In this book, first published in 1912 as part of the Cambridge Archaeological and Ethnological Series, Chadwick compares Teutonic and Greek heroic literature, to shed light on both. This was the first discussion of his theory of a Heroic Age, which he was to expand in a three-volume work written with his wife, Nora Kershaw Chadwick, The Growth of Literature. Chadwick examines topics such as supernatural, religious, and mythic elements in Germanic, Scandinavian, and Homeric literature deriving from an older oral tradition, and also what they can tell us about the societies from which they derive. He uses philology and archaeological evidence as well as historical and literary sources, and shows how many common themes emerge in the different traditions. He argues that a heroic literature is something that appears in many cultures at different periods in history and which therefore requires a knowledge of anthropology for full understanding.
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In this book, first published in 1912, Chadwick uses philological and anthropological approaches to compare the heroic literature of the Greek and Teutonic peoples. He finds many similarities in the cultures which produced such works, despite considerable differences in date, from Homeric Greece to Anglo-Saxon England to medieval Serbia.
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