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The Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Period (428-1066)

Writer's Craft Culminating Task

Jessie Faber

on 2 June 2013

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Transcript of The Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Period (428-1066)

Why is The Old English (Anglo-Saxon) Period Most Significant? What Makes a Period of Literature "Significant"? What elements of modern society have
been influenced by the Anglo Saxon period? A significant period of literature should have an influence on future time periods. The literature should be able to survive throughout the years as well as have a historical significance, influence on society, culture etc. Lastly, a significant period of literature should have some sort of impact on a language e.g. help to develop the English language. The Anglo Saxon period was historically of crucial importance because it was then that the foundations of an English nation took place. The Anglo Saxon's were a feudal system government which influenced England's development of what is now a monarchy system. The Anglo Saxons had many parts of their culture that we have today. Their period impacted the foundation of art, society, literature and culture of what he have today. The Old English period (Anglo-Saxon), also known as the “dark ages” occur from 445CE to 1485CE. This time period occurs when Rome falls and the barbarian tribes move into Europe. The Angles, Saxons and Jutes invaded Britain in the 5th and 6th centuries. The invaders all spoke a language that was Germanic (affiliated with what is now Dutch, Frisian, German, Scandinavian languages and to Gothic). Old English writings started to appear in the 7th, 8th and 9th centuries. BACKGROUND INFO ON THE ANGLO- SAXON PERIOD Quick introduction Predominant Governing Structure of the Time The predominant governing structure during the Anglo Saxon period was the feudal system. The strongest ties in Anglo-Saxon society were to kin and lord. There was no underlying administration or bureaucracy to maintain any gains beyond the lifetime of a leader therefore once the leader died the strength of the area he ruled disintegrated. Society During the Anglo Saxon Period Daily life during the Anglo-Saxon period was far from easy. War was going on constantly and the life expectancy was very low. The Anglo-Saxon period was a patriarchal society. Women were not seen as equals to men and had a lower social status to men. At the time, status was very important in society. Society: Religion
Religion played a very important role during the Anglo-Saxon time period. Before the year 596, almost everybody had strong pagan beliefs. In 596 missionaries had begun to attempt to convert the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity. By the year 650, almost all of England had converted to Christianity. Everyone applied their religious beliefs to what they did everyday including art and literature Society: Clothing
During the Anglo-Saxon period everyone wore extremely modest clothing. The common garment for a man was the robe gathered at the waist, completed by hose and soft sandals. The same was for the woman, except their dress extended to the feet. Society: Art Pottery in the Anglo Saxon period was a very popular form of art of the age. The Saxons produced small handmade pots that were commonly used to hold things such as food and hot coal. Metalwork during the Anglo-Saxon period was also very popular. Much of the metalwork from the age has also survived over the years. It consisted of bronze brooches of simple design, and circular silver brooches decorated with gold and silver jewels with inlays of garnet and also decorated with interlaced gold filigree. Anglo Saxon Literature Main Topic of Literature in Anglo-Saxon time period During the Anglo Saxon time period, religion was a very popular topic for literature due to its large amount of influence in society. Heroism was also a main topic of literature during the Anglo-Saxon period. Heroism was highly praised during that time especially because of the constant war present in society. During this time, there was little or no topics of romantic love. Only about 30,000 lines of poetry from the age have survived to this time, and the epic poem "Beowulf" makes up a large portion of that. Beowulf Beowulf, written by an unknown poet, consists of 3182 alliterative long lines set in Scandinavia. It is considered to be one of the most important works in Anglo-Saxon literature. The poem includes two of the major themes of literature during the Anglo Saxon period; religion and heroism. The poem starts of with the story of Beowulf, who fights against the water monster Grendel and Grendel's mother. The second half of the story is about Beowulf in his old age and his funeral. Beowulf is one of the oldest English manuscripts and has given historians an insight into the old Anglo Saxon way of life. The poem has survived centuries making it very important in English literature. Themes: What messages is Anglo-Saxon literature trying to send The messages Anglo-Saxon literature tries to send relates directly to the two major themes; religion and heroism. Anglo Saxon literature dictates the message that religion is key, and that if you are a religious person you are a better person and are essentially "superior" to those who do not follow god. Additionally, Anglo-Saxon literature also tries to send the message that fighting and being a hero is praised. During the Anglo-Saxon period, war was going on constantly. The literature during that period tried to influence people that fighting is heroic and will be condemned by society, therefore more people will participate in the barbaric war. Who was ruling during the Anglo Saxon period? During the Anglo Saxon period the rulers of the land were constantly changing mainly because of death due to the constant ongoing war. Some of the past rulers include:

Eadred (954 - 955) - who was recognized as the first king of a united kingdom
Edwy (955 - 959)
Edgar the Peaceful (959 - 975)
Edward the Martyr (975 - 979)
Æthelred (979 - 1013)
Sweyn Forkbeard (1013 - 1014)
Canute the Great (1014) So...Why should the UN preserve the works from the Anglo Saxon time period? Reason number 1: The Anglo Saxon period had great historical significance Reason number 2: The Anglo Saxon period had great influence on literature today How has modern literature been affected by the Anglo Saxon period? Little writing remains from the Anglo Saxon period because we do not have many written records due to the fact that storytelling was generally done in oral tradition. However, Anglo Saxon literature still has a very large influence on modern literature. There are a large amount of words we use today that originated from Anglo Saxon literature. In fact, about half of the most commonly used words in modern English have Old English roots. Words including water, be and strong all derive from old English roots. Anglo Saxon literature has also developed two popular themes in literature, religion and heroism that we still see today.

(http://wordinfo.info/unit/4191). (http://www.britainexpress.com/History/anglo-saxon_life-kinship_and_lordship.htm) (http://www.wmich.edu/medieval/resources/IOE/genintro.html) http://www.historyfiles.co.uk/KingListsBritain/EnglandKings.htm http://saraalgoe.hubpages.com/hub/Anglo-Saxon http://saraalgoe.hubpages.com/hub/Anglo-Saxon http://saraalgoe.hubpages.com/hub/Anglo-Saxon http://saraalgoe.hubpages.com/hub/Anglo-Saxon http://digilander.libero.it/dofurci/letteratura/Origins/OldEnglishLiteraryBackground&Production.html http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/beowulf/context.html http://wordinfo.info/unit/4191 Reason number 3: It will not be hard for the UN to preserve this period Because little writing remains from the Anglo Saxon period it will not be difficult for the UN to preserve the period in its entirety. Although there is not a large amount of literature from the Anglo Saxon period that has survived, the literature that has lasted is very significant and influential to modern literature. Preserving the Anglo Saxon period will preserve the roots of the English language, as well as England as a nation. Keeping the Anglo Saxon period alive would not only be beneficial, but will also not be a hassle for the UN. Easy to preserve Save the Anglo Saxon Period!
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