The Anglo Saxon Period: Weapons And Warriors

1279 words - 6 pages

Many people may have heard of the story of Beowulf, but not know who the Anglo-Saxons were. According to an article on BBC History, the term Anglo-Saxon refers to settlers from the German regions of Angeln and Saxony. The Anglo-Saxons made their way over to Britain after the fall of the Roman Empire around AD 410 and the period lasted for 600 years. During this period there where many rises and falls of bishops and kings, as well as many important battles. The Anglo-Saxon warriors had a variety of weapons and armor to defend them. This includes spears, scramaseaxes, swords, shields, helmets, and body armor.
The Anglo-Saxon armies were usually rather small. The number of warriors in an army could be anywhere from fifty men to about two hundred and fifty men, but during those times that was all that was needed to defeat entire kingdoms. A type of warrior was known as a Thane. The term thane refers to a lord who holds land granted from the king in return for military service. Thanes could earn their titles and lands or inherit them. The thane ranked below all other Anglo-Saxon nobility; however, there were two subclasses for thanes. There were "king's thanes," who held certain privileges and answered only to the king, and inferior thanes that served other thanes or bishops (Snell). The Anglo-Saxon warriors had what some would consider a code, called a wergild. A wergild is price that is paid to the family of a person who was murdered by the murderer’s family to free the murderer from further punishment and to prevent a feud (Wergild).
A common and primary weapon used by warriors of the Anglo-Saxon time period was the spear. Spearheads came in many styles, but were usually leaf or kite shaped and had a socket for attachment to the shaft. Spears were used for hand to hand combat and as javelins. The Angon was a special type of spear that was used for close combat as well as for throwing. They normally had a small, barbed head connected to the socket by a long metal shaft. When used in close combat, this long metal shaft prevented the head from being chopped off (Levick).
Another weapon used during this time was the scramaseax, which was basically a single edge knife. Eight to fourteen inches was the typical length of a scramaseax. The guard is generally unimportant, or sometimes non-existent, but many of the early scramaseaxes had ornamental pommels, often boat-shaped or lobed. During the ninth century scramaseaxes started to become longer. These were more like a single edged sword than a knife. The blades of these scramaseaxes are between twenty two to thirty two inches long and were very heavy, capable of delivering a ghastly blow. The handles were usually made of horn or wood. Warriors carried them in a leather sheath at their thigh and the sheath was suspended from the belt. Some scramaseax scabbards appear to have been made of leather covered wooden laths, in a manner similar to sword scabbards (Levick).
The sword is another weapon that...

Find Another Essay On The Anglo-Saxon Period: Weapons and Warriors

Beowulf the Anglo Saxon Hero Essay

735 words - 3 pages The epic poem Beowulf describes the most heroic man of the Anglo-Saxon times. The hero, Beowulf, is a seemingly invincible person with all the extraordinary traits required of an Anglo Saxon hero. He is able to use his super-human physical strength and courage to put his people before himself. He encounters many monsters and horrible beasts, but he never fears the threat of death. His leadership skills are outstanding and he is even

Exploring The Anglo-Saxon Hero Essay

2990 words - 12 pages mythological, heroes are less relevant to society – their actions will not dictate whether a king is overthrown. On the contrary, realistic heroes are very relevant to society. Byrhtnoth’s actions in the real battle of Maldon likely influenced the political stability of Anglo-Saxon England shortly afterward, unlike the epic poem about Beowulf, whose primary purpose was to entertain and amaze. This created motive for writers of the time to spin

The Sea in Beowulf and in Other Anglo-Saxon Poems

2085 words - 8 pages The Sea in Beowulf and in Other Anglo-Saxon Poems             Is the sea mentioned only in Beowulf or is it a common element in all Anglo-Saxon poetry? Is the sea described the same way as in Beowulf? In Beowulf there is one reference after another to the sea. When Scyld died, “his people caried him to the sea, which was his last request,” where he drifted out into the beyond on a “death ship.” In the Geat land Beowulf, a “crafty

Beowulf: The Ideal Anglo-Saxon Hero

860 words - 3 pages Originating in the Anglo-Saxon period, the epic poem Beowulf portrays a legendary hero. Beowulf established the earlier form of heroism, and was then later introduced in to the English culture. Praised and admired by many people, Beowulf possesses several distinct traits that allow him to be defined perfectly as an ideal Anglo-Saxon hero; his eagerness to seek glory and fame, rather than richness and treasures, his loyalty and graceful attitude

Beowulf’s Loyalty Epitomizes the Anglo-Saxon Culture

2413 words - 10 pages Introduction: Beowulf is an Old English epic poem that was set in Scandinavia and it consist of more than 3000 lines. It is known for being one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature and has no known author. There is also a computer-animated movie of the same name directed by Robert Zemeckis which with the cast of Ray Winstone, Anthony Hopkins, John Malkovich and Angelina Jolie. The movie and epic were similar in a number of ways

Mayans Weapons, Warriors, and Defensive Techniques

569 words - 2 pages natives. The Mayan's best bet strategic wise would be to use a surprise attack. Before every battle warriors would ask for their god's help in battle. They would also prepare the ground well, with help from scouting aids.Arms and armors of this period (1000B.C.) depended on access to trading of raw materials taken from the land. Although the most common weapon was the lance (with a point made of obsidian or flint), the most popular weapons were the

The Anglo-Saxon poems, The Wanderer, The Seafarer, and The Wife’s Lament

3342 words - 13 pages , reflecting on suffering and loss.1These sorrowful poems from the Anglo Saxon time period are mimetic to the Anglo-Saxons themselves; they reflect the often burdened and miserable lives and times of the people who created them. The Anglo-Saxon poems, “The Wanderer,” “The Seafarer,” and “The Wife’s Lament,” are three examples how literature is mimetic, for they capture the culture’s heroic beliefs of Fame and Fate, the culture’s societal structure, and

Gender Roles: Men and Women from the Anglo-Saxon to the Renaissance Era Part 1

1703 words - 7 pages life during those times. In the British culture, from the Anglo-Saxon to the Renaissance time period, the men were respected on a higher level than women, and women were to always be subservient to men, which were demonstrated throughout many works of literature. During the Anglo-Saxon time period, women had rights, but they were limited. The Anglo-Saxon time period began in 449 and it lasted until 1066 (Leeming 10). In the later times of that

Role of Women in the Epic of Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon Society

956 words - 4 pages Role of Women in Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon Society      Beowulf, the hero of Anglo-Saxon epic, had many adventures, and many companions and fellow-warriors are mentioned throughout his story. Some of them seem noble and courageous, truly living up to the standards of their culture; some seem cowardly. But all have gained immortality in the words, many times transcribed and translated, of the famous epic. However, the women of the time are

Women in the Epic of Beowulf and in Other Anglo-Saxon Poems

2034 words - 8 pages The Women in Beowulf and in Other Anglo-Saxon Poems             Are women in these poems active equals of the men? Or are they passive victims of the men? The roles of the women in Beowulf and other Anglo-Saxon poems are not always stereotyped ones of passive homemaker and childbearer and peaceweaver, but sometimes ones giving freedom of choice, range of activity, and room for personal growth and development. Beowulf makes reference

Analysis of Beowulf as the typical Anglo-Saxon Hero.

794 words - 3 pages Beowulf: The Quintessential Anglo-Saxon HeroIn the ancient times when Germanic tribes thrived in Britain, life was a harsh struggle for survival. The people of this era lived under laws influenced by honor and revenge. Warfare and blood feuds were a deep-rooted part of their culture and everyday lives. In this age of fighting for survival, outstanding warriors were of great value. Certain characteristics came to define such a fighter, and were

Similar Essays

The Anglo Saxon Literature Essay

1769 words - 7 pages members of the community proves important to a hero in the Anglo-Saxon literature. In ¡°The Battle of Maldon,¡± a band of warriors fight to save their community, more specifically, fight to ¡°serve the Earl¡±(The Battle of Maldon, 11). Bryhtnoth is the Earl of these brave warriors who fight unto death in order to carry out their duty. This duty indicates that one does not desert a battleground and retreat in order to save one¡¯s life. Therefore

Anglo Saxon History And Beowulf Essay

1675 words - 7 pages Anglo-Saxon History and Beowulf By definition the word “hero” might be interpreted in one of four ways. First off in mythology and legend, a hero is often of divine ancestry. He is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits, and favored by the gods. Secondly, a hero is a person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life. Thirdly, a hero

Anglo Saxon Beliefs And Concepts Essay

2004 words - 8 pages The Anglo-Saxon hero must possess many traits before becoming an actual hero. One must be ruthless, superhuman, and cunning, understand the need for sacrifice, have pride, and be courageous. The goal of many Anglo-Saxon heroes' is to change their fate and the actions that they take can sometimes be unethical and immoral; however, they always seem to succeed in their goal. Both Beowulf and Buliwyf (The 13th Warrior) had all the

Beowulf And Anglo Saxon Symbolism Essay

861 words - 3 pages Anglo Saxon’s history is well known for their loyalty, courage and bravery. Beowulf our protagonist is symbolized as a hero, who represents the Anglo Saxons at the time. Beowulf earns his fame and respect through battling creatures nobody else would want to face. These creatures symbolize the evil that lurks beyond the dark. Beowulf’s intense battle with these creatures’ symbolizes the epic battle of good versus evil. In the end good triumphs