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) is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3182 alliterative lines.It may be the oldest surviving long poem in Old English and is commonly cited as one of the most important works of Old English literature.A date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars; the only certain dating pertains to the manuscript, which was produced between 9. Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall in Heorot has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel.

Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland (Götaland in modern Sweden) and later becomes king of the Geats.

After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is fatally wounded in the battle.

After his death, his attendants cremate his body and erect a tower on a headland in his memory.

The full poem survives in the manuscript known as the Nowell Codex, located in the British Library.

It has no title in the original manuscript, but has become known by the name of the story's protagonist.

The events in the poem take place in the late fifth century after the Anglo-Saxons had started their journey to England and before the beginning of the seventh century, a time when the Anglo-Saxons were either newly arrived or were still in close contact with their Germanic kinsmen in Northern Germany.The poem may have been brought to England by people of Geatish origins.It has been suggested that Beowulf was first composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham in East Anglia, as the Sutton Hoo ship-burial also shows close connections with Scandinavia, and also that the East Anglian royal dynasty, the Wuffingas, may have been descendants of the Geatish Wulfings.The poem deals with legends, was composed for entertainment, and does not separate between fictional elements and real historic events, such as the raid by King Hygelac into Frisia.Scholars generally agree that many of the personalities of Beowulf also appear in Scandinavian sources (specific works designated in the following section).This does not only concern people (e.g., Healfdene, Hroðgar, Halga, Hroðulf, Eadgils and Ohthere), but also clans (e.g., Scyldings, Scylfings and Wulfings) and some of the 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.