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Anglo Saxon Period


caesura A pause in a line of verse dictated not by metrics but by the natural ... There is usually a caesura in verses of ten syllables or more, and the handling ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Anglo Saxon Period

Anglo- Saxon Period
  • 449-1066

  • pre 449-Isle of Britain inhabited by
    CeltsBritons and Gaels
  • 55 BC Romans and J.C. invade, rule for about 300
    years (55bc 407ad)
  • When Roman Empire weakens ( Have to pull out of
    Britain to defend Rome)---Angle, Saxons, and
    Jutes invade and almost totally conquer the
    island in 449
  • Reason for name of period

Class System
  • Kingselected by elders from earls
  • Earlshereditary ruling class
  • Freemenlandownerscommerce
  • thanesbarons rewarded for military service
  • Churls (serfs)worked land for protection
  • Thrallsslaves

Anglo Saxon beliefs
  • Pagansmany gods
  • Fate very importantcalled Wyrd
  • Cant escape fate
  • fate decides

Christianity comes and spreads- (6th century597
  • Celts learned Christianity from the Roman
  • Celts (Ireland, Wales, Scotland) made their way
    back into Anglo- Saxon territory and began to
    spread Christianity
  • Then Romans reorganized themselves and began to
    spread missionaries to Europe, also.
  • How do you think Christianity changed Anglo-Saxon

  • Softened the ferocity of a warrior people and
    improved the conduct of the faithful.

Christianity Brought Education and Written
  • Originally everything was passed down by word of
  • Therefore, there is a melding of pagan
    (traditional Anglo-Saxon beliefs in the oral
    tradition) with Christian beliefs (those people
    who actually wrote down the traditional poems)
  • This mix can be seen in The Seafarer as well as

Venerable Bede (Northumbrian monk)(673-735)
  • Recorded history of Britain before 700 A.D
  • Father of English history
  • In Latin, wrote A History of the English Church
    and People

King Alfred the Great (849-900)-
  • (9th century) Invasion by Vikings and Danes
    (Danelaw-trading centersgrowth of English towns)
  • Wessex only Kingdom who managed to fight the
    Danes (King Alfred the Great)
  • Saw the need for educating his people and
    translated Latin words (Venerable Bede) into the
    language used by the peopleOld English
    (Anglo-Saxon Chronicle)

Old English poets
  • Most Old English poets are anonymous twelve are
    known by name from Medieval sources, but only
    four of those are known by their vernacular works
    to us today with any certainty Caedmon, Alfred,
    Bede, and Cynewulf. Of these, only Caedmon,
    Alfred and Bede have known biographies.

Anglo-Saxon Literature
  • Originally recited by scopsminstrels (assistants
  • TWO TYPES of Poems
  • Heroic (Beowulf)achievements of warriors in
  • Elegiac (The Seafarer)- sorrowful laments that
    mourn the deaths of loved ones

Reasons for Anglo-Saxon Poetic techniques?
  • Memory demands some of these techniques.
  • What kinds of things do you tend to remember
    without studying?

Techniques that help memory
  • Alliterationrepetition of initial consonant
    sounds, usually in a single line of poetry.
  • Ex. She sells seashells by the seashore.
  • 4 beat line.
  • caesura A pause in a line of verse dictated not
    by metrics but by the natural rhythm of the
    language. There is usually a caesura in verses of
    ten syllables or more, and the handling of this
    pause to achieve rhythmical variety is a test of
    the poets ability.

  • Exeter Book Found in Exeter Cathedral, contains
    largest collection of Anglo-Saxon literature.
  • Sutton Hoo Arch. find in 1939, ship filled with
    gold and artifactsmost important discovery in
    terms of understanding this period in history

Other Literary Devices
  • kenninga standard phrase or metaphor used in
    Anglo-Saxon and other Germanic verse, such as the
    leavings of hammers for swords or the
    whale-road for the sea.
  • litotea dramatic understatement employed by the
    author for ironic effect. Litotes is a form of
    understatement, always deliberate and with the
    intention of subtle emphasis. However, the
    interpretation of litotes can depend on context,
    including cultural context. In speech, it may
    also depend on intonation and emphasis, the
    phrase "not bad" can be said in such a way as to
    mean anything from "mediocre" to "excellent".
  • "That sword was not useless / to the warrior
    now." (Beowulf) really means The sword was