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The Old English Period The Middle Ages

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1 The Old English Period The Middle Ages

2 Important Dates 43-420 Roman invasion and occupation of Britain
450 Anglo Saxon Conquest 1066 Norman Conquest 1200 Beginning of Middle English literature 1485 Caxton’s printing of Malory

3 The Middle Ages Covers time span from collapse of the Roman Empire to the Renaissance Time period of more than 800 years 1485 end of the Middle Ages

4 A Time of Change Roman Catholic Church provided continuity
Norman Conquest added French words to the English vocabulary Cross-currents of languages and literatures during this period Literature in English was performed orally,and written throughout the Middle Ages, but uniquely English literature does not exist before the late 14th century. English began to displace French at the end of the 14th century in Parliament and courts of law.

5 Anglo-Saxon England From 1st to 5th century, England was province of Roman Empire Named Britannia When the Romans withdrew during the fifth century, island was invaded by Germanic seafarers These belonged to three tribes: the Angles, the Saxons, and the Jutes.

6 Conversion to Christianity
Britons became Christian in the fourth century In 597, a Benedictine monk was sent by Pope Gregory as a missionary to King Ethelbert of Kent and missionaries from Ireland became to preach Christianity in the north. Within 75 years, the island was Christian. The first extended written specimen of Old English (Anglo-Saxon) language is a code of laws. England produced many distinguished Churchmen, including Bede. ,

7 Invasions by the Danes In the 9th century, Christian Anglo-Saxons were subjected to invasions by the Danes. They were stopped by King Alfred. King Alfred was an enthusiastic patron of literature.

8 Old English Poetry Oral tradition
Literacy was restricted to men of the church Most of Old English literature is religious Most of Old English poetry is contained in just four manuscripts.

9 Heroic Values Heroic values of Germanic society continued to inspire clergy and laity in the Christian era. Heroic Values - Tribe is ruled by king who surrounds himself with a band of retainers. He leads men to battle and rewards them with gifts and treasures. Retainers are obligated to fight for their lord to the death Blood vengeance is a sacred duty. The best poetry of the period is both Christian and heroic.

10 Characteristics of Old English Poetry
Harsh world view Formal speech Elevated language Irony Contrast Pagan and Christian Fate The Past Violence Values of warrior society

11 Anglo-Norman England The Normans took possession of England in 1066
They adopted French language and Christian religion Henry II, first of England’s Plantagenet kings

12 Languages During the Anglo-Norman period, four languages co-existed: Latin, French, English, and Celtic. The Latin Bible provided subject for Old English poetry and prose Attraction to Celtic legends Marie de France and Chrétien de Troyes wrote romances King Arthur and his court acquired immense popularity Romance involves a knight proving his worthiness through nobility of character and brave deeds Religious literature aimed at women – saints’ lives, The Ancrene Riwle.

13 Middle English Literature in the 14th Century
Old English replaces French in literature Thirty Year’s War The bubonic plague wiped out one-third of European population A time of social unrest Church becomes target of resentment because of its wealth and worldliness Great European poets of the 14th century include Dante, Petrarch, Marie de France, and Boccoccio English writers of the 14th century include Chaucer, William Langland, the Pearl poet, and the author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

14 The Fifteenth Century War of the Roses between Lancasters and Yorks ended with King Henry VII’s ascension to the throne Performances of mystery plays and morality plays Mystical writings – Julian of Norwich and Margery Kempe Lydgate Malory Caxton’s printing press introduced in Caxton’s publication of Malory’s Morte Darthur.

15 Middle English Literature
Religious literature Popular literature Romance King Arthur Allegory Morality Authors looked at themselves as craftsmen No emphasis on originality Ptolemaic view of the universe – earth centered Gothic Church as symbol of Middle Ages – height and light

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