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The Origins of Beowulf: and the Pre-Viking Kingdom of East Anglia Paperback – Apr 1 2004
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Cogent and fascinating attempt to place the composition of Beowulf in an eighth-century East Anglian context, through a careful survey of an impressive array of supporting palaeographical, genealogical, archaeological, and literary-historical evidence... An important book, and deserves serious attention... Dr Newton has now shifted the burden of proof onto those who would detract from his thesis. In such a deeply-entrenched field as modern Beowulf-studies, this is of itself a considerable achievement. ANDREW ORCHARD, DEPT OF ANGLO-SAXON, UNIVERSITY OF CAMBRIDGEA useful survey of work on the manuscript, language, metrics, archaeology (Especially East Anglian ship burials), and, in particular, the connections of Anglo-Saxon royal genealogies with named figures in the poem... an informed and well-balanced study of the state of the argument. EARLY MEDIEVAL EUROPEA thoroughly plausible scenario for the poet's interest in affairs long ago and far away. TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT (Tom Shippey)This up-to-date and shrewd book must be regarded as a major contribution in its field. ANTIQUARIES JOURNAL (Rupert Bruce-Mitford) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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One has no trouble imagining that the description of Beowulf and his Geats in Beowulf is pretty much what had been going for the better part of the millennium before about 500 CE. In Beowulf they returned to Götland, but the conclusion is inescapable that at other times similar groups likely left southern Sweden bound for Zealand and then went east and became Goths, or any one of the other east Germanic tribes; or went west and became Jutes,Frisians and Danes; or went south and became Saxons, Franks or any one of the other west Germanic tribes. It also lends support to impression that in the late Iron Age, the terms "Denmark" and "Danes" likely described all of the land and all of the people in southern Sweden, Norway, Jutland and the islands of Fyn and Zealand (Sjelland). If you read this, keep in mind that distance across the Oresund between southwest Sweden and Zealand in Denmark is less than two miles at Heslinger (Elsinore)-Helsingborg and about 5 miles between Malmo and Copenhagen. It has been demonstrated that the locals had been able to build paddle powered boats capable of making this journey, and big enough to carry a war-party of at least 20, since at least the middle of the Iron Age.
The Sutton Hoo burial does suggest that the same kind of people were living in East Anglia, Denmark, southern Norway and Sweden, south of Norrköping, in the Vendel era.
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