Well, I always thought castles and cathedrals were “cool” but what won me over were the Anglo-Saxons. And I’m not really sure why. I read Beowulf in high school and enjoyed it and had an opportunity to take a Beowulf class in college which entailed translating the entire poem out of the original Old English into modern English. Not only did I become fascinated with the culture of the Anglo-Saxons, but I also found the development of our language from their time period to ours to be extremely intriguing as well. I majored in English and Medieval Studies, concentrating on Medieval Literature and Languages and am now a huge etymology nerd. I got my first tattoo of the first word of Beowulf (Hwæt) on my wrist, and it is very faithful to the manuscript!
I hope to one day publish a translation of Beowulf (or at least some essays about it and the culture from which it sprung), as I currently own several different translations and enjoy comparing them against each other and the original to see whose I feel is more “accurate.”
The professor of this class, by the way, is very knowledgable and infectiously enthusiastic and made the material so exciting to learn. I also took his courses in Old English Poetry, History of the English Language, and Chaucer (which of course was taught in Middle English.)
So there you have it!