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The Comitatus Relationship in Beowulf

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Throughout history rulers have always been protective of their kingdoms. In hopes of always being in control of their territory, rulers develop special relationships with the people to protect them. This relationship was usually achieved by of instilling fear into the minds of their warriors, or instilling respect between each other. In the story Beowulf the relationship between the ruler and his thanes is that of honor, friendship, and respect.
In Anglo Saxon stories, the relationship between the ruler and his thanes is known as comitatus. The comitatus relationship requires that "the thane swear to defend a lord to their death, while he provides them with the protection and a share of his wealth and weapons." This sounds like a typical warrior defending master relationship, but the relationship between a lord and his thanes is far more complex than that.
Along with the thane and lord each providing services for the other, there is also a great deal of camaraderie between the thanes and their lord: "Some of the native terms used for this group in Beowulf may suggest something of ...


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