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International Journal on Studies in English Language and Literature (IJSELL) Volume 4, Issue 5, May 2016, PP 79-81 ISSN 2347-3126 (Print) & ISSN 2347-3134 (Online) ©ARC Page | 79 Beowulf The Anglo Saxon Hero Dr. Anupama Dogra (Ex.Asst.Prof) Army Institute of Higher Education, Pathankot Alka Dogra (Asst. Prof) Sri Sai College of Education, Badhani The Anglo-Saxons were prominent in the early Middle Ages, stretching from the first century up to the Renaissance, which began around the 14th century. The Anglo-Saxons invaded what is current- day England around the year 450, and were the dominant group until the Norman invasion in 1066. The group consisted of three Germanic tribes: the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes. However, there were many changes in society, which affected the literature. For example, the Anglo-Saxon people spoke in what is now called Old English, which is a combination of the native Briton's language and the Germanic tribal tongue they brought with them. Christianity was the religion of the Britons, and at the start of the Anglo-Saxon invasion it was suppressed. But, over the following years, these Germanic tribes converted to it. Thus, Christian ideals become popular in Anglo-Saxon literature. The Anglo-Saxon society continued to grow over the following centuries, absorbing other cultures and rebuffing other Germanic invaders. The history of these people is reflected in the rich literature of that era. The Anglo-Saxon invaders brought with them a tradition of oral poetry, but it was Christianity that brought the written word to them. For the most part, only churchmen were literate and spent much time copying manuscripts. Thus, we see plenty of religious topics in the written works of that era. Let's look at some of the more prominent traits of Old English poetry. One comes from the original Germanic tribes, which valued heroic poetry. It honored brave feats and specific codes of conduct. This type of poetry also emphasized strong kinship, with a generosity to not just blood relatives, but to all people in the tribe. The king must follow a code of royal generosity, rewarding his faithful followers. In addition, the king's subjects must follow a code of blood vengeance, fighting to the death for their king, and avenging him if he is slain (or any kinsman for that matter). To fail to do so is to suffer endless shame.

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