reflections on anglosaxon life essay research paper

The Anglo-Saxons set the foundations on which the English state developed. In malice of continual internal warfare, they built upon those foundations and developed a high grade of civilisation. In Beowulf, Burton Raffel portrays many facets of Anglo-Saxon life style, particularly the importance of arms, adult females’s function in society, and the significance of Christianity.

There was non a individual object that mattered to Anglo-Saxons more than their arms. The Anglo-Saxons “delighted in beautiful arms” ( Crossley-Holland 19 ) . They associated usefulness with beauty. Anglo-saxons decorated their blades with cosmetic patterning. These warlike people considered the blade to be the “male monarch of arms” ( Crossley-Holland 20 ) . The gift of a blade was a symbol of the bond between a Godhead and his follower. Warriors remained “prepared behind [ their ] high shield” ( Raffel 35 ) . Shields were the most common signifiers of defence. They decorated the shields every bit good, which declared the wealth of its proprietor. It was an Anglo-Saxon warrior’s pattern to be ready for conflict endlessly.

Womans had a chiseled function in Anglo-Saxon society. A thane’s married woman had duties that she fulfilled on a day-to-day footing. Her primary jobs consisted of looking after the household and oversing the family. Other responsibilities included supervising the brewing of ale, and pull offing the weaving and dyeing of vesture for her household. She had a public character, such as when “Welthow went from warrior to warrior, pouring a part from the beady cup for each” ( Raffel 24 ) . Presumably, a thane’s married woman was the kept woman of ceremonials in the Mead halls. Women besides had their ain rights that were “rather independent of [ their ] husbands” ( Crossley-Holland 68 ) . A adult female had the right to ain land, support herself in tribunal, to inherit money, and utilize it at her ain discretion. The function of adult females in that clip period was genuinely extraordinary.

Christian religion was besides an facet of Anglo-Saxon life along with the old heathen beliefs. Old English literature shows that “the glorifications of Christ are great [ but ] destiny is [ the ] strongest” ( Crossley-Holland 103 ) . Fate was a cardinal component in their daily lives, but it bit by bit faded away as they learned about Christianity. Welthow “thanked God for replying her supplications,” therefore showing monotheism ( Raffel 24 ) . She believed in one supreme being, instead than in many Gods, as the bulk of the heathen Anglo-Saxons did. The heroic poem Beowulf portrays Grendel as holding been “conceived by a brace of those monsters born of Cain” ( 14 ) . This scriptural description reflects the assimilation of Christian subjects. Christianity appealed to the Anglo-saxons for one simple ground: it offered hope.

Beowulf is the initial piece of literature that depicts a part of English civilisation. Anglo-saxon civilization is non much different from society today. Thanes were punished for being unpatriotic, merely as there are effects for interrupting Torahs. They besides had faith in their lives, which is even more evident today. Their focal point in life was to derive celebrity from their courage, merely as every immature kid today wants to be celebrated. The Anglo-Saxons laid foundations that have been built upon over clip and are now buildings.


  1. Crossley-Holland, Kevin. Green Blades Rising. New York: The Seabury Press, 1975.
  2. Levick, Ben. “The Religion of the Pagan Anglo-Saxons.” Angelcynn: Anglo-saxon
  3. Populating History 400-900AD. 25
  4. August, 1997. 24 January, 2000.
  5. Raffel, Burton, trans. from Beowulf. Elementss of Literature: Literature of Britain. Eds.
  6. Robert Anderson, et Al. Capital of texas: Holt, 1989. 14-37.

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