You Are What You Read

Reviews of books as I read them. This is basically a (web)log of books I've read.

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Location: Lawrenceville, Georgia, United States

I am a DBA/database analyst by day, full time father on evenings and weekends.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Anglo-Saxon World

Anglo-Saxon World is a Modern Scholar lecture course by Professor Drout. He discusses the history of early England, the many events of the tumultuous centuries after the fall of Rome, and the literature produced during this time. I enjoyed learning about the history of the Anglo-Saxons alongside the literature.

The history basically starts with the invasion of the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes of the British Isles after the Romans leave the islands. The invaders bring a rich language and culture that spreads throughout England. Christianity already has a presence on the isles in the Celtic areas, but the pope sends missionaries in the 7th Century and England becomes converted within a century. There comes to be a strong monastic tradition in the country that promotes literacy in Latin as well as Anglo-Saxon. In the late 800's King Alfred the Great promoted Anglo-Saxon literacy and translated many works from Latin himself.

Professor Drout gives a great explanation of the politcal and military history involved in the Danish invasion and the events that led up to the Norman invasion. With rule by the French House of Normandy, the language and culture changed, though Anglo-Saxon continued to be spoken for centuries after. The language evolved to become Middle English, yet old contracts were still written in the older language.

The professor describes the epic Beowulf, pointing out bits of historical relevance. In fact the poem becomes a bit of a touchstone and he refers to it in almost every lecture. The course is an informative read, and enjoyable for anyone interested in English language and history. A-

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