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Anglo-Saxon Literature

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Autor:  anton  02 December 2010
Tags:  Literature
Words: 624   |   Pages: 3
Views: 313

Celts first appear in Britain around 700 BC. Originating from north-west of Germany

Druids were celtic priests, doctors, judges, scholars, diviner. Their name combines the words "oak" and "knowledge".

Celts workshipped the elements.

Stonehenge: most famous surviving circle; group of enormous blue stones placed in concentric circles; temple, astronomical observatory, site of pilgrimage; three phases and three groups of people Neolithic, Beaker, Wessex

The Roman conquest of Britain began in 55 BC with the invasion of Julius Caesar

Britain was first occupied in AD 43 under the reign of Emperor Claudius.

Many names of modern towns are formed by the suffix В–chester (walled town) which derives from castra (military camp)

Most noticeable resistance: Queen Boudica

The economic system, based on a money economy and trade, was fully accepted

The Caledonians refused to be colonised and Emperor Hadrian built a wall to keep the northern raiders put of Roman Britain (Hadrian's Wall)

AD 409 Emperor Honorius was forced to pull his Roman legions out of England to defend Rome from Visigoths

Anglo-Saxon invaders : Angles, Saxons, Jutes

Britons suffered from internal division and to defend themselves from the Picts, the Irish as well as the Saxons

7 kingdoms: Kent, Sussex, Essex, East Angles, Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex.

Anglo-Saxons re-established pagan values

Runes were cryptic characters

In 597 a monk called Augustine was sent by the Pope Gregory I in England to re-establish Christianity. He became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

Monasteries were centre of learning and culture; Wearmouth and Jarrow

Venerable Bede wrote the first important English history in Latin

The Vikings were excellent navigators; their ships, called longboats, were very well constructed and could sail extremely long distances.

Many monasteries were sacked and destroyed.

King Alfred the Great reconquered the lands the Vikings ad occupied by taking back London. He was the first to unite England under one crown. He translate lots of Latin words.

King Ethelred the Unready, King Canute, Edward the Confessor, Harold II

The literature used in Anglo-Saxon is now called Old English

It was first communicated orally.

Poem could change, undergoing a number of variations, additions,, omissions, embellishments

Poetry was a way of preserving the history and culture of the tribe

Poet or scop: historian and priest knew all the stories and legends of the clan or cynn

Word-hoard: poetic vocabulary of descriptive phrases and formulae

Lay: publicly improvised poetic composition

The scop had to improvise in a way which maintained the poem's metrical rules

While the poets of old sang of the achievement of the great leaders and heroes of their clan, many modern rappers tend to boast only of their own accomplishments

Kenning: a sort of riddle which occurs in compound words  metaphors

When poems were written down by monks lost some of their pagan elements

Epic/elegy//Religious; Caedomon composed poems based on the Biblical scriptures; Cynewulf wrote poems inspired by the lives of the saints and the apostles

Large use of alliteration and caesura


Composed in Old English at the end of the 7th century, is the longest with 3000 lines

It's an epic: long narrative poem which celebrates the actions of a hero

Beowulf, native of Geatland, who rises to fame by coming to the aid of Hrothgar, King of the Danes. Half-human monster called Grendel Beowulf was killed by a dragon.

It contains both pagan and Christian elements. When Beowulf dies he gives thanks to God

The monster could be a physical manifestation of the internal conflicts and tensions of the royal household

Is typical of Anglo-Saxon verse in its extensive

The Seaferer

Elegies: lyrical poems; the speaker tends to contrast the hard times of the present with evocations of a glorious but forgotten past

124 lines

It begins with a lament at the suffering of a life at sea compared with the comforts of lands until the speaker understands that prefers life at sea

In the second part he explain his reason for this choice saying that all the things that civilisation provides are nothing more than pointless vanity.

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