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The Anglo-Saxon Period (449-1066 A.D.)


The Anglo-Saxon Period (449-1066 A.D.) Anglo-Saxon England & Beowulf – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: The Anglo-Saxon Period (449-1066 A.D.)

The Anglo-Saxon Period(449-1066 A.D.)
  • Anglo-Saxon England Beowulf

I. Historic Overview
  • A. First Germanic invasion- In 449 A.D., the
    jutes (from the peninsula of Jutland in Denmark)
  • B. Additional Germanic Invasions- the Angles
    Saxons (from Southern Denmark and along the coast)

I. Historic Overview (Cont.)
  • C. Anglo-Saxon England (Angleland) was
    established by these Germanic Tribes
  • 1. Important Commonalities
  • a. Common Language- early English
  • b. Heroic Ideals- Courage, loyalty, valor,
    courtesy, generosity, of ruler and followers
  • c. Family Unit- The family unit formed the
    structure of society Family-gt Clan-gt Tribe-gt
  • d. Democratic Councils- Meetings and assemblies
    of open discussion
  • e. Art- high regard for beauty fine
    ornamentation (Sutton Hoo artifacts)

Sutton Hoo Artifacts
I. Historic Overview (Cont.)
  • 2. Lack of Unity- The tribes divided into 7 major
  • a. North- Angles (East Anglia, Mercia,
  • b. South and East- Jutes (Kent)
  • c. West- Saxons (Sussex, Essex, and Wessex)

I. Historic Overview (Cont.)
  • 3. Angleland lasted until 1066, when the
    Normans invaded (Norman Conquest, led by William
    the Conqueror)

II. Religion
  • A. Pagan Beliefs of the Anglo-Saxons
  • Strong belief in fate (wyrd) - impersonal,
  • force that determined most of life
  • Gods of the Anglo-Saxons were those of the Norse
  • culture
  • Great admiration for heroic warriors- Human will
    and courage allowed individuals to control their
  • response to fate
  • 4. No afterlife
  • 5. Lifes Goal- Win fame and lasting glory in
    order to obtain immortality and became a model
    for others to follow

II. Religion (Cont.)
  • B. Influence of Christianity in England
  • 1. First Archbishop in England- St. Augustine
    (597 A.D.), Roman missionary (brought 40
    missionaries with him to England)
  • 2. Unity- the spread of Christianity served as a
    unifying force throughout Angleland
  • 3. Literacy- Christianity brought literacy with
    it runic alphabet was replaced with Roman
    alphabet monasteries became places of learning
    and education.

III. Education
  • A. Venerable Bede (673-735), Father of English
    History- Monk known for his great scholarship
    and learning wrote History of the English Church
    and People contemporary of the author of Beowulf

III. Education (Cont.)
  • B. Alfred the Great (849-899)- Patron ofthe
    scholars and educators held a strong belief in
    education. He new Latin and encouraged young men
    learn to read and write had books translated
    into English.
  • C. End of the Anglo-Saxon period- European
    rulers would send to England for teachers.

IV. English Language
  • A. Runic Alphabet- Early Anglo-Saxons used runes
    to scratch inscriptions on ceremonial stones or
    as a means of identifying valued items they
    never saw their alphabets potential as a way of
    communicating thoughts across time.

IV. English Language (Cont.)
  • B. Anglo-Saxon (Old English) and modern English
    are members of the Indo-European family of
  • C. Lasting ability and Influence in English
  • 1. History of language in England Latin, Danish,
    Swedish, German, French (to name a few).
  • 2. After the Norman Conquest no king of England
    spoke English for the next 300 years! (1399-
    Henry IV) Aristocracy spoke French, English
    became the language of peasants
  • 3. Despite the constant invasions upon England
    and the numerous people groups to come and go,
    English survived!

IV. English Language (Cont. )
  • D. Present-day Influences of Anglo-Saxon- Tiw
    (god of war), Woden (chief Teutonic god), Thor
    (god of thunder), Frigga (goddess of the home)

V. Literature
  • A. Oral Tradition- Professional poets (scops)
    were the musicians, storytellers, and historians
    of their tribes. The scop remembered the kings,
    heroes, battles, and folklore of the tribe.
  • B. Heroic Epic Poetry (Beowulf)- Focuses upon
    bravery of central hero

V. Literature (Cont.)
  • C. Elegiac Lyric Poetry (Seafarer)- Expresses
    mourning due to the passing of better times,
    death, or other losses dark mood bleak
    fatalism are characteristic of Anglo-Saxon times
  • D. Riddles- Anglo-Saxons enjoyed the playful and
    intellectual challenge of riddles, which
    described familiar objects in ways that forced
    the audience to guess their identity. Kennings
    (Old English metaphorical descriptions used in
    poetry) were often used in riddles, which were
    written in verse.

VI. Beowulf
  • A. Author
  • 1. Unknown Poet- The poem is probably the work of
    a single author (consistent style used).
  • 2. Probably a Christian man who lived in the 8th
    century a contemporary of the Venerable Bede.
  • 3. Familiar with classical and biblical
    literature well-educated

VI. Beowulf (Cont.)
  • B. Composition and Written Manuscript
  • 1. The poem was probably composed sometime in the
    8th century (700-800 A.D.)
  • 2. Written down around 1100 A.D.- hand copied
    probably by a monk written in Old English
  • 3. Manuscript was preserved in a monastery for
    hundreds of years until the early 16th century
    King Henry VIII ordered the closure of
    monasteries when the church of England converted
    to Protestantism much of the contents of
    monasteries were destroyed

VI. Beowulf (Cont.)
  • 4. Robert Cotton- preserved the manuscript in his
    personal library
  • 5. 1731- Fire nearly destroyed the manuscript,
    which was later donated to the British Museum
  • C. Myth or History?- Within the poem, no
    distinction is made between myth and history.
    Beowulf cannot accurately be described as fiction
    or fact. Dating the manuscript becomes important
    in determining which elements of Beowulf belong
    to the history of culture, to this history of
    myth and legend, to political history, or to the
    development of the English literary imagination.
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