Final__ch_16_Early_Medieval_Art

Final__ch_16_Early_Medieval_Art - Unit FOUR: Early Medieval...

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Unit FOUR: Early Medieval Art STUDY GUIDE C Purse cover, from the Sutton Hoo ship burial (Suffolk, England), c. 625, gold, glass, and enamel cloisonné with garnets and emeralds art of migratory people/ predatory subject matter/ interlaced pattern 1. “When Roman armies first ventured into Britain in 55-54 BCE, it was a well-populated, thriving agricultural land of numerous small communities with close trading links to nearby regions of the European continent. Like the inhabitants of Ireland and much of Roman Gaul (modern France), the Britons were Celtic. (Welsh, Breton- the language of Brittany, in France- and the variants of Gaelic spoken in Ireland and Scotland are all Celtic languages.) Following the Roman subjugation of the island in 43 CE, its fortunes rose and fell with those of the empire. Roman Britain experienced a final period of wealth and productivity from about 296 to about 370. Christianity flourished during this period and spread to Ireland, which was never under Roman control” (Stokstad, Art History 485). 2. “The Roman army abandoned Britain in 406 to help defend Gaul against various Germanic peoples pushing into the empire across the Rhine, leaving behind a power vacuum. The historical record for the subsequent period is sketchy, but it appears that civil disturbances erupted, the economy faltered, and large towns lost their commercial function and declined. Powerful Romanized British leaders took control of different areas, vying for dominance with the help of mercenary soldiers from the continent. These mercenaries- Angles, Saxons, and Jutes- soon began to operate independently, settling largely in the southeast part of Britain and gradually extending their control northwest across the island. Over the next 200 years the people under their control adopted Germanic speech and customs, and this fusion of Romanized British and Germanic cultures produced a new Anglo-Saxon culture. By the beginning of the seventh century, several large kingdoms had emerged in Britain, and the arts, which had suffered a serious decline, made a brilliant recovery. Celtic, Roman, and Germanic influences all contributed to vigorous new styles and techniques, especially in metalworking” (485). 3. “Anglo-Saxon literature is filled with references to splendid and costly jewelry and military equipment decorated with gold and silver. Leaders apparently gave such objects to their followers and friends, but few examples survive. The Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf , composed perhaps as early as the seventh century, describes its hero’s burial with a hoard of treasure in a mound grave near the sea. Such a grave, located near the North Sea coast in East Anglia at a site called Sutton Hoo ( hoo means ‘hill’), was discovered in 1938. As at Oseberg, the grave’s occupant had been buried in a ship. His body had disintegrated and no inscriptions record his name” (485). 4. “The treasures buried with him confirm that he was, in any case, a wealthy
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Final__ch_16_Early_Medieval_Art - Unit FOUR: Early Medieval...

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