Odin and Tyr still going strong
Maybe we should say that good old Thor Heyerdahl tell us that he thinks Odin is father of the Norse tribe. I do not agree but his latest assumption means that still Dear Old Odin is alive. The conclusion must then be that the Norse are immigrants in the past
Odin, Thor Heyerdahl, golden bract, rider bract, eagle-helmet, Sunhorse, Snorre Sturlasson, Gobustan Azerbadjan, Nancke-Krogh, academic tradition, barbarian, Roman eyes, Eril, Heruli, Olbia, Celtic Trinity, leader, leadership, Anglo-Saxon heritage, Wodan, Sleipner, BeowulfBA Odin | Golden Age Tyr | Balder myth |back to essays | links |litteratur |sitemap | home |
Plate on helmet from Vendel Uppland 7th century AD
In this picture I see the first bird as an eagle compared to the eagle in his helmet and other "standardised" pictures at the time. The birds make the motif myth and they are pictured differently. It would be natural if the mind and will is pictured by an eagle. To the same symbolism belongs the sea-eagle with a fish in the talons seen on the golden horn from Gallehus ca 400 Ad. Christianity used the sea-eagle as symbol for grasping souls to the church.
There are ca 250 golden bracts from 5th century with what they call a "rider bracts". On some of them we see the two different birds. That tells us that the mythic element of two birds is at least that old. In the night sky we have at least Aquila the Eagle but it was also the emperor's and Jupiter's bird. We also understand that the mythomaniacs change the story in time. From the bracts we also learn that they got the inspiration to the "eagle helmet" from the Parthians, since Varahan II wears that kind of headgear in the middle of 3rd century seeLight Cavalry
However when we look closely at the "rider bracts" and even other figurative bracts we see they are composed of ritual elements: The Rider is mostly just a Head that symbolises "leadership". The horse is a Sunhorse = Pegasus and many of the horses are furnished with bullhorns. That is a sun symbol from 4th millennium BC onward. The third main element is the Serpent symbolising womb of earth and the birds seem to be Messengers of the Gods.
These together forms the Celtic Trinity sometimes manifested in the humanised Trihead / Triglav/ Thurs in Celtic Europe. On the bracts there are often some trisected figure as we call "triskele" that symbolises the trisected moon year. The swastika symbolises four seasons of sun year and is known from 4th millennium BC in Indus culture as earliest.
I have minted the saying, "The less we know, the more imagination we use to describe unknown things" that fits well about Odin still going strong. One school tells that Odin is still living and they take old written texts about Odin literally. They look at him as a god with real existence and power to do things. It is at least convenient to blame the gods for all unpleasant things and mistakes that man make. I am not going to write much about that school but it is the most living Odin we find there. Modern science cannot prove that a god can do physical acts. I stick to what we can prove.
Another thing we meet is that science wants to make a Great Deity of the most known. We see in Mesopotamia how they gather attributes and names around Inanna and use even Babylonian attributes of Ishtar. From the beginning Inanna was only new moon, rain and flow of fertility So for Odin we get naturally a similar list from the fans of Nordic Mythology. Believe it or not!
Grim, Grimner, Vidrimner, Ygg, Yggjung, Yjung, Sidhatt, Fjolner, Svipal, Tvegge, Brun, Brune, Hnikar, Hnikud, Geirolner, Geirlodner, Bivline, Svalner, Hjälmbäre, Herjan, Härglad, Härjfader, Valfader, Hvatmod, Hermod, Hrjod, Bölverk, Gaptrosner, Launding, Svidrer, Svidur, Hropt, Hroptatyr, Ome, Ölur, Sige, Sigder, Siggaut, Sigmund, Sigtrygg, Gaut, Gautatyr, Helblinde, Tveblinde, Härblinde, Gunnblinde, Gestumblinde, Sidskägg, Harbard, Bilögd, Bålögd, Ännebrant, Valack, Hrosshårsgråne, Dresvarp, Atrid, Frafrid, Gångläre, Gångråd, Geigud, Fjällgeigud, Hänge, Hangatyr, Skollvald, Våvud, Glappsvinn, Fjöllsvinn, Ginnar, Svavner, Vakr, Tunn, Tror, Oske, Trasar, Audun, Sann, Sangetal, Gizzur, Gondler, Ovner, Hagvirk, Täck, Njot, Feng, Jolner, Hrame, Vidur, Hvedrung, Hängekäft, Arnhövde, Hravnass, Olg, Fornölver, Kjalar, Farmatyr, Ud. (min språkkontroll klarar inte dessa)
Good Old Thor Heyerdahl makes me write this essay, since he thinks that Odin was a real person and I am going to have a look at his evidence. Thor is not the only to believe on of the earliest Scandinavian myth writer Snorre Sturlasson at Island in 13th century AD. (Saxo Grammaticus lived a little earlier) Snorre told that Odin came from Turkland and wandered to Saxland were he founded some kingdoms and made his sons kings there. Soon he wandered again and now to Reidgotaland = Jutland and made more children and kingdoms. At last he wandered to Svitjod = Sweden and settled there and got more time for making children and kingdoms. I think he also was in Viken = Southern Norway see more below.
In illiterate times folk wisdom was stored in songs and tales. There is no time line so it could have happened thousands of years ago. Mythic heroes could have some forefather, but that is not the point. The point is to hang up wisdom on some virtual person for young men to learn from. However there are still people believing in Odin and making him a real person. It is much like a religion and maybe they believe that a god can fix the dirty job. They also goes for physical evidence like Heinrich Schliemann that went for Troy and found something else, but useful as gold. The biblical archaeologists make also a theory and try to fit the finds into the frames.
Thor has earlier been in Gobustan Azerbadjan believing that he found the ancestors of the Norse there. However there is not much substantial evidence. The rock carvings of "Nordic" ships is in a style we normally date to around 2000 BC and of course maybe slab cist builders came from there to Gautland but not to Norway.
The Danish archaeologist S Nancke-Krogh has the same kind of theories as Thor. In his book "Shaman's Horse" 1992 he has many pictures of artefacts/things he uses as evidence. I do not share his views and conclusions, but I got inspiration and I use some of his pictures in my writing. He tries to prove that the "Asia-men" Snorre wrote about came from south-east and Iran. He made me for instance to seek for the "eagle helmet" in Parthia.
The academic tradition makes it easy to carry wrong ideas as ballast and hindrance for all new conclusions. There are those ideas about wandering and slaughtering tribes like the Aryans. They often se wandering ideas and trade as evidence for immigration. They often think a culture begins with its blooming and see no root and no people before that. They usually think that gods and their "stand ins" the kings did everything. Nordic academics have indoctrinated us to believe that Scandinavia was like an isolated island until the Roman Church came and put trousers on the wild Vikings. Some Scandinavians love to be heirs of "Wild Bloodthirsty Vikings" for some reason.
I am brought up from school times to see at our ancestors as foreigners. As Scandinavian I am brought up to see my dear ancestors as barbarians seen with Roman eyes. I have used much time to see through this foggy curtain. That means to see that there has been a cultural flow at least northward for more than 6000 years. In 4th millennium BC we were fully members of the West European megalith culture. At that time we see the same mythical elements in Sumer, Indus and Egypt in the Northern Hemisphere.
Even the big cultures in south were influenced by each other. For instance the Roman Army got the helmet and the short spatha = sword from the Celts however occurred in Bronze Age and the dagger is the shortest. They got the phalanx from the Greeks and the rider from the Celts and Parthians and Isis came to Rome. They invented the body covering shield and "turtle" by themselves. I have shown in my essays about Lingua Franca and more how the great cultures influenced each other.
All the time trade was the carrier of cultures. War and migration is not continuous and such activities do not carry the myths and physical things that carry a culture in time. Making the megalith monuments was great wisdom by our ancestors. Like the later churches the boulders became folk memory that manifested the culture.
In the early Ritual Age they used symbol animals. Maybe they wanted to separate the world of ideas from the physical world. As soon as they humanised the idols that became gods it caused confusion in peoples' mind. Soon nobility discovered that it was god to tell people that noble men are god-begotten. In normal peoples' mind of equality none is allowed to have more right than the others have. That is the way the principle of personal leadership was created. The virtual leadership was the leading stars/ asterisms.
The Anglo-Saxon sources including late Snorre tell that our ancestors saw no difference between cultural heritage and genetic heritage or learned knowledge. That is true as long as we understand that virtual idols and gods cannot invent things. Things are made out of physical stuff and we have to do the job. Cultural heritage and folk memory can give inspiration to our work, but that does not mean that some god did it. It is the question of seeing clearly the difference between the imaginary world of ideas and our physical world.
In the news at Internet Thor mentions some of his arguments. I shall here give my view without polemizing with Thor. One should not discuss religion since it is less tolerant than the pure scientific view, which allows all kinds of believes while religions normally only tolerate one view.
Thor tells about finds at the mouth of the river Don. That would be natural since we know that the Erils/ Heruli and the Goths were there beginning from around 200 AD. However there could maybe be much older finds from Bronze Age since Olbia is "first choice" when searching for a place where Nordic goldsmiths learned to make thin plate and other fine gold work. There were Greeks goldsmiths making the Schytian gold since Bronze Age. We see some of it at Bornholm and there is also rock carvings showing how to catch the octopus with the Mediterranean method. This is telling about cultural contacts long before 200 AD.
The Romans learned first about the Cimbri in 110 BC. Around 0 AD they surely learnt about the Erils they called Heruli. Emperor Nero set some stelae to Mercurius from the North at Rhine. That is the earliest Scandinavian god I know about in Latin. Maybe he is the trader and boat-lifter we see in our rock carvings. Especially the Danes were forced to barter with the South to get metals.
Tacitus ca 100 AD wrote about Oxiones with male head and bull body maybe it was bull traders from Jutland or he could have said he does not know anything about Scandinavia. The Goths were better known in Rome from ca 200 onward. They came surely mostly from the south coast of Mare Balticum. However we cannot be sure if some came from East Sweden. On the other hand the Eril/ Heruli were influencing northern Germany with finds of neckrings there and we know they were brothers with some tribes at mouth of Oder.
All this tells that Scandinavians knew about the world in south long before 200 AD. Especially during the Golden Age they imported goods as well as culture from the Greek - Roman World. The principle of "leadership" came with Celtic Trinity in Bronze Age and another manifestation is the stelae with head that was like a totem for the settlement and gave name to the place. That means our oldest place names with idol-name and the suffix some dative telling that the people dedicated their work to some virtual idol. There are a few finds of "the head" in Scandinavia and more in other places for instance on Ireland.
The Cimbri = Jutes and Angli furnished Rome with the Cimbri Legion of mercenaries and so did the Erils/ Heruli. The later surely furnished the cavalry for these legions as we see it from the golden bracts. In all times nobility has been riders and forming the cavalry. So many voluntaries must have been recruited from a large area or the same places from where we have the golden bracts. The bracts were earned from the salary in golden solidus they got in Rome. This upper class was naturally carrier of the culture. If they worshipped Odin it should be seen in the golden bracts and in some of the around 400 rune texts we have from that time. see mapScandinavian golden bracts and neckrings
But let us first look at the concept Od/Odin where Od is the diminutive.We can take another word near the former and show the logic. In some tale Siv's husband is Od/ Odd, which should be in syllables OD_OD. The meaning is synonymous to Ti / Tiur/ Tyr that means the "germ of flow"/ outflow or the lead". In short in some situations it pictures leader and leadership. Then since two of a kind is a verb it means growth or growing, which is just the case with this pair symbolising fertility. Usually I use the word Odin or Odinn. In syllables written and with Celtic word order it would then be OD_IN_IN, where OD means the same as in English today and mostly about magnetism forcing through everything.
ININ shortened INN is the verb in, but in this case I think it means the Nordic INGE/ING or EUNGE/YNG meaning "to give in" understood as a dative suffix in Ritual Age, when the gods were the ideas of "giving in". It is a question of the development of language that took time. In the Edda we usually see the worn word Oden.
In Danish it could maybe be swallowed to On = on that also means beginning. Seen in some Danish place names as the genitive Ons-. They say the Danes swallow the words ... that is only because they do not understand the song of the Raven. I speak fluently Danish but have no words in my throat. In Saxon it is Wodan and that could also associate to water. We have to note many transcriptions in time and difference in dialects so there could be changes in time. Scandinavian literate tradition began much later than the Anglo-Saxon sources.
In fact Scandinavian historians have not been too interested in our Anglo-Saxon heritage that can tell a lot about Scandinavian around 500 AD, I think. I am not too familiar with British archaeology but I think they are not very interested in what they can learn from the Anglo Saxon heritage in Scandinavia.
Among around1000 golden bract there is maybe 400 different motifs and often some non-intelligible texts. However there is some texts showing they could write but there is no Odin or Wodan texts in the Scandinavian golden bracts. There are three with OTA, but since it is not exactly what we search for we should be careful in over-interpreting.
But there is the find from Kärlich Niedersachen WODAN HAILAG "consecrated to Wodan". The inscription is on a fibula for a lass and meant as some protection probably. On others we find the name of the lass and the young man
Another fibula is from Nordendorf Augsburg LOGA ? ORE? WODAN WIGI DONAR ?? LEUBWINI where we have the root LOG ( see next) and DONAR is Thor that was the consecrater/ marrier. We have often the formula THOR WIGI and here LEUBWINI has to do with love.
There is a bit of silicon stone from Arguel in France with ARBITAG WODAN LUGODHA ZEJ? KIM? The root ARBI in Gothic means "heritage". But Wodan is clear and LUGODHA is known from Celtic times as the god Lug with many synonyms and the name occurs even in South Sweden. The rest is enigma like far too many of the early texts.
We can presume the Erils / Heruli (Scandinavian nobility) were carriers of the runes and we know that they have been in the places from where we have the early runes se mapEuropean finds. Alternatively we know about deep relationship and military comradeship with the Batavi along the Rhine and they were also relate to Thüringiam with whom they like other tribes bartered in strategic places. But in these cases we do not know fore sure if they followed the manners at these places.
Generally we can say that there are few place names with Oden from Gautland southward. There are some concentrations of "Eddagods' place names" to East Sweden and Viken in Norway. I think it would be interesting to study if we can expect some migration from Rhineland to these places due to Roman aggression.
Snorre could be right about the "wandering Odin" but that is an allegory over very long time. That means longer than back to early Bronze Age. The style of the sagas is to carry folk memory with the wisdom included. They are not telling biographical history in the way we were taught in school.
We see no clear Oden on the golden bracts, but the head of the leader. There are a few bracts with old Tyr putting his hand in the gap of the Beast. But the rest of the motifs are not easy to see in what we know as Edda texts from 13th century AD. Maybe a series of a dozen bracts shows the Balder myth where the mistletoe is the common denominator.
Amulet from Russia
There is also a very worn early medal with some one-eyed man but that is one out of 1000 bracts. In old Celtic legends are several one-eyed heroes. S Nancke-Krogh has also found one golden bract (out of 1000) with eight-footed horse we can compare with the picture. He tells it is Odin's horse Sleipner. We know also that Erils have been in Russia and could have got inspiration from there
When we look closely at it the horse is composed of 8 "legs" for directions in the sky -- The body consists of two serpents plus a bit symbolising the sun year and moon year correlation. It is used often in astro-symbolism -- there are 4 bird heads that seem to be the cardinal directions -- the "rider" is three connected circles/ triskele and one of them have the shape of a head.
The trisection of the moon year came from India I think. The Head/ Ansur symbolises "leadership" and totem of settlement with incarnation the asterism Cancer/ Crab. The Horse is surely Pegasus horse in sky symbol for spring at the time and also the power of leadership. The third is the asterism Bearwatcher that later became the "bearserk" symbolising the private foot soldier and male comradeship.
Naturally the nobility carried the symbolism we see. It cannot be related to more than the leading class. That was homogenous at least in Denmark and South Scandinavia since we see how the motifs and the gold were spread all over this area.
I do not think the society was so aggressive as this could tell. In most tribes "the Lady of House" was in centre as we see from the ritual necklaces and some neckrings. The poem Beowulf tells the same. That poem is near the time we are discussing and maybe there is some truth in it. There are few females in rock carvings, but many of the cupmarks and certainly the bigger cupmarks represent Mother Earth. Even the New Moon was female and that symbolised rain and fertility.
Snorre list the generations before Odin and starts with Thor and Siv and followers Loride, Eindride, Vingtor, Vingener, Moda, Mage, Seskef, Bedvig, Athra, Annan, Iterman, Heremod, Skjaldun, Bjar, Jat, Gudolf, Finn, Fridlef and Odin/Oden. Snorre uses the same kind of ancestors' to Odin as we find in the Anglo-Saxon tradition. It is evident that the names / concepts before Odin normally should be seen as cultural ideas and not as persons still in our days many find it difficult to separate fiction / saga and reality
This concerns the kings in the Anglo-Saxon countries. We learn also from the chronicle that the title "king" was something else than leader of a land. It is the same on the Rauk stone from ca 800 AD where Sibbi tells about 20 kings at the same time. Maybe they meant something similar to province governor.
Wodan / Odin could not be forefather to all tribes we know of. Neither could he be buried in many places, as we know from mound names. So it is obvious that we should see him as virtual idol or god representing leadership. We know that after Ritual Age the kings began to tell they were half-gods and god begotten. Emperor Augustus was maybe the first Roman to tell he and his family was heirs of Jupiter. He also introduces his picture not only on coins but also on many kinds of gems just to show "I am the boss". We see the same tendency in some of the early Scandinavian medals copying the Roman style.
Old sagas should be seen as fiction I think. They represent another kind of thinking than ours. In this matter I can only see the consequences of lack of knowledge about Scandinavian archaeology first millennium AD. Too often investigators get caught in their own field and forget to connect it to the surrounding. They forget that all blooming cultures have their history. The timeline should be extended to the roots.
The influences from all directions should be part of the story: Scandinavia has been connected to the south through many paths through Europe and around the coast for more than 6000 years. Thor gives us the impression that history began 100 to 200 AD and I do not believe in that. That is why I point at some facts above.
4 December, 2001
Origin of Ti, Tis, Tiw, Tyr
Bronz Age one-armed Tyr and flying Loke from Laukeberget Bohuslen
Generally these names are thought to mean the same thing. However in true science it is better to sort out Tyr that in OHG and Nordic means bull/ oxen and the origin is on the Animal Round in 4th and 3rd millennium. At Vitlycke Bohuslen there are Bronze Age rock-carvings showing the Oxen on the Round.
The last signs of the heavenly Bull is the horns seen in the crown of Roman emperors and as horns on the Horse = Pegasus at the golden bracts. Then it means simply spring equinox that moved from Oxen to Horse/ Stag in more than 4000 years due to precession. The Stag is seen for instance on the scepter from the Sutton Hoo grave and especially in Frisien but also in rest of Scandinavia.
From an English Viking Age poem we get:
Tiw is a guiding star; well does it keep faith with princes;
it is ever on its course over the mists of night and never fails.
One-armed Tyr with naksatras Aspeberget Bohuslen
Surely we could find 28 cupmarks/ dots in some other places. However it is hard to prove that it is naksatras = mansions of the moon. In this case we get double proof since we have the one-armed "yearman" in the same image. This could be the oldest image from 3rd millennium BC
From there the step is short to the golden bracts with the known motif in which he put his arm into the gap of the Fenriswolf. The other elderly people tie the heavenly beast. They decided to fetter it and tried the bonds Lauding and Drome but the Fenris-Wolf was too strong. At last they invented the tricky Gleipne made of cat noise, woman's beard, mountain roots, fish breath and birds spittle and that fixed it. But they had to ask Tyr to put his arm in the gap when they made the knot .a remark is that gods/ idols exist only in the fictive world of sagas and ritual as role models.
Once the brave Tyr got his arm off he knew what pain is and the assembly thought he was suited as judge. We have some rock-carvings from Bronze Age with the one armed judge and he is also seen in a boat and a bullhead as bait. That associates to the heavenly Oxen as well as to the saga about Thor and Tyr "on tour". Thor is seemingly the asterism Gemini. On and the golden bract from Trollhättan we see Tyr with one arm in the gap and the other holding the Gemini-symbol. seeTyr bract
This bract and others indicates that he is in the center of the world like the fertility Laur. In Danish TI means "flow/ place of outflow" and according to very old ritual it was the flood in spring that gave fertility. When they bind Fenriswolf it is a line from Sagittarius to Cancer or Gemini that gives the World Order/ Time Order = celestial calendar. The attribute "hand-in-gap" we see also on the 'snake-pit' bracts, which symbolise the sowing or going for resurrection.
If we think it through this idol is an old idol that was designed for the small societies with a thane/ thegn as leader. In wartime he became leader idol for the local defence that was meant for the unusual case of aggression form outside. This attitude we have in the Herulian league to 6th century. We see it is the total culture phase shift with the so-called Edda Age that began with Viking Age in 8th century.
The earliest written evidence of Ti/ Tiw/ Tyr as judge we find at Housestead /VERCOVICIUM theHadrian wall 3rd century AD on an altar stone
DEO MARTI THINGSO ET DVABVS ALAISAGIS BEDE ET FIMMILENE ET N AVG GERM CIVES TVIHANTI VSLM
"To the god Mars Thingso the two Alaisagae, Bede and Femmilene and the divine spirit of the emperor, the German tribesmen from Tvihanti, true servants of the Augustus, willingly and deservedly fulfil their vow."
The Romans saw Tyr / Tis / Ti /Tiw as the war god Mars Thingsus maybe because they did not know about normal Germanic peaceful society and law. The thing/ court was naturally the core of the society in Scandinavia and especially in Denmark there are many "tinghaug" = thing/ court mound. Best known is Tynwald Hill at Isle of Man. Since I have found notes about a low round mound with ditch around in neighbouring parish I would like to think they got the idea from my province.
Next "written" evidence are the weekday names (Tuesday) created in time of Constantine in beginning 4th century. It was also the beginning heydays of the Scandinavian Heruli at duty at Rhine and other places. The leading classes of merchants and legionaries were "brothers in arms" with Frisian and Germanian troops so it is no wonder that both in English and Skandinavian the weekday names are nearly the same. The only real exception is Saturday from the Roman Saturn god of harvest. Scandinavians have instead the god LAUR that now is forgotten. As THURS I would rather put the "tri-headed thurs" idol of the tri section of the year.
Many academics prefer when they can read the names in plain English or Old Nordic and that is the ultimate evidence. Better is for instance the Gosforth Cross and other carved stones in churches. But besides the figurative evidence we have also the place names with no dating.
In Denmark the normal root is TI/ TIS/ TIR/ an we find them in places where there have been a vi / wih since he was the idol even at local ritual. In England we have Tysoe, Tuesnoad, Tuesley, Tifield, Great Tew, Dun's Tew, Tewin, Tysoe (Tiw's hill-spur), Tyesemere 'Tiw's pool' and Deverstone Cliff.
In Scandinavia we have none of the Edda gods in early rune texts. In England the runic inscriptions of TIU are found stamped into three urns found in a 5th century cemetery at Spong Hill in Norfolk, and on a 7th century spear blade from Holborough, Kent. The Rune Age began in 2nd century AD and we must include the Germanic Area that in west included Germania Inferior within Limes. That is Luxembourg and Belgium south of Rhine. The Runes are seen mostly at Lower Rhine and in Friesland - Niedersachsen
We cannot apply our days' frames and national borders on those days. We have the old tribal bonds within Germania that was a branch of Celtic culture. We must remember that the Belgae moved to England before the Romans. At some places there were a core of Germanic Celts before the first migration of Anglo-Saxons. There was a flow of especially Frisian people and culture through legionaries and trade.
We get a hint of changing culture and language when we think of that some Heruli settled in the end of Roman rule in northern France. The Normands that originally hold a core of Scandinavians were and are seen as French. I noticed from the TIME TEAM programs that the English often prefer Saxon roots and see the Anglii and Scandinavians as wild barbarians. If they could they would prefer Roman roots at such time I am ashamed of science when it becomes politics and religious instead of neutral searching after roots and truth. Seldom I have seen genuine English interest for the very deep Scandinavian roots.
I do not give much for modern mythical interpreting that tries to make it teleological and theological. As far as I can see from Migration Age the myths were arche-ideologies for the rural society. Edda is made of bear-drunk bards dreaming of days that have never been.
25 June 2003