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Transcript of Anglo-Saxon Period
In ancient times, the British
Isles were inhabited by Celtic
(Britons, Gaels) peoples
1) The hero is of noble birth or high social position
2) The hero reflects values that are important to his society
3) The hero's actions consist of courageous, even superhuman deeds
4) Supernatural forces are often involved
Four Major Characteristics of Epic Poetry
Beowulf is written in poetic form but read as prose; pause at each punctuation mark, not
at the end of each line
Beowulf was a legendary hero who battled evil; Beowulf represented the values admired by his society
“God's bright beacon”
“Heaven’s high arch”
The most famous of the Anglo-Saxon adventure tales; the setting is what is now Sweden and Denmark; recorded by Anglo-Saxon monks around A.D. 1000
Kennings--metaphorical phrases or compound words used instead of the name of a person or thing; closely related to riddles
"Caedmon of Whitby" tells of the first English religious poet and a miraculous event in his life
Bede (The Venerable) 673-735; the earliest English historian; earliest important prose
writer; wrote History of the English Church
and People (contains legends and stories of
the lives of saints; local traditions)
Alfred the Great, king of Wessex, contributed greatly to the development
of English literature.
The main entertainment was to gather in a mead hall for a banquet (hosted by a king) and drink mead (wine made from fermented honey).
Warlike is the key word here. Life during the Anglo-Saxon period was extremely harsh. Life was unpredictable.
A.D. 43: Romans (under Emperor Claudius) conquered Britain; introduced their law, culture, and Latin language; built military fortifications and established colonies
Epic--a long poem that narrates
the adventures of a hero
Three languages that made contributions to English during the Anglo-Saxon period:
3) Old Norse
1066--The Norman Conquest; signaled the end of the Anglo-Saxon era; beginning of the Medieval Period
1) defeated the Danes and unified southern and central England
2) sponsored the translation of many books into the Old English language
3) began the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, the writing of a year-by-year account of English history up to his time
Alfred the Great's Main Contributions:
Scribes produced books by hand, writing on vellum parchment of calves' or sheep's skin.
Monasteries, centers of religious learning, were established.
AD 597: Pope Gregory sent Augustine to convert King Ethelbert of Kent. Christianity spread throughout Britain
People believed that their harsh and unpredictable lives were controlled by the goddess WYRD, or "fate"
A wrong done to one's kin required
redress in kind or a payment of treasure, the Weirgild ("man-money"); the payment extracted depended on the deceased’s station in life
1) provided entertainment
2) embodied the heroic ideals of the people
3) kept their history alive
Three Main Purposes of the Scops
449: Angles and Saxons raided and conquered much of Britain; established kingdoms, including ANGLIA
Julius Caesar crossed the English Channel
and defeated the Britons, then left
Celtic priests who composed hymns, poems, and historical records; they studied the movements of heavenly bodies and conducted religious ceremonies at sites such as Stonehenge
In ancient times, the British Isles were inhabited by Celtic (Britons, Gaels) peoples who came from the European continent at an uncertain date
Simple and crude
A SCOP, accompanied by a harp, would sing songs in praise of great warriors, such as the renowned BEOWULF.
The English Anglo-Saxon Period