History and Timeline of English From the Celtic Roots to the Beginning of the Renaissance History and Timeline of English • 5000-55 BCE • Barbaric Tribes of Britain: • Stonehenge People • Druids Priests of the Celts, practice human sacrifice. • Celts build Maiden Castle at Dorset. They are farmers, not warriors, but had chain maille. No written language • 300 BCE • Invasion of La Tene peoples from Europe • Indo-European Language History and Timeline of English • 55 – 54 BCE • Julius Caesar himself goes to Briton himself, twice, to conquer it, and leaves a written account of this expedition. He is not too successful. He is put off by fierce, blue-faced people who have not only swords and armor, but horses and chariots as well. He finally attains a promise of a tribute from chieftains, and leaves, naming the place, “Britannia.” History and Timeline of English • 43 CE • Emperor Claudius takes up where Caesar, and more recently, Caligula, left off. He so feared the Britons, and their Druid priests, that he actually brought in elephants to establish the Roman colony at Colchester! History and Timeline of English • 60 CE • The Romans later, under Nero, meet fierce resistance by Iceni tribes, united under Queen Boudicca. The Romans flog her and her daughters are raped. • The Iceni sack established Roman towns of Colchester and Lincoln, and newly established Londinium, a trading port, is burned to the ground. History and Timeline of English • 200 CE • Eventually Rome takes over. • Flowering of Londinium. A totally great place! It’s the BOMB! Bath (Aquae Sulis) is also incredibly advanced in technology and architecture. History and Timeline of English • 200 CE • The Romans introduced: walled cities, roads, glass, tile, trading, central heating, upholstery, schools, money, knives and spoons, lamp oil and candlesticks, mirrors, make up, perfume, jewelry, pens and ink, paper, pottery and games. History and Timeline of English • 200 CE • They also brought: wine, carpets, spices, olive oil, sculpture, and written language: The Romans, of course, spoke Latin. The people spoke Celtic language, and the languages of the army, mostly Germanic tribes. History and Timeline of English • 200 CE • The Roman army was the most advanced army in the world. Aside from the technological developments, they developed advancements in medicine: commonly used surgical staples were developed by Roman doctors. History and Timeline of English • 383-450 • Hadrian’s Wall overrun. By 450, Rome’s presence is over. For 200 years, the cities were left to go fallow, and the inhabitants to fend for themselves. • 450-600 • The Anglos, Saxons, and Jutes come to live in Briton. These were friends and relations of the Roman soldiers, who were mostly NOT Latin. History and Timeline of English • 450-600 • These new immigrants bring with them a Germanic language. They assimilate nicely into the cultural blend: Mostly Germanic descendants of former Roman soldiers; Britonized Romans; Gauls, Celts… History and Timeline of English • 450-600 • This is the time of the Arthur Legends! There is no unified Briton as of yet…but the Arthur stories portray such a place. • Cadbury Castle - Camelot • The Venerable Bede (St. Bede) records memorable battles, mentions King Arthur, who is a mythical figure. History and Timeline of English • 450-600 • St. Patrick is in Ireland, but for the most part, Christianity is very late to come to Britain.* • 597 • Ethelbert, King of Kent is converted to Christianity. • Some tribes emigrate to France, and settle in what is now Brittany… • Old English poetry refers to events of this time period. History and Timeline of English • 600-1066 • Old English as a language emerges from the meld of different Germanic language roots. Latin is retained in Church and legal documents, but it never was the language of the people. • The Celtic languages have largely emigrated, with the Celtic people to the outskirts of the islands, chased there by the Romans long ago. History and Timeline of English • 600-1066 • Gaelic (Irish), Scottish Gaelic and Welsh are descendants of this language. • Beowulf is composed (between 600 and 700 CE) and then written down (sometime after 900 CE). It is the oldest written work still in existence in a European language. It is written in Old English. History and Timeline of English • 600-1066 • The language is used in the court and in commerce for the emerging kingdoms of Great Britain. • This is also the time of the Norse invasions. Vikings, seeking more land and a better climate, invade many European countries. They demand tribute from the kingdoms they invade, but they also settle, and are good at assimilation.* History and Timeline of English • The Viking raids continue from the end of the first millennium (800) until about the year 1200. The climate in Europe and the North Atlantic experiences a bit of a warming trend, making the Vikings’ fantastic voyages to the New World possible, and instead of raiding England, they settle in Greenland and Newfoundland. However, a mini ice age between 1350 and 1850, will clamp down on these new settlements, making contact with the colonies impossible. No one knows for sure if the Norse inhabitants of these regions were killed by indigenous people, died on their own, or went native. History and Timeline of English The Vikings leave an imprint in English, especially in areas of the country where they settled. Today, we recognize the days Thursday and Friday as named for Thor and Freya, an important god and goddess in the Norse religion. Other familiar words: • Lax = salmon • Daela = dale • Fylgja = follower • Berserks = “bear shirt” / Fierce warriors • Orm = worm; snake • Valkyrie = warrior woman (“Choosers of the dead”) • Bjorn = bear • Ulf = wolf • Saga = long story History and Timeline of English • 600-1066 • A Dane becomes a king of the emerging country of England, in 1016. • During these so-called “Dark Ages,” there is a revival of culture, and strengthening of country: Intellectuals and philosophers abound. History and Timeline of English • 800 • Time of Charlemagne. England is largely spared his “convert or kill” method to strengthen the Holy Roman Empire. • Egbert: First overlord of • 829 all England. • 871 • Alfred the Great: Unifies all English kings into one country. History and Timeline of English • 871 • Alfred translates Bede’s History into Old English: Britons are the chosen race, descendants of Joseph of Arimathea.* The stories of Arthur provide historical credo for the emerging nation. Battle of Maldon: Vikings slaughter the Britons. • 991-1016 • Anglo-Saxon Chronicle: Early Old English prose history. History and Timeline of English • 991-1016 • Edward the Confessor comes to the throne, and converts many subjects to Christianity. • Edward dies, and Harold, his brother-in-law, fights and beats an invasion of Vikings, but… • 1066 • He is then promptly killed at the Battle of Hastings. The Normans have invaded! History and Timeline of English • 1066-1476 • The French, under William the Conqueror, bring their language, and return Latin to England. • The Saxon barons are robbed of their property. The French even bring in their own merchants, artisans, and servants! (And of course, their own wine…) History and Timeline of English • 1066-1476 • Their invasion displaces the Anglo-Saxon aristocracy, and causes the strife that results in the Magna Carta, 1215. (And terrific Robin Hood stories, too!)* • French becomes the language of the court, and many Norman kings cannot speak English! It isn’t until the end of the Plantagenet kings that a kind of English is spoken. History and Timeline of English • 1066-1476 • This language difference is still evident today, where many of the old Saxon words are considered part of low diction, while many of the French/Latin words are high diction. • The language melds. A kind of pidgin “Franglish” is spoken among the merchants and servants of the Norman aristocracy. History and Timeline of English • 1066-1476 • This macaronic communication evolves from pidgin to creole, and eventually becomes the Middle English of Chaucer. • Middle English, and Middle French, become the languages of many of the Arthur Legends, as troubadours carry the stories back and forth across the Channel. History and Timeline of English • 1066-1476 • The Normans in England, however, are becoming more “English,” and the Plantagenet kings are beginning to look at themselves as outright kings of England, separate from France • In the case of Henry II, who • 1170 conquers much of France, the kings also want independence from the rule of the Church. A dispute arises that results in the death of Thomas à Becket in the Canterbury Cathedral. History and Timeline of English • 1170 • England, as herself, sends troops to fight the Crusades led by Richard the Lionhearted. • 1215 • The Magna Carta gives more rights to the Saxon barons, and Richard’s brother, King John (see Robin Hood stories) is forced to sign it. • Henry III is made to sign the • 1258 Provisions of Oxford, and Parliament is officially established. There is a brief period when the barons rule under Simon de Montfort. History and Timeline of English • 1337-1453 • The 100 Years’ War is fought fiercely over the rights of (Some scholars take the beginning English kings, and sets the of the War back as far as the time background for Chaucer’s of Edward I, 1272-1307. He’s the works. It is likely that Edward old king in the film, Braveheart. ) III was the first Plantagenet king to speak English from birth. • 1362 • Eventually, during Chaucer’s time, the courts of England change the official language from French, to Middle English. It becomes the language of scholars and poets, with Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales leading the way. History and Timeline of English • 1476 • William Caxton set up a printing press in London. This codifies the language of England, and “corrects” the grammar and spelling of dialects from around the country. Eventually, Modern English emerges from this codification. • The language of the English Renaissance, is by all accounts, Modern English. Example of Old English, from Beowulf 1. Sigon þa to slæpe. Sum sare angeald 2. æfen-ræste, swa him ful oft gelalmp 3. siþðan gold-sele Grendel warode, 4. unriht æfnde, oþþæt ende becwom, 5. swylt æfter synnum. þæt gesyne wearþ, 6. wid-cup werum, þætte wrecend þa gyt 7. lifde æfter laþum, lange þrage, 8. æfter guð-ceare. Grendles modor, 9. ides, aglæc-wif yrmþe gemunde, 10. se þe wæter-egesan wunian scolde, 11. cealde streamas, siþðan Cain wearð 12. to ecg-banan angan breþer, 13. fæderen-mæge; he þa fag gewat, 14. morþre gemearcod, man-dream fleon, 15. westen warode. þanon woc fela 16. geosceaft-gasta; wæs þæra Grendel sum 17. heoro-wearh hetelic, se æt Heorote fand 18. wæccendne wer wiges bidan. Pg. 88 in Heaney’s Translation Example of Old English, from Beowulf 1. Đā cōm of mōre under mist-hleoþum 2. Grendel gongan, Godes yrre bær, 3. mynte se mān-scaða manna cynnes 4. summe besyrwan in sele þām hēan. 5. Wōd under wolcnum, tō þæs þe hē wīn-reced, 6. Gold-sele gumena gearwost wissse, 7. fættum fāhne. Ne wæs þæt forma sīð 8. þæt he Hrōþgāres hām gesōhte. 9. Næfre hē on aldor–dagum ær nē siþð an 10. heardran hæle heal-ðegnas fand. 11. Cōm þā tō recede rinc sīðian 12. drēamum bedæled. Duru sōna onarn 13. fўr-bendum fæst syþðan hē hire folmum gehrān: 14. onbræd þā bealo-hўdig, ðā hē gebolgen wæs, 15. recedes mūþan. Raþe æfter þon 16. on fāgne flōr fēond treddode, 17. ēode yrre-mōd; him of ēagum stōd 18. ligge gelīcost lēoht unfæger. (Heaney 48.710-726) Example of Middle English, from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales 1. Whan that Aprill with his shoures sote 2. The droghte of Marche hath perced to the rote, 3. And bathed every veyne in swich licour 4. Of which vertu engendred is the flour; 5. Whan Zephirus eek with his swete breeth 6. Inspired hath in every holt and heeth 7. The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne 8. Hath in the Ram his halfe cours y-ronne, 9. And smale fowles maken melodye, 10. That slepen al the night with open ye 11. (So priketh hem Nature in hir corages): 12. Than longen folk to goon on pilgrimages. Example of Modern English, from Shakespeare’s Macbeth, 1.3.11-25. Second Witch: I’ll give thee a wind. First Witch: Thou’rt kind. Third Witch: And I another. First Witch: I myself have all the other, And the very ports they blow, All the quarters that they know I’th’shipman’s card. I’ll drain him dry as hay; Sleep shall neither night nor day Hang upon his penthouse lid; He shall live a man forbid. Weary sev’n-nights, nine times nine, Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine; Though his bark cannot be lost, Yet it shall be tempest-tossed.
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