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Anglo-Saxon Historical and Literary Terms
Transcript of Anglo-Saxon Historical and Literary Terms
consistently invaded “Angle-land” from the 8th to the 11th centuries. 12th Grade British Literature Anglo-Saxon Historical Notes Early British History *Around 2000 BC, Stonehenge was built by early inhabitants.
*In 500 BC, Celtic tribes invaded the British Isles and established hunting, farming, and a clan-based hierarchy for society. What'd the Romans do? *Established roads, aqueducts, tax
collection, and towns *They brought with them Christianity,
monks, and monasteries. *However, in 476 AD, the city of Rome
fell due to a dependence upon
mercenaries, hired barbarians,
and slave labor.
*Behind them, they left Christianity, a
powerful religion whose influence
would be seen through much of
British Literature in the coming
centuries. Original Christian Cathedral Ruins in Britain Time Period= 449 – 1066 *449=beginning of the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain *The native Britons fled to Cornwall, Scotland, Wales,
and Ireland where they preserved the Celtic language
and culture. *The Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes were the three
main tribes who fought for the land *Life was based around agriculture, warfare, Christianity,
and the pre-existing pagan beliefs *While many converted, some held onto superstitious beliefs about fairies, goblins, and monsters in the dark. *Vikings stole from monasteries, burned villages, and killed Anglo-Saxons *Alfred the Great (849-899) resisted the Viking invasion *He encouraged learning, education, and Anglo-Saxon writing. Thanks, Alfred! *Thanks to Alfred the Great,
Anglo-Saxon writing flourished. *The scholarly language was considered Latin, but after Alfred, texts were written in the language of the people...
AKA vernacular. *Today, Modern English hardly resembles it's original form, Old English Who cares about Old English? Old English marks the beginnings of our language – both spoken and written during the Anglo-Saxon period. Anglo-Saxon Literature Concepts Oral Literature is literature passed down by word of mouth. Epics, like Beowulf, were originally passed from storyteller to storyteller. What's this have to do with Beowulf? *It is believed that a monk wrote down Beowulf after hearing the epic sung by a bard at a meadhall. *Bards (AKA scops) would sing and act out stories alongside music Scops orally composed Beowulf somewhere between 500 and 600 AD It was not written down by a monk until somewhere between 700 and 750 AD. Good to Know Literary Terms *Literary Epic: a specific genre of narrative poetry . What makes a poem"Epic"?
It's usually very long, has multiple settings as well as characters, OR takes place over a long period of time. Also, it will start "in medias res," or the middle of action. What does it take to be an epic hero? He or she should possess all the qualities that his/her society values-bravery, strength, skill, and intelligence. Beowulf being an epic hero --> Epics usually contain catalogues: a list of ancestors, weapons, battles, and heroic deeds. That's pretty epic. More Literary Terms... *Kenning: metaphorical compound phrase that replaces a single noun. Ex. "whale-road" which is fancy for “the sea”. *Epithet: descriptive phrase following a character’s name Alexander the Great William the Conqueror Hey, look! A whale-road. Literary Terms Continued... *Mnemonics are tricks to assist memorization. Bards often used these. *Alliteration is the repetition of consonant sounds. *A caesura is a pause in the middle of a line of poetry. This aids in creating rhythm. *Imagery is a device used by authors which appeals to your senses. This is often used during battle scenes to heighten the action. Last ones! *Theme is the main insight(s) about life that the author wishes to convey. *An allusion is a reference to something the author thinks the reader already knows. The most common allusions are to the Bible. *Paganism versus Christianity is a thematic battle. Which views are more dominant in Beowulf – the Anglo-Saxon belief of life in a grim world without an after-life or salvation through Christ? *An elegy is a type of lyric poetry is mourning the loss of someone or something. Wyrd is the Anglo-Saxon concept of fate. Since some warriors believed that their destinies were predetermined, they became unusually brave. As a result of their deeds, they could attain fame. Since there was no belief in the afterlife, a warrior could live forever through his deeds.