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John Grigsby reveals that the English had a mythology and a vibrant pagan religion as rich and complex as that of the early Celts, of which only a few precious fragments remain. One such fragment is a Dark Age poem that tells of the deeds of a monster-slaying hero Beowulf, who frees the feasting hall of a Danish king from the twelve-year tyranny of a creature named Grendel. Grigsby explains how this poem is a dim recollection of an ancient religious clash between the indigenous peoples of Denmark (the ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons) whose rites included human sacrifice and the incoming 'Danes'. He shows how the memory of the forceful suppression of this sacrificial cult in the 5th century AD by the Odin worshipping Danes lies behind the seemingly fantastic deeds of Beowulf. Grigsby's conclusions will revolutionize the way we think about the ancestors of the English and his discovery will restore the poem to its rightful place as a national epic.

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