You are on page 1of 6

The Royal Portfolio

British Lit Time Period Information

1. Research for the answers to the following prompts and questions.
2. Type your information and copy the link to the website that contained the information allow the boxes to expand as you type or insert information.
3. You should read various websites to find comprehensive information, but you need to document two independent, reliable and credible sources that you will use
to present your information on your Royal Portfolio site.
4. When the chart is completed, you will present your information in paragraph form as if you are telling someone the story of England (see instructions below).
5. You should not simply string along facts and dates, but create a logical, coherent, sophisticated piece of writing that incorporates senior-level vocabulary and
sentence structure. Review the rubric for standards and criteria for grading.

Literary/Historical Time Period:

1. What are the
years of the
time period?
Keep in mind
that there is
really no
exact year, as
have varying
ideas of when
a period may
begin or
3. Who are the
major ethnic
or cultural
groups within
the time
a. Where
did they
b. What
did they

Source #1 and Information

Source #2 and Information

The Anglo-Saxon period lasted for 600 years, from 410 to 1066,
Old English (500-1100)
and in that time Britain's political landscape underwent many
Anglo-Saxon developed into English & also developed
into German. Hence English is a Germanic language.
Had full inflection system. (An inflection shows how a
word funtions in a sentence by its form).

According to St. Bede the Venerable, the Anglo-Saxons were the
descendants of three different Germanic peoplesthe Angles, Saxons,
and Jutes.
a. By Bedes 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.
b. The peoples of each of the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms
spoke distinctive dialects, which evolved over time and
together became known as Old English. Within that variety

The Anglo-Saxons
a. The Anglo-Saxons were pagans when they came to
Britain, but, as time passed, they gradually converted to
b. Many of the customs we have in
England today come
from pagan festivals.
c. Pagans worshiped lots of different gods. Each pagan god
controlled a particular part of everyday life: the family,
growing crops, love, healing, wisdom, metalworking, the
weather, war, day & night and so on Religion was a means
of ensuring success in material things. For example, you

of dialects, an exceptionally rich vernacular literature

emerged. Examples include the masterful epic poem
Beowulf and the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, a collection of
manuscripts that cover events in the early history of England.
c. Ethnically, the Anglo-Saxons actually represented an
admixture of Germanic peoples with Britains preexisting
Celtic inhabitants and subsequent Viking and Danish

might pray to a particular goddess for a successful harvest,

or for victory in battle.

5. Who is the
single person
influences the
time period?
a. What
did he do
to impact
the time
b. What
on did he
make to
ent of

In the Dark Ages during the fifth and sixth centuries, communities of
peoples in Britain inhabited homelands with ill-defined borders. Such
communities were organised and led by chieftains or kings. According to
the later chronicler Bede, the most famous of these kings was Ethelberht,
king of Kent (reigned c.560-616), who married Bertha, the Christian
daughter of the king of Paris
a. Became the first English king to be converted to Christianity
(St Augustine's mission from the Pope to Britain in 597
during Ethelberht's reign prompted thousands of such
b. Ethelberht's law code was the first to be written in any
Germanic language and included 90 laws. His influence
extended both north and south of the river Humber: his
nephew became king of the East Saxons and his daughter
married king Edwin of Northumbria (died 633).

Each group of Anglo-Saxon settlers had a leader or war-chief. A
strong leader became 'cyning' - Anglo-Saxon for 'king'. Each king
ruled a kingdom and led a small army. There were many quarrels
and wars between kings, to see who was the strongest.
a. Offa was King of Mercia from AD757 to 796. Mercia was
the strongest kingdom in Anglo-Saxon England, and Offa
was the most powerful English king. Offa issued
England's first penny coins, in silver - known as 'Offa's
b. He built an earth wall and ditch for defence along the
border with Wales. This bank is called Offa's Dyke. About
80 miles/129 km of it can still be seen.

7. What
influence did
the history or
events have
on the
literature of
the time?
Describe in at
least three

a. 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.
b. Its literature is simultaneously conservative and radically
innovative. It preserved form, content and values from an

c. What is

English essentially began with the Germanic language of the
The Anglo-Saxon invasion of Britain constituted part of the wider
Germanic invasions of the Roman Empire.
The Anglo-Saxons, after the departure of the Roman Legions,
overwhelmed Roman Britain and drove the Romanized Celts into
the remote west.

ancient and oral poetic tradition predating the coming of

Christianity: Beowulf and other heroic poetry have their
origins in a legendary Germanic past.
c. At a time when the rest of western Europe was still writing
in Latin, the Anglo-Saxons developed a confident tradition of
vernacular writing in English, which would go on to
influence medieval Europe as a whole.

9. What are the

ions of the


Thus the Anglo-Saxon Germanic tongue became the foundation

for the English language.
a. There is not many literary works that eerged from
Anglo-Saxon England. Few people at the time were
literate, even among the nobility. Literacy was largely
the province of the Church.
And here was a conflict becuse the oral Anglo-Saxon
literature were not enthusiastically
embraced by churchmen.
b. It is from these kingdoms, however, that the first
English literature appears. The most important work is
the epic poem, Beowulf, based on a Germanic legend
that goes back several centuries and was transmitted
orally long before it was ever written down.
c. Scholars believe that it was first set down in writing in
Mercia or Northumbria (9th century). As a result,
Christian images had entered this essentially pagan

poetry of the
period? (i.e.
imagery, etc.)
a. What are
themes of
the poetic
b. Name the
titles and
authors of
pieces of

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 manuscriptsindicating that what has survived is not necessarily
the best or most representativemuch 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.
a. The epic celebrates the hero's fearless and bloody struggles
against monsters and extols courage, honor, and loyalty as
the chief virtues in a world of brutal force.
b. Cynewulf, a later poet, signed the poems Elene, Juliana, and
The Fates of the Apostles; no more is known of him. The
finest poem of the school of Cynewulf is The Dream of the
Rood, the first known example of the dream vision, a genre
later popular in Middle English literature. Other Old English
poems include various riddles, charms (magic cures, pagan
in origin), saints' lives, gnomic poetry, and other Christian
and heroic verse.
Cdmonwhose story is charmingly told by the Venerable
Bede, who also records a few lines of his poetryis the
earliest known English poet. Although the body of his work
has been lost, the school of Cdmon is responsible for poetic
narrative versions of biblical stories, the most dramatic of
which is probably Genesis B.
Beowulf, a complete epic, is the oldest surviving Germanic
epic as well as the longest and most important poem in Old
English. It originated as a pagan saga transmitted orally from
one generation to the next; court poets known as scops were
the bearers of tribal history and tradition. The version of
Beowulf that is extant was composed by a Christian poet,
probably early in the 8th cent. However, intermittent
Christian themes found in the epic, although affecting in
themselves, are not integrated into the essentially pagan tale.

11. What are the



Much of Old English poetry was probably intended to be chanted,

with harp accompaniment, by the Anglo-Saxon scop, of bard. This
poetry is often bold and strong, but also mournful and elegiac in
spirit, this poetry emphasizes the sorrow and ultimate futility of
life and the helplessness of humans before the power of fate.
Almost all this poetry is composed without rhyme, in a
characteristic line, or verse, of four stressed syllables alternating
with an indeterminate number of unstressed ones. This line strikes
strangely on ears habituated to the usual modern pattern, in which
the rhythmic unit or foot, theoretically consists of a constant
cumber of unaccented syllables that always precede or follow any
stressed syllable. Very little literature survives from the AngloSaxon period. The literature of this time is generally religious
based and often consisted of biblical stories.
a. They also brought oral poetic tradition. This was not
written literature. It consisted of songs, myths etc. which
expressed the values of Anglo-Saxon society and the
process of social development. A freeman changed to a
serf. The warrior to a kings man. The ideal member of
society was a warrior. Christianity has different set of
values based on life after death, people reach it if they live
after Christian morals. The old ideal of the wariar was
replaced by a new ideal, the saint.
b. Venerable Bede: Caedmons Hymn the Hymn of
Creation, found in many sources, very popular, appeared
in Latin work written at the beginning of the 7th cent.
8th century Anglican poet who fused Scandinavian history
and pagan mythology with Christian elements: Beowulf
Caedmon, considered the earliest of the Anglo-Saxon
Christian poets whos very shy, couldnt sing: An angel
appeared to him, to sing with Gods pride


ions of the
prose writing
of the period?
(i.e. extended
imagery, etc.)
a. What are
themes of
the prose
b. Name the
titles and
authors of
pieces of

The early prose was utilitarian and we find its first traces in the collection
of Laws such as the Laws of Ine and the opening pages of the chronicle
which were kept in various monasteries such as Canterbury, Abingdon,
Winchester, Worchester and Peterborough. The prose that we find in
these earliest writings does not have a proper form.
a. The Germanic forefathers of the English brought with them
their own poetry but there is no evidence of them bringing
any prose writings. The development of English prose
wholly took place in England and was greatly facilitated by
the introduction of Christianity.
b. Alfred: Orosious History of the World, Bedes
Ecclesiastical History, Pope Gregorys Pasteural Care
and the soliloquies of St. Augustine. His other very important
work is the Handbook which contains extracts from the
Bible. Alfreds sole aim was to instruct his people and while
translating and he did not hesitate to curtail his authors when
their discourses were useless or too long.
Aelfric: Among his works, the most important are the
Catholic Homilies. He also translated certain parts of the
Bible which strengthened his claim as a skilful prose writer.
Wulfstan, the chief literary contemporary of Aelfric is best
known as a homilist and his fame rests upon a single homily:
Sermo Lupi.

Until the 9th century literary prose did not develop in England.
Before this Anglo Saxon prose started in the form of some laws,
and historical records. Basically with Alfred The Great Anglo
a. Saxon prose marks the true beginning. The three great
prose writers of this period are King Alfred, Aelfric and
b. King Alfred, He is known as the father of English Prose.
He became the king of Wessex in 871 A. D. the successive
raids of the Danes made the English miserable. The Danes
burnt the books, destroyed the monasteries and ever
destroyed the mental peace: (A) Gregorys Pastoral
Care:It is a religious works which discusses the essentials
of Christianity. It is to be noted that in the preface of it
Alfred said by the laity, to know the history of their
Aelfric was a scholar of the monastic school founded by
Aethelwold at Abingdon. He then became an abbot of
Eynsham in 1005. Among his writing colloquium and
Catholic Homilies deserve particular mention. These
work basically has given him the position of prose writers:
Culloquime: - It is meant for teaching Latin by means of
conversation. There is a teacher in one side and on the
other side there are a Number of Person coming from the
different fields and a Novi through the interesting
conversation the way of learning slowly comes.
Wulfstan, He was the Archbishop of York from 1002 to
1023. He had witnessed the Danish invasion which
perhaps has started the patriotic zeal in him. Homilies are
extant, but his fame mainly rests on a single homily
Sernwlupiad Angles.

Combine the information into a logical, coherent paragraph that tells the story of the historical and literary time period.
o Remember that a solid, comprehensive, senior-level paragraph is at least 8-10 sentences.
o Remember that it has a topic sentence and a concluding sentence.
o Remember that you may include information that you recall from research but may not necessarily be part of the graphic organizer above.
You should create a piece of writing that show how seniors take task, purpose, and audience into careful consideration, choosing words,
information, structures, and formats deliberately during the writing process. Merely copying and pasting information will not meet the Common
Core literacy standards.
Anglo Saxon time period happened from 500 to 1100. In the start, many Anglo Saxons were pagans, but converted to Christianity later on. They
brought culture that would influence literature in Britain. This was done by powerful rulers like Offa that carried his traditions to conquered areas.
Poems including Beowulf and The Dream of the Rood were passed around. These poems had strong allusions to God, heroic value, and were
usually written in Old English. King Alfred, Aelfric, and Wulfstan also wrote prose writing in this time period. Prose writing doesnt have a clear
structure, but is just a natural flow of speech.