During the heroic Anglo-Saxon period, battle was the main objective for warriors. Warriors fought in battle for position, territory or to defend their king from enemies. Warriors loved wars because they were able to prove their strength and abilities. Warriors used to form groups called tribes; those tribes were formed by groups of people from the same area or land. For instance, the South Scandinavian tribes had their own name such as the Danes and the Geats. The Geats were the tribe that deserved more attention because a hero came from there. A Geat was a member of a Scandinavian people of southern Sweden. The Geats, like every other tribe, used to fight for the interests of their king. They would offer their king protection and fidelity in exchange for gold rings and other valuable possessions. Tribes also used to fight for power and recognition among other tribes.
The Geats were guided by a good, loyal, and courageous leader, Beowulf. According to the commentaries, the Geats' responsibilities were to serve the king, to be by the king's side and be faithful. They didn't fight for any malicious reason such as to obtain someone else's properties for fun. Beowulf, the leader of the Geats, served as a role model of a virtuous warrior. He not only does good deeds, but has many other heroic qualities, and expects every other warrior to follow his example.
The "war-gear" was like that worn by a German knight; they used to wear a metal suit with a sword, a shield and helmet. The Geats, like other tribes, would gather together in one place to drink. While drinking mead, the Geats would tell jokes and riddles. They were like a close family, and everyone cared for each other. However, the Geats changed significantly, after their leader's death. The Beowulf text implies that enemy tribes will destroy them.
Although tribes like the Geats and the Danes were very significant in their time, today the word "Geat" has no meaning. "Geat" doesn't exist in the English dictionary. Only in a few parts of the world do tribes still exist, but they dress totally differently. Still their responsibilities are to serve their leader or chief like those of the great warriors. For instance, in some parts of Africa and Central America, some tribes are formed to defend their territory against any enemy. These tribes also go hunting together. Unlike the Geats, these tribes offer protection for non-material things. However, in some tribes from Central America, women are involved and offered by the chief to a member of the tribe for his honesty and fidelity.
Other types of groups that resemble the Geats are gangs. Every gang member's purpose is to follow the rules of his/her leader. Like the Geats, gangs fight for power and reputation. In addition, every gang-member has to prove his/her ability by fighting against the enemy; depending on their strength, they can move up within their hierarchy like the Geats. Gangs and other types of tribes gather together to celebrate their triumphs. However, gangs fight for fun, to steal, and to destroy other territories.
In conclusion, tribes today have changed dramatically from the ancient ones, but have the same meaning. Every tribe that exists today resembles the Geats and the Danes in serving and being faithful to their leader.