Beowulf

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Beowulf is an Old English heroic epic poem of anonymous authorship. This work of Anglo-Saxon literature dates to between the 8th[1] and the 11th century, the only surviving manuscript dating to circa 1010. [2] At 3183 lines, it is notable for its length. It has risen to national epic status in England. [3] In the poem, Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, battles three antagonists: Grendel, who is attacking the Danish mead hall called Heorot and its inhabitants; Grendels mother; and, later in life after returning to Geatland (modern southern Sweden) and becoming a king, an unnamed dragon. He is mortally wounded in the final battle, and after his death he is buried in a barrow in Geatland by his retainers.
The most common English pronunciation is IPA: [4] The events described in the poem take place in the late 5th century and during the century after the Anglo-Saxons had begun their migration and settlement in England, and before it had ended, a time when the Saxons were either newly arrived or in close contact with their fellow Germanic kinsmen in Scandinavia and Northern Germany. The poem could have been transmitted in England by people of Geatish origins. [5] It has been suggested that Beowulf was first composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham in East Anglia, [6] as Sutton Hoo also shows close connections with Scandinavia, and also that the East Anglian royal dynasty, the Wuffings, were descendants of the Geatish Wulfings. [7] Others have associated this poem with the court of King Alfred, or with the court of King Canute. [2] The poem deals with legends, i. e., it was composed for entertainment and does not separate between fictional elements and real historic events, such as the raid by King Hygelac into Frisia, ca. 516. Scholars generally agree that many of the personalities of Beowulf also appear in Scandinavian sources, [8] but this does not only concern people (e. g., Healfdene, Hro?gar, Halga, Hro?ulf, Eadgils and Ohthere), but also clans (e. g., Scyldings, Scylfings and Wulfings) and some of the events (e. g., the Battle on the Ice of Lake Vanern). The Scandinavian sources are notably Ynglinga saga, Gesta Danorum, Hrolfr Krakis saga and the Latin summary of the lost Skjoldunga saga. As far as Sweden is concerned, the dating of the events in the poem has been confirmed by archaeological excavations of the barrows indicated by Snorri Sturluson and by Swedish tradition as the graves of Ohthere (dated to c. 530) and his son Eadgils (dated to c. 575) in Uppland, Sweden. [9][10][11] In Denmark, recent archaeological excavations at Lejre, where Scandinavian tradition located the seat of the Scyldings, i. e., Heorot, have revealed that a hall was built in the mid-6th century, exactly the time period of Beowulf.
[12] Three halls, each about 50 metres long, were found during the ...


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