Things Which I Do Not Know: Tri

Beowulf_challenged_by_the_coastguard_by_E_Paul

There is an odd correlation in the Early Middle Ages which I have been waiting for years to hear.

The date I learned for King Arthur was 500 to 550 AD. Close dating in the Middle Ages is fantasy. Shortly after the exodus of the Roman Legions and about the time Angles and Saxons were arriving from what is today Denmark.

Beowulf is dated to the early 500’s by reference to historical persons in the poem. 521 AD is an important estimate.

Vortigern was the name of the British war leader who invited in the Angles and Saxons from the Jutland Peninsula to help fight off the Scots and Picts. This is where they got their legitimacy for being in Britain.

Vortigern was the reported name of a predecessor of Arthur whence he derived his authority.

Beowulf was not the hero’s name. Beowulf was a kenning for bear: The Wolf of Bees. Like referring to the sea as the whales’ road or Washington as the graveyard of innocence.

Arthur was not the King’s name. He was referred as such by Latin writing monks. Arthur is derived from the Latin for bear. Or perhaps Brythonic.

Both are associated with dragons. The red and green dragons of Arthur and the Dragon which Beowulf killed.

Arthur had a named sword. Obviously. Beowulf had a named sword: Hrunting.

They both stared out as youths and later became Kings.

These correlations impress me, but I have never read them. Perhaps this is saved for higher level classes. But I wonder. It is odd that the English have two heros without names from the same time.

Who are ours?

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