The historical events and mentality of a time period are a major influence on the context and style of that particular times literature. British Literature experienced many metamorphoses through the year's 449-1660. The literature traveled through four distinct periods. Beginning with the Anglo-Saxons moving through the medieval and Renaissance periods and ending with the writings of the 17th century. .
The Anglo-Saxons were the beginning of British Literature. The Anglo-Saxons began the year 440 by advancing on what is today England. The Angles and the Saxons were known as ferocious, they didn't wage war on the British heartland out of mere spite. They conquered and won over territory enabling them to construct caps which later turned into towns and cities. .
Weapons weren't the only things the invading people brought with them. They used a highly organiz4ed system of tribal units each led by a king. Gradually, these units merged together forming seven large bands. The amalgamation of different tribes produced a new language, "Anglo-Saxon or Old English to distinguish it from our modern form (Bowler 3).” .
The Anglo-Saxons also brought with them their pagan beliefs. The people looked at the world through a very depressing window. It was believed that all human life was in the hand of fate and all the gods they worshiped were Germanic. These beliefs shine strongly though in the oral epics and stories of the period.
The next major event of the Anglo-Saxon era was the coming of Christianity. Romans had previously taken Christianity as their belief of choice and aimed at spreading their newfound faith. The Christian's views and beliefs of the world spread quickly through the land and King Ethelbert of Kent was soon after converted "making Christianity the religion of his realm (Bowler 6).” Again Anglo-Saxon life was changed, the belief in Germanic gods was no longer accepted and Warlords could no longer consider themselves descendants of pagan gods.