The Anglo-Saxon
Period
449-1066
Objectives
The student will:
recognize literary forms and major literary
techniques
 recognize the characteristics of the Anglo-Saxon
period and the literary movements associated with
this era

Read pages 2-14 and take notes
using Cornell Notes format
Prior Knowledge
What have you learned about the climate and
physical environment of Britain in social studies
classes?
How have these factors influenced the nation’s
development?
What types of people are likely to deal well with
conditions common to the British Isles?
Today’s Assignment
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Read pages 2-14 in your literature book.
Complete Cornell Notes worksheet.
Please work quietly and independently. This
should take you approximately 45 minutes.
Stopwatch
Warriors from Denmark and Germany, the
Angles and the Saxons, attacked Britain
during the 5th century
 signaled the beginning of the English
language
 became known as “Angles’ land”
 their Germanic languages developed into a
new language called “Angle-ish”
 this language shaped the literature of
Britain
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Britain Before the Anglo-Saxons
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Britons (Brythons)
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Gaels
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settled on the largest island, Britain
settled on the second largest island, Ireland
were farmers and hunters
tightly knit clans
Druids- priests
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settled disputes
Presided over religious rituals
Memorized and recited long, heroic poems
The Roman Conquest
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First invaded by Roman general Julius Caesar
and later by Roman emperor Claudius
Roman legions spread across the island,
establishing camps, which grew into towns.
constructed a system of well-paved roads and
highways
brought their skills in the art of warfare
The Anglo-Saxon Conquest

Tribal life:
 Each tribe was ruled by a king, who was chosen by a
witan, council of elders
Earls
Freeman
Churls
Thralls
The Anglo-Saxon Conquest
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Fate
Worshipped ancient Germanic gods
 Tiu: god of war and the sky
 Woden: chief of the gods
 Fria: Woden’s wife and goddess of the home
Coming of Christianity
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4th century
In 563 a group of Irish
monks established a Christian
monastery on the island of
Iona
Columba and his monks
moved across northern
Britain spreading their faith
Coming of Christianity
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597- arrival of Saint Augustine
Effects of Christianity
Softened the ferocity of the warrior people
 Improved the conduct of the faithful
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2 Major Contributions
education
 written literature
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Christianity and Literature
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established schools at Canterbury and York
In the monasteries, monks worked as scribes,
recording and duplicating manuscripts, books
written by hand
Latin was the language of church scholarship
Venerable Bede- “father of English history”

A History of the English Church and People
The First Danish Invasion
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The Vikings left Scandinavia and set their sights
on the British Isles
Alfred the Great
King of Wessex
 Preserved the remnants of pre-Danish invasion
 Encouraged a rebirth of learning and education
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Translated Bede’s History
Anglo-Saxon Literature

Scholars believe the
literature of the British
Isles began with Celtic
Druids
Anglo-Saxon Poetry
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scops: professional minstrels
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Responsible for history, culture, values, entertainment
gleeman: their assistants
poems followed a set formula of composition
caesura: mid-line pause
 alliteration: repetition of initial consonant sounds
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The most important poem is Beowulf
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Epic: long heroic poem
Anglo-Saxon Poetry
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Two great Christian poets: Caedmon &
Cynewulf
Early Christian poetry is often referred to as
Caedmonian verse
Before the reign of Alfred the Great, all
important prose was composed in Latin
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Monks regarded the vernacular, the language of the
common people, as a vulgar tongue
After the Normans occupied England, they
transformed Old English into Middle English.
Closing Activity
On an index card, list 3 important facts
you learned about the early cultures
and their influence on the literature
and culture of Britain?
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The Anglo-Saxon Period