Beowulf-The Anglo Saxon Code of Honor

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Stick to the Code Honor, loyalty, strength, and courage. Four simple words; relatively similar. Today, we pass by these words and don’t give them a second thought. Unlike during the time of the Anglo-Saxons, these words did not provide a code to live by. These words never determined our fate. The epic poem, “Beowulf”, is a clear example of the Anglo-Saxon code of conduct and how it influenced the entire culture during its time span of 449-1066 A.D. In the poem, Beowulf, along with his army of thanes, was held in extremely high regards. They were expected to be sturdy and faithful, worthy and brave. “…be strong and kind. Here each comrade is true to the other, loyal to the lord, loving in spirit” (Greenblatt, 61 lines 1227-1229) Any violation of this code was understood as treason. Therefore, it was strictly followed and seen as the highest standard of which all thanes attempted to obtain. The Anglo-Saxon period lead the way for all future eras to live up to. They held their leaders in the utmost regard and saw to it that they addressed them with chivalric devotion. “It was their habit always and everywhere to be ready for action…in whatever case and at whatever time the need arose to rally round their lord” (Greenblatt, 61 lines 1246-1250). During the time that “Beowulf” arose, brutal fights and turbulent battles took place and so the Anglo-Saxon people valued might, audacity, and nobility. These qualities were looked upon as those of a hero; one who could sweep them out of such perilous times. Honor is seen in today’s society as high respect, or fairness. When we think of honor we think of police officers and President Obama. We applaud our children who make the honor roll and ask the heads of our households to “do the honors” at Thanksgiving. Honor is undoubtedly a positive property, but one which we do not expect from every
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