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There were four cameos from the Middle East which were probably part of a casket.This would have been a burial fitting a king who was famous for his wealth in Old Norse sources. The protagonist Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, whose great hall, Heorot, is plagued by the monster Grendel.The poem deals with legends, was composed for entertainment, and does not separate between fictional elements and historic events, such as the raid by King Hygelac into Frisia.Though Beowulf himself is not mentioned in any other Anglo-Saxon manuscript, This concerns not only individuals (e.g., Healfdene, Hroðgar, Halga, Hroðulf, Eadgils and Ohthere), but also clans (e.g., Scyldings, Scylfings and Wulfings) and certain events (e.g., the Battle on the Ice of Lake Vänern). In Denmark, recent archaeological excavations at Lejre, where Scandinavian tradition located the seat of the Scyldings, i.e., Heorot, have revealed that a hall was built in the mid-6th century, exactly the time period of Beowulf.The dating of the events in the epic poem has been confirmed by archaeological excavations of the barrows in Uppland, Sweden, indicated by Snorri Sturluson and by Swedish tradition as the graves of Ohthere (dated to c. Like the Finnesburg Fragment and several shorter surviving poems, Beowulf has consequently been used as a source of information about Scandinavian figures such as Eadgils and Hygelac, and about continental Germanic figures such as Offa, king of the continental Angles.19th-century archaeological evidence may confirm elements of the Beowulf story.Beowulf kills Grendel with his bare hands and Grendel's mother with a giant's sword that he found in her lair.Later in his life, Beowulf becomes king of the Geats, and finds his realm terrorized by a dragon, some of whose treasure had been stolen from his hoard in a burial mound.
The poem also begins in medias res or simply, "in the middle of things," which is a characteristic of the epics of antiquity.Beowulf finally slays the dragon, but is mortally wounded in the struggle.He is cremated and a burial mound by the sea is erected in his honour.The warriors form a kind of brotherhood linked by loyalty to their lord.
What is unique about "Beowulf" is that the poem actual begins and ends with a funeral.In it, he, his wife Wealhtheow, and his warriors spend their time singing and celebrating.