Anglo-Saxon Religion Essay, Research Paper
It is difficult to generalize about an era as lengthy as the Dark Ages, but it will be done. The Anglo-Saxons were pagans when they came to England. They worshipped gods of nature and held springs, wells, rocks, and trees in reverence. Religion was not a source of spiritual revelation, it was a means of ensuring a success in material things. Like this, one may pray to a certain goddess for a great harvest, or a victorious battle. A few of the main Anglo-Saxon gods were Tiw, Odin, Thor, and Friya, who’s names are remembered in our days of the week, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Some of the Religious observance consisted of invocations and charms to ensure the gods’ help in securing a desired outcome in the material world, though the presence of the grave goods indicate a belief in an afterlife. There is a possibility that female slaves may have been sacrificed on the death of a male owner and included in the grave to accompany him in the next world. That was all about to change though right around 596, where Pope Gregory sent the monk Augustine to England. He set up a diocese in Kent, and sent out missionaries from there to make the pagan Anglo-Saxon into faithful Christians. But the Anglo-Saxons were also subject to the Celtic mission sent out from Northumbria, where the Irish church had set up a diocese. The Celtic church was not as centralized as the Roman church. At the synod of Whitby in 664 the two churches made an agreement : The Northumbrian church went to Rome, and the English Church became one. The meeting of Celtic and Roman Christianity with the rich Nordic tradition of the Anglo-Saxons resulted in a very special form of Christianity. The Anglo-Saxons were fond of battle imagery and heroic epics, which they weaved into the new Christian myths and Bible stories. This Nordic/Christian tradition has given birth to many poems such as The Junius Manuscript and the Phoenix.