Widsith

From Academic Kids

Widsith is an Old English poem of 144 lines. It is from the 6th or 7th century. It first appeared in the Exeter Book. The poem is for the most part an overview of the peoples, kings, and heroes of Europe in the Heroic Age. Excluding the introduction, closing, and brief comments in between, the poem is divided into three 'catalogues', called in Old English thulas. The first thula runs through a list of the various kings of the time, the model being '(name of a king) ruled (name of a tribe)'. The second thula contains the names of the peoples the narrator visited, the model being 'With the (name of a tribe) I was, and with the (name of another tribe).' In the third and final thula, the narrator lists the Gothic heroes he visited, with the model '(Hero's name) I sought and (hero's name) and (hero's name).'

The poem contains the first mention of the Vikings by name (lines 47, 59, 80).

lines 45–59:
Hroþwulf ond Hroðgar heoldon lengest Hrothwulf and Hrothgar held the longest
sibbe ætsomne suhtorfædran, peace together, uncle and nephew,
siþþan hy forwræcon wicinga cynn since they repulsed the Viking-kin
ond Ingeldes ord forbigdan, and Ingeld to the spear-point made bow,
forheowan aet Heorote Heaðobeardna þrym. hewn at Heorot Heathobeard's army.


See also: The Widsith Archers, Tribes of Widsith

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