Last updated: August 23, 2019
Topic: Essay database
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Comitatus is the basic idea that everyone protects the king at all costs even if it means a warrior giving his own life. If the king is killed, the warriors must avenge the death of the king or they can no longer serve as warriors for the next king in line. The warriors take a vow as if they was signing an unwritten contract, that they would fight anyone or anything in order to protect the king, and the people. These vows/ unwritten contract demonstrated courageousness and loyalty between the king and warrior.

They would have been given rewards such as a lavish place to reside, golden treasures, rare beautiful jewels worth plenty, and the protection they too received under the king. As seen in Beowulf. In the epic poem of Beowulf the vow of comitatus affects the relationship between Beowulf and King Hygelac, Hrothgar and Beowulf, and finally Beowulf and Wiglaf. For example, the vow of comitatus is proven to be quite immense as soon as the beast of Grendel threatens the people under the clan of King Hygelac. As soon as Beowulf herd that the King was in need of help he responded.

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No one stopped him, no one tried to convince him otherwise, and instead they helped prepare him for what was to come. As the epic poem of Beowulf began King Hrothgar was on the throne of the people of Heorot. As King of Heorot, Hrothgar is threatened by a powerful demon. This monstrous scary demon that threatens King Hrothgar and his people of Heorot is Grendel. King Hrothgar sends out a call of distress and Beowulf as a loyal and brave thane comes to the rescue since it is his duty to protect his King and people. So in return for the comitatus that Beowulf has demonstrated to his King Hrothgar, he shall be compensated for it.

After the astonishing defeat King Hrothgar who gives him a treasure recompenses Beowulf for the great display of comitatus that he showed him. The final demonstration of comitatus is between Beowulf and Wiglaf. Like the last two relationships of comitatus, Beowulf and Wiglaf too share a strong bond of King. After Beowulf inherits the kingship he and his people as well are threatened yet again by another dragon. So with the sword that Hygelac presented him with, Beowulf sets out to defend his people from this vicious dragon. For the last time in this epic poem comitatus is demonstrated between King and warrior. and Anglo-saxon cultur