Hreðric and Hroðmund

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Hreðric[1] and Hroðmund were the sons of the Danish king Hroðgar and his queen, Wealhþeow, in the Old English epic Beowulf. They are only mentioned in passing, and there seems to be some foreshadowing in Beowulf that their cousin, Halga's son Hroðulf, i.e. Hrólfr Kraki, would usurp the throne from them.

Scandinavian tradition[edit]

It has been suggested that Hreðric corresponds to Hrörekr/Rørik in Scandinavian tradition.[2] However, the traditions vary and so Hrörekr is either killed by Hrólfr Kraki or his successor as the ruler of Zealand (the Danish heartland).

In Saxo Grammaticus's Gesta Danorum (Book 2), where we find that Hrólfr Kraki has killed a Rørik: "... our king, who laid low Rorik (i.e. Rørik), the son of Bok the covetous, and wrapped the coward in death." Rørik is the form we would expect Hreðric to take in Old East Norse and we find personages named Rørik or Hrok or similar in most versions of the Hrólf Kraki tradition but differently accounted for, seemingly indicating that Scandinavian tradition had forgotten who exactly Hreðric/Rørik/Hrok was and various story tellers subsequently invented details to explain references to this personage in older poems.

The Skjöldunga saga tells that a Valdar disputed that Hrörekr, the cousin of Helgi (Halga) succeeded Hrólfr Kraki (Hroðulf) as the king of the Daner. After the war, Hrörekr took Zealand, while Valdar took Skåne. If based on the same tradition as Hversu Noregr byggdist, Valdar had the right to claim the throne being the son of the former king Hróarr (Hroðgar).

Footnotes[edit]