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History   >   Crime and Punishment - The Anglo-Saxons


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Crime and Punishment - The Anglo-Saxons

In this course, Professor Rory Naismith (University of Cambridge) explores Crime and Punishment in Anglo-Saxon England. In the first module, we provide an introduction to crime and punishment in England during the period of the Anglo-Saxons. In the second module, we look at the legal system of offense and compensation which permeated all Anglo-Saxon legal disputes, before in the third module turning to look at Anglo-Saxon law codes themselves. In the fourth module, we look at legal disputes in Anglo-Saxon England, then in the fifth module we take a closer look at one example of an Anglo-Saxon law-code. In the sixth and final module, we look at an example of an anglo-saxon legal dispute, namely the misdeeds of Wulfbald.


In this lecture, we provide an introduction to the Anglo-Saxon legal system as a general entity, focusing in particular on: (i) the absence of a professional legal class and law enforcement in Anglo-Saxon England; (ii) how crime was understood in Anglo-Saxon England, including Bot, the way in which Anglo-Saxons conceptualised making amends for a crime, and Wite, the payment of amends for a crime to society; (ii) how punishment was understood in Anglo-Saxon England, and the variation in punishments for crimes according to social status; (iii) the significance deceit in determining the severity of a crime in Anglo-Saxon England; and (iv) the different forms of punishment that were used to punish criminals in Anglo-Saxon England.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Naismith, R. (2023, June 09). Crime and Punishment - The Anglo-Saxons - Introduction [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Naismith, R. "Crime and Punishment - The Anglo-Saxons – Introduction." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 09 Jun 2023,

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Prof. Rory Naismith

University of Cambridge