Before We Start…
• This video sums up many of the ideas we will
be discussing this year as well as
demonstrates why we should be aware of the
history of the English language
History of English Language in 10 Minutes
Invasion of England: An Overview
• English traditions and language owe something to
each of the island’s invaders.
A. They were first invaded by Iberians, then by
the Celts, by the Romans, by the Anglo-Saxons, by
the Vikings, and by the Normans (p. 4)
B. Since the time of the Magna Carta (1215)
England has been a democracy in theory.
C. America is what it is today due to the
influence of English parliamentary government,
English literature, and the English language.
BBC Special
Celtic Britain
• Prior to the development of the Anglo Saxon
culture, the country was dominated by 27
tribes. Each tribe was made up of several
smaller clans; each clan had its own chieftain
No centralized government
Warfare was very common
Celtic Britain
• In the 4th Century B.C., the Celts were the first settlers
of what is now Great Britain.
• The Celts did not read or write, so our knowledge of
them comes from encounters with the Roman Empire
– The Romans were scared of the Celtic Britons; these Britons
were brutal warriors who often decapitated their victims
• Celtic Points of View ?
- Pagan Religion
- The religion of the Celts was a form of Animism
– they saw spirits everywhere; worship
of nature gods
These spirits controlled all aspects of existence.
The Lost Gods – The Celts
Celtic Britain
• Druids – priests who were intermediaries
between man and spirits.
1. Ritual dances
2. Human sacrifices
3. Stonehenge – used of religious rites having
to do with lunar and solar cycles (some
people believe)
**Some of these traditions are evident in Anglo-Saxon
culture. We will watch for this in Beowulf.
Bards and Druids Link
Celtic Britain
Celtic legends are full of fabulous adventures
and strong women.
- Celtic legends created King Arthur-the
embodiment of English values.
Real Life Strong Celtic Woman: Boudicca
- she is raped and whipped in public; her children
are raped…she leads a revolt against the Romans
Boudicca Clip – Horrible Histories
Roman Invasion
• What is the order of the invaders?
• The Romans remained in this area for about
100 years.
- Romans provided armies and organization
that prevented further serious invasion for
some time.
1. Built a network of roads
2. Built a great defensive wall 73 miles
3. Christianity gradually took hold.
Emergence of Anglo-Saxons
• In 449 the Angles and Saxons (from Germany)
and Jutes (from Denmark) attacked from the
north. The Roman Empire fell in 476 A.D.
- The Celts put up a strong fight before they
retreated to Wales.
- One heroic Celtic leader was a Welsh
chieftain called Arthur (ruled 526-537).
*In which tales is Arthur the hero?
Celtic Wife Swap
• What does “Anglo-Saxon England” mean?
Key features of this age of warriors:
- Anglo-Saxon society developed from kinship
groups led by a strong chief.
- The people also farmed, maintained local
governments, and created fine crafts,
especially metalwork.
Anglo-Saxons: Oral Tradition
and Old English
• Christianity eventually replaced the old
warrior religion (Celtic animism), linking
England to Continental Europe.
• Monasteries brought learning and literacy and
preserved works from the older oral tradition.
– What works have you read that were collected
from the oral tradition?
• English – not just the Church’s Latin – gained
respect as a written language (Old English).
Can you recognize any of the words?
Lord’s Prayer in Old English
- modern translation
We Don’t Speak Old English, BUT We Can
Still Observe Differences in Our Language
• What are some differences that you have
• Any linguistic differences in your family?
• What geographic differences you have observed?
– Linguistic Conflicts in America
• Anglo-Saxon life was dominated by the need to protect
the clan and home against enemies.
A. Anglo-Saxons were not barbarians but they were a
warring people.
B. The leader was responsible for law and order. He
protected his people.
**In return the people must be loyal to the leader.
(This is the only way fame, success, and
even survival could be gained.)
Horrible Histories Link
• Despite the growth of Christianity, the Anglo-Saxon
religion remained strong.
A. The Anglo-Saxon religion was concerned with
ethics and earthly virtues such as bravery.
B. Important religious figures for the Anglo-Saxons:
1. Woden (Wednesday – god of death,
poetry, and magic. He helped humans
communicate with spirits.)
Woden Clip
• 2. Thunor- god of thunder and lightening. His
sign was the hammer and twisted cross.
– Which day of the week is named after this AngloSaxon god?
– Which mythological gods and goddesses are you
familiar with from other cultures and sources?
• 3. Dragon – protector of the treasure. It was
both a personification of “death and
devourer” and guardian of the grave
• Anglo-Saxon poets (bards) held an honored position in
society because they preserved heroic deeds in
collective memory.
A. Poetry was as important as fighting, hunting,
farming, or loving.
B. Non-Christian Anglo-Saxons, whose religion
offered no hope of an afterlife, could only
create a defense against death through
C. Communal halls were used for shelter, meetings,
and entertainment.
D. The language of the Anglo-Saxons became the
dominant language in this area.
• Norse of Norway and Danes of Denmark =
– Norse invade Northumbria, Scotland, Wales, and
– The Danes target eastern and southern England
• Plundered monasteries and destroyed manuscripts
• Destroyed the communities
• By the middle of the 9th century, the majority of England
came under their control
Unification of England
• King Alfred of Wessex (ruled 871-899), known as
Alfred the Great, was responsible for truly
unifying England into a nation.
1. Led the Anglo-Saxons against the invading
Danes (fierce Vikings = pirates)
2. Christianity’s re-emergence helped King
Alfred succeed by creating a common set of
morals. It also linked England to Europe
through the language of Latin.
3. Anglo-Saxons fought to protect their people,
their culture and their church.
• The war between the Anglo-Saxons and the
Danes (Vikings) continued until 1066 when
both were defeated by William, Duke of
Normandy (France).
Anglo-Saxons: Oral and Written
• The cultural and spiritual influence of monasteries
existed right alongside the heroic ideals and traditions
of the older Anglo-Saxon religion.
A. When the monks recorded the works from the
older oral tradition, they wrote in the language of
the people.
- When the monks transcribed the oral pagan
stories, what changes do you think they made?
B. The principal works of learning were written in
Latin. Latin remained the language of “serious”
study until the time of King Alfred.
• End of the Age
A. Edward the Confessor, an Anglo-Saxon king,
dies childless. Two men both claim the throne:
Harold of England and William of Normandy.
B. William of Normandy defeats Harold at the
Battle of Hastings in October of 1066 earning him
the name of William the Conqueror.
C. The Anglo-Saxon age is replaced by a ruling
government of Normans.
• King Alfred started the “Anglo-Saxon
Chronicle” which was a running history of
England until 1154.
- The “Chronicle” was written in English, not
Latin. Because of this, English gained
respect as a language of culture.
Anglo-Saxons Review of the Big
Celtic Britons were pagan; the Romans interacted with them
and took over their land. Romans became Christianized and
this influenced the people of Brittania.
Celts end up in the west (Wales).
Anglo-Saxon tribes (Germanic) lived in a warlike and brutal
environment; the mead hall was a central hang out for the
lord and his men.
Anglo-Saxons are pagan and people debate their conversion
to Christianity (opposite beliefs: heaven, revenge, boastful
Vikings Invade, which results in the Anglo-Saxons viewing
themselves as a nation
Old English: similar to German, primitive form of modern
Anglo-Saxons Review of the Big
7. King Alfred of Wessex  Edgar  Aethelred, the Unready…
8. Normandy is an area of northern France
9. Battle of Hastings- southern England – October 1066
10. William the Conquerer replaces Anglo-Saxon rulers with
French rulers
11. Feudalism (Medieval Period)
Horrible Histories: Anglo-Saxon Report

Anglo-Saxons 449-1066