In Beowulf, the boar's head on the helmet of Beowulf and his men stood for what?

Asked on by wamilliman

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The boar was a very important symbol in Anglo-Saxon times, and it was used to refer to the Norse goddess Freyr. These animals were esteemed in Anglo-Saxon times for their cunning and ferocious natures, and even after Christianity was accepted by the majority of Anglo-Saxons, the image of the boar was still widely used in order to refer to these qualities. Note how the author of Beowulf describes the helmet that his eponymous hero wears:

...wonderfully formed, beset with swine-forms so that it

then no blade nor battle-swords to bite were able...

The boars herefore, perhaps because they hark back to a more distant and primeval system of beliefs, have the power to imbue Beowulf's helmet with protection. As a powerful symbol, the boars stand for all the qualities that were prized in warriors and are used to suggest the superior nature of Beowulf and his men.


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