Beowulf 1 by qingyunliuliu


									The Anglo-Saxons and Beowulf

  Created by Katelyn Wood
 Edited and adapted by Mrs.
   The Anglo-Saxon Era: Timeline
• 43CE Romans invade Britain.
  – Encountered the Celts.
  – Romans build roads, villas,
    huge buildings, and forts.
  – Introduced Christianity.
• 420CE Romans leave.
          Timeline Continued
• 450CE Jutes from Denmark, and the Angles
  and Saxons from Northern Germany invade
  – Germanic tribes.
  – Anglo-Saxons push out Celts
• 597CE Anglo-Saxons become Christian
             Timeline Continued
• 787CE Viking raids begin
• 871-899CE King Alfred the Great becomes King of
   – Established education systems, rebuilt monasteries.
   – Fought Danes and forced them from Wessex.
   – Unified Anglo-Saxons under one king to resist the Viking
   – Danes ruled in the North, Anglo-Saxons in the South.
• 1066CE Norman Conquest by William the Conqueror.
   – From Norman French.
   – Defeated Danes and Anglo-Saxons.
   – Officially ended Anglo-Saxon era and brought about the
     beginning of the Medieval Period.
   Pagan vs. Christianity in Beowulf
           The Anglo-Saxons mixed both pagan and Christian
           traditions. Beowulf contains traces of both beliefs.
Pagan                                      Christianity
• Strong nature presence                   • God is mentioned by two of
• Strength of the warrior                     the main characters in the
                                              poem: Beowulf and
                                           • Grendel as Lucifer
                                                 – Both are outcasts
                                                 – Perform a task for God
                                                 – Grendel is described as a son
                                                   or descendant of Cain, a clear
                                                   Biblical reference.
             Anglo-Saxon Literature
• Anglo-Saxon literature began as an oral tradition. Stories, poems,
  and songs were all told aloud and passed from generation to
  generation orally through minstrels (also called scops).
• Poems traditionally had a strong beat, alliteration, and no rhyme.
• Caesura: “a cutting.” A break in a line of poetry, used in Old English
  to depict a half line. We use a comma for a modern effect.
    – i.e. Da com of more        under mistheleopum
           “Out from the marsh, from the foot of the hills.”
• Kenning: derived from the Norse word “kenna” which means “to
  know, to recognize.” It is a compact metaphor that functions as a
   • i.e. helmberend: “Helm bearer” or “warrior”
                            The Epic!
• Beowulf is the most well-known Anglo-Saxon poem,
  and is a form of poetry called the epic. Such other
  examples are Homer’s The Iliad and The Odessey.
• Long narrative that celebrates a hero’s long journeys
  and heroic deeds.
   • J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Ring series and George Lucas’ Stars
     Wars could be called modern epics.
• Characteristics include a noble hero whose character
  traits reflect their society’s ideals. The hero performs
  brave acts and appears superhuman.
                   Heroic Code
• The epic poem Beowulf
  strengthens the Heroic
  Code. This code was
  derived from the Anglo-
  Saxons’ Germanic roots, and
  called for strength, courage,
  and loyalty in warriors. It
  also required kings to be
  hospitable, generous, and
  have great political skills.
  This code was a basis for
  Anglo-Saxon honor.
Common Themes Of an Epic Poem
• Universal themes of epic poetry
  – Good vs. evil
     • Beowulf vs. Grendel
  – Isolation
  – Courage and honor
     • Beowulf is fearless and brave while fighting the monsters.
  – Gods or semi-divine creatures
     • Grendel, Grendel’s mother, the dragon
  – Tale involves the fate of an entire race
     • Beowulf saves Hrothgar’s village from Grendel.
• Most famous of early Germanic
• Written anywhere between 400-
  1000, but most likely after the 500s.
• The author is unknown, but likely to
  be Christian. It is likely that a few
  different authors elaborated on the
• Takes place in Sweden, Denmark,
  and Frisia.
    – The Norse were at this time
      attacking Britain, thus allowing
      knowledge of places, people, and
      ancestors to be available.
• Beowulf: main character, a hero
  featuring all the qualities of an
  epic hero. He has superhuman
  strength and is fearless and brave
  in battler.
• Hrothgar: the king of the village
  that Beowulf saves from Grendel.
• Grendel: a monster terrorizing
  Hrothgar’s village.
• Grendel’s mother: a monster set
  out to avenge her son’s death.
                      The Plot
                       …in six sentences.

• Beowulf travels to Hrothgar’s village to save them from
  Grendel, a terrifying monster eating their warriors. An
  epic battle ensues with Beowulf as the winner. Of
  course, Grendel’s mother comes seeking vengeance for
  her son’s death. Again, Beowulf is called upon to save
  them all, and he fights heroically and defeats the evil
  monster. After being vastly rewarded and refusing an
  offer from Hrothgar to be his heir, Beowulf makes the
  long trek back to his homeland where he becomes a
  mighty and generous king for many years. He fights a
  massive dragon who is threatening his people. He and
  the dragon both die in the struggle, but he is heroic
  until the end.
• “The Anglo-Saxon Invasions of Britain” and “The Spread of Christianity”
• “Life After the Romans”
• Old English sample
• Information of the Anglo-Saxon period and of Beowulf
    – Anderson, Rachel. “Medieval Context: Beowulf.” ENG 220 British Literature I.
      Grand Valley State University, Allendale, MI. 10 Jan. 2008.
    – Schneider, Daniel. “English Literature: Anglo-Saxon Era and Beowulf.” Honors
      English Literature. Linden High School, Linden, MI. 30 Aug. 2005.
    Old English Example
             Old English circa 500CE-1100CE

“Cyning” means “king,” so “Cyningas” must mean “kings.”

  What other words look familiar to today’s language?

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