Showing posts with label Beowulf. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Beowulf. Show all posts

08 July 2013

'Béowulf'; the poem (part I thru VII)


Late-Proto-Germania, c. 400 AD. South-Scandinavia,
extreme northern (modern-day) Germany & the
northwestern Netherlands. Actually, far-southern
(today's) Sweden (Scania or Skåne) should be purple,
as it was here Danish tribes originated. Until the late
Middle-Ages, this area was also known as Östdanmark
or East-Denmark. K. Doig
(mapsource: Wikipedia)
Published, edited, formatted, images added by & comments/annotations (in red) by Kenneth S. Doig
I þurh VII (I thru VII) 

Hwæt, wē Gār-Dena      in gēardagum,
þēodcyninga      þrym gefrūnon,
hū ðā æþelingas      ellen fremedon !
     Oft Scyld Scēfing      sceaþena þrēatum,
5monegum mǣgþum      meodosetla oftēah,
egsode eorl[as],      syððan ǣrest wearð
fēasceaft funden;      hē þæs frōfre gebād,
wēox under wolcnum      weorðmyndum þāh,
oð þæt him ǣghwylc      ymbsittendra
10ofer hronrāde      hȳran scolde,
gomban gyldan;      þæt wæs gōd cyning!
Ðǣm eafera wæs      æfter cenned

09 January 2013

"The Black-Sea Origins of the English" Part II

Published, formatted, edited (not yet completed), fact-checked (not yet completed) & annotated (in red - not yet completed) by Kenneth S. Doig 

The Engle or Anglii (Latin) – Angles

The Engle lived in southern Jutland and worshiped the Nerthus (Niörðr in Old-WestNorse, *Nerþuz in PGmc) or Earth Mother. Their land was called Angeln. They were known for their ability to fish (where angling comes from.) And one can see how the Angles and Saxons fed off each other. Universal Map 30293 119 Roman Empire and Germanic Migrations - C. 400CE (Google Affiliate Ad)

The Angles providing fish and boats, the Saxons keeping the region safe to the south. They practiced sacrifice of animals which were often thrown into bogs. 

Unfortunately for their owners the expensive horse tack etc often went too! They, like the Saxons, worshiped Woden.

29 September 2011




Verse Indeterminate Saxon (from Sacred Texts)
Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum, þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon. Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,

25 September 2011


Sacred Texts 


Verse Indeterminate Saxon
Hwæt! We Gardena in geardagum, þeodcyninga, þrym gefrunon, hu ða æþelingas ellen fremedon. Oft Scyld Scefing sceaþena þreatum,
monegum mægþum, meodosetla ofteah, egsode eorlas. Syððan ærest wearð feasceaft funden, he þæs frofre gebad, weox under wolcnum, weorðmyndum þah, oðþæt him æghwylc þara ymbsittendra

23 August 2011



 Beowulf (c. AD 700-1000) is a heroic epic
 poem. At 3,183 lines, it is notable for its length. 
The work has risen to such prominence that it
 is sometimes called "England's national epic." 

Part history and part mythology, the saga is set in the late 5th century and during the 6th century after the Anglo-Saxons had begun their migration and settlement in England, and before it had ended, a time when the Anglo-Saxons were either newly arrived or in close contact with their Germanic kinsmen in Scandinavia and northern Germany.

 The poem could have been transmitted in England by people of Geatish origins, and it may not be a coincidence that whereas Beowulf is the most well-known Anglo-Saxon work left to posterity, the most well-known Anglo-Saxon archaeological find, Sutton Hoo, also showed close connections with Scandinavia.

 It has consequently been suggested that Beowulf was first composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham in East Anglia, and that the East Anglian royal dynasty, the Wuffings, were descendants of the Geatish Wulfings.

For many winters, the court of the Danish king, Hrothgar has been terrorized by a fearsome monster called Grendel, who comes at nightfall to devour men in their sleep. Beowulf slays the monster and is fêted as a hero - but joy turns to horror when Grendel's mother arrives to avenge the killing of her son.

Some see this story as a reflection of the constant cycle of warfare during turbulent times, when alliances were as quickly broken as forged,

18 August 2011


The tribes mentioned in the poem
Add caption

Beowulf (c. AD 700-1000) is a heroic epic poem. At 3,183 lines, it is notable for its length. The work has risen to such prominence that it is sometimes called "England's national epic."

08 May 2011

Etymology of the Name "Bēowulf"

Where Beowulf takes place, in Denmark
(Jutes) & Sweden (Geats)
Förord (Foreword)

By Kenneth S. Doig

This piece below is from An Anglo-Saxon Grammar by C. Alphonso Smith (1896)
 I always thought the name Beowulf was a compound of beo+wulf, bee-wolf, meaing bear.(compare to the slavic word for bear medved, med is cognate to mead (=honey & mead in PIE) & ved  is cognate to eat, honey-eater) It was common practice among the Indo-Europeans (& other peoples) not to use the actual name or word, for "taboo-words", as in certain feared or revered animals, objects, deities, etc. Examples, the ancient Gmc peoples called the animal the bear-  the brown [one] "bear" from which all modern and ancient germanic derive their word for "bear" languages, examples; OE, bera, mod-HGerm. 'bär', Dutch, bruin, ON biörn, Icel., Sw. björn, Da.& Nor. bjørn. Also found in toponymns & names & surnames, as in Bernsen, Bernard, etc. From PGmc *brūn-, 'brown' & we see different forms, some beginning with br- or bV ('V'=vowel) due to metathesis,[also in Scand. we see breaking{1}] or switching the order of letter (sounds) within a word, e.g. 'frost' vs. Dutch 'vorst', OE 'iernnan' from 'rinnan' (run/flow) and our modern word burn (which plays the dual role of transitive & intransitive verb, a transitive verb is a verb that requires both a direct subject and one or more objects. The term is used to contrast intransitive verbs, which do not have objects.) from Proto-Gmc *brinnana- and it's transitive form, *branjan, compare Sw. brinna (intrans) and i-umlauted form bränna (trans) These metaphoric names are called "kennings" in Gmc. Presumably the original PIE word *arkt- is represented by Latin 'ursus', Greek, 'arktos' & the Celtic name 'Arthur'.
          The article written above, except where so-indicated, was written by Kenneth S. Doig (from memory)  05-08-11


North-Germanic Vowel-Breaking/Fracture (websource Wikipedia)
Proto-Germanic stressed short e becomes ja or (before u) regularly in Old Norse except after w, r, l. Examples are:
  • PG *ek(a) "I" → (east) ON jak, Swedish jag, Danish and Norwegian Bokmål jeg  (but Jutlandic æ, a, Icelandic ekég, Nynorsk eg)
  • Faroese has both. The standard form is eg, while the dialects of Suðuroy have jeg.
  • PG *hertōn "heart" → ON hjarta, Swedish hjärta, Faroese hjarta, Danish hjerte
  • PG *erþō "earth" → Proto-Norse *erþū → ON jǫrð, Swedish, Danish jord, Faroese jørð
  • (This also occured in most Old-English dialects, heorte, heart, we have orthographically kept the breaking 'ea' but our pronunciation is monosyllabic. So, in OE we had breaking and in mod-English we seem to have unbreaking. Other OE forms with breaking, healpan, to help, feallan, to fall. K. S. Doig)]
Published, scanned and formatted by Kenneth S. Doig

From--An Anglo-Saxon Grammar (1896)
Author C. Alphonso Smith

NOTE 1.—Many different interpretations have been put upon the story of Beowulf (for argument of story, see texts). Thus Müllenhoff sees in Grendel the giant-god of the storm-tossed equinoctial sea, while Beowulf is the Scandinavian god Freyr, who in the spring drives back the sea and restores the land. Laistner finds the prototype of Grendel in the noxious exhalations that rise from the Frisian coast-marshes during the summer months; Beowulf is the wind-hero, the autumnal storm-god, who dissipates the effluvia.
 [Footnote 1: This does not, of course, include the fewshort poemsin the Chronicle, or that portion ofGenesis (Genesis B) supposed to have been put directly into West Saxon from an Old Saxon original. There still remain in Northumbrian the version of Cædmon’s Hymn, fragments of the Ruthwell Cross, Bede’s Death-Song, and the Leiden Riddle.]

[Footnote 2: The word bēowulf, says Grimm, meant originally bee-wolf, or bee-enemy, one of the names of the woodpecker. Sweet thinksthe bearwas meant. But the word is almost certainly a compound of Bēow (cf. O.E. #bēow# = grain), a Danish demigod, and wulf used as a mere suffix.]

 Copyright, 1896, by
  J. S. Cushing & Co.—Berwick & Smith
  Norwood Mass. U.S.A.

23 April 2011



From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Edited & posted by Kenneth S. Doig

Hermóðr rides to Hel on Sleipnir. He meets Hel and Baldr. From the 18th century Icelandic manuscript NKS 1867 4to.

30 January 2011

The Ingvaeones-Ing`s Folk

Sunday, October 15, 2006
The Ingvaeones-Ing`s Folk

In Tacitus` Germania 2.2 it says

"In ancient lays, their only type of historical tradition, they celebrate Tuisto, a god brought forth from the earth. They attribute to him a son, Mannus, the source and founder of their people, and to Mannus three sons, from whose names those nearest the Ocean are called Ingvaeones, those in the middle Herminones, and the rest Istvaeones."

The Roman historian Tacitus writing in 97CE categorised the Germanic peoples in to three distinct groups. For the time being we are going to focus on just one of these groups-the Ingvaeones.
So who were the Ingvaeones?
According to Pliny the Ingvaeones included the Cimbri, Teutones and the Chauci, all of which were coastal tribes.
These tribes occupied the Danish and north German coastal areas and it is from this area that the Germanic tribes of the Angles and Jutes joined with the Saxons, Frisians and Franks in their invasion and colonisation of southern Britain, the direct ancestors of the modern English.
John Grigsby in his ground-breaking work, `Beowulf and Grendel` states that "these tribes had been settled in Denmark and northern Germany for at least 2,000 years before Tacitus mentioned them by name." [Chapter 1-`Clans of the Sea Coasts`] .
This would mean that the ancestors of the English had a common cultural and genetic heritage with the Danes.
It is in this area of Old Angeln[Old England] that the poet of the Anglo-Saxon classic `Beowulf` sites the hall of Heorot, the scene of the climatic action between Beowulf and the `monster` Grendel.
The Beowulf poet refers to the `Ingwine` or `friends of Ing`. Hrothgar, the lord of Heorot is referred to as `Lord of the Ingwine`.
Could this mean that the Ingvaeones were descended from the god Ing? Was Ing originally their primary deity? If so then why was he later eclipsed by Woden?

"Ing waes aerest mid Eastdenum
gesewen secgun, oth he siddan est
ofer waeg gewat; waen aefter ran;
thus heardingas thone haele nemdun."

"Ing was amongst the East-Danes first
seen by men, till later east
he went over the wave; his wain followed after;
the Heardings named the hero so."

[Louis J Rodrigues translation from "Anglo-Saxon Verse Runes"]

The rune Ing or Inguz is the 22nd rune of the 3rd aett or the Tyr aett of the Common Germanic Futharc or the Anglo-Saxon Futhorc and represents the god Ing. It is aso associated with the god Frejr and is symbolic of fertility.
Indeed it has been argued that Ing is a manifestation of the
Vanir god of fertility Freyr. Freyr and his sister-wife Freyja are children of the coastal god Njorthr and Nerthus, also a brother-sister fertility pairing.
Ing is associated with the Swedish Yngvi-Freyr which is the name that Snorri gives to the god Frejr in his Ynglinga Saga. The Swedish Yngling kings counted him as their ancestor and founder of the Yngling dynasty.
According to Rudolf Simek Ing`s association with the Gothic name of the yew-rune enguz points to the great age of the god Ing.
Simek states in his "Dictionary of Northern Mythology" "Yngvi could as a result be a derivation from *Ingwia-fraujaz `lord of the Ingaevones` whereby a great age for the construction Yngvi-Freyr must be assumed".
Mr Grigsby argues in `Beowulf and Grendel` that Beowulf was more than just a folk tale but was also based in history and in myth. Whilst there is no direct evidence to support the existence of an historical Beowulf he argues that the story of his killing of Grendel and his mother represents the acting out of an ancient Vanic fertility rite and mystery in the same way the Grail myth is a Celtic representation of this same ancient northern rite.[See his `Warriors of the Wasteland`.]
At the time of the written composition of the Beowulf poem the cult of Odin/Woden/Wotan and the Aesir pantheon had already supplanted the older Vanir gods but the Vanir held out longest in northern Germany and Denmark because of their relative isolation from their more southern Germanic cousins. Being a coastal community the Ingvaeones had a deeper and longer held connection to the Vanir, being gods of the sea and fertility.
Again as before in his earlier work[`Warriors of the Wasteland] he draws a direct connection between the Danish bog sacrifices and the ancient re-enactment of the sacrificial rites of the Old Europeans.
The story of Beowulf`s struggle with Grendel and his mother represents the struggle between the Aesir and the Vanir which is referred to in Snorri`s `Younger Edda` or `Prose Edda` and the Ynglinga Saga.
The worship of the fertility goddess Nerthus singled out these English tribes as being different from their Germanic neighbours.
Tacitus says this of Nerthus:
"There is nothing noteworthy about them individually[ie the Ingvaeones], except that collectively they worship Nerthus, or Mother Earth, and believe that she takes part in human affairs and rides among the peoples.
On an island in the Ocean is a holy grove, and in it a consecrated wagon covered with hangings; to one priest alone is it permitted so much as to touch it. He perceives when the goddess is present in her innermost recess, and with great reverence escorts her as she is drawn along by heifers. Then there are days of rejoicing, and holidays are held wherever she deigns to go and be entertained.
They do not begin wars, they do not take up arms; everything iron is shut away; peace and tranquillity are only then known and only then loved, until again the priest restores to her temple the goddess, sated with the company of mortals.
Then the wagon and hangings, if you will, the goddess herself are washed clean in a hidden lake. Slaves perform this service, and the lake at once engulfs them: there is as a result a mysterious fear and a sacred ignorance about something seen only by those doomed to die.
[Germania, 40.2-40.4]
Posted by Wotans Krieger at 10/15/2006 05:08:00 PM

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