There have been many different types of heroes throughout the ages. Many think of the heroes of Greek mythology such as Zeus, Poseidon, and Hercules. Others may favor heroes of the Medieval Times, such as King Arthur, Sir Gawain, and Sir Lancelot. Heroes can also be found throughout American history like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Martin Luther King jr. Yet many people do not think of the obscure Anglo-Saxon Hero. It is easy to persuade people to believe in the greatness of these heroes because of their strength, arrogance, and bravery. By analyzing these traits through a mythological Anglo-Saxon here named Beowulf, these traits are extremely prevalent.
The Anglo-Saxon people invaded England from Norway, Jutland, Germany, and more from about 449 A.D. to 1066 A.D..
They were comprised of Jutes, Germans, Angles, Saxons, and Norman-French. The Germans were the first to set sail and settle in the country now known as Kent. The others steadily trickled into England and formed their own tribes. Each tribe had a warrior king that would lead them into battle. The king would appoint thanes, which were fierce fighters and loyal to the tribe.
The king would gather all of the thanes, wives, and servants into the mead hall, a large one-roomed wooden structure, where all social events took place. Fighting was common between tribes early in the Anglo-Saxon period, but that quickly changed after the Vikings started to attack continuously in the early 9th century, forcing the Anglo-Saxons to unify their kingdoms to repel their advances, or be destroyed. The Anglo-Saxon religion was full of German influence and had many of the same gods and mythology as the Scandinavians. Thor, the god of lightning and thunder, Oden, god of death, poetry, and magic, were among these gods. They were eventually converted to christianity when missionaries visited them.(Cupryk). Anglo-Saxon heroes were strong.
They would perform massive feats of strength to prove themselves, participate in contests, and fight their enemies. A story about Beowulf, one of these heroes, tells how he sails to England to fight a monster that had been terrorizing the Danes that lived there. In his struggle with this monster, named Grendel, he loses his weapon and Grendel thought he had the advantage. However, being the strong Anglo-Saxon hero that he was, he grabbed Grendel’s arm and tore it off(Beowulf). Arrogance was a primary trait that all Anglo-Saxon heroes possessed. They believed in themselves and their skills. If anyone or anything challenged their prowess, they would immediately seek retribution and wouldn’t stop until they got it. Beowulf’s arrogance led him to shame a Danish warrior named Unferth after he disrespected Beowulf’s victory in a swimming contest against another Anglo-Saxon.
Beowulf used the opportunity to retell the story and increased the difficulty of the contest by saying that not only did he beat the competitor, he fought and killed many sea snakes along the way. This