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Hygelac

From Academic Kids

Hygelac, Proto-Norse *Hugilaikaz [1] (http://www.sofi.se/SOFIU/lup/urnord.pdf), Latin Chlochilaicus, Old Norse Hugleikr (d. ca 516) is the king of the Geats in the first part of Beowulf. He is the son of Hrethel and has the brothers Herebeald and Haethcyn. His sister is married to Ecgtheow and has the son Beowulf. The hero Beowulf is consequently his nephew. Hygelac is married to Hygd and they have the son Heardred, and an unnamed daughter who married Eofor. When Hygelac's brother Haethcyn is fighting with the Swedes, Hygelac arrives one day too late at Ravenswood to save his brother, but manages to rescue the surviving Geatish warriors, who are besieged by the Swedish king Ongentheow. The Swedes seek refuge at a hill fort but are assaulted by the Geats and the Swedish king is slain by Eofor.

After the death of his brother, Hygelac ascends the Geatish throne. Hygelac then goes on a Viking raid to Frisia, and dies.

This event has helped scholars approximate the date of Hygelac's death to ca 516, because the raid was documented by Frankish scribes.

In these sources he appears as Chlochilaicus, king of the Geats (Rex Getarum, in Liber Monstrorum, and Rege Gotorum in a copy of Historiae Francorum of Gregory of Tours), or the Danes (in most copies of Historiae Francorum, III, 3.), who invaded Gaul in the early sixth century, and was killed by Theudebert, son of Theuderic, king of the Franks.

The double identification of Hygelac as either Dane or Geat is not surprising. Because Dane seems to have been used as a generic term for Scandinavians (cf. Danish toungue and East Dane).

Hygelac was succeeded by Heardred.

Preceded by:
Haethcyn
King of the Geats Succeeded by:
Heardred

Secondary sources

Nerman, B. Det svenska rikets uppkomst. Stockholm, 1925.

External links

is:Hugleikur Gautakonungur nl:Hygelac

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