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The Anglo-Saxon Period (440-1066) was a time of fierce battles coupled with equally fierce
loyalty to rulers and tribes. It also saw the great change of Christianity remolding the pagan cultures.
A time in many ways different from our own, a belief in an impersonal and indifferent Fate hung
over their lives every day. A strong sense of the passing away of all things present in the world was
very evident. This pessimistic view was in common with their surrounding environment where there
was the continual threat of death by accident or warfare.
Human strength was measured by the ability to control the reaction to fate through courage and
sheer will. This was to be intrinsic with loyalty to leaders, even to the extent of showing grave
courtesy to persons of high rank in neighboring and/or rival tribes. However this was yoked with a
democratic frame of mind, in the sense that individuals would group together to discuss opinions and
The time was not without its qualities that we would now consider positive. For instance, the
great epic of Beowulf shows, along with its gory and graphic elements, a stranger coming to the aid of
a town unbidden, great banquets with eating, drinking and music with `... the harp`s rejoicing / Call and
the poet`s clear songs ...` (lines 4-5). As well we see the closeness of the community and the reliance
each member had on those around him...
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