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Title: The%20Anglo-Saxons


1
The Anglo-Saxons
  • A.D. 449-1066

2
England Isolated, Yet Inviting
This other Eden, demi- paradise,This fortress
built by Nature for herselfAgainst infection
and the hand of war, This happy breed of men,
this little world,This precious stone set in
the silver sea from King Richard II by William
Shakespeare
3
Early English Settlement
Anglo-Saxon Period (4491066)
4
The Celts
The Celts inhabited Britain, beginning sometime
before 400 B.C. One Celtic group, the Britons
(Brythons), gave their name to the island.
  • Celts probably viewed the world through animism,
    the belief that spirits live in all thingstrees,
    stones, water, air.
  • Druids, Celtic priests, may have used Stonehenge
    for religious rites.

5
Celtic Influence
  • The Celts influenced the language and literature
    of the British Isles for centuries.
  • Tales of King Arthur draw on Celtic myth and
    history.
  • Welsh, Scots Gaelic, and Irish are descendants
    of the Celtic language that are still spoken
    today.
  • Recent authors, such as the poet Seamus Heaney,
    have drawn on Celtic myth and language in their
    works.

6
The Romans
  • In 55 B.C., Julius Caesars Roman armies first
    invaded Britain.
  • Some of the tribes already living in Britain
    opposed the invaders but were overcome by the
    Romans in A.D. 43.
  • Roman rule brought security from other invaders
    for several hundred years.
  • Roman rule also brought Christianity to Britain,
    gradually replacing Celtic animism.

7
Rome Leaves
By 409, the Roman armies had left England and
returned to Rome, where civil strife and the
threat of invasion were growing. The Britons were
on their own.
  • The Good News
  • England was left with many Roman-built roads,
    walls, and buildings.
  • England was no longer ruled by a foreign power
    that had sometimes been oppressive.
  • The Bad News
  • England now had no central government, only
    uncooperative clans.
  • England no longer had Roman protection from
    invaders.

8
Angles, Saxons, and Jutes
  • In the mid-fifth century, Britain was invaded by
    Angles and Saxons from Germany and Jutes from
    Denmark.
  • The Celts fought hard but were driven into the
    far west region of Britain, now known as Wales.
  • The invaders settled most of Britain, which came
    to be called England, after the Angles.
  • The language of the Anglo-Saxons became Englands
    dominant language.
  • Anglo-Saxon England was divided up into
    principalities and would remain divided for the
    next half millennium.

9
A Warrior Culture
  • The Anglo-Saxons brought with them from Germany a
    strict code of behavior and a harsh view of life.
  • Constant fear of enemy invaders kept Anglo-Saxons
    on the alert.
  • From household to town to kingdom, all groups
    depended on absolute loyalty to their leaders.
  • Leaders rewarded brave and loyal followers with
    treasures and land.
  • Harsh living conditions bred both hardiness and a
    stoic acceptance of the brevity of life.

10
Anglo-Saxon Religion
  • The Anglo-Saxons religion was based on the bleak
    Norse mythology. However, Anglo-Saxon religion
    was more concerned with ethics than mysticism.
  • Woden (god of poetry and death) and Thunor (god
    of thunder and lightning) were versions of the
    Norse Odin and Thor.
  • Anglo-Saxon religion valued bravery, loyalty,
    generosity, and friendship.
  • Eventually, the Anglo-Saxons converted to
    Christianity.

11
Anglo-Saxon Literature
  • As important to Anglo-Saxons as warfare was
    poetry. Their poets, called scops, were much
    honored. The scops
  • told heroic tales and kept the peoples history
  • sang while strumming stringed instruments
  • used set rhythms and stock phrases to remember
    the stories
  • told of great battles and mourned the brevity of
    life in elegiespoems about the fleeting joys of
    life

12
The Viking Raids
  • In the late eighth century, the Danes (Vikings)
    began to make mostly random hit-and-run style
    raids on England. They
  • plundered and destroyed everything in their paths
  • killed mercilessly, including children and monks
  • eventually took over and settled in parts of
    northeast and central England

13
Alfred the Great
In the late ninth century, Alfred of Wessex
united the Anglo-Saxon principalities to repel
the invading Danes.
  • Alfred encouraged Anglo-Saxons to defend their
    culture and church against the Danes.
  • He promoted the English language and literacy.
  • His descendants continued the fight against the
    Danes until 1066.

14
The Norman Conquest
  • In 1066, William the Conqueror led the Norman
    invasion of England, ending the Anglo-Saxon era.
    He declared himself king and divided the land
    among loyal Norman lords.
  • The Normans were former Vikings who had settled
    in France.
  • William and his lords maintained ties to France,
    which
  • linked England firmly with European culture
  • meant the ruling class spoke a different
    languageNorman Frenchthan the English-speaking
    common people

15
Meanwhile in Ireland. . .
  • While England (and Europe) suffered centuries of
    invasion and warfare, Irelandprotected by
    difficult seasexperienced a peaceful Golden Age.
  • In 432 Bishop Patricius (St. Patrick) converted
    the Irish Celts to Christianity.
  • Irish monasteries became refuges of learning.
  • Monks copied and preserved ancient literature,
    scripture, and works of Anglo-Saxon and Irish
    culture that would otherwise have been lost.

16
What Have You Learned?
Indicate whether the following statements refer
to the time before, during, or after the
Anglo-Saxon era.
During
_________ Viking invaders terrorized
England. _________ French replaced English as
the language of the ruling class. _________
England became unified under Alfred of
Wessex. _________ Animism was probably the
primary religious belief.
After
During
Before
17
The End
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