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Beowulf - A CHANGING CULTURE

A CHANGING CULTURE (Illustration) Ancient Places and/or Civilizations Awesome Radio - Narrated Stories Film Geography Legends and Legendary People Poetry Social Studies Fiction

In this image we see a replica of an Anglo-Saxon helmet which was found, among other items, with the Sutton-Hoo burial ship, an important archaeological find at Sutton Hoo, England. The original replica is maintained at the British Museum in London. Photo by Gernot Keller; online via Wikimedia Commons. License: CC BY-SA 2.5

 

Before life became temporarily better for native Britons, it became even worse. Gildas writes of devastating incursions:

All the major towns were laid low by the repeated battering of enemy rams; laid low, too, all the inhabitants--church leaders, priests and people alike, as the swords glinted all around and the flames crackled. It was a sad sight.

In the middle of the squares the foundation-stones of high walls and towers that had been torn from their lofty base, holy altars, fragments of corpses, covered (as it were) with a purple crust of congealed blood, looked as though they had been mixed up in some dreadful wine-press.

Some of the surviving natives left their country (beginning, it is believed, around 460 A.D.) for Armorica on the northwestern French coast (still called Gaul at that time). They settled in an area now known as Brittany (Bretagne).

Gildas observed that historical records "such as they were, are not now available, having been burnt by enemies or removed by our countrymen when they went into exile."

Eventually, however, Britons remaining in their homeland rallied and fought back - at least for a time. Gildas sets the scene:

After a time, when the cruel plunderers had gone home, God gave strength to the survivors. Wretched people fled to them from all directions, as eagerly as bees to a beehive when a storm threatens, and begged whole-heartedly...that they should not be altogether destroyed.

Not all the "plunderers" went "home." For many Anglo-Saxons, including warriors called thegns ("thanes") and their families, home was now the eastern part of the country we call Britain.

Archaeological digs have unearthed some of their artifacts, including a stunning find (by means of a metal detector) in 2009. Experts have reconstructed their homes and have excavated a magnificently preserved burial ship at Sutton Hoo.

Although these new residents of Britain were living in a different place, they still had the tales and epics of their own history. One of those tales, set in Denmark, is the story of Beowulf. Written down in the late-tenth (or early-eleventh) century, the epic is about warriors and monsters who lived in the mid-sixth century.

The epic's hero, Beowulf, is a Geat. Who, exactly, were the Geats??

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5139stories and lessons created

Original Release: Nov 01, 2007

Updated Last Revision: Sep 27, 2017


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"A CHANGING CULTURE" AwesomeStories.com. Nov 01, 2007. Dec 15, 2017.
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