Eheu, Beowulf: a mighty warrior; but if only his society were Romanized

As former emperor of the once great Roman empire, and currently a god (as it was tradition for Roman emperors to raised to divine status) who has viewed history from the surreal domain since my passing in 79A.D., I can say that without a doubt Beowulf is among the noblest and most courageous of heroes to walk this earth. Had he not lived in a monotheistic society, there is no doubt in my mind that he would have also been raised to divine status. Surely, no mortal man can contest with his pure strength—ripping off the arm of the detestable Grendel—nor his honor—his class—facing the beast without weapons so as to make it a fair fight(though as we know, no weapon would be capable of harming such a beast); how truly laudable his actions and disposition are/were.

It is worth noting, though, the disparate conception on heroism between our two societies: sure courage and strength are revered traits within Roman culture and in heroism, but it is wit— shrewdness, combat through intellect—that, above all, we Romans value; and it is through this that we had built up the grandest empire, republic (call it what you will, it’s all the same) that had transcended the test of time for over a thousand years—two-thousand if you count the Byzantine empire as the Eastern Roman Empire. On the other hand, these Germanic cultures, while placing great admiration and emphasis on physical strength—which they possess in great abundance(n.b. Caesar’s De Bellum Gaulicum: Text IV)—tend to neglect those aforementioned traits involving the mind and wit. If only they would idolize the intellectuals within their society to the same degree as their warriors, then they might be capable of rivaling the might and glory of what our empire once was. As we Romans say, “Mens sana in corpore sano”—“A strong/sound mind in a strong/sound body”.


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