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Beowulf Historical Context

Gareth Hinds
This Study Guide consists of approximately 54 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Beowulf.
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Historical Context

Introduction

The historical Hygelac died circa 521. The Beowulf manuscript was written about 1000 A.D. In the intervening centuries there was both change and continuity in every area of Anglo-Saxon life. Because we cannot date Beowulf with certainty, we cannot draw specific parallels. We do not know if the society the poet described is the one he or she knew firsthand and projected into the past from his or her present, or if it was a poetic reconstruction, pieced together from memories, older Anglo-Saxon and Latin poetry.

The Origins of the Anglo-Saxon Kingdoms

The Germanic peoples arrived in Britain over a period of perhaps a century and a half. They did not always arrive in tribal or family groups. They do not seem to have brought their kings with them. Only the Mercian royal family claimed to be descended from a continental king. Certainly groups based on kinship or...

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This section contains 1,046 words
(approx. 4 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our Beowulf Study Guide
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Beowulf from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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