The history of the english language
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The History of the English Language. Britain Before the Anglo-Saxons. Early history was big battle scene Iberians brought stone-age weapons. Arrival of the Celts. 2 groups of Celts800-600bc Brythons (Britons) Settled on largest island (Britain) Gaels Settled on 2 nd largest (Ireland.

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The History of the English Language

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The history of the english language

The History of the English Language


Britain before the anglo saxons

Britain Before the Anglo-Saxons

  • Early history was big battle scene

  • Iberians brought stone-age weapons


Arrival of the celts

Arrival of the Celts

  • 2 groups of Celts800-600bc

  • Brythons (Britons) Settled on largest island (Britain)

  • Gaels Settled on 2nd largest (Ireland


Celts cont

Celts Cont.

  • Organized into clans

  • Depended on Druids (pagan priests) to settle disputes

  • Druids performed religious rituals and recited poems and myths


The roman conquest

The Roman Conquest

  • Julius Caesar (55bc) hasty invasions - barely penetrated the island

  • Claudius sent legions for true conquest (43ad)

    • Camps grew into towns

    • Paved roads

    • Taught methods of warfare (not defense)

    • Lasted 300 years


The anglo saxon conquest who were they

The Anglo Saxon ConquestWho were they?

  • Farmers

  • Fishermen

  • Rowed boats up rivers and conquered towns

  • 3 groups

    • Angles

    • Saxons

    • Jutes


A s established highly organized tribes

A-S Established highly organized tribes

  • Ruled by a king

    • King chosen by the witan (council of elders)

  • 4 distinct classes

    • Earls – hereditary class of warlords

    • Freemen – could own land and sell things (included thanes, early barons, who were given status as reward for military service.

    • Churls (serfs) – servant who worked the land in exchange for military protection

    • Thralls – slaves, prisoners, convicts


  • A s continued

    A-S continued

    • Small kingdoms frequently fought, eventually seven larger kingdoms were formed.

    • All of the intermingling created what is called Anglo-Saxon or OLD ENGLISH


    A s beliefs

    A-S Beliefs

    • 4 Ideals

      • Honor

      • Warrior attitude

      • Good will defeat evil

      • Fate

  • Pagan

    • In the hands of fate


  • Worshiped early germanic gods

    Worshiped early Germanic gods

    • Tiu – god of war and sky

    • Woden – chief god

    • Fria – Woden’s wife, goddess of the home

    • Days of the week are named after them


    Dispersal of the britons

    Dispersal of the Britons

    • Fled to edge of island and beyond

    • Wales – hilly western region

    • Ireland – to join Gaels and back to Scotia (Scotland)

    • Spoke Celtic languages


    The coming of christianity

    The Coming of Christianity

    • Romans brought Christianity in the 4th Century

    • Celts brought it with them when they fled

      • Went from Wales to Ireland

    • Church thrived in Ireland and was eventually reintroduced in northern England by Columba in 563

    • Scotland accepted the faith as well as some Angles and Saxons


    Resurgence of the roman church

    Resurgence of the Roman Church

    • St. Augustine brought RC to southern England in 597

    • Converted King Ethelbert and set up monastery in Canterbury

    • By 650 all of England was RC

    • The result was a “kinder, gentler” England


    Christianity and literature

    Christianity and Literature

    • Roman influence brought 2 things

      • Education

      • Written Literature

    • Monks hand copied books called manuscripts

    • Venerable Bede

      • Wrote A History of the English Church and People

    • Beowulf

      • Epic poem (more later)


    Attack of the danes

    Attack of the Danes

    • AKA the Vikings

      • Nasty- burned, plundered, raped, pillaged, burned manuscripts

      • By 850 most of England was ruled by Vikings and called the Danelaw

      • Only the Saxon kingdom of Wessex held strong


    Alfred the great

    Alfred The Great

    • Only English King to be called “The Great”

    • Established truce in 886

      • Saxons took the South

      • Danes took the North

    • Reestablished education

    • Translated Latin works into Anglo-Saxon


    Danish contributions

    Danish Contributions

    • Brought brewing and mercantile trade to England.

    • Had a fondness for law

    • New Danish invaders actually conquered Saxons in 10th century and witan was forced to chose a Danish King


    Edward and the normans

    Edward and the Normans

    • Throne was regained by Alfred’s family

    • Deeply religious (thus the name Confessor)

    • His friendship with his cousin William weakened Saxon power and led to the Norman Conquest (next unit)


    A s lit

    A-S Lit

    • 1st alphabet called runes

    • Singers at celebrations were called scops and gleemen

    • Accompanied by a harp and included a caesura (mid-line pause)

    • Heroic poetry- recounts the achievements of warriors involved in great battles

    • Elegiac poetry-sorrowful laments that mourn death

    • Pagan elements remain such as wyrd, or an ominous fate


    Poets of the christian era

    Poets of the Christian Era

    • Caedmon

    • Cynewulf


    A s prose

    A-S Prose

    • Bede wrote in Latin, but wrote of a unified England, thus the 1st of English prose

    • Alcuin: monk who wrote books on philosophy, religion, etc.

    • All writing was linked to church because church gave education


    Alfred and his successors

    Alfred and his Successors

    • Aelfric:Monk, 10th century wrote Homilies

    • Wulfstan: Archbishop wrote sermons in Old English


    The beowulf legend

    The Beowulf Legend

    • Epic: A long heroic poem

    • The National epic of England

    • Author unknown

      • first recited in the 6th century

      • Composed in the 8th century

      • Written down in the 11th century


    Beowulf cont

    Beowulf Cont.

    • Beowulf: Pagan warrior known for his courage, strength, and dignity

    • Poem includes many references to Christian ideas (11th century), but many A-S values

      • Warrior society

        • Dignity

        • Bravery

        • Prowess in battle

        • Honor

        • Fate


    The epic of beowulf

    The Epic of Beowulf

    • Actually has three parts

      • B vs. Grendel

      • B vs. Grendel’s mother

      • B vs. the dragon

      • We will only read part I

    • Includes Kenning

      • Colorful indirect ways of saying something

        • Sea= whale path

        • Battle=sword play


    The epic of beowulf1

    The Epic of Beowulf

    • Theme:

      • Good vs. Evil

        • Although evil is present in life, ultimately good will overcome evil.


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