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Anglo Saxon Period

Introduction to Beowulf

hollie dooley

on 10 October 2013

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Transcript of Anglo Saxon Period

The Anglo-Saxon Period
and the Epic Hero

Beowulf the Geat
Angles, Saxons, and Jutes invade Britain in 449. Germanic invaders took over the southern part of the island and called it “Angle-land”.
The Anglo-Saxon Period
596- Missionaries attempt to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity.

650- Most of England is Christian- at least in title; although, many hold on to pagan beliefs and traditions.

700-800 Danes and Norsemen invade Britain. By 850, most of England is taken over.
Enter Christianity
Pagan/Christian Values
In 1939, a seventh-century ship burial was excavated. Its significance to the study of Beowulf is the interesting mix of Christian and pagan practices involved in the burial that mirrors a similar mix in beliefs in the poem.

During the 500s and 600s, Scandinavian tribes invaded and settled England. There they told stories of warriors’ bloody conquests.

 What makes Beowulf significantly different from these other works is not the portrayal of warfare, but the exaltation of peace and peace-keeping through the rule of powerful kings.
Stories around the Campfire
War! What is it good for?
Warfare, or the threat of warfare, is a regular part of Anglo-Saxon life.
 Kings gave riches to their bravest warriors to guarantee their loyalty.
Anglo-Saxons believed in mystical creatures such as monsters and dragons.
Swords are as intricately decorated by the Anglo-Saxons as their jewelry.
Symbolizing the worthiness of a warrior to a clan.
Some are given names such as `Hrunting‘ (Beowulf's Sword).
Passed down from father to son, from king to retainer, or captured in battle.
The Danes are those who reside in Denmark; Hrothgar is their king. Around the year 500 a.d. an evil spirit arose in Denmark. For fear of this evil the great mead hall of Denmark, know as Harot sat empty, and for that time Evil had triumphed over good. Word of this event traveled across the sea to Geatland - the home of the Geats and specifically home to the strongest, bravest and most noble of all Geats, BEOWULF. Upon receiving the news that evil had out witted goodness Beowulf gathered his best warriors and set out toward Denmark to save the day. While Beowulf wanted to fight for goodness he also wanted infamy! He wanted to be known for all time as the greatest of all heroes. We will see if he succeeds...
The Geats to the Rescue!
Finally because its influence runs through our modern day culture in the form of films such as Lord of the Rings, and 13th Warrior as well as in games such as Magic the Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons!
Why do we care?
Light Vs. Dark Imagery is a big deal
Light vs Dark Symbolizes
Good vs. Evil
Hope vs. Despair
Knowledge vs. Ignorance
Elements of Intense light that radiate heat usually symbolize some sort of intense or unbridled knowledge
With knowledge comes Power
Power gives Choice
(Free Will)
And free will allows us to choose to follow Good or Evil
Kenning - An Imaginative phrase that takes the place of a single noun
Body = Life house
Synecdoche- to reference the whole by referring to a single part
Alliteration - Repetition of sound
Metaphor vs. Simile
Personification- giving human qualities to an object, animal or idea
Symbolism - to represent the metaphysical with the physical
Literary Allusion- a founding text alluded to in a smaller text.
Some Literary Elements found in Beowulf...
More Literary Elements
...Last two Elements
Quick Preface...
460-Mayan Culture peaks in Mexico
517-Buddhism is introduced in China
570- Muhammad is born in Mecca
1000-African gold and ivory trade begins
1000-Leif Ericsson sails to N. America
1271-Marco Polo explores China
1300-First Gunpowder weapons in Europe
1300-Golf is invented in Scotland
1325-Tenochtitlan (Aztecs) is completed in

Around the World
present day Mexico City.
Because Beowulf is both the first English literary masterpiece and the earliest European Epic written in the native language rather than latin.
Because Beowulf is a classic story of Good versus Evil and as such it carries symbolism from multiple cultural backgrounds.
Because this story has survived in the form of a single fragile manuscript copied by two scribes at the end of 900 a.d.

How do you envision the Anglo-Saxon Warrior? What does he look like? Color of hair? Handsome or not? Height, Build? Facial hair, Clothing, weaponry?

Critical Writing to finish off the Day!
Write a Quick Character Sketch...
Take a minute to write a quick paragraph to describe your vision of an Anglo-Saxon -- GO!
Beowulf is the first "Christian Epic Hero" but his legend stems from a Norse Mythology.
A viking ship, indicative of the Anglo-Saxon ship, discovered showing evidence of both Christian and Pagan Cultures upon the same vessel.
Several small tribal kingdoms that lack a written language, farm and hunt, and are polytheistic.
Geatland to Denmark
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