Old English Poem: Beowulf

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Old English Poem: Beowulf
Introduction
Old English is a term to refer to the language and the literature spoken and written in Britain during the time between the coming of the Anglo-Saxons to Britain in the fifth century and the Norman Conquest in 1066. There are many tribes such as the Picts, Jutes, Scotes invaded Britain, this resulted in the mixing of several races, tongues and cultures. But the West Germanic tribes known as the Anglo-Saxon were the most influential tribes during this period.
The Anglo-Saxons were warrior-farmers and came from north-western Europe. They began to invade Britain while the Romans were still in control. The Anglo-Saxons were tall, fair-haired men, armed with swords and spears and round shields. Their skills are hunting, farming, cloth production and leather working.
“Anglo-Saxons were often buried with their possessions. The objects found in their graves have given evidence of the different jobs done by men and women and the skills they had. Knives and spears are often found in Anglo-Saxon men 's graves. This suggests they were involved in hunting, fighting and farming. Women 's graves often include tools used for sewing and weaving, which suggests they were involved in making clothes (textile production.”1

The language of this whole period is known as Old English. No exact date exists for its beginning. The first written records of the language date from around 690, however people had spoken the language long before it. Most Old English words were Germanic.
“Old English is a West Germanic language, developing out of Ingvaeonic (also known as North Sea Germanic) dialects from the 5th century. Anglo-Saxon literacy developed after Christianisation in the late 7th century.”2 At the end of the sixth century, the Anglo-Saxons accepted Christianity after Pope Gregory sent Saint Augustine to Britain in 597. (The Romans had introduced Christianity to the Celts centuries earlier.) This gave rise to some religious writings. The



Bibliography: http://www.chiddingstone.kent.sch.uk/ http://en.wikipedia.org/ Peck, John and Coyle, Martin, A Brief Story of English Literature. New York: Palgrave, 2002. Gordon, R. K., Anglo-Saxon Poetry. London: The Aldine Pers, 1959.

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