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Characteristics of Anglo-Saxon Poetry (applies to riddles, Beowulf, The Seafarer, etc.) Facts Originally oral, not written Employs alliteration (repetition of initial consonant sounds)

Employs kennings (descriptive, metaphorical phrases of 2-4 words) Kennings

Beowulf Grendel Grendels mother Hrothgar Higlac Wealtheow Ocean

Sun dragon Repetition (of words, entire phrases, stories) Understatement (saying less than is meant) Gory details References to God/wyrd/fate

Beliefs and Traditions WYRD or fate controls life Honor requires revenge/compensation for injury or death (WERGILD) Love of war and violence Love of treasure, wealth and prosperity (results of bravery)

Loyalty to family/tribe Love of stories, especially hero stories Belief that nothing good ever lasts

Love of rituals: feasting, burial, etc. Unwritten contract between king and warrior: generosity for loyalty (COMITATUS) Qualities of AngloSaxon Warrior Hero (and a life of honor) Excellence, competence, skill

In battle In sailing In riding Great strength (even superhuman strength) Loyalty (especially to the king) Devotion to duty, eagerness to fight Generosity

Love of fame, glory, boasts Characteristics of Epic Literature (such as Beowulf) Reveals the traditions, customs of the people Grand/large in its scope: geography, time Lofty/formal language Employs the supernatural

Battle between good and evil Illustrates man in a hostile environment, the sacrifice of the hero Generally concerns the noble deeds of a warriorhero and his companions

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