Home of the oldest mythical kings
The landscape still bears traces of where the oldest Danish family of mythical kings, the Skjoldungerne, had their royal estate according to the Nordic Sagas. East of Lejre is a stone ship and burial mound. One of them was erected in the 7th century to cover a prince. …
Ancient Danish hero in English verse
The epic poem about the Gothic (West Swedish) hero Beowulf and his valiant deeds in Denmark was written in the north of England in around 1000 AD, and is regarded as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature. Set in a past remote even to its author, the events unfold in Danish King Hrothgar's royal hall of Heorot, the "grand mead-hall, [...] built by men which the sons of men should hear of forever". When Beowulf dies, his body is cremated and his remains laid to rest beneath a great burial mound. Aside from King Hrothgar, the poem features other "Lejre kings": Halga and Hrothulf. Lejre, with its many monumental burial mounds and recently excavated large halls (of up to 600 m2), is regarded as a fitting setting for the dramatic events of Beowulf, even if neither the location nor the purported events can be confirmed. In 1999, the Irish Nobel Laureate poet and novelist Seamus Heaney (born 1939) published a new critical edition of the poem: Beowulf: a new verse translation. During a stay in Denmark a year later, Heaney visited Lejre, where he gave a reading of Beowulf, on the very site where the great Lejre Hall had been excavated just a few years earlier.
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