Beowulf

Beowulf

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Excerpt: ... Finn's Frisians are presumably the main Frisian race, dwelling in and around the district still known as Friesland; for in the Catalogue of Kings in Widsith it is said that "Finn Folcwalding 249 ruled the kin of the Frisians431 ." Hnaef and his people are called Half-Danes, Danes and Scyldings; Hnaef is therefore presumably related to the Danish royal house. But, in no account which has come down to us of that house, are Hnaef or his father Hoc ever mentioned as kings or princes of Denmark, and their connection with the family of Hrothgar, the great house of Scyldings who ruled Denmark from the capital of Leire, remains obscure. In Widsith, the people ruled over by Hnaef are called "children of Hoc" (Hōcingum), and are mentioned immediately after the "Sea-Danes432 ." Then there is a mysterious people called the Eotens, upon whom is placed the blame of the struggle: "Verily Hildeburh had little reason to praise the good faith of the Eotens." This is the typical understatement of Old English rhetoric: it can only point to deliberate treachery on the part of the Eotens. Our interpretation of the poem will therefore hinge largely upon our interpretation of this name. There have been two views as to the Eotens. The one view holds them to be Hnaef's Danes, and consequently places on Hnaef the responsibility for the aggression. This theory is, I think, quite wrong, and has been the cause of much confusion: but it has been held by scholars of great weight433 . The other view regards the Eotens as subjects 250 of Finn and foes of Hnaef. This view has been more generally held, and it is, as I shall try to show, only along these lines that a satisfactory solution can be found. The poet continues of the woes of Hildeburh. "Guiltless, she lost at the war those whom she loved, child and brother. They fell as was fated, wounded by the spear, and a sad lady was she. Not for naught did the daughter of Hoc i.e. Hildeburh bewail her fate when morning came,show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 176 pages
  • 189 x 246 x 10mm | 327g
  • Rarebooksclub.com
  • United States
  • English
  • black & white illustrations
  • 1236733207
  • 9781236733207