Sceaf

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{god, call, give}
{son, year, death}
{language, word, form}
{style, bgcolor, rowspan}
{island, water, area}
{water, park, boat}
{line, north, south}
{food, make, wine}
{math, number, function}

Sceafa (Old English: scēafa), also spelled Sceaf (scēaf) or Scef (scēf), was an ancient Lombardic king in English legend. According to his story, Sceafa appeared mysteriously as a child, coming out of the sea in an empty boat. The name also appears in the corrupt forms Seskef, Stefius, Strephius, and Stresaeus. Though the name has historically been modernized Shava (and Latinized Scefius), J. R. R. Tolkien used the modern spelling Sheave.

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Widsith

The Old English poem Widsith, line 32, in a listing of famous kings and their countries, has Sceafa Longbeardum, so naming Sceafa as ruler of the Lombards. In Origo Gentis Langobardorum the Lombards' origins are traced to an "island" in the north named Scadan or Scandan ("Scandinavia"). But neither this account or any other mentions Sceafa among their later kings or gives the names of any kings that ruled them in the land of their origin where they were said to have been known as the Winnili.

In genealogies

Other than this, Sceaf is mentioned only in chronicles tracing the lineage of the English kings, although variants are found in similar genealogies for the rulers of the Danes, Norwegians and Icelanders in the sagas. Most such genealogies stop at the god Woden, but some trace the supposed ancestors of Woden up to a certain Geat. The account in the Historia Britonum calls Geat a son of a god. Asser in his Life of Alfred writes instead that the pagans worshipped Geat himself for a long time as a god.

Moderns speculate on whether this Geat is any eponym of the people known as Geats, or whether it may be the name of a god, or whether it is both. The apparent Old Norse cognate form Gautr is a very common byname for Odin. The Icelandic Herrauðssaga speaks of King Hring who ruled East Götaland and was son of Gauti son of Odin. Jordanes in his The origin and deeds of the Goths traces the line of the Amelungs up to Hulmul son of Gapt, purportedly the first Gothic hero of record. This Gapt is felt by many commentators to be an error for Gaut.

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