Anglo-Saxon settlement of Britain - Wikipedia

BARROW (Anglo-Saxon beorg, "mountain," cf. the suffix -berg in iceberg): A grave mound, i.e., an artificial hill built to cover or surround the tomb of an important figure. Such burials were common in the neolithic period, and centuries later they haunted the folklore and literature of Europe long after Christianity displaced paganism.

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When Beowulf was written, the writer incorporated many of the ideals of the Anglo-Saxons.

Battle of Brunanburh (poem) - Wikipedia

Archbishop Wulfstan of York eloquently captured England's despair in his "Sermon of the Wolf to the English People," written in response to Svein Forkbeard's victory over the Anglo-Saxons in 1014.

The Battle of Brunanburh is an Old English poem

"The Battle of Maldon," for instance, recounts the historical last-stand of an aging Anglo-Saxon regional governor and his untrained levy of troops against a Viking incursion in 991.

It offers many insights into the beliefs and customs of seventh-century Anglo-Saxon culture.

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In Northern Europe among the Vikings, the Vanir fertility deities had close connectons with burial mounds. An echo of this may reverberate in Anglo-Saxon society, where the burial mound at Sutton Hoo included an entire longboat buried intact within the hill, suggesting the pre-Christian Anglo-Saxons may have imagined the dead sailing into the afterlife. In The Elder Edda, the story of "The Waking of Agantyr" recounts how individuals could enter barrows to communicate with the dead at great risk to themselves. Hervor enters a barrow and finds it wreathed in white supernatural flames inside, shere the confronts her dead father and requests his magic sword Tyrfing, an heirloom of dwarvish manufacture. Other Viking legends suggested that draugar (blood-drinking corpses) lived in barrows, guarding the treasure therein.

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J.R.R. Tolkien imitates this medieval tradition in The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, where we have the sword Sting passed down from Bilbo to Frodo as a family heirloom. In The Hobbit, the goblins recognize Beater and Biter when their enemies draw those weapons against them, fearing the reputation of the famous blades that killed so many of their kind. Eomer wilds Gúthwine (Anglo-Saxon, "Battle-friend") at Helm's Deep. The sword Anduril, which Aragorn uses as both weapon and battle-cry, was re-forged from the shards of Narsil, the broken blade that in ancient times cut the Ring of Power from Sauron's hand, and so forth. The idea of cursed weapons controlling their owners in the medieval legends may also be an influence in the idea of the One Ring of Power and the rings Sauron gave to men, dwarves, and elves, which ultimately subverts them to Sauron's will, if worn long enough.

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In order to show a blade's worth, medieval poets (and real historical owners) would recount the history of a sword--who made it, how it was passed down as a family heirloom, what battles it appeared in, and so forth. We see examples of this throughout the Anglo-Saxon tradition, where Beowulf uses the sword Nailing to fight the apocalyptic dragon and the treacherous Unferth loans out the equally treacherous blade Hrunting, or where Wiglaf uses the same sword to kill the dragon that his grandfather used to kill Onela the Swede. In Carolingian history, King Charlemagne uses his sword Joyeuse, which supposedly contained a splinter of the true cross worked into its hilt, and this inside the weapon conveyed divine blessing upon the wielder. Charlemagne's paladin Roland used the sword Durandal. In Arthurian legends, King Arthur wields Excalibur or Excaliburn, the sword of justice, which he received from the Lady of the Lake. In Iberian tradition, El Cid used a sword called Colada, and in Viking legend, Siegfrield owns the sword Balmung, which later Hagen wields in The Niebelungleid. Particularly in myths and legends, the swords became almost characters in and of themselves, especially if they had their own magical powers. They often had a will of their own and would seek to manipulate or restrain the one using them. For example in Old Norse legends, many cursed swords thirsted to taste blood, and they would bring disaster on their wielder. The sword Tyrfing in the Hervarar Saga, for instance, could not be resheathed until it killed someone, as it was forged and cursed by the dwarves Durin and Dalin. The sword Dyrnwyn in Welsh legends would blaze with harmless fire when a worthy hero like Rhydderch Hael drew it, but would burn any man who drew the weapon for immoral purposes.