A concise survey of the history of the British Isles from its earliest time (200,000 B.C.E.) to the Norman invasion (1066 C.E.) and of the language and literature of the Old English period.
This handout discusses the Indo-Europeans, Stonehenge, Druidism, the Celtic Britons, the Roman invasion, the Anglo-Saxon invasion in the fifth and sixth centuries C.E., the heroic or warrior code of Anglo-Saxon society and its ideological conflicts with Christianity, the Viking invasions, and Alfred the Great. Characteristics of Old English as a language and its poetry are also analyzed, including such terms as “kenning,” “synecdoche,” and “alliteration.” My handout, which has blanks that your students can fill in, was designed as an introductory lecture on the Old English period. However, it may be used as a homework assignment or an in-class small-group activity. An answer key is provided on a separate page at the end of the handout.
Prepared by Professor William Tarvin, Ph.D., who has published many articles on literature in scholarly journals.