Taking notes can be a real pain. Why do we do it? The act of just writing something down increases your ability to remember it. If you have decent study skills, good notes can also increase your test scores dramatically.

The problem? It's a lot of work, sometimes you can't find the answer in your notes, and you often do not know what needs to be written down.

The solution - Here are a few tips:

  • Do not write in complete sentences. They take up too much time. All you need is the bare basics and the facts. For example, if the speaker says, "The Statue of Liberty is not actually in New York. Technically it is in Jersey City, New Jersey." You could write: Statue Liberty - not in NY - in New Jersey
  • Do not write down things you already know. For example, you know Shakespeare wrote Romeo and Juliet, so don't put that in your notes.
  • Abbreviate. Once you have written down someone's name (Christopher Marlowe) abbreviate it from then on (CM)
  • Leave space. Sometimes the speaker will go back and tell more stuff about the stuff. This way you can add it there. Plus, it is easier on your eyes if there is space between chunks of notes. So what if it makes you use more paper? Then you can complain that you wrote four pages of notes, even if it was only one or two pages worth.

There will be an open notes test. The test will be on:

  • The Beowulf Notes
  • The 1066 Notes
  • The Archetype Notes

You can only use HANDWRITTEN notes. No computer printouts.



We started class first day with the story of Britain's oldest hero - Beowulf! You were supposed to take notes on the story, but if you feel that you may have missed a few tidbits here or there, then you need to look through my notes. They are in the bottom section of each slide: Beowulf/First Day Presentation

Want to learn more? Try these links:

We also followed up our Anglo-Saxon epic of Beowulf with some Anglo-Saxon riddles. There will be one on the test for some bonus points. Tolkien got his idea of his Hobbit chapter 5 "Riddles in the Dark" from the Anglo-Saxon riddle tradition.


If you are a fan of the Hobbit or Lord of the Rings, you might like these pages:

And you might enjoy this really old (from my childhood) cartoon version:

MIssed the notes? Here they are. You will need to condense them and put them in your own words.

In 1066, King Edward the Confessor (named so because he built Westminster Abbey) died leaving no heirs. There were several pretenders to the throne, four of them stand out the most:

Harold Godwinson - brother-in-law to Edward, head advisor, and claimed that King Edward said on his death bed that he should be the next king

William, Duke of Normandy, A.K.A William the Conqueror, A.K.A William the Bastard- distant cousin to King Edward, noble birth, and claimed that King Edward sent Godwinson to Normandy years earlier to proclaim him as the next king of England. Supposedly Godwinson swore on the bones of a holy saint that he would help William to be king. The church backs William and excommunicates Godwinson. Normandy is in France, but the Normans were more like Frenchified Vikings than sissy Frenchmen.

Harald Hardrada - King of Norway. Said he should be king because the previous king of England (King Hardicanute) promised the previous King of Sweden (Magnus) the English throne upon his death. Since Magnus was occupied with other matters at the time of Hardicanute's death, King Edward took his place as king of England. Eventually Magnus dies and Hardrada takes his place as king of Norway. Hardrada claims that since Magnus should have been king of England and he is Magnus's successor, then he should be king of England. If you couldn't follow that, then just remember that Hardrada has 240 ships full of very big, very mean vikings with very large battle axes that say that he should be king.

Edgar Ætheling - Only 13 or 14 years old at the time. He was proclaimed as the heir to the throne by King Edward. Being so young, he could not stop the others from taking his spot. He had little support so he was never actually crowned.

The Witan chooses Godwinson to be king. Hardrada "sneaks" his 240 ships out to invade England and take it by force. He even teams up with Godwinson's brother Tostig. William gets his forces ready to invade but is halted by a storm in the English Channel. Godwinson races his forces across England picking up serfs along the way (to act as arrow fodder) and meets Hardrada's forces before the Norwegians are ready. Despite easily taking some coastal towns upon first arrival, Haradrada is not ready for Godwinson's forces to arrive. Hardrada is killed in the battle with an arrow to the throat. Of the 240 ships, 24 go home. This is in September.

Meanwhile, William is marching up and down the coast with holy relics and prayers, when - lo and behold! - the storm clears. William lands and sets his force up near Hastings. Godwinson marches his men south to meet this threat. They are tired and hurting. The two forces spend a great deal of time insulting each other and then they fought on the second after William's jester was juggling his sword to taunt Godwinson's men when one of those men ran out to teach him a lesson. The jester killed him and charged the English soldiers which started the battle. The battle lasted a whole day, which is long for this time period (most battles over in about an hour), and both sides stopped fighting to go eat lunch. At one point, rumor spread that William had died. His forces began retreating. Willaim took off his helmet and rode around his men so that they could see he was alive, and they returned to fight. Godwinson's men, seeiung them flee, broke their shield wall to pursue, that led to their defeat.

William defeated the English and Godwinson died on the battlefield. How he died in in question. Earliest accounts say that he led a charge into Willima's line and was hacked to pieces. Later and more popular accounts say he took an arrow to the eye. This is in October.

The Witan then name Ætheling as king again in order to thumb their noses at William, but they do not crown him (no use in ticking off the "the Conqueror" too much!).

Shortly after (Nov. 10th, 1066), the pagans in England, to show their disatisfaction to the English, took the bishop of Mecklenburg, Johannes Skotus, and sacrificed him to Radegast, a Slavic god of crops, fertility, and hospitality (and creator of beer). They took the head of the bishop to a temple of Radegast.

Ætheling steps down when William is crowned on Christmas day, 1066. The day that William is crowned king, the English cheered to show support for their new king. This frightened the Norman guards so much (misunderstanding the cheers) that they began burning the houses nearby. The people then ran out of the coronation to either help put out the fires or to loot in the chaos.

William changed taxation by taxing people on what they actually have. He had everyone inventoried to do this fairly. He was a harsh man and when people rebelled against him, he was brutal in shuutting down the rebellion, often wiping out whole areas.

Ætheling runs away to Scotland, where he joins every rebellion he can to get "his" throne back. He loses them all.

As William aged, he got very fat. Upon his death, he was so fat that he could barely fit into the sepulcher. In the days for preparation of his burial, he grew so bloated from bacterial gases that on his funeral he could not fit in it. One priest began pushing on his belly to make him fit until he finally "popped" and released a very putrid smell that made people scramble to leave the church.

This whole story is recorded in a tapestry, which is kind of like a very old comic book on cloth. Here is a section of it. You can see Halley's comet in it.



1. Are you an artist? This will add up to 10 points on your Get some cloth measuring 8" by 30". Pick a part from the Bayeux Tapestry (from this web site: The Bayeux Tapestry). Recreate that scene as close as you can. You can use paint, markers, sewing, whatever. I will hang it up in the classroom. If we get enough, we'll eventually have the entire tapestry hanging on the wall.

2. Add points to your Old English/Middle Ages Test by playing a 1066 video game. Click here.


1066 Sound Board

Westminster Abbey

King Edward the Confessor

Edgar Ætheling

Harold Godwinson

William the Conqueror

Harald Hardrada




These notes were off of this presentation.

Archetypes are symbols, so they represent somthing else. However, they often always represent these things. So when you see these in a poem, book, movie, commercial, etc., they will probably mean what the presentation says they mean.