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THE ANGLO-SAXON PERIOD 449-1066 A.D.. A Brief History Celts were original inhabitants of England (early 400s) Attacked by Scottish and Irish tribes Under.

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Presentation on theme: "THE ANGLO-SAXON PERIOD 449-1066 A.D.. A Brief History Celts were original inhabitants of England (early 400s) Attacked by Scottish and Irish tribes Under."— Presentation transcript:


2 A Brief History Celts were original inhabitants of England (early 400s) Attacked by Scottish and Irish tribes Under consul of Rome, but Rome was suffering and could not help Sought help from Germanic Tribes – Angles, Saxons and Jutes These tribes saw this as a chance to invade Britain. Many Celts were driven away, but those who stayed became slaves and adopted the new Germanic-based language.

3 Map of Celtic Expansion

4 The Angles, Saxons and Jutes Invaded southeastern region in 449 “Angle-land” From north Germany, Denmark and northern Holland Romans thought of these people as barbarians Pagan, no written language, farmers Preferred rivers for transportation Ruled by fate – “wyrd” Loyalty in service important Class system: king-thanes-freemen-slaves/serfs

5 Map of Anglo- Saxon Britain

6 Pagan People The Anglo-Saxons believed in many gods and goddesses including: Woden (Odin) – Chief god; war (Wednesday) Thor – god of thunder (Thursday) Frigga – goddess of the home (Friday) Frigga, left and Thor, right

7 Anglo-Saxon Lives Divided into tribes and kingdoms Lived in wood homes with thatch roofs Each family member had a job on the farm; some people were skilled as ironworkers or shoemakers. Girls worked in the home; considered grown by age 10 Boys learned skills of fathers; did not learn to read or write Women could own land Men and women could marry within their class as long as their family approved of the union Each tribe led by a king or chieftain Followers of these kings were called thanes After hunt and battles, they would gather in a mead hall Entertained by a scop and gleeman Governed themselves democratically

8 Anglo-Saxon Thane Source: ges/osehncimages/osehnc00101.JPG Anglo-Saxon King Alfred the Great Source: gAlfredStatueWantage.jpg

9 The Mead Hall Source:

10 Kingdoms Ninth Century Kingdoms Northumbria Mercia East Anglia Wessex Only Wessex survived the Viking invasions Anglo-Saxon rule ended around 1066 when King Harold was defeated by French leader William of Normandy at the Battle of Hastings

11 Anglo-Saxon Literature No written language – Oral Tradition A storyteller would tell stories through song or poetry People also like riddles “Runes” were the first types of letters carved into wood Anglo-Saxon Chronicle – year-by-year account of important kings, battles and events of the period. Beowulf – oldest surviving manuscript in the English language Exeter Book –The Seafarer and The Wanderer

12 Elements of Anglo-Saxon Literature Composed in Old English Each line is divided by a caesura (a natural pause or break in a line of poetry, is essential for rhythm) Incorporates kennings (a metaphorical phrase used to replace a concrete noun) Usually includes a blend of pagan and Christian elements

13 The Oral Tradition Songs and stories about warriors performed by scops at mead-hall banquets. Passed down through generations Presented a model for life To be immortalized in a song or tale was the ultimate honor

14 Old English Themes Seafaring warriors Military and tribal loyalty Value on bravery Struggle between good and evil (Christian elements) Beowulf blends both Pagan and Christian elements

15 Example of Old English Text

16 Anglo-Saxon Literary Terms

17 Epic Poem Long narrative poem that uses formal language to tell the exploits of a legendary hero who is highly admired among his people.

18 Folk Epics An epic that comes from stories told by a people and does not necessarily have an author. Example: Beowulf

19 Literary Epics An epic that has been written down by a specific author Example: Paradise Lost by John Milton

20 Characteristics of Epics begins in “medias res” (in the middle of things) begins with an invocation to a Muse content is concerned with the fate of a nation or a people set on a large scale, ranging around the world

21 Often involves the intervention of supernatural figures Includes extended similes (an extension of a simile in a comparison that may run for several lines) long catalogues (lists) extensive battle scenes stock episodes

22 Epic Boast A hero may give this type of speech to glorify himself. Epic boast told of the warrior’s exploits and were meant to be taken seriously.

23 Caesura A natural break in a line of poetry, usually in the middle, which helps to provide rhythm Example from Beowulf: Up from his swampland, sliding silently Toward that gold-shining hall. He had visited Hrothgar’s

24 Lament A song or poem that expresses grief or regret In its verb form, it means “to cry or grieve.”

25 Elegy A type of lyric poem which is usually a formal mourning for someone’s death

26 Archetype An original pattern or model from which all other things of the same kind are made Example: The film was one of the archetypes of the American Western.

27 Quest A journey one undertakes with the intention of seeking something Example: the Holy Grail

28 Mead The fermented beverage made of water, honey, malt, and yeast.

29 Comitaus An agreement between a lord and his thanes in which the thanes swear to protect the lord, while the lord provides protection, wealth, and weapons

30 Kenning A metaphoric renaming of an ordinary object Often uses creative compounds Examples: bird’s nest (hair) sea road (ocean)

31 Ecclesiastical Having to do with the church

32 Epithet A word or phrase, often critical or abusive, which expresses a character trait of someone or something. Glorified nickname

33 Since the Anglo-Saxon people had no form of written language in the beginning, they relied on oral tradition to pass down stories and songs.

34 Introduction to Beowulf The oldest surviving manuscript in the English language Originally written in Old English An epic poem Composed by unknown source circa 750 A.D. The national epic poem of England Over 3,000 alliterative lines

35 Beowulf A complete epic poem- a long narrative poem about the adventures of a god or hero. Beowulf is a form of a folk epic. Originated as a pagan saga. Most likely written down by a Christian, hence the elements of Christianity. Celebrates the hero's fearless and bloody struggles against monsters and extols courage, honor, and loyalty as the chief virtues in a world of brutal force.

36 Beowulf’s Essential Characters

37 Beowulf A high ranked nobleman from Geatland (southern Switzerland) Nephew of Hygelac Typifies Anglo-Saxon ideals of conduct Fights the notorious Grendel

38 Hrothgar King of the Danes His mead hall, Heorot, is terrorized by Grendel Regards Beowulf as being sent by God

39 Grendel Descendent of Cain from the book of Genesis Raids Heorot for 12 years

40 Grendel’s Mother Resides with her son in a cave beneath a lake Not as fierce as Grendel but still a formidable adversary

41 Dragon Hoards a treasure of gold Ravages Beowulf’s land Mighty adversary of Beowulf

42 Minor Characters Wealtheow- Hrothgar’s Queen Unferth- Hrothgar’s top thane who feels threatened by Beowulf Wiglaf- loyal thane of Beowul’s

43 Quick write Think of your favorite superhero What are some qualities of this person that make them a hero? Why, as a society, do we look up to heroes? 3-5 sentences (on Moodle)

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