Defining Masculinity Part One: Courage

temple-apollo-oracle-delphi-blogFor as long as there have been men, there have been men trying to define masculinity. If it needs to be defined then it exists and it means something. Being a man has meaning. It has an aim and a purpose.

Modernism’s Attack On Masculinity

We do not subscribe to the modernist lie that all men are equal. We believe that every man can improve and every man can be valuable to society, but we are not equal. This lie discredits the idea of the idea of a man striving to improve himself. This lie breeds contempt for masculinity. One does not became a man by being born male and doing nothing else. One does not became a man by passively accepting and reacting to the world around you.

Masculinity is a task that requires effort and hard work to achieve. Work means struggling against a load. It means overcoming obstacles. Attaining masculinity does not mean that it is yours forever. Those obstacles and forces will always be present in the world. The work must be maintained. Masculinity can be won, and then surrendered through neglect.

The wastrels of the modernist cult lie to us that masculinity is a social construct, not realising that society itself is the product of masculine endeavor and would have been impossible without it.

Masculinity is not a modern social construct. It is not defined by society that attacks and denies it. Masculinity is under attack because there is very little place in modern society for traditional masculine virtue of the heroic age. The state needs masculinity to enforce its laws and foreign policy, but attacks it everywhere else it might cause conflict with the state and the cult of equality. Society leans on masculinity when it needs it, but where society is threatened by masculinity, it is outlawed. We will not be bound to society’s false definition of something by which it is threatened. We are separating from a failing state and the modernist cult which holds us in contempt and instead look to the heroic ages for the archetypal man.

When we think of masculinity, that which separates men from women, physical strength is often the first attribute that comes to mind. Strength is a function of testosterone and hard work and as such is something that is exclusively masculine. It is not just physical strength that defines masculinity, although that is important. Being a man also requires strength of character. Testosterone lends a man courage and audacity.

The Heroic Age

The ancient Greeks had slightly differing views on masculinity depending on whether they were Spartan, Athenian or subscribed to the Stoicism philosophy but one common thread united all of them. The ancient Greek word andreia means courage, and comes from the root word andros meaning man. As well as courage, andreia can also be translated as manliness. The concepts were interchangeable. To the ancient Greeks, andreia, courage, was not just a masculine virtue, it was the essence of masculinity itself.

Greek masculinity was personified in the myth of Heracles, an archetype of manhood that has survived to the modern day. A pivotal point in Heracles life occurred in his youth. Heracles was tending cattle on a mountainside. Two nymphs approached him and offered him a choice: a quiet, easy life, or a life of hardship and glory. Heracles chose hardship and glory. He was granted his wish and through his trials and adventures he became the persistent heroic figure we still know today.

The Anglo-Saxons had their literary paragon of masculinity in Beowulf. Immortalised in alliterative verse, he exemplified strength, honour, martial prowess and above all else, courage. When nobody else could help the Danish king Hrothgar, it was Beowulf alone who killed Grendel and then his vengeful mother. It was Beowulf who slayed the dragon when nobody else would dare. When all around him fled or were paralysed by fear, it was Beowulf alone who had the courage to confront the other-worldly monsters that threatened the world of men. Just like the Greek Heracles, Beowulf represented a force for good making the world safe by ridding it of evil.

Men Are Forged

The Anglo-Saxons used the sword as a symbol for man and masculinity. The sword is made from the earth. It takes hard labour to dig the ore and knowledge and skill, handed down from father to son, to refine it into steel and then forge it into a blade.

The metal of the sword has to go through a series of trials before it finally realises its full potential. It will be smelted, forged, hammered, tempered, ground, polished and proved before it becomes a sword. Swordsmithing was not just work, the aimless swinging of a hammer. The forging of a sword was a ritual, handed down through the generations. The blacksmith was not just swinging a hammer, he was wielding the tradition through which swords, and men, are forged.

The very best swords in mythology were named, and capable of great things and again represented indomitable courage. Sigurd’s sword Gram, meaning wrath, could only have been forged by a man who knew no fear. When it was made, Sigurd proofed it by cleaving an anvil in two, and went on to slay the dragon Fafnir.

Any shiny piece of metal can be dressed up as a sword but it will bend and crumble the first time it is put to the test against a real sword. A man can dress himself up in the trappings of make-believe masculinity but if he was not brought here by a history of being forged through hardship then he will bend and crumble in the face of conflict.

Tradition Is The Hammer

The ritual of swordsmithing is analogous to the making of a man, and on a wider scale, the forging together of an army or society from the disparate raw materials through discipline, hard work, wisdom and tradition.

The sword neglected will soon dull and rust and eventually rot back into the earth from whence it came. The sword needs to be maintained and kept sharp if it is to be useful, just as a man needs to always attend to his masculinity, his courage, if he is not to revert to weakness, neutrality and nothingness.

Swords, like tradition, were handed down from father to son, but eventually even a sword can become dull, break into pieces or rot away into the soil. The good news is that even a broken sword can be reforged. Sigurd’s sword Gram was reforged from the broken pieces of his father Sigmund’s sword. The original Gram was forged by Wayland the Smith, the man who endured his own troubles with courage and the creator of Beowulf’s mail shirt. Our ancestors revered courage above everything else, even unto death.

Everywhere we look in the mythology of our ancestors, the universal message is that courage is the fundamental aspect of masculinity. Fearless men slay dragons and protect society from the evil forces that threaten it. It takes courage to stand up to evil. It takes men to build and protect society. Not women, not people, but men.

The Anglo-Saxon symbology of the sword went further. The right to carry a weapon was the sign of a free man. Slaves were forbidden from owning even a spear. The modern world has made slaves of you all. Your swords have been taken from you, and the hollow right to vote given to you in its place. The Iron Legion will take your meaningless vote, and give you back your sword.

Cattle die and kinsmen die,

thyself too soon must die,

but one thing never, I ween, will die, —

fair fame of one who has earned.

from the Hávamál, Sayings of the High One.


3 thoughts on “Defining Masculinity Part One: Courage

  1. correction; The above should read, the “most defenseless”.

    Matthew 10
    28 Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

  2. “Money can’t buy me love”
    -Paul McCartney

    Well, no. But these days it’s about the only thing that can get you a facsimile of it.

    “Money can’t buy me courage.”

    It can buy you better weapons and armor. It can pay for hit men, body guards, and assorted henchmen, in which case you might be less afraid.

    There seems to be no shortage of folks who aren’t afraid to pick on and/or abuse those who are weaker than they are. Indeed, most criminals tend target the least defenseless.
    Others will simply do whatever they think they can get away with without regard to principle.

    But I don’t think THAT is the sort of character which we should call “courageous”.

    • Not sure that your analogy applies to this Iron Legion article.

      He said that a courageous man should protect and defend the country, territory, etc., not women or people in general.

      A man with courage and a moral center is the most dangerous animal on earth.

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