“Medieval” refers to anything that was made, written, or thought during the Middle Ages.
Medieval authors often expressed the idea that the world was coming to the end.
Anglo-Saxons spoke an early form of a language that we now call “Old English”.
Old English is similar to both German and Dutch
The main characters in Beowulf are pagan Danes and Geats
In 1066, a French-speaking ruling class added a number of French “loan” words to the English vocabulary.
In the twelfth century, all of Western Europe became fascinated with King Arthur.
He became a staple subject in many different cultures (medieval French, English, German, etc.), which helped cross language and literature in Anglo-Norman England and provided background for English literature.
Toward the end of the 14th century, the English displaced French as the language for conducting business in Parliament and most official correspondences.
Chaucer (d. 1400) emulated French and Italian poetry in his own native language
His work greatly enhanced the prestige of English as a “vehicle” for literature and is known as the “embellisher of the English tongue”, “English Homer” and the father of English poetry.
Middle English Literature in the 14th and 15th centuries implies a new sense of English in literature.
Until the mid-fifteenth century, medieval books were reproduced by hand in manuscript. In the Anglo-Saxon period, monasteries were the main centers of book production.
Only a small proportion of medieval books survived, because large numbers were destroyed as monasteries were in the 1530s.
From the 1st to the 5th century, England was a province of the Roman Empire and was named Britannia after its Celtic-speaking inhabitants, the Britons.
The Battle of Maldon is the last of the Old English heroic poems.
Besides a few short inscriptions on small artifacts, the earliest records in the English language are in manuscripts produced in religious establishments beginning in the 7th century.
In Anglo-Saxon poetry, the most popular pieces were a cross between “heroic” and “Christian”.
The overall effect of the language in these times is to formalize and elevate speech, while moving at a slow and stately pace.
The Normans had their own native language known now as Anglo-Norman (Old French).