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Cornflake
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13 Aug 2022, 7:34 am

Ahem, part-time pedant tuning in here...
Seeing "beuwulf" and "Beauwulf" in one post is really too much. :wink:

[Wiki] It's Beowulf = Bay·uh·wulf


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kraftiekortie
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13 Aug 2022, 7:59 am

Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic. Sort of like the Iliad and the Odyssey for the Greeks. And the Eddas and Sagas of the early Nordic peoples. Almost like a justification for their existence.

Most scholars believe that Beowulf took place in the 6th century AD (CE) in an area which was near the Anglo-Saxon original homeland in Western Europe, though pretty far east of the Netherlands, but near present-day Denmark.

I’ve revised my impression that Beowulf is an ultimate epic of the Angles and the Saxons—but perhaps an epic of all those related peoples of this area from Sweden to the British Isles.

These epics sometimes seem like “origin stories” for ethnic groups. How they were able to overcome adversity to become a permanent part of the world.



Last edited by kraftiekortie on 13 Aug 2022, 10:37 am, edited 5 times in total.

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13 Aug 2022, 7:59 am

Cornflake wrote:
Ahem, part-time pedant tuning in here...
Seeing "beuwulf" and "Beauwulf" in one post is really too much. :wink:

[Wiki] It's Beowulf = Bay·uh·wulf

Ban him. :lol:

Quote:
Beauwulf himself killed many Fris in the sagas, Beauwulf's identity is confusing as he was thought to be Anglo-Saxon as he hailed from England. But then there is no reason he wasn't also a Dane living in Anglo-Saxon Britain as it was also a Danish viking saga.
He also killed monsters, including a dragon.


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13 Aug 2022, 10:03 am

cyberdad wrote:
If you read beuwulf, the Fris were also raiding the Danes. This suggests the Fris were also engaged in "viking" like activity. The scandanvians were not the only ones engaging in raids. Pirates from north Africa were involved in slaving all along the coast of Europe from Italy/Spain up to the Swedish coast. In addition to human slaves they also took booty.

Beauwulf himself killed many Fris in the sagas, Beauwulf's identity is confusing as he was thought to be Anglo-Saxon as he hailed from England. But then there is no reason he wasn't also a Dane living in Anglo-Saxon Britain as it was also a Danish viking saga.

Since it's an oral saga the original date for its creation is difficult to pinpoint. But it would be reasonable to assume it was post-Roman occupation.

Since the outgoing Romans were having trouble with the northern Picts its reasonable to assume they were already recruiting germanic peoples into their ranks to man Hadrian's wall. While the troops from the Levant, north Africa, Spain and Rome would have desired to go back to their warmer homeland. the Germanic garrisons might have accepted land grants in exchange for their service. It may well be the Anglo-Saxon land holders might have already been in Britain much earlier than 450AD and stayed on to occupy what was to become England the moment the Roman administration did their "Brexit". This alternative narrative still aligns with the venerable Bede's tales of the Anglo-Saxons who being present on the eastern coast of Britain offered an attractive alliance with the Romanised Britons against the pagan Picts who were spilling over Hadrians wall at that time.


Not sure where youre going with this.

Were talking about the age of Arthur, and the Age of Beowulf, which is the Centuries from the end of the Roman occupation of Britain (c. 400 AD) to just before the rise of the Vikings (c AD 800).

One good point youre making is that YES- the Romans were hiring Germanic mercenaries to shore up their defenses thoughout their vast empire in the late years of the Empire. And Britain was no exception. So a trickle of Germanic warrior immigrants probably started even before the Romans left - and the mercenaries had kinship ties and tribal alliances with Germanic tribes on mainland Europe- so when the Romans DID leave these migrants just waved their kif and kin in Friesland, Saxony, Juteland, over to Britain. So the Anglo-Saxon-Jute-Frisian migration into Britain was probably a longer and more drawn out phenom than one might have supposed, and that involved periods of both steady slow trickle as well moments of sudden mass migration.

At the time Rome was being overrun by barbarians the Picts in Scotland themselves got overrun by invaders- the Scotti from Ireland. By the time Britain south of Hadrians Wall had become a bunch of warring Celtic and Anglosaxon petty kingdoms the Picts were being absorbed by these Irish invaders and becoming the Scots. Which is why modern Scottish Gaelic resembles modern Irish Gaelic, and has little resemblence to the native British origin Celtic languages like Welsh, Cornish, and Breton in France.

Like Shakespeare's Hamlet Beowulf was a guy who lived in Denmark, but is a character in a story written in England. The story jumps around all over England, south Sweden, Demark, and what was then called "Friesland" (northest netherlands, and northeast Germany). At one point Beowulf becomes "king of the Geats". The Geats being a tribe in what is now Sweden who fought wars with the Swedes of that time (but who apparently later got absorbed into the Swedish nationality). Like Hercules, and like Ulyssses, he jumped all over the place. And his British Celtic counterpart: King Arthur got around alot too.

You seem to be hung up on piracy. The era when Frisians were small scale sea marauders who would even attack the Danes predated the era in which the Danes, Norwejians, and Swedes,themselves became the Vikings- and did it on much bigger and more far reaching scale. And the Viking era (circa 800 to 1100) came to an end about the same time the Barbary Pirates began to rise to infamy. These three cultures of piracy were not going on at the exact same time as you seem to think.



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13 Aug 2022, 6:31 pm

I like the stories of Robin Hood and Sherwood Forest.


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13 Aug 2022, 6:33 pm

Let's not forget Britain's finest hour when they won the war against Germany. That was very special.


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13 Aug 2022, 6:50 pm

CockneyRebel wrote:
Let's not forget Britain's finest hour when they won the war against Germany. That was very special.

Absolutely.

Not so much 'won the war', but stood up to the Nazis long enough for the US and the Soviets to join the gang and for the three together to defeat Germany.



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13 Aug 2022, 8:01 pm

Cornflake wrote:
Ahem, part-time pedant tuning in here...
Seeing "beuwulf" and "Beauwulf" in one post is really too much. :wink:

[Wiki] It's Beowulf = Bay·uh·wulf


Sorry my bad! in my brain its phonetically Bay-a-wolf



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13 Aug 2022, 8:07 pm

kraftiekortie wrote:
Beowulf is an Anglo-Saxon epic. Sort of like the Iliad and the Odyssey for the Greeks. And the Eddas and Sagas of the early Nordic peoples. Almost like a justification for their existence.

Most scholars believe that Beowulf took place in the 6th century AD (CE) in an area which was near the Anglo-Saxon original homeland in Western Europe, though pretty far east of the Netherlands, but near present-day Denmark.

I’ve revised my impression that Beowulf is an ultimate epic of the Angles and the Saxons—but perhaps an epic of all those related peoples of this area from Sweden to the British Isles.

These epics sometimes seem like “origin stories” for ethnic groups. How they were able to overcome adversity to become a permanent part of the world.


Yeah! this makes sense Kraftie. I think we are applying 21st century concepts of nation states onto peoples in 5th century AD, A good tale or saga might have been popular across all north sea peoples at the time. It was the netflix of the 5th century.

Another thing worth remembering is that the Anglo-Saxons, Fris and Danes all worshipped the same gods. We know this because we still use the religious names for our days of the week in the English language which honour Twi, Thor, Odin and Freya. This means while there was tribal warfare, the peoples across the north sea coast might have easily mingled hence an Anglo-Saxon like Beowulf could have easily walked into a Dane's village as he understood their language and respected their gods.



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13 Aug 2022, 8:16 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
Not sure where youre going with this.

Were talking about the age of Arthur, and the Age of Beowulf, which is the Centuries from the end of the Roman occupation of Britain (c. 400 AD) to just before the rise of the Vikings (c AD 800).


I'm going through all the sources of the time, many of which were oral traditions like the saga of Beowulf.

You've pointed out another good source which is the story of Arthur. Historians generally think he was a romanised figure from the time when Britain was first invaded by the 'Saxons". He and his knights were horseman so one theory is that he and his fellow knights were Sarmatian. Others think he was a romanised Celt (a more popular version).

The stories do tell of a great resistance against the Saxon hordes. Another theory posits that he was a Welsh king who remained independent and saved Wales from invasion and conquest.

An interesting this is that Beowulf, Arthur and even the brothers Hengist and Horsa all seem to have semi-mythical origins. For example the Hengist and Horsa story used by the venerable Bede is repeated in many German kingdoms as an origin story of their own peoples. They all sound suspiciously like the Roman tale of Romulus and Remus, the two brothers who founded Rome.



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13 Aug 2022, 8:19 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
so when the Romans DID leave these migrants just waved their kif and kin in Friesland, Saxony, Juteland, over to Britain. So the Anglo-Saxon-Jute-Frisian migration into Britain was probably a longer and more drawn out phenom than one might have supposed, and that involved periods of both steady slow trickle as well moments of sudden mass migration.


Yes I mentioned this was a process where population pressure, crop famine and other factors such as invaders in the east pushing the germanic peoples westwards into Britain, Spain and France. The spaces they vacated were invariably occupied by other germanic tribes.



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13 Aug 2022, 8:28 pm

naturalplastic wrote:
At the time Rome was being overrun by barbarians the Picts in Scotland themselves got overrun by invaders- the Scotti from Ireland. By the time Britain south of Hadrians Wall had become a bunch of warring Celtic and Anglosaxon petty kingdoms the Picts were being absorbed by these Irish invaders and becoming the Scots. Which is why modern Scottish Gaelic resembles modern Irish Gaelic, and has little resemblence to the native British origin Celtic languages like Welsh, Cornish, and Breton in France.


Yes this is the final piece in the puzzle, While eastern hordes forced germanic people to move to safer lands to farm and grow crops. The Scotti from Ireland were also keen to occupy the lands of the picts in modern Scotland. I think the picts were in a long drawn out battle with the Romans for some centuries. Judging from the steep walls built by the romans the picts were quite a fearsome adversary and perhaps the continued conflict began to weaken their position on their western flank facing the irish sea. When finally the picts faced the anglo-saxons I suspect the Scotti took the opportunity to invade western scotland. Between the two finally defeating the picts.

According to the venerable Bede Vortigen offered the lands of the picts as booty for Hengist. Instead Hengist preferred Vortigen's own lands leaving the north to be occupied by he Scotti. Was this an alliance between the saxons and scotti? or were the scotti just opportunists seizing an opportunity to pounce on the weakened picts?



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14 Aug 2022, 5:33 am

That could be.

This discussion reminds me of a fascinating elective course in the Anthropology Dept. I took in college -forget the title of the course, but it was something like "Archealogy meets History of Britain in the Dark Ages". The main textbook was "Arthur's Britain" - the dry science of modern archeology - and ...mysitic mythical histories of Britain in epic sagas of the time.

Anyway -the professor did draw a map of the british Isles on the chalkboard. With arrows of attack, and explained how 'on virtually the same day Roman occupied Britain was raided by Barbarian forces from Ireland, from Scotland, and from across the North Sea on the Germanic mainland, and a Roman general in Britain was killed. And he concluded that "that cant have been a coincidence. These tribes must have communicated with each and conspired.

So there may well have been a lot of communication between tribes, including between Germanic and Celtic tribes.

On the other hand Scotland has lousy farmland. So I cant blame an invader for preferring to steal the better farmland of southern England.



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14 Aug 2022, 5:47 am

naturalplastic wrote:

So there may well have been a lot of communication between tribes, including between Germanic and Celtic tribes.

On the other hand Scotland has lousy farmland. So I cant blame an invader for preferring to steal the better farmland of southern England.


Well that would explain the Anglo-Saxons choosing to take the more fertile lands in the south of Britain by force. But not sure then why the Irish Scotti were so keen on the miserable lands in northern Britain? During the potato famine the people in both Scotland and Ireland suffered suggesting an over-reliance on a single imported crop that didn't exist in 450AD. In Scotland people often relied on seaweed. Perhaps it was just living space?



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14 Aug 2022, 6:08 am

cyberdad wrote:
naturalplastic wrote:

So there may well have been a lot of communication between tribes, including between Germanic and Celtic tribes.

On the other hand Scotland has lousy farmland. So I cant blame an invader for preferring to steal the better farmland of southern England.


Well that would explain the Anglo-Saxons choosing to take the more fertile lands in the south of Britain by force. But not sure then why the Irish Scotti were so keen on the miserable lands in northern Britain? During the potato famine the people in both Scotland and Ireland suffered suggesting an over-reliance on a single imported crop that didn't exist in 450AD. In Scotland people often relied on seaweed. Perhaps it was just living space?


Living space. The Picts were probably fewer in population size...so were militarily weaker than the Irish barbarians.

Later still when the Vikings raided Britain -you think of vikings as being Hell's Angels in boats- but the Danes were Hells Angels with some executive skills. So the Danes actually conquered and ruled and big swath of England for a long time - the region called "the Danelaw". The Norwejian Vikings invaded Scotland but never ruled the place. In fact they were quite timid invaders after they got through pillaging you, because farmland in Norway is even worse than that of Scotland. So the Norwejian Vikings happily took any land not taken in Scotland, and gradually and quietly they trickled down into northern England as well -happily taking any land the natives ignored. Norway is one big naked boulder in the ocean because the soil got scrapped away by the ice age glaciers, but Denmark is nice flat Diaryland. So the Danes were more picky about real estate.

But between the two Norse groups they both impacted the evolution of the English language by causing a hybridization of the two branches of the Germanic language families: the continental Germanic of Frisians and Anglosaxons with the similar but distinct languages of the Norse. Which is why have these similar but different redundant words for things ...like you can rear a child, OR you can raise a child...skirt and shirt, etc.



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14 Aug 2022, 7:04 am

naturalplastic wrote:
The Norwejian Vikings invaded Scotland but never ruled the place. In fact they were quite timid invaders after they got through pillaging you, because farmland in Norway is even worse than that of Scotland. So the Norwejian Vikings happily took any land not taken in Scotland, and gradually and quietly they trickled down into northern England as well -happily taking any land the natives ignored. Norway is one big naked boulder in the ocean because the soil got scrapped away by the ice age glaciers, but Denmark is nice flat Diaryland. So the Danes were more picky about real estate.


Yes the Norwegians also took iceland and greenland. They must have been terrific farmers to have grown crops there, but of course there's lots of nutritious volcanic soil there and plenty of water.

So the Scotti must have been a hardy bunch to plough the rocky soils of Scotland? I can see why the picts never amounted to a substantial population there either. Probably explains why so many irish and scots migrated to England.