The Anglo-Saxon Period (450-1100) Background, Beowulf, and More!!!

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  • The Anglo-SaxonPeriod (450-1100)Background, Beowulf, and More!!!

  • From Cave Dwellers to CeltsCave dwellers - 250,000 years agoInvaders from Iberian peninsula (modern Spain and Portugal) create a society sophisticated enough to erect Stonehenge on Salisbury PlainCeltic peoples reach the British Isles around 600 B.C.Celtic tribes war with each other while their priests, called druids, conduct sacrifices in forest shrines

  • Invasion of an Island

  • The Invasions Continue55 B.C. Rome first tries to conquer Britain and Julius Caesar raids the land to punish the Britons for helping the Continental Celts in their struggle with the Romans43 A.D. Roman emperor Claudius successfully invades the island and drives the defeated tribes into the highlands of Wales and Scotland

  • Roman Britain ProspersPopulation of 3-4 million peopleLarge buildings and elaborate sanitation systemsStraight, well-made roadsPrimarily a rural society

  • The Good Times End410 A.D. the city of Rome falls to an army of German barbarians and the emperor Honorius sends a letter to the Roman Britons announcing that they must defend themselvesBritain is weak and divided, standing open to foreign aggressionAngles, Saxons, and Jutes Germanic tribes spreading throughout eastern, central, and southern Britain

  • A Legend ArisesCeltic inhabitants flee west into the highlands of WalesAmong these people the legend of King Arthur and his Round Table arises

  • Anglo-Saxon EnglandBeowulf heroic poem that tells of the Germanic settlers and their first decades in EnglandTribal society in which warrior kings led a group of fighting men, called thanes, into battleDefeat and capture meant death so battle was fierce and unyieldingGang warfare bloodshed was common and any offense of one thane had to be avenged

  • Drinks and EntertainmentMead-hall where the king, thanes, wives, and servants gathered together, and where the warriors slept While the king and his court feasted, the scop, a singing poet, entertainedThe scop recounted both past history and present events while also preserving record of their achievements for future generations

  • Kings, Kings, and More KingsCountry was divided into a number of petty kingdomsMore ambitious kings began to assert an authority over other rulers each claiming to be a ruling king, or bretwaldaAethelbert first bretwalda who ruled from 560 to 616 and dreamed of bringing unity and a measure of peace to the land

  • Converting A NationSt. Patrick began converting Celtic Ireland to Christianity in the 430s, but Anglo-Saxon Britain remained pagan St. Augustine sent from Rome in 597 to convert England, established the first archbishopric at CanterburyDuring the next 40 years missionaries were able to convert most of the Anglo-Saxon kings and their people to Christianity

  • The Terrible VikingsCrossed the North Sea from Denmark and NorwayBetween 867 and 877 they took over most of the northeast and central portions of EnglandDanelaw a region where Danish law was in force

  • England Fights BackAlfred the Great ruled the one surviving Anglo-Saxon kingdom, Wessex, and prevented the Vikings from seizing it the way they had the Danelaw ( built the first English navy)Defeated the Vikings and was able to foster a second great era of Anglo-Saxon literary cultureStruggle for control was halted for good by another invasion, the last one, by the French-Norman, William the Conqueror

  • The Rest Is HistoryAnglo-Saxons dominated the history of England for 600 yearsProvided its language, began its literature and established traditions in law, government, and religionFirst English people

  • Beowulf

  • Beowulf

  • Beowulf

  • Beowulf

  • Beowulf

    The first page of theBeowulf manuscript.Damage by the fire can beseen in the upper lefthand corner..

  • Links to Readings in Old English