The Anglo-Saxon Period 449-1066 AD - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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The Anglo-Saxon Period 449-1066 AD


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Title: The Anglo-Saxon Period 449-1066 AD

  • The Anglo-Saxon Period449-1066 AD

The Anglo-Saxon Period449-1066 AD
  • The island we now call Britain was home to the
    Celtic people. In 449, they were being invaded
    by Scottish and Irish tribes and could not fight
    them off.

  • The Celts asked for help from the Angles, Saxons,
    and the Jutes(from Denmark) , who were Germanic
    tribes. Instead of helping, they invaded and
    took over the island for themselves, and called
    it Angle-land.

So, English history and literature begins in 449
English Language
  • During this time, the English language was
    growing. The Celtic language merged with the
    Anglo-Saxon language.
  • Some words added by A-S to, and, for, man, wife,
    child, drink, eat, sleep, T, W, R, F.
  • When Christian missionaries started coming to
    England around 600 AD, they brought words such
    as altar, monk, preach, school, anthem, rule,
    candle, offer, hymn
  • From 787-1000 AD, Vikings came to the island with
    words such as lift, take, give, live, husband,
    sky, trust, rotten
  • When the Normans invaded and conquered the
    Anglo-Saxons, they brought 10,000 words like
    action, adventure, marriage, power, vision, rage,

Christianity of the A-S
  • In 596, missionaries came attempted to convert
    them to Christianity. By 650, most A-S were
    Christians in name anyway-even though they still
    held on to some of their pagan traditions.

More Invasions
  • Danish invasions during the 700 and 800s, the
    Danes and the Normans began attacking the island
    of Britain and almost won until Alfred the Great,
    a Saxon, fought back and won the country back-and
    there was peace-for a while

End of the Anglo-Saxon Period
  • When Alfreds grandson Edward died in 1066, there
    was an argument over the throne. The Duke of
    Normandy claimed the throne, but the English
    chose Harold II. The Duke retaliated by
    attacking and defeating the A-S at the Battle of
  • So, the A-S period ended in 1066 when the Normans
    won the Battle of Hastings and the Duke- William
    the Conqueror was the new King.

Social Order
  • Based on warrior bonds-they bonded together under
    a strong leader.
  • Heroic groups rural and tribal
  • Core of culture was comitatus relationship-warrior
    bond for each other and their leader. Tribes
    engaged in blood feuding constantly.
  • WER GELD man price, absolute obligation to
    avenge a fellow warriors death (like gangs).
  • Loyalty fight to death to protect and/or avenge
    obligation to King and warrior.
  • After battles, there was a strict payment of
  • Chief selected for loyalty, generosity, strength,
    and courage.

Anglo Saxons Mead Hall
  • All social events began and ended at Mead Hall
  • Mead Fermented beverages made from honey (Think
    of beer made from honey)
  • The hall was built by the local lord or king for
    the entertainment of the Thanes
  • Thanes warriors and soldiers loyal to the local
    lord or king

  • Mead-an alcoholic beverage
  • wyrd-fate the inevitable
  • Elegy-a poem of mourning

Anglo-Saxon Literature
  • All literature was oral (spoken), not written,
    because there was no real written language yet.
  • Literature history was passed down by scops,
    people in each tribe who composed stories and
    songs about the tribe and its heroes. The
    stories were passed down from generation to
    generation. He told the stories every night
    after supper.

Why were the scops important?
  • Anglo-Saxons did not believe in afterlife
  • warriors gained immortality through songs
  • The literature of the Anglo-Saxons was handed
    down orally by scops who sang in the lords mead
    halls, where warriors gathered to celebrate the
    events of the day. These scops, like the Greek
    poets before them, remembered their stories by
    using accentual meter and many stock phrases
    called kennings.

Anglo-Saxon harp
  • Was composed around 700 AD
  • Author was unknown- it is known the poet was a
    Christian, aristocrat, professional (by
  • Poet composed it in his head performed it.
  • Poem was not written down for about 250 years.

Epic Poem, Hero
  • An epic poem-long narrative poem about a national
    hero who has the virtues and qualities his
    society values. Epic poems are fiction with some
    fact put in.
  • Epic Hero- courageous, resourceful, loyal,
    generous, willing to avenge wrongs, gentle,
    brave, strong, loves beauty, has deep feelings,
    able to express feelings.

Characteristics of an Epic
  • Major characters deliver long, formal speeches.
  • The hero performs courageous, sometimes
    superhuman deeds.
  • The poem includes universal themes such as
    good/evil and life/death.
  • The setting is vast in scope, often involving
    more than one nation.
  • The hero, generally male, is of noble birth or
    high position.
  • Hero characteristics reflect important ideals of
    his society.
  • The plot is complicated by supernatural beings or
    events and may involve a long and dangerous
    journey to a foreign land.

BeowulfIntroducing the Epic
  • Is the first great work of
  • English literature.
  • Is the epic story of the hero Beowulf, who fights
    the demonic monster Grendel.

BeowulfIntroducing the Epic
Takes place in Denmark Sweden (not England)
Scholars think Herot might have been built on the
coast of Zealand, in Denmark.
BeowulfIntroducing the Epic
Beowulf nephew of Higlac, king of the Geats.
Hrothgar king of the Danes.
Wiglaf a Geat warrior, one of Beowulfs select
band and the only one to help him in his final
fight with the dragon.
BeowulfIntroducing the Epic
Grendel man-eating monster who lives at the
bottom of a foul mere, or mountain lake.
Grendels mother water-witch who seeks revenge.
Dragon giant fire-breathing serpent whom Beowulf
fights in Part Two of the epic.
BeowulfIntroducing the Epic
Herot the golden guest hall built by King
Hrothgar where warriors gathered to celebrate.
End of Section
What is a Hero?
  • Do you know a real life hero?
  • What do you think this story is going to be about?
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