Friday, November 16, 2007

Beowulf vs. the Romans

Or, how absurdly far culture fell after the end of the Roman Empire.

Because the film, which seems to have little to do with the story, is coming out.
Beowulf is regarded as the oldest story related to England. Despite that, it's, um, sort of well...not quite polished...in relation to Roman novels. Essentially Beowulf is about kicking ass.

Let's compare: Beowulf

LO, praise of the prowess of people-kings
of spear-armed Danes, in days long sped,
we have heard, and what honor the athelings won!
Oft Scyld the Scefing from squadroned foes,
from many a tribe, the mead-bench tore,
awing the earls. Since erst he lay
friendless, a foundling, fate repaid him:
for he waxed under welkin, in wealth he throve,
till before him the folk, both far and near,
who house by the whale-path, heard his mandate,
gave him gifts: a good king he!
To him an heir was afterward born,
a son in his halls, whom heaven sent
to favor the folk, feeling their woe
that erst they had lacked an earl for leader
so long a while; the Lord endowed him,
the Wielder of Wonder, with world's renown.

and now "The Golden Ass" of Apuleis (both of these examples are the first sections of the books)

As I fortuned to take my voyage into Thessaly, about certaine affaires
which I had to doe ( for there myne auncestry by my mothers side
inhabiteth, descended of the line of that most excellent person
Plutarch, and of Sextus the Philosopher his Nephew, which is to us
a great honour) and after that by much travell and great paine I had
passed over the high mountaines and slipperie vallies, and had ridden
through the cloggy fallowed fields; perceiving that my horse did wax
somewhat slow, and to the intent likewise that I might repose and
strengthen my self (being weary with riding) I lighted off my horse,
and wiping the sweat from every part of his body, I unbrideled him,
and walked him softly in my hand, to the end he might pisse, and ease
himself of his weariness and travell: and while he went grazing freshly
in the field (casting his head sometimes aside, as a token of rejoycing
and gladnesse) I perceived a little before me two companions riding, and
so I overtaking them made a third. And while I listened to heare their
communication, the one of them laughed and mocked his fellow, saying,
Leave off I pray thee and speak no more, for I cannot abide to heare
thee tell such absurd and incredible lies; which when I heard, I desired
to heare some newes, and said, I pray you masters make me partaker
of your talk, that am not so curious as desirous to know all your
communication: so shall we shorten our journey, and easily passe this
high hill before us, by merry and pleasant talke.

By the way, if the reason that you want to see Beowulf is to see Angelina Jolie naked you'd be better off renting "Gia", a movie made for HBO. Plus, they aren't real.

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