An inquiry into the possibility that the fourth century Latin Christian poet Prudentius may have had some influence on the composition of the Old English Beowulf



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Traditional Beowulf scholarship has been concerned almost exclusively with Northern or Scandinavian materials. But the justification for this scholarship must be questioned seriously on the basis that all Scandinavian manuscripts surviving today are from a period later than either the generally accepted date for the composition of the Beowulf or the date of its manuscript. On the other hand, there exists a large body of materials which not only precedes the Beowulf both in chronological time and in surviving manuscripts but which can also be shown to have been available in England during the Beowulf time. These are the works of Latin writers-both pagan and Christian-in particular, the works of classical and Christian writers of the early Middle Ages. [...]