(pronounced ; also rendered Wealhtheow
) is a legendary queen of the Danes in the Old English
, first introduced in line 612.
She is the Wulfing
Wealhþeow is identified as a Helming
in the poem, i.e. belonging to the clan
of Helm, the chief of the Wulfings (Widsith
, 21) queen of the Danes
. She is married to Hroðgar
, the Danish king and is the mother of sons Hreðric and Hroðmund
and also of daughter Freawaru
. The meaning of her name is disputed. One possible translation is "foreign
slave" (Hill, 1990).
In her marriage to Hroðgar she is described as friðusibb folca
(l. 1168), 'the kindred pledge of peace between peoples', signifying the Wulfing and Scylding
interdynastic allegiance. Hence she is termed both 'Lady of the Helmings' (l. 620) (by descent, of the Wulfing clan of Helm) and 'Lady of the Scyldings' (l. 1168) (by marriage and maternity).
Two northern sources associate the wife of Hroðgar with England
. The Skjöldunga saga
, in Arngrímur Jónsson
's abstract, chapter 3, tells that Hroðgar (Roas
) married the daughter of an English king. The Hrolfs saga kraka
, chapter 5, tells that Hroðgar (Hróarr
) married Ögn who was the daughter of a king of Northumbria
) called Norðri.
The argument was advanced in 1897Gregor Sarrazin 1897, Neue Beowulf-studien, Englische Studien
23, 221-267, at p. 228-230. See also Fr. Klaeber (Ed.), Beowulf and the Fight at......