Kirtlan Appendix Wars

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IX
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WARS BETWEEN THE SWEDES AND THE GEATS

Characters

1. Swedes

1. Ongentheow, King of the Swedes.

2. Onthere, his two sons.

3. Onela,

4. Eadgils, two sons of Ohthere.

5. Eanmund,

2. Geats, &c.

6. H峨cyn, King of Geats.

7. Hygelac, King of Geats.

8. Heardred, King of Geats.

9. Beowulf, King of Geats.

10. Eofor, two Geat warriors.

11. Wulf,

Ongentheow was a King of the Swedes. The Swedes are also called Scylfings in the [204]poem. The origin of the word Scylfing is doubtful. Ongentheow went to war with H峨cyn, King of the Geats and brother of Hygelac; and Ongentheow, who was well advanced in years, struck down his foe (Chapter XL., p. 173) at the battle of Ravenswood. This was the first time that the Swedes invaded the Geats. The Geats retreated into the Ravenswood at nightfall, but with the dawn they heard the horn of Hygelac as the good prince came marching on the track. Ongentheow now was alarmed, for Hygelac s prowess in battle was far-famed. He withdrew into some fortification, and was attacked by the Geats. Two brothers, Eofor and Wulf, assailed the veteran warrior. He defended himself with great vigour and killed Wulf; but Eofor came to the help of his brother and dealt Ongentheow his death-blow over the guard of his shield.

Ongentheow s two sons were Onela and Ohthere. Ohthere had two sons, Eanmund and Eadgils.

These two sons of Ohthere were banished from Sweden for rebellion, and took refuge at the Court of the Geat King Heardred. This greatly enraged their uncle Onela, that they should resort to the Court of their hereditary foes (see above). Onela invaded the land of [205]the Geats (Chapters XXXIII. and XXXIV., pp. 144 sq.) and slew Heardred. Then it was that Beowulf became King of the Geats. Thus two Geatish kings had been slain by the Swedes, viz. H峨cyn and Heardred. In revenge, later on, Beowulf supported Eadgils in his counter-attack on his own fatherland when Eadgils killed his uncle Onela. This story is confirmed by the Scandinavian accounts in which Athils (= Eadgils) slew Ali (= Onela) on the ice of Lake Wener; cp. the phrase cold journeyings (Chapter XXXIV., p. 145).

This is Wyatt s version of the story.

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