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The Origins of BeowulfFrom Vergil to Wiglaf$
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Richard North

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199206612

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199206612.001.0001

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Vergil and the Monastery in Beowulf

Vergil and the Monastery in Beowulf

(p.66) 3 Vergil and the Monastery in Beowulf
The Origins of Beowulf

Richard North (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter offers a preliminary survey of Beowulf's likely Latin and vernacular written sources, which are here argued to cover reading from: Genesis, 1 Enoch, 1 Samuel, Judges, Psalms, Maccabees, the four gospels and Ephesians 6; Cassian's Conlationes; either or both of the Vitae s. Samsonis; material on St Michael including item 55 of the Homiliary of Saint-Père; a vernacular version of the Visio s. Pauli; the Epistola Alexandri ad Aristotelem; the Liber monstrorum; and Vergil's Aeneid. It is argued that up to four scenes in Beowulf appear to have been cast on the basis of episodes from Aeneid I, III, and VI (another episode, from Books VII and IX, is held back for Chapter 4). On the strength of this suggested reading, the poet of Beowulf is characterized as a monk, with an interest in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Germanic.

Keywords:   Aeneid, Cassian, Enoch, Ephesians, Epistola Alexandri, Liber monstrorum, Michael, Vergil

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