Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Beowulf Exam and Norse Death Customs

Dear Mythology Students,

I can tell that you are weary. YOU CAN DO THIS! YOU CAN MAKE IT! Please let me know if I need to act as your personal "cheerleader." Better a cheerleader than Grendle's mother, right!
If you missed class on Tuesday, May 4th:
1. We reviewed Beowulf by viewing three movie clips.
2. We discussed the death customs of the Nordic people (I have included a copy of the handout below)

1. Please read the following myths for Thursday.
  • "Death of Balder" pgs. 150-161

  • "Binding of Loki" pgs. 169-172

2. Review Norse Death Customs for your exam on Thursday

3. Exam covering Beowulf, Norse Death Customs and Norse "death" myths (above)

4. Lord of the Rings and "Sigurd, the Dragon Slayer" deadline is May 12. The date was changed for B2 and B4 to May 18th, as some students are taking AP Exams and they wanted to be in class for our discussion of the two pieces of literature.

NORSE DEATH CUSTOMS HANDOUT used in class on Tuesday, May 3rd. You will need to obtain the information from someone in class.


Three Nordic Gods over Death

The Vikings were vehement believers in life after death. Even the poorest of them were buried with some of their possessions, as well as food and drink, in preparation for their journey to the afterlife. Because they believed that this journey would be over water, the majority of the working class were buried in graves marked out with stones in the shape of a ship. Wealthy Vikings were buried in an actual ship. They were buried with their jewelry, animals (horses), weapons, tools, clothes, and money, as well as food and drink. Women were also buried with the Warrior Class (wealthy) of Vikings. Researchers believe that they were either married to the deceased or were sacrificed so that the dead person would have someone to help in their life after death. In some archaeological digs, the remains of men have been found to serve the same purpose.

The journey to Hel took ___________ nights. The spirit would then cross the river __________.
The river was guarded by _____________, who made each spirit pay a toll of __________.
_____________is the four eyed, blood stained dog that guards the entrance to Hel. This monster’s rage could only be appeased by the offering of a _______________. The __________________ and _________________ went to Hel. Those that had died on the battlefield/childbirth went to __________________.

The Oseberg Ship

In 1903 a buried Viking ship was discovered at Oseberg in Norway. It was the tomb of a noble woman, who had been buried with her maid or slave in A.D. 834. The ship had been preserved under a mound of pet and stones. When it was dug up by archaeologists, they found all kinds of things that had been buried with the dead woman, including furniture, sleds, cloth, shoes, buckets of food, and the remains of several animals. However, grave robbers had stolen all the jewelry and treasures. The ship was reconstructed even though stone in the mound had crushed it into 3000 pieces.


1. Questions 1-20 involves identifying characters and places from actual Beowulf text. You need to be solid in your understanding of the following characters and places:

  • Brecca
  • Wiglaf

  • Dragon
  • Grendle

  • Grendle's mother

  • Unferth

  • Beowulf

  • Hrothgar

  • Hygelac

  • Geats

  • Settings for the Beowulf poem (countries)

  • Heorot

  • Wergild

2. Questions 21-28 pertain to the historical significance of the Beowulf peom.

  • Dissolution of the monasteries by Henry VIII

  • Catharine of Aragon

  • Why are there "breaks" in the textual flow of the manuscript?

  • Why are their reference and allusions to Christianity in a poem about a pagan hero?

3. Questions 29-37 are Kennings that describe each of the characters. Review the characters and kennings

  • Hrothgar

  • Heorot

  • Grendle

  • Grendle's momma

  • Unferth

  • Brecca

  • Beowulf
  • Wiglac
  • Dragon

4. Questions 35-37 pertain to "Norse Death Customs"

5. Questions 38-43 pertain to "The Death of Balder" pgs. 151-160

6. Questions 44-47 pertain to "The Binding of Loki" pgs. 169-172

Your FINAL exam!

Dear Mythology Kids, It's nice to "see" you again. Let me offer some "study guidance" for your final exam. Please ...