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Background and Introduction

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1 Background and Introduction
Beowulf Background and Introduction

2 Invasion of the British Isles
B.C. Celtic invasion Brythons (Britons) in Britain and Gaels in Ireland (clan culture) 55 B.C.- Roman invasion (establishment of towns, introduction to Christianity) 407 A.D. – Romans leave British Isles 5th Century (449 A.D.) Anglo-Saxon invasion (Germanic tribes). Celts flee but leave Christian customs

3 Viking Invasion 9th Century Norse invade Scotland, Wales, Ireland
Danes invade southern England Anglo-Saxon’s maintain power and Christian values against pagan Vikings 871 A.D. Alfred the Great establishes Saxon rule, promotes rebirth of learning and culture 1066 A.D. Anglo-Saxon rule falls to Normans (North men, Vikings) with death of King Edward

4 Anglo-Saxon Period “Anglo-Saxon England was born of warfare, remained forever a military society, and came to its end in battle.” - J. R. Lander In a society dominated by aggression, what would you expect to be the Anglo-Saxon attitude toward family life, the role of women, art, literature, ethics and work?

5 Anglo-Saxon Civilization
Persons of rank received with grave courtesy Ruler generous to those who remain loyal Everyone aware of shortness of life & passing of all things in the world Impersonal, irresistible fate determined most of life (Wyrd or Fate) Heroic human will & courage allowed individuals to control their own response to fate

6 Characteristics of an Epic Hero
Is significant and glorified Is on a quest Has superior or supernhuman strength, intelligence, and/or courage Is ethical Risks death for glory or for the greater good of society Performs brave deeds Is a strong and responsible leader Reflects the ideals of a particular society

7 Anglo-Saxon Poetics Alliteration – repetition of consonant and vowel sounds at the beginning of words Assonance- repetition of vowel sounds inside the words Caesura – a natural pause or break in the middle of the line of poetry and joined by the use of a repeated vowel or consonant sound Out of the marsh // from the foot of misty Hills and bogs // bearing God’s hatred Grendel came // hoping to kill Anyone he could trap // on this trip to high Herot

8 Anglo-Saxon Poetics Kennings – a metaphorical phrase used to replace a concrete noun. Ready made descriptive compound words that evoke vivid images Kennings are formed by prepositional phrases possessive phrases compound words Prepositional phrase – Giver of knowledge Possessive phrase – mankind’s enemy Compound word – sea path

9 Beowulf Composed by single Christian author for a Christian audience (probably a Northumbrian monk) Sometime in the 8th -11th centuries ( ) Only manuscript available dates from the year 1000; discovered in the 18th century Epic poem handed down through oral tradition Depicts a world from early 6th century Comitatus – Germanic code of loyalty Thanes – warriors swearing loyalty to kings in return for land, treasures

10 Old English Old English is also known as Anglo-Saxon 449-1100
Runic alphabet nguage_timeline/index_embed.shtml ngs/Beowulf.Readings.html

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