Beowulf (which means "bear") stands all alone in an era of literary darkness. To really understand the mind and heart of the early German warrior, we need to look at this poem, where we find all the elements that Tacitus stated in his Germania. There is blood and slaughter, loyalty to one's lord, and honored women. This poem is the oldest in the English language, and it is set in the sixth century. King Hygalac is a historical figure who was killed in 521. However, the history is merely a backdrop, and the primary emphasis is centered on the legend. It is a story of blood and battle, clashing warriors and conquered monsters. It is a strange story that is silent about plowed fields or about harvests. The land is wild, marshy, and misty. But not only is the land wild, the sea is in a constant commotion, testing the nerve and strength of the men who sailed the ships to other lands. The lessons to be learned from the poem are much more than presenting swallow morals, but rather are about life at its basic foundation.