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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Mar, 2015 10:13 am    Post subject: Dual Kingship in the Bronze Age and two types of swords.         Reply with quote

It seems to have been an Indo-European feature in the bronze age to have a dual kingship, which in the pantheon was likely signified by the twin horsemen gods known by these names:

Divine:
Sanskrit (Dualis): Aśvinau [also known as the (dualis) nāsatyau = kind helpful]
Baltic: Asvinai [also known as the Dievas Deli = Sons of the Sun]
Greek: Dioskouroi [= sons of Zeus; named Kastor and Polydeukes]

Both the Sanskrit and Baltic names comes from Sanskrit: Aśvaḥ and Baltic: Asva meaning Horse.
Baltic Dievas Deli and Greek Dioskouri shows, they are sons of a major god.

Heroes:
Germanic: The legend of the brothers Hengest and Horsa [= Stallion (Danish: Hingst) and Horse]
Roman: Legend of the brothers Romulus and Remus.
[This legend perhaps tells the fall of the ritual king - Remus - as he is murdered by the war leader - Romulus - bringing an end to the dual kingship after the foundation of Rome and ushering a new kind of mono-leadership in the Iron Age, except for super-conservative Sparta].

Historical:
In Mycenaean times you has a dual kingship with the political/religious leader [Wanax] and the war-leader [Lavagetas].
This bronze age “relic“ was retained into the Iron Age in Sparta and their dual Kingship.

It seems to have been very outspread in the Nordic Bronze Age as can be seen by two totally different kind of leaders bearing different types of swords.

The political/religious leaders carried “Fuldgrebssværd“ [Solid-hilted or Full-hilted Swords], which very rarely shows any use. These swords are specifically Nordic in design.
The war-leaders carried “Grebtungesværd“ [Flanged-hilted Swords] or Octagonal-hilted swords both of international design. Their swords shows lots of use with damages and repairs.

Interestingly those buried with the Nordic type swords also have bronze razor and tweezers with them (so Sun Kings apparently needed to be shaved Wink ) whereas the graves with the international swords very rarely have these grave goods.

The different types of swords can be seen on the map from this article from Kristian Kristiansen on page 207 (International) and page 208 (Nordic - with a possible subdivision into three groups):
Source: http://www.academia.edu/739240/Constructing_S...Bronze_Age

Some Danish “Fuldgrebssværd“ [Full hilted swords]:
1) Rosborg Sø:
Source: http://samlinger.natmus.dk/DO/1161
Source: (hilt close up): http://samlinger.natmus.dk/DO/1302

2) Fangel:
Source: http://samlinger.natmus.dk/DO/789

3) Henriksholm:
Source: http://samlinger.natmus.dk/DO/2060

4) Føllenslev:
Source: http://samlinger.natmus.dk/DO/4666

As an example of a Flange-hilted sword, here with a bronze axe (two different finds).
5) Skive Fjord:
Source: http://samlinger.natmus.dk/DO/1219

The Danish flange-hilted sword should be almost exactly like Mycenaean swords.
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Aaron O'Bryan-Herriott




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PostPosted: Sat 07 Mar, 2015 4:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Wow Niels. I have to say that your posts have become some of my favourite ones Happy
Thank you very much for bringing this forward.
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Jean Henri Chandler




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Mar, 2015 6:26 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Fascinating Niels, thanks for posting!

J

System D'Armes Historical European fencing in New Orleans

Essays on Hroarr

Introducing the Codex Guide to the Medieval Baltic
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J. Nicolaysen




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Mar, 2015 10:21 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Beautiful bronze swords, thank you Niels. I love these. Thank you for the information on dual kingship, it's very interesting.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Sun 08 Mar, 2015 1:18 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Thanks all three of you for your kind words Big Grin

What is of further interest in the inherent power struggle between these two leaders.
Originally the political/religious leader was seen as the prominent. The local swords might represent the idea, that this leader was stationary; perhaps in a way tied to the land's prosperity.
The war leader with the international swords could be seen as constantly traveling around visiting and nurturing allies.
In case of prolonged wars the war leader might be able to achieve power through fame, that made him able to “coup“ the religious leader - by combining the two offices - as what likely became permanent most places in the Iron Age.

As Kristian Kristiansen writes in his paper “Constructing Social and Cultural Identities in the Bronze Age“:

It should also be observed that the relationship between ritual chiefs and warrior chiefs could become strained and competitive if foreign relations collapsed. Also, in periods of warfare, the warrior chiefs would be able to amass more power; but if they could aspire to become ritual/political chiefs through their deeds, then the strain could be eased. However, this would also be dependent upon the numerical relationship between the two groups. During the centuries from 1300 to 1100
bc, flange-hilted swords become more numerous, whereas Nordic full-hilted swords become less numerous. It suggests that the warrior group could threaten the role of ritual chiefs
. But it may also indicate that ritual chiefs had strengthened their power and created larger political entities with lesser opportunities for warriors to achieve high office as ritual leaders.
"

So it could also be the religious/political leader, that also apprehended the power of the war leader - both scenarios are possible. I just personally think that the war-leader “take over“ is more likely......

In the rituals you can see a few remnants of Kingship tied with horse sacrifices, as the divine twins originally has “horse names“.

Sanskrit - Yajurveda: Ashvamedha ritual. (The sacrifice of a Stallion). The only extensive ritual we have left from Indo-European times. Last performed in 1716 AD (!) by Jai Singh II of Amber.
Ashva-medha is likely with the meaning “Horse-mead/drunk“.
Here it is the queen that has (mock?) intercourse with the dead stallion, that has been placed beforehand is the right-end of a four-horse chariot and then sacrificed.

Roman: October Equus. The sacrifice of the right-hand horse in a two-horsed chariot race to Mars. Then the tail becomes a talisman to fight over. Horsetails were often used on helmets.

Celtic: Kenelcunil tribe of Ulster and their Kingship-ritual.
Here the would-be King have intercourse with a white mare in front of the whole tribe.

Germanic: Völsa þáttr - sung as a preserved horse penis is passed around a family [here it is told as a household ritual as the Norwegian Christian King is present, but incognito, and ends the ritual and revealing himself as King, when he throws the horse penis to the dog]
Sacrificial horse meat was consumed to such extent in Scandinavia (mythologically tied to Frey), that the Christian church made the consumption illegal (though it say nothing of the sort in the bible).
Frey is in fact a twin horse god (with an extensive member as can be seen from figurines and “Völsi“ is a horse penis), but something happened in Scandinavia, since his twin turned female (Freya). Frey and Freya are not names but titles: Means Lord and Lady!
Ibn Fadlan describe Rus vikings having a funeral for a chief, where two horses are run sweaty (no use of chariots, but they are run) and then sacrificed (slaughtered to pieces with swords).

In Hittite laws (200A) bestiality was illegal except for horses and mules interestingly enough from a Indo-European perspective:
"If a man has sexual relations with either a horse or a mule. it is not an offense, but he shall not approach the king, nor shall he become a priest." It does only say “not approach the king“, so maybe then you are dangerous to the king (royal pretender?).
So the part not to approach the king and not become a priest has here likely become tied to taboo (uncleanliness), but why this exact exception compared to other animals.....

Herodotus describes it for burials of Scythian Kings and many Kurgans on the steppe shows numerous horse skeletons in graves.

In the Illiad Achilles sacrifice Horses (and dogs and humans) at the funeral to Patroklos, where there also is “sport“ including chariot racing (won by Diomedes).

So horses and Kingship was very much tied together, and what we see are a few remnants preserved in writings.
So you would likely have a Horse-sacrifice ritual to become King (and maybe affirmed King at intervals) AND a horse-sacrifice burial-ritual to maybe enter the underworld as King!
The burial-ritual could affirm/signal your status and how to be received in the underworld.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Sat 20 Jun, 2015 9:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

While visiting "Maribo Stiftsmuseum" I ran across a beautiful Early Bronze Age "Fuldgrebssværd" [Full-Hilted Sword], but sadly my phone was out of battery. Luckily the museum had an old postcard to I at least can show the fine hilt details.
I wasn't not able to see through the glass if there was a tang behind the semi-open hilt structure.

The Sword is from Røgbølle Sø (Lake) on Lolland [Lake offering], one of only 2 "Fuldgrebssværd" found on Lolland, and is of the Zealandic major grouping of Nordic Bronze Age Swords.



 Attachment: 490.47 KB
Røgbølle Sø_sværd.png
Early Bronze Age Sword
Røgbølle Sø, Lolland, Denmark.
Photo by J. H. Piepgrass.
Lolland-Falsters Stiftsmuseum, Maribo.

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John Hardy




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2015 10:29 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Thanks all three of you for your kind words Big Grin

What is of further interest in the inherent power struggle between these two leaders.
Originally the political/religious leader was seen as the prominent. The local swords might represent the idea, that this leader was stationary; perhaps in a way tied to the land's prosperity.
The war leader with the international swords could be seen as constantly traveling around visiting and nurturing allies.
In case of prolonged wars the war leader might be able to achieve power through fame, that made him able to “coup“ the religious leader - by combining the two offices - as what likely became permanent most places in the Iron Age.

As Kristian Kristiansen writes in his paper “Constructing Social and Cultural Identities in the Bronze Age“:

It should also be observed that the relationship between ritual chiefs and warrior chiefs could become strained and competitive if foreign relations collapsed. Also, in periods of warfare, the warrior chiefs would be able to amass more power; but if they could aspire to become ritual/political chiefs through their deeds, then the strain could be eased. However, this would also be dependent upon the numerical relationship between the two groups. During the centuries from 1300 to 1100
bc, flange-hilted swords become more numerous, whereas Nordic full-hilted swords become less numerous. It suggests that the warrior group could threaten the role of ritual chiefs
. But it may also indicate that ritual chiefs had strengthened their power and created larger political entities with lesser opportunities for warriors to achieve high office as ritual leaders.
"

So it could also be the religious/political leader, that also apprehended the power of the war leader - both scenarios are possible. I just personally think that the war-leader “take over“ is more likely......

In the rituals you can see a few remnants of Kingship tied with horse sacrifices, as the divine twins originally has “horse names“.

Sanskrit - Yajurveda: Ashvamedha ritual. (The sacrifice of a Stallion). The only extensive ritual we have left from Indo-European times. Last performed in 1716 AD (!) by Jai Singh II of Amber.
Ashva-medha is likely with the meaning “Horse-mead/drunk“.
Here it is the queen that has (mock?) intercourse with the dead stallion, that has been placed beforehand is the right-end of a four-horse chariot and then sacrificed.

Roman: October Equus. The sacrifice of the right-hand horse in a two-horsed chariot race to Mars. Then the tail becomes a talisman to fight over. Horsetails were often used on helmets.

Celtic: Kenelcunil tribe of Ulster and their Kingship-ritual.
Here the would-be King have intercourse with a white mare in front of the whole tribe.

Germanic: Völsa þáttr - sung as a preserved horse penis is passed around a family [here it is told as a household ritual as the Norwegian Christian King is present, but incognito, and ends the ritual and revealing himself as King, when he throws the horse penis to the dog]
Sacrificial horse meat was consumed to such extent in Scandinavia (mythologically tied to Frey), that the Christian church made the consumption illegal (though it say nothing of the sort in the bible).
Frey is in fact a twin horse god (with an extensive member as can be seen from figurines and “Völsi“ is a horse penis), but something happened in Scandinavia, since his twin turned female (Freya). Frey and Freya are not names but titles: Means Lord and Lady!
Ibn Fadlan describe Rus vikings having a funeral for a chief, where two horses are run sweaty (no use of chariots, but they are run) and then sacrificed (slaughtered to pieces with swords).

In Hittite laws (200A) bestiality was illegal except for horses and mules interestingly enough from a Indo-European perspective:
"If a man has sexual relations with either a horse or a mule. it is not an offense, but he shall not approach the king, nor shall he become a priest." It does only say “not approach the king“, so maybe then you are dangerous to the king (royal pretender?).
So the part not to approach the king and not become a priest has here likely become tied to taboo (uncleanliness), but why this exact exception compared to other animals.....

Herodotus describes it for burials of Scythian Kings and many Kurgans on the steppe shows numerous horse skeletons in graves.

In the Illiad Achilles sacrifice Horses (and dogs and humans) at the funeral to Patroklos, where there also is “sport“ including chariot racing (won by Diomedes).

So horses and Kingship was very much tied together, and what we see are a few remnants preserved in writings.
So you would likely have a Horse-sacrifice ritual to become King (and maybe affirmed King at intervals) AND a horse-sacrifice burial-ritual to maybe enter the underworld as King!
The burial-ritual could affirm/signal your status and how to be received in the underworld.


One of Britain's great early monuments is the White Horse of Uffington -- the enormous (150m +) figure of a stylised white horse carved into a hillside to reveal the underlying chalk. A dig in the chalk trenches in the 1990s confirmed that the material dates to the late Bronze Age...

What's even more interesting about the White Horse Is that it remains in such good shape because by local tradition it was ritually cleaned at a local fair held on the hillside every seven years -- right up until the late 19th century!

I suspect the origins of that "fair" were lost long ago. However the interval is possibly significant, as ISTR that a seven year cycle was a sacred number in many cultures, particularly in relation to ritual kingships. (For that matter, isn't there something somewhere in the Old Testament -- Leviticus perhaps?-- about a seven year period being the jubilee when slaves are freed?)
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2015 10:54 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

John Hardy wrote:


One of Britain's great early monuments is the White Horse of Uffington -- the enormous (150m +) figure of a stylised white horse carved into a hillside to reveal the underlying chalk. A dig in the chalk trenches in the 1990s confirmed that the material dates to the late Bronze Age..

What's even more interesting about the White Horse Is that it remains in such good shape because by local tradition it was ritually cleaned at a local fair held on the hillside every seven years -- right up until the late 19th century!

I suspect the origins of that "fair" were lost long ago. However the interval is possibly significant, as ISTR that a seven year cycle was a sacred number in many cultures, particularly in relation to ritual kingships. (For that matter, isn't there something somewhere in the Old Testament -- Leviticus perhaps?-- about a seven year period being the jubilee when slaves are freed?).


Yeah and England - like Denmark - seems to have been a major bronze age cultural centers bound together in a huge trade-alliance network probably for movement of prestige goods, commodities and wives.
Indo-Europeans speaking conquerors with their special ties to horses (chariots, cows, alcohol and individual martial achievement as other important cultural focuses), who during the Bronze Age started developing their own regional cultures.

The Horse could be a result of the "Atlantic Bronze Age" spread [annexation?] into Southern England in the Late Bronze Age.

The 7 is a holy number in Semitic religions, not Indo-European (when it occurs it seems like a semitic loan - and the number 3 likely went the other way).
It's probably the result of this effect: When Christianity apprehended pagan traditions in Northern Europe (when they found it directly forbidden them would be counterproductive) and "christianized" them; so for instance Yule was moved from 21/22 dec. (winter solstice) to 24/25 dec. In Denmark it is still "Jul" done the Germanic way (eating and drinking heavily), though in England it has more become a Christ-mass.
So a change from some number to 7 to reflect a holy number from the Bible could easily have been done later on in time.


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Mon 22 Jun, 2015 11:04 am; edited 2 times in total
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2015 10:59 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I have some vague memories of ancient Germanic sacrifices involving horses (and eating them) which the Church banned at some point after Charlemagne.

On a somewhat unrelated note: Sounds like the Captain (war) and Quartermaster (daily routine) on a pirate vessel doesn't it?
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2015 11:16 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
I have some vague memories of ancient Germanic sacrifices involving horses (and eating them) which the Church banned at some point after Charlemagne.

On a somewhat unrelated note: Sounds like the Captain (war) and Quartermaster (daily routine) on a pirate vessel doesn't it?


In Scandinavian societies horse-eating was apparently very closely connected with Frey.
The church in Denmark made for instance it illegal to eat horseflesh, though NOTHING is said so about it in the bible.
Charlemagne probably did the same when he conquered the Saxons and the Frisians.....

Ibn Fadlan's story tells about running 2 horses sweaty and slaughter them with swords, during the burial rituals of a Rus Viking at the Volga.

The 4 horses killed at the Illerup Ådal war booty sacrifice (210 AD) seems to have been slaughtered by mostly swords and maybe a few axes.

2 or 4 are in fact the number of horses for a chariot (probably not a coincidence).

About the dual kingship I think “Ritual King" and "War-King" - one home in the center bound to the land, the other at the borders constantly moving visiting allies, making diplomatic deals, and combating enemies.
Then the war-king seems to win and blend these two offices. Especially among Germanic people, that didn't have any "priests" in the iron age or viking age (whereas Druids among Celts and Brahmins among Arians in India became very powerful).
The Germanic Chieftain, Jarl or King was also "goði" = leader of the calendric cult rituals like Yule.

The Icelandic saga about Hrafnkel (/Ravnkel/) Freysgoði is illuminating as he offers half of his horse Freyfaxi to his friend Frey and vows to kill any man that rides him (making the animal taboo), which Einarr off course does or else little saga material..... Laughing Out Loud
He is a local chieftain in Iceland and thus "goði" (of Frey the God he has friendship with).
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2015 11:49 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yeah Frisians and Saxons is what I recall from history class. Specifically the church forbidden consumption of horse flesh.

Maybe this article interests you.

https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/21253/thesis_msc.pdf?sequence=1

Another thing that might warrant attention are lawspeakers present in all Germanic pagan societies, not exactly a priestly class but they did recite the laws and possible the history of those laws and their gods.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2015 12:05 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
Yeah Frisians and Saxons is what I recall from history class. Specifically the church forbidden consumption of horse flesh.

Maybe this article interests you.

https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/21253/thesis_msc.pdf?sequence=1

Another thing that might warrant attention are lawspeakers present in all Germanic pagan societies, not exactly a priestly class but they did recite the laws and possible the history of those laws and their gods.


Exactly. You have no priestly CLASS. "Men of importance" ACTS as priests during cult-feasts or as law-speakers (which are elected, as are Kings), but are powerful Freemen or Jarls as a social class. Law-speakers recited the law at the "Thing" where all free man had to attend at intervals, so it's a very practical thing - as the law was oral and you had no excuse for not knowing it.
Poetry about gods and heroes were probably more the topic at feasting.
Scaldic poetry provides excellent guessing games, and only the really knowledgeable could figure out the convoluted kennings (some we still can't decipher today).

Also important is that Germanic society is a gift-exchange society based on alliances. So you didn't "worship" any God, you allied yourself with a particular God in Friendship. Sacrifice is done to get something in return (called in Greek “do ut des"), and the God is obliged (honour-bound to retain the cosmic order or they will bring on Ragnarok) to pay the gift back in exchange.
So some noble lines claimed descend from Odin (prominent in Denmark and actually the Angles as well), some from Thor (prominent in Norway and Iceland) and some from Frey (prominent in Sweden) etc.; but you kept your alliance and the friendship as long as the God seemed to return the favour. This friendship was likely inherited through the noble lines, so it wasn't a personal choice, but a family "tradition".
Changing God-friendship was basically saying NO to your own family and serious business. Either no one changes or all changes - a break in the family is off course excellent saga material!

PS: Thanks for the article link. Looks interesting Wink


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Tue 23 Jun, 2015 5:08 am; edited 1 time in total
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2015 12:27 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Niels Just Rasmussen wrote:
Pieter B. wrote:
Yeah Frisians and Saxons is what I recall from history class. Specifically the church forbidden consumption of horse flesh.

Maybe this article interests you.

https://openaccess.leidenuniv.nl/bitstream/handle/1887/21253/thesis_msc.pdf?sequence=1

Another thing that might warrant attention are lawspeakers present in all Germanic pagan societies, not exactly a priestly class but they did recite the laws and possible the history of those laws and their gods.


Exactly. You have no priestly CLASS. "Men of importance" ACTS as priests during cult-feasts or as law-speakers (which are elected, as are Kings), but are powerful Freemen or Jarls as a social class.

Also important is that Germanic society is a gift-exchange society based on alliances. So you didn't "worship" any God, you allied yourself with a particular God in Friendship. Sacrifice is done to get something in return (called in Greek “do ut des"), and the God is obliged (honour-bound to retain the cosmic order or they will bring on Ragnarok) to pay the gift back in exchange.
So some noble lines claimed descend from Odin (prominent in Denmark and actually the Angles as well), some from Thor (prominent in Norway and Iceland) and some from Frey (prominent in Sweden) etc.; but you kept your alliance and the friendship as long as the God seemed to return the favour. This friendship was likely inherited through the noble lines, so it wasn't a personal choice, but a family inheritance.
Changing God was basically saying NO to your own family and serious business. Either no one changes or all changes - a break in the family is off course excellent saga material!

PS: Thanks for the article link. Looks interesting Wink


The early Swedish kings claimed descent from Yngvi didn't they? I always find it a bit confusing because some bring up the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingaevones which are somehow linked to the same god. Did all Swedish people identify themselves with the same god or did it differ per household?
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2015 1:08 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:

The early Swedish kings claimed descent from Yngvi didn't they? I always find it a bit confusing because some bring up the https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ingaevones which are somehow linked to the same god. Did all Swedish people identify themselves with the same god or did it differ per household?


Yep his name is Ingve/Yngve Frø(j) in East Nordic (Danish, Swedish, Bokmål Norwegian) as Yngvi Frey is West-Nordic (Icelandic, Faroese).
Proto-North-Germanic IngwaR/YngwaR (or just plain "Ing") is the name of the God and Frøj/Frey is a titel meaning "Lord".
Ing was a very old god (bronze age?) and important in all of Scandinavia and that prominent Svear families retained connection with him was very conservative with the rise of the "Odins" (see below). Ingaevones is probably a name for these people that have him as prominent God (which would be the Scandinavian areas). All the oldest settlement in Denmark actually ends in -ing (Jutland) or -inge (on the Islands). Kolding (Jutland), Helsinge (Zealand).

The Swedish Ynglingar dynasty was attached to him (no wonder if you see the name), but in Sweden Ullr was also very prominent as seen with the many Ullevi place names.

There was a Scandinavian cultural and linguistic group of people under changing Scandinavian dynasties under different god-friendships. For instance Tyr [originally TiwaR, then East-Nordic Ti/Tir as Tyr is West-Nordic] seemed to dominate Denmark at some point, but changed to Odin rulers around 500-550 AD (probably with the Lejre dynasty on Zealand).
As these Jarl-families inter-married it's quite hard to call them either Danes or Swedes (they were Scandinavian Jarls under different God-friendships), but they ruled different "people" as for instance Danes, Svear, Götar, Jutes with power constantly changing as Kings died and pretenders rose up from all the family network fighting to secure election as Kings at the Things (which happened when you could show supreme power). Denmark had in the Viking Ages 4 national Things (Jutland, Funen, Zealand and Scania), so you could in theory have 4 legitimate "Danish" Kings at the same time. Each area also had their own laws and thus own lawspeakers. Denmark first gets one national law for the whole country in 1683!
As you were often raised by a maternal uncle (so often far away as women were alliance-exchanged) most of these pretenders would come from places all over the Scandinavian sphere. Gives a society, where there is constantly something to fight for and gain (or lose) reputation/fame.

NB: Norway is a product of Christianity, that didn't exist before as you had different people with different Jarls ruling them along the "north way".
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Mon 22 Jun, 2015 1:53 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

If only the Indo-Europeans and Ancient Germanics left records, it's such a shame we know so little about a society that lived only so short ago (in relative terms).

Is there a book you can recommend me that deals with these subjects we were just talking about?
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jun, 2015 4:05 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Pieter B. wrote:
If only the Indo-Europeans and Ancient Germanics left records, it's such a shame we know so little about a society that lived only so short ago (in relative terms).

Is there a book you can recommend me that deals with these subjects we were just talking about?


The problem for us historically is that Indo-European mythology and ritual was an oral tradition and that in the daughter cultures/languages many of them had for a long time a clear objection against the written word.
The Sanskrit Rigveda was first written down around 1000 BC (though hymns in it varies from perhaps 2000-1000 BC) and many felt that the power of words would be misunderstood if it was ever written down.
The Celtic druids persisted and never wrote it down despite being very learned (probably could write both greek and latin).
Basically all the Germanic material as well was written down by Christians (converted pagans).

It seems that when people see things written down it is the words meaning that becomes dogma; which will lead to a total misunderstanding of the religion. It is the correct use - "sound/intonation" - of the words that is important. Some brahmins in India today still learn the Rigveda today through the oral tradition (and doesn't learn it by reading the Rigveda).

Here a documentary about the performance of the Agnicayana (Agni Fire ritual) in 1975 by the few remaining old-school brahmins. A Rigvedic ritual (at least 1000 BC, probably older) that still was performed in Vedic Sanskrit into modern times with unchanged intonation of words. This is the closest we will get to Indo-European religion.
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnbqnMhbB44
Notice how the boys learned the words by head movement to get right intonation and rhythm, that is all important. [Like music is not notes written on paper, music is sound].

So unearthing Indo-European culture you used comparative linguistics/mythology/ritual performance from the daughter cultures:
Here are some academic works:

Roger D. Woodard: To fetch some golden apples [a collection of various important papers on Indo-Europeans].
Jann Puhvel: Comparative mythology. [Myths from different Indo-European cultures compared]
Jarich G: Oosten: The War of the Gods - The Social Code in the Indo-European Mythology.
Martin L. West: Indo-European Poetry and Myth. [Importance of Poetry for the Indo-Europeans].
Calvert Watkins: How to Kill a Dragon. [One of the most difficult books I have ever read, but deeply fascinating. My teacher in Indo-European studies called it "frustrating", yet she also loved it. This shows the insane complexity of Indo-European poetry focusing on the point of "how to kill a dragon" unearthing ancient "poetic formulae" that survived through the millennia.

Give you an example on how all this is used:
Sanskrit: Hymn 1.32 from the Rigveda tells about the exploits of Indra:
"Áhann áhim" = (Indra) "smashed the serpent/dragon" (called Vrtra) giving him the epithet "vrtrahan" (Vrtra-smasher), same as Thor was known as "orms einbani" = "Worms single bane" ("smasher") -> the worm is off course the Midgaard-serpent.

The similarity between Indra and Thor is quite stunning as Indra smashes Vrtra with his Vajra (lightning-weapon) and Thor smashes the Midgaard serpent with Mjölnir. Both serpents have connection with water and both gods seem to release water in form of rivers or thunder/rain. They are also both red-haired and have great liking for intoxicating drink - Soma (Indra) or Mead (Thor).

Specific for Germanic people:
D.H Green: Language and History in the Early Germanic World.
It has chapters of religion, law, kinship, warfare, people and army, lordship, kingship and then chapters with contacts with celts, roman, christianity.

All this stuff is fairly esoteric to many people as you need to know some basis of Indo-European linguistics and rules of sound changes. But otherwise without that knowledge you must just "trust" the result and keep reading.

Then if you go really serious then - as Copenhagen University has specific Indo-European studies - so have Leiden in Holland.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jun, 2015 7:02 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Another feature that is also lost in time are the Germanic warrior-songs and -dances.

Tacitus has this interesting section (chapter 3) on songs:
"They say that Hercules, too, once visited them; and when going into battle, they sing of him first of all heroes. They have also those songs of theirs, by the recital of which ("baritus," they call it), they rouse their courage, while from the note they augur the result of the approaching conflict. For, as their line shouts, they inspire or feel alarm. It is not so much an articulate sound, as a general cry of valor. They aim chiefly at a harsh note and a confused roar, putting their shields to their mouth, so that, by reverberation, it may swell into a fuller and deeper sound."
Source: http://www.unrv.com/tacitus/tacitusgermania.php

1) So by typical "interpretatio romana" Hercules must be Thor. So before going into battle they sing songs of his exploits.

2) For actual battle-songs they use a "baritus" - this is a word probably from Celtic (connected with Bard) loaned into Roman and Germanic - that gives them courage. Afterwords they "augur" the result of the battle. As Tacitus later tells us that Germanic people took flight-of-birds very seriously, it could be gathering ravens and eagles for the battlefield (battle was poetically called feeding ravens and eagles) and their flight and behavior could be read!
So this is done as the armies are lined up, just before the battle starts.

3) They also have a special shout (cry of valour).
The interesting part is that shields are being used to create sound, so biting their shields are not just a berserk feature (as seen on the famous Lewis chesspiece), but actually a way to make the shield reverberate!

Then you have certain ritual warrior dances. Warrior dances are also a way to train foot-work and seen in many cultures.

You have these interesting images.

First Bronze age:
Figurines from the Grevensvænge hoard, Zealand, Denmark.

Source: http://natmus.dk/typo3temp/GB/99f0558f71.png

Only some of the figurines were preserved (as the find was from the 1700's). Originally the horned bronze age figure was paired with a "twin" and had as axe in the missing hand - we know from this preserved drawing from 1779:

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grevensv%C3%A6nge_figurines

Here actual bronze helmet found (actually found in pairs!):

Source: http://natmus.dk/fileadmin/_migrated/pics/vik...lle_03.jpg
So twin figures with axes and special horned helmets from Nordic Bronze Age. Arching dancers as well.

Here on petroglyphs:
Fight between two axe wielding figures on a ship!

Source: http://www.ancient-astronomy.dk/decmag01.htm

So what about Iron Age:
This helmet plate from Thorslunda, (Grove of Thor), Öland.

Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Torslunda_helmet_plate_patrices

We have a dancing figure with curved "horns" ending in eagle/raven? heads. He carries a spear in each hand and also a sword in his scabbard. Next to him is a warrior with a spear. A litteral were-wolf? (man-wolf) or a Úlfhéðinn [wolf-skin clad berserk warrior].
From Bronze Age to Iron Age the "horns" as some special in some kind of symbol in warrior ritual is tantalizing. We know that vikings didn't use horned helmets for actual combat.

The Gutenstein foil [from a scabbard of a Merovingian Spatha]:

Source: http://www.staffordshirehoard.org.uk/the-staf...elmet-foil

These images just oozes of Odinic symbolism in the late Iron Age, but with a possible link somehow to the Bronze Ages.......

Two Valsgärda helmet plates also with dancing warrior figures (both instances top right) with "horned" eagle/raven heads....

Source: http://archeurope.eu/uploads/images/Viking/ve...te_8_l.jpg

Source: http://archeurope.eu/uploads/images/Viking/ve...te_7_l.jpg

Last example has the leading figure with a boar helmet instead of eagle-helmet (Odin) . While bear-, (eagle?) and wolf-warriors were Odinic, the boar-helmet warriors - especially associated with Swedes by Saxo - are possible Frey-warriors (as Frey has a big battle boar Gullinbursti, when he rides into battle - but in fertility and kingship he is associated with horses).
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James Arlen Gillaspie
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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jun, 2015 10:31 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

The year of Jubilee is the time of the freeing of slaves in the Torah (first five books of the Jewish Bible, Christian 'Old Testament'), which was supposed to be every fifty years, or seven times seven years apart, not seven. The eating of horse flesh is forbidden in the Torah, so it is in the Bible. However, so is the eating of swine flesh, and that didn't stop many Christians from eating pork! Wink There is, however, in the letters of Paul, a great deal of material about eating meat sacrificed to idols, which was considered bad. Horseflesh considered as part of pagan ritual would definitely qualify.
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Pieter B.





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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jun, 2015 12:13 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I know Christianity might be a bit detached from this but they also had a two sword policy type of thing.

Lo and behold the quite original doctrine of two swords.

http://biblehub.com/luke/22-38.htm

Quote:
The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That's enough!" he replied. -Lucas 22:38


This single line was interpreted as a deceleration that there should be two powers:

Sacerdotium et Regnum

The Pope and the Emporer, the Church and the State.

However we all know this ended in a long conflict between the two.

I never really looked at this from such an old perspective but I think there is a rather big chance they stole this from an older culture.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Tue 23 Jun, 2015 12:20 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

James Arlen Gillaspie wrote:
The year of Jubilee is the time of the freeing of slaves in the Torah (first five books of the Jewish Bible, Christian 'Old Testament'), which was supposed to be every fifty years, or seven times seven years apart, not seven. The eating of horse flesh is forbidden in the Torah, so it is in the Bible. However, so is the eating of swine flesh, and that didn't stop many Christians from eating pork! Wink There is, however, in the letters of Paul, a great deal of material about eating meat sacrificed to idols, which was considered bad. Horseflesh considered as part of pagan ritual would definitely qualify.



You are right about the prohibition against any pagan sacrificial meat to idols in both Judaism and Christianity.

Christians don't uphold Jewish laws about clean and unclean animals for normal everyday human consumption, based on Jesus words that it's not what comes into your mouth that makes you unclean, but what comes out.
I should have been more clear when I said "no prohibition in the bible" against horse-meat, and said New Testament OR the way Christians interpret the Bible. -> The New Pact superseding the Old Pact.

About horses, it actually interesting, when you read through Leviticus (book 3 of the books of Moses) chapter 11.

It is stated that: "Of all animals living on land these are the creatures you may eat: You may eat any animal that has a cloven hoof, divided into two parts, and that is a ruminant."
So since horses really has un-cloven hoofs (but still hoofs) and is not a ruminant like a cow, you cannot regard it as clean.

But later in Leviticus Horses are NOT specified as unclean for consumption.
The following, which "either chew the cud or have a cloven hoof, are the ones that you may not eat":
So specific prohibition against camels, hare, hyrax and pig are there.
So horses is a sort of grey zone in Judaism - neither clean, not specifically unclean; but it shouldn't apply to Christianity that doesn't have "unclean" foods.
[You have food regulations during fasting (no meat), but that is different].

The "ruminant" or "chewers of cud" translation can also be questioned:
Hares are for instance NOT "ruminant" or "chewers of cud" (they have coprophagy like guinea pigs), so it is doubtful we have the right translation. Actually horses will perform coprophagy, to "recycle" if needed, in lean times.
Maybe what is meant is simply the "movement of the mouth when eating grass"?

About Jubilee its a great question whether it was every 49 years (7*7) or every 50 years, since it depends on how you count.
Does a week have 7 or 8 days?
How old are you when you are born: 0 or 1?
It varies from country to country and from time to time.
It could very well be every 49 years and counting last jubilee to current jubilee it would be "50 years".
Year 1 to Year 50 - how many years?

To Pieter:
Yeah the famous two swords line that caused the major struggle between Emperor and Pope in the high middle ages; with the Pope saying that actually he was given the two swords by God and he just loaned one of them to the Emperor, thus the Pope should be the controller of who is Emperor! The Emperor didn't agree.......
Welf vs Waiblingen (or in Italian Guelphs vs. Ghibellines) factions in the Holy Roman Empire.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guelphs_and_Ghibellines

That is getting a whole lot out of nothing. Laughing Out Loud
Just interesting that Jesus arms his disciples with two swords (being enough, enough for what we might ask) before the arrest at the Garden of Gethsemane and they do end cutting an ear off before Jesus surrenders!
[That incident just proves that he is conducting armed resistance against the Roman Government! -> he certainly makes sure he will be crucified].

We know that the Essenes expected two Messiahs: A Priestly and a Royal, with the priestly being the supreme. It could be regarded as two swords, though I highly doubt that a sword would be the symbol for the priestly Messiah, since it would be in the royal sphere.


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Thu 25 Jun, 2015 5:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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