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The Old English Period

The Old English Period

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The Old English Period

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  1. The Old English Period



  4. Ancient Rome



  7. Romans landing in Britain

  8. Caesar Caesar wrote as follows... "Druids know much about the stars and celestial motions, and about the size of the earth and universe, and about the essential nature of things, and about the powers and authority of' the immortal gods; and these things they teach to their pupils."

  9. A.D. 43 the Emperor Claudius sent another army to invade Britain. • Some Celts decided to make peace with the Romans in return for keeping their kingdoms. • In some parts of Britain there were still fierce battles against the Romans. For example at Maiden Castle (a huge hill fort near Dorchester in Dorset) archaeologists found evidence of a battle which the Romans had won. Buried on the site were the skeletons of young men, some of which even had cut marks of Roman swords on their bones.

  10. Main Roman roads in Britain

  11. English adopted Roman ways of living and organisation

  12. The British became Christians too. When the Romans became Christians

  13. The Romans leave Scotland in 410AD • Probably, because the army was needed elsewhere in the Roman Empire. • By this time four main kingdoms emerged: the Picts, the Scots, the Angles & the Britons.

  14. The attack of the Great Alliance: SCOTS, PICTS and SAXONS

  15. The Anglo Saxon Period

  16. The Angles, Jutes and Saxons invaded Britain

  17. Romans were gone. A King defended his land: King Arthur Resistance

  18. New map of Britain

  19. The VIkings

  20. In the 9th century, the English king, Alfred the Great forced the Vikings to leave the whole of western England. • During the 10th Century the English reconquered many Viking areas. • But in the early 11th century the whole of England was ruled by the Viking King Knut.

  21. With the Viking King CNUT the invasion was massive Scandinavia

  22. New map of Britain: A.D. 874-920

  23. Canute "strengthened his position in England" • He married Emma of Normandy, the widow of Æthelred, who was Canute's former opposition in England.

  24. King Edward the confessor promises to give his crown to Duke William of Normandy. • The Witan decides that at the death of Edward the next king should be Harold. • In 1066 the Battle of Hastings takes place and William defeats Harold. • So the new king of England is a Norman and that’s the end of the Old English Period.

  25. Literature in the Old English Period

  26. Repetitions Rythm Caesura Alliteration Literary Forms Oral Tradition Kennings Rhyme Poetry

  27. ANGLO-SAXON VERSE • It is alliterative • Similar sounds at the beginnings of word. • It has 4 strong beats. • It has 1 break in the middle of the line.

  28. Beowulf

  29. BEOWULF • Beowulf can be divided into two halves. • The first half tells of the arrival of Beowulf the Geat in the Danish court of Hrothgar. Beowulf has come for Geatland to the court to rid of Grendel, a monster that has been killing Hrothgar’s men over a twelve year period. Beowulf fights the monster and kills it. His mother threatens Hrothgar’s kingdom and Beowulf defeats her as well.

  30. BEOWULF • The second half takes place 50 years later. Beowulf has become the king of Geatland and has ruled wisely. A thief has disturbed a dragon and it begins to kill Beowulf’s people. Beowulf sets off to kill the monster but this time the victory costs him his life.

  31. Litrary forms in Beowulf • Alliteration • Epic • Elegy • Epithet • Allusion • Kenning • Foreshadowing

  32. The Medieval Times

  33. King William “The conqueror”: His Reign • He built stout castles all over England. • The Tower of London was built to protect London from possible attacks.

  34. Normans in England • The Normans were descendants of Scandinavians who had settled in France and had acquired some French manners and culture and so spoke French as well as they had kept their love for adventure. • They brought England: • Their law and order • Political organisation • Most important of all the FEUDAL SYSTEM

  35. FEUDAL SYSTEM - FEUDALISM • It was a political and social system that had been started in the continent (Europe). • The system was as follows:

  36. Chivalry • It comes from the French word: CHEVALIER = HORSEMAN or KNIGHT • So, a knight had: • A sense of honour • Respect for women and religion • The ideal knight had the following qualities: • Devotion to God • Loyalty to his lord • Valour • Protective kindness to the weak. • These social and moral forces were rules and regulations for the English.


  38. A notable amount of medieval literature is anonymous. • Medieval authors often tended to re-tell and embellish stories they heard or read rather than invent new stories.

  39. Medieval Literature • It also tells of chivalrous deeds and noble knights. • Some romantic stories about national heroes were brought from France like those about King Arthur and his knights. • The finest metrical romance was written by an unknown Englishman: “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”

  40. Writings

  41. Characteristics of Medieval Literature • Heroism • Idealised Behaviour • Use of allegory • Romance • Christian message

  42. The Ideal of Courtly Love • This relationship was modeled on the feudal relationship between a knight and his liege lord. • The knight serves his courtly lady with the same obedience and loyalty which he owes to his liege lord. • She is in complete control; he owes her obedience and submission

  43. The Quest • In addition to the theme of Courtly Love, the Quest was highly important

  44. Three Medieval Poets • William Langland: “The vision of William” • The unknown writer of “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight” • The most important of all, known as the father of English Literature GEOFFREY CHAUCER.

  45. Sir Gawain and the Green Knight

  46. Author of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight • Some asumptions about this author are that he: • had lived in court. • was not young when he wrote his work. • was associated with a monastery. • Lived near Wales (Celtic place)

  47. SYMBOLS: The Pentangle The Green Girdle THEMES: The Nature of Chivalry The Letter of the Law (Covenant) MOTIFS: The Seasons Games

  48. Geoffrey Chaucer • Born in London. • Son of a wine merchant. • At 17 became PAGE of Prince Lionel. • Had an active and adventurous life. • Went to war with the Prince when England was at war with France. • There, was taken prisoner but ransomed with the help of the King. • At 34 became controller of the customs in the Port of London. • Became clerk of the King’s works.

  49. Geoffrey Chaucer • Was well off until political changes took place. • Lost pensions and prosperity. • Knew poverty as well. • In his later life became justice of the peace. • A year later became Member of Parliament. • His earliest poetry was translations from the French. • His first English book was “The book of the Duchess” • In 1389 began writing his masterpiece “The Canterbury Tales”