The Flying Horse

They call it Rider-Bract but in fact it is a Leader Head and the Pegasus Horse that were symbols of time. We have to note also the bullhorns on the horse and the swastika, which are time symbolism Often we see the Serpent or Fenris Wolf symbol of Ramadan.

Flying horse, Pegasus, Sun Horse, Jordanes, Cassiodorus, Procopius, Ammianus Marcellinus, light cavalry, Parthians, Eagle Helmet, Parthian helmet, Vimose Fyn

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This is the centre and picture on the biggest golden bract they have found. The diameter is 123 mm and weight 100,3 grams without an ear.

The text EK AKAR FAHI = I Akar made

Big picture

This is the real finicky job since every little missing line would be visible on this surface. The size, the Swebian knot and the mask gives the first guess that a tribe leader from the Swebian league wore it at least in some rituals. The next guess is that it was a pure ritual item.

Let us search for explanations to the details. Th Sun Horse is of course Pegasus suitable as asterism of spring equinox. The bullhorns symbolise the sun and they have been used as symbol for the "World Corners"/ seasons since the palette of Narmer 3000 BC. The swastika is a symbol of four seasons since 4th millennium BC in India and at least since Bronze Age in Europe.

We cannot say it is a rider since there is only a Celtic head with long hair and a Swebian knot and it could be the sole symbol for leadership. Maybe we see the neck-ring under his beard too. The mask make us ask was this made for a secret society. The borders are just decorations but as a whole together with the flames they give an impression of the sun.

The Sun rider

We see Pegasus as symbol in last millennium BC and there are some coins with the winged horse too for instance in Greece. The winged horse is found in rock-carvings as far as India. For Indians we are surely the far westerners?

This coin is from the time of Domitian 81 - 96 AD. On Roman coins the Sun Horse often tramps enemies of Rome and the wings or something flying from its back separate it from normal horses. It is seen on at least a dozen coin with or without a rider.

Mint with Probus 276 - 282 AD

The "nail crown" symbolises that he is the Sun's Son. The helmet shows he is supreme commander and the spear and shield show Mars the god of war protects him. The spear became symbol for Constantinople later.

On the reverse he rides the Sun Horse an show the victory gesture at the same time as the horse tramps a fallen victim.

We can assume that the Erils created their cavalry Roman style at the time of Probus.

Out of 10 Scandinavian finds of medallions 6 of them have a rider on the reverse

At first glance it is easy to think it is a direct copy. But the fallen victim is missing and the shape of the horse is the Nordic type that reminds of the ancient Greek style. On two of the coins there are rings on the snaffle and among the finds we have such rings in bronze. We see that they had a model but made their own picture.

The Sun king has a shield on his shoulder in the Roman style and he has a single diadem ribbon. The diadem with ribbons became fashion in the end of 3rd century. Usually there are two ribbons and sometimes a diadem on the brow.

Most of the few medallions are very worn and perhaps they were made in the beginning of 4th century. At that time Rome began the coining of solidus and the Erils preferred pay in gold. They were easy to transport to Scandinavia. Earlier trade brought the silver denars but the coining ended in 237 AD. The earlier golden aureus was rare.

An old rule for judges tells that an enemy should not witness. Then we have to be analytical when we read about the Celts from Roman sources, however I think we can trust the Romans in some case. For instance when it come to war methods all fighters of the time listened to each other just to learn something new.

The Romans were in general as hostile to foreigners a people in our days. Maybe natural but that shows no gratefulness to the foreigners that did and today do the dirty work. Foreigners soon invaded Rome and senators from the provinces dominated even the Senate. They were surely more Roman than the Romans at least when they were in Rome.

The Roman writers wrote about barbarian savages or were satirical when they wrote about "our brothers". Their knowledge about the Germans was poor though. It is like the law of magnetism that knowledge reduced with the square on the distance. In other cases they simply copied old Greek writers. That is why Scandinavians are supposed to be some one-leg, others one-eyed and those with their head in stomach. In fact only the Norse have some one-eyed giants in Dowrefjell.  

When we read Roman sources it is easy to forget that they write about our ancestors. For me it is enough once they use the word "barbarian" then and today. I compare with their circus and their manners when they took the provinces. No culture can counter-weigh cruelty and inhumanity.

Some may say that Tacitus wrote admiring the Germans. Still to that he was forced as they discovered they had to be friendly to the German tribes in first and second century. It was only the sophisticated way of "If you cannot beat them, join them".

Our Scandinavian problem is the lack of written source. Then we have to use the Roman writers, however earlier generations have read them without penetrating eyes and not asking was it good for us and what did they really aim at. Thus the books of Jordanes become a "bible". He in turn got much of his knowledge from the books of Cassiodorus. They tell he borrowed them "over night" then knowing everything about Scandinavians.

It is difficult in some cases to get it all together or there is no logic. According to most of the writers all the tribes Goths, Erils, Burgundians, Langobards, Teutonics, Anglo-Saxons came from the Isle of Scandza. For instance the Goths they tell came from Gotland in three ships and soon they were 200000 at Balkan. Horsa and Hengest used also three ships and they were 500 in them. That sounds much since normal ships took not more than 30 - 50 in crew and cargo.

Furthermore they tell that Southern Scandinavia belonged to the West German language and from the other source we hear that the Goths spoke East Germanic and came from South Scandinavia. I looked at the Gothic from Wulfila's Bible and found that it as near to Scandinavian today as Old English is to current English today. Gothic, English and Scandinavian have many words in common and so do the little I have read in Langobardian.

I think it was simply that the languages were so near each other that people easily adapted a new language and even Latin. But I see that it is very hard to sort out all the movements of those days. In some cases we see the difference from their culture. My aim is not to find forefathers of my own or that they should come from a little province in North. I want to show the flow of culture in both directions.

Among the writers we have to look at Cassiodorus who was the secretary of Theoderic and what was his aim? His aim seems to have been to write a political pamphlet to the Senate and making Goths as rulers more tasteful. It was finished a few years before the dead of Theoderic. He tells about glorious forefathers of Theoderic as if they were the creators of the world. Cassiodorus surely knew the Erils since Theoderic was successor of Odoacar and the Erils. Since he was the secretary maybe he wrote the letter below from Theoderic to Rodulf

If we ask for proportions then it is impossible that Scandinavians have "conquered the world". Neither did the Goths that seem to have been the tribes from the Amber Belt at the Baltic coast. Finds of 40000 early silver denars speak for that. The name of the Guta from Gotland is near in sound but they have found no more than about 1600 house foundations from that early period. We cannot use the Latin Goth for the Gauts from Gautland.

Procopius is from the same time as Jordanes and they believe he met Erils. The curious thing is that in the beginning of his career serving emperor Justinian he sees him as God's sovereign on earth. But soon he turns to write lampoons about the Emperor and his queen Theodora. I do not think that the only reason was that Theodora was too good and used her power and ideas. Some men cannot take that kind behaviour in a woman.

The best explanation is maybe that he became secretary of General Belisarius. Justinian wanted the general to take back Rome to the imperial rule. But soon he got suspicions that Belisarius would take the rule for himself like many earlier generals. Maybe he was right and Procopius was writing aiming at making the door open for the general. But can we trust in such a man.

For the history of the Heruli Ammianus Marcellinus is the best source since he lived in the second half of 4th century that was the heydays of the Heruli as palace guards. I am not interested in curiosity and subjective Roman opinions about their neighbours and foedorati. I cannot see there was much difference between the people. We have not enough sources to objectively have opinions. I write about when and where and what the Heruli did.

The Greek word "barbarian" shows no respect and we ought to be suspicious when reading the political pamphlets. We should look at the time and conditions and understand that they had not the global outlook we have today. The rulers paid most of the early writers and they were serving the aims of the ruler.

Still today many writers serve the establishment and of course the power of capitalism. When reading background to this writing I meet "the barbarian" everywhere as if the Romans write all still today. The Bible has few adjectives and I think we should leave out them if we want to be objective to the truth. Fortunately I have no obligations in any direction. But when I write I try to tie my arguments to finds and other real evidence. Then my readers may draw their own conclusions. I am not the only that question the reliability of ancient sources.

The Internet has given us possibilities to once more study the sources with penetrating eyes. Our duty is to defend all those that have been given wrong "names" or reputation in the past. This is in line with some classical writers like Plutharchos my first teacher. He asks always after what good come out of different deeds or systems like tyranny, oligarchy, plutocracy, democracy and so on. From that we learn to look at our own age with analytical eyes.

In some way we other Europeans have to be patriots and defend our Celtic past. That means we should not take all the shit from the southern barbarians. We owe our ancestors that and that implies criticism of the sources in the empirical way.

We cannot write it as normal history that tends to be biography of rulers and wars. War is abnormal and not the history of the people in general. Many of the heroic rulers are not good examples of survival of mankind as good inventors. They destroyed more than they build and their rule did not last. Should such thing be ideal for our society?

Around 1000 golden bracts give us a hint of what 1000 men wanted to tell each other and their wives and fiancées. We do not know for sure if men used them as amulets or wore them, since most of the few we can document come from female graves. We have to know their history and background to understand at least a little of their world. A word like "barbarian" cannot describe that and I am sure that their world was more complex than that word.

They earned the gold as pay for their work and risk as legionaries in the Roman army. Typical pay for the period is 9 golden solidus a year and the solidus weighed 4,5 gram. That was for the cavalry that always have been best paid in army. Maybe they could save one or two solidus a year and they were surely hired for a period of several years. I found some note about "Herulian lots" and that means they got a piece of land for their family. It seems natural if most of those stayed within the empire.

They brought home gold but also other import of luxurious items. Many of the coins are minted on Balkan and even at Anthiochia in Syria and then telling about their location The Roman Empire extended to the borders of Persia. We have some cultural items that may have come from there or from Cappadocia. We have the golden finds from Pietroasa Romania. Maybe they also brought ideas or that some immigrated to the North. The castle Ismantorp on Auland is of the same shape as some emperor build on Balkan. The name Isman gives some associations too.

Cavalry

An old rule for judges tells that an enemy should not witness. Then we have to be analytical when we read about the Celts from Roman sources, however I think we can trust the Romans in some case. For instance when it come to war methods all fighters of the time listened to each other just to learn something new.

The sources tell that the Celtic tactic was the "light cavalry" we know from much later times in another shape. Another tactic was disheartening known even from the Minoans. Some of the early Celtic tribes practised bare chest and ash in their hair as outfit.

When they attacked they ride against the foot-soldier phalanx in an angel shouting the wildest they could. Many soldiers were frightened and then the phalanx maybe opened the lines. Part of it was the light armour and fast movements so even a little troop seemed to be everywhere. The "bog trap" Teutoburgerwald is also old tactic.

Later they learnt from the Parthians the tactic to pretend they flied and then when it was time come back again In the 30-years-war the Swedish cavalry used the same tactics and even the English against the Spanish Armada did the same with light boats.

Among the finds we have naturally a few finds of equipment for a rider. Only the Roman legions and cavalry had some standard. The hired soldiers had much of their own. All over Europe the armies kept track of the newest fashion and learnt from each other.

The Roman helmet was the Gaulish model from early times. It is strengthened over the skull and has a strip around the head. It was furnished with nose-, neck-, and cheek protection. The finds from Sutton Hoo England and Vendel Sweden have a strip over the head like a cock's crest. The cock's crest is seen on early Greek helmets. A single golden bract shows a figure with and axe and a helmet like that however the crest is very long.

This is a plate from one of the helmets from Vendel Uppland 7th century

It seems to be Odin coming back on his tired horse Slejpner. The earth snake is waiting for a corpse. Note that his two birds are different and it must be an eagle and a raven. We see similar birds on some golden bracts too. Friend of fundamentalism in interpreting the Edda would say that Odin's horse should have 8 legs. Not at this time and the snake shows that this must be a mythical picture. But note the Eagle Helmet

Maybe we should name it Parthian helmet and it is maybe a little more than hundred years younger than the time of Erils. Still one detail shows that the style continued. He has an eagle in the helmet and there are more than a dozen finds of a golden bract with similar helmet. They are spread over the area of Erils and with one find on Dal.

 

These are from Norway, but there are finds from Jutland, Skaane, Hannover, Holland, West Gautland and on Dal and influence on some pseudo-type found even in England and other places

In Vimose at Fyn they have found a long ring-mail and a yard-long sword. That may be of Parthian origin, since we see pictures of riders with that protection and a toped headgear. They also gave their horse a cover as protection so the equipage was like a tank on four legs. Their speciality was the bow with double bows. They were very skilled and could shoot in all directions. Their tactic was to be a swarm of bees and they also pretended fleeing and came back again not forgetting the Sarmatian swords came to Southern Scandinavia already in first millennium BC or did the North export to the South?

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Drachm with Varahan II, Queen and Son with eagle in headgear and a cut at right from a silverplate

They probably got the inspiration from the Parthians. The model may be a drachm from the time of Varahan II 279 -293 AD that shows him wearing headgear with an eagle in front like the golden bract on the picture. He holds a ring in the way we later see in Nordic symbolism, however even Roman emperors have such gesture.

The Romans were best at foot with short sword and close combat: They were by culture prepared to kill other people.. They created the "turtle" as a special phalanx. The body-covering shield could in right order cover the entire troop from arrows and attack. But horse attack could break the order. Foot-soldiers have always been "cannon food". Still the Roman turtle and foot-soldiers were a deterrent force in normal peaceful environment. The inner discipline and pride build on their equipment, training and clear tactics.

We have only a few bigger finds of all equipment in one grave. The fire grave at Grebo church East Gautland from ca 300 AD is one. It gave a sword 78,5 cm long; a spear blade 43 cm long with silver inlaying at the shaft; small spear blade (?) with barbs; shield buckle and handle; knife; spurs; mounting to a sword sheath of bronze; golden ring and a comb. We understand when we see their long wild hair that they needed a good comb.

In that grave were no remains after a bow and that seems rare in Scandinavia. However they have found a big hoard with many spearheads that must have been import from east. Seemingly they were not sold so it can have been that someone miscalculated the market.

We have to be careful in drawing conclusions from single finds. Still we must mention the finds of bronze rings used in the snaffle as we see on some bracts. That shows that some rider wanted to show up. I think that some riders in all times have put a fortune into his equipment and his own outfit