Anglo Saxons No Anglo Saxon poem is more better known than Beowulf, the story of a warrior. Composed by an unknown poet that lived 1,200 years ago, this epic marks the beginning of British Literature.
An epic is “a long narrative poem that relates the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society” Most epics include elements of myth, legend, folklore, and history. Their tone is serious, and their language is grand. Most epic heroes undertake quests to achieve something of tremendous value to themselves and their society.
What makes a hero? Special circumstances surrounding his/her birth Special qualities revealed in his/her youth Has a tragic flaw/weakness Superman was born on Krypton Super strength used to save Pa on the farm Kryptonite
What makes a hero? Status/place is challenged Goes on a quest Heroic death Lex Luther tries to kill Superman Superman goes to the ???
Hero Cycle Pick a hero with a partner. Track them through the hero cycle.
What makes an epic/classic hero? Tell someone TWO things. Have them tell YOU two things.
Which heroic characteristics do you predict? Which characteristics do you think will be important in this story and why? If you have seen the movie, think about which characteristics may have been inaccurate in the film version.
The Anglo-Saxons EQ: What role does history & culture play in an epic? (1) Comitatus (2) Mead Hall (3) Christianity vs. Pagan / Roman / Norse Rituals (4) Herot (5) Hrothgar (6) Grendel
The Anglo-Saxons EQ: What role does history & culture play in an epic? Comitatus - Germanic code of loyalty. (reciprocity) Thanes (warriors) swore loyalty to their king (honor / protect) King must be generous in return (give treasure / land) Kings praised for generosity and hospitality. Warriors praised for courage and loyalty
The Anglo-Saxons EQ: What role does history & culture play in an epic? Mead Hall - center of civilization Socializing History preserved (scop – oral poet) Reputations built (brag; give gifts) Sign of tribe’s strength; safe place (sleep)
What are some present-day mead halls and examples of comitatus?
The Anglo-Saxons EQ: What role does history & culture play in an epic? Christianity vs. Pagan / Roman / Norse Rituals Poem recorded in 400 A.D. However, Anglo’s originally pagan; changed to Christianity after 600 A.D Therefore; historians believe poem is transcribed by a Christian monk
The Real Beowulf Druids – deep pagan roots (Anglos mix with Britons – Druids ) –Feasts, ceremonies, magic –Druids painted their bodies blue before battle –Human / animal sacrifice and effigy were common – Limited concept of an afterlife = need fame to live on – “momento mori”
Actually this term is used to describe a culture composed of the Anglos, Saxons, Jutes, and Geats They were Germanic tribes – “guns for hire” – mercenaries (brutal, ruthless, scavengers) Sent to take Great Britain from Romans / Britons – They stay! Tribal Life – small clans / armies (loyalty and strength were very important) Although vicious they had values = loyalty Killing a fellow member of one’s tribe was the worst possible crime Quick Facts About the Anglo Saxons
Review new terms Which of the new terms do you think will be the easiest to remember? The most difficult?
The Monster Grendel EQ: What symbolism is evident in the establishment of the plot’s conflict? Important Vocabulary: Herot: mead hall Hrothgar: generous king (Dane) Grendel: descendent of Cain; Biblical Allusion = brother slayer (worst Anglo Saxon crime); demon race (outsider) Laments: cries of grief Reparation – payment for wrongdoing (crimes; sins) Solace - peace
“The Wrath of Grendel” p. 39 - 41 What symbolism is evident in the establishment of the plot’s conflict? What is significant about the attack in the mead hall? Think – Pair – Share
1.) Where does Grendel live? How is this indirect characterization? 2.) What does Grendel do at night? What is significant about the attack in the mead hall? 3.) Conflict: Wergild – according to Anglo Saxon culture / code a man (villain) must pay for the deaths they cause or accept the fact that relatives will seek vengeance. Therefore, what do you think will happen? 4.) Why does Grendel not touch Hrothgar’s throne? 5.) What do you think Grendel and Herot symbolize? Grendel = evil / anarchy Herot = means ‘king’; Anglo rule / civilization
The Monster Grendel Review of plot development: Characterization: Grendel – evil, outsider, anarchy Hrothgar – generous Danish king Herot – great mead hall (civilization) under attack Theme(s): Good vs. Evil Chaos vs. Order (Anglo’s Civilization) Foreshadowing: Wergild (man-price) – must be paid for the 30 men slaughtered. (Beowulf)
The Anglo-Saxons EQ: What role does history & culture play in an epic? Memento Mori – ‘remember death’ no afterlife; therefore, achieve immortality by deeds (preserve soul) through reputation. Adoration – to regard with the utmost esteem, love, and respect; to honor and worship – idolize The goal of Anglo Saxon society was to attain adoration and fame in order to obtain immortality Methods = poem, statue, memorial,…
Quick Facts About the Anglo Saxons Riddles – beauty in mystery = quickness of mind = intellectual strength Boast – confidence was very important must be able to back up what you boast claims
RIDDLE ME THIS!!!! In Modern English (Riddle 49) Christ the true giver of victories, created me for combat. When my lord urged me to fight, I often scorch mortals; I approach the earth and, without a touch, afflict a huge host of people. At times I gladden the minds of men, keeping my distance. I console those whom I fought before; they feel my kindness as they once felt my fire when, after such suffering, I soothe their lives.
Make some predictions Why has Beowulf come? How will people react to Beowulf? What will happen to him? Predictions focus your reading
Think about the qualities of modern heroes and the kinds of enemies they battle. Modern-day Hero Heroic Deeds EnemiesAbilitiesVirtues Use the chart to record phrases that describe today’s heroes. As you read, decide if Beowulf displays any of the qualities you listed.
The Coming of Beowulf p. 41 - 44 Vocabulary: Mail-shirt – armor made of 20,000 small iron rings; mesh effect Wyrd – fate / destiny; Anglo Saxons must fulfill to achieve destiny (memento mori) Beowulf – epic hero; Geat
The Art of Bragging p. 45 Questions: 1. Beowulf says he has come to kill Grendel. What proof does he offer that he is up to the task (art of the brag)? - killed many - chained / drove out 5 giants - hunted monsters in the ocean 2. Why do you think Beowulf intends to fight Grendel without the aid of a sword? - match his strength, demonstrate bravery, Grendel uses no weapons
The Anglo-Saxons EQ: What role does history & culture play in an epic? Elegiac Mood –awareness of the passing of time / life It is important to remember the poem reminisces about a previous, “dead” world. (Anglo-Saxon Code was fading)
Characteristics of Anglo-Saxon Poetry Poetic DeviceDefinitionExample Alliterationsame consonant sound m iserable m ighty m en Caesura obvious pause in a line of poetry. (middle of a line) A prince of the Ge ats, // had killed Gren del Kenning metaphorical phrase used instead of a simple noun to identify something with something it is not whale-road for sea life-house for body
The Battle with Grendel Open your Literature Book to Pgs: 32 - 37 Comprehension: 1.) Why do the men’s weapons not harm Grendel? 2.) What battle trophy does Beowulf keep? 3.) Do you feel sorry for Grendel? Why or why not? Look back through the provided description.
The Battle with Grendel’s Mother : Quiz 1.) How did Beowulf manage to kill Grendel’s Mother (Deus ex Machina)? 2.) What trophy does Beowulf claim?
What (else)? The three creatures can be read allegorically: – Grendel’s mother may stand for the root of (or mother of) our deepest animalistic aggressions. When heroes go into the sea, it is said by some scholars that they are actually going into the deepest recesses of their psyche.
What (else)? The Final Battle: –50 years in the future –Beowulf is king –His kingdom has been attacked!
What (else)? The three creatures can be read allegorically: – Dragons often represent greed. They horde treasure and become violent if the treasure is touched. By killing the dragon, is Beowulf killing his own greed? Notice what he bequeaths to his people after he dies.
The Final Battle Read The Final Battle (Pgs 39 – 46) 1.Who comes to Beowulf’s aid in the final battle? Why? - Wiglaf (follows code; Beowulf deserves it) 2.What sad scene concludes the epic? - Burn Beowulf’s body (elegiac mood – glory days gone) 3.What happens to the dragons hoard? - burned with Beowulf’s body (Wiglaf does not listen; not a generous king: heroes / kings gone)
RIDDLE ME THIS!!!! In Old English (Riddle 46) Cwico wæs ic--ne cwæð ic wiht; cwele ic efne seþeah. Ær ic wæs, eft ic cwom; æghwa mec reafað, hafað mec on headre, ond min heafod scireþ, biteð mec on bær lic, briceð mine wisan. Monnan ic ne bite, nympþe he me bite; sindan þara monige þe mec bitað. In Modern English (Riddle 46) A stalk of the living, I nothing said; Dumb, stand waiting to join the dead. I have risen before and will rise again Though plunderers carve and split my skin, Bite through my bare body, shear my head, Hold me hard in a slicing bed. I do not bite a man unless he bites me, But the number of men who bite is many
RIDDLE ME THIS!!!! In Old English (Riddle 48) Ic wiht geseah in wera burgum, seo þæt feoh fedeð. Hafað fela toþa; nebb biþ hyre æt nytte, niþerweard gongeð, hiþeð holdlice ond to ham tyhð, wæþeð geond weallas, wyrte seceð; Aa heo þa findeð, þa þe fæst ne biþ; læteð hio þa wlitigan, wyrtum fæste, stille stondan on staþolwonge, beorhte blican, blowan ond growan. In Modern English (Riddle 48) I saw close to the houses of men A strange creature that feeds cattle. By tooth-hoard and nose- haul (A useful slave), it scruffs the ground, Scratches at plants, dogs walls Or drags fields for plunder-seeks A crop-catch and carries it home. Its prey is bent stalk and weak root; Its gift is firm grain and full flower On a glittering plain-growing, blooming.
RIDDLE ME THIS!!!! Anglo-Saxon Riddles: Little of the Anglo-Saxon literature survived the destruction of the Vikings and the burning of the monasteries by Henry the VIII. One work that did survive was the Exeter Book, a tenth century manuscript that includes several Old English works. In this are several riddles (about 40!). These riddles were told to entertain, as well as prove mental dominance up until approximately 1066.