Questions tagged [anglo-saxon-literature]

For questions about anything that was originally written in the language of Anglo-Saxon (Old English).

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1 answer
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Is Half-Dane (Healfdene) in Beowulf half Danish and half Swedish?

Clearly he is a Danish king. Does the "Half-Dane" indicate that he is half Swedish?
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5 votes
2 answers
178 views

What are we to understand by "panther" in this Old English poem?

"The Panther" is an Old English poem, preserved in the Exeter Book, and translated in full by Aaron Hostetter. It's a poem about a panther, but what would the ancient Germanic peoples of ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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What is known, and how, about the dating of the Exeter Book?

The Exeter Book is one of the most important pieces of Anglo-Saxon (Old English) literature, containing a wide variety of works including riddles, elegies, a so-called bestiary, etc. Wikipedia says ...
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2 votes
1 answer
264 views

Modern English versions of Wonders/Marvels of the East from the Nowell Codex

The famous epic poem Beowulf is known from a single manuscript, part of the Nowell Codex, which also contains other texts and fragments, including one called The Wonders of the East, sometimes also ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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What is the significance of Grendel being descended from Cain?

In the tale of Beowulf, the monster Grendel is said to be descended from the biblical character of Cain. This was surprising to me, as I'd thought Beowulf was a pre-Christian story given its setting ...
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11 votes
1 answer
189 views

How does "handwriting" provide evidence for dating Beowulf's composition to "the first half of the eighth century"?

The Wikipedia article for Beowulf has this interesting bit in the "Authorship and date" section: On the other hand, some scholars argue that linguistic, palaeographical (handwriting), ...
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10 votes
1 answer
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What is a "roomy heart"?

There's a phrase in "Alms-Giving" that I'm confused about. First, here's the original, untranslated text: Wel bið þam eorle      þe him on innan hafað, reþehygdig wer,      rume heortan; ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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Meaning of lines explaining Hrothgar's ruling in Heorot

I'm reading Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf and when the poet talks about Heorot Hall (lines 71 through 73) he says it would be his throne-room and there he would dispense his God-given ...
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