HEREMOD was one of the Danish kings in the past. Although he was given power over all men, he didn't use it to increase the Danes' glory. Rather, he used that power to slaughter his table-companions, which was considered the biggest sin in Anglo-Saxon culture.

Heremod is described by Hrothgar after Beowulf returns to Heorot and boasts about his battle with Grendel's mother. The Geat gives Hrothgar the golden hilt, the only remains of the giant sword, and tells him that Hrunting, the legendary Danish sword, has failed for the first time. At this point, the king decides to give Beowulf a lecture on hubris, so that the great warrior doesn't get spoiled by his own success. Heremod is cited as an example of evil: "Teach yourself by him, be mindful of munificence," Hrothgar advises Beowulf.