By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII ]

Look for this book on Amazon

We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Teutonic Mythology,  Vol. 1 of 3 - Gods and Goddesses of the Northland
Author: Rydberg, Viktor, 1828-1895, Ph.D.
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Teutonic Mythology,  Vol. 1 of 3 - Gods and Goddesses of the Northland" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

                      Teutonic Mythology
                      Gods and Goddesses
                       of the Northland


                        THREE VOLUMES
                   By VIKTOR RYDBERG, Ph.D.,
                      AND OTHER WORKS.



                 RASMUS B. ANDERSON, LL.D.,

          HON. RASMUS B. ANDERSON, LL.D., Ph.D.,
                     EDITOR IN CHIEF.
                    J. W. BUEL, Ph.D.,
                     MANAGING EDITOR.

                          VOL. I.

                     PUBLISHED BY THE
                     NORROENA SOCIETY,


                        _OF THE_
                    Viking Edition

_There are but six hundred and fifty sets made for the world,
                   of which this is_

                       _No._ 99

               [Illustration: NORROENA]

                     T. H. SMART,

(_From an etching by Lorenz Frölich._)]

Idun was the beautiful goddess who in Asgard was keeper of the apples
which the gods ate to preserve eternal youth. She is most generally
regarded as the wife of Brage.

Heimdal, the son of nine mothers, was guardian against the giants of the
bridge of the gods, Bifröst. With a trumpet he summoned all the gods
together at Ragnarok when he and Loke slew each other. He was the god of

Loke though beautiful in form was like Lucifer in character and was
hence called the god of destruction. By the giantess Angerboda he had
three offspring, viz: the Midgard serpent, the Fenris-wolf, and Hela,
the latter becoming goddess of Hel.

Brage was the son of Odin and being represented as the chief skald in
Valhalla he is called the god of poetry.


       *       *       *       *       *

             TABLE OF CONTENTS.
                VOLUME ONE.

                 PART I.
  Introduction--The Ancient Aryans                              1
  (a) The Aryan Family of Languages                             3
      Hypothesis of Asiatic Origin of the Aryans                5
      Hypothesis of European Origin of the Aryans              15
      The Aryan Land of Europe                                 20
  (b) Ancient Teutondom                                        26

                 PART II.

  (a) Mediæval Migration Sagas                                 32
      The Troy Saga and Prose Edda                             44
      Saxo's Relation to the Story of Troy                     47
      Older Periods of the Troy Saga                           50
      Story of the Origin of Trojan Descent of the Franks      60
      Odin as Leader of the Trojan Emigration                  67
      Materials of the Icelandic Troy Saga                     83
      Result of Foregoing Investigations                       96
  (b) Popular Traditions of the Middle Ages                    99
      Saxon and Swabian Migration Saga                        107
      The Frankish Migration Saga                             111
      Migration Saga of the Burgundians                       113
      Teutonic Emigration Saga                                119

                 PART III.

  Myths Concerning the Creation of Man                        126
  Scef, the Original Patriarch                                135
  Borgar-Skjold, the Second Patriarch                         143
  Halfdan, the Third Patriarch                                147
  Halfdan's Enmity with Orvandel and Svipdag                  151
  Halfdan's Identity with Mannus                              153
  Sacred Runes Learned from Heimdal                           159
  Sorcery, the Reverse of Sacred Runes                        165
  Heimdal and the Sun Goddess                                 167
  Loke Causes Enmity Between Gods and Creators                171
  Halfdan Identical with Helge                                180
  The End of the Age of Peace                                 185
  War with the Heroes from Svarin's Mound                     194
  Review of the Svipdag Myth                                  200
  The World-War and its Causes                                204
  Myth Concerning the Sword Guardian                          213
  Breach Between Asas Vans. Siege of Asgard                   235
  Significance of the World-War                               252
  The War in Midgard. Hadding's Adventures                    255
  Position of the Divine Clans to the Warriors                262
  Hadding's Defeat                                            268
  Loke's Punishment                                           273
  Original Model of the Bravalla Battle                       281
  The Dieterich Saga                                          285

                   PART IV.

  Myth in Regard to the Lower World                           306
  Gudmund, King of the Glittering Plains                      309
  Ruler of the Lower World                                    312
  Fjallerus and Hadingus in the Low World                     317
  A Frisian Saga, Adam of Bremen                              319
  Odainsaker and the Glittering Plains                        321
  Identification of Odainsaker                                336
  Gudmund's Identity with Mimer                               339
  Mimer's Grove                                               341

                LIST OF PHOTOGRAVURES.
                      VOL. I.

       *       *       *       *       *

  Frontispiece--Idun, Heimdal, Loke, and Brage.
  Thor the Thunder God                                        120
  Giant Thjasse in the Guise of an Eagle Carries off Loke     174
  Odin Punishes the Monstrous Progeny of Loke                 300


  United States Minister,
    Copenhagen, Denmark.


It gives me pleasure to authorise you to translate into English my work
entitled "Researches in Teutonic Mythology," being convinced that no one
could be found better qualified for this task than yourself. Certainly
no one has taken a deeper interest than you in spreading among our
Anglo-Saxon kinsmen, not only a knowledge of our common antiquity, but
also of what modern Scandinavia is contributing to the advancement of
culture--a work in which England and the United States of America are
taking so large a share.

    Yours faithfully,




       *       *       *       *       *

                    A. THE ANCIENT ARYANS.



Already at the beginning of the Christian era the name Germans was
applied by the Romans and Gauls to the many clans of people whose main
habitation was the extensive territory east of the Rhine, and north of
the forest-clad Hercynian Mountains. That these clans constituted one
race was evident to the Romans, for they all had a striking similarity
in type of body; moreover, a closer acquaintance revealed that their
numerous dialects were all variations of the same parent language, and
finally, they resembled each other in customs, traditions, and religion.
The characteristic features of the physical type of the Germans were
light hair, blue eyes, light complexion, and tallness of stature as
compared with the Romans.

Even the saga-men, from whom the Roman historian Tacitus gathered the
facts for his _Germania_--an invaluable work for the history of
civilisation--knew that in the so-called Svevian Sea, north of the
German continent, lay another important part of Germany, inhabited by
Sviones, a people divided into several clans. Their kinsmen on the
continent described them as rich in weapons and fleets, and in warriors
on land and sea (Tac., _Germ._, 44). This northern sea-girt portion of
Germany is called Scandinavia--Scandeia by other writers of the Roman
Empire; and there can be no doubt that this name referred to the
peninsula which, as far back as historical monuments can be found, has
been inhabited by the ancestors of the Swedes and the Norwegians. I
therefore include in the term Germans the ancestors of both the
Scandinavian and Gothic and German (_tyske_) peoples. Science needs a
sharply-defined collective noun for all these kindred branches sprung
from one and the same root, and the name by which they make their first
appearance in history would doubtless long since have been selected for
this purpose had not some of the German writers applied the terms
_German_ and _Deutsch_ as synonymous. This is doubtless the reason why
Danish authors have adopted the word "Goths" to describe the Germanic
nation. But there is an important objection to this in the fact that the
name _Goths_ historically is claimed by a particular branch of the
family--that branch, namely, to which the East and West Goths belonged,
and in order to avoid ambiguity, the term should be applied solely to
them. It is therefore necessary to re-adopt the old collective name,
even though it is not of Germanic origin, the more so as there is a
prospect that a more correct use of the words German and Germanic is
about to prevail in Germany itself, for the German scholars also feel
the weight of the demand which science makes on a precise and rational

[Footnote 1: Viktor Rydberg styles his work _Researches in Germanic
Mythology_, but after consultation with the Publishers, the Translator
decided to use the word _Teutonic_ instead of _Germanic_ both in the
title and in the body of the work. In English, the words German,
Germany, and Germanic are ambiguous. The Scandinavians and Germans have
the words _Tyskland_, _tysk_, _Deutschland_, _deutsch_, when they wish
to refer to the present Germany, and thus it is easy for them to adopt
the words _German_ and _Germanisk_ to describe the Germanic or Teutonic
peoples collectively. The English language applies the above word
_Dutch_ not to Germany, but to Holland, and it is necessary to use the
words _German_ and _Germany_ in translating _deutsch_, _Deutschland_,
_tysk_, and _Tyskland_. Teutonic has already been adopted by Max Müller
and other scholars in England and America as a designation of all the
kindred branches sprung from one and the same root, and speaking
dialects of the same original tongue. The words Teuton, Teutonic, and
Teutondom also have the advantage over German and Germanic that they are
of native growth and not borrowed from a foreign language. In the
following pages, therefore, the word Teutonic will be used to describe
Scandinavians, Germans, Anglo-Saxons, &c., collectively, while German
will be used exclusively in regard to Germany proper.--TRANSLATOR.]



It is universally known that the Teutonic dialects are related to the
Latin, the Greek, the Slavic, and Celtic languages, and that the kinship
extends even beyond Europe to the tongues of Armenia, Irania, and India.
The holy books ascribed to Zoroaster, which to the priests of Cyrus and
Darius were what the Bible is to us; Rigveda's hymns, which to the
people dwelling on the banks of the Ganges are God's revealed word, are
written in a language which points to a common origin with our own.
However unlike all these kindred tongues may have grown with the lapse
of thousands of years, still they remain as a sharply-defined group of
older and younger sisters as compared with all other language groups of
the world. Even the Semitic languages are separated therefrom by a chasm
so broad and deep that it is hardly possible to bridge it.

This language-group of ours has been named in various ways. It has been
called the Indo-Germanic, the Indo-European, and the Aryan family of
tongues. I have adopted the last designation. The Armenians, Iranians,
and Hindoos I call the Asiatic Aryans; all the rest I call the European

Certain it is that these sister-languages have had a common mother, the
ancient Aryan speech, and that this has had a geographical centre from
which it has radiated. (By such an ancient Aryan language cannot, of
course, be meant a tongue stereotyped in all its inflections, like the
literary languages of later times, but simply the unity of those
dialects which were spoken by the clans dwelling around this centre of
radiation.) By comparing the grammatical structure of all the daughters
of this ancient mother, and by the aid of the laws hitherto discovered
in regard to the transition of sounds from one language to another,
attempts have been made to restore this original tongue which many
thousand years ago ceased to vibrate. These attempts cannot, of course,
in any sense claim to reproduce an image corresponding to the lost
original as regards syntax and inflections. Such a task would be as
impossible as to reconstruct, on the basis of all the now spoken
languages derived from the Latin, the dialect used in Latium. The
purpose is simply to present as faithful an idea of the ancient tongue
as the existing means permit.

In the most ancient historical times Aryan-speaking people were found
only in Asia and Europe. In seeking for the centre and the earliest
conquests of the ancient Aryan language, the scholar may therefore keep
within the limits of these two continents, and in Asia he may leave all
the eastern and the most of the southern portion out of consideration,
since these extensive regions have from prehistoric times been inhabited
by Mongolian and allied tribes, and may for the present be regarded as
the cradle of these races. It may not be necessary to remind the reader
that the question of the original home of the ancient Aryan tongue is
not the same as the question in regard to the cradle of the Caucasian
race. The white race may have existed, and may have been spread over a
considerable portion of the old world, before a language possessing the
peculiarities belonging to the Aryan had appeared; and it is a known
fact that southern portions of Europe, such as the Greek and Italian
peninsulas, were inhabited by white people before they were conquered by



When the question of the original home of the Aryan language and race
was first presented, there were no conflicting opinions on the main
subject.[2] All who took any interest in the problem referred to Asia as
the cradle of the Aryans. Asia had always been regarded as the cradle of
the human race. In primeval time, the yellow Mongolian, the black
African, the American redskin, and the fair European had there tented
side by side. From some common centre in Asia they had spread over the
whole surface of the inhabited earth. Traditions found in the
literatures of various European peoples in regard to an immigration from
the East supported this view. The progenitors of the Romans were said to
have come from Troy. The fathers of the Teutons were reported to have
immigrated from Asia, led by Odin. There was also the original home of
the domestic animals and of the cultivated plants. And when the
startling discovery was made that the sacred books of the Iranians and
Hindoos were written in languages related to the culture languages of
Europe, when these linguistic monuments betrayed a wealth of inflections
in comparison with which those of the classical languages turned pale,
and when they seemed to have the stamp of an antiquity by the side of
which the European dialects seemed like children, then what could be
more natural than the following conclusion: The original form has been
preserved in the original home; the farther the streams of emigration
got away from this home, the more they lost on the way of their language
and of their inherited view of the world; that is, of their mythology,
which among the Hindoos seemed so original and simple as if it had been
watered by the dews of life's dawn.

[Footnote 2: Compare O. Schrader, _Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte_

To begin with, there was no doubt that the original tongue itself, the
mother of all the other Aryan languages, had already been found when
Zend or Sanscrit was discovered. Fr. v. Schlegel, in his work published
in 1808, on the _Language and Wisdom of the Hindoos_, regarded Sanscrit
as the mother of the Aryan family of languages, and India as the
original home of the Aryan family of peoples. Thence, it was claimed,
colonies were sent out in prehistoric ages to other parts of Asia and to
Europe; nay, even missionaries went forth to spread the language and
religion of the mother-country among other peoples. Schlegel's
compatriot Link looked upon Zend as the oldest language and mother of
Sanscrit, and the latter he regarded as the mother of the rest; and as
the Zend, in his opinion, was spoken in Media and surrounding countries,
it followed that the highlands of Media, Armenia, and Georgia were the
original home of the Aryans, a view which prevailed among the leading
scholars of the age, such as Anquetil-Duperron, Herder, and Heeren, and
found a place in the historical text-books used in the schools from 1820
to 1840.

Since Bopp published his epoch-making Comparative Grammar the illusion
that the Aryan mother-tongue had been discovered had, of course,
gradually to give place to the conviction that all the Aryan languages,
Zend and Sanscrit included, were relations of equal birth. This also
affected the theory that the Persians or Hindoos were the original
people, and that the cradle of our race was to be sought in their homes.

On the other hand, the Hindooic writings were found to contain evidence
that, during the centuries in which the most of the Rigveda songs were
produced, the Hindooic Aryans were possessors only of Kabulistan and
Pendschab, whence, either expelling or subjugating an older black
population, they had advanced toward the Ganges. Their social condition
was still semi-nomadic, at least in the sense that their chief property
consisted in herds, and the feuds between the clans had for their object
the plundering of such possessions from each other. Both these facts
indicated that these Aryans were immigrants to the Indian peninsula, but
not the aborigines, wherefore their original home must be sought
elsewhere. The strong resemblance found between Zend and Sanscrit, and
which makes these dialects a separate subdivision in the Aryan family of
languages, must now, since we have learned to regard them as
sister-tongues, be interpreted as a proof that the Zend people or
Iranians and the Sanscrit people or Hindoos were in ancient times one
people with a common country, and that this union must have continued to
exist long after the European Aryans were parted from them and had
migrated westwards. When, then, the question was asked where this
Indo-Iranian cradle was situated, the answer was thought to be found in
a chapter of Avesta, to which the German scholar Rhode had called
attention already in 1820. To him it seemed to refer to a migration from
a more northerly and colder country. The passage speaks of sixteen
countries created by the fountain of light and goodness, Ormuzd (Ahura
Mazda), and of sixteen plagues produced by the fountain of evil, Ahriman
(Angra Mainyu), to destroy the work of Ormuzd. The first country was a
paradise, but Ahriman ruined it with cold and frost, so that it had ten
months of winter and only two of summer. The second country, in the name
of which Sughda Sogdiana was recognised, was rendered uninhabitable by
Ahriman by a pest which destroyed the domestic animals. Ahriman made the
third (which by the way, was recognised as Merv) impossible as a
dwelling on account of never-ceasing wars and plunderings. In this
manner thirteen other countries with partly recognisable names are
enumerated as created by Ormuzd, and thirteen other plagues produced by
Ahriman. Rhode's view, that these sixteen regions were stations in the
migration of the Indo-Iranian people from their original country became
universally adopted, and it was thought that the track of the migration
could now be followed back through Persia, Baktria and Sogdiana, up to
the first region created by Ormuzd, which, accordingly, must have been
situated in the interior highlands of Asia, around the sources of the
Jaxartes and Oxus. The reason for the emigration hence was found in the
statement that, although Ormuzd had made this country an agreeable
abode, Ahriman had destroyed it with frost and snow. In other words,
this part of Asia was supposed to have had originally a warmer
temperature, which suddenly or gradually became lower, wherefore the
inhabitants found it necessary to seek new homes in the West and South.

The view that the sources of Oxus and Jaxartes are the original home of
the Aryans is even now the prevailing one, or at least the one most
widely accepted, and since the day of Rhode it has been supported and
developed by several distinguished scholars. Then Julius v. Klaproth
pointed out, already in 1830, that, among the many names of various
kinds of trees found in India, there is a single one which they have in
common with other Aryan peoples, and this is the name of the birch.
India has many kinds of trees that do not grow in Central Asia, but the
birch is found both at the sources of the Oxus and Jaxartes, and on the
southern spurs of the Himalaya mountains. If the Aryan Hindoos
immigrated from the highlands of Central Asia to the regions through
which the Indus and Ganges seek their way to the sea, then it is
natural, that when they found on their way new unknown kinds of trees,
then they gave to these new names, but when they discovered a tree with
which they had long been acquainted, then they would apply the old
familiar name to it. Mr. Lassen, the great scholar of Hindooic
antiquities, gave new reasons for the theory that the Aryan Hindoos were
immigrants, who through the western pass of Hindukush and through
Kabulistan came to Pendschab, and thence slowly occupied the Indian
peninsula. That their original home, as well as that of their Iranian
kinsmen, was that part of the highlands of Central Asia pointed out by
Rhode, he found corroborated by the circumstance, that there are to be
found there, even at the present time, remnants of a people, the
so-called Tadchiks, who speak Iranian dialects. According to Lassen,
these were to be regarded as direct descendants of the original Aryan
people, who remained in the original home, while other parts of the same
people migrated to Baktria or Persia and became Iranians, or migrated
down to Pendschab and became Hindoos, or migrated to Europe and became
Celts, Greco-Italians, Teutons, and Slavs. Jacob Grimm, whose name will
always be mentioned with honour as the great pathfinder in the field of
Teutonic antiquities, was of the same opinion; and that whole school of
scientists who were influenced by romanticism and by the philosophy of
Schelling made haste to add to the real support sought for the theory in
ethnological and philological facts, a support from the laws of natural
analogy and from poetry. A mountain range, so it was said, is the
natural divider of waters. From its fountains the streams flow in
different directions and irrigate the plains. In the same manner the
highlands of Central Asia were the divider of Aryan folk-streams, which
through Baktria sought their way to the plains of Persia, through the
mountain passes of Hindukush to India, through the lands north of the
Caspian Sea to the extensive plains of modern Russia, and so on to the
more inviting regions of Western Europe. The sun rises in the east, _ex
oriente lux_; the highly-gifted race, which was to found the European
nations, has, under the guidance of Providence, like the sun, wended its
way from east to west. In taking a grand view of the subject, a mystic
harmony was found to exist between the apparent course of the sun and
the real migrations of people. The minds of the people dwelling in
Central and Eastern Asia seemed to be imbued with a strange instinctive
yearning. The Aryan folk-streams, which in prehistoric times deluged
Europe, were in this respect the forerunners of the hordes of Huns which
poured in from Asia, and which in the fourth century gave the impetus to
the Teutonic migrations, and of the Mongolian hordes which in the
thirteenth century invaded our continent. The Europeans themselves are
led by this same instinct to follow the course of the sun: they flow in
great numbers to America, and these folk-billows break against each
other on the coasts of the Pacific Ocean. "At the breast of our Asiatic
mother," thus exclaimed, in harmony with the romantic school, a scholar
with no mean linguistic attainments--"at the breast of our Asiatic
mother, the Aryan people of Europe have rested; around her as their
mother they have played as children. There or nowhere is the playground;
there or nowhere is the gymnasium of the first physical and intellectual
efforts on the part of the Aryan race."

The theory that the cradle of the Aryan race stood in Central Asia near
the sources of the Indus and Jaxartes had hardly been contradicted in
1850, and seemed to be secured for the future by the great number of
distinguished and brilliant names which had given their adhesion to it.
The need was now felt of clearing up the order and details of these
emigrations. All the light to be thrown on this subject had to come from
philology and from the geography of plants and animals. The first author
who, in this manner and with the means indicated, attempted to furnish
proofs in detail that the ancient Aryan land was situated around the
Oxus river was Adolphe Pictet. There, he claimed, the Aryan language had
been formed out of older non-Aryan dialects. There the Aryan race, on
account of its spreading over Baktria and neighbouring regions, had
divided itself into branches of various dialects, which there, in a
limited territory, held the same geographical relations to each other
as they hold to each other at the present time in another and immensely
larger territory. In the East lived the nomadic branch which later
settled in India; in the East, too, but farther north, that branch
herded their flocks, which afterwards became the Iranian and took
possession of Persia. West of the ancestors of the Aryan Hindoos dwelt
the branch which later appears as the Greco-Italians and north of the
latter the common progenitors of Teutons and Slavs had their home. In
the extreme West dwelt the Celts, and they were also the earliest
emigrants to the West. Behind them marched the ancestors of the Teutons
and Slavs by a more northern route to Europe. The last in this
procession to Europe were the ancestors of the Greco-Italians, and for
this reason their languages have preserved more resemblance to those of
the Indo-Iranians who migrated into Southern Asia than those of the
other European Aryans. For this view Pictet gives a number of reasons.
According to him, the vocabulary common to more or less of the Aryan
branches preserves names of minerals, plants, and animals which are
found in those latitudes, and in those parts of Asia which he calls the
original Aryan country.

The German linguist Schleicher has to some extent discussed the same
problem as Pictet in a series of works published in the fifties and
sixties. The same has been done by the famous German-English scientist
Max Müller. Schleicher's theory, briefly stated, is the following: The
Aryan race originated in Central Asia. There, in the most ancient Aryan
country, the original Aryan tongue was spoken for many generations. The
people multiplied and enlarged their territory, and in various parts of
the country they occupied, the language assumed various forms, so that
there were developed at least two different languages before the great
migrations began. As the chief cause of the emigrations, Schleicher
regards the fact that the primitive agriculture practised by the Aryans,
including the burning of the forests, impoverished the soil and had a
bad effect on the climate. The principles he laid down and tried to
vindicate were: (1) The farther East an Aryan people dwells, the more it
has preserved of the peculiarities of the original Aryan tongue. (2) The
farther West an Aryan-derived tongue and daughter people are found, the
earlier this language was separated from the mother-tongue, and the
earlier this people became separated from the original stock. Max Müller
holds the common view in regard to the Asiatic origin of the Aryans. The
main difference between him and Schleicher is that Müller assumes that
the Aryan tongue originally divided itself into an Asiatic and an
European branch. He accordingly believes that all the Aryan-European
tongues and all the Aryan-European peoples have developed from the same
European branch, while Schleicher assumes that in the beginning the
division produced a Teutonic and Letto-Slavic branch on the one hand,
and an Indo-Iranian, Greco-Italic, and Celtic on the other.

This view of the origin of the Aryans had scarcely met with any
opposition when we entered the second half of our century. We might add
that it had almost ceased to be questioned. The theory that the Aryans
were cradled in Asia seemed to be established as an historical fact,
supported by a mass of ethnographical, linguistic, and historical
arguments, and vindicated by a host of brilliant scientific names.


                        THE ARYANS.

In the year 1854 was heard for the first time a voice of doubt. The
sceptic was an English ethnologist, by name Latham, who had spent many
years in Russia studying the natives of that country. Latham was
unwilling to admit that a single one of the many reasons given for the
Asiatic origin of our family of languages was conclusive, or that the
accumulative weight of all the reasons given amounted to real evidence.
He urged that they who at the outset had treated this question had lost
sight of the rules of logic, and that in explaining a fact it is a
mistake to assume too many premises. The great fact which presents
itself and which is to be explained is this: There are Aryans in Europe
and there are Aryans in Asia. The major part of Aryans are in Europe,
and here the original language has split itself into the greatest number
of idioms. From the main Aryan trunk in Europe only two branches extend
into Asia. The northern branch is a new creation, consisting of Russian
colonisation from Europe; the southern branch, that is, the
Iranian-Hindooic, is, on the other hand, prehistoric, but was still
growing in the dawn of history, and the branch was then growing from
West to East, from Indus toward Ganges. When historical facts to the
contrary are wanting, then the root of a great family of languages
should naturally be looked for in the ground which supports the trunk
and is shaded by the crown, and not underneath the ends of the
farthest-reaching branches. The mass of Mongolians dwell in Eastern
Asia, and for this very reason Asia is accepted as the original home of
the Mongolian race. The great mass of Aryans live in Europe, and have
lived there as far back as history sheds a ray of light. Why, then, not
apply to the Aryans and to Europe the same conclusions as hold good in
the case of the Mongolians and Asia? And why not apply to ethnology the
same principles as are admitted unchallenged in regard to the geography
of plants and animals? Do we not in botany and zoology seek the original
home and centre of a species where it shows the greatest vitality, the
greatest power of multiplying and producing varieties? These questions,
asked by Latham, remained for some time unanswered, but finally they led
to a more careful examination of the soundness of the reasons given for
the Asiatic hypothesis.

The gist of Latham's protest is, that the question was decided in favour
of Asia without an examination of the other possibility, and that in
such an examination, if it were undertaken, it would appear at the very
outset that the other possibility, that is, the European origin of the
Aryans--is more plausible, at least from the standpoint of methodology.

This objection on the part of an English scholar did not even produce an
echo for many years, and it seemed to be looked upon simply as a
manifestation of that fondness for eccentricity which we are wont to
ascribe to his nationality. He repeated his protest in 1862, but it
still took five years before it appeared to have made any impression. In
1867, the celebrated linguist Whitney came out, not to defend Latham's
theory that Europe is the cradle of the Aryan race, but simply to clear
away the widely spread error that the science of languages had
demonstrated the Asiatic origin of the Aryans. As already indicated, it
was especially Adolphe Pictet who had given the first impetus to this
illusion in his great work _Origines indo-européennes_. Already, before
Whitney, the Germans Weber and Kuhn had, without attacking the Asiatic
hypothesis, shown that the most of Pictet's arguments failed to prove
that for which they were intended. Whitney now came and refuted them all
without exception, and at the same time he attacked the assumption made
by Rhode, and until that time universally accepted, that a record of an
Aryan emigration from the highlands of Central Asia was to be found in
that chapter of Avesta which speaks of the sixteen lands created by
Ormuzd for the good of man, but which Ahriman destroyed by sixteen
different plagues. Avesta does not with a single word indicate that the
first of these lands which Ahriman destroyed with snow and frost is to
be regarded as the original home of the Iranians, or that they ever in
the past emigrated from any of them. The assumption that a migration
record of historical value conceals itself within this geographical
mythological sketch is a mere conjecture, and yet it was made the very
basis of the hypothesis so confidently built upon for years about
Central Asia as the starting-point of the Aryans.

The following year, 1868, a prominent German linguist--Mr. Benfey--came
forward and definitely took Latham's side. He remarked at the outset
that hitherto geological investigations had found the oldest traces of
human existence in the soil of Europe, and that, so long as this is the
case, there is no scientific fact which can admit the assumption that
the present European stock has immigrated from Asia after the quaternary
period. The mother-tongues of many of the dialects which from time
immemorial have been spoken in Europe may just as well have originated
on this continent as the mother-tongues of the Mongolian dialects now
spoken in Eastern Asia have originated where the descendants now dwell.
That the Aryan mother-tongue originated in Europe, not in Asia, Benfey
found probably on the following grounds: In Asia, lions are found even
at the present time as far to the north as ancient Assyria, and the
tigers make depredations over the highlands of Western Iran, even to the
coasts of the Caspian Sea. These great beasts of prey are known and
named even among Asiatic people who dwell north of their habitats. If,
therefore, the ancient Aryans had lived in a country visited by these
animals, or if they had been their neighbours, they certainly would have
had names for them; but we find that the Aryan Hindoos call the lion by
a word not formed from an Aryan root, and that the Aryan Greeks borrowed
the word lion (_lis_, _leon_) from a Semitic language. (There is,
however, division of opinion on this point.) Moreover, the Aryan
languages have borrowed the word camel, by which the chief beast of
burden in Asia is called. The home of this animal is Baktria, or
precisely that part of Central Asia in the vicinity of which an effort
has been made to locate the cradle of the Aryan tongue. Benfey thinks
the ancient Aryan country has been situated in Europe, north of the
Black Sea, between the mouth of the Danube and the Caspian Sea.

Since the presentation of this argument, several defenders of the
European hypothesis have come forward, among them Geiger, Cuno, Friedr.
Müller, Spiegel, Pösche, and more recently Schrader and Penka.
Schrader's work, _Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte_, contains an
excellent general review of the history of the question, original
contributions to its solution, and a critical but cautious opinion in
regard to its present position. In France, too, the European hypothesis
has found many adherents. Geiger found, indeed, that the cradle of the
Aryan race was to be looked for much farther to the west than Benfey and
others had supposed. His hypothesis, based on the evidence furnished by
the geography of plants, places the ancient Aryan land in Germany. The
cautious Schrader, who dislikes to deal with conjectures, regards the
question as undecided, but he weighs the arguments presented by the
various sides, and reaches the conclusion that those in favour of the
European origin of the Aryans are the stronger, but that they are not
conclusive. Schrader himself, through his linguistic and historical
investigations, has been led to believe that the Aryans, while they
still were one people, belonged to the stone age, and had not yet become
acquainted with the use of metals.


                 THE ARYAN LAND OF EUROPE.

On _one_ point--and that is for our purpose the most important one--the
advocates of both hypotheses have approached each other. The leaders of
the defenders of the Asiatic hypothesis have ceased to regard Asia as
the cradle of all the dialects into which the ancient Aryan tongue has
been divided. While they cling to the theory that the Aryan inhabitants
of Europe have immigrated from Asia, they have well-nigh entirely ceased
to claim that these peoples, already before their departure from their
Eastern home, were so distinctly divided linguistically that it was
necessary to imagine certain branches of the race speaking Celtic,
others Teutonic, others, again, Greco-Italian, even before they came to
Europe. The prevailing opinion among the advocates of the Asiatic
hypothesis now doubtless is, that the Aryans who immigrated to Europe
formed one homogeneous mass, which gradually on our continent divided
itself definitely into Celts, Teutons, Slavs, and Greco-Italians. The
adherents of both hypotheses have thus been able to agree that there has
been _a European-Aryan country_. And the question as to where it was
located is of the most vital importance, as it is closely connected with
the question of the _original home of the Teutons_, since the ancestors
of the Teutons must have inhabited this ancient European-Aryan country.

Philology has attempted to answer the former question by comparing all
the words of all the Aryan-European languages. The attempt has many
obstacles to overcome; for, as Schrader has remarked, the ancient words
which to-day are common to all or several of these languages are
presumably a mere remnant of the ancient European-Aryan vocabulary.
Nevertheless, it is possible to arrive at important results in this
manner, if we draw conclusions from the words that remain, but take care
not to draw conclusions from what is wanting.

The view gained in this manner is, briefly stated, as follows:

The Aryan country of Europe has been situated in latitudes where snow
and ice are common phenomena. The people who have emigrated thence to
more southern climes have not forgotten either the one or the other name
of those phenomena. To a comparatively northern latitude points also the
circumstance that the ancient European Aryans recognised only three
seasons--winter, spring, and summer. This division of the year continued
among the Teutons even in the days of Tacitus. For autumn they had no

Many words for mountains, valley, streams, and brooks common to all the
languages show that the European-Aryan land was not wanting in
elevations, rocks, and flowing waters. Nor has it been a treeless plain.
This is proven by many names of trees. The trees are fir, birch, willow,
elm, elder, hazel, and a beech called _bhaga_, which means a tree with
eatable fruit. From this word _bhaga_ is derived the Greek _phegos_, the
Latin _fagus_, the German _Buche_, and the Swedish _bok_. But it is a
remarkable fact that the Greeks did not call the beech but the oak
_phegos_, while the Romans called the beech _fagus_. From this we
conclude that the European Aryans applied the word _bhaga_ both to the
beech and the oak, since both bear similar fruit; but in some parts of
the country the name was particularly applied to the beech, in others to
the oak. The beech is a species of tree which gradually approaches the
north. On the European continent it is not found east of a line drawn
from Königsberg across Poland and Podolia to Crimea. This leads to the
conclusion that the Aryan country of Europe must to a great extent have
been situated west of this line, and that the regions inhabited by the
ancestors of the Romans, and north of them by the progenitors of the
Teutons, must be looked for west of this botanical line, and between the
Alps and the North Sea.

Linguistic comparisons also show that the Aryan territory of Europe was
situated near an ocean or large body of water. Scandinavians, Germans,
Celts, and Romans have preserved a common name for the ocean--the Old
Norse _mar_, the Old High German _mari_, the Latin _mare_. The names of
certain sea-animals are also common to various Aryan languages. The
Swedish _hummer_ (lobster) corresponds to the Greek _kamaros_, and the
Swedish _säl_ (seal) to the Greek _selachos_.

In the Aryan country of Europe there were domestic animals--cows, sheep,
and goats. The horse was also known, but it is uncertain whether it was
used for riding or driving, or simply valued on account of its flesh
and milk. On the other hand, the ass was not known, its domain being
particularly the plains of Central Asia.

The bear, wolf, otter, and beaver certainly belonged to the fauna of
Aryan Europe.

The European Aryans must have cultivated at least one, perhaps two kinds
of grain; also flax, the name of which is preserved in the Greek _linon_
(linen), the Latin _linum_, and in other languages.

The Aryans knew the art of brewing mead from honey. That they also
understood the art of drinking it even to excess may be taken for
granted. This drink was dear to the hearts of the ancient Aryans, and
its name has been faithfully preserved both by the tribes that settled
near the Ganges, and by those who emigrated to Great Britain. The
Brahmin by the Ganges still knows this beverage as _madhu_, the Welchman
has known it as _medu_, the Lithuanian as _medus_; and when the Greek
Aryans came to Southern Europe and became acquainted with wine, they
gave it the name of mead (_methu_).

It is not probable that the European Aryans knew bronze or iron, or, if
they did know any of the metals, had any large quantity or made any
daily use of them, so long as they linguistically formed one homogeneous
body, and lived in that part of Europe which we here call the Aryan
domain. The only common name for metal is that which we find in the
Latin _aes_ (copper), in the Gothic _aiz_, and in the Hindooic _áyas_.
As is known, the Latin _aes_, like the Gothic _aiz_, means both copper
and bronze. That the word originally meant copper, and afterwards came
to signify bronze, which is an alloy of copper and tin, seems to be a
matter of course, and that it was applied only to copper and not to
bronze among the ancient Aryans seems clear not only because a common
name for tin is wanting, but also for the far better and remarkable
reason particularly pointed out by Schrader, that all the Aryan European
languages, even those which are nearest akin to each other and are each
other's neighbours, lack a common word for the tools of a smith and the
inventory of a forge, and also for the various kinds of weapons of
defence and attack. Most of all does it astonish us, that in respect to
weapons the dissimilarity of names is so complete in the Greek and Roman
tongues. Despite this fact, the ancient Aryans have certainly used
various kinds of weapons--the club, the hammer, the axe, the knife, the
spear, and the crossbow. All these weapons are of such a character that
they could be made of stone, wood, and horn. Things more easily change
names when the older materials of which they were made give place to new
hitherto unknown materials. It is, therefore, probable that the European
Aryans were in the stone age, and at best were acquainted with copper
before and during the period when their language was divided into
several dialects.

Where, then, on our continent was the home of this Aryan European people
in the stone age? Southern Europe, with its peninsulas extending into
the Mediterranean, must doubtless have been outside of the boundaries of
the Aryan land of Europe. The Greek Aryans have immigrated to Hellas,
and the Italian Aryans are immigrants to the Italian peninsula. Spain
has even within historical times been inhabited by Iberians and
Basques, and Basques dwell there at present: If, as the linguistic
monuments seem to prove, the European Aryans lived near an ocean, this
cannot have been the Mediterranean Sea. There remain the Black and
Caspian Sea on the one hand, the Baltic and the North Sea on the other.
But if, as the linguistic monuments likewise seem to prove, the European
Aryans for a great part, at least, lived west of a botanical line
indicated by the beech in a country producing fir, oak, elm, and elder,
then they could not have been limited to the treeless plains which
extend along the Black Sea from the mouth of the Danube, through
Dobrudscha, Bessarabia, and Cherson, past the Crimea. Students of early
Greek history do not any longer assume that the Hellenic immigrants
found their way through these countries to Greece, but that they came
from the north-west and followed the Adriatic down to Epirus; in other
words, they came the same way as the Visigoths under Alarik, and the
Eastgoths under Theodoric in later times. Even the Latin tribes came
from the north. The migrations of the Celts, so far as history sheds any
light on the subject, were from the north and west toward the south and
east. The movements of the Teutonic races were from north to south, and
they migrated both eastward and westward. Both prehistoric and historic
facts thus tend to establish the theory that the Aryan domain of Europe,
within undefinable limits, comprised the central and north part of
Europe; and as one or more seas were known to these Aryans, we cannot
exclude from the limits of this knowledge the ocean penetrating the
north of Europe from the west.

On account of their undeveloped agriculture, which compelled them to
depend chiefly on cattle for their support, the European Aryans must
have occupied an extensive territory. Of the mutual position and of the
movements of the various tribes within this territory nothing can be
stated, except that sooner or later, but already away back in
prehistoric times, they must have occupied precisely the position in
which we find them at the dawn of history and which they now hold. The
Aryan tribes which first entered Gaul must have lived west of those
tribes which became the progenitors of the Teutons, and the latter must
have lived west of those who spread an Aryan language over Russia. South
of this line, but still in Central Europe, there must have dwelt another
body of Aryans, the ancestors of the Greeks and Romans, the latter west
of the former. Farthest to the north of all these tribes must have dwelt
those people who afterwards produced the Teutonic tongue.





The northern position of the ancient Teutons necessarily had the effect
that they, better than all other Aryan people, preserved their original
race-type, as they were less exposed to mixing with non-Aryan elements.
In the south, west, and east, they had kinsmen, separating them from
non-Aryan races. To the north, on the other hand, lay a territory which,
by its very nature, could be but sparsely populated, if it was inhabited
at all, before it was occupied by the fathers of the Teutons. The
Teutonic type, which doubtless also was the Aryan in general before much
spreading and consequent mixing with other races had taken place, has,
as already indicated, been described in the following manner: Tall,
white skin, blue eyes, fair hair. Anthropological science has given them
one more mark--they are dolicocephalous, that is, having skulls whose
anterior-posterior diameter, or that from the frontal to the occipital
bone, exceeds the transverse diameter. This type appears most pure in
the modern Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, and to some extent the Dutch, in
the inhabitants of those parts of Great Britain that are most densely
settled by Saxon and Scandinavian emigrants; and in the people of
certain parts of North Germany. Welcker's craniological measurements
give the following figures for the breadth and length of Teutonic

Swedes and Hollanders,                                        75--71
Icelanders and Danes,                                         76--71
Englishmen,                                                   76--73
Holsteinians,                                                 77--71
Hanoverians, The vicinity of Jena, Bonn, and Cologne,         77--72
Hessians,                                                     79--72
Swabians,                                                     79--73
Bavarians,                                                    80--74

Thus the dolicocephalous form passes in Middle and Southern Germany into
the brachycephalous. The investigations made at the suggestion of
Virchow in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria, in regard to
blonde and brunette types, are of great interest. An examination of more
than nine million individuals showed the following result:

Germany,       31.80% blonde, 14.05% brunette, 54.15% mixed.
Austria,       19.79% blonde, 23.17% brunette, 57.04% mixed.
Switzerland,   11.10% blonde, 25.70% brunette, 61.40% mixed.

Thus the blonde type has by far a greater number of representatives in
Germany than in the southern part of Central Europe, though the latter
has German-speaking inhabitants. In Germany itself the blonde type
decreases and the brunette increases from north to south, while at the
same time the dolicocephalous gives place to the brachycephalous.
Southern Germany has 25% of brunettes, North Germany only 7%.

If we now, following the strict rules of methodology which Latham
insists on, bear in mind that the cradle of a race- or language-type
should, if there are no definite historical facts to the contrary,
especially be looked for where this type is most abundant and least
changed, then there is no doubt that the part of Aryan Europe which the
ancestors of the Teutons inhabited when they developed the Aryan tongue
into the Teutonic must have included the coast of the Baltic and the
North Sea. This theory is certainly not contradicted, but, on the other
hand, supported by the facts so far as we have any knowledge of them.
Roman history supplies evidence that the same parts of Europe in which
the Teutonic type predominates at the present time were Teutonic already
at the beginning of our era, and that then already the Scandinavian
peninsula was inhabited by a North Teutonic people, which, among their
kinsmen on the Continent, were celebrated for their wealth in ships and
warriors. Centuries must have passed ere the Teutonic colonisation of
the peninsula could have developed into so much strength--centuries
during which, judging from all indications, the transition from the
bronze to the iron age in Scandinavia must have taken place. The
painstaking investigations of Montelius, conducted on the principle of
methodology, have led him to the conclusion that Scandinavia and North
Germany formed during the bronze age one common domain of culture in
regard to weapons and implements. The manner in which the other domains
of culture group themselves in Europe leaves no other place for the
Teutonic race than Scandinavia and North Germany, and possibly
Austria-Hungary, which the Teutonic domain resembles most. Back of the
bronze age lies the stone age. The examinations, by v. Düben, Gustaf
Retzius, and Virchow, of skeletons found in northern graves from the
stone age prove the existence at that time of a race in the North which,
so far as the characteristics of the skulls are concerned, cannot be
distinguished from the race now dwelling there. Here it is necessary to
take into consideration the results of probability reached by
comparative philology, showing that the European Aryans were still in
the stone age when they divided themselves into Celts, Teutons, etc.,
and occupied separate territories, and the fact that the Teutons, so far
back as conclusions may be drawn from historical knowledge have
occupied a more northern domain than their kinsmen. Thus all tends to
show that when the Scandinavian peninsula was first settled by
Aryans--doubtless coming from the South by way of Denmark--these Aryans
belonged to the same race, which, later in history, appear with a
Teutonic physiognomy and with Teutonic speech, and that their
immigration to and occupation of the southern parts of the peninsula
took place in the time of the Aryan stone age.

For the history of civilisation, and particularly for mythology, these
results are important. It is a problem to be solved by comparative
mythology what elements in the various groups of Aryan myths may be the
original common property of the race while the race was yet undivided.
The conclusions reached gain in trustworthiness the further the Aryan
tribes, whose myths are compared, are separated from each other
geographically. If, for instance, the Teutonic mythology on the one hand
and the Asiatic Aryan (Avesta and Rigveda) on the other are made the
subject of comparative study, and if groups of myths are found which are
identical not only in their general character and in many details, but
also in the grouping of the details and the epic connection of the
myths, then the probability that they belong to an age when the
ancestors of the Teutons and those of the Asiatic Aryans dwelt together
is greater, in the same proportion as the probability of an intimate and
detailed exchange of ideas after the separation grows less between these
tribes on account of the geographical distance. With all the certainty
which it is possible for research to arrive at in this field, we may
assume that these common groups of myths--at least the centres around
which they revolve--originated at a time when the Aryans still formed,
so to speak, a geographical and linguistic unity--in all probability at
a time which lies far back in a common Aryan stone age. The discovery of
groups of myths of this sort thus sheds light on beliefs and ideas that
existed in the minds of our ancestors in an age of which we have no
information save that which we get from the study of the finds. The
latter, when investigated by painstaking and penetrating archæological
scholars, certainly give us highly instructive information in other
directions. In this manner it becomes possible to distinguish between
older and younger elements of Teutonic mythology, and to secure a basis
for studying its development through centuries which have left us no
literary monuments.






In the preceding pages we have given the reasons which make it appear
proper to assume that ancient Teutondom, within certain indefinable
limits, included the coasts of the Baltic and the North Sea, that the
Scandinavian countries constituted a part of this ancient Teutondom, and
that they have been peopled by Teutons since the days of the stone age.

The subject which I am now about to discuss requires an investigation in
reference to what the Teutons themselves believed, in regard to this
question, in the earliest times of which we have knowledge. Did they
look upon themselves as aborigines or as immigrants in Teutondom? For
the mythology, the answer to this question is of great weight. For
pragmatic history, on the other hand, the answer is of little
importance, for whatever they believed gives no reliable basis for
conclusions in regard to historical facts. If they regarded themselves
as aborigines, this does not hinder their having immigrated in
prehistoric times, though their traditions have ceased to speak of it.
If they regarded themselves as immigrants, then it does not follow that
the traditions, in regard to the immigration, contain any historical
kernel. Of the former we have an example in the case of the Brahmins and
the higher castes in India: their orthodoxy requires them to regard
themselves as aborigines of the country in which they live, although
there is evidence that they are immigrants. Of the latter the Swedes are
an example: the people here have been taught to believe that a greater
or less portion of the inhabitants of Sweden are descended from
immigrants who, led by Odin, are supposed to have come here about one
hundred years before the birth of Christ, and that this immigration,
whether it brought many or few people, was of the most decisive
influence on the culture of the country, so that Swedish history might
properly begin with the moment when Odin planted his feet on Swedish

The more accessible sources of the traditions in regard to Odin's
immigration to Scandinavia are found in the Icelandic works,
Heimskringla and the Prose Edda. Both sources are from the same time,
that is, the thirteenth century, and are separated by more than two
hundred years from the heathen age in Iceland.

We will first consider Heimskringla's story. A river, by name Tanakvisl,
or Vanakvisl, empties into the Black Sea. This river separates Asia from
Europe. East of Tanakvisl, that is to say, then in Asia, is a country
formerly called Asaland or Asaheim, and the chief citadel or town in
that country was called Asgard. It was a great city of sacrifices, and
there dwelt a chief who was known by the name Odin. Under him ruled
twelve men who were high-priests and judges. Odin was a great chieftain
and conqueror, and so victorious was he, that his men believed that
victory was wholly inseparable from him. If he laid his blessing hand on
anybody's head, success was sure to attend him. Even if he was absent,
if called upon in distress or danger, his very name seemed to give
comfort. He frequently went far away, and often remained absent
half-a-year at a time. His kingdom was then ruled by his brothers Vile
and Ve. Once he was absent so long that the Asas believed that he would
never return. Then his brothers married his wife Frigg. Finally he
returned, however, and took Frigg back again.

The Asas had a people as their neighbours called the Vans. Odin made war
on the Vans, but they defended themselves bravely. When both parties had
been victorious and suffered defeat, they grew weary of warring, made
peace, and exchanged hostages. The Vans sent their son Njord and his son
Frey, and also Kvaser, as hostages to the Asas; and the latter gave in
exchange Honer and Mimer. Odin gave Njord and Frey the dignity of
priests. Frey's sister, too, Freyja, was made a priestess. The Vans
treated the hostages they had received with similar consideration, and
created Honer a chief and judge. But they soon seemed to discover that
Honer was a stupid fellow. They considered themselves cheated in the
exchange, and, being angry on this account, they cut off the head, not
of Honer, but of his wise brother Mimer, and sent it to Odin. He
embalmed the head, sang magic songs over it, so that it could talk to
him and tell him many strange things.

Asaland, where Odin ruled is separated by a great mountain range from
Tyrkland, by which Heimskringla means Asia Minor, of which the
celebrated Troy was supposed to have been the capital. In Tyrkland, Odin
also had great possessions. But at that time the Romans invaded and
subjugated all lands, and many rulers fled on that account from their
kingdoms. And Odin, being wise and versed in the magic art, and knowing,
therefore, that his descendants were to people the northern part of the
world, he left his kingdom to his brothers Vile and Ve, and migrated
with many followers to Gardarike, Russia. Njord, Frey, and Freyja, and
the other priests who had ruled under him in Asgard, accompanied him,
and sons of his were also with him. From Gardarike he proceeded to
Saxland, conquered vast countries, and made his sons rulers over them.
From Saxland he went to Funen, and settled there. Seeland did not then
exist. Odin sent the maid Gefion north across the water to investigate
what country was situated there. At that time ruled in Svithiod a chief
by name Gylfe. He gave Gefion a ploughland,[3] and, by the help of four
giants changed into oxen, Gefion cut out with the plough, and dragged
into the sea near Funen that island which is now called Seeland. Where
the land was ploughed away there is now a lake called Logrin. Skjold,
Odin's son, got this land, and married Gefion. And when Gefion informed
Odin that Gylfe possessed a good land, Odin went thither, and Gylfe,
being unable to make resistance, though he too was a wise man skilled in
witchcraft and sorcery, a peaceful compact was made, according to which
Odin acquired a vast territory around Logrin; and in Sigtuna he
established a great temple, where sacrifices henceforth were offered
according to the custom of the Asas. To his priests he gave
dwellings--Noatun to Njord, Upsala to Frey, Himminbjorg to Heimdal,
Thrudvang to Thor, Breidablik to Balder, &c. Many new sports came to the
North with Odin, and he and the Asas taught them to the people. Among
other things, he taught them poetry and runes. Odin himself always
talked in measured rhymes. Besides, he was a most excellent sorcerer. He
could change shape, make his foes in a conflict blind and deaf; he was a
wizard, and could wake the dead. He owned the ship Skidbladner, which
could be folded as a napkin. He had two ravens, which he had taught to
speak, and they brought him tidings from all lands. He knew where all
treasures were hid in the earth, and could call them forth with the aid
of magic songs. Among the customs he introduced in the North were
cremation of the dead, the raising of mounds in memory of great men, the
erection of bauta-stones in commemoration of others; and he introduced
the three great sacrificial feasts--for a good year, for good crops, and
for victory. Odin died in Svithiod. When he perceived the approach of
death, he suffered himself to be marked with the point of a spear, and
declared that he was going to Gudheim to visit his friends and receive
all fallen in battle. This the Swedes believed. They have since
worshipped him in the belief that he had an eternal life in the ancient
Asgard, and they thought he revealed himself to them before great
battles took place. On Svea's throne he was followed by Njord, the
progenitor of the race of Ynglings. Thus Heimskringla.

We now pass to the Younger Edda,[4] which in its Foreword gives us in
the style of that time a general survey of history and religion.

First, it gives from the Bible the story of creation and the deluge.
Then a long story is told of the building of the tower of Babel. The
descendants of Noah's son, Ham, warred against and conquered the sons of
Sem, and tried in their arrogance to build a tower which should aspire
to heaven itself. The chief manager in this enterprise was Zoroaster,
and seventy-two master-masons and joiners served under him. But God
confounded the tongues of these arrogant people so that each one of the
seventy-two masters with those under him got their own language, which
the others could not understand, and then each went his own way, and in
this manner arose the seventy-two different languages in the world.
Before that time only one language was spoken, and that was Hebrew.
Where they tried to build the tower a city was founded and called
Babylon. There Zoroaster became a king and ruled over many Assyrian
nations, among which he introduced idolatry, and which worshiped him as
Baal. The tribes that departed with his master-workmen also fell into
idolatry, excepting the one tribe which kept the Hebrew language. It
preserved also the original and pure faith. Thus, while Babylon became
one of the chief altars of heathen worship, the island Crete became
another. There was born a man, by name Saturnus, who became for the
Cretans and Macedonians what Zoroaster was for the Assyrians. Saturnus'
knowledge and skill in magic, and his art of producing gold from red-hot
iron, secured him the power of a prince on Crete; and as he, moreover,
had control over all invisible forces, the Cretans and Macedonians
believed that he was a god, and he encouraged them in this faith. He had
three sons--Jupiter, Neptunus, and Plutus. Of these, Jupiter resembled
his father in skill and magic, and he was a great warrior who conquered
many peoples. When Saturnus divided his kingdom among his sons, a feud
arose. Plutus got as his share hell, and as this was the least desirable
part he also received the dog named Cerberus. Jupiter, who received
heaven, was not satisfied with this, but wanted the earth too. He made
war against his father, who had to seek refuge in Italy, where he, out
of fear of Jupiter, changed his name and called himself Njord, and where
he became a useful king, teaching the inhabitants, who lived on nuts and
roots, to plough and plant vineyards.

Jupiter had many sons. From one of them, Dardanus, descended in the
fifth generation Priamus of Troy. Priamus' son was Hektor, who in
stature and strength was the foremost man in the world. From the Trojans
the Romans are descended; and when Rome had grown to be a great power it
adopted many laws and customs which had prevailed among the Trojans
before them. Troy was situated in Tyrkland, near the centre of the
earth. Under Priamus, the chief ruler, there were twelve tributary
kings, and they spoke twelve languages. These twelve tributary kings
were exceedingly wise men; they received the honour of gods, and from
them all European chiefs are descended. One of these twelve was called
Munon or Mennon. He was married to a daughter of Priamus, and had with
her the son Tror, "whom we call Thor." He was a very handsome man, his
hair shone fairer than gold, and at the age of twelve he was full-grown,
and so strong that he could lift twelve bear-skins at the same time. He
slew his foster-father and foster-mother, took possession of his
foster-father's kingdom Thracia, "which we call Thrudheim," and
thenceforward he roamed about the world, conquering berserks, giants,
the greatest dragon, and other prodigies. In the North he met a
prophetess by name Sibil (Sibylla), "whom we call Sif," and her he
married. In the twentieth generation from this Thor, Vodin descended,
"whom we call Odin," a very wise and well-informed man, who married
Frigida, "whom we call Frigg."

At that time the Roman general Pompey was making wars in the East, and
also threatened the empire of Odin. Meanwhile Odin and his wife had
learned through prophetic inspiration that a glorious future awaited
them in the northern part of the world. He therefore emigrated from
Tyrkland, and took with him many people, old and young, men and women,
and costly treasures. Wherever they came they appeared to the
inhabitants more like gods than men. And they did not stop before they
came as far north as Saxland. There Odin remained a long time. One of
his sons, Veggdegg, he appointed king of Saxland. Another son, Beldegg,
"whom we call Balder," he made king in Westphalia. A third son, Sigge,
became king in Frankland. Then Odin proceeded farther to the north and
came to Reidgothaland, which is now called Jutland, and there took
possession of as much as he wanted. There he appointed his son Skjold as
king; then he came to Svithiod.

Here ruled king Gylfe. When he heard of the expedition of Odin and his
Asiatics he went to meet them, and offered Odin as much land and as much
power in his kingdom as he might desire. One reason why people
everywhere gave Odin so hearty a welcome and offered him land and power
was that wherever Odin and his men tarried on their journey the people
got good harvests and abundant crops, and therefore they believed that
Odin and his men controlled the weather and the growing grain. Odin went
with Gylfe up to the lake "Logrin" and saw that the land was good; and
there he chose as his citadel the place which is called Sigtuna,
founding there the same institutions as had existed in Troy, and to
which the Turks were accustomed. Then he organised a council of twelve
men, who were to make laws and settle disputes. From Svithiod Odin went
to Norway, and there made his son Sæming king. But the ruling of
Svithiod he had left to his son Yngve, from whom the race of Ynglings
are descended. The Asas and their sons married the women of the land of
which they had taken possession, and their descendants, who preserved
the language spoken in Troy, multiplied so fast that the Trojan language
displaced the old tongue and became the speech of Svithiod, Norway,
Denmark, and Saxland, and thereafter also of England.

The Prose Edda's first part, Gylfaginning, consists of a collection of
mythological tales told to the reader in the form of a conversation
between the above-named king of Sweden, Gylfe, and the Asas. Before the
Asas had started on their journey to the North, it is here said Gylfe
had learned that they were a wise and knowing people who had success in
all their undertakings. And believing that this was a result either of
the nature of these people, or of their peculiar kind of worship, he
resolved to investigate the matter secretly, and therefore betook
himself in the guise of an old man to Asgard. But the foreknowing Asas
knew in advance that he was coming, and resolved to receive him with all
sorts of sorcery, which might give him a high opinion of them. He
finally came to a citadel, the roof of which was thatched with golden
shields, and the hall of which was so large that he scarcely could see
the whole of it. At the entrance stood a man playing with sharp tools,
which he threw up in the air and caught again with his hands, and seven
axes were in the air at the same time. This man asked the traveller his
name. The latter answered that he was named Ganglere, that he had made a
long journey over rough roads, and asked for lodgings for the night. He
also asked whose the citadel was. The juggler answered that it belonged
to their king, and conducted Gylfe into the hall, where many people
were assembled. Some sat drinking, others amused themselves at games,
and still others were practising with weapons. There were three
high-seats in the hall, one above the other, and in each high-seat sat a
man. In the lowest sat the king; and the juggler informed Gylfe that the
king's name was Har; that the one who sat next above him was named
Jafnhar; and that the one who sat on the highest throne was named Thride
(_thridi_). Har asked the stranger what his errand was, and invited him
to eat and drink. Gylfe answered that he first wished to know whether
there was any wise man in the hall. Har replied that the stranger should
not leave the hall whole unless he was victorious in a contest in
wisdom. Gylfe now begins his questions, which all concern the worship of
the Asas, and the three men in the high-seats give him answers. Already
in the first answer it appears that the Asgard to which Gylfe thinks he
has come is, in the opinion of the author, a younger Asgard, and
presumably the same as the author of Heimskringla places beyond the
river Tanakvisl, but there had existed an older Asgard identical with
Troy in Tyrkland, where, according to Heimskringla, Odin had extensive
possessions at the time when the Romans began their invasions in the
East. When Gylfe with his questions had learned the most important facts
in regard to the religion of Asgard, and had at length been instructed
concerning the destruction and regeneration of the world, he perceived a
mighty rumbling and quaking, and when he looked about him the citadel
and hall had disappeared, and he stood beneath the open sky. He returned
to Svithiod and related all that he had seen and heard among the Asas;
but when he had gone they counselled together, and they agreed to call
themselves by those names which they used in relating their stories to
Gylfe. These sagas, remarks Gylfaginning, were in reality none but
historical events transformed into traditions about divinities. They
described events which had occurred in the older Asgard--that is to say,
Troy. The basis of the stories told to Gylfe about Thor were the
achievements of Hektor in Troy, and the Loke of whom Gylfe had heard
was, in fact, none other than Ulixes (Ulysses), who was the foe of the
Trojans, and consequently was represented as the foe of the gods.

Gylfaginning is followed by another part of the Prose Edda called
_Bragaroedur_ (Brage's Talk), which is presented in a similar form. On
Lessö, so it is said, dwelt formerly a man by name _Ægir_. He, like
Gylfe, had heard reports concerning the wisdom of the Asas, and resolved
to visit them. He, like Gylfe, comes to a place where the Asas receive
him with all sorts of magic arts, and conduct him into a hall which is
lighted up in the evening with shining swords. There he is invited to
take his seat by the side of Brage, and there were twelve high-seats in
which sat men who were called Thor, Njord, Frey, &c., and women who were
called Frigg, Freyja, Nanna, &c. The hall was splendidly decorated with
shields. The mead passed round was exquisite, and the talkative Brage
instructed the guest in the traditions concerning the Asas' art of
poetry. A postscript to the treatise warns young skalds not to place
confidence in the stories told to Gylfe and _Ægir_. The author of the
postscript says they have value only as a key to the many metaphors
which occur in the poems of the great skalds, but upon the whole they
are deceptions invented by the Asas or Asiamen to make people believe
that they were gods. Still, the author thinks these falsifications have
an historical kernel. They are, he thinks, based on what happened in the
ancient Asgard, that is, Troy. Thus, for instance, Ragnarok is
originally nothing else than the siege of Troy; Thor is, as stated,
Hektor; the Midgard-serpent is one of the heroes slain by Hektor; the
Fenris-wolf is Pyrrhus, son of Achilles, who slew Priam (Odin); and
Vidar, who survives Ragnarok, is Æneas.

[Footnote 3: As much land as can be ploughed in a day.]

[Footnote 4: A translation of the Younger or Prose Edda was edited by R.
B. Anderson and published by S. C. Griggs & Co., Chicago, in 1881.]



The sources of the traditions concerning the Asiatic immigration to the
North belong to the Icelandic literature, and to it alone. Saxo's
_Historia Danica_, the first books of which were written toward the
close of the twelfth century, presents on this topic its own peculiar
view, which will be discussed later. The Icelandic accounts disagree
only in unimportant details; the fundamental view is the same, and they
have flown from the same fountain vein. Their contents may be summed up

Among the tribes who after the Babylonian confusion of tongues emigrated
to various countries, there was a body of people who settled and
introduced their language in Asia Minor, which in the sagas is called
Tyrkland; in Greece, which in the sagas is called Macedonia; and in
Crete. In Tyrkland they founded the great city which was called Troy.
This city was attacked by the Greeks during the reign of the Trojan king
Priam. Priam descended from Jupiter and the latter's father Saturnus,
and accordingly belonged to a race which the idolaters looked upon as
divine. Troy was a very large city; twelve languages were spoken there,
and Priam had twelve tributary kings under him. But however powerful the
Trojans were, and however bravely they defended themselves under the
leadership of the son of Priam's daughter, that valiant hero Thor, still
they were defeated. Troy was captured and burned by the Greeks, and
Priam himself was slain. Of the surviving Trojans two parties emigrated
in different directions. They seem in advance to have been well informed
in regard to the quality of foreign lands; for Thor, the son of Priam's
daughter, had made extensive expeditions in which he had fought giants
and monsters. On his journeys he had even visited the North, and there
he had met Sibil, the celebrated prophetess, and married her. One of the
parties of Trojan emigrants embarked under the leadership of Æneas for
Italy, and founded Rome. The other party, accompanied by Thor's son,
Loride, went to Asialand, which is separated from Tyrkland by a mountain
ridge, and from Europe by the river Tanais or Tanakvisl. There they
founded a new city called Asgard, and there preserved the old customs
and usages brought from Troy. Accordingly, there was organised in
Asgard, as in Troy, a council of twelve men, who were high priests and
judges. Many centuries passed without any political contact between the
new Trojan settlements in Rome and Asgard, though both well remembered
their Trojan origin, and the Romans formed many of their institutions
after the model of the old fatherland. Meanwhile, Rome had grown to be
one of the mightiest empires in the world, and began at length to send
armies into Tyrkland. At that time there ruled in Asgard an exceedingly
wise, prophetic king, Odin, who was skilled in the magic arts, and who
was descended in the twentieth generation from the above-mentioned Thor.
Odin had waged many successful wars. The severest of these wars was the
one with a neighbouring people, the Vans; but this had been ended with
compromise and peace. In Tyrkland, the old mother country, Odin had
great possessions, which fell into the hands of the Romans. This
circumstance strengthened him in his resolution to emigrate to the north
of Europe. The prophetic vision with which he was endowed had told him
that his descendants would long flourish there. So he set out with his
many sons, and was accompanied by the twelve priests and by many people,
but not by all the inhabitants of the Asia country and of Asgard. A part
of the people remained at home; and among them Odin's brothers Vile and
Ve. The expedition proceeded through Gardarike to Saxland; then across
the Danish islands to Svithiod and Norway. Everywhere this great
multitude of migrators was well received by the inhabitants. Odin's
superior wisdom and his marvellous skill in sorcery, together with the
fact that his progress was everywhere attended by abundant harvests,
caused the peoples to look upon him as a god, and to place their thrones
at his disposal. He accordingly appointed his sons as kings in Saxland,
Denmark, Svithiod, and Norway. Gylfe, the king of Svithiod, submitted to
his superiority and gave him a splendid country around Lake Mælar to
rule over. There Odin built Sigtuna, the institutions of which were an
imitation of those in Asgard and Troy. Poetry and many other arts came
with Odin to the Teutonic lands, and so, too, the Trojan tongue. Like
his ancestors, Saturnus and Jupiter, he was able to secure divine
worship, which was extended even to his twelve priests. The religious
traditions which he scattered among the people, and which were believed
until the introduction of Christianity, were misrepresentations spun
around the memories of Troy's historical fate and its destruction, and
around the events of Asgard.



Such is, in the main, the story which was current in Iceland in the
thirteenth century, and which found its way to Scandinavia through the
Prose Edda and Heimskringla, concerning the immigration of Odin and the
Asas. Somewhat older than these works is _Historia Danica_, by the
Danish chronicler Saxo. Sturlason, the author of Heimskringla, was a lad
of eight years when Saxo began to write his history, and he (Sturlason)
had certainly not begun to write history when Saxo had completed the
first nine books of his work, which are based on the still-existing
songs and traditions found in Denmark, and of heathen origin. Saxo
writes as if he were unacquainted with Icelandic theories concerning an
Asiatic immigration to the North, and he has not a word to say about
Odin's reigning as king or chief anywhere in Scandinavia. This is the
more remarkable, since he holds the same view as the Icelanders and the
chroniclers of the Middle Ages in general in regard to the belief that
the heathen myths were records of historical events, and that the
heathen gods were historical persons, men changed into divinities; and
our astonishment increases when we consider that he, in the heathen
songs and traditions on which he based the first part of his work,
frequently finds Odin's name, and consequently could not avoid
presenting him in Danish history as an important character. In Saxo, as
in the Icelandic works, Odin is a human being, and at the same time a
sorcerer of the greatest power. Saxo and the Icelanders also agree that
Odin came from the East. The only difference is that while the Icelandic
hypothesis makes him rule in Asgard, Saxo locates his residence in
Byzantium, on the Bosphorus; but this is not far from the ancient Troy,
where the Prose Edda locates his ancestors. From Byzantium, according to
Saxo, the fame of his magic arts and of the miracles he performed
reached even to the north of Europe. On account of these miracles he was
worshipped as a god by the peoples, and to pay him honour the kings of
the North once sent to Byzantium a golden image, to which Odin by magic
arts imparted the power of speech. It is the myth about Mimer's head
which Saxo here relates. But the kings of the North knew him not only by
report; they were also personally acquainted with him. He visited
Upsala, a place which "pleased him much." Saxo, like the Heimskringla,
relates that Odin was absent from his capital for a long time; and when
we examine his statements on this point, we find that Saxo is here
telling in his way the myth concerning the war which the Vans carried on
successfully against the Asas, and concerning Odin's expulsion from the
mythic Asgard, situated in heaven (_Hist. Dan._, pp. 42-44; _vid._ No.
36). Saxo also tells that Odin's son, Balder, was chosen king by the
Danes "on account of his personal merits and his respect-commanding
qualities." But Odin himself has never, according to Saxo, had land or
authority in the North, though he was there worshipped as a god, and, as
already stated, Saxo is entirely silent in regard to any immigration of
an Asiatic people to Scandinavia under the leadership of Odin.

A comparison between him and the Icelanders will show at once that,
although both parties are Euhemerists, and make Odin a man changed into
a god, Saxo confines himself more faithfully to the popular myths, and
seeks as far as possible to turn them into history; while the
Icelanders, on the other hand, begin with the learned theory in regard
to the original kinship of the northern races with the Trojans and
Romans, and around this theory as a nucleus they weave about the same
myths told as history as Saxo tells.



How did the belief that Troy was the original home of the Teutons arise?
Does it rest on native traditions? Has it been inspired by sagas and
traditions current among the Teutons themselves, and containing as
kernel "a faint reminiscence of an immigration from Asia," or is it a
thought entirely foreign to the heathen Teutonic world, introduced in
Christian times by Latin scholars? These questions shall now be

Already in the seventh century--that is to say, more than five hundred
years before Heimskringla and the Prose Edda were written--a Teutonic
people were told by a chronicler that they were of the same blood as the
Romans, that they had like the Romans emigrated from Troy, and that they
had the same share as the Romans in the glorious deeds of the Trojan
heroes. This people were the Franks. Their oldest chronicler, Gregorius,
bishop of Tours, who, about one hundred years before that time--that is
to say, in the sixth century--wrote their history in ten books, does not
say a word about it. He, too, desires to give an account of the original
home of the Franks (_Hist. Franc._, ii. 9), and locates it quite a
distance from the regions around the lower Rhine, where they first
appear in the light of history; but still not farther away than to
Pannonia. Of the coming of the Franks from Troy neither Gregorius knows
anything nor the older authors, Sulpicius Alexander and others, whose
works he studied to find information in regard to the early history of
the Franks. But in the middle of the following century, about 650, an
unknown author, who for reasons unknown, is called Fredegar, wrote a
chronicle, which is in part a reproduction of Gregorius' historical
work, but also contains various other things in regard to the early
history of the Franks, and among these the statement that they emigrated
from Troy. He even gives us the sources from which he got this
information. His sources are, according to his own statement, not
Frankish, not popular songs or traditions, but two Latin authors--the
Church father Hieronymus and the poet Virgil. If we, then, go to these
sources in order to compare Fredegar's statement with his authority, we
find that Hieronymus once names the Franks in passing, but never refers
to their origin from Troy, and that Virgil does not even mention Franks.
Nevertheless, the reference to Virgil is the key to the riddle, as we
shall show below. What Fredegar tells about the emigration of the Franks
is this: A Frankish king, by the name Priam, ruled in Troy at the time
when this city was conquered by the cunning of Ulysses. Then the Franks
emigrated, and were afterwards ruled by a king named Friga. Under his
reign a dispute arose between them, and they divided themselves into two
parties, one of which settled in Macedonia, while the other, called
after Friga's name Frigians (Phrygians), migrated through Asia and
settled there. There they were again divided, and one part of them
migrated under king Francio into Europe, travelled across this
continent, and settled, with their women and children, near the Rhine,
where they began building a city which they called Troy, and intended
to organise in the manner of the old Troy, but the city was not
completed. The other group chose a king by name Turchot, and were called
after him Turks. But those who settled on the Rhine called themselves
Franks after their king Francio, and later chose a king named Theudemer,
who was descended from Priam, Friga, and Francio. Thus Fredegar's

About seventy years later another Frankish chronicle saw the light of
day--the _Gesta regum Francorum_. In it we learn more of the emigration
of the Franks from Troy. _Gesta regum Francorum_ (i) tells the following
story: In Asia lies the city of the Trojans called Ilium, where king
Æneas formerly ruled. The Trojans were a strong and brave people, who
waged war against all their neighbours. But then the kings of the Greeks
united and brought a large army against Æneas, king of the Trojans.
There were great battles and much bloodshed, and the greater part of the
Trojans fell. Æneas fled with those surviving into the city of Ilium,
which the Greeks besieged and conquered after ten years. The Trojans who
escaped divided themselves into two parties. The one under king Æneas
went to Italy, where he hoped to receive auxiliary troops. Other
distinguished Trojans became the leaders of the other party, which
numbered 12,000 men. They embarked in ships and came to the banks of the
river Tanais. They sailed farther and came within the borders of
Pannonia, near the Moeotian marshes (_navigantes pervenerunt intra
terminos Pannoniarum juxta Moeotidas paludes_), where they founded a
city, which they called Sicambria, and here they remained many years
and became a mighty people. Then came a time when the Roman emperor
Valentinianus got into war with that wicked people called Alamanni (also
Alani). He led a great army against them. The Alamanni were defeated,
and fled to the Moeotian marshes. Then said the emperor, "If anyone
dares to enter those marshes and drive away this wicked people, I shall
for ten years make him free from all burdens." When the Trojans heard
this they went, accompanied by a Roman army, into the marshes, attacked
the Alamanni, and hewed them down with their swords. Then the Trojans
received from the emperor Valentinianus the name _Franks_, which, the
chronicle adds, in the Attic tongue means the _savage_ (_feri_), "for
the Trojans had a defiant and indomitable character."

For ten years afterwards the Trojans or Franks lived undisturbed by
Roman tax-collectors; but after that the Roman emperor demanded that
they should pay tribute. This they refused, and slew the tax-collectors
sent to them. Then the emperor collected a large army under the command
of Aristarcus, and strengthened it with auxiliary forces from many
lands, and attacked the Franks, who were defeated by the superior force,
lost their leader Priam, and had to take flight. They now proceeded
under their leaders Markomir, Priam's son, and Sunno, son of Antenor,
away from Sicambria through Germany to the Rhine, and located there.
Thus this chronicle.

About fifty years after its appearance--that is, in the time of
Charlemagne, and, to be more accurate, about the year 787--the
well-known Longobardian historian Paulus Diaconus wrote a history of the
bishops of Metz. Among these bishops was the Frank Arnulf, from whom
Charlemagne was descended in the fifth generation. Arnulf had two sons,
one of whom was named Ansgisel, in a contracted form Ansgis. When Paulus
speaks of this he remarks that it is thought that the name Ansgis comes
from the father of Æneas, Anchises, who went from Troy to Italy; and he
adds that according to evidence of older date the Franks were believed
to be descendants of the Trojans. These evidences of older date we have
considered above--Fredegar's _Chronicle_ and _Gesta regum Francorum_.
Meanwhile this shows that the belief that the Franks were of Trojan
descent kept spreading with the lapse of time. It hardly needs to be
added that there is no good foundation for the derivation of Ansgisel or
Ansgis from Anchises. Ansgisel is a genuine Teutonic name. (See No. 123
concerning Ansgisel, the emigration chief of the Teutonic myth.)

We now pass to the second half of the tenth century, and there we find
the Saxon chronicler Widukind. When he is to tell the story of the
origin of the Saxon people, he presents two conflicting accounts. The
one is from a Saxon source, from old native traditions, which we shall
discuss later; the other is from a scholastic source, and claims that
the Saxons are of Macedonian descent. According to this latter account
they were a remnant of the Macedonian army of Alexander the Great,
which, as Widukind had learned, after Alexander's early death, had
spread over the whole earth. The Macedonians were at that time regarded
as Hellenicised Trojans. In this connection I call the reader's
attention to Fredegar's _Chronicle_ referred to above, which tells that
the Trojans, in the time of king Friga, disagreed among themselves, and
that a part of them emigrated and settled in Macedonia. In this manner
the Saxons, like the Franks, could claim a Trojan descent; and as
England to a great extent was peopled by Saxon conquerors, the same
honour was of course claimed by her people. In evidence of this, and to
show that it was believed in England during the centuries immediately
following Widukind's time, that the Saxons and Angles were of Trojan
blood, I will simply refer here to a pseudo-Sibylline manuscript found
in Oxford and written in very poor Latin. It was examined by the French
scholar Alexandre (_Excursus ad Sibyllina_, p. 298), and in it Britain
is said to be an island inhabited by the survivors of the Trojans
(_insulam reliquiis Trojanorum inhabitatam_). In another British
pseudo-Sibylline document it is stated that the Sibylla was a daughter
of king Priam of Troy; and an effort has been made to add weight and
dignity to this document by incorporating it with the works of the well
known Church historian Beda, and thus date it at the beginning of the
eighth century, but the manuscript itself is a compilation from the time
of Frederick Barbarossa (_Excurs. ad Sib._, p. 289). Other
pseudo-Sibylline documents in Latin give accounts of a Sibylla who lived
and prophesied in Troy. I make special mention of this fact, for the
reason that in the Foreword of the Prose Edda it is similarly stated
that Thor, the son of Priam's daughter, was married to Sibil (Sibylla).

Thus when Franks and Saxons had been made into Trojans--the former into
full-blooded Trojans and the latter into Hellenicised Trojans--it could
not take long before their northern kinsmen received the same descent as
a heritage. In the very nature of things the beginning must be made by
those Northmen who became the conquerors and settlers of Normandy in the
midst of "Trojan" Franks. About a hundred years after their settlement
there they produced a chronicler, Dudo, deacon of St. Quentin. I have
already shown that the Macedonians were regarded as Hellenicised
Trojans. Together with the Hellenicising they had obtained the name
Danai, a term applied to all Greeks. In his Norman Chronicle, which goes
down to the year 996, Dudo relates (_De moribus et gestis_, &c., lib.
i.) that the Norman men regarded themselves as Danai, for Danes (the
Scandinavians in general) and Dania was regarded as the same race name.
Together with the Normans the Scandinavians also, from whom they were
descended accordingly had to be made into Trojans. And thus the matter
was understood by Dudo's readers; and when Robert Wace wrote his rhymed
chronicle, _Roman de Rou_, about the northern conquerors of Normandy,
and wanted to give an account of their origin, he could say, on the
basis of a common tradition:

  "When the walls of Troy in ashes were laid,
  And the Greeks exceedingly glad were made,
  Then fled from flames on the Trojan strand
  The race that settled old Denmark's land;
  And in honour of the old Trojan reigns,
  The people called themselves the Danes."

I have now traced the scholastic tradition about the descent of the
Teutonic races from Troy all the way from the chronicle where we first
find this tradition recorded, down to the time when Are, Iceland's first
historian, lived, and when the Icelander, Sæmund, is said to have
studied in Paris, the same century in which Sturlason, Heimskringla's
author, developed into manhood. Saxo rejected the theory current among
the scholars of his time, that the northern races were Danai-Trojans. He
knew that Dudo in St. Quentin was the authority upon which this belief
was chiefly based, and he gives his Danes an entirely different origin,
_quanquam Dudo, rerum Aquitanicarum scriptor, Danos a Danais ortos
nuncupatosque recenseat_. The Icelanders on the other hand, accepted and
continued to develop the belief, resting on the authority of five
hundred years, concerning Troy as the starting-point for the Teutonic
race; and in Iceland the theory is worked out and systematised as we
have already seen, and is made to fit in a frame of the history of the
world. The accounts given in Heimskringla and the Prose Edda in regard
to the emigration from Asgard form the natural denouement of an era
which had existed for centuries, and in which the events of antiquity
were able to group themselves around a common centre. All peoples and
families of chiefs were located around the Mediterranean Sea, and every
event and every hero was connected in some way or other with Troy.

In fact, a great part of the lands subject to the Roman sceptre were in
ancient literature in some way connected with the Trojan war and its
consequences: Macedonia and Epirus through the Trojan emigrant Helenus;
Illyria and Venetia through the Trojan emigrant Antenor; Rhetia and
Vindelicia through the Amazons, allies of the Trojans, from whom the
inhabitants of these provinces were said to be descended (_Servius ad
Virg._, i. 248); Etruria through Dardanus, who was said to have
emigrated from there to Troy; Latium and Campania through the Æneids;
Sicily, the very home of the Ænean traditions, through the relation
between the royal families of Troy and Sicily; Sardinia (see Sallust);
Gaul (see Lucanus and Ammianus Marcellinus); Carthage through the visit
of Æneas to Dido; and of course all of Asia Minor. This was not all.
According to the lost Argive History by Anaxikrates, Scamandrius, son of
Hektor and Andromache, came with emigrants to Scythia and settled on the
banks of the Tanais; and scarcely had Germany become known to the
Romans, before it, too, became drawn into the cycle of Trojan stories,
at least so far as to make this country visited by Ulysses on his many
journeys and adventures (Tac., _Germ._). Every educated Greek and Roman
person's fancy was filled from his earliest school-days with Troy, and
traces of Dardanians and Danaians were found everywhere, just as the
English in our time think they have found traces of the ten lost tribes
of Israel both in the old and in the new world.

In the same degree as Christianity, Church learning, and Latin
manuscripts were spread among the Teutonic tribes, there were
disseminated among them knowledge of and an interest in the great Trojan
stories. The native stories telling of Teutonic gods and heroes
received terrible shocks from Christianity, but were rescued in another
form on the lips of the people, and continued in their new guise to
command their attention and devotion. In the class of Latin scholars
which developed among the Christianised Teutons, the new stories learned
from Latin literature, telling of Ilium, of the conflicts between
Trojans and Greeks, of migrations, of the founding of colonies on
foreign shores and the creating of new empires, were the things which
especially stimulated their curiosity and captivated their fancy. The
Latin literature which was to a greater or less extent accessible to the
Teutonic priests, or to priests labouring among the Teutons, furnished
abundant materials in regard to Troy both in classical and
pseudo-classical authors. We need only call attention to Virgil and his
commentator Servius, which became a mine of learning for the whole
middle age, and among pseudo-classical works to Dares Phrygius'
_Historia de Excidio Trojæ_ (which was believed to have been written by
a Trojan and translated by Cornelius Nepos!), to Dictys Cretensis'
_Ephemeris belli Trojani_ (the original of which was said to have been
Phoenician, and found in Dictys' alleged grave after an earthquake in
the time of Nero!), and to "Pindari Thebani," _Epitome Iliados Homeri_.

Before the story of the Trojan descent of the Franks had been created,
the Teuton Jordanes, active as a writer in the middle of the sixth
century, had already found a place for his Gothic fellow-countrymen in
the events of the great Trojan epic. Not that he made the Goths the
descendants either of the Greeks or Trojans. On the contrary, he
maintained the Goths' own traditions in regard to their descent and
their original home, a matter which I shall discuss later. But according
to Orosius, who is Jordanes' authority, the Goths were the same as the
_Getæ_, and when the identity of these was accepted, it was easy for
Jordanes to connect the history of the Goths with the Homeric stories. A
Gothic chief marries Priam's sister and fights with Achilles and Ulysses
(Jord., c. 9), and Ilium, having scarcely recovered from the war with
Agamemnon, is destroyed a second time by Goths (c. 20).


                    DESCENT OF THE FRANKS.

We must now return to the Frankish chronicles, to Fredegar's and _Gesta
regum Francorum_, where the theory of the descent from Troy of a
Teutonic tribe is presented for the first time, and thus renews the
agitation handed down from antiquity, which attempted to make all
ancient history a system of events radiating from Troy as their centre.
I believe I am able to point out the sources of all the statements made
in these chronicles in reference to this subject, and also to find the
very kernel out of which the illusion regarding the Trojan birth of the
Franks grew.

As above stated, Fredegar admits that Virgil is the earliest authority
for the claim that the Franks are descended from Troy. Fredegar's
predecessor, Gregorius of Tours, was ignorant of it, and, as already
shown, the word Franks does not occur anywhere in Virgil. The discovery
that he nevertheless gave information about the Franks and their origin
must therefore have been made or known in the time intervening between
Gregorius' chronicle and Fredegar's. Which, then, can be the passage in
Virgil's poems in which the discoverer succeeded in finding the proof
that the Franks were Trojans? A careful examination of all the
circumstances connected with the subject leads to the conclusion that
the passage is in _Æneis_, lib. i., 242ff.:

  "Antenor potuit, mediis elapsus Achivis,
  Illyricos penetrare sinus atque intima tutus
  Regna Liburnorum, et fontem superare Timavi:
  Unde per ora novem vasto cum murmere montis
  It mare proruptum, et pelago premit arva sonanti.
  Hic tamen ille urbem Patavi sedesque locavit

"Antenor having escaped from amidst the Greeks, could with safety
penetrate the Illyrian Gulf and the inmost realms of Liburnia, and
overpass the springs of Timavus, whence, through nine months, with loud
echoing from the mountain, it bursts away, a sea impetuous, and sweeps
the fields with a roaring deluge. Yet there he built the city of Padua
and established a Trojan settlement."

The nearest proof at hand, that this is really the passage which was
interpreted as referring to the ancient history of the Franks, is based
on the following circumstances:

Gregorius of Tours had found in the history of Sulpicius Alexander
accounts of violent conflicts, on the west bank of the Rhine, between
the Romans and Franks, the latter led by the chiefs Markomir and Sunno
(Greg., _Hist._, ii. 9).

From Gregorius, _Gesta regum Francorum_ has taken both these names.
According to _Gesta_, the Franks, under the command of Markomir and
Sunno, emigrate from Pannonia, near the Moeotian marshes, and settle on
the Rhine. The supposition that they had lived in Pannonia before their
coming to the Rhine, the author of _Gesta_ had learned from Gregorius.
In _Gesta_, Markomir is made a son of the Trojan Priam, and Sunno _a son
of the Trojan Antenor_.

From this point of view, Virgil's account of Antenor's and his Trojans'
journey to Europe from fallen Troy refers to the emigration of the
father of the Frankish chief Sunno at the head of a tribe of Franks. And
as _Gesta's_ predecessor, the so-called Fredegar, appeals to Virgil as
his authority for this Frankish emigration, and as the wanderings of
Antenor are nowhere else mentioned by the Roman poet, there can be no
doubt that the lines above quoted were the very ones which were regarded
as the Virgilian evidence in regard to a Frankish emigration from Troy.

But how did it come to be regarded as an evidence?

Virgil says that Antenor, when he had escaped the Achivians, succeeded
in penetrating _Illyricos sinus_, the very heart of Illyria. The name
Illyricum served to designate all the regions inhabited by kindred
tribes extending from the Alps to the mouth of the Danube and from the
Danube to the Adriatic Sea and Hæmus (cp. _Marquardt Röm.
Staatsverwalt_, 295). To Illyricum belonged the Roman provinces
Dalmatia, Pannonia, and Moesia, and the Pannonians were an Illyrian
tribe. In Pannonia Gregorius of Tours had located the Franks in early
times. Thus Antenor, with his Trojans, on their westward journey,
traverses the same regions from which, according to Gregorius, the
Franks had set out for the Rhine.

Virgil also says that Antenor extended his journeys to the Liburnian
kingdoms (_regna Liburnorum_). From Servius' commentary on this passage,
the middle age knew that the Liburnian kingdoms were Rhetia and
Vindelicia (_Rhetia Vindelici ipsi sunt Liburni_). Rhetia and Vindelicia
separate Pannonia from the Rhine. Antenor, accordingly, takes the same
route toward the West as the Franks must have taken if they came from
Pannonia to the Rhine.

Virgil then brings Antenor to a river, which, it is true, is called
Timavus, but which is described as a mighty stream, coming thundering
out of a mountainous region, where it has its source, carrying with it a
mass of water which the poet compares with a sea, forming before it
reaches the sea a delta, the plains of which are deluged by the billows,
and finally emptying itself by many outlets into the ocean. Virgil says
_nine_; but Servius interprets this as meaning _many_: "_finitus est
numerus pro infinito_."

We must pardon the Frankish scribes for taking this river to be the
Rhine; for if a water-course is to be looked for in Europe west of the
land of the Liburnians, which answers to the Virgilian description, then
this must be the Rhine, on whose banks the ancestors of the Franks for
the first time appear in history.

Again, Virgil tells us that Antenor settled near this river and founded
a colony--Patavium--on the low plains of the delta. The Salian Franks
acquired possession of the low and flat regions around the outlets of
the Rhine (_Insula Batavorum_) about the year 287, and also of the land
to the south as far as to the Scheldt; and after protracted wars the
Romans had to leave them in control of this region. By the very
occupation of this low country, its conquerors might properly be called
Batavian Franks. It is only necessary to call attention to the
similarity of the words _Patavi_ and _Batavi_, in order to show at the
same time that the conclusion could scarcely be avoided that Virgil had
reference to the immigration of the Franks when he spoke of the
wanderings of Antenor, the more so, since from time out of date the
pronunciation of the initials _B_ and _P_ have been interchanged by the
Germans. In the conquered territory the Franks founded a city (Ammian.
Marc., xvii. 2, 5).

Thus it appears that the Franks were supposed to have migrated to the
Rhine under the leadership of Antenor. The first Frankish chiefs
recorded, after their appearance there, are Markomir and Sunno. From
this the conclusion was drawn that Sunno was Antenor's son; and as
Markomir ought to be the son of some celebrated Trojan chief, he was
made the son of Priam. Thus we have explained Fredegar's statement that
Virgil is his authority for the Trojan descent of these Franks. This
seemed to be established for all time.

The wars fought around the Moeotian marshes between the emperor
Valentinianus, the Alamanni, and the Franks, of which _Gesta_ speaks,
are not wholly inventions of the fancy. The historical kernel in this
confused semi-mythical narrative is that Valentinianus really did fight
with the Alamanni, and that the Franks for some time were allies of the
Romans, and came into conflict with those same Alamanni (Ammian. Marc.,
libs, xxx., xxxi.). But the scene of these battles was not the Moeotian
marshes and Pannonia, as _Gesta_ supposes, but the regions on the Rhine.

The unhistorical statement of Gregorius that the Franks came from
Pannonia is based only on the fact that Frankish warriors for some time
formed a _Sicambra cohors_, which about the year 26 was incorporated
with the Roman troops stationed in Pannonia and Thracia. The cohort is
believed to have remained in Hungary and formed a colony, where Buda now
is situated. _Gesta_ makes Pannonia extend from the Moeotian marshes to
Tanais, since according to Gregorius and earlier chroniclers, these
waters were the boundary between Europe and Asia, and since Asia was
regarded as a synonym of the Trojan empire. Virgil had called the Trojan
kingdom Asia: _Postquam res Asiæ Priamique evertere gentem_, &c.,
(_Æneid_, iii. 1).

Thus we have exhibited the seed out of which the fable about the Trojan
descent of the Franks grew into a tree spreading its branches over all
Teutonic Europe, in the same manner as the earlier fable, which was at
least developed if not born in Sicily, in regard to the Trojan descent
of the Romans had grown into a tree overshadowing all the lands around
the Mediterranean, and extending one of its branches across Gaul to
Britain and Ireland. The first son of the Britons, "Brutus," was,
according to Galfred, great-grandson of Æneas, and migrated from Alba
Longa to Ireland.

So far as the Gauls are concerned, the incorporation of Cis-Alpine Gaul
with the Roman Empire, and the Romanising of the Gauls dwelling there,
had at an early day made way for the belief that they had the same
origin and were of the same blood as the Romans. Consequently they too
were Trojans. This view, encouraged by Roman politics, gradually found
its way to the Gauls on the other side of the Rhine; and even before
Cæsar's time the Roman senate had in its letters to the Æduans, often
called them the "brothers and kinsmen" of the Romans (_fratres
consanguineique_--Cæsar, _De Bell. Gall._, i. 33, 2). Of the Avernians
Lucanus sings (i. 427): _Averni ... ausi Latio se fingere fratres,
sanguine ab Iliaco populi_.

Thus we see that when the Franks, having made themselves masters of the
Romanised Gaul, claimed a Trojan descent, then this was the repetition
of a history of which Gaul for many centuries previously had been the
scene. After the Frankish conquest the population of Gaul consisted for
the second time of two nationalities unlike in language and customs, and
now as before it was a political measure of no slight importance to
bring these two nationalities as closely together as possible by the
belief in a common descent. The Roman Gauls and the Franks were
represented as having been one people in the time of the Trojan war.
After the fall of the common fatherland they were divided into two
separate tribes, with separate destinies, until they refound each other
in the west of Europe, to dwell together again in Gaul. This explains
how it came to pass that, when they thought they had found evidence of
this view in Virgil, this was at once accepted, and was so eagerly
adopted that the older traditions in regard to the origin and migrations
of the Franks were thrust aside and consigned to oblivion. History
repeats itself a third time when the Normans conquered and became
masters of that part of Gaul which after them is called Normandy. Dudo,
their chronicler, says that they regarded themselves as being _ex
Antenore progenitos_, descendants of Antenor. This is sufficient proof
that they had borrowed from the Franks the tradition in regard to their
Trojan descent.


                      THE TROJAN EMIGRATION.

So long as the Franks were the only ones of the Teutons who claimed
Trojan descent, it was sufficient that the Teutonic-Trojan immigration
had the father of a Frankish chief as its leader. But in the same degree
as the belief in a Trojan descent spread among the other Teutonic tribes
and assumed the character of a statement equally important to all the
Teutonic tribes, the idea would naturally present itself that the leader
of the great immigration was a person of general Teutonic importance.
There was no lack of names to choose from. Most conspicuous was the
mythical Teutonic patriarch, whom Tacitus speaks of and calls _Mannus_
(_Germania_, 2), the grandson of the goddess Jord (Earth). There can be
no doubt that he still was remembered by this (Mann) or some other name
(for nearly all Teutonic mythic persons have several names), since he
reappears in the beginning of the fourteenth century in Heinrich
Frauenlob as Mennor, the patriarch of the German people and German
tongue.[5] But Mannus had to yield to another universal Teutonic mythic
character, Odin, and for reasons which we shall now present.

As Christianity was gradually introduced among the Teutonic peoples, the
question confronted them, what manner of beings those gods had been in
whom they and their ancestors so long had believed. Their Christian
teachers had two answers, and both were easily reconcilable. The common
answer, and that usually given to the converted masses, was that the
gods of their ancestors were demons, evil spirits, who ensnared men in
superstition in order to become worshipped as divine beings. The other
answer, which was better calculated to please the noble-born Teutonic
families, who thought themselves descended from the gods, was that these
divinities were originally human persons--kings, chiefs, legislators,
who, endowed with higher wisdom and secret knowledge, made use of these
to make people believe that they were gods, and worship them as such.
Both answers could, as stated, easily be reconciled with each other, for
it was evident that when these proud and deceitful rulers died, their
unhappy spirits joined the ranks of evil demons, and as demons they
continued to deceive the people, in order to maintain through all ages a
worship hostile to the true religion. Both sides of this view we find
current among the Teutonic races through the whole middle age. The one
which particularly presents the old gods as evil demons is found in
popular traditions from this epoch. The other, which presents the old
gods as mortals, as chiefs and lawmakers with magic power, is more
commonly reflected in the Teutonic chronicles, and was regarded among
the scholars as the scientific view.

Thus it followed of necessity that Odin, the chief of the Teutonic gods,
and from whom their royal houses were fond of tracing their descent,
also must have been a wise king of antiquity and skilled in the magic
arts, and information was of course sought with the greatest interest in
regard to the place where he had reigned, and in regard to his origin.
There were two sources of investigation in reference to this matter. One
source was the treasure of mythic songs and traditions of their own
race. But what might be history in these seemed to the students so
involved in superstition and fancy, that not much information seemed
obtainable from them. But there was also another source, which in regard
to historical trustworthiness seemed incomparably better, and that was
the Latin literature to be found in the libraries of the convents.

During centuries when the Teutons had employed no other art than poetry
for preserving the memory of the life and deeds of their ancestors, the
Romans, as we know, had had parchment and papyrus to write on, and had
kept systematic annals extending centuries back. Consequently this
source _must_ be more reliable. But what had this source--what had the
Roman annals or the Roman literature in general to tell about Odin?
Absolutely nothing, it would seem, inasmuch as the name Odin, or Wodan,
does not occur in any of the authors of the ancient literature. But this
was only an apparent obstacle. The ancient king of our race, Odin, they
said, has had many names--one name among one people, and another among
another, and there can be no doubt that he is the same person as the
Romans called Mercury and the Greeks Hermes.

The evidence of the correctness of identifying Odin with Mercury and
Hermes the scholars might have found in Tacitus' work on Germany, where
it is stated in the ninth chapter that the chief god of the Germans is
the same as Mercury among the Romans. But Tacitus was almost unknown in
the convents and schools of this period of the middle age. They could
not use this proof, but they had another and completely compensating
evidence of the assertion.

Originally the Romans did not divide time into weeks of seven days.
Instead, they had weeks of eight days, and the farmer worked the seven
days and went on the eighth to the market. But the week of seven days
had been in existence for a very long time among certain Semitic
peoples, and already in the time of the Roman republic many Jews lived
in Rome and in Italy. Through them the week of seven days became
generally known. The Jewish custom of observing the sacredness of the
Sabbath, the first day of the week, by abstaining from all labour, could
not fail to be noticed by the strangers among whom they dwelt. The Jews
had, however, no special name for each day of the week. But the
Oriental, Egyptian, and Greek astrologers and astronomers, who in large
numbers sought their fortunes in Rome, did more than the Jews to
introduce the week of seven days among all classes of the metropolis,
and the astrologers had special names for each of the seven days of the
week. Saturday was the planet's and the planet-god Saturnus' day;
Sunday, the sun's; Monday, the moon's; Tuesday, Mars'; Wednesday,
Mercury's; Thursday, Jupiter's; Friday, Venus' day. Already in the
beginning of the empire these names of the days were quite common in
Italy. The astrological almanacs, which were circulated in the name of
the Egyptian Petosiris among all families who had the means to buy them
contributed much to bring this about. From Italy both the taste for
astrology and the adoption of the week of seven days, with the
above-mentioned names, spread not only into Spain and Gaul, but also
into those parts of Germany that were incorporated with the Roman
Empire, Germania superior and inferior, where the Romanising of the
people, with Cologne (_Civitas Ubiorum_) as the centre, made great
progress. Teutons who had served as officers and soldiers in the Roman
armies, and were familiar with the everyday customs of the Romans, were
to be found in various parts of the independent Teutonic territory, and
it is therefore not strange if the week of seven days, with a separate
name given to each day, was known and in use more or less extensively
throughout Teutondom even before Christianity had taken root east of the
Rhine, and long before Rome itself was converted to Christianity. But
from this introduction of the seven-day week did not follow the adoption
of the Roman names of the days. The Teutons translated the names into
their own language, and in so doing chose among their own divinities
those which most nearly corresponded to the Roman. The translation of
the names is made with a discrimination which seems to show that it was
made in the Teutonic border country, governed by the Romans, by people
who were as familiar with the Roman gods as with their own. In that
border land there must have been persons of Teutonic birth who
officiated as priests before Roman altars. The days of the sun and moon
were permitted to retain their names. They were called Sunday and
Monday. The day of the war-god Mars became the day of the war-god Tyr,
Tuesday. The day of Mercury became Odin's day, Wednesday. The day of the
lightning-armed Jupiter became the day of the thundering Thor, Thursday.
The day of the goddess of love Venus became that of the goddess of love
Freyja, Friday. Saturnus, who in astrology is a watery star, and has his
house in the sign of the waterman, was among the Romans, and before them
among the Greeks and Chaldæans, the lord of the seventh day. Among the
North Teutons, or at least, among a part of them, his day got its name
from laug,[6] which means a bath, and it is worthy of notice in this
connection that the author of the Prose Edda's Foreword identifies
Saturnus with the sea-god Njord.

Here the Latin scholars had what seemed to them a complete proof that
the Odin of which their stories of the past had so much to tell was--and
was so recognised by their heathen ancestors--the same historical person
as the Romans worshipped by the name Mercury.

At first sight it may seem strange that Mercury and Odin were regarded
as identical. We are wont to conceive Hermes (Mercury) as the Greek
sculptors represented him, the ideal of beauty and elastic youth, while
we imagine Odin as having a contemplative, mysterious look. And while
Odin in the Teutonic mythology is the father and ruler of the gods,
Mercury in the Roman has, of course, as the son of Zeus, a high rank,
but his dignity does not exempt him from being the very busy messenger
of the gods of Olympus. But neither Greeks nor Romans nor Teutons
attached much importance to such circumstances in the specimens we have
of their comparative mythology. The Romans knew that the same god among
the same people might be represented differently, and that the local
traditions also sometimes differed in regard to the kinship and rank of
a divinity. They therefore paid more attention to what Tacitus calls
_vis numinis_--that is, the significance of the divinity as a symbol of
nature, or its relation to the affairs of the community and to human
culture. Mercury was the symbol of wisdom and intelligence; so was
Odin. Mercury was the god of eloquence; Odin likewise. Mercury had
introduced poetry and song among men; Odin also. Mercury had taught men
the art of writing; Odin had given them the runes. Mercury did not
hesitate to apply cunning when it was needed to secure him possession of
something that he desired; nor was Odin particularly scrupulous in
regard to the means. Mercury, with wings on his hat and on his heels,
flew over the world, and often appeared as a traveller among men; Odin,
the ruler of the wind, did the same. Mercury was the god of martial
games, and still he was not really the war-god; Odin also was the chief
of martial games and combats, but the war-god's occupation he had left
to Tyr. In all important respects Mercury and Odin, therefore, resembled
each other.

To the scholars this must have been an additional proof that this, in
their eyes, historical chief, whom the Romans called Mercury and the
Teutons Odin, had been one and the same human person, who had lived in a
distant past, and had alike induced Greeks, Romans, and Goths to worship
him as a god. To get additional and more reliable information in regard
to this Odin-Mercury than what the Teutonic heathen traditions could
impart, it was only necessary to study and interpret correctly what
Roman history had to say about Mercury.

As is known, some mysterious documents called the Sibylline books were
preserved in Jupiter's temple, on the Capitoline Hill, in Rome. The
Roman State was the possessor, and kept the strictest watch over them,
so that their contents remained a secret to all excepting those whose
position entitled them to read them. A college of priests, men in high
standing, were appointed to guard them and to consult them when
circumstances demanded it. The common opinion that the Roman State
consulted them for information in regard to the future is incorrect.
They were consulted only to find out by what ceremonies of penance and
propitiation the wrath of the higher powers might be averted at times
when Rome was in trouble, or when prodigies of one kind or another had
excited the people and caused fears of impending misfortune. Then the
Sibylline books were produced by the properly-appointed persons, and in
some line or passage they found which divinity was angry and ought to be
propitiated. This done, they published their interpretation of the
passage, but did not make known the words or phrases of the passage, for
the text of the Sibylline books must not be known to the public. The
books were written in the Greek tongue.

The story telling how these books came into the possession of the Roman
State through a woman who sold them to Tarquin--according to one version
Tarquin the Elder, according to another Tarquin the Younger--is found in
Roman authors who were well known and read throughout the whole middle
age. The woman was a Sibylla, according to Varro the Erythreian, so
called from a Greek city in Asia Minor; according to Virgil the Cumæan,
a prophetess from Cumæ in southern Italy. Both versions could easily be
harmonised, for Cumæ was a Greek colony from Asia Minor; and we read in
Servius' commentaries on Virgil's poems that the Erythreian Sibylla was
by many regarded as identical with the Cumæan. From Asia Minor she was
supposed to have come to Cumæ.

In western Europe the people of the middle age claimed that there were
twelve Sibyllas: the Persian, the Libyan, the Delphian, the Cimmerinean,
the Erythreian, the Samian, the Cumæan, the Hellespontian or Trojan, the
Phrygian and Tiburtinian, and also the Sibylla Europa and the Sibylla
Agrippa. Authorities for the first ten of these were the Church father
Lactantius and the West Gothic historian Isodorus of Sevilla. The last
two, Europa and Agrippa, were simply added in order to make the number
of Sibyllas equal to that of the prophets and the apostles.

But the scholars of the middle ages also knew from Servius that the
Cumæan Sibylla was, in fact, the same as the Erythreian; and from the
Church father Lactantius, who was extensively read in the middle ages,
they also learned that the Erythreian was identical with the Trojan.
Thanks to Lactantius, they also thought they could determine precisely
where the Trojan Sibylla was born. Her birthplace was the town
Marpessus, near the Trojan Mount Ida. From the same Church father they
learned that the real contents of the Sibylline books had consisted of
narrations concerning Trojan events, of lives of the Trojan kings, &c.,
and also of prophecies concerning the fall of Troy and other coming
events, and that the poet Homer in his works was a mere plagiator, who
had found a copy of the books of the Sibylla, had recast and falsified
it, and published it in his own name in the form of heroic poems
concerning Troy.

This seemed to establish the fact that those books, which the woman from
Cumæ had sold to the Roman king Tarquin, were written by a Sibylla who
was born in the Trojan country, and that the books which Trojan bought
off her contained accounts and prophecies--accounts especially in regard
to the Trojan chiefs and heroes afterwards glorified in Homer's poems.
As the Romans came from Troy, these chiefs and heroes were their
ancestors, and in this capacity they were entitled to the worship which
the Romans considered due to the souls of their forefathers. From a
Christian standpoint this was of course idolatry; and as the Sibyllas
were believed to have made predictions even in regard to Christ, it
might seem improper for them to promote in this manner the cause of
idolatry. But Lactantius gave a satisfactory explanation of this matter.
The Sibylla, he said, had certainly prophesied truthfully in regard to
Christ; but this she did by divine compulsion and in moments of divine
inspiration. By birth and in her sympathies she was a heathen, and when
under the spell of her genuine inspirations, she proclaimed heathen and
idolatrous doctrines.

In our critical century all this may seem like mere fancies. But careful
examinations have shown that an historical kernel is not wanting in
these representations. And the historical fact which lies back of all
this is that the Sibylline books which were preserved in Rome actually
were written in Asia Minor in the ancient Trojan territory; or, in
other words, that the oldest known collection of so-called Sibylline
oracles was made in Marpessus, near the Trojan mountain Ida, in the time
of Solon. From Marpessus the collection came to the neighbouring city
Gergis, and was preserved in the Apollo temple there; from Gergis it
came to Cumæ, and from Cumæ to Rome in the time of the kings. How it
came there is not known. The story about the Cumæan woman and Tarquin is
an invention, and occurs in various forms. It is also demonstrably an
invention that the Sibylline books in Rome contained accounts of the
heroes in the Trojan war. On the other hand, it is absolutely certain
that they referred to gods and to a worship which in the main were
unknown to the Romans before the Sibylline books were introduced there,
and that to these books must chiefly be attributed the remarkable change
which took place in Roman mythology during the republican centuries. The
Roman mythology, which from the beginning had but few gods of clear
identity with the Greek, was especially during this epoch enlarged, and
received gods and goddesses who were worshipped in Greece and in the
Greek and Hellenised part of Asia Minor where the Sibylline books
originated. The way this happened was that whenever the Romans in
trouble or distress consulted the Sibylline books they received the
answer that this or that Greek-Asiatic god or goddess was angry and must
be propitiated. In connection with the propitiation ceremonies the god
or goddess was received in the Roman pantheon, and sooner or later a
temple was built to him; and thus it did not take long before the
Romans appropriated the myths that were current in Greece concerning
these borrowed divinities. This explains why the Roman mythology, which
in its oldest sources is so original and so unlike the Greek, in the
golden period of Roman literature comes to us in an almost wholly Greek
attire; this explains why Roman and Greek mythology at that time might
be regarded as almost identical. Nevertheless the Romans were able even
in the later period of antiquity to discriminate between their native
gods and those introduced by the Sibylline books. The former were
worshipped according to a Roman ritual, the latter according to a Greek.
To the latter belonged Apollo, Artemis, Latona, Ceres, Hermes, Mercury,
Proserpina, Cybile, Venus, and Esculapius; and that the Sibylline books
were a Greek-Trojan work, whose original home was Asia Minor and the
Trojan territory, was well known to the Romans. When the temple of the
Capitoline Jupiter was burned down eighty-four years before Christ, the
Sibylline books were lost. But the State could not spare them. A new
collection had to be made, and this was mainly done by gathering the
oracles which could be found one by one in those places which the Trojan
or Erythreian Sibylla had visited, that is to say, in Asia Minor,
especially in Erythræ, and in Ilium, the ancient Troy.

So far as Hermes-Mercury is concerned, the Roman annals inform us that
he got his first lectisternium in the year 399 before Christ by order
from the Sibylline books. Lectisternium was a sacrifice: the image of
the god was laid on a bed with a pillow under the left arm, and beside
the image was placed a table and a meal, which as a sacrifice was
offered to the god. About one hundreds years before that time,
Hermes-Mercury had received his first temple in Rome.

Hermes-Mercury seemed, therefore, like Apollo, Venus, Esculapius, and
others, to have been a god originally unknown to the Romans, the worship
of whom the Trojan Sibylla had recommended to the Romans.

This was known to the scholars of the middle age. Now, we must bear in
mind that it was as certain to them as an undoubted scientific fact that
the gods were originally men, chiefs, and heroes, and that the deified
chief whom the Romans worshipped as Mercury, and the Greeks as Hermes,
was the same as the Teutons called Odin, and from whom distinguished
Teutonic families traced their descent. We must also remember that the
Sibylla who was supposed to have recommended the Romans to worship the
old king Odin-Mercurius was believed to have been a Trojan woman, and
that her books were thought to have contained stories about Troy's
heroes, in addition to various prophecies, and so this manner of
reasoning led to the conclusion that the gods who were introduced in
Rome through the Sibylline books were celebrated Trojans who had lived
and fought at a time preceding the fall of Troy. Another inevitable and
logical conclusion was that Odin had been a Trojan chief, and when he
appears in Teutonic mythology as the chief of gods, it seemed most
probable that he was identical with the Trojan king Priam, and that
Priam was identical with Hermes-Mercury.

Now, as the ancestors of the Romans were supposed to have emigrated from
Troy to Italy under the leadership of Æneas, it was necessary to assume
that the Romans were not the only Trojan emigrants, for, since the
Teutons worshipped Odin-Priamus-Hermes as their chief god, and since a
number of Teutonic families traced their descent from this Odin, the
Teutons, too, must have emigrated from Troy. But, inasmuch as the
Teutonic dialects differed greatly from the Roman language, the Trojan
Romans and the Trojan Teutons must have been separated a very long time.

They must have parted company immediately after the fall of Troy and
gone in different directions, and as the Romans had taken a southern
course on their way to Europe, the Teutons must have taken a northern.
It was also apparent to the scholars that the Romans had landed in
Europe many centuries earlier than the Teutons, for Rome had been
founded already in 754 or 753 before Christ, but of the Teutons not a
word is to be found in the annals before the period immediately
preceding the birth of Christ. Consequently, the Teutons must have made
a halt somewhere on their journey to the North. This halt must have been
of several centuries' duration, and, of course, like the Romans, they
must have founded a city, and from it ruled a territory in commemoration
of their fallen city Troy. In that age very little was known of Asia,
where this Teutonic-Trojan colony was supposed to have been situated,
but, both from Orosius and, later, from Gregorius of Tours, it was known
that our world is divided into three large divisions--Asia, Europe, and
Africa--and that Asia and Europe are divided by a river called Tanais.
And having learned from Gregorius of Tours that the Teutonic Franks were
said to have lived in Pannonia in ancient times, and having likewise
learned that the Moeotian marshes lie east of Pannonia, and that the
Tanais empties into these marshes, they had the course marked out by
which the Teutons had come to Europe--that is, by way of Tanais and the
Moeotian marshes. Not knowing anything at all of importance in regard to
Asia beyond Tanais, it was natural that they should locate the colony of
the Teutonic Trojans on the banks of this river.

I think I have now pointed out the chief threads of the web of that
scholastic romance woven out of Latin convent learning concerning a
Teutonic emigration from Troy and Asia, a web which extends from
Fredegar's Frankish chronicle, through the following chronicles of the
middle age, down into Heimskringla and the Foreword of the Younger Edda.
According to the Frankish chronicle, _Gesta regum Francorum_, the
emigration of the Franks from the Trojan colony near the Tanais was
thought to have occurred very late; that is, in the time of
Valentinianus I., or in other words, between 364 and 375 after Christ.
The Icelandic authors very well knew that Teutonic tribes had been far
into Europe long before that time, and the reigns they had constructed
in regard to the North indicated that they must have emigrated from the
Tanais colony long before the Franks. As the Roman attack was the cause
of the Frankish emigration, it seemed probable that these
world-conquerors had also caused the earlier emigration from Tanais;
and as Pompey's expedition to Asia was the most celebrated of all the
expeditions made by the Romans in the East--Pompey even entered
Jerusalem and visited its Temple--it was found most convenient to let
the Asas emigrate in the time of Pompey, but they left a remnant of
Teutons near the Tanais, under the rule of Odin's younger brothers Vile
and Ve, in order that this colony might continue to exist until the
emigration of the Franks took place.

Finally, it should be mentioned that the Trojan migration saga, as born
and developed in antiquity, does not indicate by a single word that
Europe was peopled later than Asia, or that it received its population
from Asia. The immigration of the Trojans to Europe was looked upon as a
return to their original homes. Dardanus, the founder of Troy, was
regarded as the leader of an emigration from Etruria to Asia (_Æneid_,
iii. 165 ff., Serv. Comm.). As a rule the European peoples regarded
themselves in antiquity as autochthones if they did not look upon
themselves as immigrants from regions within Europe to the territories
they inhabited in historic times.

[Footnote 5:

"Mennor der erste was genant,
Dem diutische rede got tet bekant."

Later on in this work we shall discuss the traditions of the Mannussaga
found in Scandinavia and Germany.]

[Footnote 6: Saturday is in the North called Löverdag, Lördag--that is,



We trust the facts presented above have convinced the reader that the
saga concerning the immigration of Odin and the Asas to Europe is
throughout a product of the convent learning of the middle ages. That
it was born and developed independently of the traditions of the
Teutonic heathendom shall be made still more apparent by the additional
proofs that are accessible in regard to this subject. It may, however,
be of some interest to first dwell on some of the details in the
Heimskringla and in the Younger Edda and point out their source.

It should be borne in mind that, according to the Younger Edda, it was
Zoroaster who first thought of building the Tower of Babel, and that in
this undertaking he was assisted by seventy-two master-masons. Zoroaster
is, as is well known, another form for the Bactrian or Iranian name
Zarathustra, the name of the prophet and religious reformer who is
praised on every page of Avesta's holy books, and who in a prehistoric
age founded the religion which far down in our own era has been
confessed by the Persians, and is still confessed by their descendants
in India, and is marked by a most serious and moral view of the world.
In the Persian and in the classical literatures this Zoroaster has
naught to do with Babel, still less with the Tower of Babel. But already
in the first century of Christianity, if not earlier, traditions became
current which made Zoroaster the founder of all sorcery, magic, and
astrology (Plinius, _Hist. Nat._, xxx. 2); and as astrology particularly
was supposed to have had its centre and base in Babylon, it was natural
to assume that Babel had been the scene of Zoroaster's activity. The
Greek-Roman chronicler Ammianus Marcellinus, who lived in the fourth
century after Christ, still knows that Zoroaster was a man from Bactria,
not from Babylon, but he already has formed the opinion that Zoroaster
had gotten much of his wisdom from the writings of the Babylonians. In
the Church fathers the saga is developed in this direction, and from the
Church fathers it got into the Latin chronicles. The Christian historian
Orosius also knows that Zoroaster was from Bactria, but he already
connects Zoroaster with the history of Nineveh and Babylon, and makes
Ninus make war against him and conquer him. Orosius speaks of him as the
inventor of sorcery and the magic arts. Gregorius of Tours told in his
time that Zoroaster was identical with Noah's grandson, with Chus, the
son of Ham, that this Chus went to the Persians, and that the Persians
called him Zoroaster, a name supposed to mean "the living star."
Gregorius also relates that this Zoroaster was the first person who
taught men the arts of sorcery and led them astray into idolatry, and as
he knew the art of making stars and fire fall from heaven, men paid him
divine worship. At that time, Gregorius continues, men desired to build
a tower which should reach to heaven. But God confused their tongues and
brought their project to naught. Nimrod, who was supposed to have built
Babel, was, according to Gregorius, a son of Zoroaster.

If we compare this with what the Foreword of the Younger Edda tells,
then we find that there, too, Zoroaster is a descendant of Noah's son
Cham and the founder of all idolatry, and that he himself was worshipped
as a god. It is evident that the author of the Foreword gathered these
statements from some source related to Gregorius' history. Of the 72
master-masons who were said to have helped Zoroaster in building the
tower, and from whom the 72 languages of the world originated, Gregorius
has nothing to say, but the saga about these builders was current
everywhere during the middle ages. In the earlier Anglo-Saxon literature
there is a very naïve little work, very characteristic of its age,
called "A Dialogue between Saturn and Solomon," in which Saturnus tests
Solomon's knowledge and puts to him all sorts of biblical questions,
which Solomon answers partly from the Bible and partly from sagas
connected with the Bible. Among other things Saturnus informs Solomon
that Adam was created out of various elements, weighing altogether eight
pounds, and that when created he was just 116 inches long. Solomon tells
that Shem, Noah's son, had thirty sons, Cham thirty, and Japhet
twelve--making 72 grandsons of Noah; and as there can be no doubt that
it was the author's opinion that all the languages of the world, thought
to be 72, originated at the Tower of Babel, and were spread into the
world by these 72 grandsons of Noah, we here find the key to who those
72 master-masons were who, according to the Edda, assisted Zoroaster in
building the tower. They were accordingly his brothers. Luther's
contemporary, Henricus Cornelius Agrippa, who, in his work _De occulta
Philosophia_, gathered numerous data in regard to the superstition of
all ages, has a chapter on the power and sacred meaning of various
numbers, and says in speaking of the number 72: "The number 72
corresponds to the 72 languages, the 72 elders in the synagogue, the 72
commentators of the Old Testament, Christ's 72 disciples, God's 72
names, the 72 angels who govern the 72 divisions of the Zodiac, each
division of which corresponds to one of the 72 languages." This
illustrates sufficiently how widespread was the tradition in regard to
the 72 master-masons during the centuries of the middle ages. Even
Nestor's Russian chronicle knows the tradition. It continued to enjoy a
certain authority in the seventeenth century. An edition of Sulpicius
Severus' _Opera Omnia_, printed in 1647, still considers it necessary to
point out that a certain commentator had doubted whether the number 72
was entirely exact. Among the doubters we find Rudbeck in his

What the Edda tells about king Saturnus and his son, king Jupiter, is
found in a general way, partly in the Church-father Lactantius, partly
in Virgil's commentator Servius, who was known and read during the
middle age. As the Edda claims that Saturnus knew the art of producing
gold from the molten iron, and that no other than gold coins existed in
his time, this must be considered an interpretation of the statement
made in Latin sources that Saturnus' was the golden age--_aurea secula,
aurea regna_. Among the Romans Saturnus was the guardian of treasures,
and the treasury of the Romans was in the temple of Saturnus in the

The genealogy found in the Edda, according to which the Trojan king
Priam, supposed to be the oldest and the proper Odin, was descended in
the sixth generation from Jupiter, is taken from Latin chronicles.
Herikon of the Edda, grandson of Jupiter, is the Roman-Greek
Erichtonius; the Edda's Lamedon is Laomedon. Then the Edda has the
difficult task of continuing the genealogy through the dark centuries
between the burning of Troy and the younger Odin's immigration to
Europe. Here the Latin sources naturally fail it entirely, and it is
obliged to seek other aid. It first considers the native sources. There
it finds that Thor is also called Lorride, Indride, and Vingthor, and
that he had two sons, Mode and Magne; but it also finds a genealogy made
about the twelfth century, in which these different names of Thor are
applied to different persons, so that Lorride is the son of Thor,
Indride the son of Lorride, Vingthor the son of Indride, &c. This mode
of making genealogies was current in Iceland in the twelfth century, and
before that time among the Christian Anglo-Saxons. Thereupon the Edda
continues its genealogy with the names Bedvig, Atra, Itrman, Heremod,
Skjaldun or Skold, Bjæf, Jat, Gudolf, Fjarlaf or Fridleif, and finally
Odin, that is to say, the younger Odin, who had adopted this name after
his deified progenitor Hermes-Priam. This whole genealogy is taken from
a Saxon source, and can be found in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle name for
name. From Odin the genealogy divides itself into two branches, one from
Odin's son, Veggdegg, and another from Odin's son, Beldegg or Balder.
The one branch has the names Veggdegg, Vitrgils, Ritta, Heingest. These
names are found arranged into a genealogy by the English Church
historian Beda, by the English chronicler Nennius, and in the
Anglo-Saxon chronicle. From one of these three sources the Edda has
taken them, and the only difference is that the Edda must have made a
slip in one place and changed the name Vitta to Ritta. The other branch,
which begins with Balder or Beldegg, embraces eight names, which are
found in precisely the same order in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle.

In regard to Balder, the Edda says that Odin appointed him king in
Westphalia. This statement is based on the tradition that Balder was
known among the heathen Germans and Scandinavians by the name Fal
(_Falr_, see No. 92), with its variation Fol. In an age when it was
believed that Sweden got its name from a king Sven, Götaland from a king
Göt, Danmark from a king Dan, Angeln from a king Angul, the Franks from
a duke Francio, it might be expected that Falen (East- and West-Phalia)
had been named after a king Fal. That this name was recognised as
belonging to Balder not only in Germany, but also in Scandinavia, I
shall give further proof of in No. 92.

As already stated, Thor was, according to the Edda, married to Sibil,
that is to say, the Sibylla, and the Edda adds that this Sibil is called
Sif in the North. In the Teutonic mythology Thor's wife is the goddess
Sif. It has already been mentioned that it was believed in the middle
age that the Cumæan or Erythreian Sibylla originally came from Troy, and
it is not, therefore, strange that the author of the Younger Edda, who
speaks of the Trojan descent of Odin and his people, should marry Thor
to the most famous of Trojan women. Still, this marriage is not invented
by the author. The statement has an older foundation, and taking all
circumstances into consideration, may be traced to Germany, where Sif,
in the days of heathendom, was as well known as Thor. To the northern
form Sif corresponds the Gothic form _Sibba_, the Old English _Sib_, the
Old Saxon _Sibbia_, and the Old High German _Sibba_, and Sibil, Sibilla,
was thought to be still another form of the same name. The belief, based
on the assumed fact that Thor's wife Sif was identical with the Sibylla,
explains a phenomenon not hitherto understood in the saga-world and
church sculpture of the middle age, and on this point I now have a few
remarks to make.

In the Norse mythology several goddesses or dises have, as we know,
feather-guises, with which they fly through space. Freyja has a
falcon-guise; several dises have swan-guises (Volundarkv. Helreid.
Brynh., 6). Among these swan-maids was Sif (see No. 123). Sif could
therefore present herself now in human form, and again in the guise of
the most beautiful swimming bird, the swan.

A legend, the origin of which may be traced to Italy, tells that when
the queen of Saba visited king Solomon, she was in one place to cross a
brook. A tree or beam was thrown across as a bridge. The wise queen
stopped, and would not let her foot touch the beam. She preferred to
wade across the brook, and when she was asked the reason for this, she
answered that in a prophetic vision she had seen that the time would
come when this tree would be made into a cross on which the Saviour of
the world was to suffer.

The legend came also to Germany, but here it appears with the addition
that the queen of Saba was rewarded for this piety, and was freed while
wading across the brook from a bad blemish. One of her feet, so says the
German addition, was of human form, but the other like the foot of a
water-bird up to the moment when she took it out of the brook. Church
sculpture sometimes in the middle age represented the queen of Saba as a
woman well formed, except that she had one foot like that of a
water-bird. How the Germans came to represent her with this blemish,
foreign to the Italian legend, has not heretofore been explained,
although the influence of the Greek-Roman mythology on the legends of
the Romance peoples, and that of the Teutonic mythology on the Teutonic
legends, has been traced in numerous instances.

During the middle ages the queen of Saba was called queen Seba, on
account of the Latin translation of the Bible, where she is styled
_Regina Seba_, and Seba was thought to be her name. The name suggested
her identity, on the one hand, with Sibba, Sif, whose swan-guise lived
in the traditions; on the other hand, with Sibilla, and the latter
particularly, since queen Seba had proved herself to be in possession of
prophetic inspiration, the chief characteristic of the Sibylla. Seba,
Sibba, and Sibilla were in the popular fancy blended into one. This
explains how queen Seba among the Germans, but not among the Italians,
got the blemish which reminds us of the swan-guise of Thor's wife Sibba.
And having come to the conclusion that Thor was a Trojan, his wife Sif
also ought to be a Trojan woman. And as it was known that the Sibylla
was Trojan, and that queen Seba was a Sibylla, this blending was almost
inevitable. The Latin scholars found further evidence of the correctness
of this identity in a statement drawn originally from Greek sources to
the effect that Jupiter had had a Sibylla, by name Lamia, as mistress,
and had begotten a daughter with her by name Herophile, who was endowed
with her mother's gift of prophecy. As we know, Mercury corresponds to
Odin, and Jupiter to Thor, in the names of the days of the week. It thus
follows that it was Thor who stood in this relation to the Sibylla.

The character of the anthropomorphosed Odin, who is lawgiver and king,
as represented in Heimskringla and the Prose Edda, is only in part based
on native northern traditions concerning the heathen god Odin, the ruler
of heaven. This younger Odin, constructed by Christian authors, has
received his chief features from documents found in the convent
libraries. When the Prose Edda tells that the chief who proceeded from
Asgard to Saxland and Scandinavia did not really bear the name Odin, but
had assumed this name after the elder and deified Odin-Priam of Troy, to
make people believe that he was a god, then this was no new idea.
Virgil's commentator, Servius, remarks that ancient kings very
frequently assumed names which by right belonged only to the gods, and
he blames Virgil for making Saturnus come from the heavenly Olympus to
found a golden age in Italy. This Saturnus, says Servius, was not a god
from above, but a mortal king from Crete who had taken the god Saturnus'
name. The manner in which Saturnus, on his arrival in Italy and the
vicinity of Rome, was received by Janus, the king ruling there, reminds
us of the manner in which Odin, on his arrival in Svithiod, was received
by king Gylfe. Janus is unpretentious enough to leave a portion of his
territory and his royal power to Saturnus, and Gylfe makes the same
concessions to Odin. Saturnus thereupon introduces a higher culture
among the people of Latium, and Odin brings a higher culture to the
inhabitants of Scandinavia. The Church father Lactantius, like Servius,
speaks of kings who tried to appropriate the name and worship of the
gods, and condemns them as foes of truth and violators of the doctrines
of the true God.

In regard to one of them, the Persian Mithra, who, in the middle age,
was confounded with Zoroaster, Tertulianus relates that he (Mithra), who
knew in advance that Christianity would come, resolved to anticipate the
true faith by introducing some of its customs. Thus, for example,
Mithra, according to Tertulianus, introduced the custom of blessing by
laying the hands on the head or the brow of those to whom he wished to
insure prosperity, and he also adopted among his mysteries a practice
resembling the breaking of the bread in the Eucharist. So far as the
blessing by the laying on of hands is concerned, Mithra especially used
it in giving courage to the men whom he sent out as soldiers to war.
With these words of Tertulianus it is interesting to compare the
following passage in regard to Odin in the Heimskringla: "It was his
custom when he sent his men to war, or on some errand, to lay his hands
on their heads and give them _bjannak_." Bjannak is not a Norse word,
not even Teutonic, and there has been uncertainty in regard to its
significance. The well-known Icelandic philologist, Vigfusson, has, as I
believe, given the correct definition of the word, having referred it to
the Scottish word _bannock_ and the Gaelic _banagh_, which means bread.
Presumably the author of Heimskringla has chosen this foreign word in
order not to wound the religious feelings of readers with a native term,
for if _bjannak_ really means bread, and if the author of Heimskringla
desired in this way to indicate that Odin, by the aid of sacred usages,
practised in the Christian cult--that is, by the laying on of hands and
the breaking of bread--had given his warriors assurance of victory, then
it lay near at hand to modify, by the aid of a foreign word for bread,
the impression of the disagreeable similarity between the heathen and
Christian usages. But at the same time the complete harmony between what
Tertulianus tells about Mithra and Heimskringla about Odin is manifest.

What Heimskringla tells about Odin, that his spirit could leave the body
and go to far-off regions, and that his body lay in the meantime as if
asleep or dead, is told, in the middle age, of Zoroaster and of

New Platonian works had told much about an originally Egyptian god, whom
they associated with the Greek Hermes and called Hermes-Trismegistus--that
is, the thrice greatest and highest. The name Hermes-Trismegistus became
known through Latin authors even to the scholars in the middle age
convents, and, as a matter of course, those who believed that Odin
was identical with Hermes also regarded him as identical with
Hermes-Trismegistus. When Gylfe sought Odin and his men he came to a
citadel which, according to the statement of the gatekeeper, belonged to
king Odin, but when he had entered the hall he there saw not _one_
throne, but three thrones, the one above the other, and upon each of the
thrones a chief. When Gylfe asked the names of these chiefs, he received
an answer that indicates that none of the three alone was Odin, but that
Odin the sorcerer, who was able to turn men's vision, was present in
them all. One of the three, says the doorkeeper, is named _Hár_, the
second, _Jafnhár_, and the one on the highest throne is _Thridi_. It
seems to me probable that what gave rise to this story was the surname
"the thrice-highest," which in the middle age was ascribed to Mercury,
and, consequently, was regarded as one of the epithets which Odin
assumed. The names _Third_ and _High_ seem to point to the phrase "the
thrice-highest." It was accordingly taken for granted that Odin had
appropriated this name in order to anticipate Christianity with a sort
of idea of trinity, just as Zoroaster, his progenitor, had, under the
name Mithra, in advance imitated the Christian usages.

The rest that Heimskringla and the Younger Edda tell about the king Odin
who immigrated to Europe is mainly taken from the stories embodied in
the mythological songs and traditions in regard to the god Odin who
ruled in the celestial Valhal. Here belongs what is told about the war
of Odin and the Asiatics with the Vans. In the myth, this war was waged
around the walls built by a giant around the heavenly Asgard (Völusp.,
25). The citadel in which Gylfe finds the triple Odin is decorated in
harmony with the Valhal described by the heathen skalds. The men who
drink and present exercises in arms are the einherjes of the myth. Gylfe
himself is taken from the mythology, but, to all appearances, he did not
play the part of a king, but of a giant, dwelling in Jotunheim. The
Fornmanna sagas make him a descendant of _Fornjótr_, who, with his sons,
_Hlér_, _Logi_, and _Kári_, and his descendants, _Jökull_, _Snær_,
_Geitir_, &c., doubtless belong to Jotunheim. When Odin and the Asas had
been made immigrants to the North, it was quite natural that the giants
were made a historical people, and as such were regarded as the
aborigines of the North--an hypothesis which, in connection with the
fable about the Asiatic emigration, was accepted for centuries, and
still has its defenders. The story that Odin, when he perceived death
drawing near, marked himself with the point of a spear, has its origin
in the words which a heathen song lays on Odin's lips: "I know that I
hung on the wind-tossed tree nine nights, by my spear wounded, given to
Odin, myself given to myself" (Havam., 138).



Herewith I close the examination of the sagas in regard to the Trojan
descent of the Teutons, and in regard to the immigration of Odin and his
Asiamen to Saxland, Denmark, and the Scandinavian peninsula. I have
pointed out the seed from which the sagas grew, the soil in which the
seed could be developed, and how it gradually grew to be what we find
these sagas to be in Heimskringla and the Younger Edda. I have shown
that they do not belong to the Teutonic heathendom, but that they were
born, as it were of necessity, in a Christian time, among Teutons
converted to Christianity, and that they are throughout the work of the
Latin scholars in the middle age. The assumption that they concealed
within themselves a tradition preserved for centuries among the Teutons
themselves of an ancient emigration from Asia is altogether improbable,
and is completely refuted by the genuine migration sagas of Teutonic
origin which were rescued from oblivion, and of which I shall give an
account below. In my opinion, these old and genuine Teutonic migration
sagas have, from a purely historical standpoint, but little more claim
than the fables of the Christian age in regard to Odin's emigration from
Asia to be looked upon as containing a kernel of reality. This must in
each case be carefully considered. But that of which they furnish
evidence is, how entirely foreign to the Teutonic heathens was the idea
of an immigration from Troy or Asia, and besides, they are of great
interest on account of their connection with what the myths have to say
in regard to the oldest dwelling-places, history, and diffusion of the
human race, or at least of the Teutonic part of it.

As a rule, all the old migration sagas, no matter from what race they
spring, should be treated with the utmost caution. Large portions of
the earth's surface may have been appropriated by various races, not by
the sudden influx of large masses, but by a gradual increase of the
population and consequent moving of their boundaries, and there need not
have been very remarkable or memorable events in connection therewith.
Such an expansion of the territory may take place, and be so little
remarked by the people living around the centre, that they actually do
not need to be aware of it, and much less do they need to remember it in
sagas and songs. That a few new settlers year by year extend the
boundaries of a race has no influence on the imagination, and it can
continue generation after generation, and produce as its final result an
immense expansion, and yet the separate generations may scarcely have
been conscious of the change in progress. A people's spreading over new
territory may be compared with the movement of the hour-hand on a clock.
It is not perceptible to the eye, and is only realized by continued

In many instances, however, immigrations have taken place in large
masses, who have left their old abodes to seek new homes. Such
undertakings are of themselves worthy of being remembered, and they are
attended by results that easily cling to the memory. But even in such
cases it is surprising how soon the real historical events either are
utterly forgotten or blended with fables, which gradually, since they
appeal more to the fancy, monopolise the interest. The conquest and
settlement of England by Saxon and Scandinavian tribes--and that, too,
in a time when the art of writing was known--is a most remarkable
instance of this. Hengist, under whose command the Saxons, according to
their own immigration saga, are said to have planted their feet on
British soil, is a saga-figure taken from mythology, and there we shall
find him later on (see No. 123). No wonder, then, if we discover in
mythology those heroes under whose leadership the Longobardians and
Goths believed they had emigrated from their original Teutonic homes.

                OF THE MIDDLE AGES OF THE



What there still remains of migration sagas from the middle ages, taken
from the saga-treasure of the Teutons themselves, is, alas! but little.
Among the Franks the stream of national traditions early dried up, at
least among the class possessing Latin culture. Among the Longobardians
it fared better, and among them Christianity was introduced later.
Within the ken of Roman history they appear in the first century after
Christ, when Tiberius invaded their boundaries.

Tacitus speaks of them with admiration as a small people whose paucity,
he says, was balanced by their unity and warlike virtues, which rendered
them secure in the midst of the numerous and mighty tribes around them.
The Longobardians dwelt at that time in the most northern part of
Germany, on the lower Elbe, probably in Luneburg. Five hundred years
later we find them as rulers in Pannonia, whence they invade Italy. They
had then been converted to Christianity. A hundred years after they had
become settled in North Italy, one of their Latin scholars wrote a
little treatise, _De Origine Longobardorum_, which begins in the
following manner: "In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ! Here begins the
oldest history of our Longobardian people. There is an island called
Skadan, far in the north. There dwelt many peoples. Among them was a
little people called the Vinnilians, and among the Vinnilians was a
woman by name Gambara. Gambara had two sons: one by name Ibor, the other
named Ajo. She and these sons were the rulers among the Vinnilians. Then
it came to pass that the Vandals, with their dukes Ambri and Assi,
turned against the Vinnilians, and said to them: 'Pay ye tribute unto
us. If ye will not, then arm yourselves for war!' Then made answer Ibor
and Ajo and their mother Gambara: 'It is better for us to arm ourselves
for war than to pay tribute to the Vandals'. When Ambri and Assi, the
dukes of the Vandals, heard this, they addressed themselves to Odin
(Godan) with a prayer that he should grant them victory. Odin answered
and said: 'Those whom I first discover at the rising of the sun, to them
I shall give victory'. But at the same time Ibor and Ajo, the chiefs of
the Vinnilians, and their mother Gambara, addressed themselves to Frigg
(Frea), Odin's wife, beseeching her to assist them. Then Frigg gave the
advice that the Vinnilians should set out at the rising of the sun, and
that the women should accompany their husbands and arrange their hair so
that it should hang like a beard under their chins. When the sky cleared
and the sun was about to rise, Frigg, Odin's wife, went to the couch
where her husband was sleeping and directed his face to the east (where
the Vinnilians stood), and then she waked him. And as he looked up he
saw the Vinnilians, and observed the hair hanging down from the faces of
their women. And then said he: 'What long-beards are they?' Then said
Frigg to Odin: 'My lord, as you now have named them, you must also give
them victory!' And he gave them victory, so that they, in accordance
with his resolve, defended themselves well, and got the upper hand. From
that day the Vinnilians were called Longobardians--that is to say,
long-beards. Then the Longobardians left their country and came to
Golaida, and thereupon they occupied Aldonus, Anthaib, Bainaib, and

In the days of Charlemagne the Longobardians got a historian by name
Paulus Diaconus, a monk in the convent Monte Cassino, and he was himself
a Longobardian by birth. Of the earliest history of his people he
relates the following: The Vinnilians or Longobardians, who ruled
successfully in Italy, are of Teutonic descent, and came originally from
the island Scandinavia. Then he says that he has talked with persons who
had been in Scandinavia, and from their reports he gives some facts,
from which it is evident that his informants had reference to Scania
with its extensive coast of lowlands and shallow water. Then he
continues: "When the population on this island had increased beyond the
ability of the island to support them, they were divided into three
parts, and it was determined by lot which part should emigrate from the
native land and seek new homes. The part whose destiny it became to
leave their native land chose as their leaders the brothers Ibor and
Ajo, who were in the bloom of manhood and were distinguished above the
rest. Then they bade farewell to their friends and to their country, and
went to seek a land in which they might settle. The mother of these two
leaders was called Gambara, who was distinguished among her people for
her keen understanding and shrewd advice, and great reliance was placed
on her prudence in difficult circumstances." Paulus makes a digression
to discuss many remarkable things to be seen in Scandinavia: the light
summer nights and the long winter nights, a maelstrom which in its
vortex swallows vessels and sometimes throws them up again, an animal
resembling a deer hunted by the neighbours of the Scandinavians, the
Scritobinians (the Skee[7] Finns), and a cave in a rock where seven men
in Roman clothes have slept for centuries (see Nos. 79-81, and No. 94).
Then he relates that the Vinnilians left Scandinavia and came to a
country called Scoringia, and there was fought the aforesaid battle, in
which, thanks to Frigg's help, the Vinnilians conquered the Vandals, who
demanded tribute from them.

The story is then told how this occurred, and how the Vinnilians got the
name Longobardians in a manner corresponding with the source already
quoted, with the one addition, that it was Odin's custom when he awoke
to look out of the window, which was open, to the east toward the rising
sun. Paulus Diaconus finds this Longobardian folk-saga ludicrous, not in
itself, but because Odin was, in the first place, he says, a man, not a
god. In the second place, Odin did not live among the Teutons, but among
the Greeks, for he is the same as the one called by the Romans Mercury.
In the third place, Odin-Mercury did not live at the time when the
Longobardians emigrated from Scandinavia, but much earlier. According to
Paulus, there were only five generations between the emigration of the
Longobardians and the time of Odoacer. Thus we find in Paulus Diaconus
the ideas in regard to Odin-Mercury which I have already called
attention to. Paulus thereupon relates the adventures which happened to
the Longobardians after the battle with the Vandals. I shall refer to
these adventures later on. They belong to the Teutonic mythology, and
reappear in mythic sources (see No. 112), but in a more original form,
and as events which took place in the beginning of time in a conflict
between the Asas and Vans on the one hand, and lower beings on the other
hand; lower, indeed, but unavoidable in connection with the well-being
of nature and man. This conflict resulted in a terrible winter and
consequent famine throughout the North. In this mythological description
we shall find Ajo and Ibor, under whose leadership the Longobardians
emigrated, and Hengist, under whom the Saxons landed in Britain.

It is proper to show what form the story about the Longobardian
emigration had assumed toward the close of the twelfth century in the
writings of the Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus. The emigration took
place, he says, at a time when a Danish king, by name Snö, ruled, and
when there occurred a terrible famine. First, those starving had
resolved to kill all the aged and all children, but this awful resolve
was not carried out, thanks to a good and wise woman, by name Gambaruc,
who advised that a part of the people should emigrate. This was done
under the leadership of her sons Aggo and Ebbo. The emigrants came first
to Blekingia (Blekinge), then they sailed past Moringia (Möre) and came
to Gutland, where they had a contest with the Vandals, and by the aid of
the goddess Frigg they won the victory, and got the name Longobardians.
From Gutland they sailed to Rugen, and thence to the German continent,
and thus after many adventures they at length became masters of a large
part of Italy.

In regard to this account it must be remarked that although it contains
many details not found in Paulus Diaconus, still it is the same
narrative that has come to Saxo's knowledge. This Saxo also admits, and
appeals to the testimony of Paulus Diaconus. Paulus' Gambara is Saxo's
Gambaruc; Ajo and Ibor are Aggo and Ebbo. But the Longobardian monk is
not Saxo's only source, and the brothers Aggo and Ebbo, as we shall
show, were known to him from purely northern sources, though not as
leaders of the Longobardians, but as mythic characters, who are actors
in the great winter which Saxo speaks of.

The Longobardian emigration saga--as we find it recorded in the seventh
century, and then again in the time of Charlemagne--contains
unmistakable internal evidence of having been taken from the people's
own traditions. Proof of this is already the circumstance, that although
the Longobardians had been Christians for nearly 200 years when the
little book _De Origine Longobardorum_ appeared, still the long-banished
divinities, Odin and Frigg, reappear and take part in the events, not as
men, but as divine beings, and in a manner thoroughly corresponding with
the stories recorded in the North concerning the relations between Odin
and his wife. For although this relation was a good and tender one,
judging from expressions in the heathen poems of the North (Völusp., 51;
Vafthr., 1-4), and although the queen of heaven, Frigg, seems to have
been a good mother in the belief of the Teutons, this does not hinder
her from being represented as a wily person, with a will of her own
which she knows how to carry out. Even a Norse story tells how Frigg
resolves to protect a person whom Odin is not able to help; how she and
he have different favourites among men, and vie with each other in
bringing greater luck to their favourites. The story is found in the
prose introduction to the poem "Grimnismàl," an introduction which in
more than one respect reminds us of the Longobardian emigration saga. In
both it is mentioned how Odin from his dwelling looks out upon the world
and observes what is going on. Odin has a favourite by name Geirrod.
Frigg, on the other hand, protects Geirrod's brother Agnar. The man and
wife find fault with each other's protégés. Frigg remarks about Geirrod,
that he is a prince, "stingy with food, so that he lets his guests
starve if they are many." And the story goes on to say that Geirrod, at
the secret command of Odin, had pushed the boat in which Agnar was
sitting away from shore, and that the boat had gone to sea with Agnar
and had not returned. The story looks like a parable founded on the
Longobardian saga, or like one grown in a Christian time out of the same
root as the Longobardian story. Geirrod is in reality the name of a
giant, and the giant is in the myth a being who brings hail and frost.
He dwells in the uttermost North, beyond the mythical Gandvik
(Thorsdrapa, 2), and as a mythical winter symbol he corresponds to king
Snö in Saxo. His "stinginess of food when too many guests come" seems to
point to lack of food caused by the unfavourable weather, which
necessitated emigrations, when the country became over-populated. Agnar,
abandoned to the waves of the sea, is protected, like the Longobardians
crossing the sea, by Frigg, and his very name, Agnar, reminds us of the
names Aggo, Acho, and Agio, by which Ajo, one of the leaders of the
Longobardians, is known. The prose introduction has no original
connection with _Grimnismàl_ itself, and in the form in which we now
have it, it belongs to a Christian age, and is apparently from an author
belonging to the same school as those who regarded the giants as the
original inhabitants of Scandinavia, and turned winter giants like
Jökull, Snær, &c., into historical kings of Norway.

The absolutely positive result of the Longobardian narratives written by
Longobardian historians is that the Teutonic race to which they belonged
considered themselves sprung, not from Troy or Asia, but from an island,
situated in the ocean, which washes the northern shores of the Teutonic
continent, that is to say, of Germany.

[Footnote 7: The snow-skate, used so extensively in the north of Europe,
is called _Ski_ in the Norse, and I have taken the liberty of
introducing this word here and spelling it phonetically--_skee_, pl.
_skees_. The words snow-shoes, snow-skates, hardly describe sufficiently
these skees used by the Finns, Norsemen, and Icelanders. Compare the
English word _skid_, the drag applied to a coach-wheel.--_Tr._]



From the Longobardians I now pass to the great Teutonic group of peoples
comprised in the term the _Saxons_. Their historian, Widukind, who wrote
his chronicle in the tenth century, begins by telling what he has
learned about the origin of the Saxons. Here, he says, different
opinions are opposed to each other. According to one opinion held by
those who knew the Greeks and Romans, the Saxons are descended from the
remnants of Alexander the Great's Macedonian army; according to the
other, which is based on native traditions, the Saxons are descended
from Danes and Northmen. Widukind so far takes his position between
these opinions that he considers it certain that the Saxons had come in
ships to the country they inhabited on the lower Elbe and the North Sea,
and that they landed in Hadolaun, that is to say, in the district
Hadeln, near the mouth of the Elbe, which, we may say in passing, still
is distinguished for its remarkably vigorous population, consisting of
peasants whose ancestors throughout the middle ages preserved the
communal liberty in successful conflict with the feudal nobility.
Widukind's statement that the Saxons crossed the sea to Hadeln is found
in an older Saxon chronicle, written about 860, with the addition that
the leader of the Saxons in their emigration was a chief by name

A Swabian chronicle, which claims that the Swabians also came from the
North and experienced about the same adventures as the Saxons when they
came to their new home, gives from popular traditions additional details
in regard to the migration and the voyage. According to this account,
the emigration was caused by a famine which visited the Northland
situated on the other side of the sea, because the inhabitants were
heathens who annually sacrificed twelve Christians to their gods. At the
time when the famine came there ruled a king Rudolph over that region in
the Northland whence the people emigrated. He called a convention of all
the most noble men in the land, and there it was decided that, in order
to put an end to the famine, the fathers of families who had several
sons should slay them all except the one they loved most. Thanks to a
young man, by name Ditwin, who was himself included in this dreadful
resolution, a new convention was called, and the above resolution was
rescinded, and instead, it was decided to procure ships, and that all
they who, according to the former resolution, were doomed to die, should
seek new homes beyond the sea. Accompanied by their female friends, they
embarked, and they had not sailed far before they were attacked by a
violent storm, which carried them to a Danish harbour near a place,
says the author, which is called Slesvik. Here they went ashore, and to
put an end to all discussion in regard to a return to the old dear
fatherland, they hewed their ships into pieces. Then they wandered
through the country which lay before them, and, together with much other
booty, they gathered 20,000 horses, so that a large number of the men
were able to ride on horseback. The rest followed the riders on foot.
Armed with weapons, they proceeded in this manner through the country
ruled by the Danes, and they came to the river Alba (Elbe), which they
crossed; after which they scattered themselves along the coast. This
Swabian narrative, which seems to be copied from the Saxon, tells, like
the latter, that the Thuringians were rulers in the land to which the
immigrants came, and that bloody battles had to be fought before they
got possession of it. Widukind's account attempts to give the Saxons a
legal right, at least to the landing-place and the immediate vicinity.
This legal right, he says, was acquired in the following manner: While
the Saxons were still in their ships in the harbour, out of which the
Thuringians were unable to drive them, it was resolved on both sides to
open negotiations, and thus an understanding was reached, that the
Saxons, on the condition that they abstained from plundering and murder,
might remain and buy what they needed and sell whatever they could. Then
it occurred that a Saxon man, richly adorned with gold and wearing a
gold necklace, went ashore. There a Thuringian met him and asked him:
"Why do you wear so much gold around your lean neck?" The youth
answered that he was perishing from hunger, and was seeking a purchaser
of his gold ornaments. "How much do you ask?" inquired the Thuringian.
"What do you bid?" answered the Saxon. Near by was a large sand-hill,
and the Thuringian said in derision: "I will give you as much sand as
you can carry in your clothes." The Saxon said he would accept this
offer. The Thuringian filled the skirts of his frock with sand; the
Saxon gave him his gold ornaments and returned to the ships. The
Thuringians laughed at this bargain with contempt, and the Saxons found
it foolish; but the youth said: "Go with me, brave Saxons, and I will
show you that my foolishness will be your advantage." Then he took the
sand he had bought and scattered it as widely as possible over the
ground, covering in this manner so large an area that it gave the Saxons
a fortified camp. The Thuringians sent messengers and complained of
this, but the Saxons answered that hitherto they had faithfully observed
the treaty, and that they had not taken more territory than they had
purchased with their gold. Thus the Saxons got a firm foothold in the

Thus we find that the sagas of the Saxons and the Swabians agree with
those of the Longobardians in this, that their ancestors were supposed
to have come from a northern country beyond the Baltic. The Swabian
version identifies this country distinctly enough with the Scandinavian
peninsula. Of an immigration from the East the traditions of these
tribes have not a word to say.



We have already stated that the Frankish chronicles, unlike those of the
other Teutonic tribes, wholly ignore the traditions of the Franks, and
instead present the scholastic doctrine concerning the descent of the
Franks from Troy and the Moeotian marshes. But I did not mean to say
that we are wholly without evidence that another theory existed among
the Franks, for they, too, had traditions in harmony with those of the
other Teutonic tribes. There lived in the time of Charlemagne and after
him a Frankish man whose name is written on the pages of history as a
person of noble character and as a great educator in his day, the abbot
in Fulda, later archbishop in Mayence, Hrabanus Maurus, a scholar of the
distinguished Alcuin, the founder of the first library and of the first
large convent school in Germany. The fact that he was particularly a
theologian and Latinist did not prevent his honouring and loving the
tongue of his fathers and of his race. He encouraged its study and use,
and he succeeded in bringing about that sermons were preached in the
churches in the Teutonic dialect of the church-goers. That a Latin
scholar with so wide a horizon as his also was able to comprehend what
the majority of his colleagues failed to understand--viz., that some
value should be attached to the customs of the fathers and to the old
memories from heathen times--should not surprise us. One of the proofs
of his interest in this matter he has given us in his treatise _De
invocatione linguarum_, in which he has recorded a Runic alphabet,
and added the information that it is the alphabet used by the Northmen
and by other heathen tribes, and that songs and formulas for healing,
incantation, and prophecy are written with these characters. When
Hrabanus speaks of the Northmen, he adds that those who speak the German
tongue trace their descent from the Northmen. This statement cannot be
harmonised with the hypothesis concerning the Asiatic descent of the
Franks and other Teutons, except by assuming that the Teutons on their
immigration from Asia to Europe took a route so far to the north that
they reached the Scandinavian peninsula and Denmark without touching
Germany and Central Europe, and then came from the North to Germany. But
of such a view there is not a trace to be found in the middle age
chronicles. The Frankish chronicles make the Franks proceed from
Pannonia straight to the Rhine. The Icelandic imitations of the
hypothesis make Odin and his people proceed from Tanais to Saxland, and
found kingdoms there before he comes to Denmark and Sweden. Hrabanus has
certainly not heard of any such theory. His statement that all the
Teutons came from the North rests on the same foundation as the native
traditions which produced the sagas in regard to the descent of the
Longobardians, Saxons, and Swabians from the North. There still remains
one trace of the Frankish migration saga, and that is the statement of
Paulus Diaconus, made above, concerning the supposed identity of the
name Ansgisel with the name Anchises. The identification is not made by
Paulus himself, but was found in the Frankish source which furnished
him with what he tells about the ancestors of Charlemagne, and the
Frankish source, under the influence of the hypothesis regarding the
Trojan descent of the Franks, has made an emigration leader mentioned in
the popular traditions identical with the Trojan Anchises. This is
corroborated by the Ravenna geographer, who also informs us that a
certain Anschis, Ansgisel, was a Teutonic emigration leader, and that he
was the one under whose leadership the Saxon tribes left their old
homes. Thus it appears that, according to the Frankish saga, the Franks
originally emigrated under the same chief as the Saxons. The character
and position of Ansgisel in the heathen myth will be explained in No.



The most populous and mighty of all the Teutonic tribes was during a
long period the _Gothic_, which carried victorious weapons over all
eastern and southern Europe and Asia Minor, and founded kingdoms between
the Don in the East and the Atlantic ocean and the Pillars of Hercules
in the West and South. The traditions of the Goths also referred the
cradle of the race to Scandinavia. Jordanes, a Romanised Goth, wrote in
the sixth century the history of his people. In the North, he says,
there is a great ocean, and in this ocean there is a large island called
Scandza, out of whose loins our race burst forth like a swarm of bees
and spread over Europe. In its capacity as cradle of the Gothic race,
and of other Teutonic tribes, this island Scandza is clearly of great
interest to Jordanes, the more so since he, through his father Vamod or
Alano-Vamut, regarded himself as descended from the same royal family as
that from which the Amalians, the famous royal family of the East Goths,
traced their ancestry. On this account Jordanes gives as complete a
description of this island as possible. He first tells what the Greek
and Roman authors Claudius Ptolemy and Pomponius Mela have written about
it, but he also reports a great many things which never before were
known in literature, unless they were found in the lost _Historia
Gothorum_ by Cassiodorus--things which either Jordanes himself or
Cassiodorus had learned from Northmen who were members of the large
Teutonic armies then in Italy. Jordanes also points out, with an air of
superiority, that while the geographer Ptolemy did not know more than
seven nations living on the island Scandza, he is able to enumerate many
more. Unfortunately several of the Scandinavian tribe-names given by him
are so corrupted by the transcriber that it is useless to try to restore
them. It is also evident that Jordanes himself has had a confused notion
of the proper geographical or political application of the names. Some
of them, however, are easily recognisable as the names of tribes in
various parts of Sweden and Norway, as, for instance, Vagoth,
Ostrogothæ, Finnaithæ (inhabitants of Finved), Bergio, Hallin,
Raumaricii, Ragnaricii, Rani. He gives us special accounts of a
Scandinavian people, which he calls sometimes Svehans and sometimes
Svethidi, and with these words there is every reason to believe that he
means the Swedes in the wider or more limited application of this term.
This is what he tells about the Svehans or Svethidi: The Svehans are in
connection with the Thuringians living on the continent, that Teutonic
people which is particularly celebrated for their excellent horses. The
Svehans are excellent hunters, who kill the animals whose skins through
countless hands are sent to the Romans, and are treasured by them as the
finest of furs. This trade cannot have made the Svehans rich. Jordanes
gives us to understand that their economical circumstances were not
brilliant, but all the more brilliant were their clothes. He says they
dressed _ditissime_. Finally, he has been informed that the Svethidi are
superior to other races in stature and corporal strength, and that the
Danes are a branch of the Svethidi. What Jordanes relates about the
excellent horses of the Swedes is corroborated by the traditions which
the Icelanders have preserved. The fact that so many tribes inhabited
the island Scandza strengthens his conviction that this island is the
cradle of many of the peoples who made war on and invaded the Roman
Empire. The island Scandza, he says, has been _officina gentium_,
_vagina nationum_--the source of races, the mother of nations. And
thence--he continues, relying on the traditions and songs of his own
people--the Goths, too, have emigrated. This emigration occurred under
the leadership of a chief named Berig, and he thinks he knows where
they landed when they left their ships, and that they, like the
Longobardians, on their progress came in conflict with the Vandals
before they reached the regions north of the Black Sea, where they
afterwards founded the great Gothic kingdom which flourished when the
Huns invaded Europe.

The saga current among the Goths, that they had emigrated from
Scandinavia, ascribed the same origin to the Gepidæ. The Gepidæ were a
brave but rather sluggish Teutonic tribe, who shared the fate of the
Goths when the Huns invaded Europe, and, like the Goths, they cast off
the Hunnish yoke after the death of Attila. The saga, as Jordanes found
it, stated that when the ancestors of the Goths left Scandza, the whole
number of the emigrants did not fill more than three ships. Two of them
came to their destination at the same time; but the third required more
time, and therefore the first-comers called those who arrived last
Gepanta (possibly Gepaita), which, according to Jordanes, means those
tarrying, or the slow ones, and this name changed in course of time into
Gepidæ. That the interpretation is taken from Gothic traditions is

Jordanes has heard a report that even the warlike Teutonic Herulians had
come to Germany from Scandinavia. According to the report, the Herulians
had not emigrated voluntarily from the large islands, but had been
driven away by the Svethidi, or by their descendants, the Danes. That
the Herulians themselves had a tradition concerning their Scandinavian
origin is corroborated by history. In the beginning of the sixth
century, it happened that this people, after an unsuccessful war with
the Longobardians, were divided into two branches, of which the one
received land from the emperor Anastasius south of the Danube, while the
other made a resolve, which has appeared strange to all historians,
viz., to seek a home on the Scandinavian peninsula. The circumstances
attending this resolution make it still more strange. When they had
passed the Slavs, they came to uninhabited regions--uninhabited,
probably, because they had been abandoned by the Teutons, and had not
yet been occupied by the Slavs. In either case, they were open to the
occupation of the Herulians; but they did not settle there. We
misunderstand their character if we suppose that they failed to do so
from fear of being disturbed in their possession of them. Among all the
Teutonic tribes none were more distinguished than the Herulians for
their indomitable desire for war, and for their rash plans. Their
conduct furnishes evidence of that thoughtlessness with which the
historian has characterised them. After penetrating the wilderness, they
came to the landmarks of the Varinians, and then to those of the Danes.
These granted the Herulians a free passage, whereupon the adventurers,
in ships which the Danes must have placed at their disposal, sailed over
the sea to the island "Thule," and remained there. Procopius, the East
Roman historian who records this (_De Bello Goth._, ii., 15), says that
on the immense island Thule, in whose northern part the midnight sun can
be seen, thirteen large tribes occupy its inhabitable parts, each tribe
having its own king. Excepting the Skee Finns, who clothe themselves in
skins and live from the chase, these Thulitic tribes, he says, are
scarcely to be distinguished from the people dwelling farther south in
Europe. One of the largest tribes is the Gauts (the Götar). The
Herulians went to the Gauts and were received by them.

Some decades later it came to pass that the Herulians remaining in South
Europe, and dwelling in Illyria, were in want of a king. They resolved
to send messengers to their kinsmen who had settled in Scandinavia,
hoping that some descendant of their old royal family might be found
there who was willing to assume the dignity of king among them. The
messengers returned with two brothers who belonged to the ancient family
of rulers, and these were escorted by 200 young Scandinavian Herulians.

As Jordanes tells us that the Herulians actually were descended from the
great northern island, then this seems to me to explain this remarkable
resolution. They were seeking new homes in that land which in their old
songs was described as having belonged to their fathers. In their
opinion, it was a return to the country which contained the ashes of
their ancestors. According to an old middle age source, _Vita
Sigismundi_, the Burgundians also had old traditions about a
Scandinavian origin. As will be shown further on, the Burgundian saga
was connected with the same emigration chief as that of the Saxons and
Franks (see No. 123).

Reminiscences of an Alamannic migration saga can be traced in the
traditions found around the Vierwaldstädter Lake. The inhabitants of
the Canton Schwitz have believed that they originally came from Sweden.
It is fair to assume that this tradition in the form given to it in
literature has suffered a change, and that the chroniclers, on account
of the similarity between Sweden and Schwitz, have transferred the home
of the Alamannic Switzians to Sweden, while the original popular
tradition has, like the other Teutonic migration sagas, been satisfied
with the more vague idea that the Schwitzians came from the country in
the sea north of Germany when they settled in their Alpine valleys. In
the same regions of Switzerland popular traditions have preserved the
memory of an exploit which belongs to the Teutonic mythology, and is
there performed by the great archer Ibor (see No. 108), and as he
reappears in the Longobardian tradition as a migration chief, the
possibility lies near at hand, that he originally was no stranger to the
Alamannic migration saga.



The migration sagas which I have now examined are the only ones
preserved to our time on Teutonic ground. They have come down to us from
the traditions of various tribes. They embrace the East Goths, West
Goths, Longobardians, Gepidæ, Burgundians, Herulians, Franks, Saxons,
Swabians, and Alamannians. And if we add to these the evidence of
Hrabanus Maurus, then all the German tribes are embraced in the
traditions. All the evidences are unanimous in pointing to the North as
the Teutonic cradle. To these testimonies we must, finally, add the
oldest of all--the testimony of the sources of Tacitus from the time of
the birth of Christ and the first century of our era.

[Illustration: THOR, THE THUNDER GOD. (_From the painting by M. E.

Thor was reputed to be the son of Odin, surnamed the All-father, and
Jorth, the earth. He was the source of wisdom, patron of culture and of
heroes, friend of mankind and slayer of giants. He always carried a
heavy hammer, called The Crusher, with which he fought, assisted by
thunder and lightning. From Thor is derived the middle English words
Thursday (Thorsday) and Thunder.]

The statements made by Tacitus in his masterly work concerning the
various tribes of Germany and their religion, traditions, laws, customs,
and character, are gathered from men who, in Germany itself, had seen
and heard what they reported. Of this every page of the work bears
evidence, and it also proves its author to have been a man of keen
observation, veracity, and wide knowledge. The knowledge of his
reporters extends to the myths and heroic songs of the Teutons. The
latter is the characteristic means with which a gifted people, still
leading their primitive life, makes compensation for their lack of
written history in regard to the events and exploits of the past. We
find that the man he interviewed had informed himself in regard to the
contents of the songs which described the first beginning and the most
ancient adventures of the race, and he had done this with sufficient
accuracy to discover a certain disagreement in the genealogies found in
these songs of the patriarchs and tribe heroes of the Teutons--a
disagreement which we shall consider later on. But the man who had done
this had heard nothing which could bring him, and after him Tacitus, to
believe that the Teutons had immigrated from some remote part of the
world to that country which they occupied immediately before the birth
of Christ--to that Germany which Tacitus describes, and in which he
embraces that large island in the North Sea where the seafaring and
warlike Sviones dwelt. Quite the contrary. In his sources of information
Tacitus found nothing to hinder him from assuming as probable the view
he expresses--that the Teutons were aborigines, autochthones, fostered
on the soil which was their fatherland. He expresses his surprise at the
typical similarity prevailing among all the tribes of this populous
people, and at the dissimilarity existing between them on the one hand,
and the non-Teutonic peoples on the other; and he draws the conclusion
that they are entirely unmixed with other races, which, again,
presupposes that the Teutons from the most ancient times have possessed
their country for themselves, and that no foreign element has been able
to get a foothold there. He remarks that there could scarcely have been
any immigrations from that part of Asia which was known to him, or from
Africa or Italy, since the nature of Germany was not suited to invite
people from richer and more beautiful regions. But while Tacitus thus
doubts that non-Teutonic races ever settled in Germany, still he has
heard that people who desired to exchange their old homes for new ones
have come there to live. But these settlements did not, in his opinion,
result in a mixing of the race. Those early immigrants did not come by
land, but in fleets over the sea; and as this sea was the boundless
ocean which lies beyond the Teutonic continent and was seldom visited by
people living in the countries embraced in the Roman empire, those
immigrants must themselves have been Teutons. The words of Tacitus are
_(Germ., 2): Germanos indigenas crediderim minimeque aliarum
gentium adventibus et hospitiis mixtos, quia nec terra olim sed
classibus advehebantur qui mutare sedes quærebant, et immensus ultra
atque ut sic dixerim adversus Oceanus raris ab orbe nostro navibus
aditur._ "I should think that the Teutons themselves are aborigines (and
not at all mixed through immigrations or connection with non-Teutonic
tribes). For those desiring to change homes did not in early times come
by land, but in ships across the boundless and, so to speak, hostile
ocean--a sea seldom visited by ships from the Roman world." This passage
is to be compared with, and is interpreted by, what Tacitus tells when
he, for the second time, speaks of this same ocean in chapter 44, where
he relates that in the very midst of this ocean lies a land inhabited by
Teutonic tribes, rich not only in men and arms, but also in _fleets_
(_præter viros armaque classibus valent_), and having a stronger and
better organization than the other Teutons. These people formed several
communities (_civitates_). He calls them the Sviones, and describes
their ships. The conclusion to be drawn from his words is, in short,
that those immigrants were Northmen belonging to the same race as the
continental Teutons. Thus traditions concerning immigrations from the
North to Germany have been current among the continental Teutons already
in the first century after Christ.

But Tacitus' contribution to the Teutonic migration saga is not limited
to this. In regard to the origin of a city then already ancient and
situated on the Rhine, Asciburgium (_Germ._, 3), his reporter had heard
that it was founded by an ancient hero who had come with his ships from
the German Ocean, and had sailed up the Rhine a great distance beyond
the Delta, and had then disembarked and laid the foundations of
Asciburgium. His reporter had also heard such stories about this ancient
Teutonic hero that persons acquainted with the Greek-Roman traditions
(the Romans or the Gallic neighbours of Asciburgium) had formed the
opinion that the hero in question could be none else than the Greek
Ulysses, who, in his extensive wanderings, had drifted into the German
Ocean and thence sailed up the Rhine. In weighing this account of
Tacitus we must put aside the Roman-Gallic conjecture concerning
Ulysses' visit to the Rhine, and confine our attention to the fact on
which this conjecture is based. The fact is that around Asciburgium a
tradition was current concerning an ancient hero who was said to have
come across the northern ocean with a host of immigrants and founded the
above-named city on the Rhine, and that the songs or traditions in
regard to this ancient hero were of such a character that they who knew
the adventures of Ulysses thought they had good reason for regarding him
as identical with the latter. Now, the fact is that the Teutonic
mythology has a hero who to quote the words of an ancient Teutonic
document, "was the greatest of all travellers," and who on his journeys
met with adventures which in some respects remind us of Ulysses'. Both
descended to Hades; both travelled far and wide to find their beloved.
Of this mythic hero and his adventures see Nos. 96-107, and No. 107
about Asciburgium in particular.

It lies outside the limits of the present work to investigate whether
these traditions contain any historical facts. There is need of caution
in this respect, since facts of history are, as a rule, short-lived
among a people that do not keep written annals. The historical songs and
traditions of the past which the Scandinavians recorded in the twelfth
century do not go further back in time than to the middle of the ninth
century, and the oldest were already mixed with stories of the
imagination. The Hellenic historical records from a pre-literary time
were no older; nor were those of the Romans. The question how far
historically important emigrations from the Scandinavian peninsula and
Denmark to Germany have taken place should in my opinion be considered
entirely independent of the old migration traditions if it is to be
based on a solid foundation. If it can be answered in the affirmative,
then those immigrations must have been partial returns of an Aryan race
which, prior to all records, have spread from the South to the
Scandinavian countries. But the migration traditions themselves clearly
have their firmest root in myths, and not in historical memories; and at
all events are so closely united with the myths, and have been so
transformed by song and fancy, that they have become useless for
historical purposes. The fact that the sagas preserved to our time make
nearly all the most important and most numerous Teutonic tribes which
played a part in the destiny of Southern Europe during the Empire
emigrants from Scandinavia is calculated to awaken suspicion.

The wide diffusion this belief has had among the Teutons is sufficiently
explained by their common mythology--particularly by the myth
concerning the earliest age of man or of the Teutonic race. As this work
of mine advances, I shall find opportunity of presenting the results of
my investigations in regard to this myth. The fragments of it must, so
to speak, be exhumed from various mounds, and the proofs that these
fragments belong together, and once formed a unit, can only be presented
as the investigation progresses. In the division "The Myth concerning
the Earliest Period and the Emigrations from the North," I give the
preparatory explanation and the general _résumé_ (Nos. 20-43). For the
points which cannot there be demonstrated without too long digressions
the proofs will be presented in the division "The Myth concerning the
Race of Ivalde" (Nos. 96-123).


                 FROM THE NORTH.


                    SCEF THE BRINGER OF CULTURE.

The human race, or at least the Teutonic race, springs, according to the
myth, from a single pair, and _has accordingly had a centre from which
their descendants have spread over that world which was embraced by the
Teutonic horizon_. The story of the creation of this pair has its root
in a myth of ancient Aryan origin, according to which the first parents
were plants before they became human beings. The Iranian version of the
story is preserved in Bundehesh, chap. 15. There it is stated that the
first human pair grew at the time of the autumnal equinox in the form of
a _rheum ribes_ with a single stalk. After the lapse of fifteen years
the bush had put forth fifteen leaves. The man and woman who developed
in and with it were closely united, forming one body, so that it could
not be seen which one was the man and which one was the woman, and they
held their hands close to their ears. Nothing revealed whether the
splendour of Ahuramazda--that is to say, the soul--was yet in them or
not. Then said Ahuramazda to Mashia (the man) and to Mashiana (the
woman): "Be human beings; become the parents of the world!" And from
being plants they got the form of human beings, and Ahuramazda urged
them to think good thoughts, speak good words and do good deeds. Still,
they soon thought an evil thought and became sinners. The _rheum ribes_
from which they sprang had its own origin in seed from a primeval being
in human form, Gaya Maretan (Gayo-mert), which was created from
perspiration (cp. Vafthrudnersmal, xxxiii. 1-4), but was slain by the
evil Angra Mainyu. Bundehesh then gives an account of the first
generations following Mashia and Mashiana, and explains how they spread
over the earth and became the first parents of the human race.

The Hellenic Aryans have known the myth concerning the origin of man
from plants. According to Hesiodus, the men of the third age of the
world grew from the ash tree (_ek meleon_); compare the _Odyssey_, xix,

From this same tree came the first man according to the Teutonic myth.
Three asas, mighty and worthy of worship, came to Midgard (at _húsi_,
Völusp., 16; compare Völusp., 4, where Midgard is referred to by the
word _salr_) and found _á landi_ Ask and Embla. These beings were then
"of little might" (_litt megandi_) and "without destiny"
(_örlögslausir_); they lacked _önd_, they lacked _ódr_, they had no _lá
or læti or litr goda_, but Odin gave them _önd_, Honor gave them _ódr_,
Loder gave them _lá_ and _litr goda_. In reference to the meaning of
these words I refer my readers to No. 95, simply noting here that _litr
goda_, hitherto defined as "good colour" (_godr litr_), signifies "the
appearance (image) of gods." From looking like trees Ask and Embla got
the appearance which before them none but the gods had assumed. The
Teutons, like the Greeks and Romans, conceived the gods in the image of

Odin's words in Havamál, 43, refer to the same myth.

The passage explains that when the Asa-god saw the modesty of the
new-made human pair he gave them his own divine garments to cover them.
When they found themselves so beautifully adorned it seems to indicate
the awakening sense of pride in the first human pair. The words are: "In
the field (_velli at_) I gave my clothes to the two wooden men (_tveim
tremönnum_). Heroes they seemed to themselves when they got clothes. The
naked man is embarrassed."

But the expressions _á landi_ and _velli at_ should be observed. That
the trees grew on the ground, and that the acts of creating and clothing
took place there is so self-evident that these words would be
meaningless if they were not called for by the fact that the authors of
these passages in Havamál and Völuspâ had in their minds the ground
_along the sea_, that is, a sea-beach. This is also clear from a
tradition given in Gylfaginning, chapter 9, according to which the three
asas were walking along the sea-beach (_med sævarströndu_) when they
found Ask and Embla, and created of them the first human pair.

Thus the first human pair were created on the beach of an ocean. To
which sea can the myth refer? The question does not concern the ancient
Aryan time, but the Teutonic antiquity, not Asia, but Europe; and if we
furthermore limit it to the Christian era there can be but one answer.
Germany was bounded in the days of Tacitus, and long before his time, by
Gaul, Rhoetia, and Pannonia on the west and south, by the extensive
territories of the Sarmatians and Dacians on the east, and by the ocean
on the north. The so-called German Ocean, the North Sea and the Baltic,
was then the only body of water within the horizon of the Teutons, the
only one which in the days of Jordanes, after the Goths long had ruled
north of the Black Sea, was thought to wash the primeval Teutonic
strands. The myth must therefore refer to the German Ocean. It is
certain that the borders of this ocean where the myth has located the
creation of the first human pair, or the first Teutonic pair, was
regarded as the centre from which their descendants spread over more and
more territory. Where near the North Sea or the Baltic was this centre

Even this question can be answered, thanks to the mythic fragments
preserved. A feature common to all well-developed mythological systems
is the view that the human race in its infancy was under the special
protection of friendly divinities, and received from them the doctrines,
arts, and trades without which all culture is impossible. The same view
is strongly developed among the Teutons. Anglo-Saxon documents have
rescued the story telling how Ask's and Embla's descendants received the
first blessings of culture from the benign gods. The story has come to
us through Christian hands, which, however, have allowed enough of the
original to remain to show that its main purpose was to tell us how the
great gifts of culture came to the human race. The saga names the land
where this took place. The country was the most southern part of the
Scandinavian peninsula, and especially the part of it bordering on the
western sea. Had these statements come to us only from northern sources,
there would be good reason for doubting their originality and general
application to the Teutonic tribes. The Icelandic-Norwegian middle-age
literature abounds in evidence of a disposition to locate the events of
a myth and the exploits of mythic persons in the author's own land and
town. But in this instance there is no room for the suspicion that
patriotism has given to the southern-most part of the Scandinavian
peninsula a so conspicuous prominence in the earliest history of the
myth. The chief evidence is found in the traditions of the Saxons in
England, and this gives us the best clue to the unanimity with which the
sagas of the Teutonic continent, from a time prior to the birth of
Christ far down in the middle ages, point out the great peninsula in the
northern sea as the land of the oldest ancestors, in conflict with the
scholastic opinion in regard to an emigration from Troy. The region
where the myth located the first dawn of human culture was certainly
also the place which was regarded as the cradle and centre of the race.

The non-Scandinavian sources in question are: Beowulf's poem,
Ethelwerdus, Willielmus Malmesburiensis, Simeon Dunelmensis, and
Matthæus Monasteriensis. A closer examination of them reveals the fact
that they have their information from three different sources, which
again have a common origin in a heathen myth. If we bring together what
they have preserved of the story we get the following result:[8]

One day it came to pass that a ship was seen sailing near the coast of
Scedeland or Scani,[9] and it approached the land without being
propelled either by oars or sails. The ship came to the sea-beach, and
there was seen lying in it a little boy, who was sleeping with his head
on a sheaf of grain, surrounded by treasures and tools, by glaives and
coats of mail. The boat itself was steady and beautifully decorated. Who
he was and whence he came nobody had any idea, but the little boy was
received as if he had been a kinsman, and he received the most constant
and tender care. As he came with a sheaf of grain to their country the
people called him Scef, Sceaf.[10] (The Beowulf poem calls him Scyld,
son of Sceaf, and gives Scyld the son Beowulf, which originally was
another name of Scyld.) Scef grew up among this people, became their
benefactor and king, and ruled most honourably for many years. He died
far advanced in age. In accordance with his own directions, his body was
borne down to the strand where he had landed as a child. There in a
little harbour lay the same boat in which he had come. Glittering from
hoar-frost and ice, and eager to return to the sea, the boat was waiting
to receive the dead king, and around him the grateful and sorrowing
people laid no fewer treasures than those with which Scef had come. And
when all was finished the boat went out upon the sea, and no one knows
where it landed. He left a son Scyld (according to the Beowulf poem,
Beowulf son of Scyld), who ruled after him. Grandson of the boy who came
with the sheaf was Healfdene--Halfdan, king of the Danes (that is,
according to the Beowulf poem).

The myth gives the oldest Teutonic patriarchs a very long life, in the
same manner as the Bible in the case of Adam and his descendants. They
lived for centuries (see below). The story could therefore make the
culture introduced by Scef spread far and wide during his own reign, and
it could make his realm increase with the culture. According to
scattered statements traceable to the Scef-saga, Denmark, Angeln, and at
least the northern part of Saxland, have been populated by people who
obeyed his sceptre. In the North Götaland and Svealand were subject to

The proof of this, so far as Denmark is concerned, is that, according to
the Beowulf poem, its first royal family was descended from Scef through
his son Scyld (Skjold). In accordance herewith, Danish and Icelandic
genealogies make Skjold the progenitor of the first dynasty in Denmark,
and also make him the ruler of the land to which his father came, that
is, Skane. His origin as a divinely-born patriarch, as a hero receiving
divine worship, and as the ruler of the original Teutonic country,
appears also in _Fornmannasögur_, v. 239, where he is styled _Skáninga
god_, the god of the Scanians.

Matthæus Westmonast. informs us that Scef ruled in Angeln.

According to the Anglo-Saxon chronicle, the dynasty of Wessex came from
Saxland, and its progenitor was Scef.

If we examine the northern sources we discover that the Scef myth still
may be found in passages which have been unnoticed, and that the tribes
of the far North saw in the boy who came with the sheaf and the tools
the divine progenitor of their celebrated dynasty in Upsala. This can be
found in spite of the younger saga-geological layer which the hypothesis
of Odin's and his Trojan Asas' immigration has spread over it since the
introduction of Christianity. Scef's personality comes to the surface,
we shall see, as Skefill and Skelfir.

In the Fornalder-sagas, ii. 9, and in Flateyarbók, i. 24, Skelfir is
mentioned as family patriarch and as Skjold's father, the progenitor of
the Skjoldungs. There can, therefore, be no doubt that Scef, Scyld's
father, and through him the progenitor of the Skjoldungs, originally is
the same as Skelfir, Skjold's father, and progenitor of the Skjoldungs
in these Icelandic works.

But he is not only the progenitor of the Skjoldungs, but also of the
Ynglings. The genealogy beginning with him is called in the
Flateryarbók, _Skilfinga ætt edr skjoldunga ætt_. The Younger Edda also
(i. 522) knows Skelfir, and says he was a famous king whose genealogy
_er köllut skilvinga ætt_. Now the Skilfing race in the oldest sources
is precisely the same as the Yngling race both from an Anglo-Saxon and
from a heathen Norse standpoint. The Beowulf poem calls the Swedish
kings _scilfingas_, and according to Thjodulf, a kinsman of the Ynglings
and a kinsman of the Skilfing, _Skilfinga nidr_, are identical
(Ynglingatal, 30). Even the Younger Edda seems to be aware of this. It
says in the passage quoted above that the Skilfing race _er i
Austrvegum_. In the Thjodulf strophes _Austrvegar_ means simply
Svealand, and _Austrkonungur_ means Swedish king.

Thus it follows that the Scef who is identical with Skelfir was in the
heathen saga of the North the common progenitor of the Ynglinga and of
the Skjoldunga race. From his dignity as original patriarch of the royal
families of Sweden, Denmark, Angeln, Saxland, and England, he was
displaced by the scholastic fiction of the middle ages concerning the
immigration of Trojan Asiatics under the leadership of Odin, who as the
leader of the immigration also had to be the progenitor of the most
distinguished families of the immigrants. This view seems first to have
been established in England after this country had been converted to
Christianity and conquered by the Trojan immigration hypothesis. Wodan
is there placed at the head of the royal genealogies of the chronicles,
excepting in Wessex, where Scef is allowed to retain his old position,
and where Odin must content himself with a secondary place in the
genealogy. But in the Beowulf poem Scef still retains his dignity as
ancient patriarch of the kings of Denmark.

From England this same distortion of the myth comes to the North in
connection with the hypothesis concerning the immigration of the
"Asiamen," and is there finally accepted in the most unconcerned manner,
without the least regard to the mythic records which were still well
known. Skjold, Scef's son, is without any hesitation changed into a son
of Odin (Ynglingasaga, 5; Foreword to Gylfag., 11). Yngve, who as the
progenitor of the Ynglings is identical with Scef, and whose very name,
perhaps, is or has been conceived as an epithet indicating Scef's tender
age when he came to the coast of Scandia--Yngve-Scef is confounded with
Frey, is styled Yngve-Frey after the appellation of the Vana-god Ingunar
Frey, and he, too, is called a son of Odin (Foreword to Gylfag., c. 13),
although Frey in the myth is a son of Njord and belongs to another race
of gods than Odin. The epithet with which Are Frode in his _Schedæ_
characterises Yngve, viz., _Tyrkiakonungr_, Trojan king, proves that the
lad who came with the sheaf of grain to Skane is already in Are changed
into a Trojan.

[Footnote 8: Geijer has partly indicated its significance in _Svea Rikes
Häfder_, where he says: "The tradition anent Sceaf is remarkable, as it
evidently has reference to the introduction of agriculture, and shows
that it was first introduced in the most southern part of Scandinavia."]

[Footnote 9: The Beowulf poem has the name Scedeland (Scandia): compare
the name Skâdan in _De origine Longobardorum_. Ethelwerd writes: "Ipse
Skef cum uno dromone advectus est in insulam Oceani, quæ dicitur Scani,
armis circumdatus," &c.]

[Footnote 10: Matthæus Westmonast. translates this name with _frumenti
manipulus_, a sheaf.]


                  THE ORIGINAL PATRIARCH.

But in one respect Are Frode or his authority has paid attention to the
genuine mythic tradition, and that is by making the Vana-gods the
kinsmen of the descendants of Yngve. This is correct in the sense that
Scef-Yngve, the son of a deity transformed into a man, was in the myth a
Vana-god. Accordingly every member of the Yngling race and every
descendant of Scef may be styled a _son of Frey_ (_Freys áttungr_),
epithets applied by Thjodulf in Ynglingatal in regard to the Upsala
kings. They are gifts from the Vana-gods--the implements which point to
the opulent Njord, and the grain sheaf which is Frey's symbol--which
Scef-Yngve brings with him to the ancient people of Scandia, and his
rule is peaceful and rich in blessings.

Scef-Yngve comes across the ocean. Vanaheim was thought to be situated
on the other side of it, in the same direction as Ægir's palace in the
great western ocean and in the outermost domain of Jormumgrund (see 93).
This is indicated in Lokasenna, 34, where Loke in Ægir's hall says to
the Van Njord: "You were sent from here to the East as a hostage to the
gods (_thu vart austr hedan gisl um sendr at godum_)". Thus Njord's
castle Noatun is situated in the West, on a strand outside of which the
swans sing (Gylfag., 23). In the faded memory of Scef, preserved in the
saga of the Lower Rhine and of the Netherlands, there comes to a
poverty-stricken people a boat in which there lies a sleeping youth. The
boat is, like Scef's, without sails or oars, but is drawn over the
billows by a swan. From Gylfaginning, 16, we learn that there are myths
telling of the origin of the swans. They are all descended from that
pair of swans which swim in the sacred waters of Urd's fountain. Thus
the descendants of these swans that sing outside of the Vanapalace
Noatun and their arrival to the shores of Midgard seems to have some
connection with the coming of the Van Scef and of culture.

The Vans most prominent in the myths are Njord, Frey, and Heimdal.
Though an Asa-god by adoption, Heimdal is like Njord and Frey a Vana-god
by birth and birthplace, and is accordingly called both _áss_ and _vanr_
(Thrymskv., 15). Meanwhile these three divinities, definitely named
Vans, are only a few out of many. The Vans have constituted a numerous
clan, strong enough to wage a victorious war against the Asas (Völusp.).
Who among them was Scef-Yngve? The question can be answered as follows:

(1) Of Heimdal, and of him alone among the gods, it is related that he
lived for a time among men as a man, and that he performed that which is
attributed to Scef--that is, organised and elevated human society and
became the progenitor of sacred families in Midgard.

(2) Rigsthula relates that the god Heimdal, having assumed the name Rig,
begot with an earthly woman the son Jarl-Rig, who in turn became the
father of Konr-Rig. Konr-Rig is, as the very name indicates and as
Vigfusson already has pointed out, the first who bore the kingly name.
In Rigsthula the Jarl begets the king, as in Ynglingasaga the judge
(Dómarr) begets the first king. Rig is, according to Ynglingasaga, ch.
20, grandfather to Dan, who is a Skjoldung. Heimdal-Rig is thus the
father of the progenitor of the Skjoldungs, and it is the story of the
divine origin of the Skjoldungs Rigsthula gives us when it sings of
Heimdal as Jarl's father and the first king's grandfather. But the
progenitor of the Skjoldungs is, according to both Anglo-Saxon and the
northern sources above quoted, Scef. Thus Heimdal and Scef are

These proofs are sufficient. More can be presented, and the identity
will be established by the whole investigation.

As a tender boy, Heimdal was sent by the Vans to the southern shores of
Scandinavia with the gifts of culture. Hyndla's lay tells how these
friendly powers prepared the child for its important mission, after it
was born in the outermost borders of the earth (_vid jardar thraum_), in
a wonderful manner, by nine sisters (Hyndla's Lay, 35; Heimdallar
Galdr., in the Younger Edda; compare No. 82, where the ancient Aryan
root of the myth concerning Heimdal's nine mothers is pointed out).

For its mission the child had to be equipped with strength, endurance,
and wisdom. It was given to drink _jardar magn svalkaldr sær_ and _Sonar
dreyri_. It is necessary to compare these expressions with _Urdar magn_,
_svalkaldr sær_ and _Sónar dreyri_ in Gudrunarkivda, ii. 21, a song
written in Christian times, where this reminiscence of a triple
heathen-mythic drink reappears as a potion of forgetfulness allaying
sorrow. The expression _Sónar dreyri_ shows that the child had tasted
liquids from the subterranean fountains which water Yggdrasil and
sustain the spiritual and physical life of the universe (cp. Nos. 63 and
93). _Són_ contains the mead of inspiration and wisdom. In Gylfaginning,
which quotes a satire of late origin, this name is given to a jar in
which Suttung preserves this valuable liquor, but to the heathen skalds
_Són_ is the name of Mimer's fountain, which contains the highest
spiritual gifts, and around whose rush-bordered edge the reeds of poetry
grow (Eilif Gudrunson, Skáldskaparmál). The child Heimdal has,
therefore, drunk from Mimer's fountain. _Jardar magn_ (the earth's
strength) is in reality the same as _Urdar magn_, the strength of the
water in Urd's fountain, which keeps the world-tree ever green and
sustains the physical life of creation (Völusp.). The third subterranean
fountain is Hvergelmer, with hardening liquids. From Hvergelmer comes
the river Sval, and the venom-cold Elivogs (Grimner's Lay,
Gylfaginning). _Svalkaldar sær_, cool sea, is an appropriate designation
of this fountain.

When the child has been strengthened in this manner for its great
mission, it is laid sleeping in the decorated ship, gets the grain-sheaf
for its pillow, and numerous treasures are placed around it. It is
certain that there were not only weapons and ornaments, but also
workmen's tools among the treasures. It should be borne in mind that the
gods made on the plains of Ida not only ornaments, but also tools
(_tangir skópu ok tol gördu_). Evidence is presented in No. 82 that
Scef-Heimdal brought the fire-auger to primeval man who until that time
had lived without the blessings produced by the sacred fire.

The boy grows up among the inhabitants on the Scandian coast, and, when
he has developed into manhood, human culture has germinated under his
influence and the beginnings of classes in society with distinct
callings appear. In Rigsthula, we find him journeying along "green
paths, from house to house, in that land which his presence has
blessed." Here he is called _Rigr_--it is true of him as of nearly all
mythological persons, that he has several names--but the introduction
to the poem informs us that the person so called is the god Heimdal
(_einhverr af asum sá er Heimdallr het_). The country is here also
described as situated near the sea. Heimdal journeys _framm med
sjofarströndu_. Culture is in complete operation. The people are
settled, they spin and weave, perform handiwork, and are smiths, they
plough and bake, and Heimdal has instructed them in runes. Different
homes show different customs and various degrees of wealth, but
happiness prevails everywhere. Heimdal visits Ai's and Edda's
unpretentious home, is hospitably received, and remains three days. Nine
months thereafter the son Träl (thrall) is born to this family. Heimdal
then visits Ave's and Amma's well-kept and cleanly house, and nine
months thereafter the son Karl (churl) is born in this household. Thence
Rig betakes himself to _Fadir's_ and _Modir's_ elegant home. There is
born, nine months later, the son Jarl. Thus the three Teutonic
classes--the thralls, the freemen, and the nobility--have received their
divine sanction from Heimdal-Rig, and all three have been honoured with
divine birth.

In the account of Rig's visit to the three different homes lies the
mythic idea of a common fatherhood, an idea which must not be left out
of sight when human heroes are described as sons of gods in the
mythological and heroic sagas. They are sons of the gods and, at the
same time, from a genealogical standpoint, men. Their pedigree, starting
with Ask and Embla, is not interrupted by the intervention of the
visiting god, nor is there developed by this intervention a half-divine,
half-human middle class or bastard clan. The Teutonic patriarch Mannus
is, according to Tacitus, the son of a god and the grandson of the
goddess Earth. Nevertheless he is, as his name indicates, in the full
physical sense of the word, a man, and besides his divine father he has
had a human father. They are the descendants of Ask and Embla, men of
all classes and conditions, whom Völuspa's skald gathered around the
seeress when she was to present to them a view of the world's
development and commanded silence with the formula: "Give ear, all ye
divine races, great and small, sons of Heimdal." The idea of a common
fatherhood we find again in the question of _Fadir's_ grandson, as we
shall show below. Through him the families of chiefs get the right of
precedence before both the other classes. Thor becomes their progenitor.
While all classes trace their descent from Heimdal, the nobility trace
theirs also from Thor, and through him from Odin.

Heimdal-Rig's and _Fadir's_ son, begotten with _Módir_, inherits in
Rigsthula the name of the divine co-father, and is called Rig Jarl.
Jarl's son, Kon, gets the same name after he has given proof of his
knowledge in the runes introduced among the children of men by Heimdal,
and has even shown himself superior to his father in this respect. This
view that the younger generation surpasses the older points to the idea
of a progress in culture among men, during a time when they live in
peace and happiness protected by Heimdal's fostering care and sceptre,
but must not be construed into the theory of a continued progress based
on the law and nature of things, a theory alike strange to the Teutons
and to the other peoples of antiquity. Heimdal-Rig's reign must be
regarded as the happy ancient age, of which nearly all mythologies have
dreamed. Already in the next age following, that is, that of the second
patriarch, we read of men of violence who visit the peaceful, and under
the third patriarch begins the "knife-age, and axe-age with cloven
shields," which continues through history and receives its most terrible
development before Ragnarok.

The more common mythical names of the persons appearing in Rigsthula are
not mentioned in the song, not even Heimdal's. In strophe 48, the last
of the fragment, we find for the first time words which have the
character of names--_Danr_ and _Danpr_. A crow sings from the tree to
Jarl's son, the grandson of Heimdal, Kon, saying that peaceful amusement
(_kyrra fugla_) does not become him longer, but that he should rather
mount his steed and fight against men; and the crow seeks to awaken his
ambition or jealousy by saying that "Dan and Danp, skilled in navigating
ships and wielding swords, have more precious halls and a better
freehold than you." The circumstance that these names are mentioned
makes it possible, as shall be shown below, to establish in a more
satisfactory manner the connection between Rigsthula and other accounts
which are found in fragments concerning the Teutonic patriarch period.

The oldest history of man did not among the Teutons begin with a
paradisian condition. Some time has elapsed between the creation of Ask
and Embla, and Heimdal's coming among men. As culture begins with
Heimdal, a condition of barbarism must have preceded his arrival. At all
events the first generations after Ask and Embla have been looked upon
as lacking fire; consequently they have been without the art of the
smith, without metal implements, and without knowledge of agriculture.
Hence it is that the Vana-child comes across the western sea with fire,
with implements, and with the sheaf of grain. But the barbarous
condition may have been attended with innocence and goodness of heart.
The manner in which the strange child was received by the inhabitants of
Scandia's coast, and the tenderness with which it was cared for
(_diligenti animo_, says Ethelwerd) seem to indicate this.

When Scef-Heimdal had performed his mission, and when the beautiful boat
in which he came had disappeared beyond the western horizon, then the
second mythic patriarch-age begins.



Ynglingasaga, ch. 20, contains a passage which is clearly connected with
Rigsthula or with some kindred source. The passage mentions three
persons who appear in Rigsthula, viz., Rig, Danp, and Dan, and it is
there stated that the ruler who first possessed the kingly title in
Svithiod was the son of a chief, whose name was Judge (_Dómarr_), and
Judge was married to Drott (_Drótt_), the daughter of Danp.

That Domar and his royal son, the latter with the epithet _Dyggvi_,
"the worthy," "the noble," were afterwards woven into the royal pedigree
in Ynglingasaga, is a matter which we cannot at present consider.
Vigfusson (_Corpus Poet. Bor._) has already shown the mythic symbolism
and unhistorical character of this royal pedigree's _Visburr_, the
priest, son of a god; of _Dómaldr-Dómvaldr_, the legislator; of
_Dómarr_, the judge; and of _Dyggvi_, the first king. These are not
historical Upsala kings, but personified myths, symbolising the
development of human society on a religious basis into a political
condition of law culminating in royal power. It is in short the same
chain of ideas as we find in Rigsthula, where Heimdal, the son of a god
and the founder of culture, becomes the father of the Jarl-judge, whose
son is the first king. _Dómarr_, in the one version of the chain of
ideas, corresponds to Rig Jarl in the other, and _Dyggvi_ corresponds to
Kon. Heimdal is the first patriarch, the Jarl-judge is the second, and
the oldest of kings is the third.

Some person, through whose hands Ynglingasaga has passed before it got
its present form in Heimskringla, has understood this correspondence
between _Dómarr_ and Rig-Jarl, and has given to the former the wife
which originally belonged to the latter. Rigsthula has been rescued in a
single manuscript. This manuscript was owned by Arngrim Jonsson, the
author of _Supplementum Historiæ Norvegiæ_, and was perhaps in his time,
as Bugge (_Norr. Fornkv._) conjectures, less fragmentary than it now is.
Arngrim relates that Rig Jarl was married to a daughter of Danp, lord of
Danpsted. Thus the representative of the Jarl's dignity, like the
representative of the Judge's dignity in Ynglingasaga, is here
married to Danp's daughter.

In Saxo, a man by name Borgar (_Borcarus_--_Hist. Dan._ 336-354)
occupies an important position. He is a South Scandinavian chief, leader
of Skane's warriors (_Borcarus cum Scanico equitatu_, p. 350), but
instead of a king's title, he holds a position answering to that of the
Jarl. Meanwhile he, like Skjold, becomes the founder of a Danish royal
dynasty. Like Skjold he fights beasts and robbers, and like him he wins
his bride, sword in hand. Borgar's wife is Drott (_Drotta_, _Drota_),
the same name as Danp's daughter. Skjold's son Gram and Borgar's son
Halfdan are found on close examination (see below) to be identical with
each other, and with king Halfdan Berggram in whom the names of both are
united. Thus we find:

(1) That Borgar appears as a chief in Skane, which in the myth is the
cradle of the human race, or of the Teutonic race. As such he is also
mentioned in _Script. rer. Dan._ (pp. 16-19, 154), where he is called
Burgarus and Borgardus.

(2) That he has performed similar exploits to those of Skjold, the son
of Scef-Heimdal.

(3) That he is not clothed with kingly dignity, but has a son who founds
a royal dynasty in Denmark. This corresponds to Heimdal's son Rig Jarl,
who is not himself styled king, but whose son becomes a Danish king and
the progenitor of the Skjoldungs.

(4) That he is married to Drott, who, according to Ynglingasaga, is
Danp's daughter. This corresponds to Heimdal's son Rig Jarl, who takes
a daughter of Danp as his wife.

(5) That his son is identical with the son of Skjold, the progenitor of
the Skjoldungs.

(6) That this son of his is called Halfdan, while in the Anglo-Saxon
sources Scef, through his son Scyld (Skjold), is the progenitor of
Denmark's king Healfdene.

These testimonies contain incontestible evidence that Skjold, Borgar,
and Rig Jarl are names of the same mythic person, the son of the ancient
patriarch Heimdal, and himself the second patriarch, who, after Heimdal,
determines the destiny of his race. The name _Borgarr_ is a synonym of
_Skjöldr_. The word _Skjöldr_ has from the beginning had, or has in the
lapse of past ages acquired, the meaning "the protecting one," "the
shielding one," and as such it was applied to the common defensive
armour, the shield. _Borgarr_ is derived from _bjarga_ (past. part.
_borginn_; cp. _borg_), and thus has the same meaning, that is, "the
defending or protecting one." From Norse poetry a multitude of examples
can be given of the paraphrasing of a name with another, or even several
others, of similar meaning.

The second patriarch, Heimdal's son, thus has the names Skjold, Borgar,
and Rig Jarl in the heathen traditions, and those derived therefrom.

In German poems of the middle age ("Wolfdieterich," "König Ruther," and
others) Borgar is remembered by the name Berchtung, Berker, and Berther.
His mythic character as ancient patriarch is there well preserved. He
is _der grise mann_, a Teutonic Nestor, wears a beard reaching to the
belt, and becomes 250 years old. He was fostered by a king Anzius, the
progenitor of the Amelungs (the Amalians). The name Anzius points to the
Gothic _ansi_ (Asa-god). Borgar's fostering by "the white Asa-god" has
accordingly not been forgotten. Among the exercises taught him by Anzius
are _daz werfen mit dem messer und schissen zu dem zil_ (compare Rig
Jarl's exercises, Rigsthula, 35). Like Borgar, Berchtung is not a king,
but a very noble and greatly-trusted chief, wise and kind, the
foster-father and counsellor of heroes and kings. The Norse saga places
Borgar, and the German saga places Berchtung, in close relation to
heroes who belong to the race of Hildings. Borgar is, according to Saxo,
the stepfather of Hildeger; Berchtung is, according to "Wolfdieterich,"
Hildebrand's ancestor. Of Hildeger Saxo relates in part the same as the
German poem tells of Hildebrand. Berchtung becomes the foster-father of
an Amalian prince; with Borgar's son grows up as foster-brother Hamal
(Helge Hund., 2; see Nos. 29, 42), whose name points to the Amalian
race. The very name _Borgarr_, which, as indicated, in this form refers
to _bjarga_, may in an older form have been related to the name
Berchter, Berchtung.



     _The Identity of Gram, Halfdan Berggram, and Halfdan

In the time of Borgar and his son, the third patriarch, many of the
most important events of the myth take place. Before I present these,
the chain of evidence requires that I establish clearly the names
applied to Borgar in our literary sources. Danish scholars have already
discovered what I pointed out above, that the kings Gram Skjoldson,
Halfdan Berggram, and Halfdan Borgarson mentioned by Saxo, and referred
to different generations, are identical with each other and with Halfdan
the Skjoldung and Halfdan the Old of the Icelandic documents.

The correctness of this view will appear from the following

       {Saxo: Gram slays king Sictrugus, and marries Signe,
       {   daughter of Sumblus, king of the Finns.
       {Hyndluljod: Halfdan Skjoldung slays king Sigtrygg, and
    1. {   marries Almveig with the consent of Eymund.
       {Prose Edda: Halfdan the Old slays king Sigtrygg, and
       {   marries Alveig, daughter of Eyvind.
       {Fornald. S.: Halfdan the Old slays king Sigtrygg, and
       {   marries Alfny, daughter of Eymund.

       {Saxo: Gram, son of Skjold, is the progenitor of the Skjoldungs.
       {Hyndluljod: Halfdan Skjoldung, son or descendant of
       {    Skjold, is the progenitor of the Skjoldungs, Ynglings,
    2. {    Odlungs, &c.
       {Prose Edda: Halfdan the Old is the progenitor of the
       {    Hildings, Ynglings, Odlungs, &c.
       {Saxo: Halfdan Bogarson is the progenitor of a royal
       {    family of Denmark.

       {Saxo: Gram uses a club as a weapon. He kills seven
       {    brothers and nine of their half-brothers.
       {Saxo: Halfdan Berggram uses an oak as a weapon. He
    3. {    kills seven brothers.
       {Saxo: Halfdan Borgarson uses an oak as a weapon. He
       {    kills twelve brothers.

       {Saxo: Gram secures Groa and slays Henricus on his wedding-day.
       {Saxo: Halfdan Berggram marries Sigrutha, after having
    4. {    slain Ebbo on his wedding-day.
       {Saxo: Halfdan Borgarson marries Guritha, after having
       {    killed Sivarus on his wedding-day.

       {Saxo: Gram, who slew a Swedish king, is attacked in war
       {    by Svipdag.
       {Saxo: Halfdan Berggram, who slew a Swedish king, is
    5. {    attacked by Ericus.
       {Combined sources: Svipdag is the slain Swedish king's
       {    grandson (daughter's son).
       {Saxo: Ericus is the son of the daughter of the slain Swedish
       {    king.

These parallels are sufficient to show the identity of Gram Skjoldson,
Halfdan Berggram, and Halfdan Borgarson. A closer analysis of these
sagas, the synthesis possible on the basis of such an analysis, and the
position the saga (restored in this manner) concerning the third
patriarch, the son of Skjold-Borgar, and the grandson of Heimdal,
assumes in the chain of mythic events, gives complete proof of this

[Footnote 11: The first nine books of Saxo form a labyrinth constructed
out of myths related as history, but the thread of Ariadne seems to be
wanting. On this account it might be supposed that Saxo had treated the
rich mythical materials at his command in an arbitrary and unmethodical
manner; and we must bear in mind that these mythic materials were far
more abundant in his time than they were in the following centuries,
when they were to be recorded by the Icelandic authors. This supposition
is, however, wrong. Saxo has examined his sources methodically and with
scrutiny, and has handled them with all due reverence, when he assumed
the desperate task of constructing, by the aid of the mythic traditions
and heroic poems at hand, a chronicle spanning several centuries--a
chronicle in which fifty to sixty successive rulers were to be brought
upon the stage and off again, while myths and heroic traditions embrace
but few generations, and most mythic persons continue to exist through
all ages. In the very nature of the case, Saxo was obliged, in order to
solve this problem, to put his material on the rack; but a thorough
study of the above-mentioned books of his history shows that he treated
the delinquent with consistency. The simplest of the rules he followed
was to avail himself of the polyonomy with which the myths and heroic
poems are overloaded, and to do so in the following manner:

Assume that a person in the mythic or heroic poems had three or four
names or epithets (he may have had a score). We will call this person A,
and the different forms of his name A', A'', A'''. Saxo's task of
producing a chain of events running through many centuries forced him to
consider the three names A', A'', and A''' as originally three persons,
who had performed certain similar exploits, and therefore had, in course
of time, been confounded with each other, and blended by the authors of
myths and stories into one person A. As best he can, Saxo tries to
resolve this mythical product, composed, in his opinion, of historical
elements, and to distribute the exploits attributed to A between A',
A'', and A'''. It may also be that one or more of the stories applied to
A were found more or less varied in different sources. In such cases he
would report the _same_ stories with slight variations about A', A'',
and A'''. The similarities remaining form _one_ important group of
indications which he has furnished to guide us, but which can assure us
that our investigation is in the right course only when corroborated by
indications belonging to other groups, or corroborated by statements
preserved in other sources.

But in the events which Saxo in this manner relates about A', A'', and
A''', other persons are also mentioned. We will assume that in the myths
and heroic poems these have been named B and C. These, too, have in the
songs of the skalds had several names and epithets. B has also been
called B', B'', B'''. C has also been styled C', C'', C'''. Out of this
one subordinate person B, Saxo, by the aid of the abundance of names,
makes as many subordinate persons--B', B'', and B'''--as he made out of
the original chief person A--that is, the chief persons A', A'', and
A'''. Thus also with C, and in this way we got the following analogies:

    A'   is to B'   and C'  as
    A''        B''      C'' and as
    A'''       B'''     C'''.

By comparing all that is related concerning these nine names, we are
enabled gradually to form a more or less correct idea of what the
original myth has contained in regard to A, B, and C. If it then
happens--as is often the case--that two or more of the names A', B', C',
&c., are found in Icelandic or other documents, and there belong to
persons whose adventures are in some respects the same, and in other
respects are made clearer and more complete, by what Saxo tells about
A', A'', and A''', &c., then it is proper to continue the investigation
in the direction thus started. If, then, every new step brings forth new
confirmations from various sources, and if a myth thus restored easily
dovetails itself into an epic cycle of myths, and there forms a
necessary link in the chain of events, then the investigation has
produced the desired result.

An aid in the investigation is not unfrequently the circumstance that
the names at Saxo's disposal were not sufficient for all points in the
above scheme. We then find analogies which open for us, so to speak,
short cuts--for instance, as follows:

    A'   is to B'  and C'  as
    A''        B'      C'' and as
    A'''       B''     C'.

The parallels given in the text above are a concrete example of the
above scheme. For we have seen--

A=Halfdan, trebled in A'=Gram, A''=Halfdan Berggram, A'''=Halfdan

B=Ebbo (Ebur, Ibor, Jöfurr), trebled in B'=Henricus, B''=Ebbo,

C doubled in C'=Svipdag, and C''=Ericus.]



Saxo relates in regard to Gram that he carried away the royal daughter
Groa, though she was already bound to another man, and that he slew her
father, whereupon he got into a feud with Svipdag, an irreconcilably
bitter foe, who fought against him with varying success of arms, and
gave himself no rest until he had taken Gram's life and realm. Gram left
two sons, whom Svipdag treated in a very different manner. The one named
Guthormus (_Gudhormr_), who was a son of Groa, he received into his good
graces. To the other, named Hadingus, or Hadding, and who was a son of
Signe, he transferred the deadly hate he had cherished towards the
father. The cause of the hatred of Svipdag against Gram, and which could
not be extinguished in his blood, Saxo does not mention, but this point
is cleared up by a comparison with other sources. Nor does Saxo mention
who the person was from whom Gram robbed Groa, but this, too, we learn
in another place.

The Groa of the myth is mentioned in two other places: in Groagalder and
in Gylfaginning. Both sources agree in representing her as skilled in
good, healing, harm-averting songs; both also in describing her as a
tender person devoted to the members of her family. In Gylfaginning she
is the loving wife who forgets everything in her joy that her husband,
the brave archer Orvandel, has been saved by Thor from a dangerous
adventure. In Groagalder she is the mother whose love to her son
conquers death and speaks consoling and protecting words from the grave.
Her husband is, as stated, Orvandel; her son is Svipdag.

If we compare the statements in Saxo with those in Groagalder and
Gylfaginning we get the following result:

    Saxo: King Sigtrygg has a daughter Groa.
    Gylfaginning: Groa is married to the brave Orvandel.
    Groagalder: Groa has a son Svipdag.
    Saxo: Groa is robbed by Gram-Halfdan.
    Saxo:         } Hostilities on account of the robbing of
    Hyndluljod:   }     the woman.  Gram-Halfdan kills
    Skaldskap.mal:}     Groa's father Sigtrygg.
    Saxo: With Gram-Halfdan Groa has the son Gudhorm.
        Gram-Halfdan is separated from Groa. He courts
        Signe (Almveig in Hyndluljod; Alveig in Skaldskaparmál),
        daughter of Sumbel, king of the Finns.
    Groagalder: Groa with her son Svipdag is once more with
        her first husband. Groa dies. Svipdag's father Orvandel
        marries a second time. Before her death Groa
        has told Svipdag that he, if need requires her help,
        must go to her grave and wake her out of the sleep
        of death.
      The stepmother gives Svipdag a task which he thinks surpasses
        his strength. He then goes to his mother's
        grave. From the grave Groa sings protecting incantations
        over her son.
    Saxo: Svipdag attacks Gram-Halfdan. After several conflicts
        he succeeds in conquering him and gives him a
        deadly wound.
      Svidpdag pardons the son Gram-Halfdan has had with
        Groa, but persecutes his son with Signe (Alveig).

In this connection we find the key to Svipdag's irreconcilable conflict
with Gram-Halfdan. He must revenge himself on him on his father's and
mother's account. He must avenge his mother's disgrace, his grandfather
Sigtrygg's death, and, as a further investigation shows, the murder also
of his father Orvandel. We also find why he pardons Gudhorm: he is his
own half-brother and Groa's son.

Sigtrygg, Groa, Orvandel, and Svipdag have in the myth belonged to the
pedigree of the Ynglings, and hence Saxo calls Sigtrygg king in
Svithiod. Concerning the Ynglings, Ynglingasaga remarks that Yngve was
the name of everyone who in that time was the head of the family (Yngl.,
p. 20). Svipdag, the favourite hero of the Teutonic mythology, is
accordingly celebrated in song under the name Yngve, and also under
other names to which I shall refer later, when I am to give a full
account of the myth concerning him.



With Gram-Halfdan the Teutonic patriarch period ends. The human race had
its golden age under Heimdal, its copper age under Skjold-Borgar, and
the beginning of its iron age under Halfdan. The Skilfinga-Ynglinga race
has been named after Heimdal-Skelfir himself, and he has been regarded
as its progenitor. His son Skjold-Borgar has been considered the founder
of the Skjoldungs. With Halfdan the pedigree is divided into three
through his stepson Yngve-Svipdag, the latter's half-brother Gudhorm,
and Gudhorm's half-brother Hading or Hadding. The war between these
three--a continuation of the feud between Halfdan and Svipdag--was the
subject of a cycle of songs sung throughout Teutondom, songs which
continued to live though greatly changed with the lapse of time, on the
lips of Germans throughout the middle ages (see Nos. 36-43).

Like his father, Halfdan was the fruit of a double fatherhood, a divine
and a human. Saxo was aware of this double fatherhood, and relates of
his Halfdan Berggram that he, although the son of a human prince, was
respected as a son of Thor, and honoured as a god among that people who
longest remained heathen; that is to say, the Swedes (_Igitur apud
Sveones tantus haberi cæpit, ut magni Thor filius existimatus, divinis a
populo honoribus donaretur ac publico dignus libamine censeretur_). In
his saga, as told by Saxo, Thor holds his protecting hand over Halfdan
like a father over his son.

It is possible that both the older patriarchs originally were regarded
rather as the founders and chiefs of the whole human race than of the
Teutons alone. Certain it is that the appellation Teutonic patriarch
belonged more particularly to the third of the series. We have a
reminiscence of this in Hyndluljod, 14-16. To the question, "Whence came
the Skjoldungs, Skilfings, Andlungs, and Ylfings, and all the free-born
and gentle-born?" the song answers by pointing to "the foremost among
the Skjoldungs"--Sigtrygg's slayer Halfdan--a statement which, after the
memory of the myths had faded and become confused, was magnified in the
Younger Edda into the report that he was the father of eighteen sons,
nine of which were the founders of the heroic families whose names were
at that time rediscovered in the heathen-heroic songs then extant.

According to what we have now stated in regard to Halfdan's genealogical
position there can no longer be any doubt that he is the same patriarch
as the Mannus mentioned by Tacitus in _Germania_, ch. 2, where it is
said of the Germans: "In old songs they celebrate _Tuisco_, a god born
of Earth (_Terra_; compare the goddess _Terra Mater_, ch. 40), and his
son Mannus as the source and founder of the race. Mannus is said to have
had three sons, after whose names those who dwell nearest the ocean are
called Ingævonians (_Ingævones_), those who dwell in the centre
Hermionians (_Hermiones_, _Herminones_), and the rest Istævonians
(_Istævones_)." Tacitus adds that there were other Teutonic tribes, such
as the Marsians, the Gambrivians, the Svevians, and the Vandals, whose
names were derived from other heroes of divine birth.

Thus Mannus, though human, and the source and founder of the Teutonic
race, is also the son of a god. The mother of his divine father is the
goddess Earth, mother Earth. In our native myths we rediscover this
goddess--polyonomous like nearly all mythic beings--in Odin's wife
Frigg, also called _Fjorgyn_ and _Hlodyn_. As sons of her and Odin only
Thor (Völusp.) and Balder (Lokasenna) are definitely mentioned.

In regard to the goddess Earth (Jord), Tacitus states (ch. 40), as a
characteristic trait that she is believed to take a lively interest and
active part in the affairs of men and nations (_eam intervenire rebus
hominum, invehi populis arbitrantur_), and he informs us that she is
especially worshipped by the Longobardians and some of their neighbours
near the sea. This statement, compared with the emigration saga of the
Longobardians (No. 15), confirms the theory that the goddess Jord, who,
in the days of Tacitus, was celebrated in song as the mother of Mannus'
divine father, is identical with Frigg. In their emigration saga the
Longobardians have great faith in Frigg, and trust in her desire and
ability to intervene when the fate of a nation is to be decided by arms.
Nor are they deceived in their trust in her; she is able to bring about
that Odin, without considering the consequences, gives the Longobardians
a new name; and as a christening present was in order, and as the
Longobardians stood arrayed against the Vandals at the moment when they
received their new name, the gift could be no other than victory over
their foes. Tacitus' statement, that the Longobardians were one of the
races who particularly paid worship to the goddess Jord, is found to be
intimately connected with, and to be explained by, this tradition, which
continued to be remembered among the Longobardians long after they
became converted to Christianity, down to the time when _Origo
Longobardorum_ was written.

Tacitus calls the goddess Jord Nerthus. Vigfusson (and before him J.
Grimm) and others have seen in this name a feminine version of _Njördr_.
Nor does any other explanation seem possible. The existence of such a
form is not more surprising than that we have in Freyja a feminine form
of Frey, and in Fjorgyn-Frigg a feminine form of Fjörgynr. In our
mythic documents neither Frigg nor Njord are of Asa race. Njord is, as
we know, a Van. Frigg's father is _Fjörgynr_ (perhaps the same as
_Parganya_ in the Vedic songs), also called _Annarr_, _Ánarr_, and
_Ónarr_, and her mother is Narve's daughter Night. Frigg's high position
as Odin's real and lawful wife, as the queen of the Asa world, and as
mother of the chief gods Thor and Balder, presupposes her to be of the
noblest birth which the myth could bestow on a being born outside of the
Asa clan, and as the Vans come next after the Asas in the mythology, and
were united with them from the beginning of time, as hostages, by
treaty, by marriage, and by adoption, probability, if no other proof
could be found, would favour the theory that Frigg is a goddess of the
race of Vans, and that her father _Fjörgyn_ is a clan-chief among the
Vans. This view is corroborated in two ways. The cosmogony makes Earth
and Sea sister and brother. The same divine mother Night (Nat), who
bears the goddess Jord, also bears a son _Udr_, _Unnr_, the ruler of the
sea, also called _Audr_ (Rich), the personification of wealth. Both
these names are applied among the gods to Njord alone as the god of
navigation, commerce, and wealth. (In reference to wealth compare the
phrase _audigr sem Njördr_--rich as Njord.) Thus Frigg is Njord's
sister. This explains the attitude given to Frigg in the war between the
Asas and Vans by Völuspa, Saxo, and the author of Ynglingasaga, where
the tradition is related as history. In the form given to this tradition
in Christian times and in Saxo's hands, it is disparaging to Frigg as
Odin's wife; but the pith of Saxo's narrative is, that Frigg in the
feud between the Asas and Vans did not side with Odin but with the Vans,
and contributed towards making the latter lords of Asgard. When the
purely heathen documents (Völusp., Vafthr., Lokas.) describe her as a
tender wife and mother, Frigg's taking part with the Vans against her
own husband can scarcely be explained otherwise than by the Teutonic
principle, that the duties of the daughter and sister are above the
wife's, a view plainly presented in Saxo (p. 353), and illustrated by
Gudrun's conduct toward Atle.

Thus it is proved that the god who is the father of the Teutonic
patriarch Mannus is himself the son of Frigg, the goddess of earth, and
must, according to the mythic records at hand, be either Thor or Balder.
The name given him by Tacitus, _Tuisco_, does not determine which of the
two. _Tuisco_ has the form of a patronymic adjective, and reappears in
the Norse _Tívi_, an old name of Odin, related to _Dios divus_, and
_devas_, from which all the sons of Odin and gods of Asgard received the
epithet _tívar_. But in the songs learned by Saxo in regard to the
northern race-patriarch and his divine father, his place is occupied by
Thor, not by Balder, and "Jord's son" is in Norse poetry an epithet
particularly applied to Thor.

Mannus has three sons. So has Halfdan. While Mannus has a son _Ingævo_,
Halfdan has a stepson Yngve, Inge (Svipdag). The second son of Mannus is
named Hermio. Halfdan's son with Groa is called _Gudhormr_. The second
part of this name has, as Jessen has already pointed out, nothing to do
with _ormr_. It may be that the name should be divided _Gudhormr_, and
that _hormr_ should be referred to _Hermio_. Mannus' third son is
_Istævo_. The Celtic scholar Zeuss has connected this name with that of
the Gothic (more properly Vandal) heroic race Azdingi, and Grimm has
again connected Azdigni with Hazdiggo (_Haddingr_). Halfdan's third son
is in Saxo called Hadingus. Whether the comparisons made by Zeuss and
Grimm are to the point or not (see further, No. 43) makes but little
difference here. It nevertheless remains as a result of the
investigation that all is related by Tacitus about the Teutonic
patriarch Mannus has its counterpart in the question concerning Halfdan,
and that both in the myths occupy precisely the same place as sons of a
god and as founders of Teutonic tribes and royal families. The pedigrees

           =_Tacitus._=                 =_Norse documents._=

    Tivi and the goddess Jord.      Tivi=Odin and the goddess
                |                             Jord.
                |                               |
       Tivi's son (Tiusco).              Tivi's son Thor.
                |                               |
    Mannus, progenitor of the       Halfdan, progenitor of the
         Teutonic tribes.                 royal families.
       +--------+--------+            +---------+---------+
       |        |        |            |         |         |
    Ingævo.  Hermio.  Istævo.       Yngve.  Gudhormr.  Hadding.



The mythic ancient history of the human race and of the Teutons may, in
accordance with the analysis above given, be divided into the following
epochs:--(1) From Ask and Ernbla's creation until Heimdal's arrival; (2)
from Heimdal's arrival until his departure; (3) the age of
Skjold-Borgar; (4) Halfdan's time; (5) The time of Halfdan's sons.

And now we will discuss the events of the last three epochs.

In the days of Borgar the moral condition of men grows worse, and an
event in nature takes place threatening at least the northern part of
the Teutonic world with destruction. The myth gives the causes of both
these phenomena.

The moral degradation has its cause, if not wholly, yet for the greater
part, in the activity among men of a female being from the giant world.
Through her men become acquainted with the black art, the evil art of
sorcery, which is the opposite of the wisdom drawn from Mimer's holy
fountain, the knowledge of runes, and acquaintance with the application
of nature's secret forces for good ends (see Nos. 34, 35).

The sacred knowledge of runes, the "fimbul-songs," the white art, was,
according to the myth, originally in the possession of Mimer. Still he
did not have it of himself, but got it from the subterranean fountain,
which he guarded beneath the middle root of the world-tree (see No.
63)--a fountain whose veins, together with the deepest root of the
world-tree, extends to a depth which not even Odin's thought can
penerate (Havam., 138). By self-sacrifice in his youth Odin received
from Bestla's brother (Mimer; see No. 88) a drink from the precious
liquor of this fountain and nine fimbul-songs (Havam., 140; cp. Sigrdr.,
14), which were the basis of the divine magic of the application of the
power of the word and of the rune over spiritual and natural forces, in
prayer, in sacrifices and in other religious acts, in investigations, in
the practical affairs of life, in peace and in war (Havam., 144 ff.;
Sigrdr., 6 ff.). The character and purpose of these songs are clear from
the fact that at the head is placed "help's fimbul-song," which is able
to allay sorrow and cure diseases (Havam., 146).

In the hands of Odin they are a means for the protection of the power of
the Asa-gods, and enable them to assist their worshippers in danger and
distress. To these belong the fimbul-song of the _runes of victory_; and
it is of no little interest that we, in Havamál, 156, find what Tacitus
tells about the _barditus_ of the Germans, the shield-song with which
they went to meet their foes--a song which Ammianus Paulus himself has
heard, and of which he gives a vivid description. When the Teutonic
forces advanced to battle the warriors raised their shields up to a
level with the upper lip, so that the round of the shield formed a sort
of sounding-board for their song. This began in a low voice and
preserved its subdued colour, but the sound gradually increased, and at
a distance it resembled the roar of the breakers of the sea. Tacitus
says that the Teutons predicted the result of the battle from the
impression the song as a whole made upon themselves: it might sound in
their ears in such a manner that they thereby became more terrible to
their enemies, or in such a manner that they were overcome by despair.
The above-mentioned strophe of Havamál gives us an explanation of this:
the warriors were roused to confidence if they, in the harmony of the
subdued song increasing in volume, seemed to perceive Valfather's voice
blended with their own. The strophe makes Odin say: _Ef ec scal til
orrostu leitha langvini, undir randir ec gel, en their meth ríki fara
heilir hildar til, heilir hildi frá_--"If I am to lead those to battle
whom I have long held in friendship, then I sing under their shields.
With success they go to the conflict, and successfully they go out of
it." Völuspa also refers to the shield-song in 47, where it makes the
storm-giant, _Hrymr_, advancing against the gods, "lift his shield
before him" (_hefiz lind fyrir_), an expression which certainly has
another significance than that of unnecessarily pointing out that he has
a shield for protection. The runes of victory were able to arrest
weapons in their flight and to make those whom Odin loved proof against
sword-edge and safe against ambush (Havam., 148, 150). Certain kinds of
runes were regarded as producing victory and were carved on the hilt and
on the blade of the sword, and while they were carved Tyr's name was
twice named (Sigrdr., 6).

Another class of runes (_brimrúnar_, Sigrdr., 10; Havam., 150)
controlled the elements, purified the air from evil beings (Havm., 155),
gave power over wind and waves for good purposes--as, for instance, when
sailors in distress were to be rescued--or power over the flames when
they threatened to destroy human dwellings (Havam., 152). A third kind
of runes (_málrúnar_) gave speech to the mute and speechless, even to
those whose lips were sealed in death (see No. 70). A fourth kind of
runes could free the limbs from bonds (Havam., 149). A fifth kind of
runes protected against witchcraft (Havam., 151). A sixth kind of runes
(_ölrúnar_) takes the strength from the love-potion prepared by another
man's wife, and from every treachery mingled therein (Sigrdr., 7, 8). A
seventh kind (_bjargrúnar_ and _limrúnar_) helps in childbirth and heals
wounds. An eighth kind gives wisdom and knowledge (_hugrúnar_, Sigrdr.,
13; cp. Havam., 159). A ninth kind extinguishes enmity and hate, and
produces friendship and love (Havam., 153, 161). Of great value, and a
great honour to kings and chiefs, was the possession of healing runes
and healing hands; and that certain noble-born families inherited the
power of these runes was a belief which has been handed down even to our
time. There is a distinct consciousness that the runes of this kind were
a gift of the blithe gods. In a strophe, which sounds as if it were
taken from an ancient hymn, the gods are beseeched for runes of wisdom
and healing: "Hail to the gods! Hail to the goddesses! Hail to the
bounteous Earth (the goddess Jord). Words and wisdom give unto us, and
healing hands while we live!" (Sigrdr., 4).

In ancient times arrangements were made for spreading the knowledge of
the good runes among all kinds of beings. Odin taught them to his own
clan; Dáinn taught them to the Elves; Dvalinn among the dwarfs; Ásvinr
(see No. 88) among the giants (Havam., 143). Even the last-named became
participators in the good gift, which, mixed with sacred mead, was sent
far and wide, and it has since been among the Asas, among the Elves,
among the wise Vans, and among the children of men (Sigrdr., 18). The
above-named Dvalinn, who taught the runes to his clan of ancient
artists, is the father of daughters, who, together with dises of Asa and
Vana birth, are in possession of _bjargrúnar_, and employ them in the
service of man (Fafnism., 13).

To men the beneficent runes came through the same god who as a child
came with the sheaf of grain and the tools to Scandia. Hence the belief
current among the Franks and Saxons that the alphabet of the Teutons,
like the Teutons themselves, was of northern origin. Rigsthula expressly
presents Heimdal as teaching runes to the people whom he blessed by his
arrival in Midgard. The noble-born are particularly his pupils in runic
lore. Of Heimdal's grandson, the son of Jarl Borgar, named Kon-Halfdan,
it is said:

    En Konr ungr         But Kon the young
    kunni runar,         taught himself runes,
    æfinrunar            runes of eternity
    ok alldrrunar.       and runes of earthly life.
    Meir kunni hann      Then he taught himself
    monnum bjarga,       men to save,
    eggjar deyfa,        the sword-edge to deaden,
    ægi legia,           the sea to quiet,
    klok nam fugla,      bird-song to interpret,
    kyrra ellda,         fires to extinguish,
    sæva ok svefia,      to soothe and comfort,
    sorgir lægia.        sorrows to allay.

The fundamental character of this rune-lore bears distinctly the stamp
of nobility. The runes of eternity united with those of the earthly life
can scarcely have any other reference than to the heathen doctrines
concerning religion and morality. These were looked upon as being for
all time, and of equal importance to the life hereafter. Together with
physical runes with magic power--that is, runes that gave their
possessors power over the hostile forces of nature--we find runes
intended to serve the cause of sympathy and mercy.



But already in the beginning of time evil powers appear for the purpose
of opposing and ruining the good influences from the world of gods upon
mankind. Just as Heimdal, "the fast traveller," proceeds from house to
house, forming new ties in society and giving instruction in what is
good and useful, thus we soon find a messenger of evil wandering about
between the houses in Midgard, practising the black art and stimulating
the worst passions of the human soul. The messenger comes from the
powers of frost, the enemies of creation. It is a giantess, the daughter
of the giant _Hrimnir_ (Hyndlulj., 32), known among the gods as Gulveig
and by other names (see Nos. 34, 35), but on her wanderings on earth
called _Heidr_. "Heid they called her (Gulveig) when she came to the
children of men, the crafty, prophesying vala, who practised sorcery
(_vitti ganda_), practised the evil art, caused by witchcraft
misfortunes, sickness, and death (_leikin_, see No. 67), and was always
sought by bad women." Thus Völuspa describes her. The important position
Heid occupies in regard to the corruption of ancient man, and the
consequences of her appearance for the gods, for man, and for nature
(see below), have led Völuspa's author, in spite of his general poverty
of words, to describe her with a certain fulness, pointing out among
other things that she was the cause of the first war in the world. That
the time of her appearance was during the life of Borgar and his son
shall be demonstrated below.

In connection with this moral corruption, and caused by the same powers
hostile to the world, there occur in this epoch such disturbances in
nature that the original home of man and culture--nay, all Midgard--is
threatened with destruction on account of long, terrible winters. A
series of connected myths tell of this. Ancient artists--forces at work
in the growth of nature--personifications of the same kind as Rigveda's
Ribhus, that had before worked in harmony with the gods, become, through
the influence of Loke, foes of Asgard, their work becoming as harmful as
it before was beneficent, and seek to destroy what Odin had created (see
Nos. 111 and 112). Idun, with her life-renewing apples, is carried by
Thjasse away from Asgard to the northernmost wilderness of the world,
and is there concealed. Freyja, the goddess of fertility, is robbed and
falls into the power of giants. Frey, the god of harvests, falls sick.
The giant king Snow and his kinsmen _Thorri_ (Black Frost), _Jökull_
(the Glacier), &c., extend their sceptres over Scandia.

Already during Heimdal's reign, after his protégé Borgar had grown up,
something happens which forebodes these terrible times, but still has a
happy issue.


              HEIMDAL AND THE SUN-DIS (Dis-goddess).

In Saxo's time there was still extant a myth telling how Heimdal, as the
ruler of the earliest generation, got himself a wife. The myth is found
related as history in _Historia Danica_, pp. 335-337. Changed into a
song of chivalry in middle age style, we find it on German soil in the
poem concerning king Ruther.

Saxo relates that a certain king Alf undertook a perilous journey of
courtship, and was accompanied by Borgar. Alf is the more noble of the
two; Borgar attends him. This already points to the fact that the mythic
figure which Saxo has changed into a historical king must be Heimdal,
Borgar's co-father, his ruler and fosterer, otherwise Borgar himself
would be the chief person in his country, and could not be regarded as
subject to anyone else. Alf's identity with Heimdal is corroborated by
"King Ruther," and to a degree also by the description Saxo makes of his
appearance, a description based on a definite mythic prototype. Alf,
says Saxo, had a fine exterior, and over his hair, though he was young,
a so remarkably white splendour was diffused that rays of light seemed
to issue from his silvery locks (_cujus etiam insignem candore
cæsariem tantus comæ decor asperierat, ut argenteo crine nitere
putaretur_). The Heimdal of the myth is a god of light, and is described
by the colour applied to pure silver in the old Norse literature to
distinguish it from that which is alloyed; he is _hvíti áss_ (Gylfag.,
27) and _hvítastr ása_ (Thrymskvida, 5); his teeth glitter like gold,
and so does his horse. We should expect that the maid whom Alf, if he is
Heimdal, desires to possess belongs like himself to the divinities of
light. Saxo also says that her beauty could make one blind if she was
seen without her veil, and her name Alfhild belongs, like Alfsol, Hild,
Alfhild Solglands, Svanhild Guldfjæder, to that class of names by which
the sundises, mother and daughter, were transferred from mythology to
history. She is watched by two dragons. Suitors who approach her in vain
get their heads chopped off and set up on poles (thus also in "King
Ruther"). Alf conquers the guarding dragons; but at the advice of her
mother Alfhild takes flight, puts on a man's clothes and armour, and
becomes a female warrior, fighting at the head of other Amazons. Alf and
Borgar search for and find the troop of Amazons amid ice and snow. It is
conquered and flies to "Finnia," Alf and Borgar pursue them thither.
There is a new conflict. Borgar strikes the helmet from Alfhild's head.
She has to confess herself conquered, and becomes Alf's wife.

In interpreting the mythic contents of this story we must remember that
the lad who came with the sheaf of grain to Scandia needed the help of
the sun for the seed which he brought with him to sprout, before it
could give harvests to the inhabitants. But the saga also indicates
that the sun-dis had veiled herself, and made herself as far as possible
unapproachable, and that when Heimdal had forced himself into her
presence she fled to northern ice-enveloped regions, where the god and
his foster-son, sword in hand, had to fetch her, whereupon a happy
marriage between him and the sun-dis secures good weather and rich
harvests to the land over which he rules. At the first glance it might
seem as if this myth had left no trace in our Icelandic records. This
is, however, not the case. Its fundamental idea, that the sun at one
time in the earliest ages went astray from southern regions to the
farthest north and desired to remain there, but that it was brought back
by the might of the gods who created the world, and through them
received, in the same manner as Day and Night, its course defined and
regularly established, we find in the Völuspa strophe, examined with so
great acumen by Julius Hoffory, which speaks of a bewilderment of this
kind on the part of the sun, occurring before it yet "knew its proper
sphere," and in the following strophe, which tells how the all-holy gods
thereupon held solemn council and so ordained the activity of these
beings, that time can be divided and years be recorded by their course.
Nor is the marriage into which the sun-dis entered forgotten.
Skaldskaparmal quotes a strophe from Skule Thorsteinson where Sol[12] is
called _Glenr's_ wife. That he whom the skald characterises by this
epithet is a god is a matter of course. _Glenr_ signifies "the shining
one," and this epithet was badly chosen if it did not refer to "the
most shining of the Asas," _hvítastr ása_--that is, Heimdal.

The fundamental traits of "King Ruther" resemble Saxo's story. There,
too, it is a king who undertakes a perilous journey of courtship and
must fight several battles to win the wondrous fair maiden whose
previous suitors had had to pay for their eagerness by having their
heads chopped off and fastened on poles. The king is accompanied by
Berter, identical with Berchtung-Borgar, but here, as always in the
German story, described as the patriarch and adviser. A giant,
Vidolt--Saxo's Vitolphus, Hyndluljod's _Vidolfr_--accompanies Ruther and
Berter on the journey; and when Vitolphus in Saxo is mentioned under
circumstances which show that he accompanied Borgar on a warlike
expedition, and thereupon saved his son Halfdan's life, there is no room
for doubt that Saxo's saga and "King Ruther" originally flowed from the
same mythic source. It can also be demonstrated that the very name
Ruther is one of those epithets which belong to Heimdal. The Norse
_Hrútr_ is, according to the Younger Edda (i. 588, 589), a synonym of
_Heimdali_, and _Heimdali_ is another form of _Heimdall_ (Isl., i. 231).
As _Hrútr_ means a ram, and as _Heimdali_ is an epithet of a ram (see
Younger Edda, i. 589), light is thrown upon the bold metaphors,
according to which "head," "Heimdal's head," and "Heimdal's sword" are
synonyms (Younger Edda, i. 100, 264; ii. 499). The ram's head carries
and is the ram's sword. Of the age of this animal symbol we give an
account in No. 82. There is reason for believing that Heimdal's helmet
has been conceived as decorated with ram's horns.[13] A strophe quoted
in the Younger Edda (i. 608) mentions Heimdal's helmet, and calls the
sword the _fyllr_ of Heimdal's helmet, an ambiguous expression, which
may be interpreted as that which fills Heimdal's helmet; that is to say,
Heimdal's head, but also as that which has its place on the helmet.
Compare the expression _fyllr hilmis stóls_ as a metaphor for the power
of the ruler.

[Footnote 12: Sol is feminine in the Teutonic tongues.--TR.]

[Footnote 13: That some one of the gods has worn a helmet with such a
crown can be seen on one of the golden horns found near Gallehuus. There
twice occurs a being wearing a helmet furnished with long, curved, sharp
pointed horns. Near him a ram is drawn and in his hand he has something
resembling a staff which ends in a circle, and possibly is intended to
represent Heimdal's horn.]


                          AND EMIGRATIONS.

The danger averted by Heimdal when he secured the sun-dis with bonds of
love begins in the time of Borgar. The corruption of nature and of man
go hand in hand. Borgar has to contend with robbers (_pugiles_ and
_piratæ_), and among them the prototype of pirates--that terrible
character, remembered also in Icelandic poetry, called _Rodi_ (Saxo,
_Hist._, 23, 345). The moderate laws given by Heimdal had to be made
more severe by Borgar (_Hist._, 24, 25).

While the moral condition in Midgard grows worse, Loke carries out in
Asgard a cunningly-conceived plan, which seems to be to the advantage of
the gods, but is intended to bring about the ruin of both the gods and
man. His purpose is to cause enmity between the original artists
themselves and between them and the gods.

Among these artists the sons of Ivalde constitute a separate group.
Originally they enjoyed the best relations to the gods, and gave them
the best products of their wonderful art, for ornament and for use.
Odin's spear _Gungnir_, the golden locks on Sif's head, and Frey's
celebrated ship Skidbladner, which could hold all the warriors of Asgard
and always had favourable wind, but which also could be folded as a
napkin and be carried in one's pocket (Gylfaginning), had all come from
the workshop of these artists.

    Ivalda synir            The sons of Ivalde
    gengu i ardaga          went in ancient times
    Scidbladni at skapa,    to make Skidbladner,
    scipa bezt,             among ships the best,
    scirom Frey,            for the shining Frey,
    nytom Njardar bur.      Njord's useful son.


Another group of original artists were Sindre and his kinsmen, who dwelt
on Nida's plains in the happy domain of the lower world (Völusp., Nos.
93, 94). According to the account given in Gylfaginning, ch. 37, Loke
meets Sindre's brother Brok, and wagers his head that Sindre cannot make
treasures as good as the above-named gifts from Ivalde's sons to the
Asas. Sindre then made in his smithy the golden boar for Frey, the ring
Draupner for Odin, from which eight gold rings of equal weight drop
every ninth night, and the incomparable hammer Mjolner for Thor. When
the treasures were finished, Loke cunningly gets the gods to assemble
for the purpose of deciding whether or not he has forfeited his head.
The gods cannot, of course, decide this without at the same time passing
judgment on the gifts of Sindre and those of Ivalde's sons, and showing
that one group of artists is inferior to the other. And this is done.
Sindre's treasures are preferred, and thus the sons of Ivalde are
declared to be inferior in comparison. But at the same time Sindre
fails, through the decision of the gods, to get the prize agreed on.
Both groups of artists are offended by the decision.

Gylfaginning does not inform us whether the sons of Ivalde accepted the
decision with satisfaction or anger, or whether any noteworthy
consequences followed or not. An entirely similar judgment is mentioned
in Rigveda (see No. 111). The judgment there has the most important
consequences: hatred toward the artists who were victorious, and toward
the gods who were the judges, takes possession of the ancient artist who
was defeated, and nature is afflicted with great suffering. That the
Teutonic mythology has described similar results of the decision shall
be demonstrated in this work.

Just as in the names _Alveig_ and _Almveig_, _Bil-röst_ and _Bifröst_,
_Arinbjörn_ and _Grjótbjorn_, so also in the name _Ivaldi_ or _Ivaldr_,
the latter part of the word forms the permanent part, corresponding to
the Old English Valdere, the German Walther, the Latinised

The former part of the word may change without any change as to the
person indicated: _Ívaldi_, _Allvaldi_, _Ölvaldi_, _Audvaldi_, may be
names of one and the same person. Of these variations _Ívaldi_ and
_Allvaldi_ are in their sense most closely related, for the prefix Í
(_Id_) and _All_ may interchange in the language without the least
change in the meaning. Compare _all-líkr_, _ílikr_, and _idglíkr_;
_all-lítill_ and _ilítill_; _all-nóg_, _ígnog_ and _idgnog_. On the
other hand, the prefixes in _Ölvaldi_ and _Audvaldi_ produce different
meanings of the compound word. But the records give most satisfactory
evidence that _Ölvaldi_ and _Audvaldi_ nevertheless are the same person
as _Allvaldi_ (Ivaldi). Thjasse's father is called in Harbardsljod (19)
_Allvaldi_; in the Younger Edda (i. 214) _Ölvaldi_ and _Audvaldi_. He
has three sons, Ide, Gang, also called Urner (the Grotte-song), and the
just-named Thjasse, who are the famous ancient artists, "the sons of
Ivalde" (_Ivalda synir_). We here point this out in passing. Complete
statement and proof of this fact, so important from a mythological
standpoint, will be given in Nos. 113, 114, 115.

Nor is it long before it becomes apparent what the consequences are of
the decision pronounced by the Asas on Loke's advice upon the treasures
presented to the gods. The sons of Ivalde regarded it as a mortal
offence, born of the ingratitude of the gods. Loke, the originator of
the scheme, is caught in the snares laid by Thjasse in a manner fully
described in Thjodolf's poem "Haustlaung," and to regain his liberty he
is obliged to assist him (Thjasse) in carrying Idun away from Asgard.


(_From an etching by Lorenz Frölich._)

Thjasse was known as the storm-giant who having been born in deformity
was ever seeking golden apples from Idun to cure his ugliness. Upon one
occasion assuming the form of an eagle he interrupted a feast of Odin,
Honer and Loke and when the latter attempted to strike the voracious
bird with a stake found himself fastened to both stake and eagle and was
borne away shrieking for mercy. Thjasse promised to release Loke if he
would bring to him Idun and her golden apples. Loke in fulfillment of
his promise beguiled Idun out of Asgard whereupon Thjasse in the form of
an eagle seized the goddess in his talons and bore her away to his
castle, Thrymheim. He was soon afterwards killed by the gods, and Idun
was released.]

Idun, who possesses "the Asas' remedy against old age," and keeps the
apples which symbolise the ever-renewing and rejuvenating force of
nature, is carried away by Thjasse to a part of the world inaccessible
to the gods. The gods grow old, and winter extends its power more and
more beyond the limits prescribed for it in creation. Thjasse, who
before was the friend of the gods, is now their irreconcilable foe. He
who was the promoter of growth and the benefactor of nature--for Sif's
golden locks, and Skidbladner, belonging to the god of fertility,
doubtless are symbols thereof--is changed into "the mightiest foe of
earth," _dolg ballastan vallar_ (Haustl., 6), and has wholly assumed the
nature of a giant.

At the same time, with the approach of the great winter, a terrible
earthquake takes place, the effects of which are felt even in heaven.
The myth in regard to this is explained in No. 81. In this explanation
the reader will find that the great earthquake in primeval time is
caused by Thjasse's kinswomen on his mother's side (the
Grotte-song)--that is, by the giantesses Fenja and Menja, who turned the
enormous world-mill, built on the foundations of the lower world, and
working in the depths of the sea, the prototype of the mill of the
Grotte-song composed in Christian times; that the world-mill has a
_möndull_, the mill-handle, which sweeps the uttermost rim of the earth,
with which handle not only the mill-stone but also the starry heavens
are made to whirl round; and that when the mill was put in so violent a
motion by the angry giantesses that it got out of order, then the starry
constellations were also disturbed. The ancient terrible winter and the
inclination of the axis of heaven have in the myth been connected, and
these again with the close of the golden age. The mill had up to this
time ground gold, happiness, peace, and good-will among men; henceforth
it grinds salt and dust.

The winter must of course first of all affect those people who inhabited
the extensive Svithiod north of the original country and over which
another kinsman of Heimdal, the first of the race of Skilfings or
Ynglings, ruled. This kinsman of Heimdal has an important part in the
mythology, and thereof we shall give an account in Nos. 89, 91, 110,
113-115, and 123. It is there found that he is the same as Ivalde, who,
with a giantess, begot the illegitimate children Ide, Urner, and
Thjasse. Already before his sons he became the foe of the gods, and from
Svithiod now proceeds, in connection with the spreading of the
fimbul-winter, a migration southward, the work at the same time of the
Skilfings and the primeval artists. The list of dwarfs in Völuspa has
preserved the record of this in the strophe about the artist migration
from the rocks of the hall (_Salar steinar_) and from Svarin's mound
situated in the north (the Völuspa strophe quoted in the Younger Edda;
cp. Saxo., _Hist._, 32, 33, and Helg. Hund., i. 31, ii. to str. 14). The
attack is directed against _aurvanga sjöt_, the land of the clayey
plains, and the assailants do not stop before they reach _Jöruvalla_ the
Jara plains, which name is still applied to the south coast of
Scandinavia (see No. 32). In the pedigree of these emigrants--

    their er sóttu
    frà Salar steina (or Svarins haugi)
    aurvanga sjot
    til Jöruvalla--

occur the names _Álfr_ and _Yngvi_, who have Skilfing names; _Fjalarr_,
who is Ivalde's ally and Odin's enemy (see No. 89); _Finnr_, which is
one of the several names of Ivalde himself (see No. 123); _Frosti_, who
symbolises cold; _Skirfir_, a name which points to the Skilfings; and
_Virfir_, whom Saxo (_Hist. Dan._, 178, 179) speaks of as _Huyrvillus_,
and the Icelandic records as _Virvill_ and _Vifill_ (Fornalders. ii. 8;
Younger Edda, i. 548). In Fornalders. Vifill is an emigration leader who
married to Loge's daughter _Eymyrja_ (a metaphor for fire--Younger Edda,
ii. 570), betakes himself from the far North and takes possession of an
island on the Swedish coast. That this island is Oland is clear from
Saxo, 178, where Huyrvillus is called _Holandiæ princeps_. At the same
time a brother-in-law of Virfir takes possession of Bornholm, and
Gotland is colonised by Thjelvar (_Thjálfi_ of the myth), who is the son
of Thjasse's brother (see Nos. 113, 114, 115). _Virfir_ is allied with
the sons of _Finnr_ (_Fyn_--Saxo, _Hist._, 178). The saga concerning the
emigration of the Longobardians is also connected with the myth about
Thjasse and his kinsmen (see Nos. 112-115).

From all this it appears that a series of emigration and colonisation
tales have their origin in the myth concerning the fimbul-winter caused
by Thjasse and concerning the therewith connected attack by the
Skilfings and Thjasse's kinsmen on South Scandinavia, that is, on the
clayey plains near Jaravall, where the second son of Heimdal,
Skjold-Borgar, rules. It is the remembrance of this migration from north
to south which forms the basis of all the Teutonic middle-age migration
sagas. The migration saga of the Goths, as Jordanes heard it, makes them
emigrate from Scandinavia under the leadership of Berig. (_Ex hac igitur
Scandza insula quasi officina gentium aut certe velut vagina nationum
cum rege suo Berig Gothi quondam memorantur egressi--De Goth. Orig., c.
4. Meminisse debes, me de Scandzæ insulæ gremio Gothos dixisse egressos
cum Berich suo rege_--c. 17.) The name Berig, also written Berich and
Berigo, is the same as the German Berker, Berchtung, and indicates the
same person as the Norse _Borgarr_. With Berig is connected the race of
the Amalians; with Borgar the memory of Hamal (Amala), who is the
foster-brother of Borgar's son (cp. No. 28 with Helge Hund., ii.). Thus
the emigration of the Goths is in the myth a result of the fate
experienced by Borgar and his people in their original country. And as
the Swedes constituted the northernmost Teutonic branch, they were the
ones who, on the approach of the fimbul-winter, were the first that were
compelled to surrender their abodes and secure more southern
habitations. This also appears from saga fragments which have been
preserved; and here, but not in the circumstances themselves, lies the
explanation of the statements, according to which the Swedes forced
Scandinavian tribes dwelling farther south to emigrate. Jordanes (c. 3)
claims that the Herulians were driven from their abode in Scandza by the
Svithidians, and that the Danes are of Svithidian origin--in other
words, that an older Teutonic population in Denmark was driven south,
and that Denmark was repeopled by emigrants from Sweden. And in the
Norse sagas themselves, the centre of gravity, as we have seen, is
continually being moved farther to the south. Heimdal, under the name
Scef-Skelfir, comes to the original inhabitants in Scania. Borgar, his
son, becomes a ruler there, but founds, under the name Skjold, the royal
dynasty of the Skjoldungs in Denmark. With Scef and Skjold the Wessex
royal family of Saxon origin is in turn connected, and thus the royal
dynasty of the Goths is again connected with the Skjold who emigrated
from Scandza, and who is identical with Borgar. And finally there
existed in Saxo's time mythic traditions or songs which related that all
the present Germany came under the power of the Teutons who emigrated
with Borgar; that, in other words, the emigration from the North carried
with it the hegemony of Teutonic tribes over other tribes which before
them inhabited Germany. Saxo says of Skjold-Borgar that _omnem
Alamannorum gentem tributaria ditione perdomuit_; that is, "he made the
whole race of Alamanni tributary." The name Alamanni is in this case not
to be taken in an ethnographical but in a geographical sense. It means
the people who were rulers in Germany before the immigration of Teutons
from the North.

From this we see that migration traditions remembered by Teutons beneath
Italian and Icelandic skies, on the islands of Great Britain and on the
German continent, in spite of their wide diffusion and their separation
in time, point to a single root: to the myth concerning the primeval
artists and their conflict with the gods; to the robbing of Idun and the
fimbul-winter which was the result.

The myth makes the gods themselves to be seized by terror at the fate of
the world, and Mimer makes arrangements to save all that is best and
purest on earth for an expected regeneration of the world. At the very
beginning of the fimbul-winter Mimer opens in his subterranean grove of
immortality an asylum, closed against all physical and spiritual evil,
for the two children of men, Lif and Lifthrasir (Vafthr., 45), who are
to be the parents of a new race of men (see Nos. 52, 53).

The war begun in Borgar's time for the possession of the ancient country
continues under his son Halfdan, who reconquers it for a time, invades
Svithiod, and repels Thjasse and his kinsmen (see Nos. 32, 33).

[Footnote 14: Elsewhere it shall be shown that the heroes mentioned in
the middle age poetry under the names Valdere, Walther, Waltharius
manufortis, and Valthere of Vaskasten are all variations of the name of
the same mythic type changed into a human hero, and the same, too, as
Ivalde of the Norse documents (see No. 123).]



The main outlines of Halfdan's saga reappears related as history, and
more or less blended with foreign elements, in Saxo's accounts of the
kings Gram, Halfdan Berggram, and Halfdan Borgarson (see No. 23).
Contributions to the saga are found in Hyndluljod (str. 14, 15, 16) and
in Skaldskaparmal (Younger Edda, i. 516 ff.), in what they tell about
Halfdan Skjoldung and Halfdan the Old. The juvenile adventures of the
hero have, with some modifications, furnished the materials for both
the songs about Helge Hundingsbane, with which Saxo's story of Helgo
Hundingicida (_Hist._, 80-110) and Volsungasaga's about Helge Sigmundson
are to be compared. The Grotte-song also (str. 22) identifies Helge
Hundingsbane with Halfdan.

For the history of the origin of the existing heroic poems from mythic
sources, of their relation to these and to each other, it is important
to get the original identity of the hero-myth, concerning Halfdan and
the heroic poems concerning Helge Hundingsbane, fixed on a firm
foundation. The following parallels suffice to show that this Helge is a
later time's reproduction of the mythic Halfdan:

    Halfdan-Gram, sent on a                Helge Hundingsbane, sent
    warlike expedition, meets              on a warlike expedition,
    Groa, who is mounted on                meets Sigrun, who is mounted
    horseback and accompanied              on horseback and is accompanied
    by other women on horseback            by other women
    (Saxo, 26, 27).                        on horseback (Helge Hund.,
                                           i. 16; Volsungasaga, c. 9).

    The meeting takes place in             The meeting takes place in
    a forest (Saxo, 26).                   a forest (Vols., c. 9).

    Halfdan-Gram is on the                 Helge is on the occasion
    occasion completely wrapped            disguised. He speaks frá
    in the skin of a wild beast, so        úlfidi "from a wolf guise"
    that even his face is concealed        (Helge Hund., i. 16), which
    (Saxo, 26).                            expression finds its
                                           in Saxo, where Halfdan
                                           appears wrapped in the
                                           skin of a wild beast.

    Conversation is begun between          Conversation is begun between
    Halfdan-Gram and                       Helge and Sigrun.
    Groa. Halfdan pretends to be           Helge pretends to be a person
    a person who is his brother-at-arms    who is his foster-brother
    (Saxo, 27).                             (Helge Hund., ii. 6).

      Groa asks Halfdan-Gram:              Sigrun asks Helge:
        Quis, rogo, vestrum                  Hverir lata fljota
        dirigit agmen,                       fley vid backa,
        quo duce signa                       hvar hermegir
        bellica fertis?                      heima eigud?
                  (Saxo, 27.)                   (Helge Hund., ii. 5.)

    Halfdan-Gram invites Groa              Helge invites Sigrun to
    to accompany him. At first             accompany him. At first the
    the invitation is refused              invitation is rebuked (Helge
    (Saxo, 27).                            Hund., i. 16, 17).

    Groa's father had already              Sigrun's father had already
    given her hand to another              promised her to another
    (Saxo, 26).                            (Helge Hund., i. 18).

    Halfdan-Gram explains                  Helge explains that this
    that this rival ought not to           rival should not cause them to
    cause them to fear (Saxo, 28).         fear (Helge Hund., i., ii.).

    Halfdan-Gram makes war                 Helge makes war on Sigrun's
    on Groa's father, on his rival,        father, on his rival, and
    and on the kinsmen of the latter       on the kinsmen of the latter
    (Saxo, 32).                            (Helge Hund., i., ii.).

    Halfdan-Gram slays Groa's              Helge kills Sigrun's father
    father and betrothed, and              and suitors, and many heroes
    many heroes who belonged to            who were the brothers or
    his circle of kinsmen or were          allies of his rival (Helge
    subject to him (Saxo, 32).             Hund., ii.).

    Halfdan-Gram marries Groa              Helge marries Sigrun (Helge
    (Saxo, 33).                            Hund., i. 56).

    Halfdan-Gram conquers a                Helge conquers Ring's sons
    king Ring (Saxo, 32).                  (Helge Hund., i. 52).

    Borgar's son has defeated              Helge has slain king Hunding,
    and slain king Hunding                 and thus gotten the
    (Saxo, 362; cp. Saxo, 337).            name Hundingsbane (Helge
                                           Hund., i. 10).

    Halfdan-Gram has felled                Helge's rival and the many
    Svarin and many of his brothers.       brothers of the latter dwell
    Svarin was viceroy under               around Svarin's grave-mound.
    Groa's father (Saxo, 32).              They are allies or subjects of
                                           Sigrun's father.

    Halfdan-Gram is slain by               Helge is slain by Dag, who
    Svipdag, who is armed with             is armed with an Asgard
    an Asgard weapon (Saxo, 34,            weapon (Helge Hund., ii.).
    to be compared with other
    sources. See Nos. 33, 98, 101,

    Halfdan-Berggram's father              Helge's father was slain by
    is slain by his brother Frode,         his brother Frode, who took
    who took his kingdom (Saxo,            his kingdom (Rolf Krake's
    320).                                  saga).

    Halfdan Berggram and his               Helge and his brother were
    brother were in their childhood        in their childhood protected
    protected by Regno                     by Regin (Rolf Krake's saga).
    (Saxo, 320).

    Halfdan Berggram and his               Helge and his brothers
    brother burnt Frode to death           burnt Frode to death in his
    in his house (Saxo, 323).              house (Rolf Krake's saga).

    Halfdan Berggram as a                  Helge Hundingsbane as a
    youth left the kingdom to his          youth left the kingdom to his
    brother and went warfaring             brother and went warfaring
    (Saxo, 320 ff).                        (Saxo, 80).

    During Halfdan's absence               During Helge Hundingsbane's
    Denmark is attacked by an              absence Denmark is attacked
    enemy, who conquers his                by an enemy, who conquers
    brother in three battles and           his brother in three
    slays him in a fourth (Saxo,           battles and slays him in a
    325).                                  fourth (Saxo, 82).

    Halfdan, the descendant of             Helge Hundingsbane became
    Scef and Scyld, becomes the            the father of Rolf
    father of Rolf (Beowulf                (Saxo, 83; compare Rolf
    poem).                                 Krake's saga).

    Halfdan had a son with his             Helge Hundingsbane had a
    own sister Yrsa (Grotte-song,          son with his own sister Ursa
    22; mon Yrsu sonr vid Half-dana        (Saxo, 82). The son was Rolf
    hefna Froda; sa mun                    (compare Rolf Krake's saga).
    hennar heitinn vertha börr oc

A glance at these parallels is sufficient to remove every doubt that the
hero in the songs concerning Helge Hundingsbane is originally the same
mythic person as is celebrated in the song or songs from which Saxo
gathered his materials concerning the kings, Gram Skjoldson, Halfdan
Berggram, and Halfdan Borgarson. It is the ancient myth in regard to
Halfdan, the son of Skjold-Borgar, which myth, after the introduction of
Christianity in Scandinavia, is divided into two branches, of which the
one continues to be the saga of this patriarch, while the other utilises
the history of his youth and transforms it into a new saga, that of
Helge Hundingsbane. In Saxo's time, and long before him, this division
into two branches had already taken place. How this younger branch,
Helge Hundingsbane's saga, was afterwards partly appropriated by the
all-absorbing Sigurdsaga and became connected with it in an external and
purely genealogical manner, and partly did itself appropriate (as in
Saxo) the old Danish local tradition about Rolf, the illegitimate son of
Halfdan Skjoldung, and, in fact, foreign to his pedigree; how it got
mixed with the saga about an evil Frode and his stepsons, a saga with
which it formerly had no connection;--all these are questions which I
shall discuss fully in a second part of this work, and in a separate
treatise on the heroic sagas. For the present, my task is to show what
influence this knowledge of Halfdan and Helge Hundingsbane's identity
has upon the interpretation of the myth concerning the antiquity of the



The first strophes of the first song of Helge Hundingsbane distinguish
themselves in tone and character and broad treatment from the
continuation of the song, and have clearly belonged to a genuine old
mythic poem about Halfdan, and without much change the compiler of the
Helge Hundingsbane song has incorporated them into his poem. They
describe Halfdan's ("Helge Hundingsbane's") birth. The real mythic names
of his parents, Borgar and Drott, have been retained side by side with
the names given by the compiler, Sigmund and Borghild.

    Ar var alda;                It was time's morning,
    that er arar gullo,         eagles screeched,
    hnigo heilog votn           holy waters fell
    af himinfjollum;            from the heavenly mountains.
    thá hafthi Helga            Then was the mighty
    inn hugom stora             Helge born
    Borghildr borit             by Borghild
    i Bralundi.                 in Bralund.

    Nott varth i boe,           It was night,
    nornir qvomo,               norns came,
    ther er authlingi           they who did shape
    aldr urn scopo;             the fate of the nobleman;
    thann batho fylci           they proclaimed him
    frægstan vertha             best among Budlungs,
    oc buthlunga                and most famed
    beztan ticcia.              among princes.

    Snero ther af afli          With all their might the threads
    aurlaugthátto,              of fate they twisted,
    tha er Borgarr braut        when Borgar settled
    i Brálundi;                 in Bralund;
    ther um greiddo             of gold they made
    gullin simo                 the warp of the web,
    oc und manasal              and fastened it directly
    mithian festo.              'neath the halls of the moon.

    ther austr oc vestr         In the east and west
    enda fálo:                  they hid the ends:
    thar átti lofdungr          there between
    land a milli;               the chief should rule;
    brá nipt Nera               Nere's[15] kinswoman
    a nordrevega                northward sent
    einni festi                 one thread and bade it
    ey bath hon halda.          hold for ever.

    Eitt var at angri           One cause there was
    Ylfinga nith                of alarm to the Yngling (Borgar),
    oc theirre meyio            and also for her
    er nunuth fæddi;            who bore the loved one.
    hrafn gvath at hrafni       Hungry cawed
    --sat a hám meithi          raven to raven
    andvanr áto:--              in the high tree:
    "Ec veit noccoth!           "Hear what I know!

    "Stendr i brynio            "In coat of mail
    burr Sigmundar,             stands Sigmund's son,
    doegrs eins gamall,         one day old,
    nu er dagr kominn;          now the day is come;
    hversir augo                sharp eyes of the Hildings
    sem hildingar,              has he, and the wolves'
    sa er varga vinr,           friend he becomes,
    vith scolom teitir."        We shall thrive."

    Drótt thotti sa             Drott, it is said, saw
    dauglingr vera              In him a dayling,[16]
    quado meth gumnom           saying, "Now are good seasons
    god-ár kominn;              come among men;"
    sialfr gecc visi            to the young lord
    or vig thrimo               from thunder-strife
    ungum færa                  came the chief himself
    itrlauc grami.              with a glorious flower.

Halfdan's ("Helge Hundingsbane's") birth occurs, according to the
contents of these strophes, when two epochs meet. His arrival announces
the close of the peaceful epoch and the beginning of an age of strife,
which ever since has reigned in the world. His significance in this
respect is distinctly manifest in the poem. The raven, to whom the
battle-field will soon be as a wellspread table, is yet suffering from
hunger (_andvanr átu_); but from the high tree in which it sits, it has
on the day after the birth of the child, presumably through the window,
seen the newcomer, and discovered that he possessed "the sharp eyes of
the Hildings," and with prophetic vision it has already seen him clad in
coat of mail. It proclaims its discovery to another raven in the same
tree, and foretells that theirs and the age of the wolves has come: "We
shall thrive."

The parents of the child heard and understood what the raven said.
Among the runes which Heimdal, Borgar's father, taught him, and which
the son of the latter in time learned, are the knowledge of bird-speech
(_Konr ungr klök nam fugla_--Rigsthula, 43, 44). The raven's appearance
in the song of Helge Hundingsbane is to be compared with its relative
the crow in Rigsthula; the one foretells that the new-born one's path of
life lies over battle-fields, the other urges the grown man to turn away
from his peaceful amusements. Important in regard to a correct
understanding of the song, and characteristic of the original relation
of the strophes quoted to the myth concerning primeval time, is the
circumstance that Halfdan's ("Helge Hundingsbane's") parents are not
pleased with the prophecies of the raven; on the contrary they are
filled with alarm. Former interpreters have been surprised at this. It
has seemed to them that the prophecy of the lad's future heroic and
blood-stained career ought, in harmony with the general spirit pervading
the old Norse literature, to have awakened the parents' joy and pride.
But the matter is explained by the mythic connection which makes
Borgars' life constitute the transition period from a happy and peaceful
golden age to an age of warfare. With all their love of strife and
admiration for warlike deeds, the Teutons still were human, and shared
with all other people the opinion that peace and harmony is something
better and more desirable than war and bloodshed. Like their Aryan
kinsmen, they dreamed of primeval _Saturnia regna_, and looked forward
to a regeneration which is to restore the reign of peace. Borgar, in the
myth, established the community, was the legislator and judge. He was
the hero of peaceful deeds, who did not care to employ weapons except
against wild beasts and robbers. But the myth had also equipped him with
courage and strength, the necessary qualities for inspiring respect and
interest, and had given him abundant opportunity for exhibiting these
qualities in the promotion of culture and the maintenance of the
sacredness of the law. Borgar was the Hercules of the northern myth, who
fought with the gigantic beasts and robbers of the olden time. Saxo
(_Hist._, 23) has preserved the traditions which tell how he at one time
fought breast to breast with a giant bear, conquering him and bringing
him fettered into his own camp.

As is well known, the family names Ylfings, Hildings, Budlungs, &c.,
have in the poems of the Christian skalds lost their specific
application to certain families, and are applied to royal and princely
warriors in general. This is in perfect analogy with the Christian
Icelandic poetry, according to which it is proper to take the name of
any viking, giant, or dwarf, and apply it to any special viking, giant,
or dwarf, a poetic principle which scholars even of our time claim can
also be applied in the interpretation of the heathen poems. In regard to
the old Norse poets this method is, however, as impossible as it would
be in Greek poetry to call Odysseus a Peleid, or Achilleus a Laertiatid,
or Prometheus Hephæstos, or Hephæstos Dædalos. The poems concerning
Helge Hundingsbane are compiled in Christian times from old songs about
Borgar's son Halfdan, and we find that the patronymic appellations
Ylfing, Hilding, Budlung, and Lofdung are copiously strewn on "Helge
Hundingsbane." But, so far as the above-quoted strophes are concerned,
it can be shown that the appellations Ylfing, Hilding, and Budlung are
in fact old usage and have a mythic foundation. The German poem
"Wolfdieterich und Sabin" calls Berchtung (Borgar) Potelung--that is,
Budlung; the poem "Wolfdieterich" makes Berchtung the progenitor of the
Hildings, and adds: "From the same race the Ylfings have come to
us"--_von dem selbe geslehte sint uns die wilfinge kumen_ (v. 223).

Saxo mentions the Hilding Hildeger as Halfdan's half-brother, and the
traditions on which the saga of Asmund Kæmpebane is based has done the
same (compare No. 43). The agreement in this point between German,
Danish, and Icelandic statements points to an older source common to
them all, and furnishes an additional proof that the German Berchtung
occupied in the mythic genælogies precisely the same place as the Norse

That Thor is one of Halfdan's fathers, just as Heimdal is one of
Borgar's, has already been pointed out above (see No. 25). To a divine
common fatherhood point the words: "Drott it is said, saw in him (the
lad just born) a dayling (son of a god of light), a son divine." Who the
divine partner-father is, is indicated by the fact that a storm has
broken out the night when Drott's son is born. There is a thunder-strife
_vig thrimo_, the eagles screech, and holy waters fall from the heavenly
mountains (from the clouds). The god of thunder is present, and casts
his shadow over the house where the child is born.

[Footnote 15: Urd, the chief goddess of fate. See the treatise "Mythen
om Under-jorden."]

[Footnote 16: _Dayling_ = bright son of day or light.]



The myths and heroic poems are not wanting in ideal heroes, who are
models of goodness of heart, justice, and the most sensitive nobleness.
Such are, for example, the Asa-god Balder, his counter part among
heroes, Helge Hjorvardson, Beowulf, and, to a certain degree also,
Sigurd Fafnesbane. Halfdan did not belong to this group. His part in the
myth is to be the personal representative of the strife-age that came
with him, of an age when the inhabitants of the earth are visited by the
great winter and by dire misfortunes, when the demoralisation of the
world has begun along with disturbances in nature and when the words
already are applicable, "_hart er i heimi_" (hard is the world). Halfdan
is guilty of the abduction of a woman--the old custom of taking a maid
from her father by violence or cunning is illustrated in his saga. It
follows, however, that the myth at the same time embellished him with
qualities which made him a worthy Teutonic patriarch, and attractive to
the hearers of the songs concerning him. These qualities are, besides
the necessary strength and courage, the above-mentioned knowledge of
runes, wherein he even surpasses his father (Rigsth.), great skaldic
gifts (Saxo, _Hist._, 325), a liberality which makes him love to strew
gold about him (Helge Hund., i. 9), and an extraordinary, fascinating
physical beauty--which is emphasised by Saxo (_Hist._, 30), and which is
also evident from the fact that the Teutonic myth makes him, as the
Greek myth makes Achilleus, on one occasion don a woman's attire, and
resemble a valkyrie in this guise (Helge Hund., ii.). No doubt the myth
also described him as the model of a faithful foster-brother in his
relations to the silent Hamal, who externally was so like him that the
one could easily be taken for the other (cp. Helge Hund., ii. 1, 6). In
all cases it is certain that the myth made the foster-brotherhood
between Halfdan and Hamal the basis of the unfailing fidelity with which
Hamal's descendants, the Amalians, cling to the son of Halfdan's
favourite Hadding, and support his cause even amid the most difficult
circumstances (see Nos. 42, 43). The abduction of a woman by Halfdan is
founded in the physical interpretation of the myth, and can thus be
justified. The wife he takes by force is the goddess of vegetation,
Groa, and he does it because her husband Orvandel has made a compact
with the powers of frost (see Nos. 33, 38, 108, 109).

There are indications that our ancestors believed the sword to be a
later invention than the other kinds of weapons, and that it was from
the beginning under a curse. The first and most important of all
sword-smiths was, according to the myth, Thjasse,[17] who accordingly is
called _fadir mörna_, the father of the swords (Haustlaung, Younger
Edda, 306). The best sword made by him is intended to make way for the
destruction of the gods (see Nos. 33, 98, 101, 103). After various
fortunes it comes into the possession of Frey, but is of no service to
Asgard. It is given to the parents of the giantess Gerd, and in Ragnarok
it causes the death of Frey.

Halfdan had two swords, which his mother's father, for whom they were
made, had buried in the earth, and his mother long kept the place of
concealment secret from him. The first time he uses one of them he slays
in a duel his noble half-brother Hildeger, fighting on the side of the
Skilfings, without knowing who he is (cp. Saxo, _Hist._, 351, 355, 356,
with Asmund Kæmpebane's saga). Cursed swords are several times mentioned
in the sagas.

Halfdan's weapon, which he wields successfully in advantageous exploits,
is in fact, the club (Saxo, _Hist._, 26, 31, 323, 353). That the
Teutonic patriarch's favourite weapon is the club, not the sword; that
the latter, later, in his hand, sheds the blood of a kinsman; and that
he himself finally is slain by the sword forged by Thjasse, and that,
too, in conflict with a son (the stepson Svipdag--see below), I regard
as worthy of notice from the standpoint of the views cherished during
some of the centuries of the Teutonic heathendom in regard to the
various age and sacredness of the different kinds of weapons. That the
sword also at length was looked upon as sacred is plain from the fact
that it was adopted and used by the Asa-gods. In Ragnarok, Vidar is to
avenge his father with a _hjörr_ and pierce Fafner's heart (_Völuspa_).
_Hjörr_ may, it is true, also mean a missile, but still it is probable
that it, in Vidar's hand, means a sword. The oldest and most sacred
weapons were the spear, the hammer, the club, and the axe. The spear
which, in the days of Tacitus, and much later, was the chief weapon both
for foot-soldiers and cavalry in the Teutonic armies, is wielded by the
Asa-father himself, whose Gungner was forged for him by Ivalde's sons
before the dreadful enmity between the gods and them had begun.

The hammer is Thor's most sacred weapon. Before Sindre forged one for
him of iron (Gylfaginning), he wielded a hammer of stone. This is
evident from the very name _hamarr_, a rock, a stone. The club is, as we
have seen, the weapon of the Teutonic patriarch, and is wielded side by
side with Thor's hammer in the conflict with the powers of frost. The
battle-axe belonged to Njord. This is evident from the metaphors found
in the Younger Edda, p. 346, and in Islend. Saga, 9. The mythological
kernel in the former metaphor is _Njördrklauf Herjan's hurdir_, _i.e._,
"_Njord_ cleaved Odin's gates" (when the Vans conquered Asgard); in the
other the battle-axe is called _Gaut's megin-hurdar galli_, _i.e._, "the
destroyer of Odin's great gate." The bow is a weapon employed by the
Asa-gods _Hödr_ and _Ullr_, but Balder is slain by a shot from the bow,
and the chief archer of the myth is, as we shall see, not an Asa-god,
but a brother of Thjasse. (Further discussion of the weapon-myth will be
found in No. 39.)

[Footnote 17: Proofs of Thjasse's original identity with Volund are
given in Nos. 113-115.]


                           OF VEGETATION.

In regard to the significance of the conflicts awaiting Halfdan, and
occupying his whole life, when interpreted as myths of nature, we must
remember that he inherits from his father the duty of stopping the
progress southward of the giant-world's wintry agents, the kinsmen of
Thjasse, and of the Skilfing (Yngling) tribes dwelling in the north. The
migration sagas have, as we have seen, shown that Borgar and his people
had to leave the original country and move south to Denmark, Saxland,
and to those regions on the other side of the Baltic in which the Goths
settled. For a time the original country is possessed by the conquerors
who according to Völuspa, "from Svarin's Mound attacked and took
(_sótti_) the clayey plains as far as Jaravall." But Halfdan represses
them. That the words quoted from Völuspa really refer to the same mythic
persons with whom Halfdan afterwards fights is proved by the fact that
Svarin and Svarin's Mound are never named in our documents except in
connection with Halfdan's saga. In Saxo it is Halfdan-Gram who slays
Svarin and his numerous brothers; in the saga of "Helge Hundingsbane" it
is again Halfdan, under the name Helge, who attacks tribes dwelling
around Svarin's Mound, and conquers them. To this may be added, that the
compiler of the first song about Helge Hundingsbane borrowed from the
saga-original, on which the song is based, names which point to the
Völuspa strophe concerning the attack on the south Scandinavian plains.
In the category of names, or the genealogy of the aggressors, occur, as
has been shown already, the Skilfing names Alf and Yngve. Thus also in
the Helge-song's list of persons with whom the conflict is waged in the
vicinity of Svarin's Mound. In the Vö1uspa's list Moinn is mentioned
among the aggressors (in the variation in the Prose Edda); in the
Helge-song, strophe 46, it is said that Helge-Halfdan fought _á
Móinsheimom_ against his brave foes, whom he afterwards slew in the
battle around Svarin's Mound. In the Völuspa's list is named among the
aggressors one _Haugspori_, "the one spying from the mound"; in the
Helge-song is mentioned _Sporvitnir_, who from Svarin's Mound watches
the forces of Helge-Halfdan advancing. I have already (No. 28B), pointed
out several other names which occur in the Völuspa list, and whose
connection with the myth concerning the artists, frost-giants, and
Skilfings of antiquity and their attack on the original country, can be

The physical significance of Halfdan's conflicts and adventures is
apparent also from the names of the women, whom the saga makes him
marry. Groa (grow), whom he robs and keeps for some time, is, as her
very name indicates, a goddess of vegetation. Signe-Alveig, whom he
afterwards marries, is the same. Her name signifies "the nourishing
drink." According to Saxo she is the daughter of Sumblus, Latin for
_Sumbl_, which means feast, ale, mead, and is a synonym for _Ölvaldi_,
_Ölmódr_, names which belonged to the father of the Ivalde sons (see No.

According to a well-supported statement in Forspjallsljod (see No. 123),
Ivalde was the father of two groups of children. The mother of one of
these groups is a giantess (see Nos. 113, 114, 115). With her he has
three sons, viz., the three famous artists of antiquity--Ide,
Gang-Urnir, and Thjasse. The mother of the other group is a goddess of
light (see No. 123). With her he has daughters, who are goddesses of
growth, among them Idun and Signe-Alveig. That Idun is the daughter of
Ivalde is clear from Forspjallsljod (6), _álfa ættar Ithunni hèto
Ivallds ellri ýngsta barna_.

Of the names of their father _Sumbl_, _Ölvaldi_, _Ölmódr_, it may be
said that, as nature-symbols, "öl" (ale) and "mjöd" (mead), are in the
Teutonic mythology identical with _soma_ and _somamadhu_ in Rigveda and
_haoma_ in Avesta, that is, they are the strength-developing, nourishing
saps in nature. Mimer's subterranean well, from which the world-tree
draws its nourishment, is a mead-fountain. In the poem "Haustlaung" Idun
is called _Ölgefn_; in the same poem Groa is called _Ölgefion_. Both
appellations refer to goddesses who give the drink of growth and
regeneration to nature and to the gods. Thus we here have a family, the
names and epithets of whose members characterise them as forces, active
in the service of nature and of the god of harvests. Their names and
epithets also point to the family bond which unites them. We have the
group of names, _Idvaldi_, _Idi_, _Idunn_, and the group, _Ölvaldi_
(_Ölmódr_), _Ölgefn_, and _Ölgefion_, both indicating members of the
same family. Further on (see Nos. 113, 114, 115), proof shall be
presented that Groa's first husband, Orvandel the brave, is one of
Thjasse's brothers, and thus that Groa, too, was closely connected with
this family.

As we know, it is the enmity caused by Loke between the Asa-gods and the
lower serving, yet powerful, divinities of nature belonging to the
Ivalde group, which produces the terrible winter with its awful
consequences for man, and particularly for the Teutonic tribes. These
hitherto beneficent agents of growth have ceased to serve the gods, and
have allied themselves with the frost-giants. The war waged by Halfdan
must be regarded from this standpoint. Midgard's chief hero, the real
Teutonic patriarch, tries to reconquer for the Teutons the country of
which winter has robbed them. To be able to do this, he is the son of
Thor, the divine foe of the frost-giants, and performs on the border of
Midgard a work corresponding to that which Thor has to do in space and
in Jotunheim. And in the same manner as Heimdal before secured
favourable conditions of nature to the original country, by uniting the
sun-goddess with himself through bonds of love, his grandson Halfdan now
seeks to do the same for the Teutonic country, by robbing a hostile son
of Ivalde, Orvandel, of his wife Groa, the growth-giver, and thereupon
also of Alveig, the giver of the nourishing sap. A symbol of nature may
also be found in Saxo's statement, that the king of Svithiod, Sigtrygg,
Groa's father, could not be conquered unless Halfdan fastened a golden
ball to his club (_Hist._, 31). The purpose of Halfdan's conflicts, the
object which the norns particularly gave to his life, that of
reconquering from the powers of frost the northernmost regions of the
Teutonic territory and of permanently securing them for culture, and the
difficulty of this task is indicated, it seems to me, in the strophes
above quoted, which tell us that the norns fastened the woof of his
power in the east and west, and that he from the beginning, and
undisputed, extended the sceptre of his rule over these latitudes,
while in regard to the northern latitudes, it is said that Nere's
kinswoman, the chief of the norns (see Nos. 57-64, 85), cast a single
thread in this direction and _prayed_ that it might hold for ever:

    ther austr oc vestr
    enda fâlo,
    thar átti lofdungr
    land a milli;
    brá nipt Nera
    a nordrvega
    einni festi,
    ey bath hon halda.

The norns' prayer was heard. That the myth made Halfdan proceed
victoriously to the north, even to the very starting-point of the
emigration to the south caused by the fimbul-winter, that is to say, to
Svarin's Mound, is proved by the statements that he slays Svarin and his
brothers, and wins in the vicinity of Svarin's Mound the victory over
his opponents, which was for a time decisive. His penetration into the
north, when regarded as a nature-myth, means the restoration of the
proper change of seasons, and the rendering of the original country and
of Svithiod inhabitable. As far as the hero, who secured the "giver of
growth" and the "giver of nourishing sap," succeeds with the aid of his
father Thor to carry his weapons into the Teutonic lands destroyed by
frost, so far spring and summer again extend the sceptre of their reign.
The songs about Helge Hundingsbane have also preserved from the myth the
idea that Halfdan and his forces penetrating northward by land and by
sea are accompanied in the air by "valkyries," "goddesses from the
south," armed with helmets, coats of mail, and shining spears, who fight
the forces of nature that are hostile to Halfdan, and these valkyries
are in their very nature goddesses of growth, from the manes of whose
horses falls the dew which gives the power of growth back to the earth
and harvests to men. (Cp. Helg. Hund., i. 15, 30; ii., the prose to v.
5, 12, 13, with Helg. Hjörv., 28.) On this account the Swedes, too, have
celebrated Halfdan in their songs as their patriarch and benefactor, and
according to Saxo they have worshipped him as a divinity, although it
was his task to check the advance of the Skilfings to the south.

Doubtless it is after this successful war that Halfdan performs the
great sacrifice mentioned in Skaldskaparmal, ch. 64, in order that he
may retain his royal power for three hundred years. The statement should
be compared with what the German poems of the middle ages tell about the
longevity of Berchtung-Borgar and other heroes of antiquity. They live
for several centuries. But the response Halfdan gets from the powers to
whom he sacrificed is that he shall live simply to the age of an old
man, and that in his family there shall not for three hundred years be
born a woman or a fameless man.


             WITH THE MYTH ABOUT HALFDAN (cp. No. 24).

When Halfdan secured Groa, she was already the bride of Orvandel the
brave, and the first son she bore in Halfdan's house was not his, but
Orvandel's. The son's name is Svipdag. He develops into a hero who, like
Halfdan himself, is the most brilliant and most beloved of those
celebrated in Teutonic songs. We have devoted a special part of this
work to him (see Nos. 96-107). There we have given proofs of various
mythological facts, which I now already must incorporate with the
following series of events in order that the epic thread may not be

(_a_) Groa bears with Halfdan the son Guthorm (Saxo, _Hist._, _Dan._,

(_b_) Groa is rejected by Halfdan (Saxo, _Hist. Dan._, 33). She returns
to Orvandel, and brings with her her own and his son Svipdag.

(_c_) Halfdan marries Signe-Alveig (Hyndluljod, 15; Prose Edda, i. 516;
Saxo _Hist._, 33), and with her becomes the father of the son Hadding
(Saxo, _Hist. Dan._, 34).

(_d_) Groa dies, and Orvandel marries again (Grógaldr, 3). Before her
death Groa has told her son that if he needs her help he must go to her
grave and invoke her (Grógaldr, 1).

(_e_) It is Svipdag's duty to revenge on Halfdan the disgrace done to
his mother and the murder of his mother's father Sigtrygg. But his
stepmother bids Svipdag seek Menglad, "the one loving ornaments"
(Grógaldr, 3).

(_f_) Under the weight of these tasks Svipdag goes to his mother's
grave, bids her awake from her sleep of death, and from her he receives
protecting incantations (Grógaldr, 1).

(_g_) Before Svipdag enters upon the adventurous expedition to find
Menglad, he undertakes, at the head of the giants, the allies of the
Ivaldesons (see Fjölsvinsm, 1, where Svipdag is called _thursathjodar
sjólr_), a war of revenge against Halfdan (Saxo, 33 ff., 325; cp. Nos.
102, 103). The host of giants is defeated, and Svipdag, who has entered
into a duel with his stepfather, is overcome by the latter. Halfdan
offers to spare his life and adopt him as his son. But Svipdag refuses
to accept life as a gift from him, and answers a defiant no to the
proffered father-hand. Then Halfdan binds him to a tree and leaves him
to his fate (Saxo, _Hist._, 325; cp. No. 103).

(_h_) Svipdag is freed from his bonds through one of the incantations
sung over him by his mother (Grógaldr, 10).

(_i_) Svipdag wanders about sorrowing in the land of the giants.
Gevarr-Nökkve, god of the moon (see Nos. 90, 91), tells him how he is to
find an irresistible sword, which is always attended by victory (see No.
101). The Sword is forged by Thjasse, who intended to destroy the world
of the gods with it; but just at the moment when the smith had finished
his weapon he was surprised in his sleep by Mimer, who put him in chains
and took the sword. The latter is now concealed in the lower world (see
Nos. 98, 101, 103).

(_j_) Following Gevarr-Nökkve's directions, Svipdag goes to the
northernmost edge of the world, and finds there a descent to the lower
world; he conquers the guard of the gates of Hades, sees the wonderful
regions down there, and succeeds in securing the sword of victory (see
Nos. 53, 97, 98, 101, 103, 112).

(_k_) Svipdag begins a new war with Halfdan. Thor fights on his son's
side, but the irresistible sword cleaves the hammer Mjolner; the Asa-god
himself must yield. The war ends with Halfdan's defeat. He dies of the
wounds he has received in the battle (see Nos. 101, 103; cp. Saxo,
_Hist._, 34).

(_l_) Svipdag seeks and finds Menglad, who is Freyja who was robbed by
the giants. He liberates her and sends her pure and undefiled to Asgard
(see Nos. 96, 98, 100, 102).

(_m_) Idun is brought back to Asgard by Loke. Thjasse, who is freed from
his prison at Mimer's, pursues, in the guise of an eagle, Loke to the
walls of Asgard, where he is slain by the gods (see the Eddas).

(_n_) Svipdag, armed with the sword of victory, goes to Asgard, is
received joyfully by Freyja, becomes her husband, and presents his sword
of victory to Frey. Reconciliation between the gods and the Ivalde race.
Njord marries Thjasse's daughter Skade. Orvandel's second son Ull,
Svipdag's half-brother (see No. 102), is adopted in Valhal. A sister of
Svipdag is married to Forsete (Hyndluljod, 20). The gods honour the
memory of Thjasse by connecting his name with certain stars
(Harbardsljod, 19). A similar honour had already been paid to his
brother Orvandel (Prose Edda).

From this series of events we find that, although the Teutonic patriarch
finally succumbs in the war which he waged against the Thjasse-race and
the frost-powers led by Thjasse's kinsmen, still the results of his work
are permanent. When the crisis had reached its culminating point; when
the giant hosts of the fimbul-winter had received as their leader the
son of Orvandel, armed with the irresistible sword; when Halfdan's fate
is settled; when Thor himself, _Midgard's veorr_ (Völusp.), the mighty
protector of earth and the human race, must retreat with his lightning
hammer broken into pieces, then the power of love suddenly prevails and
saves the world. Svipdag, who, under the spell of his deceased mother's
incantations from the grave, obeyed the command of his stepmother to
find and rescue Freyja from the power of the giants, thereby wins her
heart and earns the gratitude of the gods. He has himself learned to
love her, and is at last compelled by his longing to seek her in Asgard.
The end of the power of the fimbul-winter is marked by Freyja's and
Idun's return to the gods, by Thjasse's death, by the presentation of
the invincible sword to the god of harvests (Frey), by the adoption of
Thjasse's kinsmen, Svipdag, Ull, and Skade in Asgard, and by several
marriage ties celebrated in commemoration of the reconciliation between
Asgard's gods and the kinsmen of the great artist of antiquity.


                      ASAS AND THE VANS.

Thus the peace of the world and the order of nature might seem secured.
But it is not long before a new war breaks out, to which the former may
be regarded as simply the prelude. The feud, which had its origin in the
judgment passed by the gods on Thjasse's gifts, and which ended in the
marriage of Svipdag and Freyja, was waged for the purpose of securing
again for settlement and culture the ancient domain and Svithiod, where
Heimdal had founded the first community. It was confined within the
limits of the North Teutonic peninsula, and in it the united powers of
Asgard supported the other Teutonic tribes fighting under Halfdan. But
the new conflict rages at the same time in heaven and in earth, between
the divine clans of the Asas and the Vans, and between all the Teutonic
tribes led into war with each other by Halfdan's sons. From the
standpoint of Teutonic mythology it is a world war; and Völuspa calls it
_the first great war in the world--folcvig fyrst i heimi_ (str. 21, 25).

Loke was the cause of the former prelusive war. His feminine counterpart
and ally _Gullveig-Heidr_, who gradually is blended, so to speak, into
one with him, causes the other. This is apparent from the following
Völuspa strophes:

    Str. 21. That man hon folcvig
             fyrst i heimi
             er Gullveig
             geirum studdu
             oc i haull Hárs
             hana brendo.

    Str. 22. Thrysvar brendo
             thrysvar borna
             opt osialdan
             tho hon en lifir.

    Str. 23. Heida hana heto
             hvars til husa com
             vólo velspá
             vitti hon ganda
             seid hon kuni
             seid hon Leikin,
             e var hon angan
             illrar brudar.

    Str. 24. Thá gengo regin oll
             a raukstola
             ginheilog god
             oc um that gettuz
             hvart scyldo esir
             afrad gialda
             etha scyldo godin aull
             gildi eiga.

    Str. 25. Fleygde Odin
             oc i folc um scáut
             that var en folcvig
             fyrst i heimi.

             Brotin var bordvegr
             borgar asa
             knatto vanir vigspa
             vollo sporna.

The first thing to be established in the interpretation of these
strophes is the fact that they, in the order in which they are found in
Codex Regius, and in which I have given them, all belong together and
refer to the same mythic event--that is, to the origin of the great
world war. This is evident from a comparison of strophe 21 with 25, the
first and last of those quoted. Both speak of the war, which is called
_fólkvig fyrst i heimi_. The former strophe informs us that it occurred
as a result of, and in connection with, the murder of Gulveig, a murder
committed in Valhal itself, in the hall of the Asa-father, beneath the
roof where the gods of the Asa-clan are gathered around their father.
The latter strophe tells that the first great war in the world produced
a separation between the two god-clans, the Asas and Vans, a division
caused by the fact that Odin, hurling his spear, interrupted a
discussion between them; and the strophe also explains the result of the
war: the bulwark around Asgard was broken, and the Vans got possession
of the power of the Asas. The discussion or council is explained in
strophe 24. It is there expressly emphasised that all the gods, the Asas
and Vans, _regin oll, godin aull_, solemnly assemble and seat themselves
on their _raukstola_ to counsel together concerning the murder of
_Gullveig-Heidr_. Strophe 23 has already described who Gulveig is, and
thus given at least one reason for the hatred of the Asas towards her,
and for the treatment she receives in Odin's hall. It is evident that
she was in Asgard under the name Gulveig, since Gulveig was killed and
burnt in Valhal; but Midgard, the abode of man, has also been the scene
of her activity. There she has roamed about under the name Heidr,
practising the evil arts of black sorcery (see No. 27) and encouraging
the evil passions of mankind: _æ var hon angan illrar brudar_. Hence
Gulveig suffers the punishment which from time immemorial was
established among the Aryans for the practice of the black art: she was
burnt. And her mysteriously terrible and magic nature is revealed by
the fact that the flames, though kindled by divine hands, do not have
the power over her that they have over other agents of sorcery. The gods
burn her thrice; they pierce the body of the witch with their spears,
and hold her over the flames of the fire. All is in vain. They cannot
prevent her return and regeneration. Thrice burned and thrice born, she
still lives.

After Völuspa has given an account of the vala who in Asgard was called
_Gullveig_ and on earth _Heidr_, the poem speaks, in strophe 24, of the
dispute which arose among the gods on account of her murder. The gods
assembled on and around the judgment-seats are divided into two parties,
of which the Asas constitute the one. The fact that the treatment
received by Gulveig can become a question of dispute which ends in
enmity between the gods is a proof that only one of the god-clans has
committed the murder; and since this took place, not in Njord's, or
Frey's, or Freyja's halls, but in Valhal, where Odin rules and is
surrounded by his sons, it follows that the Asas must have committed the
murder. Of course, Vans who were guests in Odin's hall _might_ have been
the perpetrators of the murder; but, on the one hand, the poem would
scarcely have indicated Odin's hall as the place where Gulveig was to be
punished, unless it wished thereby to point out the Asas as the doers of
the deed, and, on the other hand, we cannot conceive the murder as
possible, as described in Völuspa, if the Vans were the ones who
committed it, and the Asas were Gulveig's protectors; for then the
latter, who were the lords in Valhal, would certainly not have
permitted the Vans quietly and peaceably to subject Gulveig to the long
torture there described, in which she is spitted on spears and held over
the flames to be burnt to ashes.

That the Asas committed the murder is also corroborated by Völuspa's
account of the question in dispute. One of the views prevailing in the
consultation and discussion in regard to the matter is that the Asas
ought to _afrád gjalda_ in reference to the murder committed. In this
_afrád gjalda_ we meet with a phrase which is echoed in the laws of
Iceland, and in the old codes of Norway and Sweden. There can be no
doubt that the phrase has found its way into the language of the law
from the popular vernacular, and that its legal significance was simply
more definite and precise than its use in the vernacular. The common
popular meaning of the phrase is _to pay compensation_. The compensation
may be of any kind whatsoever. It may be rent for the use of another's
field, or it may be taxes for the enjoyment of social rights, or it may
be death and wounds for having waged war. In the present instance, it
must mean compensation to be paid by the Asas for the slaying of
_Gullveig-Heidr_. As such a demand could not be made by the Asas
themselves, it must have been made by the Vans and their supporters in
the discussion. Against this demand we have the proposition from the
Asas that all the gods should _gildi eiga_. In regard to this disputed
phrase at least so much is clear, that it must contain either an
absolute or a partial counter-proposition to the demand of the Vans, and
its purpose must be that the Asas ought not--at least, not alone--to
pay the compensation for the murder, but that the crime should be
regarded as one in reference to which all the gods, the Asas and the
Vans, were alike guilty, and as one for which they all together should
assume the responsibility.

The discussion does not lead to a friendly settlement. Something must
have been said at which Odin has become deeply offended, for the
Asa-father, distinguished for his wisdom and calmness, hurls his spear
into the midst of those deliberating--a token that the contest of reason
against reason is at an end, and that it is to be followed by a contest
with weapons.

The myth concerning this deliberation between Asas and Vans was well
known to Saxo, and what he has to say about it (_Hist._, 126 ff.),
turning myth as usual into history, should be compared with Völuspa's
account, for both these sources complement each other.

The first thing that strikes us in Saxo's narrative is that sorcery, the
black art, plays, as in Völuspa, the chief part in the chain of events.
His account is taken from a mythic circumstance, mentioned by the
heathen skald Kormak (_seid Y ggr til Rindar_--Younger Edda, i. 236),
according to which Odin, forced by extreme need, sought the favour of
Rind, and gained his point by sorcery and witchcraft, as he could not
gain it otherwise. According to Saxo, Odin touched Rind with a piece of
bark on which he had inscribed magic songs, and the result was that she
became insane (_Rinda ... quam Othinus cortice carminibus adnotato
contingens lymphanti similem reddidit_). In immediate connection
herewith it is related that the gods held a council, in which it was
claimed that Odin had stained his divine honour, and ought to be deposed
from his royal dignity (_dii ... Othinum variis majestatis detrimentis
divinitatis gloriam maculasse cernentes, collegio suo submovendum
duxerunt--Hist._, 129). Among the deeds of which his opponents in this
council accused him was, as it appears from Saxo, at least one of which
he ought to take the consequences, but for which all the gods ought not
to be held responsible ( ... _ne vel ipsi, alieno crimine implicati,
insontes nocentis crimine punirentur--Hist., 129; in omnium caput unius
culpam recidere putares, Hist._, 130). The result of the deliberation of
the gods is, in Saxo as in Völuspa, that Odin is banished, and that
another clan of gods than his holds the power for some time. Thereupon
he is, with the consent of the reigning gods, recalled to the throne,
which he henceforth occupies in a brilliant manner. But one of his first
acts after his return is to banish the black art and its agents from
heaven and from earth (_Hist._, 44).

Thus the chain of events in Saxo both begins and ends with sorcery. It
is the background on which both in Saxo and in Völuspa those events
occur which are connected with the dispute between the Asas and Vans. In
both the documents the gods meet in council before the breaking out of
the enmity. In both the question turns on a deed done by Odin, for which
certain gods do not wish to take the responsibility. Saxo indicates this
by the words: _Ne vel ipsi, alieno crimine implicati innocentes nocentis
crimine punirentur._ Völuspa indicates it by letting the Vans present,
against the proposition that _godin öll skyldu gildi eiga_, the claim
that Odin's own clan, and it alone, should _afrád gjalda_. And while
Völuspa makes Odin suddenly interrupt the deliberations and hurl his
spear among the deliberators, Saxo gives us the explanation of his
sudden wrath. He and his clan had slain and burnt Gulveig-Heid because
she practised sorcery and other evil arts of witchcraft. And as he
refuses to make compensation for the murder and demands that all the
gods take the consequences and share the blame, the Vans have replied in
council, that he too once practised sorcery on the occasion when he
visited Rind, and that, if Gulveig was justly burnt for this crime, then
he ought justly to be deposed from his dignity stained by the same crime
as the ruler of all the gods. Thus Völuspa's and Saxo's accounts
supplement and illustrate each other.

_One_ dark point remains, however. Why have the Vans objected to the
killing of Gulveig-Heid? Should this clan of gods, celebrated in song as
benevolent, useful, and pure, be kindly disposed toward the evil and
corrupting arts of witchcraft? This cannot have been the meaning of the
myth. As shall be shown, the evil plans of Gulveig-Heid have
particularly been directed against those very Vana-gods who in the
council demand compensation for her death. In this regard Saxo has in
perfect faithfulness toward his mythic source represented Odin on the
one hand, and his opponents among the gods on the other, as alike
hostile to the black art. Odin, who on one occasion and under peculiar
circumstances, which I shall discuss in connection with the Balder myth,
was guilty of the practise of sorcery, is nevertheless the declared
enemy of witchcraft, and Saxo makes him take pains to forbid and
persecute it. The Vans likewise look upon it with horror, and it is this
horror which adds strength to their words when they attack and depose
Odin, because he has himself practised that for which he has punished

The explanation of the fact is, as shall be shown below, that Frey, on
account of a passion of which he is the victim (probably through
sorcery), was driven to marry the giant maid Gerd, whose kin in that way
became friends of the Vans. Frey is obliged to demand satisfaction for a
murder perpetrated on a kinswoman of his wife. The kinship of blood
demands its sacred right, and according to Teutonic ideas of law, the
Vans must act as they do regardless of the moral character of Gulveig.


                  SWORD GUARDIAN AND FJALAR.

The duty of the Vana-deities becomes even more plain, if it can be shown
that Gulveig-Heid is Gerd's mother; for Frey, supported by the
Vana-gods, then demands satisfaction for the murder of his own
mother-in-law. Gerd's mother is, in Hyndluljod, 30, called Aurboda, and
is the wife of the giant Gymer:

    Freyr atti Gerdi,
    Hon vor Gymis dottir,
    iotna ættar
    ok Aurbodu.

It can, in fact, be demonstrated that Aurboda is identical with
Gulveig-Heid. The evidence is given below in two divisions. (a) Evidence
that Gulveig-Heid is identical with Angerboda, "the ancient one in the
Ironwood;" (b) evidence that Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda is identical with
Aurboda, Gerd's mother.

(a) Gulveid-Heid identical with Angerboda.

Hyndluljod, 40, 41, says:

    Ol ulf Loki
    vid Angrbodu,
    (enn Sleipni gat
    vid Svadilfara);
    eitt thotti skars
    allra feiknazst
    that var brodur fra
    Byleistz komit.

    Loki af hiarta
    lindi brendu,
    fann hann haalfsuidinn
    hugstein konu;
    vard Loptr kvidugr
    af konu illri;
    thadan er aa folldu
    flagd hvert komit.

From the account we see that an evil female being (_ill kona_) had been
burnt, but that the flames were not able to destroy the seed of life in
her nature. Her heart had not been burnt through or changed to ashes. It
was only half-burnt (_hálfsvidinn hugsteinn_), and in this condition it
had together with the other remains of the cremated woman been thrown
away, for Loke finds and swallows the heart.

Our ancestors looked upon the heart as the seat of the life principle,
of the soul of living beings. A number of linguistic phrases are founded
on the idea that goodness and evil, kindness and severity, courage and
cowardice, joy and sorrow, are connected with the character of the
heart; sometimes we find _hjarta_ used entirely in the sense of soul, as
in the expression _hold ok hjarta_, soul and body. So long as the heart
in a dead body had not gone into decay, it was believed that the
principle of life dwelling therein still was able, under peculiar
circumstances, to operate on the limbs and exercise an influence on its
environment, particularly if the dead person in life had been endowed
with a will at once evil and powerful. In such cases it was regarded as
important to pierce the heart of the dead with a pointed spear (cp.
Saxo, _Hist._, 43, and No. 95).

The half-burnt heart, accordingly, contains the evil woman's soul, and
its influence upon Loke, after he has swallowed it, is most remarkable.
Once before when he bore Sleipner with the giant horse Svadilfare, Loke
had revealed his androgynous nature. So he does now. The swallowed heart
redeveloped the feminine in him (_Loki lindi af brendu hjarta_). It
fertilised him with the evil purposes which the heart contained. Loke
became the possessor of the evil woman (_kvidugr af konu illri_), and
became the father of the children from which the trolls (_flagd_) are
come which are found in the world. First among the children is mentioned
the wolf, which is called _Fenrir_, and which in Ragnarok shall cause
the death of the Asa-father. To this event point Njord's words about
Loke, in Lokasenna, str. 33: _ass ragr er hefir born of borit_. The
woman possessing the half-burnt heart, who is the mother or rather the
father of the wolf, is called Angerboda (_ól ulf Loki vid Angrbodu_). N.
M. Peterson and other mythologists have rightly seen that she is the
same as "the old one," who in historical times and until Ragnarok dwells
in the Ironwood, and "there fosters Fenrer's kinsmen" (Völuspa, 39), her
own offspring, which at the close of this period are to issue from the
Ironwood, and break into Midgard and dye its citadels with blood
(Völuspa, 30).

The fact that Angerboda now dwells in the Ironwood, although there on a
former occasion did not remain more of her than a half-burnt heart,
proves that the attempt to destroy her with fire was unsuccessful, and
that she arose again in bodily form after this cremation, and became the
mother and nourisher of were-wolves. Thus the myth about Angerboda is
identical with the myth about Gulveig-Heid in the two characteristic

    Unsuccessful burning of an evil woman.
    Her regeneration after the cremation.

These points apply equally to Gulveig-Heid and to Angerboda, "the old
one in the Ironwood."

The myth about Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, as it was remembered in the first
period after the introduction of Christianity, we find in part
recapitulated in Helgakvida Hundingsbane, i. 37-40, where Sinfjotle
compares his opponent Gudmund with the evil female principle in the
heathen mythology, the vala in question, and where Gudmund in return
compares Sinfjotle with its evil masculine principle, Loke.

Sinfjotle says:

    Thu vart vaulva
    i Varinseyio,
    scollvis kona
    bartu scrauc saman;

     *       *       *       *       *

    Thu vart, en scetha,
    scass valkyria,
    autul, amátlig
    at Alfaudar;
    mundo einherjar
    allir beriaz,
    svevis kona,
    um sakar thinar.
    Nio attu vith
    a neri Sagu
    ulfa alna
    ec var einn fathir theirra.

    Gudmund's answer begins:

    Fadir varattu

The evil woman with whom one of the two heroes compares the other is
said to be a vala, who has practised her art partly on Varin's Isle
partly in Asgard at Alfather's, and there she was the cause of a war in
which all the warriors of Asgard took part. This refers to the war
between the Asas and Vans. It is the second feud among the powers of

The vala must therefore be Gulveig-Heid of the myth, on whose account
the war between the Asas and Vans broke out, according to Völuspa. Now
it is said of her in the lines above quoted, that she gave birth to
wolves, and that these wolves were "fenrisulfar." Of Angerboda we
already know that she is the mother of the real Fenris-wolf, and that
she, in the Ironwood, produces other wolves which are called by Fenrer's
name (_Fenris kindir_--Völuspa). Thus the identity of Gulveig-Heid and
Angerboda is still further established by the fact that both the one and
the other is called the mother of the Fenris family.

The passage quoted is not the only one which has preserved the memory of
Gulveig-Heid as mother of the were-wolves. Volsungasaga (c. ii. 8)
relates that a giantess, _Hrímnir's_ daughter, first dwelt in Asgard as
the maid-servant of Frigg, then on earth, and that she, during her
sojourn on earth, became the wife of a king, and with him the mother and
grandmother of were-wolves, who infested the woods and murdered men. The
fantastic and horrible saga about these were-wolves has, in Christian
times and by Christian authors been connected with the poems about Helge
Hundingsbane and Sigurd Fafnersbane. The circumstance that the giantess
in question first dwelt in Asgard and thereupon in Midgard, indicates
that she is identical with Gulveig-Heid, and this identity is confirmed
by the statement that she is a daughter of the giant _Hrímnir_.

The myth, as it has come down to our days, knows only one daughter of
this giant, and she is the same as Gulveig-Heid. Hyndluljod states that
_Heidr_ is _Hrímnir's_ daughter, and mentions no sister of hers, but, on
the other hand, a brother _Hrossthiofr_ (_Heidr ok Hrorsthiofr Hrimnis
kindar_--Hyndl., 30). In allusion to the cremation of Gulveig-Heid fire
is called in Thorsdrapa _Hrimnis drósar lyptisylgr_, "the lifting drink
of Hrimner's daughter," the drink which Heid lifted up on spears had to
drink. Nowhere is any other daughter of Hrimner mentioned. And while it
is stated in the above-cited strophe that the giantess who caused the
war in Asgard and became the mother of fenris-wolves was a vala on
Varin's Isle (_vaulva i Varinseyio_), a comparison of Helgakv. Hund., i.
26, with Volsungasaga, c. 2, shows that Varin's Isle and Varin's Fjord
were located in that very country, where Hrimner's daughter was supposed
to have been for some time the wife of a king and to have given birth to

Thus we have found that the three characteristic points--

    unsuccessful cremation of an evil giantess,
    her regeneration after the cremation,
    the same woman as mother of the Fenrer race--

are common to Gulveig-Heid and Angerboda.

Their identity is apparent from various other circumstances, but may be
regarded as completely demonstrated by the proofs given. Gulveig's
activity in antiquity as the founder of the diabolical magic art, as one
who awakens man's evil passions and produces strife in Asgard itself,
has its complement in Angerboda's activity as the mother and nourisher
of that class of beings in whose members witchcraft, thirst for blood,
and hatred of the gods are personified. The activity of the evil
principle has, in the great epic of the myth, formed a continuity
spanning all ages, and this continuous thread of evil is twisted from
the treacherous deeds of Gulveig and Loke, the feminine and the
masculine representatives of the evil principle. Both appear at the dawn
of mankind: Loke has already at the beginning of time secured access to
Alfather (Lokasenna, 9), and Gulveig deceives the sons of men already in
the time of Heimdal's son Borgar. Loke entices Idun from the secure
grounds of Asgard, and treacherously delivers her to the powers of
frost; Gulveig, as we shall see, plays Freyja into the hands of the
giants. Loke plans enmity between the gods and the forces of nature,
which hitherto had been friendly, and which have their personal
representatives in Ivalde's sons; Gulveig causes the war between the
Asas and Vans. The interference of both is interrupted at the close of
the mythic age, when Loke is chained, and Gulveig, in the guise of
Angerboda, is an exile in the Ironwood. Before this they have for a time
been blended, so to speak, into a single being, in which the feminine
assuming masculineness, and the masculine effeminated, bear to the world
an offspring of foes to the gods and to creation. Both finally act their
parts in the destruction of the world. Before that crisis comes
Angerboda has fostered that host of "sons of world-ruin" which Loke is
to lead to battle, and a magic sword which she has kept in the Ironwood
is given to Surt, in whose hand it is to be the death of Frey, the lord
of harvests (see Nos. 89, 98, 101, 103).

That the woman who in antiquity, in various guises, visited Asgard and
Midgard was believed to have had her home in the Ironwood[18] of the
East during the historical age down to Ragnarok is explained by what
Saxo says--viz., that Odin, after his return and reconciliation with the
Vans, banished the agents of the black art both from heaven and from
earth. Here, too, the connection between Gulveig-Heid and Angerboda is
manifest. The war between the Asas and Vans was caused by the burning of
Gulveig by the former. After the reconciliation with the Asas this
punishment cannot again be inflicted on the regenerated witch. The Asas
must allow her to live to the end of time; but both the clans of gods
agree that she must not show her face again in Asgard or Midgard. The
myth concerning the banishment of the famous vala to the Ironwood, and
of the Loke progeny which she there fosters, has been turned into
history by Jordanes in his _De Goth. Origine_, ch. 24, where it is
stated that a Gothic king compelled the suspected valas (_haliorunas_)
found among his people to take their refuge to the deserts in the East
beyond the Moeotian Marsh, where they mixed with the wood-sprites, and
thus became the progenitors of the Huns. In this manner the Christian
Goths got from their mythic traditions an explanation of the source of
the eastern hosts of horsemen, whose ugly faces and barbarous manners
seemed to them to prove an other than purely human origin. The vala
Gulveig-Heid and her like become in Jordanes these _haliorunæ_; Loke and
the giants of the Ironwood become these wood-sprites; the Asa-god who
caused the banishment becomes a king, son of Gandaricus Magnus (the
great ruler of the Gandians, Odin), and Loke's and Angerboda's wonderful
progeny become the Huns.

Stress should be laid on the fact that Jordanes and Saxo have in the
same manner preserved the tradition that Odin and the Asas, after making
peace and becoming reconciled with the Vans, do not apply the
death-penalty and burning to Gulveid-Heid-Angerboda and her kith and
kin, but, instead, sentence them to banishment from the domains of gods
and men. That the tradition preserved in Saxo and Jordanes corresponded
with the myth is proved by the fact that we there rediscover
Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda with her offspring in the Ironwood, which was
thought to be situated in the utmost East, far away from the human
world, and that she remains there undisturbed until the destruction of
the world. The reconciliation between the Asas and Vans has, as this
conclusively shows, been based on an admission on the part of the Asas
that the Vans had a right to find fault with and demand satisfaction for
the murder of Gulveig-Heid. Thus the dispute which caused the war
between Asas and Vans was at last decided to the advantage of the
latter, while they on their part, after being satisfied, reinstate Odin
in his dignity as universal ruler and father of the gods.

(b) Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda identical with Aurboda.

In the Ironwood dwells Angerboda, together with a giant, who is _gygjar
hirdir_, the guardian and watcher of the giantess. He has charge of her
remarkable herds, and also guards a sword brought to the Ironwood. This
vocation has given him the epithet Egther (_Egtherr_--Völuspa), which
means sword-guardian. Saxo speaks of him as Egtherus, an ally of Finns,
skilled in magic, and a chief of Bjarmians, equally skilful in magic
(cp. _Hist._, 248, 249, with Nos. 52, 53). Bjarmians and Finns are in
Saxo made the heirs of the wicked inhabitants of Jotunheim. Vilkinasaga
knows him by the name Etgeir, who watches over precious implements in
Isung's wood. Etgeir is a corruption of Egther, and Isung's wood is a
reminiscence of _Isarnvidr_, _Isarnho_, the Ironwood. In the Vilkinasaga
he is the brother of Vidolf. According to Hyndluljod, all the valas of
the myth come from Vidolf. As Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda is the chief of all
valas, and the teacher of the arts practised by the valas this statement
in Hyndluljod makes us think of her particularly; and as _Hrimnir's_
daughter has been born and burnt several times, she may also have had
several fathers. Among them, then, is Vidolf, whose character, as
described by Saxo, fits well for such a daughter. He is a master in
sorcery, and also skilful in the art of medicine. But the medical art he
practises in such a manner that those who seek his help receive from him
such remedies as do harm instead of good. Only by threats can he be made
to do good with his art (_Hist._, 323, 324). The statement in
Vilkinasaga compared with that in Hyndluljod seems therefore to point
to a near kinship between Angerboda and her sword-guard. She appears to
be the daughter of his brother.

In Völuspa's description of the approach of Ragnarok, Egther Angerboda's
shepherd, is represented as sitting on a mound--like Aurboda's shepherd
in _Skirnisför_--and playing a harp, happy over that which is to happen.
That the giant who is hostile to the gods, and who is the guardian of
the strange herds, does not play an idyl on the strings of his harp does
not need to be stated. He is visited by a being in the guise of the red
cock. The cock, says Völuspa, is _Fjalarr_ (str. 44).

What the heathen records tell us about Fjalar is the following:[19]

(a) He is the same giant as the Younger Edda (i. 144 ff.) calls
Utgard-Loke. The latter is a fire-giant, _Loge's_, the fire's ruler
(Younger Edda, 152), the cause of earthquakes (Younger Edda, 144), and
skilled in producing optical delusions. Fjalar's identity with
Utgard-Loke is proved by Harbardsljod, str. 26, where Thor, on his way
to Fjalar, meets with the same adventures as, according to the Younger
Edda, he met with on his way to Utgard-Loke.

(b) He is the same giant as the one called Suttung. The giant from whom
Odin robs the skaldic mead, and whose devoted daughter Gunlad he causes
bitter sorrow, is called in Havamál sometimes Fjalar and sometimes
Suttung (cp. strs. 13, 14, 104, 105).

(c) Fjalar is the son of the chief of the fire-giants, _Surtr_, and
dwells in the subterranean dales of the latter. A full account of this
in No. 89. Here it will suffice to point out that when Odin flies out of
Fjalar's dwelling with the skaldic mead, it is "from Surt's deep dales"
that he "flying bears" the precious drink (_hinn er Surts or sökkdölum
farmagnudr fljúgandi bar_, a strophe by Eyvind, quoted in the Younger
Edda, p. 242), and that this drink while it remained with Fjalar was
"the drink of Surt's race" (_Sylgr Surts ættar_, Fornms., iii. 3).

(d) Fjalar, with Froste, takes part in the attack of Thjasse's kinsmen
and the Skilfings from Svarin's Mound against "the land of the clayey
plains, to Jaravall" (Völuspa, 14, 15; see Nos. 28, 32). Thus he is
allied with the powers of frost, who are foes of the gods, and who seek
to conquer the Teutonic domain. The approach of the fimbul-winter was
also attended by an earthquake (see Nos. 28, 81).

When, therefore, Völuspa makes Fjalar on his visit to the sword-guardian
in the Ironwood appear in the guise of the red cock, then this is in
harmony with Fjalar's nature as a fire-giant and as a son of Surt.

    Sat thar a haugi
    oc sló haurpo
    gygjar hirthir
    gladr Egther.
    Gol um hanom
    i galgvithi
    fagrraudr hani
    sa er Fjalar heitir (Völusp., 41).

The red cock has from time immemorial been the symbol of fire as a
destructive power.

That what Odin does against Fjalar--when he robs him of the mead, which
in the myth is the most precious of all drinks, and when he deceived his
daughter--is calculated to awaken Fjalar's thirst for revenge and to
bring about a satisfaction sooner or later, lies in the very spirit of
Teutonic poetry and ethics, especially since, Odin's act, though done
from a good motive, was morally reprehensible. What Fjalar's errand to
Angerboda's sword-guard was appears from the fact that when the last war
between the gods and their enemies is fought a short time afterwards,
Fjalar's father, the chief of the fire-giants, Surt, is armed with the
best of the mythical weapons, the sword which had belonged to a
_valtivi_, one of the gods of Asgard (Völusp., 50), and which casts the
splendour of the sun upon the world. The famous sword of the myth, that
which Thjasse finished with a purpose hostile to the gods (see No. 87
and elsewhere), the sword concealed by Mimer (see Nos. 87, 98, 101), the
sword found by Svipdag (see Nos. 89, 101, 103), the sword secured
through him by Frey, the one given by Frey to Gymer and Aurboda in
exchange for Gerd,--this sword is found again in the Ragnarok conflict,
wielded by Surt, and causes Frey's death (Völuspa), it having been
secured by Surt's son, Fjalar, in the Ironwood from Angerboda's

    Gulli keypta
    leztu Gymis dottur
    oc seldir thitt sva sverth;
    Enn er Muspells synir
    rida myrcvith yfir
    veizta thu tha, vesall, hve thu vegr (Lokas., 42).

This passage not only tells us that Frey gave his sword in exchange for
Gerd to the parents of the giantess, Gymer and Aurboda, but also gives
us to understand that this bargain shall cause his death in Ragnarok.
This bride-purchase is fully described in Skirnismal, in which poem we
learn that the gods most unwillingly part with the safety which the
incomparable sword secured to Asgard. They yield in order to save the
life of the harvest-god, who was wasting away with longing and anxiety,
but not until the giants had refused to accept other Asgard treasures,
among them the precious ring Draupner, which the Asa-father once laid on
the pulseless breast of his favourite son Balder. At the approach of
Ragnarok, Surt's son, Fjalar, goes to the Ironwood to fetch for his
father the sword by which Frey, its former possessor, is to fall. The
sword is then guarded by Angerboda's shepherd, and consequently belongs
to her. In other words, the sword which Aurboda enticed Frey to give her
is now found in the possession of Angerboda. This circumstance of itself
is a very strong reason for their identity. If there were no other
evidence of their identity than this, a sound application of methodology
would still bid us accept this identity rather than explain the matter
by inventing a new, nowhere-supported myth, and thus making the sword
pass from Aurboda to another giantess.

When we now add the important fact in the disposition of this matter,
that Aurboda's son-in-law, Frey, demands, in behalf of a near kinsman,
satisfaction from the Asas when they had killed and burnt
Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, then it seems to me that there can be no doubt
in regard to the identity of Aurboda and Angerboda, the less so, since
all that our mythic fragments have to tell us about Gymer's wife
confirms the theory that she is the same person. Aurboda has, like
Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, practised the arts of sorcery: she is one of the
valas of the evil giant world. This is told to us in a strophe by the
skald _Refr_, who calls her "Gymer's primeval cold vala" (_ursvöl Gymis
völva_--Younger Edda, i. 326, 496). She might be called "primeval cold"
(_ursvöl_) from the fact that the fire was not able to pierce her heart
and change it to ashes, in spite of a threefold burning. Under all
circumstances, the passage quoted informs us that she is a vala.

But have our mythic fragments preserved any allusion to show that
Aurboda, like Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, ever dwelt among the gods in
Asgard? Asgard is a place where giants are refused admittance.
Exceptions from this prohibition must have been very few, and the myths
must have given good reasons for them. We know in regard to Loke's
appearance in Asgard, that it is based on a promise given him by the
Asa-father in time's morning; and the promise was sealed with blood
(Lokasenna, 9). If, now, this Aurboda, who, like Angerboda, is a vala of
giant race, and like Angerboda, is the owner of Frey's sword, and, like
Angerboda, is a kinswoman of the Vans--if now this same Aurboda, in
further likeness with Angerboda, was one of the certainly very few of
the giant class who was permitted to enter within the gates of Asgard,
then it must be admitted that this fact absolutely confirms their

Aurboda did actually dwell in Asgard. Of this we are assured by the poem
"Fjölsvinsmal." There it is related that when Svipdag came to the gates
of Asgard to seek and find Menglad-Freyja, who was destined to be his
wife (see Nos. 96, 97), he sees Menglad sitting on a hill surrounded by
goddesses, whose very names _Eir_, _Björt_, _Blid_, and _Frid_, tell us
that they are goddesses of lower or higher rank. _Eir_ is an asynja of
the healing art (Younger Edda, i. 114). _Björt_, _Blid_, and _Frid_ are
the dises of splendour, benevolence, and beauty. They are mighty beings,
and can give aid in distress to all who worship them (Fjolsv., 40). But
in the midst of this circle of dises, who surround Menglad, Svipdag also
sees Aurboda (Fjolsv., 38).

Above them Svipdag sees Mimer's tree--the world-tree (see No. 97),
spreading its all-embracing branches, on which grow fruits which soothe
_kelisjukar konur_ and lighten the entrance upon terrestrial life for
the children of men (Fjolsv., 22). Menglad-Freyja is, as we know, the
goddess of love and fertility, and it is Frigg's and her vocation to
dispose of these fruits for the purposes for which they are intended.

The Volsungasaga has preserved a record concerning these fruits, and
concerning the giant-daughter who was admitted to Asgard as a
maid-servant of the goddesses. A king and queen had long been married
without getting any children. They beseeched the gods for an heir.
Frigg heard their prayers and sent them in the guise of a crow the
daughter of the giant Hrimner, a giantess who had been adopted in Asgard
as Odin's "wish-may." Hrimner's daughter took an apple with her, and
when the queen had eaten it, it was not long before she perceived that
her wish would come to pass (Volsungasaga, pp. 1, 2). Hrimner's daughter
is, as we know, Gulveig-Heid.

Thus the question whether Aurboda ever dwelt in Asgard is answered in
the affirmative. We have discovered her, though she is the daughter of a
giant, in the circle around Menglad-Freyja, where she has occupied a
subordinate position as maid-servant. At the same time we have found
that Gulveig-Heid has for some time had an occupation in Asgard of
precisely the same kind as that which belongs to a dis serving under the
goddess of fertility. Thus the similarity between Aurboda and
Gulveig-Heid is not confined to the fact that they, although giantesses,
dwelt in Asgard, but they were employed there in the same manner.

The demonstration that Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda is identical with Aurboda
may now be regarded as complete. Of the one as of the other it is
related that she was a vala of giant-race, that she nevertheless dwelt
for some time in Asgard, and was there employed by Frigg or Freyja in
the service of fertility, and that she possessed the sword, which had
formerly belonged to Frey, and by which Frey is to fall. Aurboda is
Frey's mother-in-law, consequently closely related to him; and it must
have been in behalf of a near relation that Frey and Njord demanded
satisfaction from the Asas when the latter slew Gulveig-Heid. Under such
circumstances it is utterly impossible from a methodological standpoint
to regard them otherwise than identical. We must consider that nearly
all mythic characters are polyonomous, and that the Teutonic mythology,
particularly, on account of its poetics, is burdened with a
highly-developed polyonomy.

But of Gulveig-Heid's and Aurboda's identity there are also other proofs
which, for the sake of completeness, we will not omit.

So far as the very names Gulveig and Aurboda are concerned the one can
serve as a paraphrase of the other. The first part of the name
_Aurboda_, the _aur_ of many significations may be referred to _eyrir_,
pl. _aurar_, which means precious metal, and is thought to be borrowed
from the Latin _aurum_ (gold). Thus _Gull_ and _Aur_ correspond. In the
same manner _veig_ in Gulveig can correspond to _boda_ in _Aurboda_.
_Veig_ means a fermenting liquid. _Boda_ has two significations. It can
be the feminine form of _bodi_, meaning fermenting water, froth, foam.
No other names compounded with _boda_ occur in Norse literature than
_Aurboda_ and _Angrboda_.

Ynglingasaga[20] (ch. 4) relates a tradition that _Freyja kendi fyrst
med Ásum seid_, that Freyja was the first to practise sorcery in Asgard.
There is no doubt that the statement is correct. For we have seen that
Gulveig-Heid, the sorceress and spreader of sorcery in antiquity,
succeeded in getting admission to Asgard, and that Aurboda is mentioned
as particularly belonging to the circle of serving dises who attended
Freyja. As this giantess was so zealous in spreading her evil arts among
the inhabitants of Midgard, it would be strange if the myth did not make
her, after she had gained Freyja's confidence, try to betray her into
practising the same arts. Doubtless Völuspa and Saxo have reference to
Gulveig-Heid-Aurboda when they say that Freyja, through some treacherous
person among her attendants, was delivered into the hands of the giants.

In his historical account relating how Freyja (_Syritha_) was robbed
from Asgard and came to the giants but was afterwards saved from their
power, Saxo (_Hist._, 331; cp. No. 100) tells that a woman, who was
secretly allied with a giant, had succeeded in ingratiating herself in
her favour, and for some time performed the duties of a maid-servant at
her home; but this she did in order to entice her in a cunning manner
away from her safe home to a place where the giant lay in ambush and
carried her away to the recesses of his mountain country. (_Gigas
fæminam subornat, quæ cum obtenta virginis familiaritate, ejus
aliquamdiu pedissequam egisset, hanc tandem a paternis procul penatibus,
quæsita callidius digressione, reduxit; quam ipse mox irruens in
arctiora montanæ crepidinis septa devexit._) Thus Saxo informs us that
it was a woman among Freyja's attendants who betrayed her, and that this
woman was allied with the giant world, which is hostile to the gods,
while she held a trusted servant's place with the goddess. Aurboda is
the only woman connected with the giants in regard to whom our mythic
records inform us that she occupied such a position with Freyja; and as
Aurboda's character and part, played in the epic of the myth, correspond
with such an act of treason, there is no reason for assuming the mere
possibility, that the betrayer of Freyja may have been some one else,
who is neither mentioned nor known.

With this it is important to compare Völuspa, 26, 27, which not only
mentions the fact that Freyja came into the power of the giants through
treachery, but also informs us how the treason was punished:

    Tha gengo regin oll
    A ráukstola,
    ginheilog god
    oc um that gettuz
    hverir hefdi lopt alt
    levi blandit
    etha ett iotuns
    Oths mey gefna
    thorr ein thar va
    thrungin modi,
    hann sialdan sitr
    er hann slict um fregn.

These Völuspa lines stand in Codex Regius in immediate connection with
the above-quoted strophes which speak of Gulveig-Heid and of the war
caused by her between the Asas and Vans. They inform us that the gods
assembled to hold a solemn counsel to find out "who had filled all the
air with evil," or "who had delivered Freyja to the race of giants;" and
that the person found guilty was at once slain by Thor, who grew most

Now if this person is Gulveig-Aurboda, then it follows that she
received her death-blow from Thor's hammer, before the Asas made in
common the unsuccessful attempt to change her body into ashes. We also
find elsewhere in our mythic records that an exceedingly dangerous woman
met with precisely this fate. There she is called _Hyrrokin_. A strophe
by Thorbjorn Disarskald preserved in the Younger Edda, states that
_Hyrrokin_ was one of the giantesses slain by Thor. But the very
appellation _Hyrrokin_, which must be an epithet of a giantess known by
some other more common name indicates that some effort worthy of being
remembered in the myth had been made to burn her, but that the effort
resulted in her being smoked (_rökt_) rather than that she was burnt;
for the epithet _Hyrrokin_ means the "fire-smoked." For those familiar
with the contents of the myth, this epithet was regarded as plain enough
to indicate who was meant. If it is not, therefore, to be looked upon as
an unhappy and misleading epithet, it must refer to the thrice in vain
burnt Gulveig. All that we learn about _Hyrrokin_ confirms her identity
with Aurboda. In the symbolic-allegorical work of art, which toward the
close of the tenth century decorated a hall at Hjardarholt, and of which
I shall give a fuller account elsewhere, the storm which from the land
side carried Balder's ship out on the sea is represented by the giantess
Hyrrokin. In the same capacity of storm-giantess carrying sailors out
upon the ocean appears Gymer's wife, Aurboda, in a poem by _Refr_;

    Færir björn, thar er bára
    brestr, undinna festa,

    Opt i Ægis kjopta
    úrsvöl Gymis völva.

"Gymer's ancient-cold vala often carries the ship amid breaking billows
into the jaws of Ægir." Gymer, Aurboda's husband, represents in the
physical interpretation of the myth the east wind coming from the
Ironwood. From the other side of Eystrasalt (the Baltic) Gymer sings his
song (Ynglingasaga, 36); and the same gale belongs to Aurboda, for Ægir,
into whose jaws she drives the ships, is the great open western ocean.
That Aurboda represents the gale from the east finds its natural
explanation in her identity with Angerboda "the old," who dwells in the
Ironwood in the uttermost east, "_Austr byr hin alldna i iarnvithi_"

The result of the investigation is that _Gullveig-Heidr_, _Aurboda_, and
_Angrboda_ are different names for the different hypostases of the
thrice-born and thrice-burnt one, and that _Hyrrokin_, "the
fire-smoked," is an epithet common to all these hypostases.

[Footnote 18: In Völuspa the wood is called both _Jarnvidr, Gaglvidr_
(Cod. Reg.), and _Galgvidr_ (Cod. Hauk.). It may be that we here have a
fossil word preserved in Völuspa meaning metal. Perhaps the wood was a
copper or bronze forest before it became an iron wood. Compare
_ghalgha_, _ghalghi_ (Fick., ii. 578) = metal, which, again, is to be
compared with _Chalkos._ = copper, bronze.]

[Footnote 19: In _Bragarædur's_ pseudo-mythic account of the Skaldic
mead (Younger Edda, 216 ff.) the name _Fjalarr_ also appears. In regard
to the value of this account, see the investigation in No. 89.]

[Footnote 20: Ynglingasaga is the opening chapters of Snorre Sturlason's


            THE WORLD WAR (_continued_). THE BREACH OF PEACE
                   OF ASGARD. THE VICTORY OF THE VANS.

When the Asas had refused to give satisfaction for the murder of
Gulveig, and when Odin, by hurling his spear, had indicated that the
treaty of peace between him and the Vans was broken, the latter leave
the assembly hall and Asgard. This is evident from the fact that they
afterwards return to Asgard and attack the citadel of the Asa clan. The
gods are now divided into two hostile camps: on the one side Odin and
his allies, among whom are Heimdal (see Nos. 38, 39, 40), and Skade; on
the other Njord, Frigg (Saxo, _Hist._, 42-44), Frey, Ull (Saxo, _Hist_.,
130, 131), and Freyja and her husband Svipdag, besides all that clan of
divinities who were not adopted in Asgard, but belong to the race of
Vans and dwell in Vanaheim.

So far as Skade is concerned the breach between the gods seems to have
furnished her an opportunity of getting a divorce from Njord, with whom
she did not live on good terms. According to statements found in the
myths, Thjasse's daughter and he were altogether too different in
disposition to dwell in peace together. Saxo (_Hist._, 53 ff.) and the
Younger Edda (p. 94) have both preserved the record of a song which
describes their different tastes as to home and surroundings. Skade
loved Thrymheim, the rocky home of her father Thjasse, on whose
snow-clad plains she was fond of running on skees and of felling wild
beasts with her arrows; but when Njord had remained nine days and nine
nights among the mountains he was weary of the rocks and of the howling
of wolves, and longed for the song of swans on the sea-strand. But when
Skade accompanied him thither she could not long endure to be awakened
every morning by the shrieking of sea-fowls. In Grimnismal, 11, it is
said that Skade "now" occupies her father's "ancient home" in
Thrymheim, but Njord is not named there. In a strophe by Thord Sjarekson
(Younger Edda, 262) we read that Skade never became devoted to the
Vana-god (_nama snotr una godbrúdr Vani_), and Eyvind Skalda-spiller
relates in _Haleygjatal_ that there was a time when Odin dwelt _í
Manheimum_ together with Skade, and begat with her many sons. With
_Manheimar_ is meant that part of the world which is inhabited by man;
that is to say, Midgard and the lower world, where are also found a race
of _menskir menn_ (see Nos. 52, 53, 59, 63), and the topographical
counterpart of the word is _Ásgardr_. Thus it must have been after his
banishment from Asgard, while he was separated from Frigg and found
refuge somewhere in _Manheimar_, that Odin had Skade for his wife. Her
epithet in Grimnismal, _skír brúdr goda_, also seems to indicate that
she had conjugal relations with more than one of the gods.

While Odin was absent and deposed as ruler of the world, Ull has
occupied so important a position among the ruling Vans that, according
to the tradition preserved in Saxo, they bestowed upon him the task and
honour which until that time had belonged to Odin (_Dii ... Ollerum
quendam non solum in regni, sed etiam in divinitatis infulas
subrogavere_--_Hist._, 130). This is explained by the fact that Njord
and Frey, though _valtívar_ and brave warriors when they are invoked,
are in their very nature gods of peace and promoters of wealth and
agriculture, while Ull is by nature a warrior. He is a skilful archer,
excellent in a duel, and _hefir hermanns atgervi_ (Younger Edda, i.
102). Also after the reconciliation between the Asas and Vans, Thor's
stepson Ull has held a high position in Asgard, as is apparently
corroborated by Odin's words in Grimnismal, 41 (_Ullar hylli ok allra

From the mythic accounts in regard to the situation and environment of
Asgard we may conclude that the siege by the Vans was no easy task. The
home of the Asas is surrounded by the atmospheric ocean, whose strong
currents make it difficult for the mythic horses to swim to it (see Nos.
65, 93). The bridge Bifrost is not therefore superfluous, but it is that
connection between the lower worlds and Asgard which the gods daily use,
and which must be captured by the enemy before the great cordon which
encloses the shining halls of the gods can be attacked. The wall is
built of "the limbs of Lerbrimer" (Fjolsv., 1), and constructed by its
architect in such a manner that it is a safe protection against
mountain-giants and frost-giants (Younger Edda, 134). In the wall is a
gate wondrously made by the artist-brothers who are sons of "Solblinde"
(_Valgrind_--Grimnism., 22; _thrymgjöll_--Fjölsvimsm., 10). Few there
are who understand the lock of that gate, and if anybody brings it out
of its proper place in the wall-opening where it blocks the way for
those who have no right to enter, then the gate itself becomes a chain
for him who has attempted such a thing (_Forn er su grind, enn that fáir
vito, hor hve er i lás um lokin_--Grimn., 22. _Fjöturr fastr verdr vid
faranda hvern er hana hefr frá hlidi_--Fjölsv., 10).

Outside of the very high Asgard cordon and around it there flows a rapid
river (see below), the moat of the citadel. Over the eddies of the
stream floats a dark, shining ignitible mist. If it is kindled it
explodes in flames, whose bickering tongues strike their victims with
unerring certainty. It is the _vaferloge_, "the bickering flame," "the
quick fire," celebrated in ancient songs--_vafrlogi_, _vafreydi_,
_skjót-brinni_. It was this fire which the gods kindled around Asgard
when they saw Thjasse approaching in eagle guise. In it their
irreconcilable foe burnt his pinions, and fell to the ground.
"Haustlaung," Thjodolf's poem, says that when Thjasse approached the
citadel of the gods "the gods raised the quick fire and sharpened their
javelins"--_Hófu skjót; en skófu sköpt; ginnregin brinna_. The "quick
fire," _skjót-brinni_, is the _vaferloge_.[21]

The material of which the ignitible mist consists is called "black
terror-gleam." It is _or odauccom_; that is to say, _ofdauccom ognar
ljoma_ (Fafn., 40) (_cp. myrckvan vafrloga_--Skirn., 8, 9; Fjolsv., 31).
It is said to be "wise," which implies that it consciously aims at him
for whose destruction it is kindled.

How a water could be conceived that evaporates a dark, ignitible mist we
find explained in Thorsdrapa. The thunder-storm is the "storm of the
vaferfire," and Thor is the "ruler of the chariot of the
vaferfire-storm" (_vafreyda hreggs húfstjóri_). Thus the thunder-cloud
contains the water that evaporates a dark material for lightning. The
dark metallic colour which is peculiar to the thunder-cloud was regarded
as coming from that very material which is the "black terror-gleam" of
which lightning is formed. When Thor splits the cloud he separates the
two component parts, the water and the vafermist; the former falls down
as rain, the latter is ignited and rushes away in quick, bickering,
zigzag flames--the vaferfires. That these are "wise" was a common Aryan
belief. They do not proceed blindly, but know their mark and never miss

The river that foams around Asgard thus has its source in the
thunder-clouds; not as we find them after they have been split by Thor,
but such as they are originally, swollen with a celestial water that
evaporates vafermist. All waters--subterranean, terrestrial, and
celestial--have their source in that great subterranean fountain
Hvergelmer. Thence they come and thither they return (Grimn., 26; see
Nos. 59, 63, 33). Hvergelmer's waters are sucked up by the northern root
of the world-tree; they rise through its trunk, spread into its branches
and leaves, and evaporate from its crown into a water-tank situated on
the top of Asgard, _Eikthyrnir_, in Grimnismal, str. 26, symbolised as a
"stag"[22] who stands on the roof of Odin's hall and out of whose horns
the waters stream down into Hvergelmer. _Eikthyrnir_ is the great
celestial water-tank which gathers and lets out the thunder-cloud. In
this tank the Asgard river has its source, and hence it consists not
only of foaming water but also of ignitible vafermists. In its capacity
of discharger of the thunder-cloud, the tank is called _Eikthyrnir_, the
oak-stinger. Oaks struck by lightning is no unusual occurrence. The oak
is, according to popular belief based on observation, that tree which
the lightning most frequently strikes.

But Asgard is not the only citadel which is surrounded by vafermists.
These are also found enveloping the home where dwelt the storm-giant
Gymer and the storm-giantess Aurboda, the sorceress who knows all of
Asgard's secrets, at the time when Frey sent Skirner to ask for the hand
of their daughter Gerd. Epics which in their present form date from
Christian times make vaferflames burn around castles, where goddesses,
pricked by sleep-thorns, are slumbering. This is a belief of a later

To get over or through the vaferflame is, according to the myth,
impossible for anyone who has not got a certain mythical horse to
ride--probably Sleipner, the eight-footed steed of the Asa-father, which
is the best of all horses (Grimn., 44). The quality of this steed, which
enables it to bear its rider unscathed through the vaferflame, makes it
indespensable when this obstacle is to be overcome. When Skirner is to
go on Frey's journey of courtship to Gerd, he asks for that purpose _mar
thann er mic um myrckvan beri visan vafrloga_, and is allowed to ride it
on and for the journey (Skirn., 8, 9). This horse must accordingly have
been in the possession of the Vans when they conquered Asgard, an
assumption confirmed by what is to be stated below. (In the great epic
Sigurd's horse Grane is made to inherit the qualities of this divine

On the outer side of the Asgard river, and directly opposite the Asgard
gate, lie projecting ramparts (_forgardir_) to protect the drawbridge,
which from the opening in the wall can be dropped down across the river
(see below). When Svipdag proceeded toward Menglad's abode in Asgard, he
first came to this _forgardir_ (Fjöls., i. 3). There he is hailed by the
watch of the citadel, and thence he gets a glimpse over the gate of all
the glorious things which are hid behind the high walls of the citadel.

Outside the river Asgard has fields with groves and woods (Younger Edda,
136, 210).

Of the events of the wars waged around Asgard, the mythic fragments,
which the Icelandic records have preserved, give us but very little
information, though they must have been favourite themes for the heathen
skaldic art, which here had an opportunity of describing in a
characteristic manner all the gods involved, and of picturing not only
their various characters, but also their various weapons, equipments,
and horses. In regard to the weapons of attack we must remember that
Thor at the outbreak of the conflict is deprived of the assistance of
his splendid hammer: it has been broken by Svipdag's sword of victory
(see Nos. 101, 103)--a point which it was necessary for the myth to
assume, otherwise the Vans could hardly he represented as conquerors.
Nor do the Vans have the above-mentioned sword at their disposal: it is
already in the power of Gymer and Aurboda. The irresistible weapons
which in a purely mechanical manner would have decided the issue of the
war, were disposed of in advance in order that the persons themselves,
with their varied warlike qualities, might get to the foreground and
decide the fate of the conflict by heroism or prudence, by prescient
wisdom or by blind daring. In this war the Vans have particularly
distinguished themselves by wise and well calculated strategies. This we
learn from Völuspa, where it makes the final victors conquer Asgard
through _vígspá_, that is, foreknowledge applied to warlike ends (str.
26). The Asas, as we might expect from Odin's brave sons, have
especially distinguished themselves by their strength and courage. A
record of this is found in the words of Thorbjorn Disarskald (Younger
Edda, 256).

    Thórr hefir Yggs med árum
    Ásgard of threk vardan.

"Thor with Odin's clan-men defended Asgard with indomitable courage."

But in number they must have been far inferior to their foes. Simply the
circumstance that Odin and his men had to confine themselves to the
defence of Asgard shows that nearly all other divinities of various
ranks had allied themselves with his enemies. The ruler of the lower
world (Mimer) and Honer are the only ones of whom it can be said that
they remained faithful to Odin; and if we can trust the Heimskringla
tradition, which is related as history and greatly corrupted, then Mimer
lost his life in an effort at mediation between the contending gods,
while he and Honer were held as hostages among the Vans (Ynglingas., ch.
4). Asgard was at length conquered. Völuspa, str. 25, relates the final

    brotin var bordvegr
    borgar asa
    knatto vanir vigspa
    vollo sporna.

    Broken was the bulwark
    of the asaburg;
    Through warlike prudence were the Vans able
    its fields to tread.

Völuspa's words seem to indicate that the Vans took Asgard by strategy;
and this is confirmed by a source which shall be quoted below. But to
carry out the plan which chiefly involved the finding of means for
crossing the vaferflames kindled around the citadel and for opening the
gates of Asgard, not only cunning but also courage was required. The
myth has given the honour of this undertaking to Njord, the clan-chief
of the Vans and the commander of their forces. This is clear from the
above-quoted passage: _Njordr klauf Herjans hurdir_--"Njord broke Odin's
doors open," which should be compared with the poetical paraphrase for
battle-axe: _Gauts megin-hurdar galli_--"the destroyer of Odin's great
gate,"--a paraphrase that indicates that Njord burst the Asgard gate
open with the battle-axe. The conclusion which must be drawn from these
utterances is confirmed by an account with which the sixth book of Saxo
begins, and which doubtless is a fragment of the myth concerning the
conquest of Asgard by the Vans corrupted and told as history.

The event is transferred by Saxo to the reign of King Fridlevus II. It
should here be remarked that every important statement made by Saxo
about this Fridlevus, on a closer examination, is found to be taken from
the myth concerning Njord.

There were at that time twelve brothers, says Saxo, distinguished for
courage, strength, and fine physical appearance. They were "widely
celebrated for gigantic triumphs." To their trophies and riches many
peoples had paid tribute. But the source from which Saxo received
information in regard to Fridlevus' conflict with them did not mention
more than seven of these twelve, and of these seven Saxo gives the
names. They are called Bjorn, Asbjorn, Gunbjorn, &c. In all the names is
found the epithet of the Asa-god Bjorn.

The brothers had had allies, says Saxo further, but at the point when
the story begins they had been abandoned by them, and on this account
they had been obliged to confine themselves on an island surrounded by a
most violent stream which fell from the brow of a very high rock, and
the whole surface of which glittered with raging foam. The island was
fortified by a very high wall (_præaltum vallum_), in which was built a
remarkable gate. It was so built that the hinges were placed near the
ground between the sides of the opening in the wall, so that the gate
turning thereon could, by a movement regulated by chains, be lowered and
form a bridge across the stream.

Thus the gate is, at the same time, a drawbridge of that kind with which
the Germans became acquainted during the war with the Romans already
before the time of Tacitus (cp. _Annal._, iv. 51, with iv. 47). Within
the fortification there was a most strange horse, and also a remarkably
strong dog, which formerly had watched the herds of the giant Offotes.
The horse was celebrated for his size and speed, and it was the only
steed with which it was possible for a rider to cross the raging stream
around the island fortress.

King Fridlevus now surrounds this citadel with his forces. These are
arrayed at some distance from the citadel, and in the beginning nothing
else is gained by the siege than that the besieged are hindered from
making sallies into the surrounding territory. The citadel cannot be
taken unless the above-mentioned horse gets into the power of Fridlevus.
Bjorn, the owner of the horse, makes sorties from the citadel, and in so
doing he did not always take sufficient care, for on one occasion when
he was on the outer side of the stream, and had gone some distance away
from his horse, he fell into an ambush laid by Fridlevus. He saved
himself by rushing headlong over the bridge, which was drawn up behind
him, but the precious horse became Fridlevus' booty. This was of course
a severe loss to the besieged, and must have diminished considerably
their sense of security. Meanwhile, Fridlevus was able to manage the
matter in such a way that the accident served rather to lull them into
increased safety. During the following night the brothers found their
horse, safe and sound, back on the island. Hence it must have swum back
across the stream. And when it was afterwards found that the dead body
of a man, clad in the shining robes of Fridlevus, floated on the eddies
of the stream, they took it for granted that Fridlevus himself had
perished in the stream.

But the real facts were as follows: Fridlevus, attended by a single
companion, had in the night ridden from his camp to the river. There his
companion's life had to be sacrificed, in order that the king's plan
might be carried out. Fridlevus exchanged clothes with the dead man,
who, in the king's splendid robes, was cast into the stream. Then
Fridlevus gave spur to the steed which he had captured, and rode through
the eddies of the stream. Having passed this obstacle safely, he set the
horse at liberty, climbed on a ladder over the wall, stole into the hall
where the brothers were wont to assemble, hid himself under a projection
over the hall door, listened to their conversation, saw them go out to
reconnoitre the island, and saw them return, secure in the conviction
that there was no danger at hand. Then he went to the gate and let it
fall across the stream. His forces had, during the night, advanced
toward the citadel, and when they saw the drawbridge down and the way
open, they stormed the fortress and captured it.

The fact that we here have a transformation of the myth, telling how
Njord at the head of the Vans conquered Asgard, is evident from the
following circumstances:

(_a_) The conqueror is Fridlevus. The most of what Saxo relates about
this Fridlevus is, as stated, taken from the myth about Njord, and told
as history.

(_b_) The brothers were, according to Saxo, originally twelve, which is
the well-established number of Odin's clansmen: his sons, and the
adopted Asa-gods. But when the siege in question takes place, Saxo finds
in his source only seven of the twelve mentioned as enclosed in the
citadel beseiged by Fridlevus. The reason for the diminishing of the
number is to be found in the fact that the adopted gods--Njord, Frey,
and Ull--had left Asgard, and are in fact identical with the leaders of
the besiegers. If we also deduct Balder and Hödr, who, at the time of
the event, are dead and removed to the lower world, then we have left
the number seven given. The name Bjorn, which they all bear, is an Asa
epithet (Younger Edda, i. 553). The brothers have formerly had allies,
but these have abandoned them (_deficientibus a se sociis_), and it is
on this account that they must confine themselves within their citadel.
The Asas have had the Vans and other divine powers as allies, but these
abandon them, and the Asas must defend themselves on their own fortified

(_c_) Before this the brothers have made themselves celebrated for
extraordinary exploits, and have enjoyed a no less extraordinary power.
They shone on account of their _giganteis triumphis_--an ambiguous
expression which alludes to the mythic sagas concerning the victories of
the Asas over Jotunheim's giants (_gigantes_), and nations have
submitted to them as victors, and enriched them with treasures
(_trophæis gentium celebres, spoliis locupletes_).

(_d_) The island on which they are confined is fortified, like the Asa
citadel, by an immensely high wall (_præaltum vallum_), and is
surrounded by a stream which is impassable unless one possesses a horse
which is found among the brothers. Asgard is surrounded by a river belt
covered with vaferflames, which cannot be crossed unless one has that
single steed which _um myrckvan beri visan vafrloga_, and this belongs
to the Asas.

(_e_) The stream which roars around the fortress of the brothers comes
_ex summis montium cacuminibus_. The Asgard stream comes from the
collector of the thunder-cloud, _Eikthynir_, who stands on the summit of
the world of the gods. The kindled vaferflames, which did not suit an
historical narration, are explained by Saxo to be a _spumeus candor_, a
foaming whiteness, a shining froth, which in uniform, eddying billows
everywhere whirl on the surface of the stream, (_tota alvei tractu undis
uniformiter turbidatis spumeus ubique candor exuberat_).

(_f_) The only horse which was able to run through the shining and
eddying foam is clearly one of the mythic horses. It is named along with
another prodigy from the animal kingdom of mythology, viz., the terrible
dog of the giant Offotes. Whether this is a reminiscence of _Fenrir_
which was kept for some time in Asgard, or of Odin's wolf-dog _Freki_,
or of some other saga-animal of that sort, we will not now decide.

(_g_) Just as Asgard has an artfully contrived gate, so has also the
citadel of the brothers. Saxo's description of the gate implies that any
person who does not know its character as a drawbridge, but lays violent
hands on the mechanism which holds it in an upright position, falls, and
is crushed under it. This explains the words of Fjölsvinnsmal about the
gate to that citadel, within which Freyja-Menglad dwells: _Fjöturr
fastr verdr vid faranda hvern, er hana hefr frá hlidi_.

(_h_) In the myth, it is Njord himself who removes the obstacle, "Odin's
great gate," placed in his way. In Saxo's account, it is Fridlevus
himself who accomplishes the same exploit.

(_i_) In Saxo's narration occurs an improbability, which is explained by
the fact that he has transformed a myth into history. When Fridlevus is
safe across the stream, he raises a ladder against the wall and climbs
up on to it. Whence did he get this ladder, which must have been
colossal, since the wall he got over in this manner is said to be
_præaltum_? Could he have taken it with him on the horse's back? Or did
the besieged themselves place it against the wall as a friendly aid to
the foe, who was already in possession of the only means for crossing
the stream? Both assumptions are alike improbable. Saxo had to take
recourse to a ladder, for he could not, without damaging the
"historical" character of his story, repeat the myth's probable
description of the event. The horse which can gallop through the
bickering flame can also leap over the highest wall. Sleipner's ability
in this direction is demonstrated in the account of how it, with Hermod
in the saddle, leaps over the wall to Balder's high hall in the lower
world (Younger Edda, 178). The impassibility of the Asgard wall is
limited to mountain-giants and frost-giants; for a god riding Odin's
horse the wall was no obstacle. No doubt the myth has also stated that
the Asas, after Njord had leaped over the wall and sought out the
above-mentioned place of concealment, found within the wall their
precious horse again, which lately had become the booty of the enemy.
And where else should they have found it, if we regard the stream with
the bickering flames as breaking against the very foot of the wall?

Finally, it should be added, that our myths tell of no other siege than
the one Asgard was subjected to by the Vans. If other sieges have been
mentioned, they cannot have been of the same importance as this one, and
consequently they could not so easily have left traces in the mythic
traditions adapted to history or heroic poetry; nor could a historicised
account of a mythic siege which did not concern Asgard have preserved
the points here pointed out, which are in harmony with the story of the
Asgard siege.

When the citadel of the gods is captured, the gods are, as we have seen,
once more in possession of the steed, which, judging from its qualities,
must be Sleipner. Thus Odin has the means of escaping from the enemy
after all resistance has proved impossible. Thor has his thundering car,
which, according to the Younger Edda, has room for several besides the
owner, and the other Asas have splendid horses (Grimnism., Younger
Edda), even though they are not equal to that of their father. The Asas
give up their throne of power, and the Vans now assume the rule of the

[Footnote 21: The author of _Bragarædur_ in the Younger Edda has
understood this passage to mean that the Asas, when they saw Thjasse
approaching, carried out a lot of shavings, which were kindled (!)]

[Footnote 22: In the same poem the elf-artist, Dáinn, and the
"dwarf"-artist, Dvalinn, are symbolised as stags, the wanderer Ratr (see
below) as a squirrel, the wolf-giant _Grafvitner's_ sons as serpents,
the bridge Bifrost as a fish (see No. 93), &c. Fortunately for the
comprehension of our mythic records such symbolising is confined to a
few strophes in the poem named, and these strophes appear to have
belonged originally to an independent song which made a speciality of
that sort of symbolism, and to have been incorporated in Grimnismal in
later times.]


           THE WORLD WAR (_continued_). THE SIGNIFICANCE OF

In regard to the significance of the change of administration in the
world of gods, Saxo has preserved a tradition which is of no small
interest. The circumstance that Odin and his sons had to surrender the
reign of the world did not imply that mankind should abandon their faith
in the old gods and accept a new religion. Hitherto the Asas and Vans
had been worshipped in common. Now, when Odin was deposed, his name,
honoured by the nations, was not to be obliterated. The name was given
to Ull, and, as if he really were Odin, he was to receive the sacrifices
and prayers that hitherto had been addressed to the banished one
(_Hist._, 130). The ancient faith was to be maintained, and the shift
involved nothing but the person; there was no change of religion. But in
connection with this information, we also learn, from another statement
in Saxo, that the myth concerning the war between Asas and Vans was
connected with traditions concerning a conflict between various views
among the believers in the Teutonic religion concerning offerings and
prayers. The one view was more ritual, and demanded more attention paid
to sacrifices. This view seems to have gotten the upper hand after the
banishment of Odin. It was claimed that sacrifices and hymns addressed
at the same time to several or all of the gods, did not have the
efficacy of pacifying and reconciling angry deities, but that to each
one of the gods should be given a separate sacrificial service (Saxo,
_Hist._, 43). The result of this was, of course, an increase of
sacrifices and a more highly-developed ritual, which from its very
nature might have produced among the Teutons the same hierarchy as
resulted from an excess of sacrifices among their Aryan-Asiatic kinsmen.
The correctness of Saxo's statement is fully confirmed by strophe 145 in
Havamál, which advocates the opposite and incomparably more moderate
view in regard to sacrifices. This view came, according to the strophe,
from Odin's own lips. He is made to proclaim it to the people "after his
return to his ancient power."

    Betra er obethit
    en se ofblothit
    ey ser til gildis giof;
    betra er osennt
    enn se ofsóit.
    Sva thundr um reist
    fyr thiotha rauc,
    thar hann up um reis
    er hann aptr of kom.

The expression, _thar hann up um reis, er hann apter of kom_, refers to
the fact that Odin had for some time been deposed from the
administration of the world, but had returned, and that he then
proclaimed to the people the view in regard to the real value of prayers
and sacrifices which is laid down in the strophe. Hence it follows that
before Odin returned to his throne another more exacting doctrine in
regard to sacrifices had, according to the myth, secured prevalence.
This is precisely what Saxo tells us. It is difficult to repress the
question whether an historical reminiscence is not concealed in these
statements. May it not be the record of conflicting views within the
Teutonic religion--views represented in the myth by the Vana-gods on the
one side and the Asas on the other? The Vana views, I take it,
represented tendencies which had they been victorious, would have
resulted in hierarchy, while the Asa doctrine represented the tendencies
of the believers in the time-honoured Aryan custom of those who
maintained the priestly authority of the father of the family, and who
defended the efficacy of the simple hymns and sacrifices which from time
out of mind had been addressed to several or all of the gods in common.
That the question really has existed among the Teutonic peoples, at
least as a subject for reflection, spontaneously suggests itself in the
myth alluded to above. This myth has discussed the question, and decided
it in precisely the same manner as history has decided it among the
Teutonic races, among whom priestcraft and ritualism have held a far
less important position than among their western kinsmen, the Celts, and
their eastern kinsmen, the Iranians and Hindoos. That prayers on account
of their length, or sacrifices on account of their abundance, should
give evidence of greater piety and fear of God, and should be able to
secure a more ready hearing, is a doctrine which Odin himself rejects in
the strophe above cited. He understands human nature, and knows that
when a man brings abundant sacrifices he has the selfish purpose in view
of prevailing on the gods to give a more abundant reward--a purpose
prompted by selfishness, not by piety.


            THE WORLD WAR (_continued_). THE WAR IN MIDGARD

The conflict between the gods has its counterpart in, and is connected
with, a war between all the Teutonic races, and the latter is again a
continuation of the feud between Halfdan and Svipdag. The Teutonic race
comes to the front fighting under three race-representatives--(1)
Yngve-Svipdag, the son of Orvandel and Groa; (2) Gudhorm, the son of
Halfdan and Groa, consequently Svipdag's half-brother; (3) Hadding, the
son of Halfdan and Alveig (in Saxo called Signe, daughter of Sumbel),
consequently Gudhorm's half-brother.

The ruling Vans favour Svipdag, who is Freyja's husband and Frey's
brother-in-law. The banished Asas support Hadding from their place of
refuge. The conflict between the gods and the war between Halfdan's
successor and heir are woven together. It is like the Trojan war, where
the gods, divided into parties, assist the Trojans or assist the Danai.
Odin, Thor, and Heimdal interfere, as we shall see, to protect Hadding.
This is their duty as kinsmen; for Heimdal, having assumed human nature,
was the lad with the sheaf of grain who came to the primeval country and
became the father of Borgar, who begat the son Halfdan. Thor was
Halfdan's associate father; hence he too had duties of kinship toward
Hadding and Gudhorm, Halfdan's sons. The gods, on the other hand, that
favour Svipdag are, in Hadding's eyes, foes, and Hadding long refuses to
propitiate Frey by a demanded sacrifice (Saxo, _Hist._, 49, 50).

This war, simultaneously waged between the clans of the gods on the one
hand, and between the Teutonic tribes on the other, is what the seeress
in Völuspa calls "the first great war in the world." She not only gives
an account of its outbreak and events among the gods, but also indicates
that it was waged on the earth. Then--

    sa hon valkyrior        saw she valkyries
    vitt um komnar          far travelled
    gaurvar at rida         equipped to ride
    til Godthjodar          to Goththjod.

Goththjod is the Teutonic people and the Teutonic country.

When Svipdag had slain Halfdan, and when the Asas were expelled, the
sons of the Teutonic patriarch were in danger of falling into the power
of Svipdag. Thor interested himself in their behalf, and brought Gudhorm
and Hadding to Jotunheim, where he concealed them with the giants Hafle
and Vagnhofde--Gudhorm in Hafle's rocky gard and Hadding in Vagnhofde's.
In Saxo, who relates this story, the Asa-god Thor appears partly as
_Thor deus_ and _Thoro pugil_, Halfdan's protector, whom Saxo himself
identifies as the god Thor (_Hist._, 324), and partly as _Brac_ and
_Brache_, which name Saxo formed from Thor's epithet, _Asa-Bragr_. It is
by the name Brache that Thor appears as the protector of Halfdan's sons.
The giants Hafle and Vagnhofde dwell, according to Saxo, in "Svetia"
probably, since Jotunheim, the northernmost Sweden, and the most
distant east were called _Svithiod hinn kalda_.[23]

Svipdag waged war against Halfdan, since it was his duty to avenge the
disgrace of his mother Groa, and also that of his mother's father, and,
as shall be shown later, the death of his father Orvandel (see Nos. 108,
109). The revenge for bloodshed was sacred in the Teutonic world, and
this duty he performed when he with his irresistible sword felled his
stepfather. But thereby the duty of revenge for bloodshed was
transferred to Halfdan's sons--less to Gudhorm, who is himself a son of
Groa, but with all its weight to Hadding, the son of Alveig, and it is
_his_ bounden duty to bring about Svipdag's death, since Svipdag had
slain Halfdan. Connecting itself with Halfdan's robbery of Groa, the
goddess of growth, the red thread of revenge for bloodshed extends
throughout the great hero-saga of Teutonic mythology.

Svipdag makes an effort to cut the thread. He offers Gudhorm and Hadding
peace and friendship, and promises them kingship among the tribes
subject to him. Groa's son, Gudhorm, accepts the offer, and Svipdag
makes him ruler of the Danes; but Hadding sends answer that he prefers
to avenge his father's death to accepting favours from an enemy (Saxo,
_Hist._, 35, 36).

Svipdag's offer of peace and reconciliation is in harmony, if not with
his own nature, at least with that of his kinsmen, the reigning Vans. If
the offer to Hadding had been accepted, we might have looked for peace
in the world. Now the future is threatened with the devastations of war,
and the bloody thread of revenge shall continue to be spun if Svipdag
does not prevent it by overpowering Hadding. The myth may have contained
much information about the efforts of the one camp to capture him and
about contrivances of the other to frustrate these efforts. Saxo has
preserved a partial record thereof. Among those who plot against Hadding
is also Loke (_Lokerus_--Saxo, _Hist._, 40, 41),[24] the banished ally
of Aurboda. His purpose is doubtless to get into the favour of the
reigning Vans. Hadding is no longer safe in Vagnhofde's mountain home.
The lad is exposed to Loke's snares. From one of these he is saved by
the Asa-father himself. There came, says Saxo, on this occasion a rider
to Hadding. He resembled a very aged man, one of whose eyes was lost
(_grandævus quidam altero orbus oculo_). He placed Hadding in front of
himself on the horse, wrapped his mantle about him, and rode away. The
lad became curious and wanted to see whither they were going. Through a
hole in the mantle he got an opportunity of looking down, and found to
his astonishment and fright that land and sea were far below the hoofs
of the steed. The rider must have noticed his fright, for he forbade him
to look out any more.

The rider, the one-eyed old man, is Odin, and the horse is Sleipner,
rescued from the captured Asgard. The place to which the lad is carried
by Odin is the place of refuge secured by the Asas during their exile _i
Manheimum_. In perfect harmony with the myths, Saxo refers Odin's exile
to the time preceding Hadding's juvenile adventures, and makes Odin's
return to power simultaneous with Hadding's great victory over his
enemies (_Hist._, 42-44). Saxo has also found in his sources that
sword-slain men, whom Odin chooses during "the first great war in the
world," cannot come to Valhal. The reason for this is that Odin is not
at that time the ruler there. They have dwelling-places and plains for
their warlike amusements appointed in the lower world (_Hist._, 51).

The regions which, according to Saxo, are the scenes of Hadding's
juvenile adventures lie on the other side of the Baltic down toward the
Black Sea. He is associated with "Curetians" and "Hellespontians,"
doubtless for the reason that the myth has referred those adventures to
the far east.

The one-eyed old man is endowed with wonderful powers. When he landed
with the lad at his home, he sang over him prophetic incantations to
protect him (_Hist._, 40), and gave him a drink of the "most splendid
sort," which produced in Hadding enormous physical strength, and
particularly made him able to free himself from bonds and chains.
(Compare Havamál, str. 149, concerning Odin's freeing incantations by
which "fetters spring from the feet and chains from the hands.") A
comparison with other passages, which I shall discuss later, shows that
the potion of which the old man is lord contains something which is
called "Leifner's flames," and that he who has been permitted to drink
it, and over whom freeing incantations have simultaneously been sung, is
able with his warm breath to free himself from every fetter which has
been put on his enchanted limbs (see Nos. 43, 96, 103).

The old man predicts that Hadding will soon have an opportunity of
testing the strength with which the drink and the magic songs have
endowed him. And the prophecy is fulfilled. Hadding falls into the power
of Loke. He chains him and threatens to expose him as food for a wild
beast--in Saxo a lion, in the myth presumably some one of the wolf or
serpent prodigies that are Loke's offspring. But when his guards are put
to sleep by Odin's magic song, though Odin is far away, Hadding bursts
his bonds, slays the beast, and eats, in obedience to Odin's
instructions, its heart. (The saga of Sigurd Fafnersbane has copied this
feature. Sigurd eats the heart of the dragon Fafner and gets wisdom

Thus Hadding has become a powerful hero, and his task to make war on
Svipdag, to revenge on him his father's death, and to recover the share
in the rulership of the Teutons which Halfdan had possessed, now lies
before him as the goal he is to reach.

Hadding leaves Vagnhofde's home. The latter's daughter, Hardgrep, who
had fallen in love with the youth, accompanies him. When we next find
Hadding he is at the head of an army. That this consisted of the tribes
of Eastern Teutondom is confirmed by documents which I shall hereafter
quote; but it also follows from Saxo's narrative, although he has
referred the war to narrower limits than were given to it in the myth,
since he, constructing a Danish history from mythic traditions, has his
eyes fixed chiefly on Denmark. Over the Scandian tribes and the Danes
rule, according to Saxo's own statement, Svipdag, and as his tributary
king in Denmark his half-brother Gudhorm. Saxo also is aware that the
Saxons, the Teutonic tribes of the German lowlands, on one occasion were
the allies of Svipdag (_Hist._, 34). From these parts of Teutondom did
not come Hadding's friends, but his enemies; and when we add that the
first battle which Saxo mentions in this war was fought among the
Curetians east of the Baltic, then it is clear that Saxo, too, like the
other records to which I am coming later, has conceived the forces under
Hadding's banner as having been gathered in the East. From this it is
evident that the war is one between the tribes of North Teutondom, led
by Svipdag and supported by the Vans on the one side, and the tribes of
East Teutondom, led by Hadding and supported by the Asas on the other.
But the tribes of the western Teutonic continent have also taken part in
the first great war of mankind. Gudhorm, whom Saxo makes a tributary
king in Yngve-Svipdag's most southern domain, Denmark, has in the mythic
traditions had a much greater empire, and has ruled over the tribes of
Western and Southern Teutondom, as shall be shown hereafter.

[Footnote 23: _Filii Gram, Guthormus et Hadingus, quorum alterum Gro,
alterum Signe enixa est, Svipdagero Daniam obtinente, per educatorem
suum Brache nave Svetiam deportati, Vagnophto et Haphlio gigantibus non
solum alendi, verum etiam defensandi traduntur_ (Saxo _Hist._, 34).]

[Footnote 24: The form _Loki_ is also duplicated by the form _Lokr_. The
latter is preserved in the sense of "effeminated man," found in myths
concerning Loke. Compare the phrase "_veykr Lokr_" with "_hinn veyki


        THE WORLD WAR (_continued_). THE POSITION OF THE

The circumstance that the different divine clans had their favourites in
the different camps gives the war a peculiar character. The armies see
before a battle supernatural forms contending with each other in the
starlight, and recognize in them their divine friends and opponents
(_Hist._, 48). The elements are conjured on one and the other side for
the good or harm of the contending brother-tribes. When fog and pouring
rain suddenly darken the sky and fall upon Hadding's forces from that
side where the fylkings of the North are arrayed, then the one-eyed old
man comes to their rescue and calls forth dark masses of clouds from the
other side, which force back the rain-clouds and the fog (_Hist._, 53).
In these cloud-masses we must recognize the presence of the thundering
Thor, the son of the one-eyed old man.

Giants also take part in the conflict. Vagnhofde and Hardgrep, the
latter in a man's attire, contend on the side of the foster-son and the
beloved Hadding (_Hist._, 45, 38). From Icelandic records we learn that
Hafle and the giantesses Fenja and Menja fight under Gudhorm's banners.
In the Grotte-song (14, 15) these maids sing:

    En vit sithan
    a Svidiothu
    framvisar tvoer
    i folk stigum;
    beiddum biornu,
    en brutum skioldu
    gengum igegnum
    graserkiat lit.
    Steyptom stilli,
    studdum annan,
    veittum gothum
    Guthormi lid.

That the giant Hafle fought on the side of Gudhorm is probable from the
fact that he is his foster-father, and it is confirmed by the fact that
Thor paraphrased (Grett., 30) is called _fangvinr Hafla_, "he who
wrestled with Hafle." Since Thor and Hafle formerly were friends--else
the former would not have trusted Gudhorm to the care of the
latter--their appearance afterwards as foes can hardly be explained
otherwise than by the war between Thor's protégé Hadding and Hafle's
foster-son Gudhorm. And as Hadding's foster-father, the giant Vagnhofde,
faithfully supports the young chief whose childhood he protected, then
the myth could scarcely avoid giving a similar part to the giant Hafle,
and thus make the foster-fathers, like the foster-sons, contend with
each other. The heroic poems are fond of parallels of this kind.

When Svipdag learns that Hadding has suddenly made his appearance in the
East, and gathered its tribes around him for a war with Gudhorm, he
descends from Asgard and reveals himself in the primeval Teutonic
country on the Scandian peninsula, and requests its tribes to join the
Danes and raise the banner of war against Halfdan's and Alveig's son,
who, at the head of the eastern Teutons, is marching against their
half-brother Gudhorm. The friends of both parties among the gods, men
and giants, hasten to attach themselves to the cause which they have
espoused as their own, and Vagnhofde among the rest abandons his rocky
home to fight by the side of his foster-son and daughter.

This mythic situation is described in a hitherto unexplained strophe in
the Old English song concerning the names of the letters in the runic
alphabet. In regard to the rune which answers to _I_ there is added the
following lines:

    Ing väs oerest mid Eástdenum
    geseven secgum od he siddan eást
    ofer væg gevât. Væn æfter ran;
    thus Heardingas thone häle nemdon.

    "Yngve (Inge) was first seen among the East-Danemen.
    Then he betook himself eastward over the sea.
    Vagn hastened to follow:
    Thus the Heardings called this hero."

The Heardings are the Haddings--that is to say, Hadding himself, the
kinsmen and friends who embraced his cause, and the Teutonic tribes who
recognised him as their chief. The Norse _Haddingr_ is to the
Anglo-Saxon _Hearding_ as the Norse _haddr_ to the Anglo-Saxon _heard_.
Vigfusson, and before him J. Grimm, have already identified these forms.

Ing is Yngve-Svipdag, who, when he left Asgard, "was first seen among
the East-Danemen." He calls Swedes and Danes to arms against Hadding's
tribes. The Anglo-Saxon strophe confirms the fact that they dwell in the
East, separated by a sea from the Scandian tribes. Ing, with his
warriors, "betakes himself eastward over the sea" to attack them. Thus
the armies of the Swedes and Danes go by sea to the seat of war. What
the authorities of Tacitus heard among the continental Teutons about the
mighty fleets of the Swedes may be founded on the heroic songs about the
first great war not less than on fact. As the army which was to cross
the Baltic must be regarded as immensely large, so the myth, too, has
represented the ships of the Swedes as numerous, and in part as of
immense size. A confused record from the songs about the expedition of
Svipdag and his friends against the East Teutons, found in Icelandic
tradition, occurs in Fornald, pp. 406-407, where a ship called Gnod, and
capable of carrying 3000 men, is mentioned as belonging to a King
Asmund. Odin did not want this monstrous ship to reach its destination,
but sank it, so it is said, in the Lessö seaway, with all its men and
contents. The Asmund who is known in the heroic sagas of heathen times
is a son of Svipdag and a king among the Sviones (Saxo, _Hist._, 44).
According to Saxo, he has given brilliant proofs of his bravery in the
war against Hadding, and fallen by the weapons of Vagnhofde and Hadding.
That Odin in the Icelandic tradition appears as his enemy thus
corresponds with the myth. The same Asmund may, as Gisle Brynjulfsson
has assumed, be meant in Grimnersmal (49), where we learn that Odin,
concealing himself under the name Jalk, once visited Asmund.

The hero Vagn, whom "the Haddings so called," is Hadding's
foster-father, Vagnhofde. As the word _höfdi_ constitutes the second
part of a mythic name, the compound form is a synonym of that name which
forms the first part of the composition. Thus _Svarthöfdi_ is identical
with _Svartr_, _Surtr_. In Hyndluljod, 33, all the mythical sorcerers
(_seidberendr_) are said to be sprung from _Svarthöfdi_. In this
connection we must first of all think of Fjalar, who is the greatest
sorcerer in mythology. The story about Thor's, Thjalfe's, and Loke's
visit to him is a chain of delusions of sight and hearing called forth
by Fjalar, so that the Asa-god and his companions always mistake things
for something else than they are. Fjalar is a son of _Surtr_ (see No.
89). Thus the greatest agent of sorcery is descended from _Surtr_,
_Svartr_, and, as Hyndluljod states that all magicians of mythology have
come of some _Svarthöfdi_, _Svartr_ and _Svarthöfdi_ must be identical.
And so it is with Vagn and _Vagnhöfdi_; they are different names for the
same person.

When the Anglo-Saxon rune-strophe says that Vang "made haste to follow"
after Ing had gone across the sea, then this is to be compared with
Saxo's statement (_Hist._, 45), where it is said that Hadding in a
battle was in greatest peril of losing his life, but was saved by the
sudden and miraculous landing of Vagnhofde, who came to the battle-field
and placed himself at his side. The Scandian fylkings advanced against
Hadding's; and Svipdag's son Asmund, who fought at the head of his men,
forced his way forward against Hadding himself, with his shield thrown
on his back, and with both his hands on the hilt of a sword which felled
all before it. Then Hadding invoked the gods who were the friends of
himself and his race (_Hadingo familiarium sibi numinum præsidia
postulante subito Vagnophtus partibus ejus propugnaturus advehitur_),
and then Vagnhofde is brought (_advehitur_) by some one of these gods to
the battle-field and suddenly stands by Hadding's side, swinging a
crooked sword[25] against Asmund, while Hadding hurls his spear against
him. This statement in Saxo corresponds with and explains the old
English strophe's reference to a quick journey which Vagn made to help
_Heardingas_ against _Ing_, and it is also illustrated by a passage in
Grimnismal, 49, which, in connection with Odin's appearance at Asmund's,
tells that he once by the name Kjalar "drew _Kjalki_" (_mic heto Jalc at
Asmundar, enn tha Kialar, er ec Kialka dró_). The word and name
_Kjálki_, as also _Sledi_, is used as a paraphrase of the word and name
_Vagn_.[26] Thus Odin has once "drawn Vagn" (waggon). The meaning of
this is clear from what is stated above. Hadding calls on Odin, who is
the friend of him and of his cause, and Odin, who on a former occasion
has carried Hadding on Sleipner's back through the air, now brings, in
the same or a similar manner, Vagnhofde to the battle-field, and places
him near his foster-son. This episode is also interesting from the fact
that we can draw from it the conclusion that the skalds who celebrated
the first great war in their songs made the gods influence the fate of
the battle, not directly but indirectly. Odin might himself have saved
his favourite, and he might have slain Svipdag's son Asmund with his
spear Gungner; but he does not do so; instead, he brings Vagnhofde to
protect him. This is well calculated from an epic standpoint, while _dii
ex machina_, when they appear in person on the battle-field with their
superhuman strength, diminish the effect of the deeds of mortal heroes,
and deprive every distress in which they have taken part of its more
earnest significance. Homer never violated this rule without injury to
the honour either of his gods or of his heroes.

[Footnote 25: The crooked sword, as it appears from several passages in
the sagas, has long been regarded by our heathen ancestors as a foreign
form of weapon, used by the giants, but not by the gods or by the heroes
of Midgard.]

[Footnote 26: Compare Fornald., ii. 118, where the hero of the saga
cries to _Gusi_, who comes running after him with "2 hreina ok _vagn_"--

    _Skrid thu af kjalka,
    Kyrr thu hreina,
    seggr sidförull
    seg hvattu heitir!_


          THE WORLD WAR (_continued_). HADDING'S DEFEAT.

The first great conflict in which the warriors of North and West
Teutondom fight with the East Teutons ends with the complete victory of
Groa's sons. Hadding's fylkings are so thoroughly beaten and defeated
that he, after the end of the conflict, is nothing but a defenceless
fugitive, wandering in deep forests with no other companion than
Vagnhofde's daughter, who survived the battle and accompanies her
beloved in his wanderings in the wildernesses. Saxo ascribes the victory
won over Hadding to Loke. It follows of itself that, in a war whose
deepest root must be sought in Loke's and Aurboda's intrigues, and in
which the clans of gods on both sides take part, Loke should not be
excluded by the skalds from influence upon the course of events. We have
already seen that he sought to ruin Hadding while the latter was still a
boy. He afterwards appears in various guises as evil counsellor, as an
evil intriguer, and as a skilful arranger of the fylkings on the field
of battle. His purpose is to frustrate every effort to bring about
reconciliation, and by means of persuasion and falsehoods to increase
the chances of enmity between Halfdan's descendants, in order that they
may mutually destroy each other (see below). His activity among the
heroes is the counterpart of his activity among the gods. The merry,
sly, cynical, blameworthy, and profoundly evil Mefisto of the Teutonic
mythology is bound to bring about the ruin of the Teutonic people like
that of the gods of the Teutons.

In the later Icelandic traditions he reveals himself as the evil
counsellor of princes in the forms of Blind ille, Blind bölvise (in Saxo
Bolvisus); _Bikki_; in the German and Old English traditions as Sibich,
Sifeca, Sifka. _Bikki_ is a name-form borrowed from Germany. The
original Norse Loke-epithet is _Bekki_, which means "the foe," "the
opponent". A closer examination shows that everywhere where this
counsellor appears his enterprises have originally been connected with
persons who belong to Borgar's race. He has wormed himself into the
favour of both the contending parties--as Blind ille with King
Hadding--whereof Hromund Greipson's saga has preserved a distorted
record--as Bikke, Sibeke, with King Gudhorm (whose identity with
Jormunrek shall be established below). As Blind bölvise he lies in
waiting for and seeks to capture the young "Helge Hundingsbane," that is
to say, Halfdan, Hadding's father (Helge Hund., ii.). Under his own
name, Loke, he lies in waiting for and seeks to capture the young
Hadding, Halfdan's son. As a cunning general and cowardly warrior he
appears in the German saga-traditions, and there is every reason to
assume that it is his activity in the first great war as the planner of
Gudhorm's battle-line that in the Norse heathen records secured Loke the
epithets _sagna hroerir_ and _sagna sviptir_, the leader of the warriors
forward and the leader of the warriors back--epithets which otherwise
would be both unfounded and incomprehensible, but they are found both in
Thjodolf's poem Haustlaung, and in Eilif Gudrunson's Thorsdrapa. It is
also a noticeable fact that while Loke in the first great battle which
ends with Hadding's defeat determines the array of the victorious
army--for only on this basis can the victory be attributed to him by
Saxo--it is in the other great battle in which Hadding is victorious
that Odin himself determines how the forces of his protégé are to be
arranged, namely, in that wedge-form which after that time and for many
centuries following was the sacred and strictly preserved rule for the
battle-array of Teutonic forces. Thus the ancient Teutonic saga has
mentioned and compared with one another two different kinds of
battle-arrays--the one invented by Loke and the other invented by Odin.

During his wanderings in the forests of the East Hadding has had
wonderful adventures and passed through great trials. Saxo tells one of
these adventures. He and Hardgrep, Vagnhofde's daughter, came late one
evening to a dwelling where they got lodgings for the night. The husband
was dead, but not yet buried. For the purpose of learning Hadding's
destiny, Hardgrep engraved speech-runes (see No. 70) on a piece of wood,
and asked Hadding to place it under the tongue of the dead one. The
latter would in this wise recover the power of speech and prophecy. So
it came to pass. But what the dead one sang in an awe-inspiring voice
was a curse on Hardgrep, who had compelled him to return from life in
the lower world to life on earth, and a prediction that an avenging
Niflheim demon would inflict punishment on her for what she had done. A
following night, when Hadding and Hardgrep had sought shelter in a bower
of twigs and branches which they had gathered, there appeared a gigantic
hand groping under the ceiling of the bower. The frightened Hadding
waked Hardgrep. She then rose in all her giant strength, seized the
mysterious hand, and bade Hadding cut it off with his sword. He
attempted to do this, but from the wounds he inflicted on the ghost's
hand there issued matter or venom more than blood, and the hand seized
Hardgrep with its iron claws and tore her into pieces (Saxo, _Hist._, 36

When Hadding in this manner had lost his companion, he considered
himself abandoned by everybody; but the one-eyed old man had not
forgotten his favourite. He sent him a faithful helper, by name
_Liserus_ (Saxo, _Hist._, 40). Who was _Liserus_ in our mythology?

First, as to the name itself: in the very nature of the case it must be
the Latinising of some one of the mythological names or epithets that
Saxo found in the Norse records. But as no such root as _lis_ or _lís_
is to be found in the old Norse language, and as Saxo interchanges the
vowels _i_ and _y_,[27] we must regard _Liserus_ as a Latinising of
_Lýsir_, "the shining one," "the one giving light," "the bright one."
When Odin sent a helper thus described to Hadding, it must have been a
person belonging to Odin's circle and subject to him. Such a person and
described by a similar epithet is _hinn hvíti áss, hvítastr ása_
(Heimdal). In Saxo's account, this shining messenger is particularly to
oppose Loke (_Hist._, 40). And in the myth it is the keen-sighted and
faithful Heimdal who always appears as the opposite of the cunning and
faithless Loke. Loke has to contend with Heimdal when the former tries
to get possession of Brisingamen, and in Ragnarok the two opponents kill
each other. Hadding's shining protector thus has the same part to act in
the heroic saga as the whitest of the Asas in the mythology. If we now
add that Heimdal is Hadding's progenitor, and on account of blood
kinship owes him special protection in a war in which all the gods have
taken part either for or against Halfdan's and Alveig's son, then we are
forced by every consideration to regard _Liserus_ and Heimdal as
identical (see further, No. 82).

[Footnote 27: Compare the double forms _Trigo_, _Thrygir_; _Ivarus_,
_Yvarus_; _Sibbo_, _Sybbo_; _Siritha_, _Syritha_; _Sivardus_,
_Syvardus_; _Hibernia_, _Hybernia_; _Isora_, _Ysora_.]


          THE WORLD WAR (_continued_). HADDING'S JOURNEY TO
                   AND ALVEIG'S. LOKE'S PUNISHMENT.

Some time later there has been a change in Hadding's affairs. He is no
longer the exile wandering about in the forests, but appears once more
at the head of warlike hosts. But although he accomplishes various
exploits, it still appears from Saxo's narrative that it takes a long
time before he becomes strong enough to meet his enemies in a decisive
battle with hope of success. In the meanwhile he has succeeded in
accomplishing the revenge of his father and slaying Svipdag (Saxo
_Hist._, 42)--this under circumstances which I shall explain below (No.
106). The proof that the hero-saga has left a long space of time between
the great battle lost by Hadding and that in which he wins a decided
victory is that he, before this conflict is fought out, has slain a
young grandson (son's son) of Svipdag, that is, a son of Asmund, who was
Svipdag's son (Saxo, _Hist._, 46). Hadding was a mere boy when Svipdag
first tried to capture him. He is a man of years when he, through
decided successes on the battle-field, acquires and secures control of a
great part of the domain over which his father, the Teutonic patriarch,
reigned. Hence he must have spent considerable time in the place of
refuge which Odin opened for him, and under the protection of that
subject of Odin, called by Saxo _Liserus_.

In the time intervening important events have taken place in the world
of the gods. The two clans of gods, the Asas and Vans, have become
reconciled. Odin's exile lasted, according to Saxo, only ten years, and
there is no reason for doubting the mythical correctness of this
statement. The reconciliation must have been demanded by the dangers
which their enmity caused to the administration of the world. The
giants, whose purpose it is to destroy the world of man, became once
more dangerous to the earth on account of the war among the gods. During
this time they made a desperate effort to conquer Asgard occupied by the
Vans. The memory of this expedition was preserved during the Christian
centuries in the traditions concerning the great Hun war. Saxo (_Hist._,
231 ff.) refers this to _Frotho_ III.'s reign. What he relates about
this _Frotho_, son of _Fridlevus_ (Njord), is for the greatest part a
historicised version of the myth about the Vana-god Frey (see No. 102);
and every doubt that his account of the war of the "Huns" against Frotho
has its foundation in mythology, and belongs to the chain of events here
discussed, vanishes when we learn that the attack of the Huns against
Frotho-Frey's power happened at a time when an old prophet, by name
_Uggerus_, "whose age was unknown, but exceeded every measure of human
life," lived in exile, and belonged to the number of Frotho's enemies.
_Uggerus_ is a Latinised form of Odin's name _Yggr_, and is the same
mythic character as Saxo before introduced on the scene as "the old
one-eyed man," Hadding's protector. Although he had been Frotho's enemy,
the aged _Yggr_ comes to him and informs him what the "Huns" are
plotting, and thus Frotho is enabled to resist their assault.[28]

When Odin, out of consideration for the common welfare of mankind and
the gods, renders the Vans, who had banished him, this service, and as
the latter are in the greatest need of the assistance of the mighty
Asa-father and his powerful sons in the conflict with the giant world,
then these facts explain sufficiently the reconciliation between the
Asas and the Vans. This reconciliation was also in order on account of
the bonds of kinship between them. The chief hero of the Asas, Thor, was
the stepfather of Ull, the chief warrior of the Vans (Younger Edda, i.
252). The record of a friendly settlement between Thor and Ull is
preserved in a paraphrase, by which Thor is described in Thorsdrapa as
"_gulli Ullar_," he who with persuasive words makes Ull friendly. Odin
was invited to occupy again the high-seat in Asgard, with all the
prerogatives of a paterfamilias and ruler (Saxo, _Hist._, 44). But the
dispute which caused the conflict between him and the Vans was at the
same time manifestly settled to the advantage of the Vans. They do not
assume in common the responsibility for the murder of Gulveig Angerboda.
She is banished to the Ironwood, but remains there unharmed until
Ragnarok, and when the destruction of the world approaches, then Njord
shall leave the Asas threatened with the ruin they have themselves
caused and return to the "wise Vans" (_i aldar rauc hann mun aptr coma
heim med visom vaunom_--Vafthr., 39).

The "Hun war" has supplied the answer to a question, which those
believing in the myths naturally would ask themselves. That question
was: How did it happen that Midgard was not in historical times exposed
to such attacks from the dwellers in Jotunheim as occurred in antiquity,
and at that time threatened Asgard itself with destruction? The "Hun
war" was in the myth characterized by the countless lives lost by the
enemy. This we learn from Saxo. The sea, he says, was so filled with the
bodies of the slain that boats could hardly be rowed through the waves.
In the rivers their bodies formed bridges, and on land a person could
make a three days' journey on horseback without seeing anything but dead
bodies of the slain (_Hist._, 234, 240). And so the answer to the
question was, that the "Hun war" of antiquity had so weakened the giants
in number and strength that they could not become so dangerous as they
had been to Asgard and Midgard formerly, that is, before the time
immediately preceding Ragnarok, when a new fimbul-winter is to set in,
and when the giant world shall rise again in all its ancient might. From
the time of the "Hun war" and until then, Thor's hammer is able to keep
the growth of the giants' race within certain limits, wherefore Thor in
Harbardsljod explains his attack on giants and giantesses with _micil
mundi ett iotna, ef allir lifdi, vetr mundi manna undir Mithgarthi_.

Hadding's rising star of success must be put in connection with the
reconciliation between the Asas and Vans. The reconciled gods must lay
aside that seed of new feuds between them which is contained in the war
between Hadding, the favourite of the Asas, and Gudhorm, the favourite
of the Vans. The great defeat once suffered by Hadding must be balanced
by a corresponding victory, and then the contending kinsmen must be
reconciled. And this happens. Hadding wins a great battle and enters
upon a secure reign in his part of Teutondom. Then are tied new bonds of
kinship and friendship between the hostile races, so that the Teutonic
dynasties of chiefs may trace their descent both from Yngve (Svipdag)
and from Borgar's son Halfdan. Hadding and a surviving grandson of
Svipdag are united in so tender a devotion to one another that the
latter, upon an unfounded report of the former's death, is unable to
survive him and takes his own life. And when Hadding learns this, he
does not care to live any longer either, but meets death voluntarily
(Saxo, _Hist._, 59, 60).

After the reconciliation between the Asas and Vans they succeed in
capturing Loke. Saxo relates this in connection with Odin's return from
Asgard, and here calls Loke _Mitothin_. In regard to this name, we may,
without entering upon difficult conjectures concerning the first part of
the word, be sure that it, too, is taken by Saxo from the heathen
records in which he has found his account of the first great war, and
that it, in accordance with the rule for forming such epithets, must
refer to a mythic person who has had a certain relation with Odin, and
at the same time been his antithesis. According to Saxo, _Mitothin_ is a
thoroughly evil being, who, like Aurboda, strove to disseminate the
practice of witchcraft in the world and to displace Odin. He was
compelled to take flight and to conceal himself from the gods. He is
captured and slain, but from his dead body arises a pest, so that he
does no less harm after than before his death. It therefore became
necessary to open his grave, cut his head off, and pierce his breast
with a sharp stick (_Hist._, 43).

These statements in regard to _Mitothin's_ death seem at first glance
not to correspond very well with the mythic accounts of Loke's exit, and
thus give room for doubt as to his identity with the latter. It is also
clear that Saxo's narrative has been influenced by the mediæval stories
about vampires and evil ghosts, and about the manner of preventing these
from doing harm to the living. Nevertheless, all that he here tells, the
beheading included, is founded on the mythic accounts of Loke. The place
where Loke is fettered is situated in the extreme part of the hell of
the wicked dead (see No. 78). The fact that he is relegated to the realm
of the dead, and is there chained in a subterranean cavern until
Ragnarok, when all the dead in the lower world shall return, has been a
sufficient reason for Saxo to represent him as dead and buried. That he
after death causes a pest corresponds with Saxo's account of
_Ugarthilocus_, who has his prison in a cave under a rock situated in a
sea, over which darkness broods for ever (the island _Lyngvi_ in
Amsvartner's sea, where Loke's prison is--see No. 78). The hardy
sea-captain, Thorkil, seeks and finds him in his cave of torture, pulls
a hair from the beard on his chin, and brings it with him to Denmark.
When this hair afterwards is exposed and exhibited, the awful exhalation
from it causes the death of several persons standing near (_Hist._, 432,
433). When a hair from the beard of the tortured Loke ("a hair from the
evil one") could produce this effect, then his whole body removed to the
kingdom of death must work even greater mischief, until measures were
taken to prevent it. In this connection it is to be remembered that
Loke, according to the Icelandic records, is the father of the feminine
demon of epidemics and diseases, of her who rules in Niflheim, the home
of the spirits of disease (see No. 60), and that it is Loke's daughter
who rides the three-footed steed, which appears when an epidemic breaks
out (see No. 67). Thus Loke is, according to the Icelandic mythic
fragments, the cause of epidemics. Lakasenna also states that he lies
with a pierced body, although the weapon there is a sword, or possibly a
spear (_pic a hiorvi scola binda god_--Lakas., 49). That Mitothin takes
flight and conceals himself from the gods corresponds with the myth
about Loke. But that which finally and conclusively confirms the
identity of Loke and Mitothin is that the latter, though a thoroughly
evil being and hostile to the gods, is said to have risen through the
enjoyment of divine favour (_cælesti beneficio vegetatus_). Among male
beings of his character this applies to Loke alone.

In regard to the statement that Loke after his removal to the kingdom of
death had his head separated from his body, Saxo here relates, though in
his own peculiar manner, what the myth contained about Loke's ruin,
which was a logical consequence of his acts and happened long after his
removal to the realm of death. Loke is slain in Ragnarok, to which he,
freed from his cave of torture in the kingdom of death, proceeds at the
head of the hosts of "the sons of destruction." In the midst of the
conflict he seeks or is sought by his constant foe, Heimdal. The shining
god, the protector of Asgard, the original patriarch and benefactor of
man, contends here for the last time with the Satan of the Teutonic
mythology, and Heimdal and Loke mutually slay each other (_Loki á orustu
vid Heimdall, ok verdr hvârr annars bani_--Younger Edda, 192). In this
duel we learn that Heimdal, who fells his foe, was himself pierced or
"struck through" to death by a head (_svâ er sagt, at hann var lostinn
manns höfdi i gögnum_--Younger Edda, 264; _hann var lostinn i hel med
manns höfdi_--Younger Edda, 100, ed. Res). When Heimdal and Loke
mutually cause each other's death, this must mean that Loke's head is
that with which Heimdal is pierced after the latter has cut it off with
his sword and become the bane (death) of his foe. Light is thrown on
this episode by what Saxo tells about Loke's head. While the demon in
chains awaits Ragnarok, his hair and beard grow in such a manner that
"they in size and stiffness resemble horn-spears" (_Ugarthilocus ...
cujus olentes pili tam magnitudine quam rigore corneas æquaverant
hastas_--_Hist._, 431, 432). And thus it is explained how the myth could
make his head act the part of a weapon. That amputated limbs continue to
live and fight is a peculiarity mentioned in other mythic sagas, and
should not surprise us in regard to Loke, the dragon-demon, the father
of the Midgard-serpent (see further, No. 82).

[Footnote 28: _Deseruit eum_ (Hun) _quoque Uggerus vates, vir ætatis
incognitæ et supra humanum terminum prolixæ; qui Frothonem transfugæ
titulo petens quidquid ab Hunis parabatur edocuit_ (_Hist._, 238).]



The mythic progenitor of the Amalians, _Hamall_, has already been
mentioned above as the foster-brother of the Teutonic patriarch, Halfdan
(Helge Hundingsbane). According to Norse tradition, Hamal's father,
_Hagall_, had been Halfdan's foster-father (Helge Hund., ii.), and thus
the devoted friend of Borgar. There being so close a relation between
the progenitors of these great hero-families of Teutonic mythology, it
is highly improbable that the Amalians did not also act an important
part in the first great world war, since all the Teutonic tribes, and
consequently surely their first families of mythic origin, took part in
it. In the ancient records of the North, we discover a trace which
indicates that the Amalians actually did fight on that side where we
should expect to find them, that is, on Hadding's, and that Hamal
himself was the field-commander of his foster-brother. The trace is
found in the phrase _fylkja Hamalt_, occurring in several places (Sig.
Faf., ii. 23; Har. Hardr., ch. 2; Fornalds. Saga, ii. 40; Fornm., xi.
304). The phrase can only be explained in one way, "arranged the
battle-array as _Hamall_ first did it." To Hamal has also been ascribed
the origin of the custom of fastening the shields close together along
the ship's railing, which appears from the following lines in Harald
Hardrade's Saga, 63:

    Hamalt syndiz mèr hömlur
    hildings vinir skilda.

We also learn in our Norse records that _fylkja Hamalt_, "to draw up in
line of battle as Hamal did," means the same as _svinfylkja_, that is,
to arrange the battalions in the form of a wedge.[29] Now Saxo relates
(_Hist._, 52) that Hadding's army was the first to draw the forces up in
this manner, and that an old man (Odin) whom he has taken on board on a
sea-journey had taught and advised him to do this.[30] Several centuries
later Odin, according to Saxo, taught this art to Harald Hildetand. But
the mythology has not made Odin teach it twice. The repetition has its
reason in the fact that Harald Hildetand, in one of the records
accessible to Saxo, was a son of Halfdan Borgarson (_Hist._, 361;
according to other records a son of Borgar himself--_Hist._, 337), and
consequently a son of Hadding's father, the consequence of which is that
features of Hadding's saga have been incorporated into the saga produced
in a later time concerning the saga-hero Harald Hildetand. Thereby the
Bravalla battle has obtained so universal and gigantic a character.

It has been turned into an arbitrarily written version of the battle
which ended in Hadding's defeat. Swedes, Goths, Norsemen, Curians, and
Esthonians here fight on that side which, in the original model of the
battle, was represented by the hosts of Svipdag and Gudhorm; Danes (few
in number, according to Saxo), Saxons (according to Saxo, the main part
of the army), Livonians, and Slavs fight on the other side. The fleets
and armies are immense on both sides. Shield-maids (amazons) occupy the
position which in the original was held by the giantesses Hardgrep,
Fenja, and Menja. In the saga description produced in Christian times
the Bravalla battle is a ghost of the myth concerning the first great
war. Therefore the names of several of the heroes who take part in the
battle are an echo from the myth concerning the Teutonic patriarchs and
the great war. There appear _Borgar_ and _Behrgar_ the wise (Borgar),
_Haddir_ (Hadding), _Ruthar_ (_Hrútr_-Heimdal, see No. 28_a_), _Od_
(_Odr_, a surname of Freyja's, husband, Svipdag, see Nos. 96-98, 100,
101), _Brahi_ (_Brache_, _Asa-Bragr_, see No. 102), _Gram_ (Halfdan),
and _Ingi_ (Yngve), all of which names we recognise from the patriarch
saga, but which, in the manner in which they are presented in the new
saga, show how arbitrarily the mythic records were treated at that time.

The myth has rightly described the wedge-shaped arrangement of the
troops as an ancient custom among the Teutons. Tacitus (_Germ._, 6) says
that the Teutons arranged their forces in the form of a wedge (_acies
per cuneos componitur_), and Cæsar suggests the same (_De Bell.
Gall._, i. 52: _Germani celeriter ex consuetudine sua phalange
facta_...). Thus our knowledge of this custom as Teutonic extends back
to the time before the birth of Christ. Possibly it was then already
centuries old. The Aryan-Asiatic kinsmen of the Teutons had knowledge of
it, and the Hindooic law-book, called Manus', ascribes to it divine
sanctity and divine origin. On the geographical line which unites
Teutondom with Asia it was also in vogue. According to Ælianus (_De
instr. ac._, 18), the wedge-shaped array of battle was known to the
Scythians and Thracians.

The statement that Harald Hildetand, son of Halfdan Borgarson, learned
this arrangement of the forces from Odin many centuries after he had
taught the art to Hadding, does not disprove, but on the contrary
confirms, the theory that Hadding, son of Halfdan Borgarson, was not
only the first but also the only one who received this instruction from
the Asa-father. And as we now have side by side the two statements, that
Odin gave Hadding this means of victory, and that Hamal was the first
one who arranged his forces in the shape of a wedge, then it is all the
more necessary to assume that these statements belong together, and that
Hamal was Hadding's general, especially as we have already seen that
Hadding's and Hamal's families were united by the sacred ties which
connect foster-father with foster-son and foster-brother with

[Footnote 29: Compare the passage, _Eirikr konungr fylkti svá lidi sinu,
at rani (the swine-snout) var á framan á fylkinganni, ok lukt allt útan
med skjaldbjorg_, (Fornm., xi. 304), with the passage quoted in this
connection: _hildingr fylkti Hamalt lidi miklu_.]

[Footnote 30: The saga of Sigurd Fafnersbane, which absorbed materials
from all older sagas, has also incorporated this episode. On a
sea-journey Sigurd takes on board a man who calls himself _Hnikarr_ (a
name of Odin). He advises him to "_fylkja Hamalt_" (Sig. Fafn., ii.



The appearance of Hamal and the Amalians on Hadding's side in the great
world war becomes a certainty from the fact that we discover among the
descendants of the continental Teutons a great cycle of sagas, all of
whose events are more or less intimately connected with the mythic
kernel: that Amalian heroes with unflinching fidelity supported a prince
who already in the tender years of his youth had been deprived of his
share of his father's kingdom, and was obliged to take flight from the
persecution of a kinsman and his assistants to the far East, where he
remained a long time, until after various fortunes of war he was able to
return, conquer, and take possession of his paternal inheritance. And
for this he was indebted to the assistance of the brave Amalians. These
are the chief points in the saga cycle about Dieterich of Bern
(_thjódrekr_, _Thidrek_, _Theodericus_), and the fortunes of the young
prince are, as we have thus seen, substantially the same as Hadding's.

When we compare sagas preserved by the descendants of the Teutons of the
Continent with sagas handed down to us from Scandinavian sources, we
must constantly bear in mind that the great revolution which the victory
of Christianity over Odinism produced in the Teutonic world of thought,
inasmuch as it tore down the ancient mythical structure and applied the
fragments that were fit for use as material for a new saga
structure--that this revolution required a period of more than eight
hundred years before it had conquered the last fastnesses of the Odinic
doctrine. On the one side of the slowly advancing borders between the
two religions there developed and continued a changing and
transformation of the old sagas, the main purpose of which was to
obliterate all that contained too much flavour of heathendom and was
incompatible with Christianity; while, on the other side of the borders
of faith, the old mythic songs, but little affected by the tooth of
time, still continued to live in their original form. Thus one might, to
choose the nearest example at hand, sing on the northern side of this
faith-border, where heathendom still prevailed, about how Hadding, when
the persecutions of Svipdag and his half-brother Gudhorm compelled him
to fly to the far East, there was protected by Odin, and how he through
him received the assistance of _Hrútr-Heimdall_; while the Christians,
on the south side of this border, sang of how Dieterich, persecuted by a
brother and the protectors of the latter, was forced to take flight to
the far East, and how he was there received by a mighty king, who, as he
could no longer be Odin, must be the mightiest king in the East ever
heard of--that is, Attila--and how Attila gave him as protector a
certain Rüdiger, whose very name contains an echo of Ruther (Heimdal),
who could not, however, be the white Asa-god, Odin's faithful servant,
but must be changed into a faithful vassal and "markgrave" under Attila.
The Saxons were converted to Christianity by fire and sword in the
latter part of the eighth century. In the deep forests of Sweden
heathendom did not yield completely to Christianity before the twelfth
century. In the time of Saxo's father there were still heathen
communities in Smaland on the Danish border. It follows that Saxo must
have received the songs concerning the ancient Teutonic heroes in a far
more original form than that in which the same songs could be found in

Hadding means "the hairy one," "the fair-haired;" Dieterich
(_thjódrekr_) means "the ruler of the people," "the great ruler." Both
epithets belong to one and the same saga character. Hadding is the
epithet which belongs to him as a youth, before he possessed a kingdom;
Dieterich is the epithet which represents him as the king of many
Teutonic tribes. The Vilkinsaga says of him that he had an abundant and
beautiful growth of hair, but that he never got a beard. This is
sufficient to explain the name Hadding, by which he was presumably
celebrated in song among all Teutonic tribes; for we have already seen
that Hadding is known in Anglo-Saxon poetry as Hearding, and, as we
shall see, the continental Teutons knew him not only as Dieterich, but
also as Hartung. It is also possible that the name "the hairy" has in
the myth had the same purport as the epithet "the fair-haired" has in
the Norse account of Harald, Norway's first ruler, and that Hadding of
the myth was the prototype of Harald, when the latter made the vow to
let his hair grow until he was king of all Norway (Harald Harfager's
Saga, 4). The custom of not cutting hair or beard before an exploit
resolved upon was carried out was an ancient one among the Teutons, and
so common and so sacred that it must have had foothold and prototype in
the hero-saga. Tacitus mentions it (_Germania_, 31); so does Paulus
Diaconus (_Hist._, iii. 7) and Gregorius of Tours (v. 15).

Although it had nearly ceased to be heard in the German saga cycle,
still the name Hartung has there left traces of its existence. "Anhang
des Heldenbuchs" mentions King Hartung _aus Reüssenlant_; that is to
say, a King Hartung who came from some land in the East. The poem
"Rosengarten" (variant D; cp. W. Grimm, _D. Heldensage_, 139, 253) also
mentions Hartunc, king _von Riuzen_. A comparison of the different
versions of "Rosengarten" with the poem "Dieterichs Flucht" shows that
the name Hartung _von Riuzen_ in the course of time becomes Hartnit _von
Riuzen_ and Hertnit _von Riuzen_, by which form of the name the hero
reappears in Vilkinasaga as a king in Russia. If we unite the scattered
features contained in these sources about Hartung we get the following
main outlines of his saga:

(_a_) Hartung is a king and dwells in an eastern country (all the

(_b_) He is not, however, an independent ruler there, at least not in
the beginning, but is subject to Attila (who in the Dieterich's saga has
supplanted Odin as chief ruler in the East). He is Attila's man
("Dieterichs Flucht").

(_c_) A Swedish king has robbed him of his land and driven him into

(_d_) The Swedish king is of the race of elves, and the chief of the
same race as the celebrated Velint--that is to say, Volund
(Wayland)--belonged to (Vilkinasaga). As shall be shown later (see Nos.
108, 109), Svipdag, the banisher of Hadding, belongs to the same race.
He is Volund's nephew (brother's son).

(_e_) Hartung recovers, after the death of the Swedish conqueror, his
own kingdom, and also conquers that of the Swedish king (Vilkinasaga).

All these features are found in the saga of Hadding. Thus the original
identity of Hadding and Hartung is beyond doubt. We also find that
Hartung, like Dieterich, is banished from his country; that he fled,
like him, to the East; that he got, like him, Attila the king of the
East as his protector; that he thereupon returned, conquered his
enemies, and recovered his kingdom. Hadding's, Hartung's and Dieterich's
sagas are, therefore, one and the same in root and in general outline.
Below it shall also be shown that the most remarkable details are common
to them all.

I have above (No. 42) given reasons why Hamal (Amala), the
foster-brother of Halfdan Borgarson, was Hadding's assistant and general
in the war against his foes. The hero, who in the German saga has the
same place under Dieterich, is the aged "master" Hildebrand, Dieterich's
faithful companion, teacher, and commander of his troops. Can it be
demonstrated that what the German saga tells about Hildebrand reveals
threads that connect him with the saga of the original patriarchs, and
that not only his position as Dieterich's aged friend and general, but
also his genealogy, refer to this saga? And can a satisfactory
explanation be given of the reason why Hildebrand obtained in the German
Dieterich saga the same place as Hamal had in the old myth?

Hildebrand is, as his very name shows, a Hilding,[31] like Hildeger who
appears in the patriarch saga (Saxo, _Hist._, 356-359). Hildeger was,
according to the tradition in Saxo, the half-brother of Halfdan
Borgarson. They had the same mother _Drot_, but not the same father;
Hildeger counted himself a Swede on his father's side; Halfdan, Borgar's
son, considered himself as belonging to the South Scandinavians and
Danes, and hence the dying Hildeger sings to Halfdan (_Hist._, 357):

    Danica te tellus, me Sveticus edidit orbis.
    Drot tibi maternum, quondam distenderat uber;
    Hac genitrici tibi pariter collacteus exto.[32]

In the German tradition Hildebrand is the son of Herbrand. The Old High
German fragment of the song, about Hildebrand's meeting with his son
Hadubrand, calls him _Heribrantes sunu_. Herbrand again is, according to
the poem "Wolfdieterich," Berchtung's son (concerning Berchtung, see No.
6). In a Norse tradition preserved by Saxo we find a Hilding (Hildeger)
who is Borgar's stepson; in the German tradition we find a Hilding
(Herbrand) who is Borgar-Berchtung's son. This already shows that the
German saga about Hildebrand was originally connected with the patriarch
saga about Borgar, Halfdan, and Halfdan's sons, and that the Hildings
from the beginning were akin to the Teutonic patriarchs. Borgar's
transformation from stepfather to the father of a Hilding shall be
explained below.

Hildeger's saga and Hildebrand's are also related in subject matter. The
fortunes of both the kinsmen are at the same time like each other and
the antithesis of each other. Hildeger's character is profoundly tragic;
Hildebrand is happy and secure. Hildeger complains in his death-song in
Saxo (cp. Asmund Kæmpebane's saga) that he has fought with and slain his
own beloved son. In the Old High German song-fragment Hildebrand seeks,
after his return from the East, his son Hadubrand, who believed that his
father was dead and calls Hildebrand a deceiver, who has taken the dead
man's name, and forces him to fight a duel. The fragment ends before we
learn the issue of the duel; but Vilkinasaga and a ballad about
Hildebrand have preserved the tradition in regard to it. When the old
"master" has demonstrated that his Hadubrand is not yet equal to him in
arms, father and son ride side by side in peace and happiness to their
home. Both the conflicts between father and son, within the Hilding
family, are pendants and each other's antithesis. Hildeger, who
passionately loves war and combat, inflicts in his eagerness for strife
a deep wound in his own heart when he kills his own son. Hildebrand acts
wisely, prudently, and seeks to ward off and allay the son's love of
combat before the duel begins, and he is able to end it by pressing his
young opponent to his paternal bosom. On the other hand, Hildeger's
conduct toward his half-brother Halfdan, the ideal of a noble and
generous enemy, and his last words to his brother, who, ignorant of the
kinship, has given him the fatal wound, and whose mantle the dying one
wishes to wrap himself in (Asmund Kæmpebane's saga), is one of the
touching scenes in the grand poems about our earliest ancestors. It
seems to have proclaimed that blood revenge was inadmissible, when a
kinsman, without being aware of the kinship, slays a kinsman, and when
the latter before he died declared his devotion to his slayer. At all
events we rediscover the aged Hildebrand as the teacher and protector of
the son of the same Halfdan who slew Hildeger, and not a word is said
about blood revenge between Halfdan's and Hildeger's descendants.

The kinship pointed out between the Teutonic patriarchs and the Hildings
has not, however, excluded a relation of subordination of the latter to
the former. In "Wolfdieterich" Hildebrand's father receives land and
fief from Dieterich's grandfather and carries his banner in war.
Hildebrand himself performs toward Dieterich those duties which are due
from a foster-father, which, as a rule, show a relation of
subordination to the real father of the foster-son. Among the kindred
families to which Dieterich and Hildebrand belong there was the same
difference of rank as between those to which Hadding and Hamal belong.
Hamal's father Hagal was Halfdan's foster-father, and, to judge from
this, occupied the position of a subordinate friend toward Halfdan's
father Borgar. Thus Halfdan and Hamal were foster-brothers, and from
this it follows that Hamal, if he survived Halfdan, was bound to assume
a foster-father's duties towards the latter's son Hadding, who was not
yet of age. Hamal's relation to Hadding is therefore entirely analagous
to Hildebrand's relation to Dieterich.

The pith of that army which attached itself to Dieterich are Amelungs,
Amalians (see "Biterolf"); that is to say, members of Hamal's race. The
oldest and most important hero, the pith of the pith, is old master
Hildebrand himself, Dieterich's foster-father and general. Persons who
in the German poems have names which refer to their Amalian birth are by
Hildebrand treated as members of a clan are treated by a clan-chief.
Thus Hildebrand brings from Sweden a princess, Amalgart, and gives her
as wife to a son of Amelolt serving among Dieterich's Amelungs, and to
Amelolt Hildebrand has already given his sister for a wife.

The question as to whether we find threads which connect the Hildebrand
of the German poem with the saga of the mythic patriarchs, and
especially with the Hamal (Amala) who appears in this saga, has now been
answered. Master Hildebrand has in the German saga-cycle received the
position and the tasks which originally belonged to Hamal, the
progenitor of the Amalians.

The relation between the kindred families--the patriarch family, the
Hilding family, and the Amal family--has certainly been just as
distinctly pointed out in the German saga-cycle as in the Norse before
the German met with a crisis, which to some extent confused the old
connection. This crisis came when Hadding-_thjódrekr_ of the ancient
myth was confounded with the historical king of the East Goths,
Theoderich. The East Goth Theoderich counted himself as belonging to the
Amal family, which had grown out of the soil of the myth. He was,
according to Jordanes (_De Goth. Orig._, 14), a son of Thiudemer, who
traced his ancestry to Amal (Hamal), son of Augis (Hagal).[33] The
result of the confusion was:

(_a_) That Hadding-_thjódrekr_ became the son of Thiudemer, and that his
descent from the Teuton patriarchs was cut off.

(_b_) That Hadding-_thjódrekr_ himself became a descendant of Hamal,
whereby the distinction between this race of rulers--the line of
Teutonic patriarchs begun with Ruther Heimdal--together with the Amal
family, friendly but subject to the Hadding family, and the Hilding
family was partly obscured and partly abolished. Dieterich himself
became an "Amelung" like several of his heroes.

(_c_) That when Hamal thus was changed from an elder contemporary of
Hadding-_thjódrekr_ into his earliest progenitor, separated from him by
several generations of time, he could no longer serve as Dieterich's
foster-father and general; but this vocation had to be transferred to
master Hildebrand, who also in the myth must have been closely connected
with Hadding, and, together with Hamal, one of his chief and constant

(_d_) That Borgar-Berchtung, who in the myth is the grandfather of
Hadding-_thjódrekr_, must, as he was not an Amal, resign this dignity
and confine himself to being the progenitor of the Hildings. As we have
seen, he is in Saxo the progenitor of the Hilding Hildeger.

Another result of Hadding-_thjódrekr's_ confusion with the historical
Theoderich was that Dieterich's kingdom, and the scene of various of his
exploits, was transferred to Italy: to Verona (Bern), Ravenna (Raben),
&c. Still the strong stream of the ancient myths became master of the
confused historical increments, so that the Dieterich of the saga has
but little in common with the historical Theoderich.

After the dissemination of Christianity, the hero saga of the Teutonic
myths was cut off from its roots in the mythology, and hence this
confusion was natural and necessary. Popular tradition, in which traces
were found of the historical Theoderich-Dieterich, was no longer able to
distinguish the one Dieterich from the other. A writer acquainted with
the chronicle of Jordanes took the last step and made Theoderich's
father Thiudemer the father of the mythic Hadding-_thjódrekr_.

Nor did the similarity of names alone encourage this blending of the
persons. There was also another reason. The historical Theoderich had
fought against Odoacer. The mythic Hadding-_thjódrekr_ had warred with
Svipdag, the husband of Freyja, who also bore the name _Ódr_ and _Ottar_
(see Nos. 96-100). The latter name-form corresponds to the English and
German _Otter_, the Old High German _Otar_, a name which suggested the
historical _Otacher_ (Odoacer). The Dieterich and Otacher of historical
traditions became identified with _thjódrekr_ and _Ottar_ of mythical

As the Hadding-_thjódrekr_ of mythology was in his tender youth exposed
to the persecutions of Ottar, and had to take flight from them to the
far East, so the Dieterich of the historical saga also had to suffer
persecutions in his tender youth from Otacher, and take flight,
accompanied by his faithful Amalians, to a kingdom in the East.
Accordingly, Hadubrand says of his father Hildebrand, that, when he
betook himself to the East with Dieterich, _floh her Otachres nîd_, "he
fled from Otacher's hate." Therefore, Otacher soon disappears from the
German saga-cycle, for Svipdag-Ottar perishes and disappears in the
myth, long before Hadding's victory and restoration to his father's
power (see No. 106).

Odin and Heimdal, who then, according to the myth, dwelt in the East and
there became the protectors of Hadding, must, as heathen deities, be
removed from the Christian saga, and be replaced as best they could by
others. The famous ruler in the East, Attila, was better suited than
anyone else to take Odin's place, though Attila was dead before
Theoderich was born. Ruther-Heimdal was, as we have already seen,
changed into Rüdiger.

The myth made Hadding dwell in the East for many years (see above). The
ten-year rule of the Vans in Asgard must end, and many other events must
occur before the epic connection of the myths permitted Hadding to
return as a victor. As a result of this, the saga of "Dieterich of Bern"
also lets him remain a long time with Attila. An old English song
preserved in the Exeter manuscript, makes _Theodric_ remain _thrittig
wintra_ in exile at Mæringaburg. The song about Hildebrand and Hadubrand
make him remain in exile _sumarô enti wintro sehstic_, and Vilkinasaga
makes him sojourn in the East thirty-two years.

Mæringaburg of the Anglo-Saxon poem is the refuge which Odin opened for
his favourite, and where the former dwelt during his exile in the East.
Mæringaburg means a citadel inhabited by noble, honoured, and splendid
persons: compare the Old Norse _mæringr_. But the original meaning of
_mærr_, Old German _mâra_, is "glittering," "shining," "pure," and it is
possible that, before _mæringr_ received its general signification of a
famous, honoured, noble man, it was used in the more special sense of a
man descended from "the shining one," that is to say, from Heimdal
through Borgar. However this may be, these "mæringar" have, in the
Anglo-Saxon version of the Hadding saga, had their antitheses in the
"baningar," that is, the men of Loke-Bicke (Bekki). This appears from
the expression _Bekka veóld Baningum_, in Codex Exoniensis. The Banings
are no more than the Mærings, an historical name. The interpretation of
the word is to be sought in the Anglo-Saxon _bana_, the English _bane_.
The Banings means "the destroyers," "the corrupters," a suitable
appellation of those who follow the source of pest, the all-corrupting
Loke. In the German poems, Mæringaburg is changed to Meran, and
Borgar-Berchtung (Hadding's grandfather in the myth) is Duke of Meran.
It is his fathers who have gone to the gods that Hadding finds again
with Odin and Heimdal in the East.

Despite the confusion of the historical Theoderich with the mythic
Hadding-_thjódrekr_, a tradition has been handed down within the German
saga-cycle to the effect that "Dieterich of Bern" belonged to a
genealogy which Christianity had anathematised. Two of the German
Dieterich poems, "Nibelunge Noth" and "Klage," refrain from mentioning
the ancestors of their hero. Wilhelm Grimm suspects that the reason for
this is that the authors of these poems knew something about Dieterich's
descent, which they could not relate without wounding Christian ears;
and he reminds us that, when the Vilkinasaga Thidrek (Dieterich) teases
Högne (Hagen) by calling him the son of an elf, Högne answers that
Thidrek has a still worse descent, as he is the son of the devil
himself. The matter, which in Grimm's eyes is mystical, is explained by
the fact that Hadding-_thjódrekr's_ father in the myth, Halfdan
Borgarson, was supposed to be descended from Thor, and in his capacity
of a Teutonic patriarch he had received divine worship (see Nos. 23 and
30). _Anhang des Heldenbuchs_ says that Dieterich was the son of a
"böser geyst."

It has already been stated (No. 38) that Hadding from Odin received a
drink which exercised a wonderful influence upon his physical nature. It
made him _recreatum vegetiori corporis firmitate_, and, thanks to it and
to the incantation sung over him by Odin, he was able to free himself
from the chains afterwards put on him by Loke. It has also been pointed
out that this drink contained something called Leifner's or Leifin's
flames. There is every reason for assuming that these "flames" had the
effect of enabling the person who had partaken of the potion of
Leifner's flames to free himself from his chains with his own breath.
Groa (Groagalder, 10) gives her son Svipdag "Leifner's fires" in order
that if he is chained, his enchanted limbs may be liberated (_ek læt
ther Leifnis elda fyr kvedinn legg_). The record of the giving of this
gift to Hadding meets us in the German saga, in the form that Dieterich
was able with his breath to burn the fetters laid upon him (see
"Laurin"), nay, when he became angry, he could breathe fire and make the
cuirass of his opponent red-hot. The tradition that Hadding by eating,
on the advice of Odin, the heart of a wild beast (Saxo says of a lion)
gained extraordinary strength, is also preserved in the form, that when
Dieterich was in distress, God sent him _eines löwen krafft von
herczenlichen zoren_ ("Ecken Ausfarth").

Saxo relates that Hadding on one occasion was invited to descend into
the lower world and see its strange things (see No. 47). The heathen
lower world, with its fields of bliss and places of torture, became in
the Christian mind synonymous with hell. Hadding's descent to the lower
world, together with the mythic account of his journey through the air
on Odin's horse Sleipner, were remembered in Christian times in the form
that he once on a black diabolical horse rode to hell. This explains the
remarkable _dénouement_ of the Dieterich saga; namely, that he, the
magnanimous and celebrated hero, was captured by the devil. Otto of
Friesingen (first half of the twelfth century) states that _Theodoricus
vivus equo sedens ad inferos descendit_. The Kaiser chronicle says that
"many saw that the devils took Dieterich and carried him into the
mountain to Vulcan."

In Saxo we read that Hadding once while bathing had an adventure which
threatened him with the most direful revenge from the gods (see No.
106). Manuscripts of the Vilkinasaga speak of a fateful bath which
Thidrek took, and connects it with his journey to hell. While the hero
was bathing there came a black horse, the largest and stateliest ever
seen. The king wrapped himself in his bath towel and mounted the horse.
He found, too late, that the steed was the devil, and he disappeared for


(_From an etching by Lorenz Frölich Frölloh._)

Loke was at one time the comrade of Odin but by his mismating with a
giantess, Angerboda, he became the father of three monsters, the Fenris
Wolf, the Midgard Serpent and the terrible Hel, at the sight of which
latter living creatures were immediately stricken dead. Odin was so
enraged by these issues of Loke's commerce with a giantess, that he had
the brood brought before him in Asgard, and seizing Hel and the snake in
his powerful arms he flung them far out into space. Hel fell for nine
days until she reached Helheim, far beneath the earth, where she became
ruler over the dead. The snake dropped into the ocean that surrounds
Midgard, where it was to remain growing until its coils should envelop
the earth and in the end should help to bring about the destruction of
the world. The Wolf was borne away by Tyr and placed in chains, but
escaping later at Ragnarok he devoured Odin.]

Saxo tells that Hadding made war on a King Handuanus, who had concealed
his treasures in the bottom of a lake, and who was obliged to ransom his
life with a golden treasure of the same weight as his body (_Hist._. 41,
42, 67). Handuanus is a Latinised form of the dwarf name _Andvanr,
Andvani_. The Sigurd saga has a record of this event, and calls the
dwarf _Andvari_ (Sig. Fafn., ii.). The German saga is also able to
tell of a war which Dieterich waged against a dwarf king. The war has
furnished the materials for the saga of "Laurin." Here, too, the
conquered dwarf-king's life is spared, and Dieterich gets possession of
many of his treasures.

In the German as in the Norse saga, Hadding-_thjódrekr's_ rival to
secure the crown was his brother, supported by _Otacher-Ottar_
(Svipdag). The tradition in regard to this, which agrees with the myth,
was known to the author of _Anhang des Heldenbuchs_. But already in an
early day the brother was changed into uncle on account of the
intermixing of historical reminiscences.

The brother's name in the Norse tradition is _Gudhormr_, in the German
_Ermenrich_ (_Ermanaricus_). _Ermenrich Jörmunrekr_ means, like
_thjódrekr_, a ruler over many people, a great king. Jordanes already
has confounded the mythic _Jörmunrekr-Gudhormr_ with the historical
Gothic King _Hermanaricus_, whose kingdom was destroyed by the Huns, and
has applied to him the saga of Svanhild and her brothers _Sarus_
(_Sörli_) and _Ammius_ (_Hamdir_), a saga which originally was connected
with that of the mythic _Jörmunrek_. The Sigurd epic, which expanded
with plunder from all sources, has added to the confusion by annexing
this saga.

In the Roman authors the form _Herminones_ is found by the side of
_Hermiones_ as the name of one of the three Teutonic tribes which
descended from Mannus. It is possible, as already indicated, that
_-horm_ in _Gudhorm_ is connected with the form _Hermio_, and it is
probable, as already pointed out by several linguists, that the
Teutonic _irmin_ (_jörmun_, Goth. _airmana_) is linguistically
connected with the word _Hermino_. In that case, the very names
_Gudhormr_ and _Jörmunrekr_ already point as such to the mythic
progenitor of the Hermiones, Herminones, just as Yngve-Svipdag's name
points to the progenitor of the _Ingvæones_ (Ingævones), and possibly
also Hadding's to that of the Istævones (see No. 25). To the name
Hadding corresponds, as already shown, the Anglo-Saxon Hearding, the old
German Hartung. The _Hasdingi_ (_Asdingi_) mentioned by Jordanes were
the chief warriors of the Vandals (_Goth. Orig._, 22), and there may be
a mythic reason for rediscovering this family name among an East
Teutonic tribe (the Vandals), since Hadding, according to the myth, had
his support among the East Teutonic tribes. To the form _Hasdingi_
(Goth. _Hazdiggós_) the words _istævones_, _istvæones_, might readily
enough correspond, provided the vowel _i_ in the Latin form can be
harmonised with _a_ in the Teutonic. That the vowel _i_ was an uncertain
element may be seen from the genealogy in Codex La Cava, which calls
Istævo _Ostius_, _Hostius_.

As to geography, both the Roman and Teutonic records agree that the
northern Teutonic tribes were Ingævones. In the myths they are
Scandinavians and neighbours to the Ingævones. In the Beowulf poem the
king of the Danes is called _eodor Inguina_, the protection of the
Ingævones, and _freâ Inguina_, the lord of the Ingævones. Tacitus says
that they live nearest to the ocean (_Germ._, 2); Pliny says that
Cimbrians, Teutons, and Chaucians were Ingævones (_Hist. Nat._, iv. 28).
Pomponius Mela says that the land of the Cimbrians and Teutons was
washed by the Codan bay (iii. 3). As to the Hermiones and Istævones, the
former dwelt along the middle Rhine, and of the latter, who are the East
Teutons of mythology, several tribes had already before the time of
Pliny pressed forward south of the Hermiones to this river.

The German saga-cycle has preserved the tradition that in the first
great battle in which Hadding-_thjódrekr_ measured his strength with the
North and West Teutons he suffered a great defeat. This is openly avowed
in the Dieterich poem "die Klage." Those poems, on the other hand, which
out of sympathy for their hero give him victory in this battle ("the
Raben battle") nevertheless in fact acknowledge that such was not the
case, for they make him return to the East after the battle and remain
there many years, robbed of his crown, before he makes his second and
successful attempt to regain his kingdom. Thus the "Raben battle"
corresponds to the mythic battle in which Hadding is defeated by
Ingævones and Hermiones. Besides the "Raben battle" has from a Teutonic
standpoint a trait of universality, and the German tradition has upon
the whole faithfully, and in harmony with the myth, grouped the allies
and heroes of the hostile brothers. Dieterich is supported by East
Teutonic warriors, and by non-Teutonic people from the East--from
Poland, Wallachia, Russia, Greece, &c.; Ermenrich, on the other hand, by
chiefs from Thuringia, Swabia, Hessen, Saxony, the Netherlands, England,
and the North, and, above all, by the Burgundians, who in the genealogy
in the St. Gaelen Codex are counted among the Hermiones, and in the
genealogy in the La Cava Codex are counted with the Ingævones. For the
mythic descent of the Burgundian dynasty from an uncle of Svipdag I
shall present evidence in my chapters on the Ivalde race.

The original identity of Hadding's and Dieterich's sagas, and their
descent from the myth concerning the earliest antiquity and the
patriarchs, I now regard as demonstrated and established. The war
between Hadding-Dieterich and Gudhorm-Ermenrich is identical with the
conflict begun by Yngve-Svipdag between the tribes of the Ingævones,
Hermiones, and Istævones. It has also been demonstrated that Halfdan,
Gudhorm's, and Hadding's father, and Yngve-Svipdag's stepfather, is
identical with Mannus. One of the results of this investigation is,
therefore, that _the songs about Mannus and his sons, ancient already in
the days of Tacitus, have, more or less influenced by the centuries,
continued to live far down in the middle ages, and that, not the songs
themselves, but the main features of their contents, have been preserved
to our time_, and should again be incorporated in our mythology together
with the myth in regard to the primeval time, the main outline of which
has been restored, and the final episode of which is the first great war
in the world.

The Norse-Icelandic school, which accepted and developed the learned
hypothesis of the middle age in regard to the immigration of Odin and
his Asiamen, is to blame that the myth, in many respects important, in
regard to the olden time and its events in the world of gods and
men--among Aryan myths one of the most important, either from a
scientific or poetic point of view, that could be handed down to our
time--was thrust aside and forgotten. The learned hypothesis and the
ancient myth could not be harmonised. For that reason the latter had to
yield. Nor was there anything in this myth that particularly appealed to
the Norse national feeling, and so could claim mercy. Norway is not at
all named in it. Scania, Denmark, Svithiod (Sweden), and continental
Teutondom are the scene of the mythic events. Among the many causes
co-operating in Christian times, in giving what is now called "Norse
mythology" its present character, there is not one which has contributed
so much as the rejection of this myth toward giving "Norse mythology"
the stamp which it hitherto has borne of a narrow, illiberal town
mythology, which, built chiefly on the foundation of the Younger Edda,
is, as shall be shown in the present work, in many respects a caricature
of the real Norse, and at the same time in its main outlines Teutonic,

In regard to the ancient Aryan elements in the myth here presented, see
Nos. 82 and 111.

[Footnote 31: In nearly all the names of members of this family, Hild-
or -brand, appears as a part of the compound word. All that the names
appear to signify is that their owners belong to the Hilding race.

  _Old High German fragment._ Herbrand - Hildebrand - Hadubrand.
  _Wolfdieterich_             Berchtung. - Herbrand - Hildebrand.
  _Vilkinasaga._              Hildebrand. - Alebrand.
  _A popular song about
     Hildebrand._             Hildebrand. - The younger Hildebrand.
                                                / Hildir.
  _Fundin Noregur._           Hildir. - Hildebrand.
                                                \ Herbrand.
                                                            / Hildir.
  _Flateybook, i. 25,_        Hildir. - Hildebrand. - Vigbrand.
                                                            \ Herbrand.
  _Asmund Kæmpebane's Saga._  Hildebrand. - Helge. - Hildebrand.

[Footnote 32: Compare in Asmund Kæmpebane's saga the words of the dying

    _thik Drott of bar
    af Danmorku
    en mik sjálfan
    á Svithiodu._

[Footnote 33: The texts of Jordanes often omit the aspirate and write
Eruli for Heruli, &c. In regard to the name-form Amal, Closs remarks, in
his edition of 1886: AMAL, _sic, Ambr. cum Epit. et Pall, nisi quod hi
Hamal aspirate_.]


                     THE MYTH IN REGARD TO THE
                            LOWER WORLD.



Far down in Christian times there prevailed among the Scandinavians the
idea that their heathen ancestors had believed in the existence of a
place of joy, from which sorrow, pain, blemishes, age, sickness, and
death were excluded. This place of joy was called _Ódáinsakr_,
the-acre-of-the-not-dead, _Jörd lifanda manna_, the earth of living men.
It was situated not in heaven but below, either on the surface of the
earth or in the lower world, but it was separated from the lands
inhabited by men in such a manner that it was not impossible, but
nevertheless exceeding perilous, to get there.

A saga from the fourteenth century incorporated in Flateybook, and with
a few textual modifications in Fornald. Saga, iii., tells the following:

Erik, the son of a petty Norse king, one Christmas Eve, made the vow to
seek out Odainsaker, and the fame of it spread over all Norway. In
company with a Danish prince, who also was named Erik, he betook
himself first to Miklagard (Constantinople), where the king engaged the
young men in his service, and was greatly benefited by their warlike
skill. One day the king talked with the Norwegian Erik about religion,
and the result was that the latter surrendered the faith of his
ancestors and accepted baptism. He told his royal teacher of the vow he
had taken to find Odainsaker,--"_frá honum heyrdi vèr sagt a voru
landi_,"--and asked him if he knew where it was situated. The king
believed that Odainsaker was identical with Paradise, and said it lies
in the East beyond the farthest boundaries of India, but that no one was
able to get there because it was enclosed by a fire-wall, which aspires
to heaven itself. Still Erik was bound by his vow, and with his Danish
namesake he set out on his journey, after the king had instructed them
as well as he was able in regard to the way, and had given them a letter
of recommendation to the authorities and princes through whose
territories they had to pass. They travelled through Syria and the
immense and wonderful India, and came to a dark country where the stars
are seen all day long. After having traversed its deep forests, they saw
when it began to grow light a river, over which there was a vaulted
stone bridge. On the other side of the river there was a plain, from
which came sweet fragrance. Erik conjectured that the river was the one
called by the king in Miklagard Pison, and which rises in Paradise. On
the stone bridge lay a dragon with wide open mouth. The Danish prince
advised that they return, for he considered it impossible to conquer the
dragon or to pass it. But the Norwegian Erik seized one of his men by
one hand, and rushed with his sword in the other against the dragon.
They were seen to vanish between the jaws of the monster. With the other
companions the Danish prince then returned by the same route as he had
come, and after many years he got back to his native land.

When Erik and his fellow-countryman had been swallowed by the dragon,
they thought themselves enveloped in smoke; but it was scattered, and
they were unharmed, and saw before them the great plain lit up by the
sun and covered with flowers. There flowed rivers of honey, the air was
still, but just above the ground were felt breezes that conveyed the
fragrance of the flowers. It is never dark in this country, and objects
cast no shadow. Both the adventurers went far into the country in order
to find, if possible, inhabited parts. But the country seemed to be
uninhabited. Still they discovered a tower in the distance. They
continued to travel in that direction, and on coming nearer they found
that the tower was suspended in the air, without foundation or pillars.
A ladder led up to it. Within the tower there was a room, carpeted with
velvet, and there stood a beautiful table with delicious food in silver
dishes, and wine in golden goblets. There were also splendid beds. Both
the men were now convinced that they had come to Odainsaker, and they
thanked God that they had reached their destination. They refreshed
themselves and laid themselves to sleep. While Erik slept there came to
him a beautiful lad, who called him by name, and said he was one of the
angels who guarded the gates of Paradise, and also Erik's guardian
angel, who had been at his side when he vowed to go in search of
Odainsaker. He asked whether Erik wished to remain where he now was or
to return home. Erik wished to return to report what he had seen. The
angel informed him that Odainsaker, or _jörd lifanda manna_, where he
now was, was not the same place as Paradise, for to the latter only
spirits could come, and the land of spirits, Paradise, was so glorious
that, in comparison, Odainsaker seemed like a desert. Still, these two
regions are on each other's borders, and the river which Erik had seen
has its source in Paradise. The angel permitted the two travellers to
remain in Odainsaker for six days to rest themselves. Then they returned
by way of Miklagard to Norway, and there Erik was called _vid-förli_,
the far-travelled.

In regard to Erik's genealogy, the saga states (Fornald. Saga, iii. 519)
that his father's name was Thrand, that his aunt (mother's sister) was a
certain Svanhvit, and that he belonged to the race of Thjasse's daughter
Skade. Further on in the domain of the real myth, we shall discover an
Erik who belongs to Thjasse's family, and whose mother is a swan-maid
(goddess of growth). This latter Erik also succeeded in seeing
Odainsaker (see Nos. 102, 103).



In the saga of Hervor, Odainsaker is mentioned, and there without any
visible addition of Christian elements. Gudmund (_Godmundr_) was the
name of a king in Jotunheim. His home was called _Grund_, but the
district in which it was situated was called the Glittering Plains
(_Glæsisvellir_). He was wise and mighty, and in a heathen sense pious,
and he and his men became so old that they lived many generations.
Therefore, the story continues, the heathens believed that Odainsaker
was situated in his country. "That place (Odainsaker) is for everyone
who comes there so healthy that sickness and age depart, and no one ever
dies there."

According to the saga-author, Jotunheim is situated north from
Halogaland, along the shores of Gandvik. The wise and mighty Gudmund
died after he had lived half a thousand years. After his death the
people worshipped him as a god, and offered sacrifices to him.

The same Gudmund is mentioned in Herrod's and Bose's saga as a ruler of
the Glittering Plains, who was very skilful in the magic arts. The
Glittering Plains are here said to be situated near Bjarmaland, just as
in Thorstein Bæarmagn's saga, in which king Gudmund's kingdom,
Glittering Plains, is a country tributary to Jotunheim, whose ruler is

In the history of Olaf Trygveson, as it is given in Flateybook, the
following episode is incorporated. The Northman Helge Thoreson was sent
on a commercial journey to the far North on the coast of Finmark, but he
got lost in a great forest. There he met twelve red-clad young maidens
on horseback, and the horses' trappings shone like gold. The chief one
of the maidens was Ingeborg, the daughter of Gudmund on the Glittering
Plains. The young maidens raised a splendid tent and set a table with
dishes of silver and gold. Helge was invited to remain, and he stayed
three days with Ingeborg. Then Gudmund's daughters got ready to leave;
but before they parted Helge received from Ingeborg two chests full of
gold and silver. With these he returned to his father, but mentioned to
nobody how he had obtained them. The next Yule night there came a great
storm, during which two men carried Helge away, none knew whither. His
sorrowing father reported this to Olaf Trygveson. The year passed. Then
it happened at Yule that Helge came in to the king in the hall, and with
him two strangers, who handed Olaf two gold-plated horns. They said they
were gifts from Gudmund on the Glittering Plains. Olaf filled the horns
with good drink and handed them to the messengers. Meanwhile he had
commanded the bishop who was present to bless the drink. The result was
that the heathen beings, who were Gudmund's messengers, cast the horns
away, and at the same time there was great noise and confusion in the
hall. The fire was extinguished, and Gudmund's men disappeared with
Helge, after having slain three of King Olaf's men. Another year passed.
Then there came to the king two men, who brought Helge with them, and
disappeared again. Helge was at that time blind. The king asked him many
questions, and Helge explained that he had spent most happy days at
Gudmund's; but King Olaf's prayers had at length made it difficult for
Gudmund and his daughter to retain him, and before his departure
Ingeborg picked his eyes out, in order that Norway's daughters should
not fall in love with them. With his gifts Gudmund had intended to
deceive King Olaf; but upon the whole Helge had nothing but good to
report about this heathen.


           MIDDLE AGE SAGAS (_continued_). SAXO CONCERNING

Saxo, the Danish historian, also knows Gudmund. He relates (_Hist.
Dan._, viii.) that King Gorm had resolved to find a mysterious country
in regard to which there were many reports in the North. Incredible
treasures were preserved in that land. A certain Geruthus, known in the
traditions, dwelt there, but the way thither was full of dangers and
well-nigh inaccessible for mortals. They who had any knowledge of the
situation of the land insisted that it was necessary to sail across the
ocean surrounding the earth, leave sun and stars behind, and make a
journey _sub Chao_, before reaching the land which is deprived of the
light of day, and over whose mountains and valleys darkness broods.
First there was a perilous voyage to be made, and then a journey in the
lower world. With the experienced sailor Thorkillus as his guide, King
Gorm left Denmark with three ships and a numerous company, sailed past
Halogaland, and came, after strange adventures on his way, to
Bjarmaland, situated beyond the known land of the same name, and
anchored near its coast. In this _Bjarmia ulterior_ it is always cold;
to its snow-clad fields there comes no summer warmth, through its deep
wild forests flow rapid foaming rivers which well forth from the rocky
recesses, and the woods are full of wild beasts, the like of which are
unknown elsewhere. The inhabitants are monsters with whom it is
dangerous for strangers to enter into conversation, for from
unconsidered words they get power to do harm. Therefore Thorkillus was
to do the talking alone for all his companions. The place for anchoring
he had chosen in such a manner that they thence had the shortest journey
to Geruthus. In the evening twilight the travellers saw a man of unusual
size coming to meet them, and to their joy he greeted them by name.
Thorkillus informed them that they should regard the coming of this man
as a good omen, for he was the brother of Geruthus, Guthmundus, a
friendly person and the most faithful protector in peril. When
Thorkillus had explained the perpetual silence of his companions by
saying that they were too bashful to enter into conversation with one
whose language they did not understand, Guthmundus invited them to be
his guests and led them by paths down along a river. Then they came to a
place where a golden bridge was built across the river. The Danes felt a
desire to cross the bridge and visit the land on the other side, but
Guthmundus warned them that nature with the bed of this stream has drawn
a line between the human and superhuman and mysterious, and that the
ground on the other side was by a sacred order proclaimed unlawful for
the feet of mortals.[34] They therefore continued the march on that
side of the river on which they had hitherto gone, and so came to the
mysterious dwelling of Guthmundus, where a feast was spread before them,
at which twelve of his sons, all of noble appearance, and as many
daughters, most fair of face, waited upon them.

But the feast was a peculiar one. The Danes heeded the advice of
Thorkillus not to come into too close contact with their strange
table-companions or the servants, and instead of tasting the courses
presented of food and drink, they ate and drank of the provisions they
had taken with them from home. This they did because Thorkillus knew
that mortals who accept the courtesies here offered them lose all memory
of the past and remain for ever among "these non-human and dismal
beings." Danger threatened even those who were weak in reference to the
enticing loveliness of the daughters of Guthmundus. He offered King Gorm
a daughter in marriage. Gorm himself was prudent enough to decline the
honour; but four of his men could not resist the temptation, and had to
pay the penalty with the loss of their memory and with enfeebled minds.

One more trial awaited them. Guthmundus mentioned to the king that he
had a villa, and invited Gorm to accompany him thither and taste of the
delicious fruits. Thorkillus, who had a talent for inventing excuses,
now found one for the king's lips. The host, though displeased with the
reserve of the guests, still continued to show them friendliness, and
when they expressed their desire to see the domain of Geruthus, he
accompanied them all to the river, conducted them across it, and
promised to wait there until they returned.

The land which they now entered was the home of terrors. They had not
gone very far before they discovered before them a city, which seemed to
be built of dark mists. Human heads were raised on stakes which
surrounded the bulwarks of the city. Wild dogs, whose rage Thorkillus,
however, knew how to calm, kept watch outside of the gates. The gates
were located high up in the bulwark, and it was necessary to climb up on
ladders in order to get to them. Within the city was a crowd of beings
horrible to look at and to hear, and filth and rottenness and a terrible
stench were everywhere. Further in was a sort of mountain-fastness. When
they had reached its entrance the travellers were overpowered by its
awful aspect, but Thorkillus inspired them with courage. At the same
time he warned them most strictly not to touch any of the treasures that
might entice their eyes. All that sight and soul can conceive as
terrible and loathsome was gathered within this rocky citadel. The
door-frames were covered with the soot of centuries, the walls were
draped with filth, the roofs were composed of sharp stings, the floors
were made of serpents encased in foulness. At the thresholds crowds of
monsters acted as doorkeepers and were very noisy. On iron benches,
surrounded by a hurdle-work of lead, there lay giant monsters which
looked like lifeless images. Higher up in a rocky niche sat the aged
Geruthus, with his body pierced and nailed to the rock, and there lay
also three women with their backs broken. Thorkillus explained that it
was this Geruthus whom the god Thor had pierced with a red-hot iron; the
women had also received their punishment from the same god.

When the travellers left these places of punishment they came to a place
where they saw cisterns of mead (_dolia_) in great numbers. These were
plated with seven sheets of gold, and above them hung objects of silver,
round as to form, from which shot numerous braids down into the
cisterns. Near by was found a gold-plated tooth of some strange animal,
and near it, again, there lay an immense horn decorated with pictures
and flashing with precious stones, and also an arm-ring of great size.
Despite the warnings, three of Gorm's men laid greedy hands on these
works of art. But the greed got its reward. The arm-ring changed into a
venomous serpent; the horn into a dragon, which killed their robbers;
the tooth became a sword, which pierced the heart of him who bore it.
The others who witnessed the fate of their comrades expected that they
too, although innocent, should meet with some misfortune. But their
anxiety seemed unfounded, and when they looked about them again they
found the entrance to another treasury, which contained a wealth of
immense weapons, among which was kept a royal mantle, together with a
splendid head-gear and a belt, the finest work of art. Thorkillus
himself could not govern his greed when he saw these robes. He took hold
of the mantle, and thus gave the signal to the others to plunder. But
then the building shook in its foundations; the voices of shrieking
women were heard, who asked if these robbers were longer to be
tolerated; beings which hitherto had been lying as if half-dead or
lifeless started up and joined other spectres who attacked the Danes.
The latter would all have lost their lives had not their retreat been
covered by two excellent archers whom Gorm had with him. But of the men,
nearly three hundred in number, with whom the king had ventured into
this part of the lower world, there remained only twenty when they
finally reached the river, where Guthmundus, true to his promise, was
waiting for them, and carried them in a boat to his own domain. Here he
proposed to them that they should remain, but as he could not persuade
them, he gave them presents and let them return to their ships in safety
the same way as they had come.

[Footnote 34: Cujus transeundi cupidos revocavit, docens, eo alveo
humana a monstrosis rerum secrevisse naturam, nec mortalibus ultra fas
esse vestigiis.]


                   (HADDING) IN THE LOWER WORLD.

Two other Danish princes have, according to Saxo, been permitted to see
a subterranean world, or Odainsaker. Saxo calls the one Fjallerus, and
makes him a sub-regent in Scania. The question who this Fjallerus was in
the mythology is discussed in another part of this work (see No. 92).
According to Saxo he was banished from the realm by King Amlethus, the
son of Horvendillus, and so retired to Undensakre (Odainsaker), "a place
which is unknown to our people" (_Hist. Dan._ iv.).

The other of these two is King Hadingus (_Hist. Dan._, i.), the
above-mentioned Hadding, son of Halfdan. One winter's day, while Hadding
sat at the hearth, there rose out of the ground the form of a woman, who
had her lap full of cowbanes, and showed them as if she was about to ask
whether the king would like to see that part of the world where, in the
midst of winter, so fresh flowers could bloom. Hadding desired this.
Then she wrapped him in her mantle and carried him away down into the
lower world. "The gods of the lower world," says Saxo, "must have
determined that he should be transferred living to those places, which
are not to be sought until after death." In the beginning the journey
was through a territory wrapped in darkness, fogs, and mists. Then
Hadding perceived that they proceeded along a path "which is daily trod
by the feet of walkers." The path led to a river, in whose rapids spears
and other weapons were tossed about, and over which there was a bridge.
Before reaching this river Hadding had seen from the path he travelled a
region in which "a few" or "certain" (_quidam_), but very noble beings
(_proceres_) were walking, dressed in beautiful frocks and purple
mantles. Thence the woman brought him to a plain which glittered as in
sunshine (_loca aprica_, translation of "The Glittering Plains"), and
there grew the plants which she had shown him. This was one side of the
river. On the other side there was bustle and activity. There Hadding
saw two armies engaged in battle. They were, his fair guide explained to
him, the souls of warriors who had fallen in battle, and now imitated
the sword-games they had played on earth. Continuing their journey, they
reached a place surrounded by a wall, which was difficult to pass
through or to surmount. Nor did the woman make any effort to enter
there, either alone or with him: "It would not have been possible for
the smallest or thinnest physical being." They therefore returned the
way they had come. But before this, and while they stood near the wall,
the woman demonstrated to Hadding by an experiment that the walled place
had a strange nature. She jerked the head off a chicken which she had
taken with her, and threw it over the wall, but the head came back to
the neck of the chicken, and with a distinct crow it announced "that it
had regained its life and breath."


           MIDDLE AGE SAGAS (_continued_). A FRISIAN SAGA IN
                             ADAM OF BREMEN.

The series of traditions above narrated in regard to Odainsaker, the
Glittering Plains, and their ruler Gudmund, and also in regard to the
neighbouring domains as habitations of the souls of the dead, extends,
so far as the age of their recording in writing is concerned, through a
period of considerable length. The latest cannot be referred to an
earlier date than the fourteenth century; the oldest were put in writing
toward the close of the twelfth. Saxo began working on his history
between the years 1179 and 1186. Thus these literary evidences span
about two centuries, and stop near the threshold of heathendom. The
generation to which Saxo's father belonged witnessed the crusade which
Sigurd the Crusader made in Eastern Smaland, in whose forests the
Asa-doctrine until that time seems to have prevailed, and the Odinic
religion is believed to have flourished in the more remote parts of
Sweden even in Saxo's own time.

We must still add to this series of documents one which is to carry it
back another century, and even more. This document is a saga told by
Adam of Bremen in _De Situ Daniæ_. Adam, or, perhaps, before him, his
authority Adalbert (appointed archbishop in the year 1043), has turned
the saga into history, and made it as credible as possible by excluding
all distinctly mythical elements. And as it, doubtless for this reason,
neither mentions a place which can be compared with Odainsaker or with
the Glittering Plains, I have omitted it among the literary evidences
above quoted. Nevertheless, it reminds us in its main features of Saxo's
account of Gorm's journey of discovery, and its relation both to it and
to the still older myth shall be shown later (see No. 94). In the form
in which Adam heard the saga, its point of departure has been located in
Friesland, not in Denmark. Frisian noblemen make a voyage past Norway up
to the farthest limits of the Arctic Ocean, get into a darkness which
the eyes scarcely can penetrate, are exposed to a maelstrom which
threatens to drag them down _ad Chaos_, but finally come quite
unexpectedly out of darkness and cold to an island which, surrounded as
by a wall of high rocks, contains subterranean caverns, wherein giants
lie concealed. At the entrances of the underground dwellings lay a great
number of tubs and vessels of gold and other metals which "to mortals
seem rare and valuable." As much as the adventurers could carry of
these treasures they took with them and hastened to their ships. But the
giants, represented by great dogs, rushed after them. One of the
Frisians was overtaken and torn into pieces before the eyes of the
others. The others succeeded, thanks to our Lord and to Saint Willehad,
in getting safely on board their ships.



If we consider the position of the authors or recorders of these sagas
in relation to the views they present in regard to Odainsaker and the
Glittering Plains, then we find that they themselves, with or without
reason, believe that these views are from a heathen time and of heathen
origin. The saga of Erik Vidforle states that its hero had in his own
native land, and in his heathen environment, heard reports about
Odainsaker. The Miklagard king who instructs the prince in the doctrines
of Christianity knows, on the other hand, nothing of such a country. He
simply conjectures that the Odainsaker of the heathens must be the same
as the Paradise of the Christians, and the saga later makes this
conjecture turn out to be incorrect.

The author of Hervor's saga mentions Odainsaker as a heathen belief, and
tries to give reasons why it was believed in heathen times that
Odainsaker was situated within the limits of Gudmund's kingdom, the
Glittering Plains. The reason is: "Gudmund and his men became so old
that they lived through several generations (Gudmund lived five hundred
years), and therefore the heathens believed that Odainsaker was situated
in his domain."

The man who compiled the legend about Helge Thoreson connects it with
the history of King Olaf Trygveson, and pits this first king of Norway,
who laboured for the introduction of Christianity, as a representative
of the new and true doctrine against King Gudmund of the Glittering
Plains as the representative of the heathen doctrine. The author would
not have done this if he had not believed that the ruler of the
Glittering Plains had his ancestors in heathendom.

The saga of Thorstein Bæarmagn puts Gudmund and the Glittering Plains in
a tributary relation to Jotunheim and to Geirrod, the giant, well known
in the mythology.

Saxo makes Gudmund Geirrod's (Geruthus') brother, and he believes he is
discussing ancient traditions when he relates Gorm's journey of
discovery and Hadding's journey to Jotunheim. Gorm's reign is referred
by Saxo to the period immediately following the reign of the mythical
King Snö (Snow) and the emigration of the Longobardians. Hadding's
descent to the lower world occurred, according to Saxo, in an antiquity
many centuries before King Snow. Hadding is, in Saxo, one of the first
kings of Denmark, the grandson of Skjold, progenitor of the Skjoldungs.

The saga of Erik Vidforle makes the way to Odainsaker pass through
Syria, India, and an unknown land which wants the light of the sun, and
where the stars are visible all day long. On the other side of
Odainsaker, and bordering on it, lies the land of the happy spirits,

That these last ideas have been influenced by Christianity would seem to
be sufficiently clear. Nor do we find a trace of Syria, India, and
Paradise as soon as we leave this saga and pass to the others, in the
chain of which it forms one of the later links. All the rest agree in
transferring to the uttermost North the land which must be reached
before the journey can be continued to the Glittering Plains and
Odainsaker. Hervor's saga says that the Glittering Plains and Odainsaker
are situated north of Halogaland, in Jotunheim; Herrod's and Bose's saga
states that they are situated in the vicinity of Bjarmaland. The saga of
Thorstein Bæarmagn says that they are a kingdom subject to Geirrod in
Jotunheim. Gorm's saga in Saxo says it is necessary to sail past
Halogaland north to a _Bjarmia ulterior_ in order to get to the kingdoms
of Gudmund and Geirrod. The saga of Helge Thoreson makes its hero meet
the daughters of Gudmund, the ruler of the Glittering Plains, after a
voyage to Finmarken. Hadding's saga in Saxo makes the Danish king pay a
visit to the unknown but wintry cold land of the "Nitherians," when he
is invited to make a journey to the lower world. Thus the older and
common view was that he who made the attempt to visit the Glittering
Plains and Odainsaker must first penetrate the regions of the uttermost
North, known only by hearsay.

Those of the sagas which give us more definite local descriptions in
addition to this geographical information all agree that the region
which forms, as it were, a foreground to the Glittering Plains and
Odainsaker is a land over which the darkness of night broods. As just
indicated, Erik Vidforle's saga claims that the stars there are visible
all day long. Gorm's saga in Saxo makes the Danish adventurers leave sun
and stars behind to continue the journey _sub Chao_. Darkness, fogs, and
mists envelop Hadding before he gets sight of the splendidly-clad
_proceres_ who dwell down there, and the shining meadows whose flowers
are never visited by winter. The Frisian saga in Adam of Bremen also
speaks of a gloom which must be penetrated ere one reaches the land
where rich giants dwell in subterranean caverns.

Through this darkness one comes, according to the saga of Erik Vidforle,
to a plain full of flowers, delicious fragrances, rivers of honey (a
Biblical idea, but see Nos. 89, 123), and perpetual light. A river
separates this plain from the land of the spirits.

Through the same darkness, according to Gorm's saga, one comes to
Gudmund's Glittering Plains, where there is a pleasure-farm bearing
delicious fruits, while in that Bjarmaland whence the Glittering Plains
can be reached reign eternal winter and cold. A river separates the
Glittering Plains from two or more other domains, of which at least one
is the home of departed souls. There is a bridge of gold across the
river to another region, "which separates that which is mortal from the
superhuman," and on whose soil a mortal being must not set his foot.
Further on one can pass in a boat across the river to a land which is
the place of punishment for the damned and a resort of ghosts.

Through the same darkness one comes, according to Hadding's saga, to a
subterranean land where flowers grow in spite of the winter which reigns
on the surface of the earth. The land of flowers is separated from the
Elysian fields of those fallen in battle by a river which hurls about in
its eddies spears and other weapons.

These statements from different sources agree with each other in their
main features. They agree that the lower world is divided into two main
parts by a river, and that departed souls are found only on the farther
side of the river.

The other main part on this side the river thus has another purpose than
that of receiving the happy or damned souls of the dead. There dwells,
according to Gorm's saga, the giant Gudmund, with his sons and
daughters. There are also the Glittering Plains, since these, according
to Hervor's, Herrod's, Thorstein Bæarmagn's, and Helge Thoreson's sagas,
are ruled by Gudmund.

Some of the accounts cited say that the Glittering Plains are situated
in Jotunheim. This statement does not contradict the fact that they are
situated in the lower world. The myths mention two Jotunheims, and hence
the Eddas employ the plural form, Jotunheimar. One of the Jotunheims is
located on the surface of the earth in the far North and East, separated
from the Midgard inhabited by man by the uttermost sea or the Elivogs
(Gylfaginning, 8). The other Jotunheim is subterranean. According to
Vafthrudnismal (31), one of the roots of the world-tree extends down "to
the frost-giants." Urd and her sisters, who guard one of the fountains
of Ygdrasil's roots, are giantesses. Mimer, who guards another fountain
in the lower world, is called a giant. That part of the world which is
inhabited by the goddesses of fate and by Mimer is thus inhabited by
giants, and is a subterranean Jotunheim. Both these Jotunheims are
connected with each other. From the upper there is a path leading to the
lower. Therefore those traditions recorded in a Christian age, which we
are here discussing, have referred to the Arctic Ocean and the uttermost
North as the route for those who have the desire and courage to visit
the giants of the lower world.

When it is said in Hadding's saga that he on the other side of the
subterranean river saw the shades of heroes fallen by the sword arrayed
in line of battle and contending with each other, then this is no
contradiction of the myth, according to which the heroes chosen on the
battle-field come to Asgard and play their warlike games on the plains
of the world of the gods.

In Völuspa (str. 24) we read that when the first "folk"-war broke out in
the world, the citadel of Odin and his clan was stormed by the Vans, who
broke through its bulwark and captured Asgard. In harmony with this,
Saxo (_Hist._, i.) relates that at the time when King Hadding reigned
Odin was banished from his power and lived for some time in exile (see
Nos. 36-41).

It is evident that no great battles can have been fought, and that there
could not have been any great number of sword-fallen men, before the
_first_ great "folk" war broke out in the world. Otherwise this war
would not have been the first. Thus Valhal has not before this war had
those hosts of einherjes who later are feasted in Valfather's hall. But
as Odin, after the breaking out of this war, is banished from Valhal and
Asgard, and does not return before peace is made between the Asas and
Vans, then none of the einherjes chosen by him could be received in
Valhal _during_ the war. Hence it follows that the heroes fallen in this
war, though chosen by Odin, must have been referred to some other place
than Asgard (excepting, of course, all those chosen by the Vans, _in
case_ they chose einherjes, which is probable, for the reason that the
Vanadis Freyja gets, after the reconciliation with Odin, the right to
divide with him the choice of the slain). This other place can nowhere
else be so appropriately looked for as in the lower world, which we know
was destined to receive the souls of the dead. And as Hadding, who,
according to Saxo, descended to the lower world, is, according to Saxo,
the same Hadding during whose reign Odin was banished from Asgard, then
it follows that the statement of the saga, making him see in the lower
world those warlike games which else are practised on Asgard's plains,
far from contradicting the myth, on the contrary is a consequence of the
connection of the mythical events.

The river which is mentioned in Erik Vidforle's, Gorm's, and Hadding's
sagas has its prototype in the mythic records. When Hermod on Sleipner
rides to the lower world (Gylfaginning, 10) he first journeys through a
dark country (compare above) and then comes to the river _Gjöll_, over
which there is the golden bridge called the Gjallar bridge. On the other
side of _Gjöll_ is the Helgate, which leads to the realm of the dead. In
Gorm's saga the bridge across the river is also of gold, and it is
forbidden mortals to cross to the other side.

A subterranean river hurling weapons in its eddies is mentioned in
Völuspa, 33. In Hadding's saga we also read of a weapon-hurling river
which forms the boundary of the Elysium of those slain by the sword.

In Vegtamskvida is mentioned an underground dog, bloody about the
breast, coming from Nifelhel, the proper place of punishment. In Gorm's
saga the bulwark around the city of the damned is guarded by great dogs.
The word "nifel" (_nifl_, the German _Nebel_), which forms one part of
the word Nifelhel, means mist, fog. In Gorm's saga the city in question
is most like a cloud of vapour (_vaporanti maxime nubi simile_).

Saxo's description of that house of torture, which is found within the
city, is not unlike Völuspa's description of that dwelling of torture
called Nastrand. In Saxo the floor of the house consists of serpents
wattled together, and the roof of sharp stings. In Völuspa the hall is
made of serpents braided together, whose heads from above spit venom
down on those dwelling there. Saxo speaks of soot a century old on the
door frames; Völuspa of _ljórar_, air- and smoke-openings in the roof
(see further Nos. 77 and 78).

Saxo himself points out that the Geruthus (_Geirrödr_) mentioned by him,
and his famous daughters, belong to the myth about the Asa-god Thor.
That Geirrod after his death is transferred to the lower world is no
contradiction to the heathen belief, according to which beautiful or
terrible habitations await the dead, not only of men but also of other
beings. Compare Gylfaginning, ch. 46, where Thor with one blow of his
Mjolner sends a giant _nidr undir Niflhel_ (see further, No. 60).

As Mimer's and Urd's fountains are found in the lower world (see Nos.
63, 93), and as Mimer is mentioned as the guardian of Heimdal's horn and
other treasures, it might be expected that these circumstances would not
be forgotten in those stories from Christian times which have been cited
above and found to have roots in the myths.

When in Saxo's saga about Gorm the Danish adventurers had left the
horrible city of fog, they came to another place in the lower world
where the gold-plated mead-cisterns were found. The Latin word used by
Saxo, which I translate with cisterns of mead, is _dolium_. In the
classical Latin this word is used in regard to wine-cisterns of so
immense a size that they were counted among the immovables, and usually
were sunk in the cellar floors. They were so large that a person could
live in such a cistern, and this is also reported as having happened.
That the word _dolium_ still in Saxo's time had a similar meaning
appears from a letter quoted by Du Cange, written by Saxo's younger
contemporary, Bishop Gebhard. The size is therefore no obstacle to
Saxo's using this word for a wine-cistern to mean the mead-wells in the
lower world of Teutonic mythology. The question now is whether he
actually did so, or whether the subterranean _dolia_ in question are
objects in regard to which our earliest mythic records have left us in

In Saxo's time, and earlier, the epithets by which the mead-wells--Urd's
and Mimer's--and their contents are mentioned in mythological songs had
come to be applied also to those mead-buckets which Odin is said to have
emptied in the halls of the giant Fjalar or Suttung. This application
also lay near at hand, since these wells and these vessels contained the
same liquor, and since it originally, as appears from the meaning of the
words, was the liquor, and not the place where the liquor was kept, to
which the epithets _Odrærir_, _Bodn_, and _Son_ applied. In Havamál
(107) Odin expresses his joy that _Odrærir_ has passed out of the
possession of the giant Fjalar and can be of use to the beings of the
upper world. But if we may trust Bragar, (ch. 5), it is the drink and
not the empty vessels that Odin takes with him to Valhal. On this
supposition, it is the drink and not one of the vessels which in Havamál
is called _Odrærir_. In Havamál (140) Odin relates how he, through
self-sacrifice and suffering, succeeded in getting runic songs up from
the deep, and also a drink dipped out of _Odrærir_. He who gives him the
songs and the drink, and accordingly is the ruler of the fountain of the
drink, is a man, "Bolthorn's celebrated son." Here again Odrærer is one
of the subterranean fountains, and no doubt Mimer's, since the one who
pours out the drink is a man. But in Forspjalsljod (2) Urd's fountain is
also called Odrærer (_Odhrærir Urdar_). Paraphrases for the liquor of
poetry, such as "Bodn's growing billow" (Einar Skalaglam) and "Son's
reedgrown grass edge" (Eilif Gudrunson), point to fountains or wells,
not to vessels. Meanwhile a satire was composed before the time of Saxo
and Sturlason about Odin's adventure at Fjalar's, and the author of this
song, the contents of which the Younger Edda has preserved, calls the
vessels which Odin empties at the giant's _Odhrærir_, _Bodn_, and _Són_
(Brogarædur, 6). Saxo, who reveals a familiarity with the genuine
heathen, or supposed heathen, poems handed down to his time, may thus
have seen the epithets _Odrærir_, _Bodn_, and _Són_ applied both to the
subterranean mead-wells and to a giant's mead-vessels. The greater
reason he would have for selecting the Latin _dolium_ to express an idea
that can be accommodated to both these objects.

Over these mead-reservoirs there hang, according to Saxo's description,
round-shaped objects of silver, which in close braids drop down and are
spread around the seven times gold-plated walls of the mead-cisterns.

Over Mimer's and Urd's fountains hang the roots of the ash Ygdrasil,
which sends its root-knots and root-threads down into their waters. But
not only the rootlets sunk in the water, but also the roots from which
they are suspended, partake of the waters of the fountains. The norns
take daily from the water and sprinkle the stem of the tree therewith,
"and the water is so holy," says Gylfaginning (16), "that everything
that is put in the well (consequently, also, all that which the norns
daily sprinkle with the water) becomes as white as the membrane between
the egg and the egg-shell." Also the root over Mimer's fountain is
sprinkled with its water (Völusp., Cod. R., 28), and this water, so far
as its colour is concerned, seems to be of the same kind as that in
Urd's fountain, for the latter is called _hvítr aurr_ (Völusp., 18) and
the former runs in _aurgum forsi_ upon its root of the world-tree
(Völusp., 28). The adjective _aurigr_, which describes a quality of the
water in Mimer's fountain, is formed from the noun _aurr_, with which
the liquid is described which waters the root over Urd's fountain.
Ygdrasil's roots, as far up as the liquid of the wells can get to them,
thus have a colour like that of "the membrane between the egg and the
egg-shell," and consequently recall both as to position, form, and
colour the round-shaped objects "of silver" which, according to Saxo,
hang down and are intertwined in the mead-reservoirs of the lower world.

Mimer's fountain contains, as we know, the purest mead--the liquid of
inspiration, of poetry, of wisdom, of understanding.

Near by Ygdrasil, according to Völuspa (27), Heimdal's horn is
concealed. The seeress in Völuspa knows that it is hid "beneath the
hedge-o'ershadowing holy tree."

    Veit hon Heimdallar
    hljod um fólgit
    undir heidvönum
    helgum badmi.

Near one of the mead-cisterns in the lower world Gorm's men see a horn
ornamented with pictures and flashing with precious stones.

Among the treasures taken care of by Mimer is the world's foremost sword
and a wonderful arm-ring, smithied by the same master as made the sword
(see Nos. 87, 98, 101).

Near the gorgeous horn Gorm's men see a gold-plated tooth of an animal
and an arm-ring. The animal tooth becomes a sword when it is taken into
the hand.[36] Near by is a treasury filled with a large number of
weapons and a royal robe. Mimer is known in mythology as a collector of
treasures. He is therefore called _Hoddmimir_, _Hoddropnir_,

Thus Gorm and his men have on their journeys in the lower world seen not
only Nastrand's place of punishment in Nifelhel, but also the holy land,
where Mimer reigns.

When Gorm and his men desire to cross the golden bridge and see the
wonders to which it leads, Gudmund prohibits it. When they in another
place farther up desire to cross the river to see what there is beyond,
he consents and has them taken over in a boat. He does not deem it
proper to show them the unknown land at the golden bridge, but it is
within the limits of his authority to let them see the places of
punishment and those regions which contain the mead-cisterns and the
treasure chambers. The sagas call him the king on the Glittering Plains,
and as the Glittering Plains are situated in the lower world, he must be
a lower world ruler.

Two of the sagas, Helge Thoreson's and Gorm's, cast a shadow on
Gudmund's character. In the former this shadow does not produce
confusion or contradiction. The saga is a legend which represents
Christianity, with Olaf Trygveson as its apostle, in conflict with
heathenism, represented by Gudmund. It is therefore natural that the
latter cannot be presented in the most favourable light. Olaf destroys
with his prayers the happiness of Gudmund's daughter. He compels her to
abandon her lover, and Gudmund, who is unable to take revenge in any
other manner, tries to do so, as is the case with so many of the
characters in saga and history, by treachery. This is demanded by the
fundamental idea and tendency of the legend. What the author of the
legend has heard about Gudmund's character from older saga-men, or what
he has read in records, he does not, however, conceal with silence, but
admits that Gudmund, aside from his heathen religion and grudge towards
Olaf Trygveson, was a man in whose home one might fare well and be

Saxo has preserved the shadow, but in his narrative it produces the
greatest contradiction. Gudmund offers fruits, drinks, and embraces in
order to induce his guests to remain with him for ever, and he does it
in a tempting manner and, as it seems, with conscious cunning.
Nevertheless, he shows unlimited patience when the guests insult him by
accepting nothing of what he offers. When he comes down to the
sea-strand, where Gorm's ships are anchored, he is greeted by the leader
of the discoverers with joy, because he is "the most pious being and
man's protector in perils." He conducts them in safety to his castle.
When a handful of them returns after the attempt to plunder the treasury
of the lower world, he considers the crime sufficiently punished by the
loss of life they have suffered, and takes them across the river to his
own safe home; and when they, contrary to his wishes, desire to return
to their native land, he loads them with gifts and sees to it that they
get safely on board their ships. It follows that Saxo's sources have
described Gudmund as a kind and benevolent person. Here, as in the
legend about Helge Thoreson, the shadow has been thrown by younger hands
upon an older background painted in bright colours.

Hervor's saga says that he was wise, mighty, in a heathen sense pious
("a great sacrificer"), and so honoured that sacrifices were offered to
him, and he was worshipped as a god after death. Herrod's saga says that
he was greatly skilled in magic arts, which is another expression for
heathen wisdom, for fimbul-songs, runes, and incantations.

The change for the worse which Gudmund's character seems in part to have
suffered is confirmed by a change connected with, and running parallel
to it, in the conception of the forces in those things which belonged to
the lower world of the Teutonic heathendom and to Gudmund's domain. In
Saxo we find an idea related to the antique Lethe myth, according to
which the liquids and plants which belong to the lower world produce
forgetfulness of the past. Therefore, Thorkil (Thorkillus) warns his
companions not to eat or drink any of that which Gudmund offers them. In
the Gudrun song (ii. 21, 22), and elsewhere, we meet with the same
idea. I shall return to this subject (see No. 50).

[Footnote 35: Inde digressis dolia septem zonis aureis circumligata
panduntur, quibus pensiles ex argento circuli crebros inseruerant

[Footnote 36: The word _biti_= a tooth (cp. bite) becomes in the
composition _leggbiti_, the name of a sword.]



Is Gudmund an invention of Christian times, although he is placed in an
environment which in general and in detail reflects the heathen
mythology? Or is there to be found in the mythology a person who has
precisely the same environment and is endowed with the same attributes
and qualities?

The latter form an exceedingly strange _ensemble_, and can therefore
easily be recognized. Ruler in the lower world, and at the same time a
giant. Pious and still a giant. King in a domain to which winter cannot
penetrate. Within that domain an enclosed place, whose bulwark neither
sickness, nor age, nor death can surmount. It is left to his power and
pleasure to give admittance to the mysterious meadows, where the
mead-cisterns of the lower world are found, and where the most precious
of all horns, a wonderful sword, and a splendid arm-ring are kept. Old
as the hills, but yet subject to death. Honoured as if he were not a
giant, but a divine being. These are the features which together
characterise Gudmund, and should be found in his mythological prototype,
if there is one. With these peculiar characteristics are united wisdom
and wealth.

The answer to the question whether a mythical original of this picture
is to be discovered will be given below. But before that we must call
attention to some points in the Christian accounts cited in regard to

Odainsaker is not made identical with the Glittering Plains, but is a
separate place on them, or at all events within Gudmund's domain. Thus
according to Hervor's saga. The correctness of the statement is
confirmed by comparison with Gorm's and Hadding's sagas. The former
mentions, as will be remembered, a place which Gudmund does not consider
himself authorized to show his guests, although they are permitted to
see other mysterious places in the lower world, even the mead-fountains
and treasure-chambers. To the unknown place, as to Balder's subterranean
dwelling, leads a golden bridge, which doubtless is to indicate the
splendour of the place. The subterranean goddess, who is Hadding's guide
in Hades, shows him both the Glittering Fields (_loca aprica_) and the
plains of the dead heroes, but stops with him near a wall, which is not
opened for them. The domain surrounded by the wall receives nothing
which has suffered death, and its very proximity seems to be enough to
keep death at bay (see No. 47).

All the sagas are silent in regard to who those beings are for whom
this wonderful enclosed place is intended. Its very name,
_Acre-of-the-not-dead_ (_Odainsakr_), and _The field-of-the-living_
(_Jörd lifanda manna_), however, makes it clear that it is not intended
for the souls of the dead. This Erik Vidforle's saga is also able to
state, inasmuch as it makes a definite distinction between _Odainsaker_
and the land of the spirits, between _Odainsaker_ and Paradise. If human
or other beings are found within the bulwark of the place, they must
have come there as living beings in a physical sense; and when once
there, they are protected from perishing, for diseases, age, and death
are excluded.

Erik Vidforle and his companion find on their journey on Odainsaker only
a single dwelling, a splendid one with two beds. Who the couple are who
own this house, and seem to have placed it at the disposal of the
travellers, is not stated. But in the night there came a beautiful lad
to Erik. The author of the saga has made him an angel, who is on duty on
the borders between Odainsaker and Paradise.

The purpose of Odainsaker is not mentioned in Erik Vidforle's saga.
There is no intelligible connection between it and the Christian
environment given to it by the saga. The ecclesiastical belief knows an
earthly Paradise, that which existed in the beginning and was the home
of Adam and Eve, but that it is guarded by the angel with the flaming
sword, or, as Erik's saga expresses it, it is encircled by a wall of
fire. In the lower world the Christian Church knows a Hades and a hell,
but the path to them is through the gates of death; physically living
persons, persons who have not paid tribute to death, are not found
there. In the Christian group of ideas there is no place for Odainsaker.
An underground place for physically living people, who are there no
longer exposed to aging and death, has nothing to do in the economy of
the Church. Was there occasion for it among the ideas of the heathen
eschatology? The above-quoted sagas say nothing about the purposes of
Odainsaker. Here is therefore a question of importance to our subject,
and one that demands an answer.



I dare say the most characteristic figure of Teutonic mythology is
Mimer, the lord of the fountain which bears his name. The liquid
contained in the fountain is the object of Odin's deepest desire. He has
neither authority nor power over it. Nor does he or anyone else of the
gods seek to get control of it by force. Instances are mentioned
showing that Odin, to get a drink from it, must subject himself to great
sufferings and sacrifices (Völuspa, Cod. Reg., 28, 29; Havamál, 138-140;
Gylfag., 15), and it is as a gift or a loan that he afterwards receives
from Mimer the invigorating and soul-inspiring drink (Havamál, 140,
141). Over the fountain and its territory Mimer, of course, exercises
unlimited control, an authority which the gods never appear to have
disputed. He has a sphere of power which the gods recognize as
inviolable. The domain of his rule belongs to the lower world; it is
situated under one of the roots of the world-tree (Völuspa, 28, 29;
Gylfag., 15), and when Odin, from the world-tree, asks for the precious
mead of the fountain, he peers _downward_ into the deep, and thence
brings up the runes (_nysta ec nithr_, _nam ec up rúnar_--Havamál,
139). Saxo's account of the adventure of Hotherus (_Hist_., pp. 113-115,
Müller's ed.) shows that there was thought to be a descent to Mimer's
land in the form of a mountain cave (_specus_), and that this descent
was, like the one to Gudmund's domain, to be found in the uttermost
North, where terrible cold reigns.

Though a giant, Mimer is the friend of the order of the world and of the
gods. He, like Urd, guards the sacred ash, the world-tree (Völuspa, 28),
which accordingly also bears his name and is called Mimer's tree
(_Mimameidr_--Fjolsvinsm, 20; _meidr Mima_--Fjolsv., 24). The
intercourse between the Asa-father and him has been of such a nature
that the expression "Mimer's friend" (_Mimsvinr_--Sonatorrek, 22;
Younger Edda, i. 238, 250, 602) could be used by the skalds as an
epithet of Odin. Of this friendship Ynglingasaga (ch. 4) has preserved a
record. It makes Mimer lose his life in his activity for the good of the
gods, and makes Odin embalm his head, in order that he may always be
able to get wise counsels from its lips. The song about Sigrdrifa (str.
14) represents Odin as listening to the words of truth which come from
Mimer's head. Völuspa (str. 45) predicts that Odin, when Ragnarok
approaches, shall converse with Mimer's head; and, according to
Gylfaginning (56), he, immediately before the conflagration of the
world, rides to Mimer's fountain to get advice from the deep thinker for
himself and his friends. The firm friendship between Alfather and this
strange giant of the lower world was formed in time's morning while
Odin was still young and undeveloped (Hav., 141), and continued until
the end of the gods and the world.

Mimer is the collector of treasures. The same treasures as Gorm and his
men found in the land which Gudmund let them visit are, according to
mythology, in the care of Mimer. The wonderful horn (Völuspa, 28), the
sword of victory, and the ring (Saxo, _Hist._, 113, 114; cp. Nos. 87,
97, 98, 101, 103).

In all these points the Gudmund of the middle-age sagas and Mimer of the
mythology are identical. There still remains an important point. In
Gudmund's domain there is a splendid grove, an enclosed place, from
which weaknesses, age, and death are banished--a Paradise of the
peculiar kind, that it is not intended for the souls of the dead, but
for certain _lifandi menn_, yet inaccessible to people in general. In
the myth concerning Mimer we also find such a grove.



The grove is called after its ruler and guardian, Mimer's or
Treasure-Mimer's grove (_Mimis holt_--Younger Edda, Upsala Codex;
Gylfag., 58; _Hoddmimis holt_--Vafthrudnism, 45; Gylfag., 58).

Gylfaginning describes the destruction of the world and its
regeneration, and then relates how the earth, rising out of the sea, is
furnished with human inhabitants. "During the conflagration (_i
Surtarloga_) two persons are concealed in Treasure-Mimer's grove. Their
names are Lif (_Lif_) and Leifthraser (_Leifthrasir_), and they feed on
the morning dews. From them come so great an offspring that all the
world is peopled."

In support of its statement Gylfaginning quotes Vafthrudnersmal. This
poem makes Odin and the giant Vafthrudner (_Vafthrúdnir_) put questions
to each other, and among others Odin asks this question:

    Fiolth ec for,
    fiolth ec freistathac,
    fiolth ec um reynda regin:
    hvat lifir manna,
    tha er inn mæra lithr
    fimbulvetr meth firom?

"Much I have travelled, much I have tried, much I have tested the
powers. What human persons shall still live when the famous
fimbul-winter has been in the world?"

Vafthrudner answers:

    Lif oc Leifthrasir,
    enn thau leynaz muno
    i holti Hoddmimis;
    thau ser at mat hafa
    enn thadan af aldir alaz.

"Lif and Leifthraser (are still living); they are concealed in
Hodd-Mimer's grove. They have morning dews for nourishment. Thence (from
Hodd-Mimer's grove and this human pair) are born (new) races."

Gylfaginning says that the two human beings, Lif and Leifthraser, who
become the progenitors of the races that are to people the earth after
Ragnarok, are concealed _during the conflagration of the world_ in
Hodd-Mimer's grove. This is, beyond doubt, in accordance with mythic
views. But mythologists, who have not paid sufficient attention to what
Gylfaginning's source (Vafthrudnersmal) has to say on the subject, have
from the above expression drawn a conclusion which implies a complete
misunderstanding of the traditions in regard to Hodd-Mimer's grove and
the human pair therein concealed. They have assumed that Lif and
Leifthraser are, like all other people living at that time, inhabitants
of the surface of the earth at the time when the conflagration of the
world begins. They have explained Mimer's grove to mean the world-tree,
and argued that when Surt's flames destroy all other mortals this one
human pair have succeeded in climbing upon some particular branch of the
world-tree, where they were protected from the destructive element.
There they were supposed to live on morning dews until the end of
Ragnarok, and until they could come down from their hiding-place in
Ygdrasil upon the earth which has risen from the sea, and there become
the progenitors of a more happy human race.

According to this interpretation, Ygdrasil was a tree whose trunk and
branches could be grasped by human hands, and one or more mornings, with
attendant morning dews, are assumed to have come and gone, while fire
and flames enveloped all creation, and after the sun had been swallowed
by the wolf and the stars had fallen from the heavens (Gylfag., 55;
Völusp., 54)! And with this terrible catastrophe before their eyes, Lif
and Leifthraser are supposed to sit in perfect unconcern, eating the
morning dews!

For the scientific reputation of mythical inquiry it were well if that
sort of investigations were avoided when they are not made necessary by
the sources themselves.

If sufficient attention had been paid to the above-cited evidence
furnished by Vafthrudnersmal in this question, the misunderstanding
might have been avoided, and the statement of Gylfaginning would not
have been interpreted to mean that Lif and Leifthraser inhabited Mimer's
grove _only_ during Ragnarok. For Vafthrudnersmal plainly states that
this human pair are in perfect security in Mimer's grove, _while a long
and terrible winter, a fimbul-winter, visits the earth and destroys its
inhabitants_. Not until after the end of this winter do giants and gods
collect their forces for a decisive conflict on Vigrid's plains; and
when this conflict is ended, then comes the conflagration of the world,
and after it the regeneration. Anent the length of the fimbul-winter,
Gylfaginning (ch. 55) claims that it continued for three years "without
any intervening summer."

Consequently Lif and Leifthraser must have had their secure place of
refuge in Mimer's grove during the fimbul-winter, which precedes
Ragnarok. And, accordingly, the idea that they were there only during
Ragnarok, and all the strange conjectures based thereon, are unfounded.
They continue to remain there while the winter rages, and during all the
episodes which characterise the progress of the world towards ruin, and,
finally, also, as Gylfaginning reports, during the conflagration and
regeneration of the world.

Thus it is explained why the myth finds it of importance to inform us
how Lif and Leifthraser support themselves during their stay in Mimer's
grove. It would not have occurred to the myth to present and answer this
question had not the sojourn of the human pair in the grove continued
for some length of time. Their food is the morning dew. The morning dew
from Ygdrasil was, according to the mythology, a sweet and wonderful
nourishment, and in the popular traditions of the Teutonic middle age
the dew of the morning retained its reputation for having strange,
nourishing qualities. According to the myth, it evaporates from the
world-tree, which stands, ever green and blooming, over Urd's and
Mimer's sacred fountains, and drops thence "in dales" (Völuspa, 18, 28;
Gylfag., 16). And as the world-tree is sprinkled and gets its
life-giving sap from these fountains, then it follows that the liquid of
its morning dew is substantially the same as that of the subterranean
fountains, which contain the elixir of life, wisdom, and poesy (cp. Nos.
72, 82, and elsewhere).

_At what time_ Mimer's grove was opened as an asylum for Lif and
Leifthraser, whether this happened during or shortly before the
fimbul-winter, or perchance long before it, on this point there is not a
word in the passages quoted from Vafthrudnersmal. But by the following
investigation the problem shall be solved.

The Teutonic mythology has not looked upon the regeneration of the world
as a new creation. The life which in time's morning developed out of
chaos is not destroyed by Surt's flames, but rescues itself, purified,
for the coming age of the world. The world-tree survives the
conflagration, for it defies both edge and fire (Fjolsvinnsm, 20, 21).
The Ida-plains are not annihilated. After Ragnarok, as in the beginning
of time, they are the scene of the assemblings of the gods (Völuspa, 57;
cp. 7). Vanaheim is not affected by the destruction, for Njord shall in
_aldar rauc_ (Vafthrudnersmal, 39) return thither "to wise Vans." Odin's
dwellings of victory remain, and are inhabited after regeneration by
Balder and _Hödr_ (Völuspa, 59). The new sun is the daughter of the old
one, and was born before Ragnarok (Vafthr., 47), which she passes
through unscathed. The ocean does not disappear in Ragnarok, for the
present earth sinks beneath its surface (Völuspa, 54), and the new earth
after regeneration rises from its deep (Völuspa, 55). Gods survive
(Völuspa, 53, 56; Vafthr. 51; Gylfag., 58). Human beings survive, for
Lif and Leifthraser are destined to become the connecting link between
the present human race and the better race which is to spring therefrom.
Animals and plants survive--though the animals and plants on the surface
of the earth perish; but the earth risen from the sea was decorated with
green, and there is not the slightest reference to a new act of creation
to produce the green vegetation. Its cascades contain living beings, and
over them flies the eagle in search of his prey (Völuspa, 56; see
further, No. 55). A work of art from antiquity is also preserved in the
new world. The game of dice, with which the gods played in their youth
while they were yet free from care, is found again among the flowers on
the new earth (Völuspa, 8, 58; see further, No. 55).

If the regeneration had been conceived as a new creation, a wholly new
beginning of life, then the human race of the new era would also have
started from a new creation of a human pair. The myth about Lif and
Leifthraser would then have been unnecessary and superfluous. But the
fundamental idea is that the life of the new era is to be a continuation
of the present life purified and developed to perfection, and from the
standpoint of this fundamental idea Lif and Leifthraser are necessary.

The idea of improvement and perfection are most clearly held forth in
regard to both the physical and spiritual condition of the future world.
All that is weak and evil shall be redeemed (_bauls mun allz
batna_--Völuspa, 59). In that perfection of nature the fields unsown by
men shall yield their harvests. To secure the restored world against
relapse into the faults of the former, the myth applies radical
measures--so radical, that the Asa majesty himself, Valfather, must
retire from the scene, in order that his son, the perfectly blameless
Balder, may be the centre in the assembly of the chosen gods. But the
mythology would fail in its purpose if it did not apply equally radical
measures in the choice and care of the human beings who are to
perpetuate our race after Ragnarok; for if the progenitors have within
them the seed of corruption, it will be developed in their descendants.

Has the mythology forgotten to meet this logical claim? The demand is no
greater than that which is made in reference to every product of the
fancy of whatever age. I do not mean to say that a logical claim made
on the mythology, or that a conclusion which may logically be drawn from
the premises of the mythology, is to be considered as evidence that the
claim has actually been met by the mythology, and that the mythology
itself has been developed into its logical conclusion. I simply want to
point out what the claim is, and in the next place I desire to
investigate whether there is evidence that the claim has been honoured.

From the standpoint that there must be a logical harmony in the
mythological system, it is necessary:

1. That Lif and Leifthraser when they enter their asylum, Mimer's grove,
are physically and spiritually uncorrupted persons.

2. That during their stay in Mimer's grove they are protected against:

(_a_) Spiritual degradation.

(_b_) Physical degradation.

(_c_) Against everything threatening their very existence.

So far as the last point (2_c_) is concerned, we know already from
Vafthrudnersmal that the place of refuge they received in the vicinity
of those fountains, which, with never-failing veins, nourish the life of
the world-tree, is approached neither by the frost of the fimbul-winter
nor by the flames of Ragnarok. This claim is, therefore, met completely.

In regard to the second point (2_b_), the above-cited mythic traditions
have preserved from the days of heathendom the memory of a grove in the
subterranean domain of Gudmund-Mimer, set aside for living men, not for
the dead, and protected against sickness, aging, and death. Thus this
claim is met also.

As to the third point (2_a_), all we know at present is that there, in
the lower world, is found an enclosed place, the very one which death
cannot enter, and from which even _those_ mortals are banished by divine
command who are admitted to the holy fountains and treasure chambers of
the lower world, and who have been permitted to see the regions of bliss
and places of punishment there. It would therefore appear that all
contact between those who dwell there and those who take part in the
events of our world is cut off. The realms of Mimer and the lower world
have, according to the sagas--and, as we shall see later, according to
the myths themselves--now and then been opened to bold adventurers, who
have seen their wonders, looked at their remarkable fountains, their
plains for the amusement of the shades of heroes, and their places of
punishment of the wicked. But there is one place which has been
inaccessible to them, a field proclaimed inviolable by divine command
(Gorm's saga), a place surrounded by a wall, which can be entered only
by such beings as can pass through the smallest crevices (Hadding's
saga).[37] But that this difficulty of entrance also was meant to
exclude the moral evil, by which the mankind of our age is stained, is
not expressly stated.

Thus we have yet to look and see whether the original documents from the
heathen times contain any statements which can shed light on this
subject. In regard to the point (1), the question it contains as to
whether the mythology conceived Lif and Leifthraser as physically and
morally undefiled at the time when they entered Mimer's grove, can only
be solved if we, in the old records, can find evidence that a wise,
foreseeing power opened Mimer's grove as asylum for them, at a time when
mankind as a whole had not yet become the prey of physical and moral
misery. But in that very primeval age in which the most of the events of
mythology are supposed to have happened, creation had already become the
victim of corruption. There was a time when the life of the gods was
happiness and the joy of youthful activity; the condition of the world
did not cause them anxiety, and, free from care, they amused themselves
with the wonderful dice (Völuspa, 7, 8). But the golden age ended in
physical and moral catastrophies. The air was mixed with treacherous
evil; Freyja, the goddess of fertility and modesty, was treacherously
delivered into the hands of the frost giants; on the earth the sorceress
Heid (_Heid_) strutted about teaching the secrets of black magic, which
was hostile to the gods and hurtful to man. The first great war broke
out in the world (Völuspa, 21, 22, 26). The effects of this are felt
down through the historical ages even to Ragnarok. The corruption of
nature culminates in the fimbul-winter of the last days; the corruption
of mankind has its climax in "the axe- and knife-ages." The separation
of Lif and Leifthraser from their race and confinement in Mimer's grove
must have occurred before the above catastrophies in time's beginning,
if there is to be a guarantee that the human race of the new world is
not to inherit and develop the defects and weaknesses of the present
historical generations.

[Footnote 37: _Prodcuntibus murus aditu transcensuque difficilis
obsistebat, quem femina_ (the subterranean goddess who is Hadding's
guide) _nequicquam transilire conata cum ne corrugati quidem exilitate
proficeret_ (Saxo, _Hist. Dan._, i. 51).]

           (_Continuation of Part IV in Volume II._)

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Teutonic Mythology,  Vol. 1 of 3 - Gods and Goddesses of the Northland" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.