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Beowulf

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Beowulf Historical and Literary Background Runic alphabets Elder Futhark Gothic Runes Anglo-Saxon Futhorc Younger Futhork Hungarian Runes Turkic Runes Cirth (Tolkein ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Beowulf


1
Beowulf
Historical and Literary Background
2
Map of present-day Europe.
3
Europepre-6th Century
4
The British Isles Pre-A.D. to 400 A.D.
  • Inhabited by
  • The Britons (Celtic)
  • The Picts (Pre-Celtic)
  • The Gaels (Celtic, Ireland)

5
Druids
  • Intellectual class of Britons
  • Responsible for many elements of society
  • philosophers, judges, educators, historians,
    doctors, seers, astronomers, and astrologers.

6
Did the Druids really have anything to do with
this?
7
The Roman Empire 150 A.D.
8
Roman Invasion
  • Invaded by Julius Caesar, 55 B.C.
  • Firmly brought under Roman control by the Emperor
    Claudius, A.D. 43
  • Romans brought roads, running water, heating
    systems, writing
  • Also brought armour, axes, etc.
  • System of worship, including, although not for a
    few hundred years, Christianity

9
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11
Early 400s AD, the Roman legions withdrew from
the British Isles to return to Rome.
12
Without the protection of the Roman Army, this
led to the invasion of
  • Angles
  • Saxons
  • Jutes

13
Throughout the 5th and 6th Century (400s-500s AD)
Known as Germanic tribes-from Northern Holland,
Northern Germany, and Denmark.
14
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15
War-oriented culture
16
They were obviously a sea-faring people.
17
Burial site found in England called Sutton Hoo,
in Suffolk. Dates to 7th Century. Believed to
be the burial site of a king.
18


The Anglo-Saxons were heathens or pagans upon
their arrival in Britain, meaning they did not
worship the traditional Judeo-Christian God.
Click here to go to slide 65
Woden (Odin in Norse) was the God of War, poetry,
magic, and learning. He was usually the chief
of the gods.
Plain Text of This Page Back to Gods and Goddesses Back to Top
19
The Anglo-Saxons did not necessarily believe in
an afterlife. They did, however, believe in
WYRD- FATE.
For a true warrior, his fate was to fight and die
in great battles. This would enable him to go to
an eternal battle hall, called Valhalla (in the
Norse tradition).
20
They were an oral culture. Story telling was
very important to them.
                                       
                           
The only system of writing was the Runic alphabet.
21
The Anglo-Saxon Futhorc, as their Runic Alphabet
is called, was brought into Britain by the
various tribes of Anglos, Saxons, Jutes, and
Frisians. This would have been around the 5th
Century, and it was used until the 11th Century.
These were used for inscriptions on jewelry,
stones, weapons, money, and monuments.
22
Runes would have also been used to perform
rituals and rites. In the Germanic languages of
the time, rune meant mystery or secret.
Most Runic alphabets are thought to be based on
the Etruscan alphabet.
23
Runic alphabets
  • Elder Futhark
  • Gothic Runes
  • Anglo-Saxon Futhorc
  • Younger Futhork
  • Hungarian Runes
  • Turkic Runes
  • Cirth (Tolkein)

24
Once in Briton, the Anglo-Saxons settled down
considerably and became more civilized.
25
Some historians believe that this is due to
Christianity and its influence.
26
St Patrick is one of the more influential
Christians in the history of this time.
  • Originally from Briton but from a Romanized
    family.
  • Kidnapped and taken to Ireland.
  • Turned to Christianity to comfort him.
  • Walked nearly 200 miles to escape after 6 years
  • Went back to Ireland as a missionary

27
Another Christian influence was Augustine, who
was sent by the Pope in the late 500s as a
missionary.
He became the first Archbishop of Canterbury and
baptized the king of Kent.
Not Augustine of Hippo, the world famous
philosopher and saint.
28
The invasion continues.
29
Cornwall and Brittany.
30
Heptarchy-comprised of seven kingdoms
EA-East Anglia
C-Cornwall
K-Kent
N-Northumbria
S-Sussex
M-Mercia
W-Wessex
31
Heptarchy
32
Enter the Danes
The Vikings
The Normans
The Norse
33
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34
  • Like the Anglo-Saxons, many of the Danes were a
    fierce and war-oriented, sea-faring people when
    they first arrived.
  • At first they raided unprotected monasteries.
  • The Berserkers were the most feared Viking.
    They were named after the bear shirts they wore.
    Prior to each battle they would work themselves
    into a frenzy so they could fight regardless of
    any pain or injury.

35
  • They did not just invade the British Isles.

36
We now know for sure that they made it as far as
Nova Scotia in their pioneering longships.
37
Viking Settlements during the Viking Age AD
750-1050.
38
This is the only true Viking helmet ever found.
Absolutely no evidence exists suggesting they
wore horned helmets.
39
Alfred the Great (871-899)
40
  • Alfred was a Saxon and Christian king of Wessex.
  • His battles with the Danes were numerous and
  • legendary.
  • Eventually took London from their control.
  • Forced many Danes to convert to Christianity
  • in one of his treaties/truces.

41
Alfred the Great encouraged people to read and
write in the spoken language.
The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle began in his reign.
Much of what we know today about the history
comes from this document.
This was written in Old English and was a
timeline of British history written by monks.
42
After the initial raids, the Vikings began to
settle various areas of the British Isles. Their
settlements were agricultural and trading areas.
43
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44
The next 100 years were very turbulent.
45
Canute I (Cnut) 1016-1035
46
  • Canute invaded from Denmark and took over as
  • king.
  • He was supposed to divide the land with
  • Edmund II, his predecessor.
  • Edmund died within a month.
  • Married the widow of the Duke of Normandy.
  • Became King of Denmark around 1018.
  • In 1028 he conquered Norway.

47
Edward the Confessor
  • 1044-1066
  • Very religious
  • No children
  • Father was Anglo-Saxon, mother Norman

48
Harold, Earl of Wessex
  • Took claim of the throne upon the death of Edward
    the Confessor in 1066, supported by witan
  • Other claims to the throne included Prince Edgar
    and William, Duke of Normandy
  • Fought battle in the North against the King of
    Norway

49
William the Conqueror
  • Duke of Normandy
  • Claimed that Edward promised him ascension
  • Took advantage of Harolds fight in the North to
    invade
  • This is known as the Norman Conquest

50
The Battle of Hastings
  • Establishes William as King of England
  • Approximately 300 years of Norman Rule
  • Aristocracy speaks Anglo-Norman (French dialect)
  • Lower class speaks Anglo-Saxon (Old English)

51
Old English
  • Language that Beowulf was written in.
  • Sprung from the Germanic settlers and their
    various dialects.
  • Harsher in sound than todays English.
  • Written phonetically-no silent letters.
  • More grammatically complex than Modern English.
  • A. Word changed form with function.
  • B. Word order was more flexible.

52
For entertainment and education
  • They sang songs
  • Had epic and lyric poems
  • Authors of the poems were known as scops.
  • Glee men traveled from place to place to sing the
    song of the scops.

53
Beowulf
  • An epic poem
  • A folk-epic, which is a long narrative poem
    relating stories of a hero that embodies all the
    cultures most important values.
  • Written in the Wessex dialect.
  • Divided into three primary episodes.
  • Takes place in Denmark and Sweden, not in
    England.

54
Written by
We dont know!
Written in
Were not sure!
Original Intended Audience
Uh, were not sure about that either . . .
55
  • Only one manuscript survived
  • Badly burned in the 1700s
  • Some repairs made in the 1800s

56
  • Dates from around 1000 A.D.
  • May have been composed as early as 750 A.D.
  • Author was probably a Christian addressing a
    royal audience.
  • One historical figure Hygelac, Beowulfs uncle.
    Raided the Frisian coast around A.D. 516.

57
Beowulf Prologue
  • Hwæt! We Gardena         in geardagum,
    þeodcyninga,         þrym gefrunon, hu ða
    æþelingas         ellen fremedon.
  • Anglo Saxon Poetry had four beats or accents in
    every line.
  • No fixed number of unaccented syllables.
  • Each line is divided by a caesura.
  • Alliteration on the accented beats on each side.
  • Used kennings-hyphenated expressions of
    metaphor-wave-traveler-ship.

58
J R R Tolkien
  • Was a professor of Anglo-Saxon at Oxford
    University
  • Was profoundly interested in and influenced by
    Beowulf
  • Claimed that the story was a heroic celebration
    of the lives of mortal men in a dangerous and
    transient world.
  • Once said in a letter, 'Beowulf is among my most
    valued sources ...'            (Letters, no.25)

59
Table 1  A list in alphabetical order of Old
English words from Beowulf             that
appear in the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.
Old English word  from Beowulf Beowulf reference Definition Tolkiens equivalent
Beorn ll 1299 Warrior, hero Beorn
Beor ll 609 Bright, shining Beor the Old
Eotenas ll 112 Giant / troll Ent/ Ettenmoors / Ettendales
Flet ll 1540 Floor Flet
Fródan / fróda ll 2025, 2928 The wise one / old Frodo
Fyrgen-holt ll 1393 Mountain-wood Firienfeld
Grimmon ll 306 Mask Grima
Hádor ll 497 Blithe Hador
Háma ll 1198 Skin, covering (?) Hama
him wæs géomeor sefa murnende mód ll 49-50 sad was their heart and mourning in their soul has pity in her heart and mourning in her soul

60
Old English word  from Beowulf Beowulf reference Definition Tolkiens equivalent
iúmonna gold,  galdre bewunden ll 3052 the gold of men of long ago enmeshed in enchantment The Hoard  
Lord of those rings ll 1507 Lord of those rings The Lord of the rings
Máthmas ll 1867 Treasure Mathom
Méaras ll 1035 War-horses Mearas
Medu-seld ll 3065 Mead-hall Meduseld
Middan-geard ll 75 Middle-Earth Middle-Earth
Myrcan ll 1405 Dark, gloomy Mirkwood
Orc-néas ll 112 Evil shades Orc
Orþancum ll 406 Skill / ingenuity Orthanc
Searo- ll 406 Iron / metal Saruman
Thenga ll 2033 A noble Thane
Ylfe ll 112 Elves Elf

61
Elvish
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63
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64
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65
The End
Right click to end the show.
66
  • In Old English, the language of the Anglo-Saxons,
    the word Wodnesdaeg meant Wodens Day.
  • Constantine the Great gave names to each day of
    the week, naming the third day after the day of
    rest as the day which belongs to Mercury. This
    meant that the first hour of that day would be
    influenced by that celestial body.
  • Woden is the Germanic equivalent of Mercury, the
    Roman god, because he was quick and eloquent.
  • Thus, Dies Mercuri became Wodnesdaeg.

67
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68
witan
  • From Old English witenagemot, meeting
  • A council summoned by Anglo-Saxon kings
  • Nobles and church officials
  • Discussed royal grants of land, church matters,
    charters, taxation, customary law, defense and
    foreign policy
  • Size of the council varied
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