What is ASNaC?
Anglo-Saxon, Norse and Celtic (ASNaC) is concerned with the history, languages, literature and cultures of the different peoples of Britain, Ireland and Scandinavia in the Middle Ages. Students can study an evenly balanced combination of literary and historical subjects, or they may choose to specialise mainly in languages or mainly in history. A full description of the course structure is available on the ASNaC website.
Why study ASNaC?
The ASNaC Tripos is intended to provide a varied and rigorous intellectual training. Former ASNaC students have progressed into a wide variety of professions, including the media, law, publishing, banking, the heritage sector, and the civil service.
What requirements does Corpus have?
In terms of A-Level subjects, candidates for admission into the ASNaC Tripos often have diverse backgrounds. Studying at least one language at A-Level is an advantage but not essential; similarly, English Literature and History can also be useful, but we don’t have any specific requirements and simply look for evidence of academic ability in the general area of the humanities. Interviews will try to assess the candidate’s aptitude for the Tripos, and his or her commitment to the field of study that it represents. It is helpful if the candidate has some idea of the papers that he or she might wish to take, and has done some exploratory reading for the subjects in question. Offers will be made at the same general level as those made to candidates for admission to other Arts Triposes (e.g. English, History, and Modern Languages). Although the Tripos is one of the smaller subjects at Cambridge, we have a strong tradition of ASNaC scholarship at Corpus, admitting an average of two students per year for the subject, rising to three in exceptional years.
Why study ASNaC at Corpus?
Corpus is home to the world-renowned Parker Library, one of the greatest collections of Anglo-Saxon and early English manuscripts in the world (see the pictures below). The library contains the earliest copy of the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (c.890), the Old English Bede, King Alfred’s translation of Pastoral Care (a manual for priests), and the St Augustine Gospels, one of the oldest bound books in existence.
ASNaC students at Corpus will have the chance to learn about, study and read from this remarkable collection, as well as the unique opportunity to drink from our Anglo-Saxon drinking horn, made from the horn of a now extinct Auroch, a remarkable survival from the foundation of the College in 1352.
Corpus Christi’s Director of Studies in ASNaC is Dr Elizabeth Rowe, a University Lecturer in Scandinavian History and a Fellow of Clare Hall College.