Anglo saxon period and poetry


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Anglo saxon period and poetry

  1. 1. Anglo-Saxon Period and Poetry 449 – 1066 A.D.
  2. 2. Beowulf <ul><li>Written in old English </li></ul><ul><li>Oldest epic narrative in any modern European tongue </li></ul><ul><li>Unknown authorship </li></ul><ul><li>Unsure of the precise date of composition, but may date from the early 8 th century </li></ul>
  3. 3. Beowulf’s Creation <ul><li>Composed in the oral poetic tradition , but whether it was originally written or oral is not known </li></ul><ul><li>Composed by a single Christian author for a Christian audience in Anglo-Saxon England </li></ul><ul><li>Gives an excellent understanding of the spirit and embodiment of heroic epic tradition </li></ul>
  4. 4. History of the Period <ul><li>Native Celts originally inhabited the island </li></ul><ul><li>Romans inhabited England for 300 years </li></ul><ul><li>Made slow progress with roads </li></ul><ul><li>Celts and Romans continued side by side </li></ul><ul><li>Celts had no written language </li></ul><ul><li>The first to write their tales were the Anglo-Saxons </li></ul><ul><li>Romans withdrew about 400 A.D. </li></ul>
  5. 5. Hadrian’s Wall 117km long 5m high
  6. 6. History of Period (cont’d) <ul><li>Period begins when first Jutes (Denmark), the Angles (hookmen), and the Saxons (swordsmen) came in waves </li></ul><ul><li>Celts were driven to Wales and Ireland </li></ul><ul><li>Ends with the Norman invasion in 1066 </li></ul><ul><li>Anglo-Saxons were hardy and athletic, wandering and seafaring tribes, semi barbarous and pagan </li></ul><ul><li>Also faithful, earnest, brave, and liked action and fighting </li></ul>
  7. 7. How Did Anglo-Saxons Live? <ul><li>After a hunt or battle, the followers of a chieftain or king would meet in the mead hall or banquet room of the chieftain’s living quarters </li></ul>
  8. 8. Mead Hall <ul><li>In many villages, this was the central place where the men would gather to argue the ways to meet a crisis or deal with a situation in the village </li></ul><ul><li>Hrothgar’s was called Heorot or Hall of Horns </li></ul>
  9. 9. Mead Hall (cont’d) <ul><li>Men would gather at the tables to eat and drink mead (alcoholic beverage made with malt and honey) </li></ul><ul><li>Chieftain and scop (village poet) sat at one end of the hall </li></ul><ul><li>Hall was a long hall, possibly a whole building, with a long trench down the middle in which fires were built </li></ul><ul><li>Long tables were set on either side of the trench </li></ul>
  10. 10. Scops <ul><li>Regaled warriors with tales of deed of bravery and heroism accompanied usually by a small hand-held harp </li></ul>
  11. 11. Government <ul><li>Decisions for a village were usually done at “town meeting” or “folkmoots”, where every able-bodied man had a say </li></ul><ul><li>Might elect a war chief, but even a King was elected by the village males </li></ul><ul><li>King was selected for his family connections as well as his abilities </li></ul><ul><li>He would gather followers about him (thanes) to whom he gave protection and allegiance </li></ul><ul><li>Thanes in turn watched over farmlands and collected taxes </li></ul>
  12. 12. Christianity <ul><li>Christianity came to England in 597 when Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory to share the faith </li></ul><ul><li>Founded the 1 st church in Canterbury </li></ul><ul><li>Became the 1 st Archbishop of Canterbury </li></ul>
  13. 13. So what next . . . <ul><li>We will read a poem about Beowulf, an epic English hero, and his struggles with 3 monsters: Grendel, Grendel’s mother, and a fire-breathing dragon. </li></ul>