Comparison Of Augustus And Beowulf Essay, Research Paper
Augustus and Beowulf are two great champions, idols, gallant, bold, courageous creatures. To sum it up in one word any historian would argue that these two are famed heroes. The word hero means a figure in mythology and legend renowned for exceptional courage and fortitude. Many aspects of each one s character makes the claim for them to be great leaders and rulers to be true. Historians regarded Augustus as the creator of the Roman Empire, whereas Beowulf is a type of ideal hero and ideal king. Beowulf could claim that he had fulfilled his duties as a king and upheld the heroic codes. Although the two aren t perfect they do represent the ideal hero. Many characteristics compare to the ideals in Rome in the first century and Britain in the eighth century.
In his nineteenth year on his own initiative and at his own expense, Augustus raised an army with which he set free the state. He drove the men who slaughtered his father into exile with a legal order, punishing their crime, and afterwards, when they waged war on the state, Augustus conquered them in two battles. As a man who thought as himself as a courageous man, Augustus was filled with pride while accomplishing all that he did. He remained true to his units and they thought too thought of their leader as a great leader and hero. Some might say he was the best they ever had. All of these characteristics can be seen through the eyes of those who lived during his time. An intelligent leader was what they saw. Augustus too saw these qualities in himself as well. He was not a boastful man, however leadership qualities such as his were hard to ignore.
Emperor Augustus of Rome was born with the given name Octavian. He took the name Gaius Caesar Octavianus after the murder of his great uncle, Julius Caesar. In 27 B.C. the Roman Senate bestowed upon him the title Augustus meaning the exalted. They also gave him the legal power to rule Rome s religious, civil, and military affairs, with the Senate as an advisory body.
Rome achieved great glory under Augustus. He restored peace after 100 years of civil war; maintained an honest government and a sound currency system; extended the highway system connecting Rome with its empire; developed an efficient postal service; fostered free trade among the provinces; and built many bridges, aqueducts and buildings adorned with beautiful works of art created in the classical style. Augustus is mentioned in Luke 2:1 for issuing a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. Because everyone was to be registered in his or her own town for the census, Joseph went with Mary from Nazareth to his ancestral home of Bethlehem. Jesus was born in a manger there while the census was taken. Augustus was the sole ruler over the entire Roman Empire during the reign. Through close work with the Senate, he brought peace and prosperity to the Roman world after decades of unrest and civil war. In addition, he reformed the army and made the provinces more secure. His rule was so successful that the idea of restoring a republican government gradually died out. Augustus could have easily declared himself dictator, but the thought was repugnant to him. He wanted to restore the republic and recognize the problems of the civil war that had destroyed the republican constitution. Augustus preferred not to create anything new. He wished to modify republican forms to make them better.
Augustus sponsored many reforms to strengthen the empire. He reorganized the army into a highly disciplined, professional body, loyal to the emperor. In addition to this, he encouraged former soldiers to settle in the provinces, where they could bolster local defense. Following in the footsteps of his predecessor, Julius Caesar, he continued the policy of granting Roman citizenship to people in conquered provinces. Such measures ensured the loyalty of these people to Rome and the spread of Roman ideas. As the first Roman emperor, Augustus presided over many important reforms in the Roman Empire. An able soldier, he is most noted for bringing Rome a long period of peace.
Not only did Augustus have qualities that were looked upon as a great hero, but Beowulf also compares to this glorious achiever. Both men carried in their lives the gift of pride and glory for all the years that they ruled. People looked up to the two as a leader and great men all around. Augustus was the more ideal hero that was realistic to his people and Beowulf was an ideal hero that was more of a creature that fought like no other man could. Although the two men did have failures, they could also be looked at as successes. For example when Beowulf arrives in Herot and all honor is upon Beowulf, Unferth tells a story of when Beowulf competed with Breca. The story goes to tell how Beowulf raced against Breca in the open sea and Beowulf lost the race. However, Beowulf tells how successful he really was. Unferth, my friend, half-seas over as you are, you have had a good deal to say about Breca and his exploits! some fearful monster took fast hold of me and dragged me to the bottom; however, I had the luck to get at the brute with the point of my sword, and in the hurly-burly I dispatched it. This story does show that Beowulf did fail in the race, but most importantly he really did succeed in this battle. His pride and his strength did not let him down, for Beowulf won a fair fight even though he did lose. Augustus has qualities like this too, however he was not so much a strong fighting man as Beowulf was. Augustus fought in way of for his people and led an army to which he strengthened. His army looked at him as a leader and idol. In some ways Beowulf and Augustus are alike in their hero-like qualities, however some aspects of each character gives them their own unique qualities that made they who they were.
For the history of Western Civilization one of the most momentous aspects of Augustus s reign was Roman expansion into the wilderness of northern and western Europe. While the hero was following in the footsteps of Julius Caesar, Augustus pushed Rome s frontier into the region of modern Germany. Augustus Caesar was a true hero in the Roman Empire. After his death in A.D. 14, Augustus impressed the people after they saw all that he had done. He rebuilt the Capitol and holy temples numbering eighty-two, the theater of Pompey, waterways, and the Flaminian road. He shared his tribunician powers with his adopted son, Tiberus, grooming him for the principate. In his will Augustus left most of his fortune to Tiberius, and the senate requested Tiberius to assume the title as principate. Formalities apart, Augustus had succeeded in creating a dynasty. Augustus is known as one true hero in his time. He was courageous, strong willed, and like no other.
Known as a Great Warrior , Beowulf, son of Ecgtheow, a Geat and Pagan, was like no other warrior ever seen before. He is the strongest man alive. He has the strength of thirty men in his army alone. When Beowulf was only a boy, he had battles with his friends and swam for miles with his sword in his hand and armor on the rest of his body. When he battles Grendel s mother, it is said that Beowulf is underwater for nearly half a day. These examples show that Beowulf is a man of strength and courage. So many qualities characterize this warrior; however, strength seems to be the most important to him. According to the Webster s Dictionary strength means the quality of being strong; power in general; degree of concentration and potency. Beowulf holds all of these to be true. Beowulf looks at himself as a man of might, toughness, and durability. One could go on to describe how tough and strong Beowulf is, but no one man can ever live up to the power of this creature. He is a unique individual with more courage and strength than anyone in his time.
Aside from being a strong individual, he is also very smart and modest about his strength. As a man of wit and intelligence, Beowulf is strengthened by these qualities. Beowulf arrives in Herot and is confronted with opposition. The king, Hrothgar, allows Beowulf to fight because he has known Beowulf s father, Ecgtheow, and Hrothgar saved him from a feud. Again, the story at the sea that Unferth tells comes into the picture when discussing Beowulf s intelligent qualities. After Beowulf tells about what happened he says this great line: Fate often saves an undoomed man when his courage is good . Beowulf battles his enemies with pride and tells Hrothgar that he will fulfill the will of your people of else fall in slaughter, fast in the foe s grasp. I shall achieve a deed of mainly courage of else have lived to see in his mead-hall my ending day . Beowulf is saying that he would rather die in battle, then any other place. A great warrior would rather die in battle. According to Beowulf, it is always better to seek vengeance then suffer then to live in sorrow. Beowulf saves the people of Herot. He is greatly praised and he receives gifts and good advice from Hrothgar. Beowulf returns home to Hygelac and becomes king. In his old age, he battles a dragon; unfortunately, the dragon gets the best of him, and Beowulf falls to his death. The life of a great and praised warrior has finally ended.
In the society in which the poem Beowulf takes place, war and kingship are normal factors in daily life. Beowulf s world is a very violent society with wars as a dominant part of daily life. Dragons and monsters are a constant threat to the Danes and the Geats. Warriors are a necessity to this war-like society. Beowulf is a hero and an example of a great warrior. While Beowulf is fighting against monsters in his time, Augustus is also achieving great deeds by fighting with his army against those that took down his father. Both men are fearless in their somewhat different, but courageous battles. In the section where Beowulf fights the Dragon he has no fear because he has fought many enemies that we much more ferocious. For example on of Beowulf s great battles is the fight with Grendel. No one other than Beowulf is brave enough or strong enough to fight Grendel and no one other than Augustus is able to achieve the many battles he held while leading his army. .
Augustus and Beowulf are both seen as great leaders in each one s society. Both cultures see leadership and the ability to become a leader. Each represents the ideal man to whom everyone wants to be like. This creates a hero in each society. For all that Augustus and Beowulf have done, as you can see, why wouldn t every man and child want to be like this? What makes a person great is their ability to be a leader, a hero, and just a bold, courageous person. Augustus and Beowulf are great legends who are often thought of when hero comes to mind. The two characters seemed to have shaped the way life was seen back in the first and eighth centuries. They overturned to idea of a disruptive society and turned it in to honor and leadership among people. Life after Augustus and Beowulf was like a whole different world. Values and leadership qualities came in to the picture and people started to engage in taking control of situations.
Some may ask if people can truly be regarded as being great. The quote once said that Only great men are marked with great faults. This quote holds true for Augustus and Beowulf. They both had faults yet they were only achieved through the attempt of their success. People in Beowulf s society saw him to be a warrior that was looked up to and they described him to be a great success. Beowulf was more of a non-fiction creature that was thought of as a hero. Augustus was more of the ideal man that everyone wanted to be. People in Beowulf s society knew that they could never have the strength to be what he was. People with nobility of their minds create many mistakes throughout their lives. People do indeed have faults, like Beowulf and Augustus, but it isn t these faults that restrict them from being a great person. Each day people break society s norms or rules and most feel they have done nothing wrong. Augustus and Beowulf were thought to be great men, however they did do wrong by killing. Do these actions make them great? No, a great individual would not kill. However, each person has their own way of justifying their actions. Most people blame someone else for their own actions of others who did a deed far worse than theirs. With this constant justification of our negative traits, people s views of reality begin to become distorted or lost. With distortion of reality, the whole society begins to shift into a great nation of sinners.
The society in the first century is, however, much different than society today. In the first century society gloried over a king or one heroic leader. This leader had the characteristics that both Beowulf and Augustus held. People in their societies saw these two men as one person to look up to and follow. This is different than society today because today there are so many different people that a person looks up to. In our time there is not ONE person that stands out as a great hero, but many people that hold this title. Augustus and Beowulf are special because they are true unique leaders that represent their ideal societies.
Augustus and Beowulf could have denied their evil side completely. It is possible they tricked themselves to believe they were great and there was no room for any evil inside of them. Everyone has feelings of greed, envy, hate, and many others that inhibit them from being great. People have egos that block out their feelings of worthiness making them believe they are inferior and incapable of completing a task honorably. This is the explanation for the corruption within our daily lives be it in relationships, work place, or even the political system. As this corruption continues, the society begins to accept these behaviors as common practice thus leading to a world of evil driven people. Our society today cuts down the person who achieves or has any form of success.
In the time of Augustus and Beowulf, heroes like these two were praised for their successes and the leadership that both showed to each culture. Today, a truly great person is only an illusion in the consciousness of society. People only focus on the flaws that a person who appears to be successful acquires. They do not want to consider the other traits that led to the person s success. With this ongoing force from society, it is impossible to be great. With these negative flaws it is no wonder there are no great people. The statement only great men are marked with great faults is slightly correct. Every person is marked with great faults, but there are no people in this world today that are great no matter whom they are. The potential for greatness is destroyed with these great faults and no one can achieve greatness these days. This evidence of Beowulf and Augustus shows that only back then could you be a great individual. Many can acquire their power and leadership skills, but only the strongest will survive.