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Hrothgar's horses: feral or thoroughbred?

  • Jennifer Neville


This article sets forth the contrast between the image of the horses in Beowulf and the image of Anglo-Saxon horses that can be derived from archaeology, historical narratives, wills, law codes and glossaries. It focuses particularly on the issue of colour, represented in the poem by the difficult word fealu and its derivative, æppelfealu. It argues that the horses described in Beowulf do not match up closely with Anglo-Saxon horses recorded in any century and that they would have struck the poem's tenth-century audience as very strange. This strangeness has implications for our understanding of Anglo-Saxon reception of the poem.


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Anglo-Saxon England
  • ISSN: 0263-6751
  • EISSN: 1474-0532
  • URL: /core/journals/anglo-saxon-england
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