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Why These Books?

Historical Languages

A truly classical education has always included a study of ancient or archaic languages. This page contains a small but growing collection of books meant to stimulate a young person's interest in such languages.

Ages 12 and up

A Book for the Beginner in Anglo-Saxon
by William Shepard

This elementary-level grammar and reader of Anglo-Saxon (also called Old English, spoken from A.D. 500-1100) is a digital reprinting of a hard-to-find 1877 publication. Included in this grammar are extensive verb conjugations and noun and pronoun declensions, all designed for the beginning student of the language. Also features almost 30 pages of extracts from the Anglo-Saxon Gospels.

Paperback ~ 95 pp. ~
$19.95 with 20% discount, $15.96

Ages 12 and up

First Middle English Primer
by Henry Sweet

This elementary handbook in Middle English (spoken from A.D. 1100-1500), first published in 1884, was written by one of the premier authorities on English historical linguistics, Henry Sweet, who is now widely remembered as the model for the Henry Higgins character in Shaw's Pygmalion. This handy manual introduces students to two slightly different varieties of Middle English. Part I contains a brief grammar and representative extracts from the 13th century Ancren Riwle or "Nuns' Rule" in the southern dialect. Part II is a brief grammar with extracts from the Ormulum, a late 12th century work of poetic homilies of the life of Christ, in East Midland dialect.

Paperback ~ 96 pp. ~
$19.95 with 20% discount, $15.96

For Advanced Students

The Languages of Classical Antiquity Series (LCA)

Ancient Mediterranean Europe is best known to us from Greek and Roman sources, yet the area was also inhabited by a variety of other tribes and ethnic groups. Most of these peoples left scarce record that they ever existed, but history, archaeology and philology have been able to revive the world's knowledge of these ancient cultures. We are pleased to provide, in one series, the fruits of extensive scholarly labor in these lesser-known languages. Drawing on evidence from long-buried inscriptions and papyri, as well as fragments from literary sources, the LCA series brings together unique and precious testaments to languages long since extinct.

The Languages of Classical Antiquity Series

For Advanced Students

The American Language Reprint Series (ALR)

During the early history of the American nation, a number of explorers, scholars and missionaries sought to record the languages of the native peoples they encountered. As many of the native American tribes dwindled into extinction, the need became all the more pressing to preserve their languages for posterity, and Americans who were keenly anxious to promote their country's heritage went through great pains to make sure that the ancient tongues of the American landscape would not pass into obscurity unrecorded.

The ALR series was conceived expressly for the preservation and promotion of these shorter linguistic records, vocabularies of only a few hundred entries or less. These vocabularies are crucial in filling in the vast linguistic gaps that the larger works leave empty. They cover a whole host of Eastern Woodlands languages that were never thoroughly documented, and they are also particularly useful in preserving regional dialects and archaic versions of languages that are otherwise well attested.

The American Language Reprint Series

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