Beowulf : Portrait Of Anglo Saxon Society Essay

Good Essays
Beowulf: Portrait of Anglo-Saxon Society The Middle Ages in England began with the withdrawal of the Romans and the arrival of various Germanic tribes (the Angles, the Saxons and the Jutes), during the mid-fifth century. These tribes, which became known as the Anglo-Saxons, were composed of people from North Germany, Denmark and northern Holland, and took control of most of Britain, except for lands such as Scotland, Wales or Cornwall (Hindley 23). They brought with them the tradition of oral poetry, specifically heroic poetry, which they valued, as it honored brave feats and specific codes of conduct, and which was used for recording historical events. One of the most famous heroic stories, later transposed to manuscript, was the poem Beowulf (Edward 2). It is the mythical tale of a warrior who saves his people from monsters through his courageous deeds. Nevertheless, this epic poem was not completely fictional as it incorporated a great deal of Germanic history. For example, many of the characters were real, such as: kings, Hygelac, Hrothgar, Ongentheow, Haethcyn, Onela and Heardred, and are mentioned in a twelfth century chronicle. The Geats, Danes, and Swedes of the time are also historically noted in ancient chronicles. The Ravenswood battle, fought in 510AD is also true, and Heorot was an actual place located in a
Meiselbach 2 village near Roskilde, on the island with Copenhagen (Hunter 49). More importantly, heroic poems often utilized the hero to embody
Get Access