Beowulf (ˈbeɪ.ɵwʊlf; in Old English ˈbeːo̯wʊlf or ˈbeːəwʊlf is the conventional title"Like most Old English poems, Beowulf has no title in the unique manuscript in which it survives (British Library, Cotton Vitellius A.xv, which was copied round the year 1000 AD), but modern scholars agree in naming it after the hero whose life is its subject." (Robinson) of an Old English
Old English language
Old English or Anglo-Saxon is an early form of the English language that was spoken and written by the Anglo-Saxons and their descendants in parts of what are now England and southeastern Scotland between at least the mid-5th century and the mid-12th century...

 heroic epic poem
Epic poetry
An epic is a lengthy narrative poem, ordinarily concerning a serious subject containing details of heroic deeds and events significant to a culture or nation. Oral poetry may qualify as an epic, and Albert Lord and Milman Parry have argued that classical epics were fundamentally an oral poetic form...

 consisting of 3182 alliterative long lines
Alliterative verse
In prosody, alliterative verse is a form of verse that uses alliteration as the principal structuring device to unify lines of poetry, as opposed to other devices such as rhyme. The most commonly studied traditions of alliterative verse are those found in the oldest literature of many Germanic...

, set in Scandinavia
Scandza was the name given to Scandinavia by the Roman historian Jordanes in his work Getica, written while in Constantinople around AD 551. He described the area to set the stage for his treatment of the Goths' migration from southern Sweden to Gothiscandza...

, commonly cited as one of the most important works of Anglo-Saxon literature
Anglo-Saxon literature
Old English literature encompasses literature written in Old English in Anglo-Saxon England, in the period from the 7th century to the Norman Conquest of 1066. These works include genres such as epic poetry, hagiography, sermons, Bible translations, legal works, chronicles, riddles, and others...


It survives in a single manuscript known as the Nowell Codex
Nowell Codex
Cotton Vitellius A. xv is one of the four major Anglo-Saxon literature codices. It is most famous as the manuscript containing the unique copy of the epic poem Beowulf; in addition to this it contains a fragment of The Life of Saint Christopher, and the more complete texts Letters of Alexander to...