- List of characters and objects in Beowulf
Beowulf" is an Old English heroic epic poem. Its creation dates to between the 8th cite book | last = Tolkien | first = J.R.R. | authorlink = J.R.R. Tolkien | title = Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics | location = London | publisher = Oxford University Press | page = 127 | year = 1958] and the 11th centuries, the only surviving manuscript dating to circa 1010.cite book |last=Kiernan |first=Kevin S. |title=Beowulf and the Beowulf Manuscript |url= http://www.press.umich.edu/titleDetailDesc.do?id=8599 |publisher= University of Michigan Press |location = Ann Arbor, MI |year=1997 |id=ISBN 978-0-472-08412-8] At 3183 lines, it is notable for its length. It has reached national epicstatus in England." [ [http://www.sras.org/news2.phtml?m=629&print=1 "The Question of genre in bylini and Beowulf" by Shannon Meyerhoff, 2006] .]
There are a great many characters and objects in "Beowulf" ranging from historical people such as
Hygelacto purely mythological dragons. This is a list of prominent characters and objects for reference purposes.
Abel- a biblical character and the brother of Cain.
*Ælfhere - a kinsman of Wiglaf and Beowulf
Æschere- Hroðgar's closest counselor and comrade, killed by Grendel's Mother.
*Banstan - the father of
*Beowulf - an early Danish king and the son of
Scyld, but not the same character as the hero of the poem.
*Beowulf - the
eponymoushero of the Anglo-Saxon poem.
Breca- Beowulf's childhood friend who competed with him in a swimming match.
*Dæghrefn - a Frankish warrior killed by Beowulf.
Cain- biblical character described as an ancestor of Grendel.
*The Dragon - beast (Old English, wyrm) that ravages Beowulf's kingdom and which Beowulf must slay at the end of the poem. It is the cause of Beowulf's death.
Eadgils- a Swedish king also mentioned extensively in the Norse sagas.
Eanmund- a Swedish prince, and the brother of Eadgils.
Ecgþeow- Beowulf's father who belonged to the Swedish Wægmundingclan. He joined the Geats after having been banished for killing the Wulfing Heaðolaf, and married a Geatish princess.
*Ecgwela - an earlier Danish king.
*Elan - possibly an incomplete name for
Hroðgar's sister, see Yrsa, below.
Eofor- the " boar". A Geatish warrior who avenged the death of Hæþcynby slaying Ongenþeowduring the Swedish-Geatish wars. He was recompensed with the daughter of king Hygelac.
*Eomær - son of king
Offa of Angel
*Eormenric - a legendary Gothic king.
Frisianlord whose tale picks up where the Finnsburg Fragmentends.
*Fitela - a Germanic hero
*Folcwalda - the father of Finn
Freawaru- the daughter of King Hroðgarand Queen Wealhþeowand wife of Ingeld, king of the Heaðobards.
*Froda king of the Heaðobard's and father of Ingeld. He also appears in Norse tradition.
*Garmund - the father of
Offa of Angel
Grendel- one of three antagonists (along with Grendel's Motherand the dragon).
Grendel's mother- one of three antagonists (along with Grendeland the dragon).
*Guðlaf - a warrior in
Healfdene- Hroðgar's father and predecessor, also prominent in Norse tradition.
*Hama - a Germanic hero
Halga- Hroðgar's brother. He is hardly mentioned in "Beowulf" but he is a prominent character in Norse tradition.
Hæþcyn- the son of the Geatish king Hreðel.
*Hæreð - the father of
Hygd, queen of the Geats.
Heaðolaf- Wulfingkilled by Beowulf's father Ecgþeow.
*Heming - a kinsman of Garmund
Heardred- the son of Hygelac, king of the Geats, and his queen Hygd.
Hengest- a Danish lord who attacked the Frisians to avenge Hnæf
Heorogar- Hroðgar's brother and predecessor.
Heoroweard- Heorogar's son; Hroðgar's nephew. According to Norse tradition, his attempt to become king would cause the end of the Scylding clan.
Herebeald- the son of the Geatish king Hreðel.
Heremod- an early Danish king.
*Hereric - a relative of
Hildeburh- the daughter of the Danish king Hoc and the wife of the Finn - king of the Frisians.
*Hoc - a Danish lord and the father of
Hnæf- the son of the Danish lord Hoc and brother of Hildeburh. He was killed by Finn.
*Hondscio - a Geatish warrior.
Hreðel- king of the Geats.
Hreðric and Hroðmund, the two sons of Hroðgar.
Hroðgar- king of the Danes; married to Wealhþeow. Also prominent in Norse tradition.
*Hroðulf (also known as "Hrólfr Kraki") - , Hroðgar's nephew, but more prominent in Norse tradition.
*Hun - a Frisian warrior who gives
Hengestthe sword Lafing.
Hygd- queen of the Geats; the wife of King Hygelac.
Hygelac- king of the Geats; the husband of Hygd. Existence attested by other sources. Death during the poem dated to c 516.
Ingeld- a Heaðobard lord; married to Freawaru, daughter of Hroðgar. He also appears in Norse tradition.
Merewing- a Frankish king (possibly Merovech)
Modþryð- a princess, later queen, who punished inferiors who looked her directly in the eye; later marries, and is reformed by, Offa of Angel.
Offa of Angel, a king of the Angles who also appears in Norse tradition.
Ohthere- king of the Swedish house of Scylfings, and also mentioned in Norse tradition. The father of Eadgilsand Eanmund, and the brother of Onela.
Onela- king of the Swedish house of Scylfings, and also mentioned in Norse tradition. The brother of Ohthere.
Ongenþeow- king of Sweden. Slew the Geatish king Hæþcyn, but was himself killed by Eofor, during the Swedish-Geatish wars.
*Oslaf - a warrior in
Scyld- (Scyld Scēfing) warrior king who founded the ruling house in Denmark.
*Sigemund - a legendary Germanic hero whom Beowulf is compared to.
Swerting- the grandfather of Hygelac
Unferð- a thane of the Danish lord Hroðgar.
Wealhþeow- queen of the Danes; married to Hroðgar.
Weohstan- the father of Wiglafand a Swedish warrior fighting for Onela. He also appears to be mentioned in a stanza in the " Prose Edda".
*Wæls - the father of Sigemund
Wayland Smith- a smith of Germanic legend who forged Beowulf's breast plate.
Wiglaf- Beowulf's relative. A Swedish warrior of the Waegmundingclan who helps Beowulf slay the dragon.
*Wondred - the father of
*Wulf - the brother of
Wulfgar- the herald of Hroðgar, renowned for his great wisdom.
*Yrmenlaf - younger brother of Æschere.
*Yrs(e) - a character borrowed from Norse tradition that appears in some translations (e.g.,
Burton Raffel) and commentaries, as an emendation of a corrupt line (62) where Hroðgar's sister is mentioned. His sister is, however, named "Signy" in Norse tradition (" Skjöldunga saga" and " Hrólfr Kraki's saga"), whereas Yrsa was Halga's daughter and lover with whom he had Hroðulf.
*Brosinga mene - a collar identified with the goddess
Freya's necklace Brisingamen. Given to Beowulf by Wealhþeow as reward for having slain Grendel.
Heorot- the great hall built by king Hroðgar.
Hrunting- the magical sword given to Beowulf by Unferð
*Lafing - a sword that Hun gives to
Nægling- the magical sword used by Beowulf to slay the dragon; however, Beowulf's might was too strong and the blade broke in combat. Name probably translates as "Nail" or "Kinsman of the Nail."
Weregild- was a reparational paymentusually demanded of a person guilty of homicideor other wrongful death, although it could also be demanded in other cases of serious crime.
Tribes and clans
Brondings- the people of Breca.
*Danes - a tribe having their centre on the island of
Geats - a tribe whose centre was in modern Västergötland.
Finno-Ugric peoplesin the north and north-east of Scandinavia.
Franks- a powerful Germanic tribe on the Continent.
Frisians - a tribe led by Finn living along the eastern shores of the North Sea.
*Gifðas - the Gepids, a tribe which had migrated to the Balkans by the time of "Beowulf". They are mentioned in connection with Swedes and Danes, and it has been suggested that "Beowulf" refers to the people of
Heaðobards, or Heaðo-beardnas, a clan or tribe at war with the Danes.
*Helmings - the people of queen
Wealhþeow. " Widsith" mentions Helm as the leader of the Wulfings.
*Hetware - a tribe part of the Franks, or allied with them.
*Hugas - a name for the Franks or for a group of their allies.
*Heaðoræmas - a tribe named "Heaðoreamas" appears in "
Widsith", and -"reamas" agrees with ON "Raumar" which positions the tribe in what is today south-eastern Norway.
Ingwins - a name used for the Danes and which means "friends of Ing ( Freyr)".
Jutes("Eotenas") a tribe living in modern Jutland, and who took part in the migration to England.
Merovingians- the ruling Frankish dynasty, by metonymyused to refer to the Frankish nation as a whole.
Scylding- the ruling clan in Denmark, by metonymyalso used to refer to the Danish nation as a whole.
*Scylfing - the ruling clan in
Sweden, by metonymyalso used to refer to the Swedish nation as a whole.
*Swedes - a tribe who had their centre in modern
Wægmundings - a Swedish clan to which belonged Beowulf, Ecgþeowand Wiglaf. Wiglaf is called "the last of the Wægmundings".
*Wendlas - identified as the people of
Wulfing- the clan of Heaðolafand possibly Wealhþeow. Old Norse sources describe them as the lords of Östergötland.
*" [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/16328 Modern English translation] " by
John Lesslie Hall
* " [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/9701 Old English edition] " edited by James Albert Harrison and Robert Sharp
*Nerman, Birger (1925). "Det svenska rikets uppkomst".
*cite news | first= Dorothy | last=Porter| url=http://www.mun.ca/mst/heroicage/issues/5/porter1.html| title=The Social Centrality of Women in Beowulf: A New Context| publisher="The Heroic Age: A Journal of Early Medieval Northwestern Europe," heroicage.org, Issue 5| date=Summer/Autumn 2001| accessdate=2007-11-20
*Ståhl, Harry (1976), "Ortnamn och ortnamnsforskning", Uppsala: Almquist & Wiksell, ISBN 91-20-04466-6
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