Anglo Saxon Intro with Riddles

A Day in the Life of…
• 5th Century: Germanic
tribes invade
– Angles
– Saxons
– Jutes
• Established Anglo-Saxon
presence in England
• Alfred the Great: “Rex
– Late 800s: fights away
Danish invaders
– Promotes sense of
national identity
– Converts Latin texts to Old
• Anglo-Saxons
settled away from
old Roman cities
• Strategic sites for
agriculture or river
ports to control land.
• One-room structures
of timber and thatch
• Village centered
around “Mead-Hall,”
with central hearth.
• Strength, courage, and
• Hated peace—fighting
is more honorable.
• Revenge taken
• War ended only by
“wergild” or “peaceweaver.”
• Worst fate: survive
fellow warriors or exile.
Beliefs carried over from Germanic Paganism
• Pagan Gods: Tyr, Woden, Thor, Frigg
• Christianization occurred between 597-686AD
• Pagan information documented through priests
set out to destroy it.
• Example: St. Augustine, Kentish King, and
• Saxon Chiefs chopped off hands and
noses to punish petty crimes.
• Fear maintained control.
• A good king was a fearsome king.
• A good king was also generous.
– Warrior gifts for acts of bravery in battle.
A strange creature ran on a rippling road,
Its cut was wild, its body bowed,
Four feet under belly, eight on its back,
Two wings, twelve eyes, six heads, one
It cruised the waves decked out like a bird,
But was more--the shape of a horse, man,
Dog, bird, and the face of a woman-Weird riddle-craft riding the drift of wordsNow sing the solution to what you've
Riddle 34
Power and treasure for a prince to hold,
Hard and steep-cheeked, wrapped in
Gold and garnet, ripped from a plain
Of bright flowers, wrought--a remnant
Of fire and file, bound in stark beauty
Riddle 69
With delicate wire, my grip makes
Warriors weep, my sting threatens
The hand that grasps gold. Studded
With a ring, I ravage heir and heirloom
* *
To my lord and foes always lovely
And deadly, altering face and form.
In battle I rage against wave and wind,
Strive against storm, dive down seeking
A strange homeland, shrouded by the sea.
In the grip of war, I am strong when still;
In battle-rush, rolled and ripped
In flight. Conspiring wind and wave
Would steal my treasure, strip my hold,
But I seize glory with a guardian tail
As the clutch of stones stands hard
Against my strength. Can you guess my name?
Riddle 14
Who am I who stand so boldly by
the sea road-Hightowering, cheek-bright, useful
to men?
Riddle 68
My head is struck by a forging hammer,
Sheared close by a shaping blade,
Honed smooth by a fierce file.
Sometimes I swallow my tempered foe,
When bound by rings, I heave from behind,
Thrust a long limb through a hard hole,
Catch hard the keeper of the heart's pleasure,
Twist with my tongue and turn back
The midnight guardian of my lord's treasure
When the conquering warrior comes to hold
The gift of slaughter, the joy of gold.
Riddle 87
• KEY!