Where they Christian 2
Continuing on early Christian symbolism in Rome and early Christianity on Ireland. The new mission or hunting the heretics began with Pope Gregory I. Did Yahweh reach Scandinavia?
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From Aak Møre Norge we have this medallion with the averse in Nordic symbolism and the reverse in Romans style with two soldiers holding the labarum
The Eagle in this position I have seen only on one more coin. When we look at all compositions we see that they tried to get the Eagle into the composition in some way. If they imitated Rome it was the Eagle of IOVI /Jupiter and originally the Sun Eagle with deep roots as seen in Anatolia and Egypt.
In Roman symbolism the Eagle sits normally at the feet of the naked Jupiter in a chair. A special Nordic composition with influence from Persia we have about a dozen medals on which the Wild Rider has an eagle as headgear.
There is another medal with the averse made of the original Emperors head and on the reverse a soldier. I found the original coin and it is clear that they erased the labarum for some reason. In the sections about golden medals I analyse the motifs more in detail.
From 313 AD the labarum with PX = Greek CHI RO became the standard of the legions. This iron coin is from the time of Constans 337 - 350 AD and can have been the model for the reverse of the labarum-coin above
In Rome they coined much coins and every new Emperor made his own. The motif is a collection of Roman culture especially on the coins of smaller values. The Scandinavians were normally only interested in silver and gold coins.
Rome ended the coining of silver denars in 237 AD and we have maybe 100000 of them in the former area of Erils in Scandinavia on North Germany. Then Poland with 40000 is included since they have found a neck-ring and also some bracts there. They are mostly worn out and have maybe been in circulation for long.
We have few finds of the early gold aureus. But in the heydays it was the solidus they got as pay and brought home. A few were used for medallions or imitations directly, but most of it was melt down. On the golden coins the Emperors face is used on the averse. It is normally en profile in West Rome and en face in East Rome. The reverse is used for personal message.
The golden coins are mostly in good condition. They were surely not in circulation and maybe as the other gold often kept in store. The few golden medals and medallions are often very worn and may have been in use in several generations and inherited from mother to daughter.
In Rome it was a kind of politic advertising using the small coins as place for the message. Maybe it was most important on the coins with little value since it reached everyone. During the time I investigate the Christian symbols were a minor issue since the Emperors used their own favourites from the Roman pantheon at least most of the 4th century.
The edict of Theodosius 380 brought an end to tolerance in Christianity and that is the real birth of the Catholic Church. Then began the "heresy hunting" that has been a disgrace ever since. Arians and pagans were defined, forbidden and hunted. In 382 AD follows his own creed I borrow here from Ben H Swett 1998:
Theodosius, wielding his authority as the Pontifex Maximus (highest priest).
Creed of Theodosius ("The Nicene Creed")
Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven and was incarnate by the Holy Ghost and the Virgin Mary, and was made man, and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate. He suffered and was buried, and the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures, and ascended into heaven, and sits at the right hand of the Father. And he shall come again with glory to judge both the quick and the dead.
Whose kingdom shall have no end. And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver-of-Life, who proceeds from the Father, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spoke by the prophets. And in one, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. [Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. XIV]
In the Holy War we lost as World Heritage the Serapion in Alexandria and its library and caused that the old Egyptian language died. He closed Oracle of Delphi and the Victoria statue in Rome and many other former monuments and everywhere in the Empire the so-called pagan temples were destroyed. Soon the emperor discovered that they could rob all Non-Catholic temples and shrines … it is much the same as when Gustav Wasa robbed the church and monasteries after the Reformation
As a counter-weight I set the Arian point of view also based on the Bible:
Creed of Wulfila
I, Wulfila, Bishop and Confessor, have always believed thus and in this sole and true faith I make my journey to my Lord. I believe that there is only one God the Father, alone unbegotten and invisible, and in His only-begotten Son, our Lord and God, creator and maker of all things, not having any like unto Him.
Therefore there is one God of all, who is also God of our God. And I believe in one Holy Spirit, an enlightening and sanctifying power. As Christ says after the resurrection to his Apostles: "Behold I send the promise of my Father upon you; but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be clothed with power from on high." (Luke 24.49) And again: "And ye shall receive power coming upon you by the Holy Spirit." (Acts 1.8)
Neither God nor Lord, but the faithful minister of Christ; not equal, but subject and obedient in all things to the Son. And I believe the Son to be subject and obedient in all things to God the Father. [From: Auxentius on Wulfila]
Unfortunately Wulfila was a Roman citizen so he was silenced and died in 381. But that did not stop the Arians, which were foedorati, i.e. all the tribes that served Rome, and as soon as the Roman needed help they got others to fight Rome's battles. Among the helpers of were the Erils/ Heruli and in time they could sometimes fight each other and later join each other as for instance the Langobards and the Erils.
Violence creates violence and once they defined an enemy they were in it. Next division was when the bishops saw that they got power and tried to use it against the Emperor. That began already in 390 AD with a polarisation of Archbishop and Emperor. But the pope institution was not created until 444 AD. Soon the popes got the aim to unite church and state and that battle went on ever since then with addition of economical strength of the Vatican, but that is another story.
Under Theodosius and his nearest successors the rule was fierce, but it was not that easy to root out all the old Roman deities. Many of their gods were abstractions of qualities the Emperor should show up in his profession. Victoria was naturally important and so also the goddess Rome so in 5th century we see them again on coins.
This reverse is from the biggest hoard find at Auland containing 79 solidus from the end of fifth century.
We see Victoria holding the cross and the goddess alternated with the goddess Rome at that time. In this case we see that the labarum begin to be a cross. As we see they texts are not understandable for hardly any so even the Roman masters made such texts. The message is clear "Christianity has won!" We can also note that the angel wing is not pure Christian invention. In the coins we see even the Emperor holding a globe, so we can ask did they know at the time that the globe is a globe?
The emperors of all kind had to be wise and listen to the people. In general they were elected from the upper class of nobility or based their power on it if they were supreme. But they needed to be friends with people since the crowd could balance out the power of nobility.
The Bible was a treasure for the emperors since they could find everything there. They wanted a religion that was popular and easy to make an instrument of power. Enslaving people with the Bible is fairly easy and even murder is allowed as long as it is done in the name of Christ … the old Celtic ethics saw war as "another lawless world", while the Roman mind saw it as mean for getting power.
Of course the Bible is one thing and practise is another and the evolution of Christianity was a process for more than thousand years. It is like magic that the message of Christianity could enslave the world. Maybe the conditions lie in the fact that the message could be used in the cities of the time and then they got the majority of people into it. They lived far from natural life and resurrection in nature.
Rural people would not have understood if they knew Latin how it was possible the Father and son were in the same unity. And there was no Mother. The Snake stood for the womb and Christianity made it a Devil and sin, so that sexuality in church has been sin ever since then. Crucifying or murdering in the interest of religion and worldly power is one of the real crimes of Christianity. That counts naturally also for all other religions practising that.
Monks and nuns should be idols, however it is like an absurd paradox that they are not allowed to reproduce themselves. With a world of these mankind would die. Scandinavians would perhaps see the patriarchal society as odd and they wonder about the rule that a father had the right to sell his son "only" three times as slave according to Roman laws. These points lowers the ethic value of religion and maybe that is just the magic and mystery of religion. If the peasants had understood and thought they would have opposed to this … but for what use since they were soon outnumbered.
Soon the church had to get the Blessed Mary and the Saint into Christianity and then in fact a new pantheon was created. It is like a kind of definition. One of my specialities is technique and I have a lot of "holy" names in my mind since their heroic research gave us concepts like Volt, Ampere, Faraday's bottle, Einstein's relativity and all dose heroes behind our modern technical world.
I know that some would say that this is blasphemy. But in a world of Freedom of Religion and Speech I cannot see we should have different language for different people and times or things. I have the full respect for all people everywhere in all times. But I think we should allow ourselves to laugh at some odd behaviour also in ourselves.
As a scientist with neutral language I see no difference since all these heroes and inventions have in some way been good for mankind. The bad consequences of inventions mankind easily forgets … and Prometheus was fettered and so the Scandinavian Loke. When I look at our earliest Saints in Scandinavia they are not of real ethic value and many murders lies behind their elevation. Much politic was behind many elevations and maybe too many of the real good people were used for bad things.
For instance in 1354 AD the Benedictine Order counted 1560 Saints and altogether around 40000 holly persons … Our modern technique has as a rule until our days forgot the consequences and the environment and we pay for that or leave that bill to our children and their children. As I see it capitalism has no ethic at all and it has no real instinct of self-preservation. We offer people by using poor technique and compromising between profit and environment.
Maybe there is the idea of Christianity behind these amulets from Uppland and Telemark. The Greek cross fitted the round shape and was used even as composition and the sun year division
Christianity was often forced on people and it is a kind of self-preservation to oppose it or be a fawner .. my grandma was a true orthodox and wanted to teach me with the birch. With the crystal clear logic of a four-year-old man I asked, "You say that God loves me and you love me, how can you then birch me. Talk to me and tell how it should be". Later I got a new Danish grandma and I had to use the same tactic with success.
When I was sent alone to Denmark grandma forced me, "Remember you evening prayer, else God will kill you with a big stone" … for years I saw that big stone coming over me just before I went to sleep. My mother told me that God is a kind old man with white beard like Grandpa. At five in Denmark I was in a situation when someone tried to force me from that believe and I told that I do not leave my own god.
Surely most of us want to decide in what we believe. It is strength within us in the size of the ultimate self-preservation. Those forcing other people in any way are simply stupid. Only reasoning can make believers. My example shows that already at four and five I could decide about strong things and would never give up my faith if I was forced. Another thing is that several happenings made me the sceptic at ten and I have been that since then.
There is a big gap between the sophisticated formulas of Christianity made by the Churchfathers in many councils before 600 AD. Since I read St Augustinus in my young days I am just tired of that kind of reasoning and the magic of the Christian Word. I understand that they try to manipulate me and I also see the weaknesses in their reasoning.
Now I see that in parallel with the church of the intelligentsia in south Christianity was spread to the rest of Europé. They tried to make it a better way of living. It is pure self-preservation we see in all beings that they tell each other about the best way of living. The bees are the best known mass society with their own "language".
But it is also so that some people have no sense for proportions and their self-preserving instinct leads to egocentricity: They use such thing as religion only for their own good and enslave others. It is a mathematical fact that only the collective of species can preserve the specie. The other way there would be only one individual left for a while.
When I look at the ideas and remains I think that they were spread very fast after the invention were proved good. Sometimes it looks like mission.
That is why I think that even Christianity was spread fast. But not all of it was ready so those who practised their own early Christianity soon became heretic in the eyes of the Roman centre of city-born religion. We know the struggle between Catholicism and Arianism in 4th century. The Arianism survived as long as the Emperor protected that wing. Even when we know little about the Arian message but it was surely nearer rural people than the Catholic message.
An Example in the periphery is Ireland that we know as early Christian area and with some evidence too. St Palladius was sent to the Scots in 431 AD to out-root heresy, which surely meant Arianism those days. This tells us that Christianity was established but in the Scottish way.
Yahweh in Scandinavia?
At left silver buckle from Daleim Traundelag Norway. The other from Bolbro Fyn Denmark with text LAUR (swastika) OWA other half RLUT : EATHL. Since there is the swastika we may presume that these are the four seasons. The colon means other half in this case
… this little amulet is from the Levant dated ca 200 BC. It shows that even in Judaea they saw the snake as something fertile at that time. In the Kings they tell that Ashera was the consort of Yahwe and there was a statue of Ashera in Jerusalem. They also tell that the women rather kept their old goddess.
Especially rural people surely wanted to keep the fertility symbolism in the old shape. I think that Ashera was created in Ugarit since they say, "out of the seas". It would be natural for traders and fishermen to worship a sea goddess. Yahve is also seen as a tree and that is like the growing crops in the symbolism agriculture. We see the same kind in Mesopotamia and Egypt.
Urban prophets and writers condemned the snake and in practise the condemned also fertility and sexual aspect in order to suppress people, "Only we priests know the right way of living", was the tool of power. Still Christianity teach that man is the Lord of Nature … we see it as general destruction of the earth.
It seems that the priest and prophets analysed the Sumerian motif in the Epic of Gilgamesh with the Serpent. They analysed it in an intellectual way and forgot the fertility as band to reality. To above amulet belongs Gen 2:17, 3:14, Num 21:6 2 Kgs 18:3 and Exodus 4:1-4, which all show the way from reality. Then it becomes much like Tyr and Fenrisulven or St Georg and the Dragon and that is typical for the games of the noblesse.
The series of D-bracts or those with the Snake Pit motif maybe developed from this motif and from the Tyr-motif. On some of the golden bract we see a griping hand that may be Tyr among the undefined symbols in the chaos of Underworld. Who knows what happens below the surface? Maybe they symbolise resurrection in nature and in religion with that image.
On the Angli horn from Gallehus this type of idol with bend legs is seen between two snakes, but in the other row he has lost his hand and we also see the fettered Beast. Associating this to the Tyr-motif is easy. Then Tyr is at the same time the Tree of Life or World tree and the rising life from the snake of Underworld.
The pillar or tree is symbol of season and rising crops. The corn is the father and the rising corn is the son. The father die but the son rise and revenge his father by growing. In Sumer, Egypt and even in Scandinavia they set up the symbolising twig for the rising crops. Here on Dal it was set up in May first time the animals were let out, since the main industry was cows.
On the golden bract from Bolbro there are three dots in two places and one above his mouth. Are the three dots sign of the Arian Trinity? Then we can compare this with early Christianity in which the three were Father, Son and Ghost but even the Word as alternative. Here his hand shows the gesture of speaking and that connect this to early Christianity. The symbol at his neck is symbol of Father and the three dots at his penis is the Son that normally comes that way as the first jump. That is the spiritual image we can get … the rune text gives the calendar events.
In astronomy the sowing point was at Cancer where the Watersnake begins and the other half year mark is at the Beast / Fenrisulven / Sagittarius. On some of Snake-Pit-bracts we see his hand in the gap.
The original Tyr myth is not cult but practical astronomy and fertility cycle. Farmers' think with their stomach and they need not immediately spiritual resurrection. They concentrate on the resurrection they make with the crops and animals. But as soon as they humanise the myth we think about human doers and not about the real cycles in life.
Another thing is that it is possible that the Erils were at duty in Anthiocia since we have many coins from there. From there they can have got influences from the Yahweh myth and then mixed them with the Nordic Tyr myth. The religion of those days was not the same as today since it was a long process and surely they practised one religion in temples and another at the countryside. That means they could have got impressions from places they visited.
Another aspect in this is that in general the nobility wants to make family planning. That means that only one son should inherit the estate and then keep the property together. For rural people with many children they were like a pension fund. Such aspects are difficult to see. The same counts for the fact that the family collective is the most rational way of living. But the king and government want many taxpayers and then they split the family clans.
Mary of the Gael
I am touched by what we know of St Brigid also called Mary of the Gael. They tell that she was a noble young woman born ca 451 AD and she got the faith. Maybe her noble family was glad since daughters and even sons were a problem once it come to sharing the inheritance. So it was a good thing if some became nun or monk. Later positions in church was also a way to power … see Catholic Encyclopedia for more on St Brigid
Still I do not think she thought about that. She just got the faith we have to admire since it is pure and noble with no other aims. The legend tells that she gathered seven nuns under an old oak in the old Celtic tradition in fact. It was in Cill-dara, that means "Church of the Oak" nowadays Kildare. This happened about the year 468. St. Brigid's small oratory at Cill- Dara became the centre of religion and learning, and developed into a cathedral city.
She founded two monastic institutions, one for men, and the other for women, and appointed St. Conleth as spiritual pastor of them. Her biographer tells us distinctly that she chose St. Conleth "to govern the church along with herself". Thus, for centuries, Kildare was ruled by a double line of abbot-bishops and of abbesses, the Abbess of Kildare being regarded as superioress general of the convents in Ireland.
Not alone was St. Bridget a patroness of students, but she also founded a school of art, including metal work and illumination, over which St. Conleth presided. From the Kildare scriptorium came the wondrous book of the Gospels, which elicited unbounded praise from Giraldus Cambrensis, but which has disappeared since the Reformation.
According to this twelfth- century ecclesiastic, nothing that he had ever seen was at all comparable to the "Book of Kildare", every page of which was gorgeously illuminated. He concludes a most laudatory notice by saying that the interlaced work and the harmony of the colours left the impression that "all this is the work of angelic, and not human skill".
She was born at Faughart Dundalk Bay and naturally she is still living there in the only way we have an afterlife as memory and remains. The site St Brigid Muire na nGael / First Woman of Irelandhttp://www.iol.ie/~scphadr/index.html tells more about her birth place.
They have a shrine and a relic. Most interesting is the Well and the Holy stream flowing through the shrine. There is also some healing places such as the Eye Stone with holy water, the Knee Stone for prayers for cure and the Back Stone for healing the back.
The Stream and the Well have very deep roots in European culture. It was more than physical flow since they use it as symbol for metaphysical speculation and example of life. We have naturally the Watergate as virtual stream and the Well supposedly at Cancer or the gap of Hydra/ Water-snake symbol of Imbolic. We are used to get water from the tap and the quality is always controlled even if it sometimes have a little taste of salt for disinfecting.
But those days they took it directly from nature. If they were lucky they had a well. But water in nature is not too good during the period of putrefaction in early winter. Old sayings tell that the water began to live in January. That means it works as a biological filter. That is why they celebrate the Day of Brigid is 31st of January since she is just continuing the symbolism of the old goddess Brigid.
The best natural healers are still today Water, Sun and Air /Oxygen after that comes placebo and good faith. In those days their knowledge build on memory of methods with success and that is very relative. Still it was what they had.
To the time belonged also all kind of miracles besides the mystery of Christian message. That was just a selling gimmick and it was perhaps easy to infatuate people with words and deeds to get them into the crowd of proselytes. The Saint from my province made a miracle three times when he reawakened them from the dead. Then he gave them the last ointment and they went back to dead again. I doubt that any saw this, but who can argue with a bishop.
From this short story we can see the roots to the ancient way of living. When the church began a new mission after 600 AD the formalities in Rome were naturally far from those in rural Europe. Rome saw in fact the church as heretic in many cases, but learnt fast to take it easy. That is why the Pope recommended that the parishes should keep their wells and other ancient means
... In Scandinavia some of the ritual place Vi has a well at the point and some of our place names indicate a well. In our days all odd things become easily pagan, heathen, barbarian, wild and all the names they give what they do not want to understand.
The legend tells that in his young days Pope Gregorius I born 540 AD wanted to be a missionary to England. He saw English children on the slave market and admired their golden hair. The Pope had other plans for him so he did not reach England before he was a pope himself. This fact shows that Rome did not see earlier Christianity in England as the real Roman Church and they wanted to drive out the heresy.
However I do not believe much in the legend. I think it was church policy that he saw the English church as heresy. Already in beginning of 4th century when they sent Palladius they thought that the English are barbarians. So this happened nearly 200 years after the introduction of Christianity but Roman Church never mention their heretics of course. Half of the story this time was that Queen Bertha of Kent was born in France and urged for establishing her mother's church in England
Gregory sent about 40 monks with Augustinus. But they were afraid of the barbarians and they did not speak English: The first test came in France and they stopped at Arles and wanted to go home. Maybe they realised that it would not be easy in a country with different tongue. Even Augustinus had his doubts but the pope put some sugar in the offer and promised him to be bishop or maybe archbishop if he established two sees in England.
In Kent they stopped at Isle of Thanet waiting for permission and introduction. They seemed to have been frightened but king Aethelbert was a gentle and friendly man and welcomed them to Canterbury. Surely it was partly their fear that made them sing when they wandered with their banner to the place the king showed them. Soon they could make their services in the Church of St Martin that was the established church of Queen Bertha.
Much of the great plans had to be cancelled. Still Augustinus established "the right church" in South-England around 600 AD. King Aethelbert was the first to be baptised to the right faith. Augustinus wrote proudly to the pope that he baptised 10000 at one occasion. I suppose that many of them were heretics. He tried also to get the Celtic Church under the wings of Rome with no success.
Frank's Casket from Northumberland with Christian motifs and a few verses telling about that the fish got trouble when landing on the rock
The casket is from the 7th century and we notice that the language needed more letters. Maybe it was more developed too since in those days language lived. Today most of it is formalised and stable however it has changed a lot since my school days.
This is just an example that the original culture lived until the next Viking Age that mostly was a concern for North England and Ireland when it comes to immigration. For instance the village names on - by we find mostly north of Mercia and East Anglia
Easily we forget the bonds over the North Seas that surely lived for many generations. They were renewed with the next wave and at last the age of Knud the First. We also forget that it was a two-way connection. The animal ornaments of Viking Age have got much inspiration from the similar sources as Book of Kells and Lindisfarne Gospels.
This ornament is from Isle of Man and similar we find at the Vindblaes Church at Jutland
The example is the Celtic-Viking style on Isle of Man. Maybe Celts and Vikings together created the chain ornament from 10th century on Isle Man or maybe it was brought to the island. The Scandinavian ornaments are usually more simple or made with two ropes while the Irish use four ropes in the chain … My contribution is the memory of the tail-less cat at Reersau West Zealand and I ask in which direction have that import been.