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BEOWULF and Anglo-Saxon Britain. The Anglo-saxon invasion (449 C.E.) Rome had control of Britain from 55 B.C.E. – 409 C.E. There the Roman empire developed:

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Presentation on theme: "BEOWULF and Anglo-Saxon Britain. The Anglo-saxon invasion (449 C.E.) Rome had control of Britain from 55 B.C.E. – 409 C.E. There the Roman empire developed:"— Presentation transcript:

1 BEOWULF and Anglo-Saxon Britain

2 The Anglo-saxon invasion (449 C.E.) Rome had control of Britain from 55 B.C.E. – 409 C.E. There the Roman empire developed: - Roads and public baths - Hadrian’s Wall - Christianity The Roman empire was too weak to sustain itself in so many territories and withdrew from Britain in 409 C.E.

3 Hadrian’s Wall

4 The Anglo-saxon invasion (449 C.E.) Britain was left with a weak government and open to invasion. British king Vortigern first invited the Angles and Saxons (of Germany) to help fight the Picts and Scots. In 449 C.E., the Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain by the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes (of Denmark) was successful and quickly the Anglo-Saxon culture became the norm in Britain.

5 The Anglo-saxon Control (449 - 1066 C.E.) Britain was renamed England after the Angles. Their language replaced Latin as the dominant language. The Celt leaders resisted for as long as they possibly could. They retreated into Wales and settled there. Anglo-Saxon rule was not unified at first. It had individual principalities each with their own “king”. This was changed by King Alfred of Wessex.

6 Alfred the Great ( ruled 871-899 C.E.) King Alfred of Wessex united the Anglo-Saxons to fight off the Danes (Vikings from across the North Sea). The Danes plundered and destroyed everything in their path but eventually settled in NE and Central England. Alfred was able to unify England thanks to the reemergence of Christianity. It gave them all a common system of morality and a connection. The Vikings continued to attack on-and-off until 1066 C.E., but unified England put up a good fight.

7 Anglo-Saxons: The way of the Warrior The 1939 Discovery of Sutton Hoo Loyalty is the base of the Anglo-Saxon culture. Christianity was accepted simultaneously with the old Norse mythology. Arts were not a large focus, but bards (known as scops) were as respected as warriors. Monks and the Book of Kells Anglo-saxon rule was ended in 1066 with the Norman invasion.

8 Book of Kells

9 BEOWULF The History and the Language

10 The History of Beowulf The oldest surviving epic poem in the English language – written specifically in West Saxon Old English. Somewhat based on truth, figures such as King Hygelac have been identified as real people. May have been an elegy to the unknown king of Sutton Hoo. Takes place around 500C.E. in Denmark and Sweden.

11 The History of Beowulf: A Timeline ~700-900 C.E.: Beowulf is composed by Anonymous ~1000 C.E.: Monk scribes make the Beowulf manuscript, likely the Christian elements of the poem are inserted at this time. 1563 C.E.: Englishman Laurence Nowell acquires scribes' manuscript after the Catholic monastery is demolished. 1731 C.E.: After years of changing owners, the manuscript is damaged in a house fire and then becomes a part of the British museum so it remains preserved.

12 The Language of Beowulf Beowulf is written in unrhyming verse, without stanzas, with a caesura (pause) in the middle of each line. Each part is called a hemistich, which is half a line of verse. A complete line is called a stich. Each hemistich contains two stressed (accented) syllables and a varying number of unstressed (unaccented) syllables. Old English With a Space for the Caesura Translation: Hwæt! We Gar-Dena in geardagum, oldþeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon, ða æþelingas ellen fremedon.

13 BEOWULF Prologue – Part 5 lines 1-370

14 Terminology + Vocabulary Kenning – a condensed metaphor, typically a hyphenated compound word that characterizes a person, place or thing. A type of epithet. Ex: whale-road, treasure-giver Comitatus - the basic idea that everyone protects the king at all costs even if it means a warrior giving up his own life Interlacing – twisting and knotting imagery of this era, it represented a concept that nothing in the Anglo-Saxon period was independent. Everything depended on everything else whether agricultural, cultural, personal, or any other way. *** mead - An alcoholic liquor made by fermenting a mixture of honey and water thane - One who in Anglo-Saxon times held lands of the king or other superior by military service

15 Lines 1-370 The legacy of Dane Shield Sheafson * Patriarchal lineage * On the water / foundling and founder * Great-grandfather of Hrothgar Herot – Danish king Hrothgar’s mead hall * Ring-bearing, drinking, and songs for the loyalty of thanes * Symbol of law and order amidst chaos (light vs. darkness) Grendel * Descendant of Cain * Symbolic destroyer of order Beowulf * Position as the nephew of the Geatish king Hygelac * His atmosphere of bravery as he presents himself to the Danish watchman and herald Wulfgar.

16 Review Questions 1. What is the theme found in this passage?: His father’s warriors were wound round his heart With golden rings, bound to their prince By his father’s treasure. So young men build The future, wisely open-handed in peace, Protected in war: so warriors earn Their fame, and wealth is shaped with a sword. (l. 20-25) 2. Why hasn’t Hrothgar rid Herot of Grendel in twelve years? 3. Why does the sentry personally lead Beowulf and his men to Herot after hearing their reason for coming to Denmark? Why does Wulfgar do the same?

17 BEOWULF Part 6 - 12 BEOWULF Part 6 - 12 Lines 371–835

18 Terminology + Vocabulary foil - a character that contrasts with another character (usually the protagonist) in order to highlight various features of the main character's personality wergild - a “death-price” paid to compensate the kin of anyone a warrior has killed ring-hoard - the 'treasury' of a nation or people; often made up literally of gold formed into large rings, sometimes linked together.

19 Lines 371-835 Edgetho’s debt * Debt owed to Hrothgar over the death of Hathlaf * Beowulf’s intentions Unferth’s allegations * The swimming challenge with Breca – true heroism * Unferth as a foil to Beowulf * Welthow – womanly symbol of sincerity Versus Grendel * Calm and clear-minded, Beowulf prepares * Fear from Grendel’s perspective * Overpowering strength and the trophy

20 Review Questions 1. How does Hrothgar know of Beowulf? 2. What is Beowulf’s response to Unferth’s taunts? 3.Why does this statement please Welthow?: My purpose was this: to win the goodwill Of your people or die in battle, pressed In Grendel’s fierce. Let me live in greatness And courage, or in this hall welcome my death! (lines. 634-638) 4. Why does Beowulf meet Grendel bare-handed?

21 BEOWULF Part 13 - 18 BEOWULF Part 13 - 18 Lines 836-1250

22 Terminology + Vocabulary scop – a bard, a musician who sings stories of heroism wyrd - fate torque – a metal collar or neck-chain

23 Lines 836-1250 The Scop and his Tales * Sigmund and the dragon * Hermod * Finn, king of the Frisians Rewards and acclaim * Hrothgar adopts Beowulf in his heart as a son * Beowulf’s modesty over not killing Grendel * Treasures * Welthow presents the torque * Mention of her sons

24 Review Questions 1. What is the song of Siegmund? 2. Who is Hermod? 3. What is the song of Finn?

25 BEOWULF Part 19 - 23 BEOWULF Part 19 - 23 Lines 1251-1650

26 Terminology + Vocabulary bulwark – a strong wall raised for protection and defense fetters - anything that confines or restrains surging - moving with a violent, heaving, swelling motion

27 Lines 1251 - 1650 Grendel’s mother attacks * A blood feud revisited * Fear of no patriarchal lineage * The death of Esher and Beowulf’s charge. (l. 1384-1389) * The importance of armor Fighting deep within the lake * Beowulf descends, beyond mortal limits deep into “hell” * A “light” amidst darkness and evil * Unferth fails, wielding of the giant’s sword * Beheading of a corpse * Only the Geats remain believing in Beowulf’s victory

28 Review Questions 1. Why is it frightening to the Danes and Geats that Grendel’s father is not known? 2. How may the lake containing Grendel’s mother and her lair be described? 3. How does Unferth’s behavior toward Beowulf change now?

29 BEOWULF Part 24-31 BEOWULF Part 24-31 Lines 1651-2199

30 Terminology + Vocabulary NONE!

31 Lines 1651 - 2199 The Shift from Brave Warrior to Mature Leader * Rebirth from the water * Hrothgar tells of evil King Hermod and the ways of a good ruler * ETERNAL treasures, not worldly ones The Return Home * Gratitude and spoils for everyone, even the watchman * Thrith as a foil to Higd * Beowulf’s prediction of doom for Freaw’s wedding * Presentation of gifts as honor, Beowulf humble and an honorable subject

32 Review Questions 1. Identify these characters: Higlac, Higd, Thrith 2. What does Beowulf foresee will happen with Freaw’s marriage? Why is this important? 3. What is the message of this quote said by Hrothgar: O flower of warriors, beware of that trap. eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride. For a brief while your strength is in bloom but it fades quickly; and soon there will follow illness or the sword to lay you low, or a sudden fire or surge of water or jabbing blade or javelin from the air or repellent age. Your piercing eye will dim and darken; and death will arrive, dear warrior, to sweep you away. (l. 1758-1768)

33 BEOWULF Part 31-35 BEOWULF Part 31-35 Lines 2200 - 2601

34 Terminology + Vocabulary NONE!

35 Lines 2200 - 2601 How Beowulf Became King * Death of Higlac * Beowulf’s loyalty to Herdred instead of taking the throne * 50 years as a great king - ended the war with the Swedes, built a great hall, was well-loved * Story: Hrethel’s sons and the hunting accident The Dragon * The origins of his treasure hoard * Beowulf’s pride and the tone of death * Beowulf is losing, his men flee

36 Review Questions 1. Do you consider Beowulf’s decision to fight the dragon alone when he has little chance to win: brave, irresponsible, or an inescapable destiny? Why? 2. Why does Beowulf lose when he battles the dragon? 3. How is comitatus broken in this section?

37 BEOWULF Part 36-43 BEOWULF Part 36-43 Lines 2602 - 3180

38 Terminology + Vocabulary Barrow - a large mound of earth or rocks placed over the dead

39 Lines 2602 - 3180 Beowulf’s Death * Assisted in his final moments * Giving a kingdom to Wiglaf * The importance of treasure * The chastised warriors Post-mortem * The inevitable attacks from other lands * The barrow * Why the treasure was left with Beowulf

40 Review Questions 1. Why does Wiglaf feel obligated to help Beowulf? 2. When Wiglaf returns from fulfilling Beowulf’s request, what further request is made of him by Beowulf? 3. How may the Geatish king’s funeral pyre be described?


42 Alliteration: the repetition of stressed sounds, particularly consonants Kennings: Kennings are a special form of compounding that are metaphoric in meaning. For example: the kenning banhus (ban + hus), literally "bone- house," refers to the human body Variation: Another common stylistic feature of Old English poetry is the use of variation, which is the restatement of a concept or term using different words. A complex form of variation can be seen in the lines 1408 – 1411: (The nobleman's son then passed the steep rocky cliffs, the narrow path, the narrow single-file path, an unknown way, precipitous headland, the homes of many water-monsters.) ELEMENTS OF TRANSLATION

43 Versification: Old English alliterative verse uses an accentual meter of four stressed beats and an undetermined number of unstressed beats per line. A typical Old English alliterative line consists of two half-lines separated by a strong caesura. The third stress of a line always alliterates with either the first and/or the second stress, and the fourth stress never alliterates. Readability: Can the reader make sense of the translator’s format? * * * * * * * MOST IMPORTANTLY! – which of these elements do you think is most important to maintain in a translation? Do you think these should be secondary to a translation that is loose but makes the best use of the Modern English language? Should the words be translated literally despite the loss of alliteration and poetic verse? This should be what you consider when you choose the “best” translation. ELEMENTS OF TRANSLATION

44 Elements of EPIC POETRY

45 Begins in in medias res, “in the middle of things” The epic hero archetype: * Dutifully follows his culture’s code of honor. * Importance placed upon his armor and arming * Superhuman strength * Faces trials and enemies * Often tempted by women or chooses to remain celibate The form of the epic is verse -- marking it immediately as poetry. The language of epic poetry is often formulaic. Use of epithets (kennings), alliteration, and repetition helped to make these massive epics memorable enough to survive decades and centuries through purely oral tradition. ELEMENTS OF the EPIC

46 The material of epic poetry is elevated; it does not dwell on the banal details of life. The epic will take place during an age that exemplified heroism. Epic poetry tends to make mentions of catalogues and family histories. This includes long, detailed accounts of treasure, weapons, and lineage. Speeches are frequent. Restitution. Often this takes the form of the hero regaining his rightful place… either on the throne or earning the respect and admiration of all. ELEMENTS OF the EPIC

47 Gilgamesh

48 Very loosely based on the Sumerian King Gilgamesh who rulled over Uruk, Sumer some time between 2700 and 2500 B.C.E. Sumer is located between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, and eventually became Babylon and is now Southern Iraq. Gilgamesh is two parts god and one part human. His human weakness, excessive pride, gives Gilgamesh the single weakness found in most epic heroes. What makes Enkidu his foil? The Mesopotamian pantheon of gods contained over 1,000 deities. They were much like the Greek pantheon: very “human-like” gods who quarreled, fell in love, and interfered with human affairs. Gilgamesh background

49 1. Summarize what happens in the cedar forest. Do events unfold exactly as Gilgamesh anticipated? Explain. 2. How do Gilgamesh and Enkidu help each other on their adventure? Are there any ways in which they hurt each other? 3. Enkidu repeatedly associates Humbaba with death. How does Gilgamesh characterize Humbaba? What are we told about Humbaba’s relationship with the gods? Gilgamesh Questions

50 Homer’s Iliad

51 The Trojan War, according to most historians, took place in 13 th -11 th century B.C. around modern day Turkey. The Iliad came into existence around 8 th -7 th century B.C. in the oral form, making it the oldest extant (still existing) pieces of Greek literature today. Homer is the “author” of the Iliad. But many speculate whether he was a single man or a accumulation of many poets. The main themes of the Iliad are: * nostos – “homecoming” * kleos – “glory” * aristeia – “a warrior’s prowess” * the importance of the guest-host relationship Iliad background

52 1. How does Athena deceive Hector? Why does Zeus decline to save Hector? 2. What is Hector’s dying request, and how does Achilles respond to it? 3. Consider the role of the gods in Book 22. How do they direct or influence events? Do you think their intervention turns the human characters into puppets, or do the humans still make choices that affect their fate? Why? Iliad Questions

53 Gardner’s Grendel

54 Sycophant - a self-seeking, servile flatterer Transmogrified - to change in appearance or form, esp. strangely or grotesquely. Dogmatism - Arrogant, stubborn assertion of opinion or belief. Nihilism - total and absolute destructiveness toward the world at large and including oneself Concrescence - The growing together of separate parts. Petulant - showing sudden impatient irritation over some trifling annoyance Grendel vocabulary

55 Grendel Grendel’s mother The Shaper Unferth The Dragon Hrothgar Wealtheow Hrothulf and Red Horse Beowulf Grendel Characters

56 Themes Art as Falsehood The Power of Stories The Pain of Isolation

57 Motifs and Symbols Seasons The Zodiac The Bull The Corpse

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