's "Det svenska rikets uppkomst" (1925) (in Swedish). For presentations of the archaeological findings, see e.g. Elisabeth Klingmark's "Gamla Uppsala, Svenska kulturminnen 59", Riksantikvarieämbetet (in Swedish), or [ this English language presentation by the Swedish National Heritage Board] ] .

A Danish king Hroðgar appears in the Anglo-Saxon epics "Beowulf" and "Widsith", and also in Norse sagas, Norse poems, and medieval Danish chronicles. In both Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian tradition, Hroðgar is a Scylding, the son of Healfdene, the brother of Halga, and the uncle of Hroðulf. Moreover, in both traditions, the mentioned characters were the contemporaries of the Swedish king Eadgils; and both traditions also mention a feud with men named Froda and Ingeld. The consensus view is that Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian traditions describe the same people [ [ Shippey, T. A.: Wicked Queens and Cousin Strategies in Beowulf and Elsewhere, Notes and Bibliography. In The Heroic Age Issue 5 Summer 2001.] ] .


"Hroðgar", "Healfdene", and other names used above are Anglo-Saxon forms. In non-Anglo-Saxon sources, the names of all these characters appear in more or less corresponding Old Icelandic, Old Danish, or Latinized versions. Hroðgar's name would in Proto-Norse have been *"Hrōþigaizaz" [ [ Lexikon över urnnordiska personnamn] PDF] (famous spear). It should be noted, however, that the corresponding Old Norse name "Hróarr" and its variations are not derived from *"Hrōþigaizaz", but from the very close names *"Hrōþiwarjaz" (famous defender) or *"Hrōþiharjaz" (famous warrior). However, these two names which resulted in "Hróarr" in Scandinavia, did not have any corresponding Anglo-Saxon form, and so "Hroðgar" was their closest equivalent [ [ Peterson, Lena: "Lexikon över urnordiska personnamn", PDF] ] .

Anglo-Saxon poems

Hroðgar appears in two Anglo-saxon poems, "Beowulf" and "Widsith". "Beowulf" gives the fuller account of Hroðgar and how the Geatish hero Beowulf visited him to free his people of the trollish creature Grendel. "Widsith" only mentions Hroðgar, Heorot, his nephew Hroðulf and their enemy Ingeld, but can complete "Beowulf" in some cases where "Beowulf" does not give enough information. This is notably the case concerning the ending of his feud with Ingeld.


In the epic poem "Beowulf", Hroðgar is mentioned as the builder of the great hall Heorot, and ruler of Denmark when the Geatish hero Beowulf arrives to defeat the monster Grendel.

When Hroðgar is first introduced [lines 59-63] in "Beowulf", it is explained that he was the second of four children of King Healfdene: he had an older brother, Heorogar, who was king before him; a younger brother Halga; and a sister, who was married to the king of Sweden. The sister is not named in the manuscript and most scholars agree this is a scribal error [The manuscript (Cotton Vitellius A. xv, the Nowell Codex) reads "hyrde ic þ elan cwen". "hyrde ic" means "I have heard". "þ" is an abbreviation for the word "þæt", "that." "elan" is meaningless. "cwen" means "queen." There is no gap in the manuscript between "þ" and "elan", but clearly there is information missing: the name of the sister; a verb, almost certainly the word "wæs", "was"; and the name of the man whose queen she was; it seems certain that the scribe missed a few words, and "elan" is a fragment of the possessive form of a man's name ending in "-ela". The "Beowulf" manuscript was copied down by two different scribes (Scribe B took over midway through line 1939); this passage was copied down by Scribe A, who was somewhat more error-prone than Scribe B.] , but suggested names are Signy and Yrsa [In Norse tradition, Hroðgar's sister's name was Signý, but she was married to Sævil, a mere Danish earl (see the sections on the "Skjöldunga saga" and the "Hrólfr Kraki's saga"). Friderich Kluge (1896) accordingly suggested that the line be restored as "hyrde ic þ [Sigeneow wæs Sæw] elan cwen", rendering the Norse names in Old English forms. However, the only certain Swedish (Scylfing) royal name ending in -ela that has come down to us is Onela, and according to the rules of alliteration this means that the queen's name must have begun with a vowel. Sophus Bugge consequently identified her with the Swedish queen "Yrsa" ("Sidelights on Teutonic History During the Migration Period", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1911; pp. 82 ff). He thus suggested the line should be emended to read "hyrde ic þ [æt Ȳrse wæs On] elan cwen". Most 20th century translators followed this suggestion. However, in Norse tradition, Yrsa was the daughter and lover/rapee of Hroðgar's younger brother Halga, and the mother of Halga's son Hroðulf, and most modern translators simply leave the line as it is.] .

The poem further tells that Hroðgar was "given victory in war" and so his kinsmen eagerly followed him [lines 64-67] . He is both honest and generous: "He broke no oaths, dealt out rings, treasures at his table" [lines 80-81] . When Beowulf leads his men to Denmark, he speaks of Hroðgar to both a coast-guard and to Hroðgar's herald: he calls Hroðgar a "famed king", "famed warrior", and "protector of the Scyldings" (the ruling clan), and describes him as "old and good." The poet emphasizes that the Danes "did not find fault" with Hroðgar, "for that was a good King" [lines 862-863] . When Beowulf defeats Grendel, Hroðgar rewards Beowulf and his men with great treasures, showing his gratitude and open-handedness [lines 1020-1062] . The poet says that Hroðgar is so generous that "no man could fault him, who wished to speak the truth."

Hroðgar was married to a woman named Wealhþeow, who was a Helming [line 612] , probably defining her as a relative of Helm, the ruler of the Wulfings [See "Widsith", 21.] . When Hroðgar welcomes Beowulf [lines 456-490.] , he recalls his friendship with Beowulf's family. He met Beowulf's father Ecgþeow "when I first ruled the Danes" after the death of Heorogar; he laments Heorogar's fall ("He was better than I!") and recalls how he settled Ecgþeow's blood feud with the Wulfings. Hroðgar thanks God for Beowulf's arrival and victory over Grendel, and swears to love Beowulf like a son [lines 925-956] .

The poem introduces Hroðulf [lines 1011-1017] (Hrólfr Kraki in Scandinavian sources) as Hroðgar's supporter and right-hand man; and we learn that Hroðulf is Hroðgar's nephew and that "each was true to the other" [lines 1162-1165] . The common piece of information that Hroðgar's younger brother Halga is Hroðulf's father comes from Scandinavian sources (see below), where Halga was unaware that Yrsa was his own daughter and either raped or seduced her. Yrsa herself was tragically also the result of Halga raping a woman.

Wealhþeow has borne Hroðgar two sons, Hreðric and Hroðmund, and Hroðulf is to be regent if Hroðgar dies before his sons are grown [lines 1168-1191] . (Since Hroðgar is an old man at this time--he tells Beowulf he has been king for "fifty winters" [line 1769] --and Wealhþeow's two sons are not yet grown, it seems likely that Wealhþeow is much younger than Hroðgar, and may not be his first wife.)

Hroðgar is plunged into gloom and near-despair after Grendel's mother attacks the hall and kills Hroðgar's best friend and closest advisor [lines 1321-1323] ; but when Beowulf advises him not to despair, and that "it is better to avenge our friends than to mourn overmuch", Hroðgar leaps to his feet and thanks God for Beowulf's wise words, and leads the Danes and Geats out to attack the small lake (mere) where Grendel's mother lives.

After Beowulf defeats Grendel's mother, Hroðgar rewards him again, and then preaches a sermon in which he warns Beowulf to beware of arrogance and forgetfulness of God [lines 1698-1784] .

Beowulf takes his leave of Hroðgar to return home, and Hroðgar embraces him and weeps that they will not meet again (because Hroðgar is a very old man) [lines 1870-1880] . This is Hroðgar's last appearance in the poem.

When Beowulf reports on his adventure to his lord Hygelac, he mentions that Hroðgar also had a daughter, Freawaru [lines 2000-2069] ; it is not clear whether Freawaru was also the daughter of Wealhþeow or was born of an earlier marriage. Since the Danes were in conflict with the Heaðobards, whose king Froda had been killed in a war with the Danes, Hroðgar sent Freawaru to marry Froda's son Ingeld, in an unsuccessful attempt to end the feud [lines 2027-2028] .

Beowulf predicts to Hygelac that Ingeld will turn against his father-in-law Hroðgar [lines 2067-2069] . Earlier in the poem, the poet tells us that the hall Heorot was eventually destroyed by fire [lines 80-85] , see quote (Gummere's translation [" [ Modern English translation] " by Francis Barton Gummere] ):

It is tempting to interpret the new war with Ingeld as leading to the burning of the hall of Heorot, but the poem separates the two events (by a "ne wæs hit lenge þā" meaning "nor far way was that day when", in Gummere's translation). According to "Widsith" (see below), Hroðgar and Hroðulf defeat Ingeld, and if Scandinavian tradition (see the more detailed discussion below) is to be trusted Hroðgar himself is killed by a relative [The "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" and the "Skjöldunga saga".] , or by the king of Sweden [In the "Gesta Danorum"] , but he is avenged by his younger brother Halga. Halga dies in a Viking expedition; Hroðulf succeeds him and rises in fame, and according to Hroðulf's own saga [I.e. "Hrólfr Kraki's saga"] and other sources [The "Chronicon Lethrense"/"Annales Lundenses", "Gesta Danorum" and the "Skjöldunga saga"] , Hroðulf's cousin and/or brother-in-law Heoroweard slays Hroðulf (is this the event referred to as the burning of Heorot?). Heoroweard himself dies in that battle, and according to two sources [The "Chronicon Lethrense"/"Annales Lundenses" and the "Gesta Danorum"] , this happens only a few hours later, as an act of vengeance by a man loyal to Hroðulf, called Wigg. This is the kin-slaying end of the Scylding dynasty.


Whereas "Beowulf" never dwells on the outcome of the battle with Ingeld, the possibly older poem "Widsith" refers to Hroðgar and Hroðulf defeating Ingeld at Heorot:

This piece suggests that the conflict between the Scyldings Hroðgar and Hroðulf on one side, and the Heaðobards Froda and Ingeld on the other, was well-known in Anglo-Saxon England. This conflict also appears in Scandinavian sources, but in the Norse tradition the Heaðobards had apparently been forgotten and the conflict is instead rendered as a family feud (see "Gesta Danorum", "Hrólf Kraki's saga" and "Skjöldunga saga", below, for more information). The Norse sources also deal with the defeat of Ingeld and/or Froda.

candinavian sources

krakiIn the Scandinavian sources, consisting of Norse sagas, Icelandic poems and Danish chronicles, Hroðgar also appears as a Danish king [Although "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" makes him move to Northumbria.] of the Scylding dynasty. He remains the son of Healfdene and the elder brother of Halga. Moreover, he is still the uncle of Hroðulf. The Scandinavian sources also agree with "Beowulf" by making Hroðgar contemporary with the Swedish king Eadgils [Called "Aðils", "Athisl", "Athislus" or "Adillus" (although "Chronicon Lethrense" calls the Swedish king "Hakon").] . These agreements with "Beowulf" are remarkable considering the fact that these sources were composed from oral tradition 700 to 800 years after the events described, and 300 to 400 years later than "Beowulf" and "Widsith".

There are also notable differences. The Heaðobards Ingeld and Froda also appear in Scandinavian tradition, but their tribe, the Heaðobards, had long been forgotten, and instead the tribal feud was rendered as a family feud. Their relationship as father and son had also been reversed in some sources [It has been reversed in "Gesta Danorum", "Skjöldunga saga" and "Bjarkarímur", but not in "Hrólfr Kraki's saga".] , and so either Ingeld or Froda is given as the brother of Healfdene. Ingeld or Froda murdered Healfdene, but was himself killed in revenge by Hroðgar and Halga. Moreover, in Scandinavian tradition, Hroðgar is a minor character in comparison to his nephew Hroðulf. Such differences indicate that "Beowulf" and Scandinavian sources represent separate traditions.

The names of Hroðgar and others appear in the form they had in Old Icelandic or Latinized Old Danish at the time the stories were put to paper, and not in their Old English, or more "authentic" Proto-Norse forms [ [ Lexikon över urnnordiska personnamn] PDF] .

It has been the matter of some debate whether the hero Beowulf could have the same origin as Hroðulf's berserker Böðvarr Bjarki, who appears in Scandinavian sources [ [ "The Relation of the Hrolfs Saga Kraka and the Bjarkarimur to Beowulf" by Olson, 1916, at Project Gutenberg] ] .

Among these sources, it is the most famous one, the "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" which is most different from "Beowulf", and a notable difference is that Hroðgar leaves the rule of Denmark to his younger brother Halga and moves to Northumbria. The focus is consequently on the "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" when a scholar questions the comparison of Hroðgar and other characters from "Beowulf" with counterparts in Scandinavian tradition. Scandinavian sources have added some information that appear in "Beowulf" studies, without having any founding in the work itself, such as the information that Halga was, or probably was, Hroðulf's father. Another example is the existence of a woman named Yrsa, who, however, has been transposed to a role she never had in any source texts, that of Hroðgar's sister.

Norse sagas and poems

In Icelandic sources, Hroðgar, Halga and Hroðulf appear under the Old Icelandic forms of their names; that is, as "Hróarr", "Helgi" and "Hrólfr", the last one with the epithet "Kraki". In the case of the "Skjöldunga saga" ("Saga of the Scyldings") only a Latin summary has survived, and so their names are Latinized. The Icelandic sources can be divided into two groups: the "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" on the one hand, and the "Skjöldunga saga" and "Bjarkarímur" on the other. Both groups tell a version of Hroðgar and Halga's feud with Froda (Fróði) and Ingeld (Ingjaldr). However, whereas the "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" make Froda the brother of Healfdene, the "Skjöldunga saga" and "Bjarkarímur" make Ingeld the brother of Healfdene. "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" also disagrees with all the other works by moving Hroðgar from the throne of Denmark to Northumbria.

"Hrólfr Kraki's saga"

"Hrólfr Kraki's saga" relates that Halfdan has three children, Hróarr, Helgi, and the daughter Signý, who is married to Sævil Jarl. Halfdan has a brother named Fróði and both of them rule a kingdom, but Halfdan is good-natured and friendly, whereas Fróði is savage. Fróði attacks and kills Halfdan and makes himself the king of a united Denmark. He then sets out to neutralize his nephews Hróarr and Helgi. However, the two brothers survive on an island, protected by a man called Vivil; and after some adventure they avenge their father by killing Fróði.

Hróarr is presented as "meek and blithe", and he is completely removed from ruling the kingdom, leaving the rule to his brother Helgi. Instead he joins Norðri, the king of Northumberland, where he marries Ögn, the king's daughter. As recompense for Hróarr's share of the Danish kingdom, Helgi gives him a golden ring.

Sævil Jarl's son Hrókr (Hróarr and Helgi's nephew) becomes jealous that he has not inherited anything from his grandfather Halfdan; he goes to his uncle Helgi to claim his inheritance. Helgi refuses to give him a third of Denmark, and so instead he goes to Northumbria to claim the golden ring. He asks Hróarr if he at least could have a look at the ring, whereupon he takes the ring and throws it into the water. Hróarr naturally becomes angry, and cuts off Hrókr's feet and sends him back to his ships. Hrókr cannot live with this, and so he returns with a large army and slays Hróarr. Helgi avenges his brother by also cutting off Hrókr's arms. Hróarr's son Agnar retrieves the ring by diving in the water, which gives him great glory. Agnar is said to have become greater than his father, and much talked of in the old sagas.

Helgi attacks Sweden to retrieve Yrsa, his daughter and lover, but is killed by Aðils, the king of Sweden. He is succeeded by Hrólfr Kraki, his son by Yrsa.

Although it agrees with all the other Scandinavian sources in telling the story of Halga's incestuous relationship with his daughter Yrsa, it disagrees with all of them and with "Beowulf" by removing Hroðgar altogether as the king of Denmark. Instead, his place is taken by his brother Halga, and Hroðgar is sent to Northumberland, where he marries Ögn, the daughter of a positively fictive king Norðri who is named after Northumberland ("Norðimbraland"). Opinion is divided on whether there is any connection between Hroðgar's wife Wealhþeow in "Beowulf" and his wife Ögn in "Hrólfr Kraki's saga"; it has been suggested that Ögn shows that Wealhþeow and her family (the Helmings) were Anglo-Saxon [ [ "The Relation of the Hrolfs Saga Kraka and the Bjarkarimur to Beowulf" by Olson, 1916, at Project Gutenberg] ] . Another difference is the fact that Hroðgar's sons Hreðric and Hroðmund do not appear in the Scandinavian tradition, but correspond to Agnar, in "Hrólfr Kraki's saga".

"Skjöldunga saga" and "Bjarkarímur"

The "Skjöldunga saga" [ [ "The Relation of the Hrolfs Saga Kraka and the Bjarkarimur to Beowulf" by Olson, 1916, at Project Gutenberg] ] [Nerman (1925:150)] and "Bjarkarímur" [ [ "The Relation of the Hrolfs Saga Kraka and the Bjarkarimur to Beowulf" by Olson, 1916, at Project Gutenberg] ] tell a similar version to that of the "Hrólfr Kraki's saga", but with several striking differences. Ingeld (Ingjaldus) of "Beowulf" reappears, but it is Ingeld who is the father of Froda (Frodo), and unlike in "Hrólf Kraki's saga", Ingeld takes Froda's place as the half-brother of Healfdene (Haldan).

The sources relate that Haldan has a half-brother named Ingjaldus and a queen Sigrith with whom he has three children: the sons Roas and Helgo and the daughter Signy.

Ingjaldus is jealous of his half-brother Haldan and so he attacks and kills him, and then marries Sigrith. Ingjaldus and Sigrith then have two sons named Rærecus and Frodo. Their half-sister Signy stays with her mother until she is married to Sævil, the jarl of Zealand. Ingjaldus, who is worried that his nephews will want revenge, tries to find them and kill them, but Roas and Helgo survive by hiding on an island near Skåne. When they are old enough, they avenge their father by killing Ingjaldus.

The two brothers both become kings of Denmark, and Roas marries the daughter of the king of England. When Helgo's son Rolfo (whom Helgo begat with his own daughter Yrsa) is eight years old, Helgo dies and Rolfo succeeds him. Not much later, Roas is killed by his half-brothers Rærecus and Frodo, whereupon Rolfo becomes the sole king of Denmark.

This version agrees with all other versions of the legend of Hroðgar (Roas) and Halga (Helgo) by making them sons of Healfdene (Haldan) and by presenting Hroðgar as the uncle of Hroðulf (Rolfo). It agrees with "Beowulf" and "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" by mentioning that they had a sister, and by dealing with their feud with Froda (Frodo) and Ingeld (Ingjaldus), although there is a role reversal by making Ingeld the father of Froda instead of the other way round. It agrees with the other Scandinavian versions by treating Halga's incestuous relationship with his own daughter Yrsa. Moreover, it agrees with all other versions, except for "Hrólfr Kraki's saga", by presenting Hroðgar as a king of Denmark, although it agrees with "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" by marrying Hroðgar to an Anglo-Saxon woman. Another agreement with "Hrólfr Kraki's saga" is the information that their sister was married to a Sævil Jarl, and that they had to hide on an island fleeing their kin-slaying uncle, before they could kill him and avenge their father.

"Hversu Noregr byggdist"

The Old Norse genealogy work "Hversu Noregr byggdist" tells that Hróarr had a son named Valdar, the father of Harald the Old, the father of Halfdan the Valiant, the father of Ivar Vidfamne, who was the maternal grandfather of Harald Wartooth. Harald fell at the Battle of the Brávellir against his nephew Sigurd Ring, a king of Sweden and the father of Ragnar Lodbrok.

This account is not about presenting the life of Hroðgar, but in presenting how Harald Fairhair was descended from kings and heroes in Scandinavian legend. The only reason for assuming that "Hróarr" is the same as Hroðgar, the Scylding, is the fact that only Hroðgar would be a personage of old so famous so as not to need any further identification than his name. However, the "Skjöldunga saga" tells that a Valdar disputed that Rörek, the cousin of Halga succeeded Hroðulf (Hrólfr Kraki) as the king of the Daner. After the war, Rörek took Zealand, while Valdar took Skåne. If based on the same tradition as "Hversu Noregr byggdist", Valdar had the right to claim the throne being the son of the former king Hroðgar.

Danish medieval chronicles

In the "Chronicon Lethrense", "Annales Lundenses" and "Gesta Danorum" (12th century works of Danish history, written in Latin), King Hroðgar is mentioned by the Old Danish form of the name "Ro" or "Roe". His father Healfdene appears as "Haldan" or "Haldanus", while his brother Halga appears as "Helghe" or "Helgo". Hroðulf appears with an epithet as "Roluo Krage" or "Rolf Krage". Their Swedish enemy, King Eadgils, appears as "Athislus" or "Athisl" (the "Chronicon Lethrense" calls him "Hakon".)

The only Danish work that retains traditions of the feud with Ingeld and Froda is the "Gesta Danorum".

"Chronicon Lethrense" and "Annales Lundenses"

The "Chronicon Lethrense" and the included "Annales Lundenses" report that Ro and Helghe were the sons of Haldan, who died of old age. The two brothers shared the rule, Ro taking the land and Helghe the water. They also tell that Ro founded and gave his name to the market town of Roskilde [This is not etymologically correct as the name of the town "Hróiskelda", "Hrói's well", (1050) is derived from the name "Hrói" and not "Hróarr", see [ Tunstall's comments on his translation of the "Chronicon Lethrense"] .] and that he was buried in Lejre. However, before Ro's nephew Rolf Krage (Hroðulf), who was Helghe's son by his own daughter Yrse, could ascend the throne, the rule of Denmark was given to a dog, on the orders of the Swedish king Hakon/Athisl ["Hakon" according to "Chronicon Lethrense" proper, "Athisl" according to the included "Annals of Lund".] (that is, Eadgils).

The "Chronicon Lethrense" and the "Annales Lundenses" agree with "Beowulf" in presenting Hroðgar (Ro) and his brother Halga (Helghe) as the sons of Healfdene (Haldan). They do not, however, contain a character description as "Beowulf" does; nor do they mention his spouse or his children. However, they introduce a sharing of power between Hroðgar and Halga where Halga only had power over the fleet. It is interesting to note that Hroðgar is reported as founding the town of Roskilde, which coincides with the information in "Beowulf" that he built Heorot. The information that Hroðulf (Rolf) was the result of an incestuous relationship between Halga and his daughter Yrse only appears in Scandinavian tradition. Like "Beowulf", the "Annales Lundenses" makes Hroðgar the contemporary of Eadgils (Athisl), whereas the "Chronicon Lethrense" calls the Swedish king "Hakon".

"Gesta Danorum"

The "Gesta Danorum" (book 2), by Saxo Grammaticus, contains roughly the same information as "Beowulf", the "Chronicon Lethrense" and the "Annales Lundenses": that is, that Ro was the son of Haldanus and the brother of Helgo, and the uncle of his successor Roluo Krage (Hroðulf). It is only said about Ro that he was "short and spare", that he founded the town of Roskilde, and that when their father Haldanus died of old age, he shared the rule of the kingdom with his brother Helgo, Ro taking the land and Helgo the water.

Ro could not defend his kingdom against the Swedish king Hothbrodd, who was not happy with warring in the East but wished to test his strength against the Danes (Oliver Elton's translation):Ro was, however, avenged by his brother Helgo, who then promptly went east and died in shame (because he discovered that he had fathered Roluo Krake with his own daughter Urse.) Roluo succeeded his father and uncle to the Danish throne.

The "Gesta Danorum" also agrees with "Beowulf" in presenting Hroðgar (Ro) and Halga (Helgo) as brothers and the sons of Healfdene (Haldanus). Moroever, like the "Chronicon Lethrense" and the "Annales Lundenses", it presents Hroðulf (Roluo) as the son of Halga and his own daughter. A striking difference is that the Swedish king Eadgils (Athisl) is pushed forward a generation, and instead Saxo introduces Hroðgar's killer Hothbrodd as the father of Eadgils, a place that other sources give to Ohthere. A similar piece of information is also found in the "Chronicon Lethrense" and the "Annales Lundenses", where Halga had to kill a man named Hodbrod to win all of Denmark. However, Saxo also adds the god Höðr as the brother of Eadgils in order to present a euhemerized version of the Baldr myth, later.

The tradition of the feud with the Heaðobards Ingeld and Froda appears twice in the "Gesta Danorum" [ [ "The Relation of the Hrolfs Saga Kraka and the Bjarkarimur to Beowulf" by Olson, 1916, at Project Gutenberg] ] . The first time it tells of the feud is Book 2, where Ingeld (called "Ingild") appears with the son Agnar. In this version, Ingeld's son was about to marry Hroðulf's sister Rute, but a fight broke out and Agnar died in a duel with Böðvarr Bjarki (called "Biarco").

The second time it tells of Froda and Ingeld is in Book 7, but here Hroðgar is replaced by a "Harald" and Halga by a "Haldanus" [ [ "The Relation of the Hrolfs Saga Kraka and the Bjarkarimur to Beowulf" by Olson, 1916, at Project Gutenberg] ] . It is the Scandinavian version of the feud, similar to the one told in the "Skjöldunga saga", "Bjarkarímur" and "Hrólfr Kraki's saga", where the Heaðobards are forgotten and the feud with Froda and Ingeld has become a family feud. The main plot is that Ingeld had the sons Frodo (Froda) and Harald (corresponds to Healfdene). The relationship between Ingeld and Froda was thus reversed, a reversal also found in the "Skjöldunga saga" and in the "Bjarkarímur". Froda killed his brother and tried to get rid of his nephews Harald (corresponds to Hroðgar) and Haldanus (corresponds to Halga). After some adventures, the two brothers burnt their uncle to death inside his house and avenged their father.


With the exception of "Hversu Noregr byggdist", where he is only a name in a list, three elements are common to all of accounts: he was the son of a Danish king Healfdene, the brother of Halga, and he was the uncle of Hroðulf. Apart from that, the Scandinavian tradition is unanimous in dwelling on the incestuous relationship between Halga and his daughter Yrsa which resulted in Hroðgar, a story which was either not presented in "Beowulf" or was not known to the poet. The Danish sources ("Chronicon Lethrense", "Annales Lundenses", "Gesta Danorum") all agree with "Beowulf" by making Hroðgar the king of Denmark. The Icelandic ("Skjöldunga saga", "Bjarkarímur", "Hrólf Kraki's saga") all agree with "Beowulf" by mentioning that they had a sister, and by mentioning their feud with Froda and Ingeld, albeit with alterations. What is unique to the Icelandic versions are the adventures of Hroðgar and Halga before one of the two brothers could become king.

The similarities between "Beowulf" and the mentioned Scandinavian sources are by far not the only ones. Other personalities mentioned in "Beowulf" appear in the stories before and after dealing with Hroðgar, but for more, see origins for Beowulf and Hrólf Kraki.

In film

Due to his central position in the Beowulf saga, Hroðgar appears in a number of dramatic and literary works based on the story. He was played by Sven Wollter in "The 13th Warrior" (1999), Oliver Cotton in "Beowulf" (a sci-fi/fantasy adaptation filmed in 1999), Stellan Skarsgård in "Beowulf & Grendel" (2005).

He also appears in the 2007 animated version of the saga, and is voiced by Sir Anthony Hopkins. The role of his character in the film, where he is portrayed as hedonistic, somewhat slovenly, and otherwise flawed, is far different from that in the poem, where he is a well-respected and honorable king.

Additionally, the king of the dwarves in Christopher Paolini's Inheritance cycle is named Hrothgar, a nod to the original character.

On television

Hroðgar can be seen in the episode Heroes and Demons, when The Doctor visits a Beowulf scenario on the holodeck to rescue Ensign Harry Kim.



*Kluge, Friedrich (1896). "Der Beowulf und die Hrolfs Saga Kraka." Englische Studien 22, pp. 144–45.
*Nerman, Birger (1925). "Det svenska rikets uppkomst".
*"Sidelights on Teutonic History During the Migration Period", Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1911; pp. 82 ff.
* [ Beowulf read aloud in Old English]
** " [ Modern English translation] " by Francis Barton Gummere
** " [ Modern English translation] " by John Lesslie Hall
** [ Ringler, Dick. "Beowulf: A New Translation For Oral Delivery"] , May 2005. Searchable text with full audio available, from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Libraries.
** [ Several different Modern English translations]
** [ "Widsith", A Verse Translation by Douglas B. Killings]
** [ "Widsith", a translation by Bella Millett]
*"Chronicon Lethrense" and "Annales Lundense":
** [ "Chronicon Lethrense" and "Annales Lundenses" in translation by Peter Tunstall]
** [ The same translation at Northvegr]
* [ Book 2 of "Gesta Danorum" at the Online Medieval & Classical library]
* [ Book 7 of "Gesta Danorum" at the Online Medieval & Classical library]
* [ "The Relation of the Hrolfs Saga Kraka and the Bjarkarimur to Beowulf" by Olson, 1916, at Project Gutenberg]
* [ Hrólf Kraki's saga in English translation at Northvegr]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hroðgar — Pour le personnage du cycle de l Héritage, voir Personnages de l Héritage#H. La reine Wealhþeow servant son époux Hroðgar (illustration de J. R. Skelton, 1908) Hroðgar ou Hrothgar, égalem …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hreðric and Hroðmund — Hreðric [The same Germanic name as Rurik, meaning famous ruler .] and Hroðmund were the sons of the Danish king Hroðgar, and his queen Wealhþeow, in the Old English epic Beowulf . They are only mentioned in passing, and there seems to be some… …   Wikipedia

  • Hrothgar — Hroðgar  Pour le personnage du cycle de l Héritage, voir Personnages de l Héritage#H. La reine Wealhþeow servant son époux Hroðgar (illustration de J. R. Skelton, 1908) …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Hrólfr Kraki — Hrólfr Kraki, Hroðulf, Rolfo, Roluo, Rolf Krage fue un legendario rey vikingo de Dinamarca de principios del siglo VI. La fecha nunca ha sido cuestionada o ha sido motivo de controversia y que se deduce de las propias fuentes primarias y la fecha …   Wikipedia Español

  • Beowulf — This article is about the epic poem. For the character, see Beowulf (hero). For other uses, see Beowulf (disambiguation). Beowulf first page of Beowulf in Cotton Vitellius A. xv …   Wikipedia

  • List of characters and objects in Beowulf — Beowulf is an Old English heroic epic poem. Its creation dates to between the 8th cite book | last = Tolkien | first = J.R.R. | authorlink = J.R.R. Tolkien | title = Beowulf: the Monsters and the Critics | location = London | publisher = Oxford… …   Wikipedia

  • Hrólfr Kraki — Hrólfr Kraki, Hroðulf , Rolfo , Roluo , Rolf Krage (early 6th century [The dating has never been a matter of controversy. It is inferred from the internal chronology of the sources themselves and the dating of Hygelac s raid on Frisia to c. 516.… …   Wikipedia

  • Yrsa — Yrsa, Yrse , Yrs or Urse (6th century [The dating has never been a matter of controversy. It is inferred from the internal chronology of the sources themselves and the dating of Hygelac s raid on Frisia to c. 516. It is also supported by… …   Wikipedia

  • Halga — Halga, Helgi , Helghe or Helgo was a legendary Danish king living in the early 6th century [The dating has never been a matter of controversy. It is inferred from the internal chronology of the sources themselves and the dating of Hygelac s raid… …   Wikipedia

  • Ingeld — for|other people with the same name|IngeldazIngeld (AS) or Ingjald (ON) was a legendary warrior who appears in early Anglo Saxon and Norse legends. Ingeld was so well known that, in 797, Alcuin wrote a letter to Bishop Higbald of Lindisfarne… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”