Drawing a rough line between Stockholm and Gothenburg, south is the land of
the Geats, and north is the Swedes.
Off the south-west coast is the Island of Zealand, where modern-day
Copenhagen, capital of Denmark can be found. These islands were the land of the Danes.
The Jutland peninsula belonged to the Jutes in the north, and the Angles in
The area around modern-day Hamburg was ruled by the Germanic Heathobards
To the west of the Heathobards were the Frisians and Franks.
To the east of the Heathobards were the Wylfings.
Further east of the Wylfings were the Vandals.
As you can see, the Danes occupied a crucial link between the Geats and
mainland Europe, and Heorot is thought to have been in the centre of Zealand Island.
It is clear that both the Angles and the Heathobards would be keen to
control the Danes territory.
Beowulf’s approach seems to be to create an alliance with the Danes.
This is an approximate guide as to the distribution of the peoples in this
part of Europe during the 5th and 6th Centuries, when ‘Beowulf’ is set.
The Frisians, Franks, Jutes and Angles settled in Britain during the 5th and 6th Centuries, followed later in the 9th and 10th Centuries by the Danes and Vikings. The English get their name from the Angles tribe.
The culture that these tribes shared came with them on these visits to Britain.