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The Middle Ages Background
Transcript of The Middle Ages Background
made, written, or thought during the
Middle Ages. The Reformation was the powerful religious movement that began in the early 16th century and disowned the Catholic Church Period is divided into three sections:
Middle-Englishh Anglo-Saxon Literature From the 1st to the 5th centuries,
England was a province of the
Roman Empire and were called
"The Brittans." The Britons became Christians in the 4th century after the conversion of Emporer Constantine. Most other Anglo-Saxons
remained pagans, though. Around 597, Chrisitianity began to spread because of missionaries from Ireland preaching. Within 75 years, Christianity
had spread and with this
change in religion came books. There were many invasions
during this time. Anglo-Saxon invaders
brought a tradition of oral
poetry with them. Since there was no written language before Christianity,
there is no way to verify what the poetry was like. The earliest records in the English language are manuscripts from monasteries ca. 7th century. Literacy was restricted to servants of the church Therefore, the bulk of Old English literature is religious in nature and is from mostly
Latin sources. It was expensive to publish so most
Old English manuscripts are contained
in four manuscripts. Germanic heroic poetry
continued to be
alliterative verse and was
used to describe current
events. These poems show
the aristocratic heroic
and kinship values of
society. This inspired many in
Chrisitianity and was represented
in Anglo-Saxon heroic poetry. This poetry was often invoked to rally resistance to invasions. In spite of this, Christian writers were fascinated by
their pagan ancestors and by the conflict between the
heroic code and a religion that teaches we "should forgive
those who trespass against us." Poets like the one who wrote Beowulf, admire the courage that used to be and the sympathy for what was to come. Anglo-Saxon poetry is hard to distinguish between heroic and Christian because much Christian poetry has heroic elements. For example, in Dream of the Rood, Christ
is portrayed as a "young hero." Old English poetry is often
elegiac. While the men might celebrate in the
mead hall, they realize there may be
failure. There is little to no
Romantic love- And even in the midst of failure
they think of things like spring--
new beginnings. Poetic language is used often and effectively. A kenning is a compound of two words in place of another. For example:
A body is a "life-house" They used a lot of riddles where descriptions were given and the question, "what am I?" was asked. There are times when there is something that needs importance brought to it, so the word is used a lot in apposition. For example, "God" might be: "Creator,"
"Lord," "Master," etc. This is parallel structure
gives the verse structure and
musical quality. This thus elevates the speech and
formalizes the language. This poetry enjoys using
misdirection thus using
a lot of irony. Fighting might be called
"battle play," for example.