More than half of the extant manuscripts from Anglo-Saxon England, both vernacular and Latin, contain Greek. How much Greek did the early English know? M. L. W. Laistner accepted only a handful of early authors, Bede among them, as ‘competent Hellenists’. Bernhard Bischoff, too, noted that among the numerous witnesses to Greek writing in the medieval West, only a few show knowledge of the language itself, and the majority in their corrupt state suggest just the opposite; moreover, he points out, their function is very often liturgical. By the same token, a recent survey of the rich Greek materials from Sankt Gallen makes the general observation that ‘few medievals possessed an ability to read Greek prose, an ability based on, at least, an acquaintance with the elementary principles of grammar’. For a number of years, I have been compiling a catalogue of Anglo-Saxon manuscripts containing Greek, and on the basis of what I have seen, these various assumptions – that much of the Greek was badly copied, that its vocabulary was largely ecclesiastical or liturgical, that such a vocabulary would necessarily repeat itself, yielding therefore perhaps no more than some 500 to 800 Greek words, and that knowledge of Greek grammer (declensions, inflexions and so forth) was minimal – need major modification. In what follows, I shall examine these various assumptions in turn.