It is often said that Beowulf represents the first, great epic in the (Old) English language, yet none of the action is set in England. It is set on the continent, mainly in Denmark and Sweden, during the migration to England by the Angles, Saxons, Jutes, and Frisians. Fred Robinson (Godden and Lapidge, 143) has suggested that Beowulf would have been born near the end of the fifth century and died late in the sixth century. This means that the poet(s) would have been looking back on the action in the poem from a distance of hundreds of years.

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