Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Beowulf and the Battle of the Ice of Lake Vänern

The Battle of the Ice of Lake Vänern

Beowulf was a legendary Geatish hero, who had a Norse epic poem named after, he participated in this battle, which was not only referred to in the poem, but also in the Norse Sagas. The battle was the result of Eanmund and Eadgils, fleeing to Geatland to seek refuge after their father King Ohthere had died and his brother Onela had seized the Swedish throne. Ohthere is thought to have  been the first historical King of Sweden. As, Ohthere's sons had fled to Geatland, Onela attacked the Geats. Beowulf, decided to help Eadgils gain the Swedish throne after the Geatish King Heardred was killed. Originally, Beowulf had been offered kingship over Geatland by Queen Hygd, after King Higlac's death, but he had declined in favour of Heardred. However, now Heardred was dead Beowulf was named King. During the battle, Onela was killed and therefore Eadgils became King of Sweden.

                                                      The first folio of the poem Beowulf
The battle is most likely a historical event, as it is not only mentioned by the 3,000 line long poem, but it is also mentioned in several other Scandinavian sources, such as those of Snorri Sturluson. Beowulf itself is the longest poem in Old English.  During the battle, the combatants have been described as being mounted, however later Anglo-Saxon and Viking told that the legend was fought on foot. Finally, Beowulf is said to have ruled the Geats for 51 years in total.

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