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Anglo-Saxon England


Anglo-Saxon England Anglo-Saxon England was born in warfare, remained a military society, and came to an end in 1066 because the Normans were militarily superior. – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Anglo-Saxon England

Anglo-Saxon England
  • Anglo-Saxon England was born in warfare, remained
    a military society, and came to an end in 1066
    because the Normans were militarily superior.

Invasions of EnglandThis era of British history
encompasses the following cultures
  • Celts (800-600 B.C.)
  • Romans(55 B.C.)
  • Angles, Saxons, Jutes(A.D. 449)
  • Vikings(A.D. 700)

Celtic tribes
  • Settled in 5th Century B.C. from Southern Europe
  • People were mad keen on war, full of spirit and
    quick to begin a fight
  • Familiar Celt? King Arthur was a Celtic king who
    fought the Saxons

Celtic Religion
  • Believed that gods and spirits were everywhere
  • Druids made sacrifices (sometimes human) to the
    gods for the people.
  • Shady oak trees were favorite places for
    religious ceremonies

Responsibilities of Druid Priests
  • Held religious ceremonies
  • Made sacrifices
  • Tried people for crimes in court
  • Passed on knowledge to the younger generation
  • Called the whole tribe together in an assembly
    each year.

Celtic Festivals
  • Samain Night of Oct. 31st to Nov. 1st when all
    the spirits of the Other world were set loose on
    the human world. A time of great danger. The
    beginning of the Celtic year.

Celtic Festivals
  • Beltane 1st of May when feasting, sacrificing
    and celebration took place to thank the gods for
    getting the people safely through the winter. It
    was also to help with fertility of crops and
    animals. A giant man of straw was burnt.

Celtic Festivals
  • Lughnasa 15 days before the 1st of August and
    15 days after was a festival to celebrate the
    harvesting of the crops.

Romans J. Caesar invaded in 55 B.C.
  • To the Romans, Britain was a remote wilderness
    only known from traders reports
  • Commodities Corn, cattle, gold, silver, iron,
    hides, slaves, and clever hunting dogs
  • Emp. Claudius fully dominated Britain in A.D. 43
  • Scotland, Ireland continued Celtic traditions
    Celtic Fringe
  • Results? Urban civilization, education for sons,
    walled towns, Christianity, warfare, roads

Anglo-Saxon invasionA.D. 449
  • Romans withdrew in 407 because of European tribes
    invading Italy
  • Angles, Saxons, Jutes Germanic tribes who
    destroyed Roman civilization
  • Culture
  • Ruled by a king chosen by witan (council of
  • Lived by strict codes of conduct loyalty to
    leader and tribe were necessary for the survival
    of all.

Anglo-Saxon way of life
  • Ruler was generous with food, gold, drink, and
    weapons to those who were loyal
  • All people were aware of the shortness of life
    and the passing away of all things
  • Everything was determined by fate
  • The only thing that lasted was fame, so all
    competed for it

Anglo-Saxon Justice
  • Emphasis on revenge
  • If someone killed a member of your family, if you
    could, kill the slayer, or the next best thing
    a member of his family
  • When a man committed the unpardonable offense of
    a crime against an actual kinsman, vengeance
    could be averted by payment of blood money

  • By the year 300, a significant amount of Britons
    were Christians
  • Romans pulled out, Christianity fell
  • 597 St. Augustine arrived on an order from Pope
  • He est. a monastery in Canterbury
  • Became the first Archbishop of Canterbury
  • The church enjoyed a revival
  • Christianity had to compete with Pagan rituals.

Absorption of pagan ideas into Christianity
  • Remember pagan means one who is not Christian,
    Jewish, or Muslim (monotheistic)
  • Easter Eostre was the Anglo-Saxon goddess of
  • Rabbits and colored eggs were symbols of new life

  • Originally set in December to compete with Pagan
    winter festivals held at the same time
  • Gift giving a pagan ritual
  • Pre-Christian winter festivals used greenery,
    lights, and fires to symbolize life and warmth in
    the midst of cold and darkness
  • Teutonics and Scandinavians associated with tree

Influences of Christianity to the Anglo-Saxon
  • Monasteries were important centers of social,
    intellectual, artistic, and literary life
  • Monks copied books imported from other European
  • Bede a Northumbrian monk who is considered the
    father of English history
  • Earliest historian of England
  • Earliest important prose writer
  • Venerable in recognition of his reputation for
    wisdom, humility, and scholarship
  • Wrote History of the English Church and People

  • From Scandinavia
  • Norse Norway
  • Danes Denmark
  • Didnt overthrow all Anglo-Saxonssimply settled
    in the east and north (Danelaw)

Alfred the Great(King Alfred of Wessex)871-899
  • He united his people
  • Forced the Danes to the Northeast part of England
  • He promoted the use of written English rather
    than the Latin the monks copied
  • Encouraged original works
  • Wrote The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle the first
    historical record kept in English
  • Created a code of law
  • Founded first English public schools

Anglo-Saxon Literature
  • There is little humor found in the literature
    because life was so difficult
  • Most of the stories and poems deal with
    circumstances where only the strong survive
  • Oral tradition
  • Poems were not written but sung accompanied by a
  • Kings and nobles would entertain large groups of
    people in enormous halls, often to celebrate
    victory in battle

Pagan traditions
  • Fate
  • Rewards from the leader in the form of treasure
  • Fame others will hear about your deeds
  • Dead bodies were burned
  • Code of honor Defend your lord with your life
  • Belief in omens
  • Mead Hall safety, fellowship, home

Oral Tradition
  • Scops they recited poems or retold stories
    about legendary heroes and adventures (all by
  • Gleeman assistant to the scop
  • Purposes were to entertain, pass along religious
    beliefs, rituals, and customs, and to glorify the
    heroes (remember only fame lasts!)

Types of Poetry
  • Heroic epic a long, narrative poem whose
    central character is a hero
  • The hero is a noble figure with great courage and
    superhuman abilities
  • Most epic heroes are important figures in a
    nations legends or history
  • Elegiac Lyric
  • A single speaker expresses thoughts and feelings
  • Recalls the glories of the past
  • Solemn subjects such as death
  • Riddles
  • Composed in verse and challenged the listeners to
    guess their subject

  • 1066
  • Invaders from France
  • Fall of Anglo-Saxon rule
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