Timelines to Visualize History

A Project by the Department of Medieval English Literature and Historical Linguistics, University of Düsseldorf

Study Questions

Here you can find some questions that you can try to answer by using the timeline:

  1. General Questions
    1. What are some of the most important historical events that influenced standardisation?
    2. What is problematic about the beginning and end dates given for e.g. Beowulf, Heptarchy, Old Norse or Latin?
    3. Which historical event(s) had an influence on Geoffrey Chaucer's works?
    4. Which kings/rulers are most important for the history of England? Which are important for developments in literature and linguistics?
  2. Linguistics
    1. Name at least two languages that influenced Old English and elaborate.
    2. How did the Vikings influence the history of the English language?
    3. Which language heavily influenced English after the Norman Conquest? Why and on what level?
    4. What is the cause of the division of language contact with French into Norman & Central French?
    5. Give further examples for language contact situations.
    6. What was is the main task of a Language Academy? When was such an Academy established in England?
  3. Literature
    1. Why is the dating of Old English literature difficult?
    2. What are the 'Three Early Pieces'? Why do you think they are important?
    3. Beowulf is the most famous Old English heroic epic. Give a short summary of the story!
    4. What are the Four Poetic Codices? Name them and elaborate on their dates.
    5. Why are there no works of English literature between the year ~1000 and ~1200?
    6. What was the purpose of the Doomsday Book?
    7. Name literary genres that emerged in the Middle English Period.
    8. One of the first books to be printed by William Caxton was Le Morte Darthur. Who allegedly wrote it?
    9. Who were the 'Big Four' of Middle English Poetry? Name one of their greatest works each.
    10. Name the two genres of in Havelok the Dane and Everyman. What other genre/s of the Middle English period do you know of?
  4. Anglo-Saxon History
    1. When was Christianity brought to England, and by whom?
    2. What is problematic about the Christianisation of England?
    3. What does the term 'Heptarchy' mean? What does it comprise?
    4. What happened during the 'Golden Age' and when/ why did that age come to an end?
    5. When and where did the Viking threat start? When and why did it end?
    6. Who were the most important kings in Anglo-Saxon England?
    7. Why was King Æthelred named the 'Unræd'?
    8. What was the Danelaw and under whose reign was it established?
    9. Name two famous Old English battles. How do we know about them?
    10. Who was the last Anglo-Saxon King of England, and what was he famous for?
  5. Middle English History
    1. With whom did Stephen of Blois fight over the throne? How was this struggle resolved?
    2. Which other big event can the Baron's War be linked with?
    3. Explain why the 100 Years' War is split into two phases. What happened in between?
    4. Name at least two battles fought in the 100 Year's War. What happened there?
    5. Why is the Battle of Agincourt named one of the most important ones in English history?
    6. Who were the contestants of the Wars of the Roses, and why were they fighting each other?