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British Literature. Introduction. The British Isles. Look at the maps on page 4 & 87 of your text. The Anglo-Saxon Period. 449-1066. Ancient World. isolated rain-drenched and often fogged in green dotted with thatched cottages, quaint stone churches, and mysterious stone ruins.

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british literature

British Literature

Introduction

the british isles
The British Isles
  • Look at the maps on page 4 & 87 of your text.
ancient world
Ancient World
  • isolated
  • rain-drenched and often fogged in
  • green
  • dotted with thatched cottages, quaint stone churches, and mysterious stone ruins
british influence on america
British Influence on America
  • Common law
  • Parliamentary Government
  • Literature
  • Language
celts
Celts
  • Early inhabitants
  • Tall, blonde warriors
  • Group within group: Brythons (sounds like….)
celtic religion
Celtic Religion
  • Animism – from Latin word for “spirit”
  • Everything had spirits: rivers, trees, stones, ponds, fire, thunder
  • Spirits had to be constantly satisfied
  • Druids, priests, acted as intermediaries between gods and people
  • Ritual dances, rites: Stonehenge?
celtic mythology
Celtic Mythology
  • Arthur – legendary Celtic warrior; became embodiment of English values (Sir Thomas Malory, 15th Century, Le Morte D’Arthur)
  • Different from Anglo-Saxon (which came later)
  • Full of strong women
  • Enchanted lands where magic and imagination rule
video break 1 2
Video break: 1 & 2
  • The Dark Ages
  • Roman Britain
roman invaders
Roman Invaders
  • 55 B.C. Julius Caesar began invasions and claimed Britain for Rome
  • Claudius settled Britain in earnest about 100 years later
roman contributions
Roman Contributions
  • Armies to defend Britain against further invasions
  • Network of roads (some still in use)
  • Defensive wall 73 miles long (Hadrian’s Wall)
  • Public baths
  • Brought Christianity and Celtic religion began to vanish
roman evacuation
Roman Evacuation
  • Trouble at home (Italy)
  • Evacuated Britain, leaving fixtures but no central government
  • Island weak, ripe for invasion
video break 3
Video break: 3
  • The Anglo-Saxon Invasions of Britain
anglo saxons sweep ashore
Anglo-Saxons Sweep Ashore
  • 5th Century
  • Angles and Saxons from Germany
  • Jutes from Denmark
  • Attack across the North Sea
  • Drove old Britons out before them
  • “Germanic” Language became dominant in Engla land from the Angles
anglo saxon invasion
Anglo-Saxon Invasion
  • Celts put up a fight, then retreated to Wales
  • Welsh chieftain: Arthur
the danes invade
The Danes Invade
  • Alfred the Great unified the independent principalities against the invading Danes (Vikings, pirates, from Denmark)
  • Plundered and destroyed a path through the country before settling in northeast and central England
  • Battle continued until 1066 (over 150 years), when William, Duke of Normandy, defeated them all
video break 4 6
Video break: 4 & 6
  • Stowa
  • Dark Ages: Three Elements that Join
anglo saxon life
Anglo-Saxon Life
  • NOT barbarians, though often depicted that way
  • Warfare was the order of the day
  • Law and order was the responsibility of the leader
anglo saxon success
Anglo-Saxon Success
  • Fame and success gained only through LOYALTY to the leader
  • Success measured in gifts from the leader
anglo saxon life1
Anglo-Saxon Life
  • Dominated by need to protect
  • People lived close to animals in single-family homesteads around common area or a warm, fire-lit chieftan’s hall
  • Wooden stockade fence around all
  • Arrangement brought closeness to leader and followers
  • Rule by consensus
anglo saxon women
Anglo-Saxon Women
  • Women inherited and held property
  • Retained control of property even when married
  • Husband had to offer marriage gift
  • Woman had personal control of gift
  • Woman became Abbesses
  • Rights ended with Norman conquest
anglo saxon religion
Anglo-Saxon Religion
  • Religion persisted despite influx of Christianity
  • Dark, fatalistic religion from Germany
  • Like Norse/Scandinavian mythology
  • Odin: god of death, poetry, and magic; called Woden (Woden’s Day: Wednesday)
  • Dragon: significant figure; guardian of the grave, and “death the devourer”
anglo saxon religion1
Anglo-Saxon Religion
  • More concerned with ethics than mysticism – with the earthly virtues of bravery, loyalty, generosity, and friendship
video break 7
Video break: 7
  • The Spread of Christianity
christianity
Christianity
  • Irish and Continental missionaries converted Anglo-Saxon kings and the people followed
  • Provided a common faith and a common system of morality
  • Linked England to Europe
christian monasteries
Christian Monasteries
  • Centers of learning
  • Culturally and spiritually coexisted with the heroic ideals and traditions of the Anglo-Saxon religion
  • Preserved some of the older traditions by recorded works of popular literature
monks
Monks
  • Recorded works of oral tradition in the language of the people: Old English
  • Recorded principal works in Latin, the language of the Church
  • Copied manuscripts by hand in scriptorium (a covered walkway); oiled paper or glass kept out some weather
language
Language
  • Latin remained the language of ‘serious’ study
  • King Alfred’s Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a history of England, helped English gain respect as a language of culture
bards entertainers historians
Bards: Entertainers/Historians
  • Scops
  • Skilled storytellers
  • Equal in stature to warriors; creating poetry just as important as hunting, fishing, farming, or loving
  • Strummed harp
  • Told stories of heros
  • Fame in poetry: defense against death
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