Apr 11, 2008

Famous Swords: Naegling

In the Old English epic poem by the same name, Beowulf, a hero of Geatland (what is now southern Sweden), battles three antagonists: Grendel, Grendel's mother and later in life (after returning to Geatland and becoming a king) a dragon. He is mortally wounded in the final battle, and after his death his body is returned to Geatland for burial.

Naegling is the name of one of the swords used by Beowulf, and the name may well stem from jeweled nails on its hilt. Beowulf wins the sword from a fight between the Geats and Frisians. The sword does not survive Beowulf's final encounter with the dragon, but instead snaps in two. An important note is that the sword breaks not because of the dragon's strength, but rather the force the hero himself puts behind it.


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