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The Anglo-Saxon Period

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Presentation on theme: "The Anglo-Saxon Period"— Presentation transcript:

1 The Anglo-Saxon Period
Strength and Honor: A Heroes Journey British Legends The Anglo-Saxon Period Theme: Heroes and Heroism

2 Do Now: What are your prior experiences with epics? What is an "epic"? What is a "hero"?

3 Proto Indo European Indo-Iranian Greek Albanian Latin Balto-Slavic
Celtic Germanic Baltic Slavic Welsh Bretan Gælic Sanskrit Iranian Romanian French Spanish Portuguese Italian Russian Ukrainian Czech Slovak Serb-Croatian Latvian Lithuanian Hindi Bengali Persian Kurdish

4 Where did the Anglo-Saxons come from?
Between 800 and 600 B.C., two groups of Celts from southern Europe invaded the British Isles. Brythons (now spelled “Britons”) settled on the largest Island, Britain. Gaels, settled on the second largest island, known to us as Ireland.

5 The Celts farmers and hunters organized themselves into clans
clans had fearsome loyalty to chieftains looked to priests, known as Druids, to settle their disputes

6 Where did the Anglo-Saxons come from?
Roman conquest of Britain AD 43 Britain annexed as a province in the Roman Empire Difficult to control such a large piece of land Brought Christianity to Britain around AD 300 Pagan vs. Christian themes throughout; never fully indoctrinated at this time The last Romans left around 407 A.D. Needed to defend against rebelling European countries; England left to its own devices

7 Roman Empire

8 Roman Gatehouse in Britain Arbeia,

9 Where did the Anglo-Saxons come from?
449AD 3 Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons, and Jutes) invade. Destruction of Roman influence, including Christianity New land: “Angle-land” - small tribal kingdoms - no written language - supported themselves through farming and hunting

10 Anglo Saxon King and Warrior early 7th century

11 An Anglo-Saxon Hall

12 An Anglo-Saxon Farmstead
West Stow: reconstructed village


14 The Reemergence of Christianity
596AD: attempt to convert Anglo- Saxons to Christianity 597AD: Saint Augustine converted King Ethelbert of Kent to Christianity. set up a monastery in Canterbury in Kent. 650AD: most of England is Christian; some hold on to previous beliefs The church provided counsel to quarreling rulers in efforts to unify the English people. At this time, the British Isles were not unified and included separate kingdoms with separate rulers. They fought continuously over the fertile, green land Roman Cleric St. Augustine, (not the early Christian Church father) arrived in southeast England

15 Constant Conflict 9th Century:
Norway invaded Northumbria (Anglo-Saxon kingdom in northern and central England), Scotland, Wales, and Ireland. The Danes of Denmark targeted eastern and southern England

16 Do Now: What two groups of Celts, from southern Europe, invaded the British Isles?

17 Alfred the Great King of Wessex 871-899
866—resisted Danish intrusion and earned “the great” title Saxons acknowledged Danish rule in East and North Danes respected Saxon rule in South End of 10th Century—Danes want to widen Danelaw Forced Saxons to select Danish Kings 1042—Kingship returned to Alfred the Great’s descendent Edward Edward the Confessor died in His death led to the end of the Anglo-Saxon Period.

18 Literature of Anglo-Saxon Times
2 major influences 1) Germanic Traditions of the Anglo-Saxons 2) Christian Traditions of the Roman Church

19 1) Germanic Traditions of the Anglo-Saxons
Germanic language – Mixture of various Germanic dialects + Old English – Old English (often looks like a foreign language)

20 Page of Beowulf manuscript in Old English
Listen to me!

21 Heroic Ideals Dominate
Warrior culture – Poems and stories depict a society like the Anglo-Saxons • Military and tribal loyalties • Bravery of warriors • Generosity of rulers Oral tradition - Scop – Songs and stories often sung and told about the valiant struggles of heroic warriors More than just entertainment – provided a model for living and a form of immortality they could aspire to Note: all of these provided the foundation for early written literature in Old English

22 Anglo-Saxon Literature cont.
Anglo-Saxon poetry falls mainly into two categories: Heroic poetry – recounts the achievements of warriors Elegiac poetry – laments the deaths of loved ones and the loss of the past Beowulf is the most famous example of heroic poetry.

23 Sutton Hoo Burial site discovered in 1939
Important links to Anglo-Saxon world and Beowulf Remains of a boat were discovered and large burial chamber containing numerous artifacts Artifacts suggest a distinctly Christian element intermingled with pagan ritual.

24 Epic Elements Epic Element Definition As seen in … Epic Hero Quest
 the central character of an epic. This character is a larger-than-life figure, typically of noble or semi-divine birth, who pits his courage, skill, and virtue against opposing, often evil, forces.  Quest a long, dangerous journey or mission undertaken by the epic hero. The quest is the hero’s opportunity to prove his heroism and win honor and undying renown. Valorous deeds something that is done or accomplished, by being courageous, valiant, and brave. Divine intervention  In many epics, the hero receives help from a god or another supernatural force who takes an interest in his quest. Great events  Important events from the history or mythology of a nation or culture often provide the backdrop for the epic narrative.

25 Epic Unknown author The national epic of England (first work to be composed in English) A long heroic poem, about a great legendary warrior renowned for his courage, strength, and dignity.

26 The Epic Hero Defeats his enemies using
A man of high social status whose fate affects the destiny of his people The Epic Hero Defeats his enemies using Physical strength Skill as a warrior Nobility of character Quick wits Is not modest – boasting is a ritual Embodies the ideals and values of his people Is eager for fame Because the Germanic tribes believed death was inevitable, warriors sought fame to preserve the memory of their deeds after death

27 Heroic Values in Beowulf
Relationship between king and his warriors The king rewards his warriors with gifts If a kinsman is slain, obligation to kill the slayer or obtain payment (wergeld) in compensation

28 Courage in Beowulf All the warrior can do is meet every challenge fearlessly, increasing his own reputation. When he dies - renowned for his bravery. There are a lot of cowards in Beowulf…or, if that's a little harsh, people who aren't willing to live by this fatalistic code of honor. Courage - the foundation of the warrior culture that underlies the story of Beowulf. a true warrior's bravery comes from a completely fatalistic attitude toward life and indifference to death. Someday, he will die and be defeated. Everything happens as God wills it.

29 Epic Hero Cycle

30 Are Modern Super Heroes Epic?
Using the profile provided to your group and your own prior knowledge fill out the epic hero cycle chart for the super hero, then answer the question at the bottom of the page using the chart to back up your opinion.

31 Characters Danes Geats Places: Dane Monsters Herot Geats Monsters
Hrothgar Unferth Dane Monsters Grendel Grendel’s Mother Geats Beowulf Wiglaf Hygelac Ecgtheow Geats Monsters Dragon Places: Herot

32 The Beowulf Poet Christian; reflects established tradition
Allusions to the Old Testament Beowulf is a Redeemer who is sent by God to save man from sin: Christ archetype: Correspondences between Beowulf’s death and the death of Christ The price of salvation is life itself Pagan; fate and human will, offerings to gods/shrines, come to aide.

33 Conflict Christian Values and Heroic Values
This tension is at the heart of the poem Pagan history and myth are made to point to a Christian moral Beowulf is poised between two value systems

34 Mix of pagan and Christian Values
Fate vs. choice of good and evil Mythological monsters vs. references to God and Jesus

35 Ralph Waldo Emerson said that, "A hero is no braver than an ordinary man, but he is braver five minutes longer.” Do you agree or disagree with his statement and why? Are heroes just ordinary men who do something when other men have already given up?

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