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51 Cards in this Set

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SCOP OR BARD
a skilled, highly trained singer, musician, and storyteller, equal in status to a warrior. Repertoire of more than 100 poems
EPIC POEM
a long narrative poem presented in an elevated style, relating the heroic deeds of noble or semi-divine personages
FIVE CHARACTERISTICS OF EPIC POETRY
1. The hero is of noble birth or high social position
2. The hero reflects values that are important to his society.
3. The hero's actions consist of courageous, even superhuman deeds.
4. Supernatural forces are often involved.
5. The action is on an immense scale and involves the fate of a whole people or even the entire human race.
Certain Devices that Epic Poems exhibit
The author usually announces his theme at the opening and calls on the muses to help him in his task of narration.
The poem usually begins at a critical point in the action (in media res).
The style is noble and majestic; the characters speak ceremoniously in long set speeches. Literary inventories-listings and descriptions of characters or objects-often form part of the descriptive passages.
Alliteration
The repetition of initial identical consonant or vowel sounds in succession or closely associated syllables, especially stressed syllables. Very important in epic poetry  No rhyme  Remembered poetry through alliteration. Rhyme schemes
Caesura
A caesura is a pause near the middle in a line of verse, usually indicated by the sense of the line, and often greater than a normal pause. For purposes of study, the mark indicating a caesura is two short vertical lines (ll). A caesura can be indicated by punctuation, the grammatical construction of a sentence, or the placement of lines on a page. It is used to add variety to regular meter and therefore to add emphasis to certain words.
Kenning
metaphorical compound word used as a poetic device. In Beowulf, there are many examples of kennings. The king is the "ring-giver," the rough sea is the "whale-road," and the calm sea is the "swan-road."
Litotes
A form of understatement in which a thing is affirmed by stating the negative of its opposite.
To say "She was not unmindful" when one means that "She gave careful attention" is to employ litotes.
Litotes were a staple of Old English poetry, although often used by more modern poets.
For example, Tennyson employed litotes several times in his poem, "Ulysses." Ex: "not least" for "greatest“; "not to fail" for "succeed plentifully“; and "not unbecoming" for "thoroughly appropriate."
METONYMY
A figure of speech characterized by the substitution of a term naming an object closely associated with the word in mind for the word itself. In this way we commonly speak of the king/queen as "the crown," an object closely associated with the monarchy thus being made to stand for the monarch. In Beowulf, iron = military power.
Synecdoche
A literary term in which a part signifies the whole or the whole signifies the part. In order to be clear, a good synecdoche must be based on an important part of the whole and not a minor part, and usually, the part selected to stand for the whole must be one directly associated with the subject under discussion. Ex: Lend an ear/hand = attention/help or “wheels” for car or “threads” for clothes
Fortuna
the goddess who determines changes in life. Fortuna sits in the middle of a wheel which spins arbitrarily thus changing the fortunes of everyone in life. Therefore, one should never be too comfortable or too unhappy
Wyrd
the word used by the Anglo-Saxons to represent one's lot in life (sometimes mistranslated as Fate). Since the Anglo-Saxons did not believe strongly in an afterlife, it was mostly through personal fame, attained through heroic actions, that one lived on and thus resisted Wyrd. Can be changed if embraced.
Wergild
literally--man payment or man price. Sufficient financial payment was considered satisfactory recompense to the relatives of a slain man. This was suspended during war. However, this payment could not be made if one killed one's kindred. Death of kindred by kindred could not be appeased
Comitatus
Latin term; military adherents and dependents around a warrior king, bound by mutual ties of fidelity
LOYAL DEPENDENCE
uncertainty of life in a hostile climate/environment; the way to live with honor is to be willing to die
Anglo-Saxon Day
began with night and ended with sunset
ANGLO-SAXON YEAR
began with winter and ended with fall
Thor
God of war; hammer and twisted cross; Thor’s Day
ODEN/WODEN
God of poetry, death & magic; Woden’s Day
FREYA
Goddess of fertility; Freya’s Day
TIR/TIW
another war god; Tir’s Day
FREYR
God of sunlight, rain, fruitfulness and peace. Sacred symbol was the boar.
Elegiac
expressing sorrow or lamentation; coming from the word “elegy” which refers to a death song or death poem
Feudal
system of social and political organization that prevailed in Western Europe during a large part of the Medieval period. In theory, every landholder was merely the tenant of some greater landlord. Peasant answers to farmer who answers to knight who answers to lord who answers to baron who answers to king who answers to God. Some confusion of status of clergy.
HART
a stag or deer
Lair
An animal's den
Mere
a mountain's lake
Thane
in early English history, a man who ranked between an earl and an ordinary freeman. Thanes held lands of the king or lord and gave military service in return. In Scottish history, a baron or a lord.
Beowulf
Bee Wolf, Wolf of the Bees = Bear
Scyld Schefing
Shield + Sheaf = Provider
Heorot
Hart (Deer) Hall
Wealtheow
Foreign Slave
5 characteristics of epic poetry
The hero is of noble birth or high social position; The hero reflects values important to society; The hero’s actions consist of courageous, even superhuman deeds; Supernatural forces are involved; The action is on an immense scale and involves the fate of a whole people or even the entire human race
What devices usually occur in epic poems?
The author usually announces his theme at the opening and calls on the muses to help him in his task of narration.
The poem usually begins at a critical point in the action (in media res).
The style is noble and majestic; the characters speak ceremoniously in long set speeches. Literary inventories-listings and descriptions of characters or objects-often form part of the descriptive passages.
What purpose does Scyld Scefing serve?
As a “yard-stick” for other characters – Protector and builder, winner in war, and built an empire
What was so Ironic about Scyld Scefing’s death?
He came to the danes with nothing, but left with everything
Why is Hrothgar a good king?
He gave away alot of gold, but not public lands and lives
Mighty Warrior
What was one of the most important characteristics of Nordic society during this time period?
Strictly Adherence to Social Order
Why can the coast guard see that Beowulf is a noble man?
Aristocrats got alot more food, no back breaking labor, politeness
What does the paved road in Daneland symbolize?
wealthy nation
What does spears grouped together symbolize?
Unity
What 2 favors does Beowulf ask of Hrothgar
1) Let me Fight
2) Send my armor back to Hygelac should i die
What did 50 years of peace do to Beowulf’s thanes?
Made them too inexperienced
What does Dragon’s tendancy to kidnap young human virgins and hoard gold symbolize?
1)Symbol of Ultimate Greed – Protector and Destroyer at the same time
2)Protects them
3)Cannot be use to anyone else
4)Usefulness is destroyed
What are some reasons why Beowulf is a successful king?
insightful, observant, prophetic, imaginative
Why is the bay color of the horses that Beowulf gives to Hygelac important?
Bay colored horses are extremely rare (black – light brown everything)
If a sword has a name, what does it usually mean?
The sword has reputation and is very famous
What does Grendel’s Mother Symbolize?
Ancient Goddess figure – refusal to name her and defeat – symbolic of the defeat of pagan religion by Christianity
How does everyone express their fear of Grendel’s Mother?
By taking away her identity, naming her “Grendel’s Mother”, she has no identity as a woman
Why is everyone terrified of Grendel’s Mother?
In Nordic Societies, women are usually not warriors
What purpose does Scyld Scefing serve?
As a “yard-stick” for other characters – Protector and builder, winner in war, and built an empire