Anglo-Saxon History Text, pages 2-16 Great Britain Is Famous for both old-world “flavor” and modern advances Government – “by the people and for the people” – Model for other countries – America rebelled against it, but formed a government very similar to it Settled by various cultures/became a mixture of all The Celtic Heroes and Heroines: a Magical World Religion = animism (spirit) – Spirits were in everything – Spirits controlled all aspects of existence; must be satisfied – Druids were priests that acted as intermediaries between gods and world Stonehenge May have been a place of worship and ritual The land and beliefs affected writers… – Sir Thomas Malory took Celtic legends + chivalric qualities = King Arthur – William Butler Yeats used Celtic history in literature to increase awareness of Irish heritage Celtic stories full of strong women Enchanted; magic and imagination rule Map of Rome, England, and Ireland The Romans: The Great Administrators Invaded England in 55 BC – Julius Caesar and again by Claudius in 45A.D. Protected England from other invaders Christianity began to spread/Celtic religion lost power Due to trouble at home – left England by 409 A.D. England became separate clans; easily invaded by non-Christian groups. The Anglo-Saxons Sweep Ashore Angles and Saxons from Germany invaded (along with Jutes from Denmark) Celts receded into Wales Country divided into different tribes again Anglo-Saxon Religion: Gods for Warriors Dark, fatalistic religion (Norse/Scandinavian mythology) – Symbols from nature • Dragon was the protector of treasure – They did not believe in an after-life – To be remembered after death, a person would have to stand out as extremely brave, loyal, strong, etc. – Heroes were treated like they were gods because they were so important The Bards: Singing of Gods and Heroes Entertainment = storytelling in communal hall Poetry was about fighting, hunting, farming, and loving Poets sang to the strumming of a harp Since the Anglo-Saxon religion had no afterlife, glory had to be found in the present life (bravery, honor, etc) and by finding a place in the poems/tales of days to come after… The famous parade helmet found at Sutton Hoo. Anglo-Saxon Life: The Warm Hall, the Cold World War-faring people, though not as harsh as usually depicted There was always the threat of attack from another tribe People were very faithful to the king/leader It was important to be brave and willing to defend the tribe Communal Living – Lived in single-family dwellings – livestock near homes to protect them and to be protected – Surrounded by wooden fence – Family huts surrounded common court (cheiftain’s hall or Mead Hall) Ruled by consensus – families had a voice in decisions affecting the tribe The Danes took over with harsh fighting tactics and they settled in northeast and central England Missionaries converted AngloSaxon rulers to Christianity, which was a unifying force The Christian Monasteries: The Ink Froze Hope in Anglo-Saxon Culture came from – Being immortalized through poetry – The idea that Christianity could be accurate Monks spent time writing old stories in a savable form (that’s why we now know the story of Beowulf). King Alfred instituted the AngloSaxon Chronicle English became recognized as a language of culture; works preserved by Monks became thought of as great literature. Anglo-Saxons/Danes and all the separate tribes continued fighting until country was overtaken by Norman Troops Works Cited Leeming, David Adams. “The AngloSaxons.” Elements of Literature: Sixth Course: Literature of Britain with World Classics. Austin: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2000.