Germanic and Anglo-Saxon Religious Beliefs
A hero both controls and transforms events, a coward does not as Beowulf shows : “a coward faced with a dangerous situation, such as an uncertain fate often presents, always gives way and fails to exploit the moment of crisis to his advantage. ”. Anglo-Saxons and they were converted to Christianity by missionaries from Rome. In the era of Beowulf the pre-christian Germanic gods venerated in actual human historical figures who, upon their death , were posthumously elevated to divine status in a created mythology.
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ODIN ; was The “all father” and leader of the Germanic patheon. TYR; the early god of war in Germanic religion , often call “tyr the wise” . THOR; son of odin and jord. Thor is the god of war, strength, thunder/ lighting, and physical battle , he is most famous for his use of mjollnir , the mighty hammer capable of destroying any target. FORSETI; god of peace ,diplomacy ,truth , knowledge, and justice. FREYJA; god of wind and storms. FREYJR; god of love, sexuality ,fertility ,relationships and the harvest.
HEIMDALL; god representing vigilance, the senses, perception, foresight/predicition and readiness. Fatalism played a role in the pre-christian Germanic beliefs. Pre-christian Germanic people saw fate s something that was not entirely something out of their control. Yet we will see that not only are human actins are very much a part of the equation of Germanic thought, but some can indeed escape their self-made fate. Such as the character honscio’s fate was woven outside of any control of his. The various Germanic peoples were converted to christinity during the fourth century.
Constantine began a practice that any peace treaty entered into the with the conquered tribes required their convention to Christianity. By the time of the emperor Constantine, after 3 centuries of preaching, Christianity represented about ten percent of the population of the roman empire. Part of this achievement was the result of owe at the power of the Christian church fathers, who had claimed that some among them could cure sickness and even raise the dead. Part of it resulted from respect for Christianity’s undoubted concern for the poor and its moral principles.
Constantine ensured that those with ambition knew they would improve their career prospects by adopting Christianity , or at least appearing to do so. The Anglo-saxons believed in in gods such as Woden and Thor; and they believed in “Wyrd”-fate, they believed in killing for killing , and that revenge was not something that originated in passion ,but was a system of law and order, gained but provoked. They were Materialistic people; their two reasons to fight were to gain glory , and revenge.