Beowulf

Article

May 19, 2022

Beowulf is a monument of the ancient Anglo-Saxon heroic epic, its most famous example (of the surviving ones). It is the oldest of all the national epic poems of medieval Europe. The monument has come down to us in a manuscript in the Old English language of the early 10th century, which almost burned down during a fire in the XVIII century (now this copy is in the British Museum in London). In the eighth century, the author told a version of events that could have taken place in the sixth century, and his followers continued to retell it until someone in the tenth century wrote it down. tonic poem, typically Old German. The hero of the poem is a warrior from the Heat tribe (a Germanic tribe from the south of Sweden) named Beowulf. This name literally translates as "bee wolf" (ie it is a metaphor (kenning) for a bear - that's why the hero prefers hand-to-hand combat; like a bear, he strangles the enemy in his arms). youth defeats the insurance Grendel (descendant of Cain) and frees Denmark from this bad. And in the second, the elderly King Beowulf, who ruled the Gauts for 50 years, kills a dragon that threatens his country, but dies of his wounds.

History of the work

The monument was recorded in the X-XI centuries. After the Norman invasion, it was forgotten until the 16th century, when in 1563 the English antiquarian Lawrence Knowell signed the manuscript in his own name. The Nowell Codex (sometimes called the manuscript) was later included in the library of the collector Sir Robert Cotton (1571-1631); the current coding of the manuscript (British Library, Cotton Vitellius A.XV) is taken from the classification of the Cotton Library, where books were kept on shelves next to busts of Roman emperors. In 1731, while Cotton's collection was housed at Ashburngham House in Westminster, awaiting transfer to the future British Museum, a fire damaged and destroyed thousands of volumes and nearly engulfed the Beowulf manuscript. Although the manuscript was included in Humphrey Vanley's catalog in 1705, scholars did not value the contents of this charred charred manuscript until the end of the 18th century. In 1787, a scribe commissioned by the Icelandic philologist Grimur Torkelin made a copy of