The heroic epic was given great importance in Anglo-Saxon society. In order to instil the values that the Anglo-Saxons held so dear, they turned to stories.
This quality can be observed throughout the teachings of the world’s major religions and cultures, from the moral stories of the Oral Torah to the admonitions of Jesus Christ.
The early Germanic peoples placed a high emphasis on acts of valour, generosity toward both family and tribe, and unwavering allegiance to the ruler, which sometimes resulted in death battles.
These lessons were passed down through the ages through the heroic epic narrative style, which also fostered a sense of community history.
It’s no secret that the Anglo-Saxons incorporated foreign religions and customs into their expanding culture as they expanded and conquered.
The Anglo-Saxons assimilated the doctrines and mythology of Christianity into their preexisting faith.
Just like some contemporary Mexicans combine native folk beliefs with the Catholicism of the conquistadores. Notably, they adopted Christianity’s emphasis on atonement as a core principle.
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What is Anglo-Saxon Poetry
Poems composed in the Anglo-Saxons’ native tongue, Old English, are referred to as “Anglo-Saxon poetry.” The time period covered by these poems is roughly 650-1100 A.D.
Although the Anglo-Saxons undoubtedly had a thriving oral poetic tradition, the vast majority of their written poetry is contained within just four manuscripts: the Beowulf manuscript.
The Exeter book, the Junius manuscript, and the Vercelli manuscript. Caedmon, a poet who, legend has it, was an ignorant herdsman inspired by.
The Christian God to convert Biblical incidents into poetry, is the literary ancestor of most surviving Anglo-Saxon poetry.
What was Important to the Anglo-Saxons?
Anglo-Saxons ruled England from 802 onward, beginning with Egbert. Anglo-Saxons ruled for about three centuries.
And during this time they formed the basis for the English monarchy and laws. Canute the Great and Alfred the Great are the two most well-known Anglo-Saxon monarchs.
What did the Anglo-Saxons Believe in?
The gods of Anglo-Saxon polytheism were called the ése (singular ós). Woden was the most famous among these deities; other notable gods included Thunor and Tiw.
What was the Anglo-Saxon Social Structure?
The structure of Anglo-Saxon society was based on strict social stratification. The monarch and his immediate family were at the head of the line.
Followed by the nobles, bishops, and other clergy. Slaves, or those without basic human rights, represented the other extreme.
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A hero in Anglo-Saxon literature and thought was a warrior. Every hero needed to have superhuman strength, superior intelligence, and unwavering bravery.
It was expected of warriors that they would battle to the death for the honour of their tribe. This was possible for the Anglo-Saxon hero because of his inherent modesty and generosity.
Beowulf represents the archetypal Anglo-Saxon hero in literature. Ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas) in The 13th Warrior possesses many of the traits that define an Anglo-Saxon hero.