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Anglo-Saxon Background

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Title: Anglo-Saxon Background Author: Seana Mekari Last modified by: Mekari, Seana Created Date: 8/26/2011 6:56:16 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Anglo-Saxon Background


1
Anglo-Saxon Background
  • A Prelude to Beowulf

2
History
  • The Anglo Saxon period is the oldest known period
    of time that had a complex culture with stable
    government, art, and a fairly large amount of
    literature.
  • Many people believe that the culture then was
    extremely unsophisticated, but it was actually
    extremely advanced for the time.
  • The Anglo-Saxon period is a time filled with
    great advancements and discoveries in culture,
    society, government, religion, literature, and
    art.

3
  • The Angles were a Germanic tribe that occupied
    the region which is now Scleswig-Holstein,
    Germany.
  • With their fellow ethnic groups, they formed the
    people who came to be known as the English.
  • The Saxons were a Germanic people who first
    appeared in the beginning of the Christian era.
  • Before the year 596, almost everybody had strong
    pagan beliefs. In 596 missionaries had begun to
    attempt to convert the Anglo-Saxons to
    Christianity. By the year 650, almost all of
    England had converted to Christianity- at least
    in name.

4
  • Everyone in the age would always wear extremely
    modest clothing. The common garment for a man was
    the robe gathered at the waist, completed by hose
    and soft sandals. The same was for the woman,
    except their dress extended to the feet. The most
    common materials used to make clothing were linen
    and woolens, though the more expensive outfits
    were marked by colorful dyes and exotic borders
    (Pelteret, 2000). Usually then men would hide
    short spears under their clothing for added
    protection.

5
  • The common weapon in war was the spear.
    Conventional spears were seven feet long with a
    iron head and was used to be thrown and also to
    jab. Shields were plain and round, made of wood
    with an iron center. Only the rich and noble used
    swords, which were made of iron with steel edges.
  • When the men weren't fighting, the favorite
    pastimes of the Anglo-Saxon period were dice and
    board game such as chess. Complex riddles were
    very popular, as well as hunting. At gatherings,
    the most common entertainment was the harp, as
    well as juggling balls and knives.

6
  • Little writing remains to be studied because
    England was still developing their written
    language during many of these years, and
    storytelling was generally in the oral tradition.
  • Daily life was far from easy for people in
    Anglo-Saxon England. Women especially had a high
    mortality rate because of the dangers of
    pregnancies, miscarriages and childbirth.
  • Religious system of the Anglo-Saxons was related
    to paganism and therefore it had the resemblance
    to ancient Norse religion, and some other
    pre-Christian cultures.

7
  • In conclusion, the technological advancements and
    discoveries of the Anglo-Saxon period set the
    stone for today's society.
  • The age had all of the parts of their culture
    that we have today.
  • Their period set the foundation for art, society,
    literature, and culture of what we have today.
  • America would be a very different place if it was
    not for the impact that the Anglo-Saxon period
    had society.

8
Who says the Dark Ages were "dark?"
  • In the world that we sometimes think of as
    barbaric and violent, beauty was prized in visual
    ornamentation and literary elaboration.
  • In this introduction to Anglo-Saxon literature,
    students will study the literature and literary
    techniques of the early Middle Ages, thus
    preparing students to read Beowulf with an
    appreciation for its artistry and beauty.
  • Students will learn the conventions of
    Anglo-Saxon poetry, write personal boasts, and
    reflect on what they have learned.

9
Guiding Questions
  • What can we learn from the manuscripts and
    literature of the Anglo-Saxons?
  • What are some formal elements of Anglo-Saxon
    poetry?

10
Learning Objectives
  • Define and give examples of kennings,
    alliteration, and caesura
  • Read, understand, and write Anglo-Saxon style
    riddles
  • Write and present a personal boast
  • Reflect on how literature and art were important
    aspects of Anglo-Saxon life.

11
Vocabulary
  • Alliteration A figure of speech in which
    consonants, especially at the beginning of words,
    or stressed syllables, are repeatedIn Old
    English poetry alliteration was a continual and
    essential part of the metrical scheme and until
    the late Middle Ages was often used thus. Cuddon
    provides some classic examples, such as
    Coleridge's description of the sacred river Alph
    in his poem, Kubla Khan "Five miles meandering
    with a mazy motion."

12
  • Alliteration A figure of speech in which
    consonants, especially at the beginning of words,
    or stressed syllables, are repeatedIn Old
    English poetry alliteration was a continual and
    essential part of the metrical scheme and until
    the late Middle Ages was often used thus. Cuddon
    provides some classic examples, such as
    Coleridge's description of the sacred river Alph
    in his poem, Kubla Khan "Five miles meandering
    with a mazy motion."

13
  • Kenning The term derives from the use of the Old
    Norse verb kenna 'to know, recognize'It is a
    device for introducing descriptive colour or for
    suggesting associations without distracting
    attention from the essential statement. Cuddon
    offers the following instances of Old English
    kennings
  • a) helmberend"helmet bearer" "warrior"
  • b) beadoleoma"battle light" "flashing sword"
  • c) swansrad"swan road" "sea" Essentially,
    then, a kenning is a compact metaphor that
    functions as a name or epithet it is also, in
    its more complex forms, a riddle in miniature.

14
Riddles a writing style intended to
deomonstrate creativity and often humor.
  • Riddle I am fire-fretted / and I flirt with
    Wind my limbs are light-freighted / I am lapped
    in flame. I am storm-stacked / and I strain to
    fly I'm a grove leaf-bearing / and a glowing
    coal.

15
  • Riddle The Moon is my father, the Sea is my
    mother I have a million brothers, I die when I
    reach land.

16
  • Riddle Three eyes have I, all in a row when the
    red one opens, all freeze.

17
  • Riddle I drink the blood of the Earth, and the
    trees fear my roar, yet a man may hold me in his
    hands.

18
This sly little riddle distracts one with a
sexual analogy, but the key phrase "it swivels
about" is a clue that the obvious answer is not
the right one.
  • Riddle Swings by his thigh / a thing most
    magical! Below the belt / beneath the folds Of
    his clothes it hangs / a hole in its front end,
    stiff-set and stout / it swivels about. Levelling
    the head / of this hanging tool, its wielder
    hoists his hem / above his knee it is his will
    to fill / a well-known hole that it fits fully /
    when at full length
  • He's oft filled it before. / Now he fills it
    again.

19
Now You Try
  • Use your WNB and try to create an Anglo-Saxon
    style riddle.
  • We will share these riddles in groups and with
    the class.
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