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The Anglo-Saxon period. When? 449- 1066 AD Where? Northern Europe and the British Islands Who? Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons, Jutes) migrated , fought, and mixed to create the Anglo-Saxon people and culture. The Anglo-Saxon way of life

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When?449-1066 AD

Where?Northern Europe and the British Islands

Who?Germanic tribes (Angles, Saxons, Jutes) migrated, fought, and mixed to create the Anglo-Saxon people and culture.


The Anglo-Saxon way of life

Anglo-Saxons lived in rural communities led by a king. The king had a team of loyal knights, called thanes.

The ASs performed various jobs, such as farming, pottery, and blacksmithing.


The Anglo-Saxon way of life

Those loyal to the king would gather in the mead hall, the heart of the kingdom.

There they would eat, drink, sing, listen to stories, and stay warm.

mead hall in Beowulf is called Heorot


The Anglo-Saxon values

“Work hard, play hard”

>personal glory& treasure“ain’t no shame in the boasting game.”

>warfare, competition


The Anglo-Saxon values

>strong belief in fate, or wyrd

>interdependence(bro to bro)

>men are superior to women


Religion in the Anglo-Saxon Period

Both Pagan & Christian references in “Beowulf”

The Germanic tribes = pagan (believed in many gods; valued forces of nature,fate, and the ideal hero).

Over time, Christian missionaries converted the ASs to Christianity (Jesus Christ = God & Savior; teachings of the Bible).

***Saint Patrick,



Epic poetry:

A long narrative poem that celebrates a hero's deeds

Narrative = tells a story


EPs were passed down orally

by poets called scops

before anybody ever wrote them down

Scops improvised their verses, but got their ideas from existing legends and songs

***Improv poetry, rap battles


Characteristics of epic poems

Repetition of lines, words, phrases

Kenning: a descriptive phrase or compound word that substitutes for a noun

Example: 2 kennings for Grendel are “the Almighty’s enemy” and “sin-stained demon”



Repetition of the same sound, usually a

consonant, at the beginning of words

The son of his sire

Marked as a murderer

The glorious gift God had allowed him



Hero is a male of noble birth

His traits reflect important ideals of his society

Performs courageous, superhuman tasks

His actions determine the fate of his nation



  • Supernatural beings as the enemy
  • Timeless values (courage, honor)
  • Universal themes (good vs. evil, life and death)