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Anglo-Saxon literature: Poetry. There are two types of Old English poetry: the heroic, the sources of which are pre-Christian Germanic myth, history, and custom; and the Christian. Although nearly all Old English poetry is preserved in only four manuscripts—indicating that what has survived is not necessarily the best or most representative—much of it is of high literary quality.

Moreover, Old English heroic poetry is the earliest extant in all of Germanic literature. It is thus the nearest we can come to the oral pagan literature of Germanic culture, and is also of inestimable value as a source of knowledge about many aspects of Germanic society. The 7th-century work known as Widsith is one of the earliest Old English poems, and thus is of particular historic and linguistic interest. Beowulf, a complete epic, is the oldest surviving Germanic epic as well as the longest and most important poem in Old English. The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. See more Encyclopedia articles on: English Literature to 1499. The History of English - Old English (c. 500 - c.1100)

About 400 Anglo-Saxon texts survive from this era, including many beautiful poems, telling tales of wild battles and heroic journeys. The oldest surviving text of Old English literature is “Cædmon's Hymn”, which was composed between 658 and 680, and the longest was the ongoing “Anglo-Saxon Chronicle”. But by far the best known is the long epic poem “Beowulf”. “Beowulf” may have been written any time between the 8th and the early 11th Century by an unknown author or authors, or, most likely, it was written in the 8th Century and then revised in the 10th or 11th Century.

It was probably originally written in Northumbria, although the single manuscript that has come down to us (which dates from around 1000) contains a bewildering mix of Northumbrian, West Saxon and Anglian dialects. The 3,182 lines of the work shows that Old English was already a fully developed poetic language by this time, with a particular emphasis on alliteration and percussive effects. Anglo-Saxon literature Facts, information, pictures.

Anglo-Saxon literature - English and Related Literature, The University of York. Overview The poetry and prose of the Anglo-Saxons stands at the beginnings of English literature. Between the arrival of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain and the Norman Conquest, Anglo-Saxon literature played a key role in the emergence of an English nation and identity and in transforming the world of writing from a Latin one to a vernacular one. Its literature is simultaneously conservative and radically innovative.

It preserved form, content and values from an ancient and oral poetic tradition predating the coming of Christianity: Beowulf and other heroic poetry have their origins in a legendary Germanic past. But because of the conversion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, the literature also affords the opportunity to study the transformation of the Germanic world through contact with Rome and its Latin literature. Students will be required to purchase Peter Baker, An Introduction to Old English, 2nd edn, 2007. Aims and Objectives. Middle Ages for Kids: Anglo-Saxons of England. History >> Middle Ages for Kids Who were the Saxons? The Saxons were a people from north Germany who migrated to the island of Britain around the 5th century. There were actually three main peoples: the Saxons, the Angles, and the Jutes. After these people moved to Britain they became known as the Anglo-Saxons. Eventually the name "Angles" became the "English" and their land became known as England.

Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms The Anglo-Saxons were the dominant peoples on the island of Britain from 550 to 1066. The first kingdom to dominate was Northumbria in the early 600s, a kingdom to the north that was settled by the Angles. Dane Invasion In the mid-800s the Danes (people from Denmark) began to invade England. Alfred the Great Prince Alfred became king in 871.

King Alfred became known as Alfred the Great. Social Order At the top of the Anglo-Saxon social order were the kings. Laws and Government The Saxon king did not rule alone. The laws of the Saxons were very primitive. Legacy. Primary History - Anglo-Saxons - Kings and laws. Life in Anglo-Saxon England. 1. Introduction The Anglo-Saxon period lasted for some six centuries, from the arrival of Germanic invaders from the continent during the early fifth century AD to the Norman Conquest of 1066. This was a time of immense political and social upheaval which saw major changes in almost all aspects of everyday life. The early pagan settlers lived mainly by farming (see Unit 9, Farming), and formed a number of separate — and warring — kingdoms. 2. Anglo-Saxon kings were prolific legislators, and a number of law-codes survive from the seventh to eleventh centuries. 3.

Life was more dangerous in Anglo-Saxon England than in modern times; and in addition to the hazards of war, feud, and capital punishment, Anglo-Saxons could be at risk from famine and epidemics, as well as from a range of endemic diseases including degenerative arthritis, leprosy and tuberculosis. 4. A substantial literature survives from Anglo-Saxon England in both Latin and Old English. 5. 6. 7. Further Reading Websites. Anglo-Saxon | people. Anglo-Saxon, term used historically to describe any member of the Germanic peoples who, from the 5th century ce to the time of the Norman Conquest (1066), inhabited and ruled territories that are today part of England and Wales. According to St. Bede the Venerable, the Anglo-Saxons were the descendants of three different Germanic peoples—the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes.

By Bede’s account, those peoples originally migrated from northern Germany to the island of Britain in the 5th century at the invitation of Vortigern, a ruler of Britons, to help defend his kingdom against marauding invasions by the Picts and Scotti, who occupied what is now Scotland. Archaeological evidence suggests that the first migrants from the Germanic areas of mainland Europe included settlers from Frisia and antedated the Roman withdrawal from Britain about 410 ce. The peoples of each of the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms spoke distinctive dialects, which evolved over time and together became known as Old English. Anglo-Saxons: a brief history.

Publication date: 13th January 2011 King Arthur as one of the Nine Worthies, detail from the 'Christian Heroes Tapestry' This period is traditionally known as the Dark Ages, mainly because written sources for the early years of Saxon invasion are scarce. It is a time of war, of the breaking up of Roman Britannia into several separate kingdoms, of religious conversion and, after the 790s, of continual battles against a new set of invaders: the Vikings. Climate change had an influence on the movement of these new invaders to Britain: in the centuries after 400 AD Europe's average temperature was 1°C warmer than we have today, and in Britain grapes could be grown as far north as Tyneside. Warmer summers meant better crops and a rise in population in the countries of northern Europe. At the same time melting polar ice caused more flooding in low areas, particularly in what is now Denmark, Holland and Belgium.

A short history of the Anglo-Saxons in Britain Anglo-Saxon kingdoms 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. History - Ancient History in depth: The Anglo-Saxons. Anglo Saxon. OUR FIRST SPEECH. Our first recorded speech begins with the songs of Widsith and Deor, which the Anglo-Saxons may have brought with them when they first conquered Britain. In Old English, few books were written; most of those were written in Latin, for religious purposes.

Most of those that got written have disappeared. Four books of Old English poetry exist today. At first glance these songs in their native dress look strange as a foreign tongue; but when we examine them carefully we find many words that have been familiar since childhood. It is this old vigorous Anglo-Saxon language which forms the basis of our modern English. Hitherto the poetry, though written in English language is not strictly part of the literature of England.

All the poetry is earnest and somber, and pervaded by fatalism and religious feelings. 1. love of freedom 2. responsiveness to nature, especially in her sterner moods; 3. strong religious conviction, and a belief in Wyrd, or Fate; Northumbrian Literature.