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Bradly T.




Location: NYC
Joined: 16 Feb 2017

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PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2017 2:41 am    Post subject: Odins eye         Reply with quote

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Hello


anybody out there

did odin sacrifice his left or right eye to, most images and artifacts show his left eye?
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Shawn Henthorn




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PostPosted: Sun 19 Feb, 2017 6:09 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Interesting place to post this topic I must say....There is no straight correct answer though...It basically boils down to this, exoteric lore is the right eye, esoteric however is the left. Both groups base this on what they view as the greater sacrifice. Given Odin's nature and based on my own predilection, my answer would be the left.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




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PostPosted: Mon 20 Feb, 2017 4:15 am    Post subject: Re: Odins eye         Reply with quote

Bradly T. wrote:
Hello


anybody out there

did odin sacrifice his left or right eye to, most images and artifacts show his left eye?


There is no specifics in the mythology on what eye Odin sacrificed, so one have to look for "altered eyes" on helmet-masks or Odin figures archaeologically (also textile and bracteate depictions can be used).

Neil Price & Poul Mortimer (2014) - An Eye for Odin? Divine Role-Playing in the Age of Sutton Hoo - might interest you.
See: https://www.academia.edu/7925222/An_Eye_for_Odin_Divine_Role-Playing_in_the_Age_of_Sutton_Hoo._Neil_Price_and_Paul_Mortimer_European_Journal_of_Archaeology_17_3_2014

On page 531 you can see that from ~500 to ~950 AD you have:
6 examples of the left eye altered.
7 examples with the right eye altered.

To this you can add the Odin figurine found at Lejre, Sjælland, Denmark, which have the left eye altered (created in the figurine and then secondarily crossed out)
Gives us 7 altered right eyes and 7 altered left eyes, so even distribution.

The altered eyes on helmets gives us the idea, that the leader wearing a helmet like the Sutton Hoo helmet "was Odin", when either seated on the high seat in a hall during feasts OR on the battlefield.

It is even possible that the qualities attributed to Odin (later written down on Iceland in the middle ages) actually grew out of the Iron Age elite warrior symbolism. The Iron Age Odin cult could have been inspired to the Mithras cult in the Roman Empire, since some Scandinavian warriors served in the Roman army through the centuries.
In the massive wars taking place in Scandinavia in the 530's AD (lots of burned down halls), the "Odin Cult" apparently rose to power and made their Ás into the leading Scandinavian God, probably through the power of the Skjoldunge (called Scyldingas in Beowulf) dynasty seated at Lejre, Sjælland, Denmark.
Before that it seems that Tir/Ti and Ing were the leading Æsir in Denmark, whereas Ull, Thor and Yngve-Frö had special prominence in Sweden and Götaland.
There are lot of indications that the iron age and viking age Scandinavians were henotheistic: You believe many gods exist, but you have special friendship with only one. If one dynasty having one god as friend took over from another dynasty with another god as friend, then a change in leading God in society is very expected (the leaders hire the Skjalds, who makes the poetry).

It is also important to note that Odin is a shape-changer in the mythology.
He can be a man or woman, young or old, even different animals, so he can appear with one left eye, one right eye, blind on both or with two seeing eyes, if he chooses.
For that reason it is not really so important which eye it is blind one.
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Samuel D R




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Sat 04 Mar, 2017 5:51 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I was about to post Paul Mortimer and Neil Price's work but then saw someone else had done it! I will add that from a literary perspective, the work most people refer to are The Eddas, which you may well have heard of. These only state "an eye", auga, not which one. It seems it was either well-known which one he lost, or a matter of interpretation or choice. Or maybe it didn't much matter to the Germans/Norsemen.
Adam of Brenen does not point out that a statue of Odin's (Wodan in his text) eye is missing when he visited Uppsala in the 11th century: "In this temple, entirely decked out in gold, the people worship the statues of three gods in such wise that the mightiest of them, Thor, occupies a throne in the middle of the chamber; Wotan and Frikko have places on either side. (...) Thor, they say, presides over the air, which governs the thunder and lightning, the winds and rains, fair weather [and] crops. The other, Wotan – that is, Fury [Wodan, id est furor] – carries on war and imparts to man strength against his enemies. The third is Frikko, who bestows peace and pleasure on mortals. His likeness, too, they fashion with an immense phallus."
Perhaps he omitted it, did not notice, or the statue had both eyes.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Mar, 2017 10:52 am    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Samuel D R wrote:
I was about to post Paul Mortimer and Neil Price's work but then saw someone else had done it! I will add that from a literary perspective, the work most people refer to are The Eddas, which you may well have heard of. These only state "an eye", auga, not which one. It seems it was either well-known which one he lost, or a matter of interpretation or choice. Or maybe it didn't much matter to the Germans/Norsemen.
Adam of Brenen does not point out that a statue of Odin's (Wodan in his text) eye is missing when he visited Uppsala in the 11th century: "In this temple, entirely decked out in gold, the people worship the statues of three gods in such wise that the mightiest of them, Thor, occupies a throne in the middle of the chamber; Wotan and Frikko have places on either side. (...) Thor, they say, presides over the air, which governs the thunder and lightning, the winds and rains, fair weather [and] crops. The other, Wotan – that is, Fury [Wodan, id est furor] – carries on war and imparts to man strength against his enemies. The third is Frikko, who bestows peace and pleasure on mortals. His likeness, too, they fashion with an immense phallus."
Perhaps he omitted it, did not notice, or the statue had both eyes.


The advantage with Price & Mortimer's work is that it is based on Iron Age and Viking Age archaeological material.
Adam of Bremen's account is secondary -> he has not seen the place himself and clearly something is "lost in translation".
He obviously somewhat creates an "interpretatio romana" with the gods having "specific spheres of influence", which most likely is plain wrong. He is also as a Christian likely to misinterpret.

Icelandic sagas are written several hundreds of years after the change to Christianity, so a learned antiquarian study of a dead religion have the tendency of creating a synchronic synthesis to an originally evolving diachronic platitude of ideas, which also could vary a great deal from one locality to another within the same timeframe.

From the Odin figure found at Lejre it's clearly not a missing eye, that is the case. Both eyes appear, but one is secondarily scratched out. So probably Odin sacrifice his eye-sight on one eye with the blind eye still being present in this example.
Heimdallr sacrificed his "ljóð" -> so it seems to likely means his hearing, but we shouldn't expect possible figurines to have missing ears [though it off course could be the case].

Again the important point is that Odin is able to change shape (also age, gender and into animals), so he can have both eyes if he wants to.
A fixation on what eye is actually very "Christian"/"antiquarian" idea of thinking synchronic (literary culture) instead of a constantly evolving oral culture where Skjalds could elaborate (or refrain from it) on the spot depending on the audience.

NB: In oral tradition even the same performer will never tell exactly the same story twice. That is shown from ethnographic studies. Each performance will be different. The audience and mood will be different. The length (= the elaboration) of the poetry will be different.
So you have the performer with a lot of artistic freedom so long his narrative lies within a fixed structure - the structural core of the myth (otherwise it will not be the same story about Odin's sacrifice).
The core seems to be the sacrifice and the wisdom obtained in exchange - what specific eye is somewhat irrelevant.

We often only have one version written down (surviving into our time) - that is one version among thousands performed at different places and different times. The Christian writer might even have created a "copy-paste" version from different materials and thus create his own version, that never existed in pagan times.

For a Christian reading such a myth it easily becomes "dogma" (meaning they think it was dogma for Scandinavian people back then), but it is a fundamental misunderstanding of undogmatic oral religions.
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Samuel D R




Location: UK
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Mar, 2017 12:11 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

And you seem to be treating it as fiction rather than religion. Adam of Bremen witnessed someone insulting Odin. He got lynched and killed.
A poet changing up the story in a blasphemous way would probably be chased off or killed as well.

Not sure what your point about Christians was. The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the Old Testament hasn't changed in 3000 years.

Quote:
What eye sacrificed seems rather irrelevant.


To you, perhaps. not to the person who started the thread.

While your criticisms of Adam are fair, I'm not sure what the segment about the Christians was even meant to prove. I just mentioned that a major Germanic author wrote about it. And that's a rather important bit: he was German. Understanding of Germanic culture would trump any "Christian misconceptions" he had, if he even had any. Especially when a significant portion of Germans were still pagans. Omitting a major characteristic of a God is important, especially when the two others were described with their most striking feature (the hammer for Thor and the phallus for Frig).

Quote:
with the gods having "specific spheres of influence", which most likely is plain wrong


Why? In both Old Saxon and Old English inscriptions the Gods clearly have specific roles. Their Proto-Indo-European ancestors, like Deus Pater for Tiw, are associated with the same things. It is likely Tiw was the chief God before Thor/Odin took over around the Migration Period. Tiw's name directly descends from Dyēus Ph₂tḗr, the God Father. His name is cognate with God.
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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Mar, 2017 2:37 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Samuel D R wrote:
And you seem to be treating it as fiction rather than religion. Adam of Bremen witnessed someone insulting Odin. He got lynched and killed.
A poet changing up the story in a blasphemous way would probably be chased off or killed as well.

Not sure what your point about Christians was. The Dead Sea Scrolls prove that the Old Testament hasn't changed in 3000 years.

Quote:
What eye sacrificed seems rather irrelevant.


To you, perhaps. not to the person who started the thread.

While your criticisms of Adam are fair, I'm not sure what the segment about the Christians was even meant to prove. I just mentioned that a major Germanic author wrote about it. And that's a rather important bit: he was German. Understanding of Germanic culture would trump any "Christian misconceptions" he had, if he even had any. Especially when a significant portion of Germans were still pagans. Omitting a major characteristic of a God is important, especially when the two others were described with their most striking feature (the hammer for Thor and the phallus for Frig).

Quote:
with the gods having "specific spheres of influence", which most likely is plain wrong


Why? In both Old Saxon and Old English inscriptions the Gods clearly have specific roles. Their Proto-Indo-European ancestors, like Deus Pater for Tiw, are associated with the same things. It is likely Tiw was the chief God before Thor/Odin took over around the Migration Period. Tiw's name directly descends from Dyēus Ph₂tḗr, the God Father. His name is cognate with God.


It's important that Nordic religion was most probably based on ritual (not dogma).
You don't care what people believe in, but whether you take part in the communal rituals.
A person that refuses to share/take part in the communal ritual will be fined or in extreme situations killed if they break taboos. So Adam of Bremen reporting someone getting into trouble and being killed it was not likely because of belief, but for refusal of acting or an action which lead to the breaking of taboos [or a sacrifice]
"Blasphemy" would be incorrect conduct, not incorrect belief.
You said witnessing insulting Odin - if Odin is the God you have friendship with you will kill the person insulting your friend - it is again not a matter of belief, but incorrect conduct. Any insult to honour of you personally and especially your kin-group would have to be met with revenge. It still doesn't mean that you had any book-dogma surrounding Odin.
Many non-Odin followers (having friendship with another Æsir, or whoever elves, vætter etc) really disliked Odin and you have 0 place-names of Odin in Iceland.

Some religions are based on belief and some are based on rituals and some in a mix between the two.
Whether you will call a purely belief-base a religion at all or a philosophy/ideology is up for debate. But you can be a Christian that never goes to church, never prays and never take part in any holidays (some Danish Lutherans for instance), but still believe in some of the truth of the dogma and the conduct of living written down in the Bible.
Is this person a religious Christian or a philosophically Christian?

So a person that doesn't believe in anything dogmatic, but takes part in all the communal rituals would in Viking times be regarded as part of the Nordic religion. It was called Forn Sidr which means "old customs", not belief! .
Celebrating "Jul" (Yule) is Nordic religion, where it is unimportant to know why you do so and what you personally believe in. We have many very old customs in Denmark surrounding Yule where people don't know why it's done and if you ask you can get numerous different answers. So clearly the ACTION of having Yule is essential, not the WHY in a dogmatic sense.
The why would probably vary from place to place and time to time around Scandinavia.
Christians were also expected to attend Yule or Ting in pagan times, so it's the communal aspect that is important ("are you with us or not").

Stories could vary considerable as we see with the variation between the Balder myth on Iceland and the Balder myth as written down by Saxo in Denmark. Saxo's version is actually ~20 years older than Snorri's which people often tend to forget.
You probably know the Icelandic version with Balder as the victim for Loki machinations. In Saxo's latin version "Hotherus" is the hero and "Balderus" the villain.

That was my point: With a written testament, then the story doesn't change diachronically. We haven't any poets editing the old and new testament constantly for better stories, as it is "dogma".
Christianity is not an oral tradition, so those with a Christians (or others with a dogmatic religious background) has a tendency to read other myths and regard these as fixed.
The brahmins of Indian was for many years against the writing down of the Rigveda, because it will give people the wrong idea, that it is the words on paper and not the SOUND AND INTONATION of the hymns that are central in the rituals.
The Druids or the Scandinavians pagans didn't write their ritual-hymns down either. In an oral tradition the core structure of the poem can stay very conservative (but with character reversals happening), but the precise elaboration is up to each poet at each performance.
These oral religion doesn't have books, so stories undergoes constant evolution. Some gain popularity and some are forgotten.

I was talking about germanic religion (evolved from an Indo-european poetic background) in contrast to Christianity that are a dogmatic religion based around books. Adam of Bremen was a Christian - whether he was ethnically Germanic, he no longer had germanic religion, so he would look at the Nordic religion through a Christian & learned graeco-roman optic.
Those south of Denmark changed to Christianity, whereas Germanic religion survived in Scandinavia some centuries longer and thus had time to orally evolve some more and thus continue to change.

You have to remember that all Anglo-Saxon book-texts are written by Christians (some think the Finnsburgh fragment a possible exception?!), but you are right that names gives us an insight of A possible function, but that is never exclusive for that deity.
Basically all the Scandinavian Æsir are warrior gods and goddesses combined with other things. Thor in Iceland doesn't seem to be the same Thor we have in Sweden. Thor is seemingly in part a fertility deity Sweden connected with fields seen from all the Torsåker. = Thor's acre.
Ti/Tir basically only exist in Denmark (maybe one place-name in Southern Norway) if we look at Scandinavia, but it is interestingly the most common one in danish theophoric place-names of all the Æsir.
So it means that within Scandinavia even from the Iron age enormous variations can be discerned. Ás is cognate with sanskrit Asura whereas Ti/Tir is cognate with Deva in sanskrit. That is in itself quite interesting! It shows a common heritage.


Last edited by Niels Just Rasmussen on Tue 07 Mar, 2017 12:58 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Samuel D R




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PostPosted: Mon 06 Mar, 2017 3:21 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

I didn't say he got in trouble, I said he saw someone get murdered for insulting Odin.

You seem to be trying to prove something by using things I said as if I didn't know them. Is there any point saying Bremen waa Christian when I literally said that above?

There are Anglo-Saxon texts written by pagans. Besides, archæology is more reliable and tells us more. The Saxons associated Gods with a function. That isn't really even up for debate. Look at the five days of the week.

You have no evidence that they wrote nothing down. There is, however, evidence they did. There are references to texts used by the Druids.

That thing about Týr would be interesting if it were true. Proto-Germanic Tīwaz, Old English Tīw, Old Frisian Tii, Gothic Teiws, Old High German Ziu. He was not at all just Danish.

I'm not really interested in discussing this, and it's off-topic.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Mar, 2017 4:17 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

How is this topic related to historical arms and armour? Explain that to me and I'll consider not trashing it.

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Niels Just Rasmussen




Location: Nykøbing Falster, Denmark
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2017 12:49 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

It's a discussion about the Iron Age elite helmets of the Iron Age and Viking Age with a missing/blind eye symbolism, that has gone into a broad source discussion and how the religion could be reconstructed out from the evidence we have from comparative indo-european research and texts written by Christian authors either meeting or having been told about heathen people.
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Nathan Robinson
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PostPosted: Tue 07 Mar, 2017 4:28 pm    Post subject:         Reply with quote

Yup. Let's get it back on track to this site's topic.
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