Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Reading Period 2: Aug 7 - Aug 13: The Anglo-Saxon Period


Please read the Beowulf excerpt in the textbook. If you've decided to read the entire text of Beowulf as one of your "Longer Works" this is a great time to get started on that.

Here's a discussion question to help you focus as you read. Beowulf was written in Old English between the 8th and 11th century AD by an Anglo-Saxon poet. This poet would have been influenced heavily by the Christian religion, which had taken firm root in England by this time, but the tale he tells is from a pre-Christian time, so the characters in the story were pagan. As you read the excerpt in the textbook, look for passages where the paganism of the characters and the Christianity of the author come in conflict. Leave a comment with an example of such a passage. There are several.


Choose one of these assignments:

ART CONNECTION: Create a comic illustrating one of the following scenes: Grendel's attack on Herot, Unferth's taunt, or Beowulf's battle with Grendel. It should have at least three frames.

HISTORY CONNECTION: Read about the archaeological dig at Sutton Hoo at this web site, and watch this short movie, Summer's End:


Answer these questions:
1. What was the first thing they found in the first mound, that led them to believe they were unearthing a ship?
2. According to legend which until now had never been proven, what were great kings buried inside?
3. What was going on at the time when the artifacts at Sutton Hoo were first discovered?
4. Why was there nothing found in the first couple of mounds that were investigated?
5. You might be familiar with the idea of trains full of children leaving London during WWII. What classic children's book has this scene in it?
6. The movie references two other reasons for digging, besides archaeology. What are they?
7. How did the archaeologists protect the dig, and the things they had found?
8. What changed in people's ideas about "the dark ages" as a result of the findings at Sutton Hoo? What is "a miserable primitivism"?
9. In what way was the time during the excavation a "dark age" in London, because of the war?
10. What other purpose did the military use the burial mounds for, during the war?


Write a "Help Wanted" ad from Hrothgar to be posted in the Danish Times, advertising for a warrior with the qualities and characteristics required to slay Grendel.
Write a "Help Wanted" ad for a military leader in contemporary times, including the skills and abilities needed to be a successful war hero.
What do you observe about where these descriptions overlap and where they separate?


Read the section in your textbook called The Anglo-Saxon Period (pp. 1-10) and do the quiz for RP2:

1.Why is the Anglo-Saxon period usually dated starting in 449?  
A. That's when the Romans left.
B. That's when the Jutes crossed the North Sea and landed in Britain.
C. That's when the Vikings were defeated.
D. That's the date of the Norman invasion.

2.Who occupied the British Isles before the Anglo-Saxons?  
A. The Britons, a Celtic people.
B. The Beatles, a Liverpool band.
C. The Romans, a thriving empire.
D. The Normans, led by King Arthur.

3.Who is credited with the unification of England?  
A. King Ethelred of Kent.
B. King Pork of Chop.
C. King Alfred of Wessex.
D. King Elvis of Rock.

4.Who was the first Archbishop of Canterbury?  
A. St. Paul
B. St. Augustine
C. St. Whitby
D. St. Bede

5.Why has so little Anglo-Saxon poetry survived?  
A. The language of the Anglo-Saxons cannot be translated.
B. Because poems are hard to remember.
C. In the Great Purge of 985 AD, all were burned.
D. They were not written down, but mostly sung.

6.What function was performed by the scop?  
A. Boot cleaner and chimney sweep of the tribe.
B. Historian and "memory" of the tribe.
C. Collector of battle artifacts of the tribe.
D. Writing down all the important laws of the tribe.

7.What are the two major traditions of Anglo-Saxon poetry?  
A. The sonnet tradition and the ballad tradition.
B. The horseradish tradition and the monkey tradition.
C. The heroic tradition and the villainous tradition.
D. The heroic tradition and the elegiac tradition.

8.With what work is Bede associated?  
A. A History of the English Church and People
B. Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum
C. Wait, the two things above are the same.
D. Rabble-rousing for the revolution.

9.What work was begun by King Alfred as a record of English history?  
A. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle
B. The Anglo-Saxon Times
C. The Anglo-Saxon Record
D. The Anglo-Saxon Tribune

10.What event brought the Anglo-Saxon period to a close?  
A. The Normal Conquest
B. The Norman Conquest
C. The Norman Contest
D. The Norbert Funquest


In a post on the Google+ Community or an email to me, let me know which two longer works you will be working on this semester. Visit this page to review your choices.

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