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The_Anglo-Saxon_Period

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					British Legends




             The Anglo-Saxon Period

                          449-1066
                  Theme: Heroes and Heroism
                           Proto Indo European


Indo-          Greek            Latin      Balto-Slavic        Celtic      Germanic
Iranian        Albanian
                                         Baltic    Slavic         Welsh
Sanskrit    Iranian                                               Bretan
                      Romanian
                      French                                      Gælic

                      Spanish           Latvian   Russian
Hindi      Persian
                      Portuguese        Lithuanian Ukrainian
Bengali Kurdish
                      Italian                     Czech
                                                  Slovak
                                                  Serb-
                                                  Croatian
    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.
               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
    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
Roman Empire
Roman Gatehouse in Britain
        Arbeia
 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
Anglo Saxon King and Warrior
      early 7th century
An Anglo-Saxon Hall
An Anglo-Saxon Farmstead




West Stow: reconstructed village
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
          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
          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 1066. His death
  led to the end of the Anglo-Saxon Period.
Literature of Anglo-Saxon Times

• 2 major influences
  1) Germanic Traditions of the Anglo-Saxons
  2) Christian Traditions of the Roman
  Church
                           Proto Indo European


Indo-          Greek            Latin      Balto-Slavic        Celtic      Germanic
Iranian        Albanian
                                         Baltic    Slavic         Welsh
Sanskrit    Iranian                                               Bretan
                      Romanian
                      French                                      Gælic

                      Spanish           Latvian   Russian
Hindi      Persian
                      Portuguese        Lithuanian Ukrainian
Bengali Kurdish
                      Italian                     Czech
                                                  Slovak
                                                  Serb-
                                                  Croatian
    1) Germanic Traditions of the
           Anglo-Saxons
• Germanic language
  – Mixture of various Germanic dialects +
  Old English
  – Old English (often looks like a foreign
  language)
Page of Beowulf manuscript in
Old English

    Listen to me!
          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
  – 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
  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.
                    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.
                        Epic Elements
Epic Element Definition                                            As seen in …
Epic Hero      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       long, dangerous journey or mission
               undertaken by the epic hero. The quest is the
deeds          hero’s opportunity to prove his heroism and
               win honor and undying renown.

Divine         In many epics, the hero receives help from a
               god or another supernatural force who takes
intervention   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.
Epic Hero Cycle

				
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posted:1/3/2013
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