The King of Kings

2050 Words Feb 17th, 2018 8 Pages
Christians since before the dream of Constantine have believed God and Christ constitute a ruler of the universe. Anglo-Saxon society perceived the Christian God in the mold of the pre-Christian Germanic tradition of kingship. The Anglo-Saxon perception of God as a king in the Germanic tradition has tremendous significance on late Anglo-Saxon politics. The inclusion of the Christian deity in the leadership hierarchy of Anglo-Saxon society contributed to changes in how earthly kings themselves were perceived.
Tacitus’s Germania offers insight into value system of the continental pagan ancestors of the Anglo-Saxons three centuries before Horsa and Hengist. Those peoples, collectively referred to as the Germani are a warrior society. As a culture, they valued no trait higher than bravery in battle and perceived cowardice as a “supreme disgrace”. On the subject of the Germani leaders Tacitus wrote, “They choose their kings for their noble birth, their leader for their valor. But even the power of the kings is not absolute or arbitrary. As for the leaders, it is for example rather than their authority which wins special distinction”. These war leaders leading by example inspired fierce loyalty from those under their command. Tacitus wrote “On the field of battle it is a disgrace to the leader to be surpassed in valour by his companions, to the companions not to equal the valour of…

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