Anglo Saxon Mead Hall

Below is a detailed article about the Anglo Saxon Mead Hall, a large feasting hall which came as a tradition from the Germanic tribes. Let’s discuss more below.

What is a mead hall in Anglo Saxon?

A mead hall is also known as the feasting hall. It is an ancient Scandinavian tradition to build them. Mead halls are large single rooms in a township of a tribe. It is usually built for the king and his courtiers. The word ‘mead’ is an old English Anglo Saxon word derived from the Sanskrit word, ‘madhushala’ which means tavern.

exterior-reconstructed-mead-hall
The exterior of a reconstructed 10th century Anglo Saxon Mead Hall

‘Mead’ is also a word for honey wine which is an alcoholic drink made out of honey, yeast, and water which was taken by the warriors at the feasts in the halls. This is why the halls are known as ‘mead halls’ in the Anglo Saxon era.

It is constructed for a lord and his warriors to rest in. It is used as a safe resting place. It is also used as a feasting house after the battles and after victories for celebration.

The hall holds the following significance

Social institutional structure

Since, it is the court of the King, the decisions related to administration and the solving of problems of the people, passing judgments and commands, etc functioned at the mead hall. It was also a hall that encompasses social activities and welcomed people. It was a bright space where people felt warmth and togetherness.

A safe place for warriors

interior-reconstructed-mead-hall-anglo-saxon
The interior of a reconstructed Anglo Saxon Mead Hall

Warriors and soldiers took shelter in the hall after being hurt in the battles and also shelter while the war is going on. It was full of brightness and was maintained. It was a shelter from the dangerous world outside. Food and water were provided there for warriors regularly.

Community Building

A place that brings together people and ideas are exchanged is an area where the community is built. This was what the mead hall did in the Anglo Saxon community. They came together, made decisions, ate together, played games, played music, discussed issues and also danced together in the feasts. Hence, the traditions were preserved due to the mead hall and the people remained united and loyal to one another.

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