Beowulf is the hero of an ancient epic, titled Beowulf, which is the oldest known epic narrative composed in English. Beowulf is a powerful warrior who comes to the aid of the Danish king Hrothgar, whose hall is raided each night by the hideous man-eating monster Grendel. Beowulf slays Grendel and then Grendel's angry mother, and rules as king of the Geats until he himself is slain in battle with a dragon. The Beowulf epic is probably a conglomeration of ancient Scandinavian folk tales, compiled by a single unknown author sometime around the eighth century AD. It remains a standard text in English literature classes in high schools and colleges.
A 2000 translation of Beowulf by author Seamus Heaney won the Whitbread Book of the Year award in the United Kingdom.