The first great conflict in which the warriors of North and West Teutondom fight with the East Teutons ends with the complete victory of Groas sons. Haddings 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 Vagnhofdes daughter, who survived the battle and accompanies her beloved in his wanderings in the wildernesses. Saxo ascribes the victory won over Hadding to Loki. It follows of itself that, in a war whose deepest root must be sought in Lokis and Aurbodas intrigues, and in which the clans of gods on both sides take part, Loki should riot be excluded by the skalds froni 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 eveny effort to bring about reconciliation, and by means of persuasion amid falsehoods to increase the chances of enmity between Halfdans descendants, in order that they may mutually destroy each other (see below). His activity among the heroes is tIme counterpart of his activity among the gods. The merry, sly, cynical, blameworthy, annd 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 Loki-epithet is Bekki, which means the foe, "time opponent". A closer examination shows that everywhere where this counsellor appears his enterprises have originally been connected with persons who belong to Borgars race. He has wormed himself into the favour of both the contending partiesas Blind ille with King Haddingwhereof Hromund Greipsons saga has preserved a distorted recordas 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, Haddings father (Helge Hund., ii.). Under his own name, Loki, he lies in waiting for and seeks to capture the young Hadding, Halfdans 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 Gudhorms battle-line that in the Norse heathen records secured Loki the epithets sagna hrćrir and sagna sviptir, the header of the warriors forward and the leader of the warriors backepithets which otherwise would be both unfounded and in-comprehensible, but they are found both in Thjodolfs poem Haustlamung, and in Eilif Gudrunsons Thorsdrapa. It is also a noticeable fact that while Loki in the first great battle which ends with Haddings defeat determines the array of the victorious army for only on this basis can the victory be attributed to him by Saxoit 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. Thins the ancient Teutonic saga has mentioned and conipared with one another two different kinds of battle-arraysthe one invented by Loki 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 amid Hardgrep, Vagnhofdes daughter, came late one evening to a dwelling where they got lodgings for the night. The husband was dead, but not vet buried. For the purpose of learning Haddings destiny, Hardgrep engraved speech-runes (see No. 70) cnn 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 froni life in the lower world to life on earth, amid a prediction that an avenging Niflheim demon would inflict punishment on her for what she had done. A following night, when Hadding amid 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 Haddinng waked Hardgrep. She then nose 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 ghosts 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 ff.).
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 lis is to be found in the old Norse language and as Saxo interchanges the vowels i and y,* we must regard Liserus as a Latinising of Lysir, " the shining one," "the one giving light," "the bright one ". When Odin sent a helper thins described to Hadding, it must have been a person belonging to Odins circle and subject to him. Such a person and described by a similar epithet is hinn hvíti áss, hvitasir ása (Heimdal). In Saxos account, this shining messenger is particularly to oppose Loki (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 Loki. Loki has to contend with Heimdal when the former tries to get possession of Brisingamen, and in Ragnarok the two opponents kill each other. Haddings shining protector thus has the same pant to act in the heroic saga as the whitest of the Asas in the mythology. If we miow add that Heimdal is Haddings 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 Halfdans and Alveigs son, then we are forced by every consideration to regard Liserus and Heinidal as identical (see further, No. 82).
* Compare the double forms Trigo, Thrygir; Ivarus, Yvarus; Sibbo, Sybbo; Siritha, syritha; Sivardus, Syvardus ; Hiberniu, Hybernia; Isora, Ysora.
Sonic time later there has been a change in Haddings affairs. He is no longer the exile wandering about in the forests, but appears once niore at the head of warlike hosts. But although lie accomplishes various exploits, it still appears from Saxos narrative that it takes a honing tinie 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 amid that in which he wins a decided victory is that he, before this conflict is fought out, has slain a young grandson (sons son) of Svipdag, that is, a son of Asmund, who was Svipdags 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 tIne 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. Odins exile hasted, according to Saxo, only ten years, amid there is no reason for doubting the mythical correctness of this statement. The reconciliation must have been demanded by the dangers which them enmity caused to the ad ministration of the world. The giants, whose purpose it is to destroy tIne world of man, became once more dangerous to the earth on account of the war among the gods. During this time they niade 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 if.) 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 hero discussed, vanishes when we learn that tIme attack of the Huns against Frotho-Freys power happened at a tinie 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 Frothos enemies. Uggerus is a Latinised form of Odins name Yggr, and is the same mythic character as Saxo before introduced on the scene as the old one-eyed man," Had-dings protector. Although he had been Frothos enemy, the aged Yggr comes to him and informs him what the "Huns" are plotting, and thus Frotho is enabled to resist their assault.*
When Odin, out of consideration for the common welfare of mankind and the gods, renders the Vans, who had banished him, this services, 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 inn 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 patenfamilias and ruler (Saxo, Hist., 44). But time dispute which caused the conflict between him and the Vans was at the sanne 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 renmains there unharamed until Ragnarok, and when the destruction of the world approaches, then Njord shall leave the Asas threatened with
* Deseruit eum (Hun) quoque Uggerus vates, vir ćtatis incognitć et supra humanum terminum prolixe; qui Frothonem transfugć titulo petens quidquid a Hunis parabatur edocuit (Hist., 238).
the ruin they have themselves caused and return to the "wise Vans " (i aldar rauc hann mun aptr coma heim med visom vaunomVafthr., 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 anitiquity, amid at that tinie threatened Asgard itself with destruction ? The "Hun war" was in the myth characterised 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 " Huni war" of antiquity had so weakened the giants in miuniber 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 giaiit world shall rise again in all its ancient might. From the time of the " Hun war" and until then, Thors 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 cit iotna, ef allir lifdi, vetr mandi manna undir Miţgarţi.
Haddings rising star of success must be put in connection with the reconciliation between the Asas amid 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 reconiciled. And this happens. Hadding wins a great battle amid enters upomi a secure reign in his part of Teutondonm. Then are tied new bomids 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 Borgars son Halfdan. Hadding and a surviving grandson of Svipdag are united inn so tender a devotion to one another that the latter, upon an unfounded report of the formers 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 volutarily (Saxo, Hist., 59, 60).
After the reconciliation between the Asas and Vans they succeed in capturing Loki. Saxo relates this in connection with Odins return from Asgard, and here calls Loki 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 harni 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 Mitothins death seem at first glance not to correspond very well with the mythic accounts of Lokis exit, and thus give rooni for doubt as to his identity with the latter. It is also clear that Saxos narrative has been influenced by the medieval 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 Loki. The place where Loki is fettered is situated in the extreme part of the hell of tIme 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 Saxos 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 Iyngvi in Amsvartners sea, where Lokis prison issee No. 78). Thie hardy sea-captain, Thorkil, seeks and finds him in his cave of torture, pulls a hair from tIne 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 froni the beard of the tortured Loki (" 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 Loki, according to the Icelandic records, is the father of the feminine demon of epidemics and diseases, of her who rules in Nifiheim, the home of the spirits of disease (see No. 60), and that it is Lokis daughter who rides the three-footed steed, which appears when an epidemic breaks out (see No. 67). Thus Loki is, according to the Icelandic mythic fragments, the cause of epideniics. Lakasenna also states that he lies with a pierced body, although the weapon there is a sword, or possibly a spear (pie a hiorvi scola binda godLakas., 49). That Mitothin takes flight and conceals himself from the gods corresponds with the myth about Loki. But that which finally and conclusively confirms the identity of Loki 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 (cćlesti beneficio vegetatus). Among male beings of his character this applies to Loki alone.
In regard to the statement that Loki 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 Lokis ruin, which was a logical consequence of his acts and happened long after his removal to the realm of death. Loki 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 tIme 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 tIme Teutonic mythology, and Heimdal and Loki 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 (svá er sagt, at hann van lostinn manns höfdi i gögnum Younger Edda, 264 ; hann var lostinn i hel mid manns höfdi Younger Edda, 100, ed. Res). When Heinmidal and Loki mutually cause each others death, this must mean that Lokis 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 Lokis 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 magni tudine quam rigore corneas ćquaverant hastasHist., 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 Loki, the dragon-demon, the father of the Midgard-serpent (see further, No. 82).
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, Hannahs father, Hagall, had been Halfdans foster-father (Helge Hund., ii.), and thins the devoted friend of Borgar. Thene 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 time 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 Haddings, and that Hamal himself was the field-commander of his fosterbrother. The trace is found in the phrase fylkja Hamalt, occurring 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 tine 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 ships railing, which appears from the following lines in Harald Hardrades Saga, 63
Hamalt syndiz mér hömlur hildings vinir skilda.
We also learmi 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 foriii of a wedge.* Now Saxo relates (Hist., 52) that Haddings army was time first to draw time 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 thiis. Several centuries later Odin, according to Saxo, taught this art to Harald Hildetand. But tIme mythology has not made Odin teach it twice. The repetition has its reason in the fact that Harald Hildetand, in one of tine rccords accessible to Saxo, was a son of Halfdan Borgarson (Hist., 361; according to other records a son of Borgar himselfHist., 337), and consequently a son of Haddings father, the consequence of which is that features of Haddings saga have been inicorporated into the saga produced in a later tinie 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 time battle which ended in Haddings defeat. Swedes, Goths, Norsemen, Curians, and Esthionians here fight omi 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, time niain part of the army), Livonians, and Slays fight on tIme other side. The fleets and armies are immense on both sides. Shield-maids (amazons) occupy the position which in time original was held by the giantesses Hardgrep,
* Compare the passage, Eirikr konungr fylkti svá lidi sinv, 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.
The saga of Sigurd Fafnersbane, which absorbed materials from all older sagas, has also incorporated this episode. On a seajourney Sigurd takes on board a man who calls himself Hnikarr (a name of Odin). He advises him to 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 nannes 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. 28a), Od (Odr, a surname of Freyjas 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 Cćsar suggests the same (De Bell. Gall., i. 52 : Germani celeriter cx consuetudine sua phalanga 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 Teutoadom with Asia it was also in vogue. According to Ćlianus (De insir. 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 Haddings and Hamals families were united by the sacred ties which connect foster-father with foster-son and foster-brother with foster-brother.
The appearance of Hamal and the Amalians on Haddings side ma 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 fathers 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 (ţjódrekr, Thidrek, Theodericus), and the fortunes of the young prince are, as we have thus seen, substantially the same as Haddings.
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 structurethat 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 tbe slowly advancing s 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 s 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-, 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 , 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 ofthat is, Attilaand 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, Odins 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 Saxos father there were still heathen communities in Smaland on the Danish . 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 Germany.
Hadding means "the hairy one," "the fair-haired"; Dieterich (ţjódrekr) 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 Vilkinasaga says of him that he bad 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, Norways 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 Har fagers 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 records).
(b) He is not, however, an independent ruler there, at least not in the beginning, but is subject to Attila (who in the Dieterichs saga has supplanted Odin as chief ruler in the East). He is Attilas man (" Dieterichs Flucht").
(c) A Swedish king has robbed him of his land and driven him into exile.
(d) The Swedish king is of the race of elves, and the chief of the same race as the celebrated Velintthat is to say, Volund (Wayland)belonged to (Vilkinasaga). As shall be shown later (see Nos. 105, 109), Svipdag, the banisher of Hadding, belongs to the same race. He is Volunds nephew (brothers 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. Haddings, Hartungs and Dieterichs 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 Haddings 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, Dieterichs 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 Dieterichs 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,* 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 bad the same mother Drot, but not the same father; Hildeger counted himself a Swede on his fathers side; Halfdan, Borgars son, considered himself as belonging to the South Scandinavians and Danes, and hence the dying Hildeger sings to Halfdan (Hisi., 357):
Danica te tellus, me Sveticus edidit orbis.
*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 Hildiag race. Examples :
1. Old High German: Herbrand Hildebrand Hadubrand.
2. Wolfdeiterich: Berchtung Herbrand Hildebrand.
3. Vilkinasaga: Hildebrand Alebrand.
4. A Popular Song about Hildebrand: Hildebrand The Younger Hildebrand.
5. Fundin Noregur: Hildir Hildebrand (a) Hildir (b) Herbrand.
6. Flateybook, i. 25: Hildir Hildebrand Vigbrand (a) Hildir (b) Herbrand.
7. Asmund Kćmpbanes Saga: Hildebrand Helge Hildebrand.
Drot tibi maternum, quondam distenderat vber; Hay gentitrici tibi pariter collacteus exto.*
In the German tradition Hildebrand is the son of Herbrand. The Old High German fragment of the song, about Hildebrands meeting with his son Hadubrand, calls him Heribrantes sunu. Herbrand again is, according to the poem "Wolfdieterich," Berchtungs son (concerning Berchtung, see No. 6). In a Norse tradition preserved by Saxo we find a Hilding (Hildeger) who is Borgars stepson; in the Germami tradition we find a Hilding (Herbrand) who is Borgar-Berchtungs son. This already shows that the Gernian saga about Hildebrand was originally connected with the patriarch saga about Borgar, Halfdan, and Halfdans sons, and that the Hildings from the beginning were akin to tIme Teutonic patriarchs. Borgars transformation froni stepfather to the father of a Hilding shall be explained below.
Hildegers saga and Hildebrands are also related in subject niatter. The fortunes of both the kinsmen are at the same time like each other amid the antithesis of each other. Hildegers character is profoundly tragic; Hildebrand is happy and secure. Hildeger complains iii his death-song in Saxo (cp. Asmund Kćmpebanes saga) that he has fought within 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 mans 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 others antithesis. Hildeger, who passionately loves war and combat, inflicts in his eagerness for strife a deep
* Compare in Asmund Kćmpebanes saga the words of the dying hero: dik Drott of bar af Danmörku en mik sjálfan á Svidiodu.
wound in his own heart when he kills his own son. Hildebrand acts wisely, prudently, and seeks to ward off and allay the sons 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, Hildegers 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 hini the fatal wound, and whose mantle the dying one wishes to wrap himself in (Asmund Kćmpebanes saga), is one of the touching scenes in the grand poems about our earliest ancestors. It seems to have proclammed that blood revenge was inadmissible, when a kinsman, without being aware of the kinship, slays a kinsman, and when the latter before lie 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 Halfdans and Hildegers 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" Hildebrands father receives land and fief from Dieterichs 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 nank as between those to which Hadding and Hamal belong. Hamals father Hagal was Halfdans foster-father, and, to judge from this, occupied the position of a subordinate friend toward Halfdans 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-fathers duties towards the latters son Hadding, who was not yet of age. Hamals relation to Hadding is therefore entirely analagous to Hildebrands relation to Dieterich.
The pith of that army which attached itself to Dieterich are Amelungs, Amalians (see " Biterolf ") ; that is to say, members of Hamals race. The oldest and most important hero, the pith of the pith, is old master Hildebrand himself, Dieterichs 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 Dieterichs 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 familiesthe patriarch family, the Hilding family, and the Amal familyhas certainly been just as distinctly pointed out in the German saga- cycle as in time Norse before the German met with a crisis, which to sonie extent confused the old connection. This crisis came when Hadding-ţjódrekr 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 Anmal family, which had grown out of tIme soil of the myth. He was, accordimig to Jordanes (De Goth. Orig., 14), a son of Thiudemer, who traced his ancestry to Amal (Hamal), son of Augis (Hagal).* The result of the confusion was:
(a) That Hadding-ţjódrekr became the son of Thiudemer, and that his descent from the Teuton patriarchs was cut off.
(b) That Hadding-ţjódrekr himself became a descendant of Hamal, whereby tIne distinction between this race of rulersthe line of Teutonic patriarchs begun with Ruther Heimdaltogether 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-ţjódrekr into his earliest progenitor, separated from him by several generations of time, he could no longer serve as Dieterichs 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 helpers.
* 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.
(d) That Borgar-Berchtung, who in the myth is the grandfather of Hadding-ţjódrekr, 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-ţjórekrs confusion with the historical Theoderich was that Dieterichs 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 Theoderichs father Thiudemer the father of the mythic Hadding-ţjódrekr.
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 Haddingţjódrekr 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 ţjódrekr and Ottar of mythical traditions.
As the Hadding-ţjódrekr of mythology was in his tender youth exposed to the persecutions of Ottar, and had to take flight froni 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, fioh her Otachres nîd, "he fled from Otachers hate ". Therefore, Otacher soon disappears from the German saga-cycle, for SvipdagOttar perishes and disappears in the myth, long before Haddings victory and restoration to his fathers 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 Odins place, though Attila was dead before Theoderich was born. RutherHeimdal was, as we have already seen, changed into Rudiger.
The myth made Hadding dwell in tIme East for many years (see above). The tea-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 ţrittig wintra in exile at Mćringaburg. The song about Hildebrand and Hadubrand make him remain in exile, sumarô enti wintrô sehstic, and Vilkinasaga makes him sojourn in the East thirty-two years.
Mćringaburg 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. Mćringaburg means a citadel inhabited by noble, honoured, and splendid persons: compare the Old Norse mćringr. But the original meaning of mćrr, Old German mâra, is "glittering" "shining" "pure," and it is possible that, before mćringr 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, froni Heimdal through Borgar. However this may be, these "mćringar" have, in the Anglo-Saxon version of the Hadding saga, had their antitheses in the "baningar," that is, the men of Loki-Bicke (Bekki). This appears from the expiession Bekka veóld Baningum, in Codex Exoniensis. The Banings are no more than the Mćrings, 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, time all-corrupting Loki. In time Germani poems, Mćringaburg 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 histomical Theoderich with the mythic Hadding-ţjódrekr, 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 Dieterichs descent, which they could not relate without wounding Christian ears; and he reminds us that, when in the Vilkinasaga Thidrek (Dieterich) teases Högne (Hagen) by calling him the son of arm elf, Högne answers that Thidrek has a still worse descent, as he is the son of the devil himself. The matter, which in Grimms eyes is mystical, is explained by the fact that Hadding-ţjódrekrs father in the myth, Halfdan Borgarson, was supposed to be descended from Thor, and in his capacity of a Teutonic patriarch lie 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 Loki. It has also been pointed out that this drink contained something called Leifners or Leifins flames. There is every reason for assuming that these "flames" had the effect of enabling the person who had partaken of the potion of Leifners flames to free himself from his chains with his own breath. Groa (Groagalder, 10) gives her son Svipdag " Leifners fires in order that if he is chained, his enchanted limbs may be liberated (ek lćt der Leifnis elda fyr kredinn 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 lie became angry, he could breathe fire and make the cuirass of his opponent red-hot. The traditiorn 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 kraffi von herezenlichen 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. Haddings descent to the lower world, together with the mythic account of his journey through the air on Odins 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 ever.
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-kings life is spared, amid Dieterich gets possession of many of his treasures.
In the German as in the Norse saga, Hadding-ţjódrekr'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 brothers name in the Norse tradition is Gudhormr, in the German Ermenrich (Ermanaricus). Ermenrich, Jörmunrekr means, like ţjódrekr, 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-Svipdags name points to the progenitor of the Ingvćones (Ingćvones), and possibly also Haddings to that of the Istćvones (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 Haddiag, according to the myth, had his support among the East Teutonic tribes. To the form Hasdingi (Goth. Hazdiggós) the words istćvones, istvćones, 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 Istćvo Ostius, Hostius.
As to geography, both the Roman and Teutonic records agree that the northern Teutonic tribes were Ingćvones. In the myths they are Scandiniavians and neighbours to the Ingćvones. In the Beowulf poem the king of the Danes is called codor Inguina, the protection of the Ingćvones, and freâ Inguina, the lord of the Ingćvones. Tacitus says that they live nearest to the ocean (Germ., 2); Pliny says that Cimbrians, Teutons, and Chaucians were Ingćvones (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 Istćvones, the former dwelt along the middle Rhine, and of the latter, who are the East Teutons of niythology, 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-ţjódrekr measured his strength with the North and West Tentons 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 niake him return to the East after the battle and remain there many years, robbed of his crown, before he niakes his second and successful attempt to regain his kingdom. Thus the "Raben battle" corresponds to the mythic battle in which Hadding is defeated by Ingćvones 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 froni the Eastfrom Poland, Wallachia, Rnissia, Greece, &c.; Ermenrich, on the other hand, by chiefs from Thuringia, Swabia, Hessen, Saxony, tIme 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 Ingćvones. For the mythic descent of the Burgundian dynasty froni an uncle of Svipdag I shall present evidence in my chapters on the Ivalde race.
The original identity of Haddings and Dieterichs sagas, and their descent from the myth concerning the earliest antiquity amid 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 Ingćvones, Hermiones, and Istćvones. It has also been demonstrated that Halfdan, Gudhorms, and Haddings father, and Yngve-Svipdags 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 tinie, the niain 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 menamong Aryan myths one of the most important, either from a scientific or poetic point of view, that could be handed down to our timewas 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 presenit work, in many respects a caricature of the real Norse, amid at the same time in its main outlines Teutonic, mythology. In regard to the ancient Aryan elements in the myth here presented, see Nos. 82 and 111.
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 froni 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 conipany 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 tIme faith of his ancestors amid accepted baptisni. He told his royal teacher of the vow he had taken to find Odinsaker, "frá huorcum heyrdi vér 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 sanie 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 seenied to be uninhabited. Still they discovered a tower in the distance. They continued to travel in that direction, and on conning 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 Eriks 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 hand of the spirits, Paradise, was so glorious that, in comparison, Odainsaker seemed. like a desert. Still, these two regions are on each others s, 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 Eriks genealogy, the saga states (Fornald. Saga, iii. 519) that his fathers name was Thrand, that his aunt (mothers sister) was a certain Svanhvit, and that he belonged to the race of Thjasses daughter Skade. Further on in the domain of the real myth, we shall discover an Erik who belongs to Thjasses 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 (Glćsisvellir). 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 Herrods and Boses 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 Bćarmagns saga, in which king Gudmunds kingdom, Glittering Plains, is a country tributary to Jotunheim, whose ruler is Geirrod.
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 Gudmunds 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. Mean. while he had commanded the bishop who was present to bless the drink. The result was that the heathen beings, who were Gudniunds messengers, cast the horns away, and at the same time there was great noise and confusion in the hall. The fire was extinguished, and Gudmunds men disappeared with Helge, after having slain three of King Olafs 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 Gudmunds; but King Olafs prayers had at length made it difficult for Gudmund and his daughter to retain him, and before his departure Ingeborg picked his eyes out, mn order that Norways daughters should not fall in love with them. With his gifts Gudmund bad intended to deceive King Olaf; but upon the whole Helge had nothing but good to report about this heathen.
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 Gemthus, 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 Bjanmia 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 gmeeted 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.* 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.
* Cujus transeundi cupidos revocavit, doceas, eo alveo humana a monstrosis rerum secrevisse naturam, nec mortalibus ultra fas esse vestigiis.
One more trial awaited them. Guthmnundus mentioned to the king that he had a villa, and invited Gorm to accompany hinn thither and taste of the delicious fruits. Thorkillus, who had a talent for inventing excuses, now found one for the kings 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 tinie 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 numhers. These were plated with seven sheets of gold, and above theni hung objects of silver, round as to form, froni 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 Gorms men laid greedy bands 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 nieet 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 theni, 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 amid let them return to their ships in safety the same way as they had come.
Two other Danish princes have, according to Saxo, been pernutted 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 wa banished from the realm by King Amlethus, the son of Horven dillus, 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 winters 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 armmes 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 denionstrated 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 ".
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 arm 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 Saxos father belonged witnessed the crusade which Sigurd the Crusader made in Eastern Smaland, in whose forests the Asa-doctrine until that time seenns 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 Danice. 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 Saxos account of Gorms 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 Artic 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 authcrs 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 time Christians, and the saga later makes this conjecture turn out to be incorrect.
The author of Hervors saga mentions Odainnsaker as a heathen belief, and tries to give reasons why it was believed in heathen times that Odainsaker was situated within the limits of Gudmunds 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 Bćarmagn 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 Geirrods (Geruthus) brother, and he believes he is discussing ancient traditions when he relates Gormns journey of discovery and Haddings journey to Jotunheim. Gorms reign is referred by Saxo to the period immediately following the reign of the mythical King Snö (Snow) and time emigration of the Longobardians. Haddings 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 ing on it, lies the land of the happy spirits, Paradise.
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. Hervors saga says that the Glittering Plains and Odainsaker are situated north of Halogaland, in Jotunheim; Herrods and Boses saga states that they are situated in the vicinity of Bjarmaland. The saga of Thorstein Bćarmagn 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. Haddings 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 Vidforles saga claims that the stars there are visible all day long. Gorms saga in Saxo makes the Danish adventurers heave 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 Gorms saga, one comes to Gudmunds 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 niore 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 Haddings 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 othem in their main features. They agree that the lower world is divided into two niain 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 Gorms saga, the giant Gudmund, with his sons and daughters. There are also the Glittering Plains, since these, according to Hervors, Herrods, Thorstein Bćarmagns, and Helge Thoresons 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 tIme 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 Ygdrasils roots, are giantesses. Mimir, 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 Mimir 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 Haddings saga that lie 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 aie feasted in Valfathers 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 einnherjes 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, f(rr 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 Asgards 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 Vidforles, Germs, and Haddings sagas has its prototype in the mythic records. When Hermod on Sleipner rides to tIme 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 Gorms 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 Haddings saga we also read of a weapon-hurling river which forms the boundary of the Elyseum 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 Gorms 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 Gorms saga the city in question is most like a cloud of vapour (vaporanti maxime nubi simile).
Saxos description of that house of torture, which is found within the city, is not unlike Völuspas 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 nir undir Niflhel (see further, No. 60).
As Mimirs and Urds fountains are found in the lower world (see Nos. 63, 93), and as Mimir is mentioned as the guardian of Heimdals 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 Saxos 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 Saxos time had a similar meaning appears from a letter quoted by Du Cange, written by Saxos 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 ignorance.
In Saxos time, and earlier, the epithets by which the meadwellsUrds and Mimirsand their contents are mentioned in mythological songs had come to be applied also to those meadbuckets 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 Orćrir, Bon, and Son applied. In Havamál (107) Odin expresses his joy that Orćrir 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 Odrćrir. 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 Odrćrir. He who gives hini the songs and the drink, and accordingly is the ruler of the fountain of the drink, is a man, "Bolthorns celebrated son ". Here again Odrćrer is one of the subterranean fountains, and no doubt Mimirs, since the one who pours out the drink is a man. But in Forspjalsljod (2) Urds fountain is also called Odrćrer (Odhrćrir Urdar). Paraphrases for the liquor of poetry, such as "Bodns growing billow" (Einar Skalaglam) and "Sons reed-grown grass edge" (Eihf Gudmason), point to fountains or wells, not to vessels. Meanwhile a satire was composed before the time of Saxo and Sturlason about Odins adventure at Fjalars, and the author of this song, the contents of which the Younger Edda has preserved, calls the vessels which Odin empties at the giants Odhrćrir, Bodn, and Són (Brogarćdur, 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 Odrćrir, Bon, and Són applied both to the subterranean mead-wells and to a giants mead-vessels. The greater reason he would have for selecting the Latin dolium to express an idea that cami be accommodated to both these objects.
Over these mead-reservoirs there hang, according to Saxos 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 Mimirs and Urds 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 Gylfagianing (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 Mimirs 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 Urds 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 Mimirs fountain, is formed from the noun aurr, with which the liquid is described which waters the root over Urds fountain. Ygdrasils 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 meadreservoirs of the lower world.
Mimirs fountain contains, as we know, the purest meadthe liquid of inspiration, of poetry, of wisdom, of understanding.
Near by Ygdrasil, according to Völuspa (27), Heimdals horn is concealed. The seeress in Völuspa knows that it is hid "beneath the hedge-oershadowing holy tree ".
* lnde digressis dolia septem zonis nureis circumligata panduntur, quibus pensiles ex argento circuli crebros inseruerant nexus.
Veit hon Heimdallar hljod um fólgit undir heidvönum helgum badmi.
Near one of the mead-cisterns in the lower world Gorms men see a horn ornamented with pictures and flashing with precious stones.
Among the treasures taken care of by Mimir is the worlds 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 Gorms men see a gold-plated tooth of an animal and an arm-ring. The animal tooth beconies a sword when it is taken into the hand.* Near by is a treasury filled with a large number of weapons and a royal robe. Mimir is known in mythology as a collector of treasures. He is therefore called Hoddmimir, Hoddropnir, Baugregin.
Thus Gorm and his men have on their journeys in the lower world seen not only Nastrands place of punishment in Nifelhel, but also the holy land, where Mimir 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 Thoresons and Gorms, cast a shadow on Gudmunds 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.
* The word biti = a tooth (cp. bite) becomes in the composition leggbiti, the name of a sword.
Olaf destroys with his prayers the happiness of Gudmunds 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 Gudmunds character from older sagamen, 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 toward Olaf Trygveson, was a man in whose home one might fare well and be happy.
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, line shows unlimited patience when the guests insult him by accepting nothing of what he offers. When he comes down to the sea-strand, where Gorms ships are anchored, he is greeted by the leader of the discoverers with joy, because he is "the most pious being and mans 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.
Hervors 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. Herrods 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 Gudmunds 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 Gudmunds 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).
Chapters 30-39 / Chapters 50-59