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Tribal and Social Customs

By Harper Bode and Peyton Peck
by

Harper Bode

on 30 October 2012

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Transcript of Tribal and Social Customs

Harper Bode and Peyton Peck Tribal and Social Customs
Beowulf About Anglo-Saxons: Social Structure Anglo-Saxons were highly devoted to their kings.

The king was one who resembled loyalty, bravery, and kindness.

The king was viewed as the people's overall ideas of a hero.

The warriors should respect their king over themselves.

These characteristics were shown through Beowulf when he became king.

For example: Beowulf stood up to fight the dragon on his own, showing true bravery like one king should Social Structure Warriors In Anglo Saxon Society, Fighting was more common than peace. Fighting was viewed as more honorable thing to do rather than creating peace

When it came to fighting, they would do anything to protect their king

The kings life always comes before your own

If a warrior was exiled or outlasted their fellow warriors then one was viewed badly throughout the Anglo Saxon society.

Warriors believed these two fates to be the worst thing that could happen to them. The Anglo-Saxon Society lasted from 410 to 1066 (600 years). The term " Anglo- Saxon" refers to the settlers of the german regions of Angelo and Saxony. They ventured their way over to England following the fall of the Roman Empire around 410 AD. When coming to England, they brought their own language and religious beliefs. After Saint Augustine came to Britain in 597 most of the people of their land converted to Christianity. To keep track of what happened and how we have most of our information on the Anglo Saxons comes from literature and the Anglo- Saxon Chronicle. Anglo-Saxons also believed that the king should share the treasures of war instead of keeping them to himself For example: before Beowulf's death Beowulf tells Wiglaf to take the treasure back to the people; exemplifying a true king in Anglo-Saxon society

Weapons and treasure were very significant to the Anglo-Saxons: Having there treasures on display, one felt truly accomplished and successful in this society.

It proved their achievements, which was a big deal to the Anglo-Saxons

Success is one to flaunt in the Anglo-Saxon society

In the Anglo Saxon society, flaunting your success was considered a good thing. It proved you as a person.
For example: Grendel Hand was hung in the mead hall to show the outstanding success of Beowulfs fight and strength.

In the Anglo Saxon society, the tradition of flaunting your treasures was very common.

Traditional Family Feuds:


The killing of one sibling to another was not welcomed socially


It was the last thing you would ever want to do in an Anglo Saxon society

For example: Grendel was a descendent of Cain, who killed his sibling Abel

This explaining the evil side to Grendel and how it was easy for the anglo saxon society to view him badly

In a family feud Anglo Saxons believed in two things that were acceptable for revenge:

1.Paying wergild

2.A marriage arrangement WOMEN

"Women were known as 'cup-bearers' (because they served the mead) and 'peace-weavers' (because of this function whereby feuds could be ended)" (Delahoyde 1).

Women have an important role in society because they were the ones to create the alliances

"Wealhtheow came in,
Hrothgar's queen, observing the courtesies.
Adorned in her gold, she graciously saluted
the men in hall, then handed the cup
first to Hrothgar, their homeland's guardian,
urging him to drink deep and enjoy it
because he was dear to them. And he drank it down
like the warlord he was, with festive cheer.
So the Helming woman went on her rounds,
queenly and dignified, decked out in rings,
offering the goblet to all ranks,
treating the household and the assembled troop
until it was Beowulf's turn to take it from her hand." (Heaney 612-24)

Here, the queen plays her role in handing the drinks around

By doing this, she gets to know the men
and creates future alliances between them

In Anglo-Saxon society, People were recognized through honor
In the military world, honor was a very important aspect

"Meanwhile, a thane
of the king's household, a carrier of tales,
a traditional singer deeply schooled
in the lore of the past, linked a new theme
to a strict metre. The man started
to recite with skill, rehearsing Beowulf's
triumphs and feats in well-fashioned lines,
entwining his words"(Heaney 866-73).

This shows the honor in which was held for Beowulf. By honoring him, People saw his great triumphs and his brave leadership. People understood his heroic characteristics. Traditional Honor The Epic Poem, Beowulf, truly exemplifies the basics of tribal and social customs of the Anglo-Saxon society. It is easy for one to relate the two through their social structures, traditions, and beliefs Thesis Beowulf also relates it to the Anglo-Saxon Customs through the importance of youth.
Throughout the epic poem, it discusses how important the quality of youth is to Beowulf and Anglo-Saxon. This part also discusses how Beowulf is born good by nature
Part Two (1009- 2199) describes how important the shifts from the beginning of the middle and the middle ages.
- Beowulf is middle aged
and good by fortune
in example, "Hrothgar adopts him; Wealhtheoh seeks his patronage for her sons; both reward him with magnificent gifts and tell him how famous he is" (Abraham).
The third part (2200- END) discuses the importance of endings and of life.
-"In Part 3 Beowulf is especially endowed with the goods of grace: virtues and good deeds. The poet praises his virtuous life (2170-71, 2177-83); and the poem ends with his people's praise of his virtues. Beowulf himself takes pleasure in having lived virtuously (2736-43);" (Abraham) The Decorum of Beowulf Abraham, Lenore. "The Decorum of Beowulf." June 1993. Web. 28 Oct. 2012.
"Anglo-Saxon Culture." Anglo-Saxon Culture. Web. 28 Oct. 2012.
"The Anglo-Saxons." BBC News. BBC, Web. 28 Oct. 2012.
Heaney, Seamus. Beowulf. London: Faber, 1999. Print. Work Consulted
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