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The Anglo Saxons (450-1066)

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Danielle Hill

on 1 September 2016

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Transcript of The Anglo Saxons (450-1066)

The Anglo Saxons and the Epic Hero
What did the Anglo-Saxons value in their heroes?
Prowess in Battle
Strong Moral Code

A long narrative poem telling about the deeds of a great hero and reflecting the values of its society
Elements of the Epic
Epic Hero
Valorous Deeds
Divine Intervention
Great Events
Types of Epics
Folk Epic: originally passed down through oral tradition and written long after first composed
Epic Conventions
Opens by stating the subject/purpose followed by an invocation to a spirit, muse, or supernatural force

Plot begins "in medias res"
Serious tone, lofty in style, long

speeches made by characters to suggest formality
Watch the following video and let the movie clips and song inspire you....
What characteristics do our modern heroes have?
Who are our heroes?
What do we consider heroic?
How does that compare to our modern views?
Modern Hero Discussion Questions
When you were a child, was there a fictional character that you considered heroic? Please describe.
Do you have a hero now (in fiction or real life)? Please describe.
Who are three heroes in society today? Why do you think they are heroic?
Some argue that we have no heroes today for out youth to admire. Do you agree or disagree? Please explain.
What are three qualities that American society admires?
What are three qualities that you admire?
How would you feel you if you were idolized as a hero? What could you do that would seem heroic in someone's eyes?
Epic Hero
1. Undergo a journey

2. Save someone or something

3. Go through trials, tribulations, and adversity

4. Have super human strength

5. Extremely ethical

6. Has a tragic flaw that leads to his downfall

Long, dangerous journey

Opportunity to prove heroism and win honor
Valorous Deeds
Demonstrate hero's courage, strength, or virtue

Make up action in the narrative
Divine Intervention
When hero receives aide from a god or other supernatural force
Great Events
Backdrop of the story based around important events from nation's/culture's mythology or history
Literary Epic: written down drawing on style and convention of folk epic
Vocabulary for Anglo-Saxon Unit
A pronounced pause in a line of poetry, usually near the middle of the line (pregnant pause)

Ex.: “I promise you this:// she’ll find no shelter,” from Beowulf

Epic Hero
A brave character who overcomes great trials and embodies the ideals of his society

A serious poem of lament, usually mourning a death or another great loss

In Old English poetry, an imaginative metaphorical phrase used in place of a single noun
Ex.: whale road = sea
A figure of speech that makes a comparison between two unlike things without using like or as.

The repetition of vowel sound in unrhymed, stressed, syllables

Ex: "batter these ramparts"
The repetition of initial consonant sounds in accented syllables
Adjectives the point out specific traits of particular persons or things.
Usually compound adjectives, like "swift footed"
Anglo Saxons (499/500-1066)
What contributions/inventions came from this time?
Modern English, Roads, Cities and Towns
Celtic Heroes
1. What was the religion of the Celts?
Animism- Spirits all around that have to be pleased (Druids)
Christianity from Rome
2. What sites exist that we know were used by the Celtic priest, Druids?
3. How do Celtic Legends differ from Anglo-Saxon ones?
Full of strong women and fantastic animals, passionate love affairs, adventures in enchanted lands, magic, and more imaginative
The Romans: The Great Administrators
1. What enabled the Romans to conquer the Celts?
Established and disciplined legions
2. What evidence of the Roman rule exists today?
Roman camps grew into cities/towns; Road; Written Scholarship; Christianity
3. After the Roman exit, what made the Celts so susceptible to being conquered by the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes?
No central army or government
The Anglo-Saxons Sweep Ashore
Sweep Ashore Continued
1. Who first defeated the Anglo-Saxons?
The Vikings (Danes)
2. What king is credited with unifying the Anglo-Saxons and why?
Alfred the Great
Under his leadership the English adopt Christianity and defeat the Danes
3. Who ultimately defeated the Anglo-Saxons? What is this called and when did it occur?
1. Describe the rights of women in Anglo-Saxon society.
Could inherit and hold property (offered by a man at proposal of marriage)
2. When were these rights curtailed and by whom?
Ended by Norman Conquest led by William the Conqueror


1. What happened to the Celts and their language?
disappeared with the Anglo-Saxon invasion
Celts driven west (Cornwall & Wales); north (Scotland); and to Brittany, France
2. Who was the most famous Celtic Hero?
King Arthur
3. How can Christianity be credited with assisting Alfred in the unification of the tribes?
Provided a common faith and system of morality

Alfred the Great Video:

Anglo-Saxon Religion
1. Since the Early Anglo-Saxons believed in wyrd, inevitable fate, and didn't believe in an afterlife, how did they think they could achieve a type of immortality?
Fame in poetry
2. What did they portray as the protector of treasure and the personification of "death: the devoured"?
3. The Anglo-Saxon religion was concerned with ETHICS. What qualities were deemed most important?
Bravery, Loyalty, Generosity, Friendship
The Bards
1. What was provided by the communal halls?
Shelter; A place to hold council meetings; A space for storytellers and their audiences
2. Who were the scops?
Bards- Traveling Minstrels
3. In what ways were these scops as important to the Anglo-Saxons as their warriors?
Responsible for telling history, culture, values, and for providing entertainment.
Preserved the glory and fame of heroes, making them immortal
Anglo-Saxon Religion and "Writings"
Use this video to help with the plot of
War: A Way of Life
1. What is a regular part of Anglo-Saxon life?
War and/or the threat of it
2. Why did Kings give riches to their bravest warriors?
to guarantee their loyalty
3. What did swords symbolize for the Anglo-Saxons?
Worthiness of a warrior to a clan

4. Swords were given names and intricately decorated. Beowulf will have four different swords in the epic. Pay attention to what they might symbolize.

Beowulf blends ideas from Paganism and Christianity:
belief that fate (Wyrd) and supernatural controls life; belief that fame guarantees immortality

belief in personal God, afterlife, and asking God for help in defeating evil
Why is Beowulf important?
• 1st English literary masterpiece
• Earliest European epic written in the native language rather than Latin
• Classic story of good versus evil
• Manuscript has survived from 900 A.D.
• Its influence runs through modern day culture: as seen in Lord of the Rings, 13th Warrior, and games like Dungeons and Dragons!

Setting of Beowulf
The Anglo-Saxon Period

• Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invade Britain in 449
• Kingdoms (in what is now England)
• Everyone’s distinct dialects evolved into Old English

Beowulf as an Epic Hero
• Beowulf’s loyalty and genroustiy towards his subjects exemplified the Anglo-Saxon model of leadership
*Also pay attention to how he exemplfies the other Anglo-Saxon values.

Beowulf may be the first English epic hero, but his legend stems from Norse mythology
Major Themes
Good Vs Evil
Herot (Mead Hall)
The Cave
The Dragon's Lair
These were like a resume.

The hero/warrior will boast/brag about how awesome he is, where he came from, and the great things he has done in the past.

The boast was meant to inspire courage and faith

The boast is in poetic form and has all elements of Anglo-Saxon poetry
Full transcript