This book is composed of four main characteristics: fame, kingship, fate, and God, which play very important roles throughout the book. In Beowulf the Anglo-Saxons longed for fame. To them fame meant immortality. For example, the narrator says, "But Beowulf longing only for fame, leaped into battle" (Raffel 1529). To Beowulf the only reason to risk his life is a battle, is so he can have his moments of fame, hence immortality.
However, the Vikings had goals. They wanted prosperous farmland, a successful life, travel the world, and to know that someone of a higher power was looking out for them. Vikings believed in a polytheism or the worship of more than one god. These gods and goddesses were all “in charge” of a certain job that varies like knowledge, war, or fertility. The stories the Vikings told spoke from how the world was created to the many different gods and goddesses and how they worship them, so that they can be protected or saved.
"Higlac is my cousin and my king…(142)" says Beowulf in his preparation to do battle with the threatening monster, Grendel. Loyalty to the Anglo-Saxons was heroic; however, the tale of Beowulf has lived on so many years for a greater reason than Beowulf being a loyal individual. Heroes today, as well as heroes of yesterday, such as Beowulf, all share the characteristic of their willingness to die in their attempt to accomplish their heroic act, thus making the act in itself heroic. Beowulf knows that there is a chance that he may die in his great battle against Grendel when he says, "No, I expect no Danes will fret about sewing our shrouds, if he wins. And if death does take me, send the hammered mail of my armor to Higlac…"; yet he is still willing to attempt to conquer Grendel.
The Eaters of the Dead also demonstrates this struggle between cultures, playing off Beowulf in theme. Excalibur, the Arthurian Legend, depicts the final battle between Christian and pagan belief, Christianity winning out in the end. Epics such as these express their values through heroic acts and support William Shakespeare's quote; "Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them." Beowulf, labeled the first indisputable masterpiece of the English language, follows the Quest of a Scandinavian warrior who embodies the perfect Hero. Beowulf's fearless nature and love for battle make him a sought after idol in accords to the values of an Anglo-Saxon.
This, in turn, says much about the importance of fate and religion to the medieval Norse peoples. Crucial to the epic of Sigurd is the presence of Odin. Therefore, it is not a coincidence that this tale is weaved with threads from each of Odin’s most divine characteristics: war, wisdom, death, and ecstasy. Only Odin is there to see this epic through from beginning to end. Indeed, it was Odin who set the events in motion.
These individual gods specialized in his/her own field and they were the explanations for the many events that occurred around ancient Greece. This was important to the ancient civilizations; in fact, the ancient Greeks even built individual temples for the more important gods and goddesses. In these temples, the specified god or goddess was worshipped and treated like loyalty. But, the Greeks were not the only ones who observed this religion. Ancient Romans also followed in Greek’s footsteps, believing in multiple, similar gods and goddesses.
Honor decreed that he lead his own troops into battle, and ... ... middle of paper ... ... is when Donovan states, “ Yet the Viking movement did make noteworthy contributions to European civilization. Outstanding among them are the ideals of loyalty, courage, and individual freedom, which are shared by Viking descendants in many lands.” (25) In conclusion it was ultimately the Vikings’ code of ethics, religion, and ideals were the reasons why they were such a fierce people. Works Cited Donovan, Frank R., and Thomas D. Kendrick The Vikings. London: Cassell, 1964. Print.
Ancient Mesopotamia Mesopotamia, the land between the Tigris and Euphrates was home to the ancient civilizations of Sumer, Babylon, and Akkad. The Mesopotamian people were predominantly of polytheistic faith; the social construct of gods allowed them to develop meaning and order in their lives. Every aspect of life was dominated by the belief that submitting to the worship of gods would shield them from divine wrath. Cities were endowed with patron gods that were guardians and the duty of the ruler was to act upon their behalf. Ziggurats were built to honor the holiness of the gods and to appease them in hopes of attaining their blessings.
Another way that an Anglo-Saxon warrior shows their love of glory is shown br Christopher Garcia: “A hero must be willing to die to achieve glory” (The Anglo-Saxon Hero). With this being said the warriors are to put everything on the line to achieve the ultimate amount of glory. Which is to die for one’s country or kingdom. These are just a few out of many ways Beowulf shows the Anglo-Saxon love of glory. Another trait of the Anglo-Saxon culture is loyalty to a leader.
For battle. Think of your bold knights,/My life the least, my death no loss. . .” (58). Of course all of King Arthur’s knights were valuable to the kingdom, so the phrase of “my death no loss,” merely meant that the kingdom of King Arthur would continue without Sir Gawain, but it would not continue with the death King Arthur.