inspired by King Alfred the Great. The translator actively transformed Orosius's narrative, cutting extraneous detail, adding explanations and dramatic speeches, and supplying a long section on the geography of the Germanic world.

The work is particularly noted in modern scholarship for including an account of the travels of a Norwegian traveller whom it calls Ohthere, which provides unique information about northern Europe around the late ninth century.[1]

Editions and translations


  1. ^ Nicole Guenther Discenza, ‘Orosius, Old English', in The Encyclopedia of Medieval Literature in Britain doi:10.1002/9781118396957.wbemlb123.