History of Old English

Topics: Anglo-Saxons, Beowulf, English language Pages: 5 (1514 words) Published: April 1, 2013
Earliest inhabitaion
* England was inhabited from about 3000 BC
* These the builders of Stonehenge were excellent astronomers, had extraordinary engineering skills and a complex social organization. * Celtic tribes invaded England around 700 BC
* The celts Bronze weapons ensured their victory over the previous settlers. * The next invaders were the Romans.
* They arrived in 43 AD and stayed for 400 years.
* The Romans drove the Celts or Britons into Scotland and Wales and created an urban civilization; they built towns, roads,developed trade, took corn and tin from England. * When the Roman Empire began to come under attack from migrating Asian tribes, the English colony was abandoned. Anglo-Saxon England (450-1066)

1. The Anglo-Saxon invaders
* After the departure of the Romans, tribes from Germany called the Angles and * Saxons began to invade the now disorganized country.
* The name "English" is derived From the first group.
* Many of the Celts or Britons fled from the massacres to Brittany,this was named after them. * The newcomers established several kingdoms, which were organised on a tribal basis: that is to say, the free people held the land in common. * Life was mainly agricultural, herds of cattle constituted the main source of wealth, apart from plunder. * The warriors held a special position under the kings, whose crown Depended on military force; prisoners of war were enslaved. 2. The Danish and Viking invasions

* From about 800 on Danish or Viking invaders began to plunder Ireland and France. * They started to invade northern and eastern England, attracted by the rich monasteries. * They gradually founded permanent settlements, building fortified towns from which they traded. * Under this threat to their rule, the Anglo-Saxon kings began to unite. * In the reign of King Alfred the Great (849-899), the Danes controlled nearly half of the country. He paid them huge sums of money (the "Danegeld") until he had won over the Anglo-Saxon rulers, and had learnt enough from the Danes to defeat them. * The English adopted the Viking iron axes which made it easier to cut down forests, winning land to use for agriculture. * The rulers began to build stone castles; towns grew up close to them because of the trade which the lord attracted. * With the beginning of centralised rule under the most powerful Anglo-Saxon kings, the status of the people began to change: in return for protection from the Vikings, they had to give up many of their freedoms, and were becoming increasingly dependent on their lords. * Tribal Anglo-Saxon England began to develop into a feudal society under the pressure of the wars against the Norsemen. Anglo-Saxon literature

* The language spoken by the people was a Germanic dialect which we call Old English. * Anglo-Saxon culture was mainly oral; poets entertained the kings, warriors and their families with tales of the ancestors' adventures and heroic deeds. * Only a fractionhas survived: about 30,000 lines of poetry in four manuscript collections. * There are also collections of laws, historical works, and translations from Greek and Latin intoEnglish. 1. Monks introduce writing

* We would know nothing of Anglo-Saxon literature had England not been christianised during the Roman period. * In 597 St Augustine was sent from Rome to preach to the pagans of southern England; Irish missionaries began to work in the northern areas. * The priests were the only literate people in the country; their organisation was a European one, and they brought with them its international language, Latin, at the same time creating a large new vocabulary in English for church matters. * They introduced agricultural, engineering and medical skills as well as philosophical learning of the now vanished civilisations of Greece and Rome. * They founded monasteries which became centres of...
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