THE OLD ENGLISH PERIOD…….
BRITAIN AND THE ROMANS..
Of prehistoric man in Britain our knowledge is inevitably meager. We do not know ,however that over a period of thousands of years before the christianera there were several migrations into the country . but by the time of Julius Caesar it seems clear that the peoples of Britain were predominantly celtic ,or,at least celtic-speaking country.their speech belongedto the brytonic branch of celtic,of which welsh is a modern representative . the people lived in tribal units in Britain.
In 4 A.D the emperor Claudius took up the long abandoned project and inaugurate a campaign that gradually absorbed Britain as far north as the highlands of Scotland into the roman empire.
Around the middle of the fifth century there was an important change in the nature of the Germanic raids .since the Germanic settled in Britain and the instituted a policy settlement .its beginning of this new policy that was long remembered in Britain as the coming of the Saxons.
Long before the invasion of Britain the Germanic tribes had learned from the classical world.on the basis of classical models they had develoved a system of letters of their own,the-called runes. Runes were used for inscriptions on stone ,but not generally for writing down poems and stories. It is well known fact that,without the use of writing there can exist artistic creations in language.
Other old English literature , for example beowulf and finsnsburg fragment and the tittle remains waldere , supplements the heroic material of widsith. A companion piece to widsith , in that is compact of heroic-age story and about a scop. Is deor.. it seems to be a later poem and is particulary interesting because its use of a refrain ‘’that evil passed away,this will pass too. The mistrial deor represents him self as a scop who one knew the favor of a gracious lord,but who now has been forced to yeld his place to rival bard. Heorrenda .deor is a skillfulland moving poem ,it represents the very best elements in the Germanic conceft ofm fortitude.
Beowulf is the earliest and the greatestepic in the English literature. It contains the story of king of the danes . the plot of the poem is simple and falls into two parts . in the first part it is told hold how hrotgar, king of the danes ,had built a magnificent mead – hall which he called heorot . the sound of rejoicing there angered the monster ,grendel ,which inhibited a nearby fenland . for tweleve years ,night after night ,grendel visited heorot and killed several warriors.nes of plight of the danes reached the land of hygelac, king ot the geats (in the soutren part of swedan ) Beowulf ,his nephew ,a youg man of great strength resolved to win the fame by conquering the monster . at heorot he grappled with the bloodthirsty visitant and wonded him mortally . on the following night there were great rejoicing in hothgars court but when the feast was over and the warriors had retired , grandels mother came to seek revenge. She carried off aeschere to sinister pool in which the monster lived ,plinged in , and finally emerged victorius from an underwater stuggle to the death . after being suitably praised and rewarded by the danes , Beowulf returned to his home , related his adventures and was accorded the honors due him.
Beowlf is , beyond its value as a sourse of information on early history , folklore , philology, archeology and social customs ,a poem , a creation of the human imagination . it containts several memorable passages . there is , foe example real vigor in the in the picture of the heroes voyage from geatland to hrothgar ill fated land.
That was the king’s last hour of victory by his own
Greet deeds ,the last of his wordly work
But the wound which the earth – dragon had given him
Began to burn and swell,presently he found that
poison ,deadly venom ,was surging on his breast
the sorrowing soldier then laid the glorious prince
their dear lord ,in the middle .then on the hill the
war-man began to light the greatest of funeral fires
wood - smoke rose black aboves the flames .the noisy
fire .mixed with sorrowful cries.
The old language cannot be read now except by those who have made a special study of it .the poem of Beowulf gives an interesting picture of life in those old days.it tells us of pierce and brave of the speeches of the leader and the suffering of his men.
The poem gives a fairly full account of the life of the ancestor before they came to Britain . for early morning when the warriors gathred in the hall , till the hour when they sank asleep ,each with his armor and weapon at hand .it was their custom to be always read to fight , whether at home or in the field . we learn that they were seafaring people ,that they believed their lived were ordained by fate.
The two great poets are Caedmon and Cynewulf.
Cynewulf ( pronounced )is one of twelve angelo – saxon poets known by named today,and one of four whose work survives today,he is famous for his religious composition , and regarded as one of the pre-eminent figures of old English Christian poetry . postery knows of his name by means of runic signatures that are inter woven into the four poems which comprise his scholastically recognized corpus.
Unlike his literary predecessor ,caedmond , whose biography is solely derived from bede’s ecclesiastical history , Cynewulf life is a veritable mystery to scholars.furthermore ,the ‘’fact” that have been gleaned from literature of Cynewulf “somewhat reverse “ what we know of caedmon’s own writing .the four signed poems of cynewulf are vast in they collectively comprise several thousands lines of .thus ,while scholars have little insight into Cynewulf life,they can analyse the poets verse to its deepest roots. Uncovering a stock of evidence that can shed light onto the poets being. Despite new discoveries ,Cynewulf remains “the shadow of a name “
The age of Alfred
Literature Alfred the great (preface to his translation of Gregory’s pastoral care. alfred great(848 or 849 – October 26,899 ),king of wessex from 871 to 899,was responsible for turning back the dannish invasion of wessex and for promoting a revival of education ,scholarship ,law and administration . his translation onto old English of theological and philosophical works are sometimes said to have laid the foundations of English prose.