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The mead hall in Beowulf is named Heorot (or Herot). It was constructed by Hrothgar in order to praise God for his successes (at least so it says in the text written from a Christian perspective). Hrothgar built the mead hall with the help of many tribes. He promised these men that they would be rewarded for constructing the best mead hall on earth. It is here, at this place, that men gather far and wide to drink, be merry, gain wealth, and praise the Lord.
Historically, a mead hall was a place where the king lived. It was a large hall where a king and his men would reside, eat, and entertain. Scops would sing of epic heroes in the hall. The hall gained its name from the beverage served there--mead. Mead is a beverage made from fermenting honey and water.
A modern mead hall could be looked at in two very different ways. First, it could be looked at as a church. Given that Hrothgar and his men would worship God in the mead hall, a church would be an appropriate parallel. A second modern comparison would be a tavern or bar (given the consumption of alcohol and entertainment).
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