Famed was this Beowulf: far flew the boast of him,
son of Scyld, in the Scandian lands.
So becomes it a youth to quit him well
with his father's friends, by fee and gift,
that to aid him, aged, in after days,
come warriors willing, should war draw nigh,
liegemen loyal: by lauded deeds
shall an earl have honor in every clan.
the manuscript which contains the epic of Beowulf was written about 1000 A.D.,
the poem itself was known and had been elaborated upon for centuries by minstrels who
recited the heroic exploits of the son of Ecgtheow and nephew of Hygelac, King of the Geats,
whose kingdom was what is now Southern Sweden."
The earliest surviving epic poem written in English,
Beowulf was most likely
"composed in the seventh or eighth
century, but being more precise depends on where one believes
the poem was
composed. ...[A] contender, which has come seriously into the
reckoning as a
result of the Sutton Hoo discovery, is seventh century East
Anglia. Not only
was the ship burial (which dates to 625AD) uncannily like the
burials of Scyld
and Beowulf, but the grave goods revealed the East Anglian
court of the
Wuffingas to be unexpectedly sophisticated and closely linked
to the Swedish
royal house at Uppsala. It is now thought possible that both
these royal lines
shared a common ancestry. As the scholar Howell Chickering
asked: 'Was it through the early East Anglian court that detailed knowledge
of Scandinavian tribal history in Beowulf became available in England?' And one might
add, was the poem composed as a way of telling East Anglians something of their
semi-historical, semi-legendary Scandinavian ancestors? There is, perhaps, a
good case for believing that Beowulf was composed in Suffolk, at the palace
of Rendlesham, within living memory of the great ship-burial in 625AD."
- - Introduction
to Beowulf, Bullfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable.
- - from Angelcynn's
Historical Background to Beowulf
Beowulf on the Net
Beowulf on Steorarume (Beowulf in Cyberspace),
"a new critical electronic edition of the text,
based on an examination of the original MS,
with supplementary texts including
The Fight at Finnsburh, Waldere, Deor,
Woden's Nine Herbs Charm, Bede's Account of Cędmon,
edited and translated by Benjamin Slade,
Johns Hopkins University." Old English text, English and German translations,
introduction, glossary, links.
Beowulf in Hypertext includes
the text in Old English and modern translation, with a glossary, notes on characters and historical context, and other materials;
the site was "designed under the supervision of Dr. Anne Savage" at McMaster University.
Beowulf, a prose
translation by Clarence Griffin Child [PDF Format], from In Parenthesis
at York University.
Resources for the Study of Beowulf
at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Syd Allan's Beowulf
page, a comprehensive site for "people who are just starting to learn about
Story of Beowulf,
Chapter XLII of Bullfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable,
an annotated summary of the Tale with notes.
Beowulf, a prose version of the story from
Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race by Maud Isabel Ebbutt (1910).
The Electronic Beowulf Project
is an effort to digitize images of the only extant manuscript of
Beowulf, which was badly damaged by fire in 1731.
in modern English alliterative verse, translated
by Francis B. Gummere, from the 1910 Harvard Classics edition.
The electronic versions of Beowulf in Old English all derive
from Oxford Text Archive text U-1936-C
the text archive). Versions are available
as part of the Labyrinth
Library of Old English Literature at Georgetown, and at
University of Virginia.
Adventures of Beowulf, an Adaptation from the Old English
by Dr. David Breeden, is an online serialization of the classic tale, in
unrhymed verse. In progress.
from Beowulf, in Old English, part of
Old English at the University of Virginia.
Beowulf, a graphic
novel by Gareth Hinds based on the Francis B. Gummere translation.
Thoughts on Reading Beowulf,
an essay by Lynn Harry Nelson, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History, at
the University of Kansas, part of Lectures in Medieval History at The Historical Text Archive.
and Cultural Approaches to Beowulf, Issue 5 of
The Heroic Age, a free
online journal dedicated to the study of the
Northwestern Europe from the Late Roman Empire to the advent of the
Old English Pages by Catherine N. Ball,
Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University, includes
historical context as well as access to texts, art, and linguistic
materials. This site is part of
ORB, the Online Reference Book for
England, a Guide to Online Resources, senior editor Brad Bedingfield, Tokyo Metropolitan University;
Introduction by Stuart Lee, Oxford University
Computing Services, also at ORB.
PASE, the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England,
an online database representing "the largest collation of information about Anglo-Saxon England ever assembled.
Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council ... made freely available to all, providing scholars and enthusiasts
ready access to an unprecedented amount of information about the period and its people."
[Thanks to Teresa Nielsen Hayden for this link.]
Engliscan Gesiðas is a "society for people interested in all
aspects of Anglo-Saxon language and culture."
Steps in Old English is an online introduction to "an absolute
beginners" correspondence course in Old English, at
Angelcynne, Anglo-Saxon Living History 400-900 AD,
has a wealth of literary, historical, and cultural material.
"Angelcynn (pronounced 'Angle-kin') is an Old English word meaning 'the English
People'. In the twentieth century Angelcynn is a living history society which aims
to recreate, as authentically as possible, the richness of the birth of a nation which
has passed into legend and into lore."
Regia Anglorum, "an ever
growing resource for anybody with an
interest in Early Medieval Europe in general and Anglo-Saxon and
Viking Britain in particular," includes historical articles,
surveys of crafts and clothing, and other research materials.
Archaeology is maintained by Jeremy Hugget at the University of Glasgow.
Notes on the Illustrations ·
26 December 2005