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Germanic tribes battled for control after causing the downfall of the Western Roman Empire (400s A.D.) Political, economic, cultural repercussions Bloody.

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Presentation on theme: "Germanic tribes battled for control after causing the downfall of the Western Roman Empire (400s A.D.) Political, economic, cultural repercussions Bloody."— Presentation transcript:

1 Germanic tribes battled for control after causing the downfall of the Western Roman Empire (400s A.D.) Political, economic, cultural repercussions Bloody warfare  many Germanic tribes in Northern Europe left their homelands Anglo-Saxon civilization established on island of Britain G. tribes: Angles, Saxons, Jutes Story set on mainland

2 Paganism in northern Germanic tribes Warrior culture Strength, courage, loyalty – principal values Mead halls Center of community, culture & entertainment; offered safety Large wooden buildings - men Drank mead (alcoholic beverage) Storytelling long epic poems & verse narratives Scops – poet-singers, chanted from memory, usually played harp too

3 Beowulf = Geat warrior crosses the sea to aid Danes in battle (B’s father helped by Hrothgar) returns to Sweden to succeed his uncle, Hygelac, as king of the Geats Hygelac was a real historical figure, led a military raid around 525 AD. Historians believe the action of Beowulf is set shortly after Hygelac’s raid in 525. Takes place on mainland, not in Britain. Danes (PD Denmark), Geats (PD Sweden)

4 Originally written in Old English, the language spoken in Britain during Anglo-Saxon period Old English poetry has a strong rhythm with each line divided into two parts by a pause (caesura) –indicated by an extra space. In translation, commas used to reproduce effect of the caesuras Old English doesn’t look or sound like modern English Usually translated and/or heavily noted for modern readers Text written between 8 th and 10 th centuries After Anglo-Saxon conversion to Christianity Tells story of mostly pagan society (~525 AD) Most famous early Germanic heroic poem to survive (  oral tradition)

5 Exact author is unknown, only inferred information Educated, familiar with ancient epics such as Aeneid by Virgil Knowledgeable about Christianity and the Bible Differences in scholarly opinions Northern England – eighth century AD Southwestern England – tenth century AD Only one copy of original manuscript has survived Dates back to 1000 AD Preserved by Christian monks who copied manuscripts Housed in British Library in London (present day) Damaged by various disasters, including fires Electronic Beowulf Project 2007 film - Ray Winstone, Angelina Jolie, Christian Glover Does not follow the plot of the poem so don’t rely on it for any information for this course.

6 Alliteration Caesura Epithet Kenning Adjectives that point out special traits of particular people or things; fits metrically into a line the repetition of consonant sounds at the beginning of words, used to help storytellers memorize poems in oral tradition a pause that divides a line of poetry; (modern translations use commas, not extra space) descriptive phrase or compound word that substitutes for simple nouns, common in Germanic poetry; type of metaphor “frost bound the earth and hail would fall, the coldest seeds” (“The Seafarer” lines 31-33)

7 descriptive compound words and phrases that take place of simple nouns “The Seafarer” Excerpts It would snow from the north; frost bound the earth and hail would fall, the coldest seeds. (31-33) So summer’s sentinel, the cuckoo, sings in his murmuring voice, and our hearts mourn as he urges. (53-55) My soul roams with the sea, the whales’ home, wandering to the widest corners of the world. (59-61)

8 Lines “No one/Waited for reparation from his plundering claws;/ That shadow of death hunted in the darkness…” Lines “To hell he would go, swept groaning and helpless/To the waiting hands of still worse fiends. Now he discovered – once the afflictor/ Of men, tormentor of their days – what it meant/To feud with Almighty God…” Lines “And all at once the greedy she-wolf/Who’d ruled those waters for half a hundred/Years discovered him…” “…Tried to work her fingers through the tight/Ring-woven mail on his breast, but tore/And scratched in vain.” descriptive compound words and phrases that take place of simple nouns


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