Beowulf (Wyatt)/Persons and Places
(1) THE DANISH ROYAL FAMILY.
Scēf or Scēaf │ Scyld │ Bēowulf (not the hero) │ Healfdene ┌─────────┬───────────┴────┬───────────────────┐ Heorogār Hrōðgār=Wealhþēow Hālga Ongenþēow (?)=Elan (?) | │ | Hrōðulf (?) ┌────────┼────────────────┐ Hrēðric Hrōðmund Ingeld=Frēawaru
(2) THE GEAT ROYAL FAMILY.
Swerting │ Hrēðel ┌───────────┬────┴────┬───────────┐ Ecgþēow=a daughter Herebeald Hǣðcyn ?=Hygelac=Hygd │ │ │ Beowulf Eofor=a daughter Heardred
(3) THE SWEDISH ROYAL FAMILY.
Ongenþēow=Elan (?) ┌──────┴──────┐ Onela Ōhthere ┌────┴────┐ Ēanmund Ēadgils
PERSONS AND PLACES.
Abel, slain by Cain, 108.
Ælfhere. Wiglaf is called “kinsman of Ælfhere,” 2604.
Æschere, Hrothgar’s dearest counsellor and comrade in arms, slain and carried off by Grendel’s dam in revenge for her son, 1294—1340, 2120—2130.
Ār-Scyldingas, 464, Honour-Scyldings, a name of the Danes; see Scyldingas.
Bēanstān, Breca’s father, 524.
Beorht-Dene, 427, 609, Bright-Danes; see Dene.
Bēowulf the Dane (not the hero of the poem), 18, 53, an ancestor of the Danish king Hrothgar.
Bēowulf the Geat (the second scribe, who begins in the MS. in l. 1939, favours the spelling Bīowulf, 1987, 1999, etc.; gen. Bīowulfes, 2194, 2681, 2807; dat. Bīowulfe, 2324, 2842, 2907, 3066), the hero of the poem, first mentioned in l. 194, as “Hygelac’s thane,” first named in l. 343. He is the son of Ecgtheow; his mother’s name is not given, but she was the daughter of Hrethel, king of the Geats, and therefore sister of Hygelac. The whole poem is a record of Beowulf’s life, exploits, death, and burial; but a few facts deserve special mention. After his seventh year he was brought up at the court of his grandfather, Hrethel, with his uncles, Herebeald, Hæthcyn, and Hygelac (2428—34). In his youth, he was for a long time despised as slothful and unwarlike (2183—9), but when he grew up his hand had the strength of thirty other men’s (379). It is therefore as a “hand-slayer” (2502) that he attains his chiefest fame (2684 ff.). He accompanied Hygelac in his fatal expedition against the Hetware, and saved his own life, after the fall of the Geat king, by swimming home across the sea (2359 ff.). He refused the throne, offered him by Hygelac’s widow (2369 ff.); acted as guardian and protector to Hygelac’s son Heardred (2377), and on the death of the latter became king of the Geats, whom he ruled for fifty years (2209).
Beowulf is a hero worthy of our only great English epic, a warrior “sans peur et sans reproche.” His love of fighting, his eagerness for praise (3182), his touch of braggadocio, were far from being faults in the eyes of the “scop,” and he has some of the qualities of true greatness: in the closing words of the poem he is called the mildest, gentlest, and kindest of men.
The Beowulf who took part in Hygelac’s historical expedition against the Hetware is probably historical too; but the Beowulf of the four great exploits of the poem, the swimming match with Breca, and the contests with Grendel, with his dam, and with the dragon, has probably stepped into the place of the mythical Beowa of the Old English royal genealogies.
Breca, son of Beanstan (524), and a chief of the Brondings (522). Beowulf’s swimming-match with Breca is the subject of Unferth’s taunt (ll. 506 ff.).
Brondingas, 521, see Breca.
Brōsinga mene (Icel. Brisinga men), the famous Brising necklace or collar. “This necklace is the Brisinga-men—the costly necklace of Freyja, which she won from the dwarfs and which was stolen from her by Loki, as is told in the Edda.”—Kemble.
The circlet given to Beowulf after the slaughter of Grendel can only be compared to the Brosings’ (or Brisings’) necklace which Hama carried off when he fled from Eormenric (ll. 1195 ff.). See Bugge in “Beiträge” xii.
Cain is the ancestor of Grendel (111, 1265).
Dæghrefn (dat. 2501), a brave warrior of the Hugs, seems to have killed Hygelac in the battle (cf. ll. 1207—11 with 2503—4). Beowulf was his “hand-slayer” (2502).
Dene (gen. Dena 242, Deniga 271, Denia 2125), the Danes, the subjects of Hrothgar. They dwell in the Scede-lands (19), in Sceden-ig (1686), “between the seas” (1685). They are called by various other names in the poem: Beorht-Dene, Gār-Dene, Hring-Dene, in supposed allusion to their warlike character; Ēast-Dene, Norð-Dene, Sūð-Dene, West-Dene, in supposed allusion to their wide distribution; Scyldingas, etc., Ingwine, and Hrēðmen, all of which see.
Ēadgils, younger son of Ohthere.
What is told of the brothers Eadgils and Eanmund in the poem, as in the case of the other allusions and episodes, must have been originally intended for hearers who were supposed to know all about them. For us, the order and nature of the events referred to are sometimes by no means clear, especially when we can get little help from external sources. In this particular instance, however, it is not difficult to read between the lines, and put together a complete story, and we have the Scandinavian accounts to help us.
Eanmund and Eadgils are banished from Sweden for rebellion (2379 ff.), and take refuge at the court of the Geat king, Heardred. The fact of their finding an asylum with his hereditary foes (see Ongentheow) seems to have so enraged the Swedish king Onela, their uncle, that he invades Geatland (2202 ff.) and succeeds in slaying Heardred (2384 ff.), but allows Beowulf to succeed to the Geat throne unmolested (2389—90). Heardred is the second Geat king (see Hasthcyn) who had fallen by the hands of the Swedes, and Beowulf at a later time (2392) balances the feud by supporting Eadgils in his subsequent invasion of Sweden, in which the latter slew the king, his uncle Onela (2391 ff.). This version of the story is confirmed by reference to the Norse accounts, in which Aðils (=Eadgils) slays Āli (=Onela) on the ice of Lake Wener (see l. 2396).
Heyne (followed unfortunately by Brooke) seems to pervert and distort this simple story almost beyond belief. He says (the square brackets are mine): ‘The relations of Ohthere’s sons to Hygelac’s son appear according to the text to be as follows. Ohthere’s sons, Eanmund and Eadgils, have revolted against their father (2381) [why their father rather than Onela?], in consequence of which they have to quit Sweden (2379) and come to Heardred (2380). One of them kills the latter under mysterious circumstances (2385) [2385 does not say so]; it must have been Eanmund, whom Weohstan slays on the spot therefor, cf. 2612. Eadgils escapes to his home (2387, for “Ongenþīoes bearn” here means his grandson Eadgils, for “bearn” can be used in the sense of descendant, cf. Daniel 73: “Isrāēla bearn”) [special pleading! “Isrāēla bearn” = the children of Israel. What possible inference can there be from this to the meaning “grandson”? And why go to Daniel, in preference to referring to the seven instances of this use of “bearn” in his own glossary to Beowulf? How much better to take “bearn” to mean son, as in every other case of its singular use in the poem!], where in the meantime his father Ohthere seems to have died [!]. After Beowulf has become king of the Geats (2389), his thoughts turn to taking his revenge on Eadgils (2391); he becomes his enemy [the MS. has “freond” !!]. Eadgils invades the land of the Geats (2393—4; read “gestepte” from “gesteppan,” and not “gestēpte” from “gestēpan”), but is killed by Beowulf (2396) [then “Beowulf” is the subject of “wearð” (2392), “sunu Ōhteres” (2394) is the subject of “gestepte,” and “hē” (2395) again refers to Beowulf! And Eadgils has meantime become king of Sweden (2396)].’ See also Ēanmund.
I have treated this question thus fully in the hope of ending a misinterpretation, which has obtained some vogue.
Eafor (gen. 2964). See Eofor.
Ēanmund, 2611, elder son of Ohthere; see Ēadgils. He is slain by Weohstan (2612 ff.), who strips him of the armour given him by his uncle Onela (2616). Weohstan “spake not about the feud, although he had slain his (Onela’s) brother’s son (2618—9).” These words accord much better with the supposition that Weohstan had slain a “friendless exile” (2613) in a private quarrel, of which he was half ashamed, than that he had avenged Heardred’s death upon his murderer.
Earna-næs, 3031, Eagles-ness, near the scene of Beowulf’s fight with the dragon.
Ēast-Dene, 392, 616, East-Danes ; see Dene.
Ecglāf, 499, father of Unferth.
Ecgþēow (Ecgþēo, 373; gen. Ecgþīoes, 1999) father of Beowulf the Geat; married the only daughter of Hrethel, king of the Geats and father of Hygelac (373—5). Having slain Heatholaf, the Wylfing, Ecgtheow seeks protection at the court of Hrothgar in the early days of his kingship; Hrothgar accepts his fealty, and settles the feud by a money-payment (459 ff.).
Ecgwela, 1710: “the descendants of Ecgwela, the Honour-Scyldings,” i.e. the Danes. Grein takes him to be the founder of the older dynasty of Danish kings, which ended in Heremod.
Elan, 62 (see note), daughter of Healfdene, sister of Hrothgar, and wife of Ongentheow (?), king of the Swedes.
Eofor (dat. Iofore, 2993, 2997), a Geat warrior, son of Wonred, brother of Wulf, and son-in-law of Hygelac. He comes to the aid of his brother Wulf in his single combat with Ongentheow, and slays the latter, thus avenging the death of Haethcyn. Hygelac liberally rewards both the brothers, and gives his only daughter to Eofor (2484 ff., 2961 ff.).
Eomǣr, 1960, son of Offa and Thrytho (q. v.).
Eormenrīc, 1201, king of the Ostrogoths ; see Brōsinga mene.
Eotenas, 1072, 1088, 1141, 1145, the people of Finn, king of Friesland.
Finn (Fin 1096, 1146, 1152; gen. Finnes 1068 etc.), king of Friesland (1126), son of Folcwalda (1089); his queen is Hildeburh. The somewhat obscure Finn episode in “Beowulf” (ll. 1068—1159) is evidently part of a Finn saga, of which only the merest fragment, called the Fight at Finnsburg (see Appendix), is extant. Various attempts have been made to reconstruct the saga from these materials, the chief point wherein they differ being as to the relative places of the “Fight” and the Finn episode in the restored connected story. Bugge, in accordance with his interpretation of ll. 1142—4 (see note), follows Grein in arguing that the night attack described in the “Fight” took place when Hnæf was killed, before the events described in the “Beowulf” episode, i.e. before l. 1068. Möller, on the other hand, contends that the proper place of the “Fight” is between lines 1144 and 1145. His outline of the story is briefly as follows:
Finn, king of the Frisians, had carried off Hildeburh, daughter of Hoc (1076), probably with her consent. Her father Hoc seems to have pursued the fugitives, and to have been slain in the tight which ensued on his overtaking them. After the lapse of some twenty years Hoc’s sons, Hnæf and Hengest, were old enough to undertake the duty of avenging their father’s death. They make an inroad into Finn’s country and a battle takes place in which many warriors, among them Hnæf and a son of Finn (1074, 1079, 1115), are killed. Peace is therefore solemnly concluded, and the slain warriors are burnt (1068—1124).
As the year is too far advanced for Hengest to return home (ll. 1130 ff.), he and those of his men who survive remain for the winter in the Frisian country with Finn. But Hengest’s thoughts dwell constantly on the death of his brother Hnæf, and he would gladly welcome any excuse to break the peace which had been sworn by both parties. His ill concealed desire for revenge is noticed by the Frisians, who anticipate it by themselves taking the initiative and attacking Hengest and his men whilst they are sleeping in the hall. This is the night attack described in the “Fight.” It would seem that after a brave and desperate resistance Hengest himself falls in this fight at the hands of Hunlafing (1143), but two of his retainers, Guthlaf and Oslaf, succeed in cutting their way through their enemies and in escaping to their own land. They return with fresh troops, attack and slay Finn, and carry his queen Hildeburh off with them (1125—1159).
Finnas, 580, the Finns. The sea washed Beowulf up on their land, Finland, at the end of his swimming-match with Breca.
Fitela, 879, 889 (Icel. Sinfiötli), son of Sigemund by his sister Signy, and therefore also his nephew (881). See Sigemund.
Folcwalda, 1089, the father of Finn.
Francan, 1210, see Froncan.
Frēawaru (ace. Freaware 2022), daughter of Hrothgar and Wealhtheow, and wife of Ingeld. See Ingeld.
Frēsan, 1093, 2915, see Frȳsan.
Frēs-cyning, 2503, the king of the West Frisians; see Frȳsan (2).
Frēs-lond (pi.), 2357, the land of the West Frisians. See Frȳsan (2).
Frēs-wæl, 1070, the North Frisian field or place of battle, where Hnæf fell. See Finn.
Frōda, 2025, father of Ingeld (q. v.).
Froncan (gen. Francna 1210), the Franks. Hygelac was defeated and slain, in his historical invasion of the Netherlands, by a combined army of Frisians, Franks, and Hugs (1202 ff., 2912 ff.).
Frȳsan (gen. Frēsena 1093, Frȳsna 1104, Frēsna 2915), the Frisians. There are (1) the North Frisians, the people of Finn (q. v.; 1068 ff.); (2) the West Frisians, who combined with the Franks and Hugs against Hygelac (1202 ff., 2912 ff.). The land of the former is called “Frȳs-land” in l. 1126, that of the latter “Frēs-lond” (pl.) in l. 2357.
Frȳs-land, 1126, the land of the North Frisians. See Frȳsan (1).
Gār-Dene, 1, 1856, Spear-Danes; see Dene.
Gārmund, 1962. Eomær is said to be the “grandson of Garmund,” who was therefore the father of Offa (q. v.). He is the Wærmund of the genealogies of the Chronicle, in which Offa and Eomær also appear; see Parker MS. 626 and 755 A.D.
Gēat, 640, 1301, 1785, 1792, the Geat (i.e. Beowulf).
Gēata (weak form or gen. pl.?), 374, 1191, 1202, etc.
Gēatas (O.Norse Gautar, Swed. Götar; gen. Gēatena 443), the Geats, the people to whom the hero Beowulf belonged. They lived in South Sweden, between the Danes on the south and the Swedes on the north. They are also called Gūð-Gēatas, Hrēðlingas, Sǣ-Gēatas, Weder-Gēatas, and Wederas. Bugge identifies them with the Jutes.
Gēat-mecgas (dat. Gēat-mæcgum 491, gen. Gēat-mecga 829), Geat men, referring to the fourteen Geats (207) who accompanied Beowulf to Heorot.
Gifðas, the Gifths, (supposed to be) the Gepidae; see l. 2494.
Grendel (gen. Grendles 195, 2002, etc., Grendeles 2006, 2118, 2139, 2353; dat. Grendle 666, 2521, etc.), the famous monster, slain by Beowulf. See Argument. He is of the kindred of Cain (1265 ff.). His father is unknown (1355).
Grendles mōdor (Grendeles mōdor 2118, 2139), Grendel’s mother or dam, the slaying of whom is Beowulf’s second great exploit. See Argument. She is sometimes spoken of as a male, sometimes as a female; cf. ll. 1260, 1379, 1392, 1394, 1497, 2136 with 1292 ff., 1339, 1504 ff., 1541 ff.
Gūð-Gēatas, 1538, War-Geats ; see Gēatas.
Gūðlāf, 1148, a Danish warrior under Hnæf and Hengest. See Finn.
Gūð-Scilfingas, 2927, War-Scylfings; see Scylfingas.
Hæreð, 1929, 1981, the father of Hygd, Hygelac’s wife.
Hǣðcyn (Hæðcen 2925, dat. Hǣðcynne 2482), second son of Hrethel, king of the Geats. He accidentally kills his elder brother Herebeald with a bow and arrow during his father’s lifetime (2435 ff.); succeeds to the throne at his father’s death (2483), but falls in battle at Ravenswood at the hand of the Swedish king Ongentheow (2923 ff.).
Hālga, 61, “the good” (til), younger brother of Hrothgar. He is thought to be the father of Hrothulf (1017, etc.), because he is identified with the historical Helgi, the father of Rolf Kraki (=Hrothulf).
Hāma, 1198; see Brōsinga mene.
Healfdene, 57, king of the Danes, son of Beowulf the Scylding, and father of Hrothgar, “the son of Healfdene” (189, etc.).
Healf-Dene, Half-Danes, the tribe to which Hnæf belongs ; see l. 1069.
Heardrēd, son of Hygelac and Hygd. While still under age (2370) he succeeds his father as king of the Geats, so that Beowulf for a time acts as his counsellor and protector (2377). He is slain by Onela (2200 if., 2385 ff.).
Heaðo-Beardan (gen. Heaðo-Beardna 2032 etc.), Heathobards, Lombards, the tribe to which Ingeld (q. v.) belongs.
Heaðolāf, 460, a warrior of the Wylfings, slain by Ecgtheow, the father of Beowulf.
Heatðo-Rǣmas, 519, Heathoremes, the people on whose shores Breca is cast after his swimming-match with Beowulf.
Heaðo-Scilflngas (gen. sg. Heaðo-Scilfingas 63), 2205, Battle-Scylfings; see Scylfingas.
Helmingas, 620, Helmings. Hrothgar’s queen, Wealhtheow, is “a woman of the Helmings.”
Hemming, 1944, 1961. “Kinsman of Hemming” describes both Offa (q. v.) and his son Eomær.
Hengest, 1083, 1091, took command of the Danes after Hnæf’s fall. See Finn.
Heorot (Heort 78, dat. Heorute 766, Hiorte 2099), the hall Heorot or Hart, which Hrothgar built (67 ff.). It was deserted for twelve years because of Grendel’s ravages (145 ff.). Beowulf’s encounter with the monster takes place in the hall, on the roof of which his arm is afterwards exhibited as a trophy (710 ff.).
Heoroweard, 2161, son of Heorogar (q. v.).
Herebeald, 2434, 2463, eldest son of the Geat king Hrethel, accidentally killed with an arrow by his brother Hathcyn (2435 ff.).
Heremōd, 901, 1709, a Danish king (see Ecgwela), is twice introduced as a kind of stock example of a bad and cruel king. In the end he is betrayed into the hands of his foes (903).
Hererīc, 2206. Heardred is called “Hererīces nefa.” Possibly he was the brother of Hygd.
Here-Scyldingas, 1108, the Army-Scyldings; see Scyldingas.
Hetware, 2363, 2916, the Hattuarii, the tribe against whom Hygelac made the raid in which he met his death.
Hildeburh, 1071, 1114, daughter of Hoc (1076), and wife of Finn. See Finn.
Hnæf, 1069, 1114, fell in the fight with Finn on the “Frēs-wæl” (1070). See Finn.
Hōc, father of Hildeburh (1076); see Finn.
Hondscīo, 2076, the one of Beowulf’s fourteen comrades, in his expedition to the Danish kingdom, that Grendel devoured before attacking Beowulf (740 ff., 2076 ff.).
Hrefna-wudu, 2925, Ravenswood, where Ongentheow slew Hæthcyn. Also called
Hrefnes-holt, 2935. See above.
Hreosna-beorh, 2477, the scene of Onela and Ohthere’s marauding invasions of Geatland after the death of Hrethel.
Hrēðel (gen. weak form Hrēðlan 454, gen. Hrēðles 1485), king of the Geats; he was son of Swertiug (1203), father of Hygelac, and grandfather of Beowulf (373 £f.), to whom he left his coat of mail (454). He died of grief at the loss of his eldest son Herebeald (2435 ff.), who was accidentally shot by his own brother Hæthcyn.
Hrēðling, son of Hrethel; applied in l. 1923 to Hygelac, and in l. 2925 to Hæthcyn.
Hrēðlingas, 2960, the people of Hrethel, the Geats. See Gēatas.
Hrēð-men, 445, “triumph-men,” a name of the Danes; see Dene.
Hrēðrīc, 1189, 1836, elder son of Hrothgar.
Hring-Dene, 116, 1279, Ring-Danes; see Dene.
Hrones-næs, 2805, 3136, “Whale’s Ness.” Beowulf, in his dying speech, names this place as the site of the barrow which is to hold his ashes and perpetuate his name.
Hrōðgār, king of the Danes, second son of Healfdene. For his family see the genealogical tables on p. 140. He is one of the chief persons in the poem, the builder of the hall Heorot which Grendel ravages; thus he prepares the way for the coming of the hero. See Argument.
Hrōðmund, 1189, younger son of Hrothgar.
Hrōðulf, 1017, 1181, probably the son of Hrothgar’s younger brother Halga (q. v.). He lived at the Danish court. Wealhtheow expresses the hope that he will be good to their children in return for their kindness to him, if he survives Hrothgar (1180 ff.). It would seem that this hope was not destined to be fulfilled (1164—5).
Hrunting, 1457, 1490, 1659, 1807, the sword of Unferth (q. v.), which he lends to Beowulf for his fight with Grendel’s mother.
Hūgas, 2502, 2914, the Hugs; see Froncan.
Hūlnlāfing, 1143, the son of Hunlaf; the warrior of Finn who slew Hengest. See Finn, and the note on ll. 1142—4.
Hygd, 1926, 2172, 2369, daughter of Hæreð (1929), wife of Hygelac (q. v.), and mother of Heardred. See 1926 ff., and Hygelac.
Hygelāc (usually spelt Higelāc, 435, etc.; Hygelāc 2151, etc.; gen. Hygelāces 1530, 2386, 2943, Higelāces 194, etc.; dat. Hygelāce 2169, Higelāce 452, etc.), the reigning king of the Geats during the greater part of the action of the poem; see Argument. He is the third son of Hrethel, and uncle to Beowulf; see genealogical tables.
When his brother Hæthcyn was defeated and slain by Ongentheow at Ravenswood (2924), Hygelac came quickly in pursuit (2943) and put Ongentheow to flight (2949); but though, as the leader of the attack, he is called “Ongentheow’s banesman” (1968), the actual slayer was Eofor (q. v.), whom Hygelac rewards with the hand of his only daughter (2977 ff.). At the later time of Beowulf’s return from his expedition against Grendel, Hygelac, who is still young (1831), is married to Hygd, who is herself “very young” and has not long been queen (1926—8); she would seem then to have been his second wife.
Hygelac came by his death in his historical invasion of the Netherlands, which is four times referred to in the poem (1202 ff., 2354 ff., 2501 ff., 2914 ff.), and occurred between 512 and 520 A.D.
Ingeld, 2064, son of Froda (2025), and prince of the Heathobards. Beowulf tells Hygelac that Hrothgar’s daughter Freawaru is promised in marriage to Ingeld, and that the Danish king hopes thereby to terminate the feud between the two peoples (2024 ff.). Beowulf goes on to foretell that these hopes will prove vain (2067—9). That this was actually the case we learn from Wīdsīð 45—49:
“Hrōðwulf and Hrōðgār hēoldon lengest
Grein’s Bibliothek, I. 252.
Ingwine, 1044, 1319, “friends of Ing,” Ingævones, a name of the Danes. See Dene. Of Ing we read in the Rune-poem, 67—8 (ed. Wülcker):
“(Ing) wæs ærest mid Eastdenum
He has been identified with Sceaf and Frea.
Iofor, 2993, 2997, see Eofor.
Merewīoing (gen. Merewīoingas 2921), the Merwing or Merovingian king of the Franks.
Nægling, 2680, the name of the sword Beowulf used in his encounter with the dragon.
Norð-Dene, 783, North-Danes; see Dene.
Offa, 1949, 1957, king of the Angles (“Offa wēold Ongle,” Wīdsīð 35); son of Garmund, husband of Thrytho (q. v.), and father of Eomær.
Ōhthere (gen. Ōhteres 2380, 2394, 2612, Ōhtheres 2928 etc.), son of the Swedish king Ongentheow, and father of Eanmund and Eadgils.
Onela, 2616, 2932, brother of Ohthere, and king of Sweden at the time of the rebellion of Eanmund and Eadgils. He invades the land of the Geats, slays Heardred (2387), and then retreats before Beowulf. At a later time Beowulf avenges his late king by supporting Eadgils in an invasion of Sweden, in which Onela is slain (2391 ff.). See Ēadgils.
Oslaf, 1148, associated with Guðlaf (q. v.) in avenging Hnæf’s death. See Finn.
Sǣ-Gēatas, 1850, 1986, Sea-Geats; see Gēatas.
Scede-land (pl.), 19,=Sceden-īg (q. v.).
Sceden-īg (dat. Sceden-igge 1686; O. Norse Skāney), Scandia, the most southern portion of the Scandinavian peninsula, belonging to the Danes; here used as a name for the whole Danish kingdom.
Scēfing, 4, son of Scef or Sceaf, i.e. Scyld (q. v.).
Scyld, 4, 19, 26, son of Sceaf, and the mythical founder of the Scylding dynasty. See ll. 1—52.
Scylding (Scilding 2105), 1792, the Scylding, i.e. Hrothgar.
Scyldingas (Scyldungas 2052; gen. Scildunga 2101, Scyldunga 2159, Scyldinga 30, etc.), 58, etc., the Scyldings, descendants of Scyld (q. v.), the name of the reigning Danish dynasty, commonly extended to include the Danish people. They are also called Ār-Scyldingas, Here-Scyldingas, Sige-Scyldingas, and Þeod-Scyldingas (q. v.). See Dene.
Scylfing (Scilfing 2968), 2487, the Scylfing, i.e. Ongentheow.
Scylfingas, 2381, the Scylfings, the name of the reigning Swedish dynasty, extended to the Swedish people in the same way as “Scyldings” to the Danes. They are also called Gūð-Scylfingas, Heaðo-Scylfingas (q. v.).
If the MS. reading of l. 2603 is correct, Beowulf’s kinsman Wiglaf belongs to the family of the Scylfings as well as to that of the Wægmundings (2814). In that case the relations may be those suggested in the following table:
Scylf ┌──────┴────────┐ Wǣgmund Ongenþēow ┌────┴───┐ Ecgþēow Weohstan │ │ Bēowulf Wīglāf
Sigemund, 875, 884, son of Wæls, and father and uncle of Fitela. In our poem Sigemund slays the dragon; in the famous later versions of the Völsunga Saga and the Nibelungenlied, it is Sigemund’s son, Sigurd or Siegfried, who does the deed. See ll. 874—900, and the Völsunga Saga.
Sige-Scyldingas, 597, 2004, Victory-Scyldings, a name of the Danes; see Scyldingas.
Sūð-Dene, 463, 1996, South-Danes; see Dene.
Swēon, 2472, 2946, 2958, 3001, the Swedes, called also “Swēo-þēod,” and their country “Swīo-rīce.” They are ruled by the Scylfing dynasty. Their home was in Sweden, north of the Geats.
Swēo-þeod, 2922, = Swēon (q. v.).
Swerting, 1203. Hygelac is called “grandson (nefa) of Swerting.”
Swīo-rīce, 2383, 2495, the land of the Swedes, modern Svea Kike. See Swēon.
Þēod-Scyldingas, 1019, People-Scyldings, a name of the Danes; see Scyldingas.
Þrȳðo, 1931, wife of the Angle king Offa, and mother of Eomær, is introduced in contrast to Hygd, in much the same way as Heremod is a foil to Beowulf. She is at first the type of a cruel, unwomanly queen. But by her marriage with Offa (who seems to be her second husband) she is subdued and changed, until her fame even adds glory to his. See ll. 1931—62.
Unfertð, 499, 530, 1165, 1488 (his name is always “Hunferð” in the MS., but alliterates with vowels), son of Ecglaf, and spokesman (1165, 1456) of Hrothgar, at whose feet he sits (500, 1166). He is of a jealous disposition (503—5), and is twice spoken of as the murderer of his own brothers (587, 1167). For his “flyting” with Beowulf see ll. 506—606. He afterwards lends his sword Hrunting for Beowulf’s encounter with Grendel’s mother (1455), but it fails the hero at need (1522, 1659). Beowulf returns it to its owner (1807).
Wǣgmundingas, 2607, 2814, Wægmundings, the family to which both Beowulf and Wiglaf belong. See Scylfingas.
Wæls, 897, father of Sigemund.
Wælsing, 877, son of Wæls, i.e. Sigemund.
Wealhþēow, 612 (Wealhþēo, 664, 1162, 1215; dat. Wealhþēon 629), of the family of the Helmings (620), Hrothgar’s queen, and the mother of his children. Mention is made of her queenly hospitality to Beowulf (612, 1188, 1215).
Wederas (gen. Wedera 225 etc.; but the second scribe uses the contracted gen. Wedra everywhere but in l. 2336; see ll. 2120, 2462 etc.), = Weder-Gēatas, a name of the Geats. See Gēatas.
Weder-Gēatas, 1492, 1612, 2379, 2551; see Wederas.
Weder-mearc, 298, Wedermark, apparently a name for the land of the Weders or Weder-Geats, i.e. the Geats.
Wēland, 455 (the “Völund” of the Edda), the famous smith of Germanic legend, the maker of Beowulf’s coat of mail. (See the Franks’ casket in the British Museum, and cf. Wayland Smith’s forge in Berkshire.)
Wendlas, 348, possibly the Vandals; Wulfgar (q. v.) is a “chief of the Wendlas.”
Weohstān, 2613 (gen. Weohstānes 2862, Weoxstānes 2602, Wihstānes 2752 etc.), father of Wiglaf, and slayer of Eanmuud (q. v.).
West-Dene, 383, 1578, West-Danes; see Dene.
Wīglāf, son of Weohstan. He is a kinsman of Beowulf (2813), a Wægmunding (2814), and a “chief of the Scylfings” (2603). He was chosen with ten others (2401, 2847) to accompany Beowulf on his expedition against the dragon (2638 ff.), and he alone justified the choice. Taking shelter under Beowulf’s shield (2675), he showed the utmost valour, and was the first to wound the dragon in a vulnerable part (2694 ff.). To him alone Beowulf made his dying speech, and gave his dying bequests (2809 ff.). He upbraids the coward thanes and deprives them of their land-right (2886), and gives fitting orders for the burial of the hero, as he himself had directed (2802, 3094 ad fin.).
Wiðergyld, 2051, the name of a Heathobard warrior.
Wonrēd, 2971, father of Wulf and Eofor (q. v.).
Wonrēding, 2965, son of Wonred, i.e. Wulf (q. v.).
Wulf, 2965, 2993, son of Wonred and brother of Eofor (q. v.). In the battle between the forces of Hygelac and Ongentheow, Wulf attacks the latter and is disabled by him, but his brother Eofor comes to his aid and slays Ongentheow single-handed (2964 ff.).
Wulfgār, 348, 360, 390, a chief of the Wendlas (348); an official of Hrothgar’s court, who is the first to greet the Geats (331 ff.), and introduces them to Hrothgar.
Wylfingas (dat. Wilfingum 461, Wylfingum 471), the Wylfings. Heatholaf, who was slain by Ecgtheow, father of Beowulf, was a warrior of this tribe.
Yrmenlāf, 1324, younger brother of Æschere, whom Grendel’s mother carried off.