Anglo-Saxon Period The Anglo-Saxon period is the earliest recorded time period in English history.
Anglo- Saxon & BEOWULF Anglo-Saxon Period The Anglo-Saxon period is the earliest recorded time period in English history. The Anglo-Saxon period ranges from 449-1066.
It ends with the Battle of Hastings where the French, under the leadership of William the Conqueror invaded England. October 14, 1066 King Harold II of England is defeated by the Norman forces of William the Conqueror at the Battle of Hastings fought on Senlac Hill (lake of blood), seven miles from Hastings, England. At the end of the bloody, all-day battle, Harold was killed--shot in the eye with an arrow, according to legend--and his forces were destroyed. He was the last Anglo-Saxon king of England. Bayeux Tapestry, Battle of Hastings located now in France 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. skt.org.uk 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 meekon5.blogspot.com; no unity in the kingdom; what does this tell you? Druids often considered magical throughout historyreligion and magic intertwined. Where did the Anglo-Saxons come from?
Roman conquest of Britain AD 43 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 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 Roman Cleric St. Augustine, (not the early Christian Church father) arrived in southeast England; Romans return stronger than before and force Saxons north; we see Canterbury show up in other works; The Chruch becomes a stand in for the govt. A long standing tradition in EnglandChurch of England is still a big part of the govt. This again sets up more conflict Anglo Saxon King and Warrior early 7th century
essentialnormanconquest.com An Anglo-Saxon Hall West stow: a reconstructed site from 1972 by revising the post holse from the original site 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. ORAL TRADITIONthe focuse of our unit here; well start with Beobear; Wulfwolfanimal symbolism Anglo-Saxon Literature
Few people read in this period Oral tradition was performed and/or sung by a Bard (poet/minstrels) from memory in Old English This is why there are often several versions of the same story. Authors were unknown Literature that was written down was written on sheep skin THE STORY OF BEOWULF Beowulf marks the beginning of English literature
Beowulf is one of the earliest known pieces of literature known in the English language;written in Old English Beowulf What we do know:
Beowulf is the oldest surviving English poem.Its written in Old English (or Anglo-Saxon), which is the basis for the language we speak today. Some of the characters in the poem actually existed. The only copy of the manuscript was written sometime around the 11th century A.D. (1000s), however The actual poem probably dates from the 8th century (700s) or so, and
The story may be set even earlier, around 500 A.D. There are a lot of Christian references in the poem, but the characters and setting are Paganthis means a monk probably translated it. Beowulf What we dont know: who wrote it when exactly it was written
how much, exactly, is based on historical truth Contains specific Motifs
Motifs a motif is a recurring theme or image in a work of literature Biblical and Christian Allusions Pagan Customs Social Customs Traits of the Warrior Beowulf Boasts The story of Beowulf wasnt written down until about 700 AD by The Beowulf Poet who is unknown.He wrote down the poem which for many years had been only sung or spoken. Beowulfs Provenance So why wasnt it written down in the first place?
This story was probably passed down orally for centuries before it was first written down. It wasnt until after the Norman Invasion (1066) that writing stories down became common in this part of the world. Beowulfs Provenance So whats happened to the manuscript since the 11th century? Eventually, it ended up in the library of this guy. Robert Cotton ( ) Beowulf Unfortunately, Cottons library burned in Many manuscripts were entirely destroyed.Beowulf was partially damaged. The manuscript is now preserved and carefully cared for in the British Museum. There is only one original Beowulf manuscript existing today
There is only one original Beowulf manuscript existing today.It is in the British History Museum in London. BEOWULF is an EPIC poem. EPIC a long, narrative poem that relates the great deeds of a larger-than-life hero who embodies the values of a particular society. Examples of other EPICS are
Greek Illiad and Odyssey Homer The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings Tolkien And of course theres the EPIC HERO!!!!
EPIC HERO must undertake a quest to achieve something of tremendous value to himself and his society SUMMARY OF EPIC FEATURES:
A long narrative poem Larger than life hero; often with super-human characteristics Concerns eternal human problems like the struggle between good and evil Presented in a serious manner using elevated (poetic) language Hero represents widespread national, cultural, or religious values This EPIC poemof BEOWULF is often divided into 3 sections; it is about Beowulfs 3 epic battles w/ evil. the Battle with Grendel
(Grendel represents evil) The battle represents reputation Grendel Referred to as demon and fiend Haunts the moors (swampy land)
Descendant of Cain Feasts on 30 men the night of 1st attack Cain and Abel were, according to the Book of Genesis, two sons of Adam and Eve. Cain is described as a crop farmer and his younger brother Abel as a shepherd. Cain was the first human born and Abel was the first human to die. Cain committed the first murder by killing his brother. Interpretations of Genesis 4 by ancient and modern commentators have typically assumed that the motives were jealousy and anger. the Battle with Grendels Mother
(She also represents evil.) Battle represents vengeance Grendels Mother Referred to as she-wolf Lives under a lake
Challenges Hrothgar when she kills one of his best men the Battle with the Dragon
(It not only represents evil but also Greed.) For Beowulf the battle represents heroic approach to fate Fire Dragon Lives in Beowulfs kingdom Wakes up when thief steals cup
Guards countless treasures Just in case you wanted to know, Beowulf himself represents good:
loyalty valor Selflessness sense of justice Beowulf Epic hero Geat (from southern Sweden)
Nephew of Higlac (King at storys start) Sails to Denmark to help Hrothgar Heroic Values in Beowulf
Relationship between king and his warriors The king rewards his warriors with gifts If a kinsman is slain, obligation to kill the slayer or obtain payment (wergeld) in compensation The Epic Hero Defeats his enemies using
Physical strength Skill as a warrior Nobility of character Quick wits Is not modest boasting is a ritual Embodies the ideals and values of his people Is eager for fame Because the Germanic tribes believed death was inevitable, warriors sought fame to preserve the memory of their deeds after death A man of high social status whose fate affects the destiny of his people Hrothgar Danish king Builds Herot (banquet hall) for men
Tormented by Grendel for 12 years Loses many men to Grendel Joyless before Beowulfs arrival Beowulf: Where does it take place?
Geatland and Denmark (Modern Denmark and Sweden) Setting: Beowulfs time and place
Insert: Time of Beowulf Europe today Note: None of the action takes place in England!!! How we date Beowulf Some Important Dates:
521 A.D. death of Hygelac, who is mentioned in the poem 680 A.D. appearance of alliterative verse 835 A.D. the Danish started raiding other areas; after this, few poets would consider them heroes SO: This version was likely composed between 680 and 835, though it may be set earlier WHY? Why do we read Beowulf?
Its a very creative, imaginative, poetic masterpiece. It gives us insight into the origins of the British people, the culture, who, through seafaring conquests, founded the world we currently live in. It gives us insight into the origins of our language. Why do we read Beowulf? It gives us insight into all people everywhere and throughout time (time, birth, death, fame/success/glory, honor, friendship, conflict, home, country, adventure, spirituality all of these things