This is the "The Anglo-Saxon World of Beowulf" page of the "Beowulf" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content

Beowulf   Tags: beowulf, english, literature, medieval, poetry  

A guide to finding more information about the origins and composition of the epic poem Beowulf
Last Updated: Oct 25, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

The Anglo-Saxon World of Beowulf Print Page

Websites and Articles Online

Some great features that are available on the web:

  • National Geographic: Staffordshire Gold Hoard
    This feature explains how and why the Anglo-Saxons settled England, and examines what the discovery of artifacts in the English countryside tells us about these people.

    The article is accompanied by some excellent related features, including a timeline of ancient England's beginnings, and a photo gallery of the weapons and armor found in the hoard.
  • UK Daily Mail: Discovery of ancient hoard of Saxon gold
    In 2009, a 55-year-old British man makes the largest discovery of Saxon artifacts in history, using an old metal detector in a neighboring farmer's field.
  • BBC History: Ancient history in-depth
    The BBC's History page contains sections on three different peoples that occupied ancient Britain: the Romans, the Vikings, and the Anglo-Saxons.
  • HistoryWorld
    An extensive and well-organized world history site created by Bamber Gascoigne, reaching from the prehistoric to the present day. There are two ways to browse the site: by keyword ("Histories") or by timeline. The Timelines section is broken down by century, country, continent, empire, or theme (religion, science, etc).

Library Databases

** Day students!  Please note that all library databases require a login in order to access them off-campus.   Email us for a list of database usernames and passwords.

  • Encyclopedia Britannica  
    A great alternative to Wikipedia! A very current, easy-to-use, general database. Try a simple keyword search, such as "beowulf" or "anglo-saxon". Be sure to check the Related Articles section at the bottom of each article for more detailed information.
  • Academic Search Premier
    This database is a good place to look for more in-depth information after you have gotten a basic overview from Encyclopedia Britannica. You will find academic articles on history, the sciences, the humanities, politics, and more.
  • Oxford Reference Online  
    A wealth of 100+ Oxford reference works covering many subjects. Includes a growing number of titles from the acclaimed Oxford Companions Series, plus the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations.

Off campus?

For access to the databases from off campus, email the librarians for passwords.


The Ancient Scandinavian World

This map shows the different peoples and territories of ancient Scandanavia.  The Geats, Beowulf's people, lived on what is now the tip of modern-day Sweden (designated by the dragon on this map). In the epic, our hero Beowulf journeys to the Danish King Hrothgar's palace (Heorot, shown within the circle on the map) to defeat the monster Grendel who has plagued the hall.

Blackmer, Kate. “Beowulf's World”. 2011. Web. 30 Nov 2012.


Treasures from the Staffordshire Hoard


Anglo-Saxon Migration

This map traces the migration of peoples to England from the Germanic regions and lower Scandinavia.  With the crumbling of the Roman Empire, its armies were withdrawn from England in the early 400s. This gave the Germanic tribes the opportunity to move into the British territory that they had deserted. The Angles, Saxons, and Jutes settled there and were able to set up societies of their own, ruling themselves as they wished for about six hundred years. They brought with them their languages, social customs, and rich traditions of history and folklore--among which was the tale of Beowulf.

"Migration Routes and Raids, A.D. 400-600." National Geographic. National Geographic Society, Nov. 2011.
       Web. 25 Jan. 2013.

Materials in our Library

Here are a few of the books we have on this topic in the library.  To find more, try a Power search in the library catalog.

Cover Art
Beowulf [sound recording]
Call Number: CD HEA
Seamus Heaney's translation of Beowulf comes to life in this gripping audio recording. Read by the translator himself, it reminds us that the epic poem Beowulf, composed more than 1,000 years ago, was intended to be heard, not read.

Cover Art
Beowulf & the Anglo-Saxons: An exploration into the Anglo-Saxon myth of men and monsters
Call Number: DVD 941.01 BEO
This documentary traces the origins of the tribes that created the epic poem Beowulf, looking at their religious beliefs and everyday life.

Cover Art
The Anglo-Saxon age : a very short introduction
Call Number: 941.01 BLA
A "very short" introduction to the Anglo-Saxon age. Covers the period from the earliest English settlements to the Norman victory in 1066.

Citing Sources


Loading  Loading...