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Introduction to The Anglo-Saxon Period 449-1066 CE

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Title: Introduction to The Anglo-Saxon Period 449-1066 CE


1
Introduction to The Anglo-Saxon Period
449-1066 CE
2
To best understand and therefore, enjoy works
from the Anglo-Saxon Period, you need to know
about the Anglo-Saxon people-- their history
and customs.
3
Ancient Britain
CELTS The Native British tribe Celts believed in the pagan religion of ANIMISM (The Celtic language survives today, as Welsh, Scottish, and Gaelic all derive from the Celtic language).
4
The DRUIDS were the priest class of the Celts.
They built and used STONEHENGE for religious and
mystical ceremonies.
5
Druid ceremony reenactments are regularly held at
Stonehenge every year.
6
ROMAN PERIOD 55 BC TO 407 AD ROME (Julius
Caesar and others) invaded and took possession of
Celtic Britain. (Rome, like Celtic Britain, was
originally polytheistic, but gradually became
Christian Rome brought the Latin of its scribes
to record Anglo-Saxon history).
7
Roman Empire Many of the CELTS moved west to
avoid being enslaved or killed, but Roman rule
was generally beneficial
8
Rome built roads and fortifications throughout
Britain, such as Hadrians Wall.
9
Rome also established political order But when
Britain was threatened by Germanic tribes the
Romans pulled out. The Roman Empire fell in 476 CE
10
Germanic Tribe Invasions 410-515 AD
11
The Saxons (Germany), Angles and Jutes
(Denmark) invaded regularly, pushing Celts
further west each time. These tribes brought
their Germanic languages and traditions to
Britain.
12
Germanic Invasions
13
Each invasion resulted in intermarriage between
the Germanic tribes and the remaining Celts. By
650 AD, all of Britain was Christian in name,
although many of the old Pagan beliefs continued
and mingled with Christian ones.
14
The absorption of the Germanic tribes into the
fabric of Britain also resulted in a new
language, a mixture of those Germanic tongues and
the Celtic tongue (Gaelic). This new language was
called Anglo-Saxon. We now call it OLD ENGLISH
15
The new Anglo-Saxon language was not written down
until the 7th Century when King Alfred the Great
created The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a running
history of England English "began" in the 800s
16
The Anglo-Saxon Warrior Culture
17
Christianity softened the Anglo-Saxon warrior.
The Roman Catholic Church brought education and
written language. The Monks who eventually
copied down the oral history of Beowulf, wrote
in Latin.
18
WYRD
The Anglo-Saxons believed in Fate, which they called Wyrd.
19
The Anglo-Saxon warrior was called a THANE. The
Thane owed his King, or Gold-Giver total loyalty
for life. He would fight for his king. He was
obligated by honor to give his king a proper
burial. In fact, he would die to protect his
Gold-Giver, or willingly go to his death if he
failed in that protection.
20
The thane was bound by honor to take
vengeance for his lord's death in one of four
ways 1) Blood vengeance ("an eye for an eye) 2)
Wergild (man-price, or bounty) 3) Marriage
arranged as a treaty 4) Self-Sacrifice of his own
life for failure to protect his gold-giver.
21
Why is it important for you to know this? You
will see this concept of honor in Beowulf, as
well as in the poem The Seafarer, and the novel
Grendel, by John Gardner
22
THE MEAD HALL, OR COMMUNAL HALL The King
(Gold-giver) took all the war prizes freely
offered by his thanes when they celebrated
victory in the Mead-Hall.
23
He, in turn, gave his thanes Heriot horses and
weapons, gold, land, and treasure to reward them
for their particular service.
24
For his part, the King was responsible for all of
his men's acts, even the ones they had committed
before they became his retainers.
25
The Heroic IDEAL EXCELLENCE! The hero-king
strives to do better than anyone else the things
that an essentially migratory life demanded sail
a ship, swim, tame a horse, choose a camp site,
set defenses, plow a field, and most important of
all--FIGHT. Skill and courage were key to
meeting the heroic ideal!
26
THE HEROIC BOAST TO MAKE A PUBLIC BOAST IS TO
MAKE A SOLEMN VOW UPON WHICH ONE'S LIFE AND
REPUTATION DEPEND. ONLY THE BRAVEST HERO WOULD
BOAST AS BEOWULF DOES BECAUSE HE MUST THEN
FULFILL THE PROMISE OR DIE TRYING.
27
THE HEROIC PARADOX By dying gloriously, one
achieves immortality. The hero-king was dependent
on the poet or scop to sing his praises and thus
assure his legend.
28
THE ORAL TRADITION
The primary form for doing this was the EPIC, and as you have learned, the epic was passed down primarily from listener to hearer in what is called the Oral Tradition.
29
THE ROLE OF THE POET (also known as the SCOP,
MINSTREL, GLEEMAN, or BARDThe hero-king was
dependent on the poet or scop to sing his
praises and thus assure his legend would live
long after he was dead.
30
What is an EPIC? A long narrative poem
which celebrates the exploits or victories of a
religious or folk hero who is in some way
responsible for the salvation or perpetuation of
his people.
31
Archetypes The Epic often utilizes archetypes, or
universal symbols that would be recognizable to
most groups of people. Typical archetypes would
be
32
Archetypes (continued) The Wise Old Man The
Vengeful Villain The Good Mother The Bad Mother
33
Archetypes in Beowulf As you read, you will see
all of these archetypes in Beowulf
34
You are about to experience the
exciting adventures of the first super-hero
BEOWULF.
35
The story of Beowulf is an EPIC POEM. Even
though he is a citizen of Geatland, he is
considered an Anglo-Saxon (or British) hero. Few
people living today realize that for centuries,
Britain was inhabited and ruled by Scandinavian
tribes!
36
Beowulf's adventures were told for hundreds of
years before the legend was ever written down,
probably in the 9th century. Before it was
written, though, the SCOP, a traveling poet, was
responsible for keeping the oral histories of
heroes like Beowulf alive.
37
By the time Beowulf was written down in the 9th
century, it looked and sounded like a Germanic
or Scandinavian tongue!
38
Hwæt! We Gardena        in geardagum,  þeodcyning
a,         þrym gefrunon,  hu ða æþelingas      
  ellen fremedon.  Oft Scyld Scefing         
sceaþena þreatum,  5 monegum mægþum,      
meodosetla ofteah,  egsode eorlas.         Syððan
ærest wearð  feasceaft funden,         he þæs
frofre gebad,  weox under wolcnum,    weorðmyndum
þah,  oðþæt him æghwylc       þara
ymbsittendra  10 ofer hronrade         hyran
scolde,  gomban gyldan.         þæt wæs god
cyning!  ðæm eafera wæs         æfter
cenned,  geong in geardum,         þone god
sende  folce to frofre         fyrenðearfe
ongeat 
39
As you know, poetry usually has both rhythm and
rhyme. In Modern English, rhyming in poetry
most often occurs at the ends of lines.
40
In Anglo-Saxon poetry, rhyme was found in
ALLITERATION, or the repetition of consonant
sounds.
41
Rhythm in Modern English rhythm is measured in
feet or beats. We are most familiar with iambic
pentameter (accent on every other beat with 5
beats to the line
42
Old English also uses beats, but in a very
stylized way Every line of poetry is divided
into 2 sides with a space between the sides
indicating a pause, or caesura. Each side has 2
beats, so there are 4 beats to every line.
43
A good scop could memorize many hours of his poem
by relying on the constant repetition of the
Anglo-Saxon rhythm, and consonants. (Actually,
this is is how most of us memorize complicated
song lyrics today)
44
The Anglo-Saxons invented an important new
literary device that we still use today The
Kenning
45
What is a kenning?
A kenning is an Anglo-Saxon metaphor in which 2 or more words are combined in a creative way to form an image or second level of meaning.
46
The history of the kenning
? It originated in Anglo-Saxon (Old English) and Old Norse poetry ? It is a type of figurative language, specifically a METAPHOR ? Some kennings were coined by poets and used repeatedly in various works ? They sometimes utilized ALLITERATION
47
Types of kennings
? Open compound (i.e.) wakeful sleeper or icy wave ? Hyphenated compound (i.e.) gold-shining hall or whale-road ? Possessive compound (i.e.) hells captive or Hrothgars son ? Prepositional Compound (i.e.) shepherd of evil or proud with wine
48
Throughout time, kennings have become
increasingly more complex and detailed.
49
For instance, a kenning might begin with
Foamy-throated ship Then progress to
Foamy-throated sea-stallion And conclude
with Foamy-throated sea-stallion of the
whale-road
50
A Viking Ship
51
Some kennings are Epithets An epithet is another
name for a character that is used frequently and
clearly identifies the character. For example, in
The Odyssey, you will often see the epithets
Wily Odysseus, and Odysseus the Greek.
52
As you read, note the kenning epithets used to
describe Beowulf, Hrothgar, Grendel, and other
characters.
53
Modern example of kennings include
54

55
Head-hunter
56
Gold Digger
57
What might each of these kennings refer to or
suggest ...their ring-giving lord (p.
4) Higlac's follower (p. 11) sea-road (p.
12) fresh-tarred boat (p. 15) battle-hardened
shields (p. 17) gold-ringed queen/bracelet-wearing
queen (p. 28, 29) sin-stained demon (p.
36) wagging tongues (p. 48) cup-bearers (p. 51)
58
The End of Anglo-Saxon Britain The Anglo-Saxon
rule and way of life came to an abrupt end in
1066 when William the Conqueror (William or
Normandy) invaded Britain
59
And defeated the last Anglo-Saxon king, Harold of
Hastings at the battle of Hastings. William, a
Frenchman, brought a new system of government,
land ownership, customs, and of course, language
to Britain.
60
As the years passed, Norman French merged with
Anglo-Saxon, or Old English to form Middle
English, and the The Middle Ages were ushered in.
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