City of Catastrophes
A poignant scene in Beowulf depicts the last survivor of a forgotten race constructing a burial mound or beorh (2241). Within its earthen walls he inters the leavings of his people: swords, goblets, gold jewelry, the detritus of a vanished nation. Ages later a dragon arrives to claim for himself this memorial that no longer retains memory, guarding for dozy centuries its lifeless wealth. When some wretch plunders the hoard and awakens its guardian, Beowulf is forced to battle the monster in its adopted home. The poem concludes with the dead king interred with the same treasure inside another barrow, Bioumlfes biorh (2807), while the enemies of his people gather to obliterate his realm.
KeywordsTwelfth Century Burial Mound Gold Jewelry English City Parish Church
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