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English Literature . History of English. Britannia . Different Celtic tribes lived in Briton ( Britanny ). (517 BC) Language was called Brythonic ( Celtic) Britons : Celtic tribes ( before Roman invasion )

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english literature

English Literature

History of English


Different Celtic tribes lived in Briton (Britanny).

(517 BC) Language was calledBrythonic (Celtic)

Britons: Celtic tribes (before Roman invasion)

Britains: Mix of Britons, Angles, Saxons and Norse (after Romans left)

the early middle ages 450 1066
The Early Middle Ages (450-1066)

GreatBritain part of the Roman Empire (55 BC -

450 AD)

Roman influence

Latinnames: plants, animals, food, drink, household items: win (wine), candel (candle), catte (cat).

Hadrian Wall: to protectBritainfrom tribes in the north

Roman roads

Town Names: Manchester (OE ceaster /Lat castrum/ camp)

early middle ages
Early Middle Ages

Romans left GB to defend the mainland

Britain was attackedby:


Saxons (Denmark)

Jutes (NorthGermany)

Frisians (the Netherlands)

Celtsweredrivenoff to Wales, Ireland and Scotland

middle ages
Middle Ages

After the Anglo-Saxons had settled, Vikings (fromScandinavia) invadedEngland

787 AD – +/- 1000 AD

Danishcontrolled most of easternEngland. Danelaw: area of Englandthat was underDanishlaw.


1)SettlementswithDanishnames in England

- by = farm/town (Derby, Naseby)

- thorp = village (Linthorpe, althorp)

2)Increase in personalnames of Scandinavianorigin

3)General wordsentered the language

4)Personalpronoun system was affected : they, them, their

5) ON verb to beinstead of sindon

6) 3rd personsingular –s

1066 battle of hastings
1066 Battle of Hastings

1066Battle of Hastings: William the Conquerer (Normandy) seized the Englishthrone



language of court, monastries, merchantswhocrossed the channel.

origin of english
Origin of English

Germanic invaders called Celts wealas (Welsh)

Celts called invaders Saxons (all of them)

End of 6th century term Angli. Aethelbert (601 AD) is called rex Anglorum (King of the Angles).

Name of the language Englisc. (sc = sh)

Englaland (Land of the Angles) not until 1000

english language
English Language

Anglo-Saxon(Old English) is a Germaniclanguage and closelyrelated to Frisian, German and Dutch

e.g: Vater (G), father (E), vader (D)

Haus(G), house (E), huis (D) hus (Fris)

old english and dutch
Old English and Dutch






The InterrogativePronouns

hwā – who hwænne - when

hwǽt – what hwelc – which

hwǽr – where hū - how

hwý – why


æcer – akker bān – been

belīfan – blijven binnan – binnen

bītan – bijten blōd – bloed

brecan – breken bremel – braam

brōþor – broer buan – bouwen

bufan – boven ciele – kil

cīepan – kopen cild – kind

cirice – kerk cnapa – knaap

cwic – kwik cyning – koning

cyne-rīce – koningrijk dǽd – daad

dǽlen – delen dēaþ – dood

dēofol – duivel dēor – dier

dohtor – dochter draca – draak

duru – deur ēage – oog

ēare – oorearm – arm

earn – arendele – olie

ende – eind engel – engel

Engla-land – Engeland eorþe – aarde

english language1
English Language


Big influence of (old) Norse on OE language. Vikings brought ON to England. Usually 2 wordsfor 1 thing, somtimes OE sometimes ON orbothsurvived

ON eggvs OE ey OE pathvs ON reike

ON sister vs OE sweostor OE sorrowvs ON site

ON silvervs OE seolfor

ON sick & OE ill

ON skill & OE craft

ON anger & OE wrath

english language2
English Language


Little influence of Celtic languages  driven away to Scotland, Wales and Ireland

english language3
English Language


During Roman invasion (butonly 200 words)

Christian missionariesbroughtLatinto society. Latinlanguage of religion and learningfrommonastriesgraduallyintoeverydaylife.

english language4
English Language


After 1066:Norman rule over England

Words: law, administration, medicine, art, fashion.

Fr and OE replace words or co-exist, but develop different meaning

house (OE) & mansion (F)

hearty (OE) & cordial (F)


Roman England: Christianspersecuteduntil 313 EmperorConstantinegrantedfreedom of worship to Christians.

SaxonEngland:Christianityvanishedexcept in Cornwall and Wales. 5th cent. Christianity spread to Ireland and Scotland = Celtic Church

7th cent. Rome sent missionaries to England. Roman Churchstartedconversion in South, Celtic Church in North


7th century: Pope sendsprieststo convert GB most kingsadoptChristianity  monks,

priests and bishopsplayan important role in

society monastries

 Latinliterature

venerable bede 673 735
Venerable Bede (673-735)

Bede wrote a history of the Anglo-Saxons in LatintitledHistoriaEcclesiasticaGentisAnglorum

Growth of Christianity in England most valuablesourceforearlyEnglishhistory

Old Englishliteraturealsosurvives

  • Read page 2 3 4 of Alquin booklet
  • Make a chronological survey of ‘invasions’ of Britain between 55 BC and 1066.
old english literature
Old English Literature

OE literature : literaturewritten in Old English (Anglo-Saxon) frommid 5th century – 1066

Literaryagebeganafter the arrival of the Romans. In the monastriesLatinand OE textswerewritten.

First texts (700 AD) wereglossaries (LatinwordstranslatedintoEnglish)


Oldest OE manuscript composedorally in the 8th century, written down later by 2 different scribes.

Authoris unknown.

Story takes place in 6th century

beowulf the story
Beowulf: the story

EpicPoem: narrativepoem (tells a story) containing details of heroicdeeds and events significant to a culture ornation.

Beowulf is a Scandinavian coming to the help of kingHrothgar (Danish) who is underattackbya monstroustroll, Grendel at the hall of Heorot (Hearts). Beowulf travelsfromGeatland (Sweden) and kills the monster.

beowulf the story1
Beowulf: the Story

In a second fight he kills the monster’s mother. Beowulf goes home and becomes king of the Geats. As an old man he kills a dragon in a fight that leads to his own death.


Notonlyfor entertainment, showed the thanes:

  • how to behave: fight for glory and fame with a stoic acceptance of things to come
        • what to wear (‘dress-code’): mail-shirt, harness,
        • what values are important: courage, strength, endurance
  • Christian elements changed the original meaning (added by monks in monasteries when writing down the stories c. 250 years later)
        • Beowulf would not have succeeded, had the Lord not helped him. The theme of the eternal battle between Forces of Light (Beowulf) and those of Darkness (Grendel) changed into
        • one of Good (God) vs Evil (the Devil)
  • gives insight into Anglo-Saxon society: fame, revenge, heroism is important; the bond with the lord
  • Find examples in the texts of the above mentioned points (behaviour/ dress-code/ values/ Christian elements
  • answer questions 1, 2, 3, (p. 10)
  • which of the 2 translations do you prefer and why?
  • why has the original story been changed in the film?
the late middle ages 1066 1500
The Late Middle Ages 1066-1500

Anglo-Saxon society under the influence of Normannobility.

Structureof kings and warriorsdissappeared and was succeededbythe feudal system

  • Language
  • Literature: fables, ballads and romances
  • Architecture: Gothicstyle
  • Religion: Memento Mori, centredon the

mortality of Mankind


Magna Carta: 1215 King was forced to sign contract underwhich the nobilityweregrantedcertainpriviliges in return fortheirloyalty

HundredYears War: Englanddeclares war on France (1337)

Black Death: Plague


Fighting over the Englishcrownby House of York and House of Lancaster = War of the Roses

Richard III defeated and killed by Henry VII.

New dynasty: The Tudors (1483-1603).