Clearly he is a Danish king. Does the "Half-Dane" indicate that he is half Swedish?

  • Are you asking specifically about what it says in Beowulf, or about the historical figure he is allegedly based upon, also called Halfdan or Haldanus? Wikipedia has a page with little hard information that says "It is likely that more than one Halfdan has been confused with one another and with other kings, not to speak of simple invention by story tellers."
    – Stuart F
    Jul 8, 2022 at 14:01
  • That is a good point - the Beowulf narrator is not necessarily reliable and there are also blurry lines between fiction and history here. I guess my question is whether we find a definite answer anywhere (fiction or history), even if more than one answer exist that contradict each other. If he is "half" Dane, what is the other half? Jul 8, 2022 at 23:18
  • The Wikipedia article points to various old sources other than Beowulf. Apparently he ruled as king over both Denmark and Sweden, so Sweden seems like the logical expectation for "his other half". Jul 8, 2022 at 23:21

1 Answer 1


From the Wikipedia article, summarizing from the Ynglinga Saga:

Halfdan attacked King Aun of Sweden and drove him into exile into Götaland. Halfdan then ruled Sweden for twenty years until he died in Uppsala of sickness and was buried in a mound.

It seems like Sweden would be the most obvious explanation for Half-Dane's "other half."

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