Shield Sheafson is the leader of the Danes when the narrative begins. Danes is a place in Scandinavia which can be said a Denmark of today's world.
The story of Beowulf begins with a recounting of the Danes' founding. The Danes were enjoying prosperity, after having conquered many other tribes through battle, Shield Sheafson as their leader. He is described as a 'scourge of many tribes, / a wreaker of mead-benches, rampaging among foes' (lines 4-5). The people love him because he has helped them take control of all of the surrounding civilizations. Shield Sheafson is ruthless, destroying the mead-halls (gathering rooms) of nearby tribes, and forcing tributes to be paid to the Danes. He also takes good care of his own tribe, making sure that all of his people have plenty of food, clothing, and treasures from war. Because he cares for his people so well, they, in turn, are loyal to him. This form of kinship, or loyalty, was a crucial component of Anglo-Saxon society.
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