[Picture: Saxon Dogs]
Famed was this Beowulf: far flew the boast of him,
son of Scyld, in the Scandian lands.
So becomes it a youth to quit him well
with his father's friends, by fee and gift,
that to aid him, aged, in after days,
come warriors willing, should war draw nigh,
liegemen loyal: by lauded deeds
shall an earl have honor in every clan.

"Athough the manuscript which contains the epic of Beowulf was written about 1000 A.D., the poem itself was known and had been elaborated upon for centuries by minstrels who recited the heroic exploits of the son of Ecgtheow and nephew of Hygelac, King of the Geats, whose kingdom was what is now Southern Sweden."

- Introduction to Beowulf, Bullfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable.
The earliest surviving epic poem written in English, Beowulf was most likely "composed in the seventh or eighth century, but being more precise depends on where one believes the poem was composed. ...[A] contender, which has come seriously into the reckoning as a result of the Sutton Hoo discovery, is seventh century East Anglia. Not only was the ship burial (which dates to 625AD) uncannily like the burials of Scyld and Beowulf, but the grave goods revealed the East Anglian court of the Wuffingas to be unexpectedly sophisticated and closely linked to the Swedish royal house at Uppsala. It is now thought possible that both these royal lines shared a common ancestry. As the scholar Howell Chickering asked: 'Was it through the early East Anglian court that detailed knowledge of Scandinavian tribal history in Beowulf became available in England?' And one might add, was the poem composed as a way of telling East Anglians something of their semi-historical, semi-legendary Scandinavian ancestors? There is, perhaps, a good case for believing that Beowulf was composed in Suffolk, at the palace of Rendlesham, within living memory of the great ship-burial in 625AD."
- from Angelcynn's Historical Background to Beowulf

Beowulf on the Net

Beowulf on Steorarume (Beowulf in Cyberspace), "a new critical electronic edition of the text, based on an examination of the original MS, with supplementary texts including The Fight at Finnsburh, Waldere, Deor, Woden's Nine Herbs Charm, Bede's Account of Cędmon, edited and translated by Benjamin Slade, Johns Hopkins University." Old English text, English and German translations, introduction, glossary, links.
Beowulf in Hypertext includes the text in Old English and modern translation, with a glossary, notes on characters and historical context, and other materials; the site was "designed under the supervision of Dr. Anne Savage" at McMaster University.
Beowulf, a prose translation by Clarence Griffin Child [PDF Format], from In Parenthesis at York University.
Resources for the Study of Beowulf at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Syd Allan's Beowulf page, a comprehensive site for "people who are just starting to learn about Beowulf..
The Story of Beowulf, Chapter XLII of Bullfinch's Mythology: The Age of Fable, an annotated summary of the Tale with notes.
Beowulf, a prose version of the story from Hero-Myths and Legends of the British Race by Maud Isabel Ebbutt (1910). New !
The Electronic Beowulf Project is an effort to digitize images of the only extant manuscript of Beowulf, which was badly damaged by fire in 1731.
Beowulf in modern English alliterative verse, translated by Francis B. Gummere, from the 1910 Harvard Classics edition.
The electronic versions of Beowulf in Old English all derive from Oxford Text Archive text U-1936-C (notes on the text archive). Versions are available at Labyrinth, as part of the Labyrinth Library of Old English Literature at Georgetown, and at the University of Virginia.
The Adventures of Beowulf, an Adaptation from the Old English by Dr. David Breeden, is an online serialization of the classic tale, in unrhymed verse. In progress.
Readings from Beowulf, in Old English, part of Old English at the University of Virginia.
Beowulf, a graphic novel by Gareth Hinds based on the Francis B. Gummere translation.
Thoughts on Reading Beowulf, an essay by Lynn Harry Nelson, Emeritus Professor of Medieval History, at the University of Kansas, part of Lectures in Medieval History at The Historical Text Archive. New !
Anthropological and Cultural Approaches to Beowulf, Issue 5 of The Heroic Age, a free online journal dedicated to the study of the Northwestern Europe from the Late Roman Empire to the advent of the Norman Empire.

Beowulf's World

The Old English Pages by Catherine N. Ball, Department of Linguistics, Georgetown University, includes the historical context as well as access to texts, art, and linguistic materials. This site is part of ORB, the Online Reference Book for Medieval Studies.

Anglo-Saxon England, a Guide to Online Resources, senior editor Brad Bedingfield, Tokyo Metropolitan University; Introduction by Stuart Lee, Oxford University Computing Services, also at ORB.
PASE, the Prosopography of Anglo-Saxon England, an online database representing "the largest collation of information about Anglo-Saxon England ever assembled. Funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council ... made freely available to all, providing scholars and enthusiasts ready access to an unprecedented amount of information about the period and its people." [Thanks to Teresa Nielsen Hayden for this link.]
Ða Engliscan Gesiðas is a "society for people interested in all aspects of Anglo-Saxon language and culture."
First Steps in Old English is an online introduction to "an absolute beginners" correspondence course in Old English, at Ða Engliscan Gesiðas.
Angelcynne, Anglo-Saxon Living History 400-900 AD, has a wealth of literary, historical, and cultural material. "Angelcynn (pronounced 'Angle-kin') is an Old English word meaning 'the English People'. In the twentieth century Angelcynn is a living history society which aims to recreate, as authentically as possible, the richness of the birth of a nation which has passed into legend and into lore."
Regia Anglorum, "an ever growing resource for anybody with an interest in Early Medieval Europe in general and Anglo-Saxon and Viking Britain in particular," includes historical articles, surveys of crafts and clothing, and other research materials.
Anglo-Saxon Archaeology is maintained by Jeremy Hugget at the University of Glasgow.

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26 December 2005 pkm