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Keeping Briton’s Religious Origins Alive Through Ancient Literature

1361 words - 6 pages

A ‘trend of unhappy endings’ was consistent in literary works of the Medieval period, where the heroes and heroines don’t live happily ever after but are instead brought great strife and are eventually killed. These tales were often reflections of the old heritage of the Britons as their religious influence persevered even after being marginalized both geographically and politically. Rather than reflecting the pessimism of the Britons after being conquered by outside forces, the tales reminded the people of the worthiness of their suffering as they connected to the heroes and heroines in the stories. Furthermore, the persistence of these religious genres is evidenced in ancient literature ...view middle of the document...

Later, Grendel’s mother attempts to attack Heorot Hall but flees to her underwater cave out of fear of Beowulf, resembling the way Satan is said to flee in the presence of Christ for he is not worthy of such divine. Beowulf, out of bravery and desire to protect the kingdom, dives into the water and defeats her with a sword from her collection of treasures. The kingdom again celebrates and Beowulf later returns to Geats. It is not too long before Beowulf is rewarded with the title of king of Geats. He serves as a wonderful king, continuously defending the lands from all beasts until one day he meets his match, a ferocious dragon. In the process of defeating the dragon, he is mortally wounded and dies. His loyal subjects glorify his life with treasures at his funeral. It is apparent, aside from the Christian depictions, that Beowulf seems to adhere also to the heroic stance of the pagans, living to ensure a legacy of bravery for future generations. This comes from the conquering of Britain by the Germanic people after merging with the Roman Empire.
Celtic Britain connected with Beowulf as strong warriors, defending their own lands and culture from invading “beasts”. They were much unified in their artistic culture and language, but laid at the edge of the Roman Empire and were thus a very enticing providence for the Romans to conquer. Through establishing authoritative structures within the culture, the Romans were able to subtly influence and control the Celtic culture with Roman style and tradition in education and literacy.
Now known as the Roman Britain, their military forces fortified their population and defended it from “hostile neighbors”, which were the barbaric tribes pouring in from the eastern frontiers. As the Scots and the Picts closed in on the territories, the Britons turned to the Germanic people, dispersed throughout Europe, for assistance: the Angles, Saxons, and Jutes. They lacked a structured writing system and currency in money, but most importantly, they were pagan, worshiping a pantheon of northern gods. They came to conquer Britain and the influence of Christianity moved, along with the Britons themselves, to the margins. Once the Germanic people were set as allies with Britain, they began to rebel against their Briton authorial figures, “seizing their power”, dispositioning them, and in extreme cases, slaughtering them. As a result, the British culture became displaced: while some Britons were driven out of the land, many others integrated with the new Germanic power holders. The intermingling posed them to adopt the dress, language, and culture of their new authority heads, causing much of their culture’s history to be indistinguishable from the Germanic Angles and Saxons. The Britons in turn conformed to whichever culture their rulers introduced to them, as they were continuously conquered over and over again.
Similarly, in Diedru and the Exile of the Sons of Uisliu, Diedru, the heroine, is seemingly “conquered...

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