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Characteristics of Anglo-Saxon or Old-English Period(670-1100)



The earliest phase of English literature started with Anglo-Saxon literature of the Angles and Saxons (the forefathers of the English race). English was the common language of these people therefore also called as English people. these were fearless brave people who used to sing at their feasts about battles, gods, and their ancestral heroes. It was in these songs of religion, wars, and agriculture that English poetry began in Engle-land.

Though much of this poetry is lost, there are still some fragments left. For example, Widsith, Waldhere, The Flight at Finnesburg, The Complaint of Deor, the most important poem of this period is Beowulf. it is the tale of the adventures of Beowulf, who is a champion and slayer of monsters.

Religious Poetry: After embracing Christianity, the poets shifted religious themes as the subject matter of their poetry. The two most important poets of this period were Caedmon and Cynewulf.

In the series, Caedmon sang the entirety of biblical history -from creation and fall to redemption-telling the story of human fate. On the other hand, Christ, the most significant poem of Cynewulf, is a metrical account of the major incidents in Christ’s earthly mission, including his majesty-filled return to judgment.

The Anglo-Saxon period was also the period known for the beginning of English Prose. the great success of Anglo-Saxon prose is in religious instructions, and the two great founders of English prose were Alfred the Great, the glorious king of Wessex, who translated a number of Latin Chronicles into English, and Aelfric, a priest, who wrote sermons in a sort of poetic prose.

Only a small portion of the vast Aryan or Indo-European language family includes the Anglo-Saxon tongue. It shares root words with Greek, Sanskrit, and Latin. And the foundation of modern English is this old, vigorous Anglo-Saxon Language.


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