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TEUTONIC MYTHOLOGY

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Author Topic: TEUTONIC MYTHOLOGY  (Read 390 times)
Bianca
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« on: December 01, 2007, 06:45:39 pm »








Author  Topic:                                   Teutonic Mythology 
Europa

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   posted 10-20-2005 11:44 PM                       
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Hello again to everyone. The following excerpts come from a much longer online book devoted to Teutonic Mythology. I hope that some of you find it of interest:

A. THE ANCIENT ARYANS.


1.


THE WORDS GERMAN AND GERMANIC.


ALREADY at the beginning of the Christian era the name Germans was applied by the Romans and Gauls to the many clans of people whose main habitation was the extensive territory east of the Rhine, and north of the forest-clad Hercynian Mountains. That these clans constituted one race was evident to the Romans, for they all had a striking similarity in type of body; moreover, a closer acquaintance revealed that their numerous dialects were all variations of the same parent language, and finally, they resembled each other in customs, traditions, and religion. The characteristic features of the physical type of the Germans were light hair, blue eyes, light complexion, and tallness of stature as compared with the Romans.


Even the saga-men, from whom the Roman historian Tacitus gathered the facts for his German ia—an invaluable work for the history of civilisation—knew that in the so-called Svevian Sea, north of the German continent, lay another important part of Germany, inhabited by Sviones, a people divided into several clans. Their kinsmen on the continent described them as rich in weapons and fleets, and in warriors on land and sea (Tac., Germ., 44). This northern sea-girt portion of Germany is called Scandinavia—Scandeia by other writers of the Roman Empire; and there can be no doubt that this name referred to the peninsula


which, as far back as historical monuments can be found, has been inhabited by the ancestors of the Swedes and the Norwegians. I therefore include in the term Germans the ancestors of both the Scandinavian and Gothic and German (tyske) peoples. Science needs a sharply - defined collective noun for all these kindred branches sprung from one and the same root, and the name by which they make their first appearance in history would doubtless long since have been selected for this purpose had not some of the German writers applied the terms German and Deutsch as synonymous. This is doubtless the reason why Danish authors have adopted the word "Goths" to describe the Germanic nations. But there is an important objection to this in the fact that the name Goths historically is claimed by a particular branch of the family—that branch, namely, to which the East and West Goths belonged, and in order to avoid ambiguity, the term should be applied solely to them. It is therefore necessary to re-adopt the old collective name, even though it is not of Germanic origin, the more so as there is a prospect that a more correct use of the words German and Germanic is about to prevail in Germany itself, for the German scholars also feel the weight of the demand which science makes on a precise and rational terminology.*


* Viktor Rydberg styles his work Researches in Germanic Mythology, but after consultation with the Publishers, the Translator decided to use the word Teutonic instead of Germanic both in the title and in the body of the work. In English, the words German, Germany, and Germanic are ambiguous.. The Scandivanians and Germans have the words Tyskland, tysh, Deutschland deutsch, when they wish to refer to the present Germany, and thus it is easy for them to adopt the words Germnan and Germanisk to describe the Germanic or Teutonic peoples collectively. The English language applies the above word Dutch not to Germany, but to Holland, and it is necessary to use the words German and Germany in translating deutsch, Deutschland, tysk, and Tyskland. Teutonic has already been adopted by Max Müller and other scholars in England and America as a designation of all the kindred branches sprung from one and the same root, and speaking dialects of the same original tongue. The words Teuton, Teutonic, and Teutondom also have the advantage over German and Germanic that they are of native growth and not borrowed from a foreign language. In the following pages, therefore, the word Teutonic will be used to describe Scandivanians, Germans, Anglo-Saxons, &c., collectively, while German will line used exclusively in regard to Germany proper.— TRANSLATOR.


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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2007, 06:48:04 pm »








Europa

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2.


THE ARYAN FAMILY OF LANGUAGES.


It is universally known that the Teutonic dialects are related to the Latin, the Greek, the Slavic, and Celtic languages, and that the kinship extends even beyond Europe to the tongues of Armenia, Irania, and India. The holy books ascribed to Zoroaster, which to the priests of Cyrus and Darius were what the Bible is to us; Rigveda’s hymns, which to the people dwelling on the banks of the Ganges are God’s revealed word, are written in a language which points to a common origin with our own. However unlike all these kindred tongues may have grown with the lapse of thousands of years, still they remain as a sharply-defined group of older and younger sisters as compared with all other language groups of the world. Even the Semitic languages are separated therefrom by a chasmn so broad and deep that it is hardly possible to bridge it.


This language-group of ours has been named in various ways. It has been called the Indo-Germanic, the Indo-European, and the Aryan family of tongues. I have adopted the last designation. The Armenians, Iranians, and Hindoos I call the Asiatic Aryans; all the rest I call the European Aryans.


Certain it is that these sister-languages have had a common mother, the ancient Aryan speech, and that this has had a geographical centre from which it has radiated. (By such an ancient Aryan language cannot, of course, be meant a tongue stereotyped in all its inflections, like the literary languages of later times, but simply the unity of those dialects which were spoken by the clans dwelling around this centre of radiation.) By comparing the grammatical structure of all the daughters of this ancient mother, and by the aid of the laws hitherto discovered in regard to the transition of sounds from one language to another, attempts have been made to restore this original tongue which many thousand years ago ceased to vibrate. These attempts cannot, of course, in any sense claim to reproduce an image corresponding to the lost original as regards syntax and inflections. Such a task would be as impossible as to reconstruct, on the basis of all the now spoken languages derived from the Latin, the dialect used in Latium. The purpose is simply to present as faithful an idea of the ancient tongue as the existing means permit.


In the most ancient historical times Aryan-speaking people were found only in Asia and Europe. In seeking for the centm and the earliest conquests of the ancient Aryan language, th scholar may therefore keep within the limits of these two con tinents, and in Asia he may leave all the eastern and the most c the southern portion out of consideration, since these extensiv regions have from prehistoric times been inhabited by Mongolian and allied tribes, and may for the present be regarded as the cradle of these races. It may not be necessary to remind the reader that the question of the original home of the ancient Aryan tongue is not the same as the question in regard to the cradle of the Caucasian race. The white race may have existed, and may have been spread over a considerable portion of the old world, before a language possessing the peculiarities belonging to the Aryan bad appeared; and it is a known fact that southern portions of Europe, such as the Greek and Italian peninsulas, were inhabited by white people before they were conquered by Aryans.


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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2007, 06:49:05 pm »








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3.


THE HYPOTHESIS CONCERNING THE ASIATIC ORIGIN OF THE ARYANS.


When the question of the original home of the Aryan language and race was first presented, there were no conflicting opinions on the main subject.* All who took any interest in the problem referred to Asia as the cradle of the Aryans. Asia had always been regarded as the cradle of the human race. In primeval time, the yellow Mongolian, the black African, the American redskin, and the fair European had there tented side by side. From some common centre in Asia they had spread over the whole surface of the inhabited earth. Traditions found in the literatures of various European peoples in regard to an immigration from the East supported this view. The progenitors of the Romans were said to have come from Troy. The fathers of the Teutons were reported to have immigrated from Asia, led by Odin. There was also the original home of the domestic animals and of the cultivated plants. And when the startling discovery was made that the sacred books of the Iranians and Hindoos were written in languages related to


*Compare O. Schrader, Sprachvergleichung und Urgeschichte (1883).


the culture languages of Europe, when these linguistic monuments betrayed a wealth of inflections in comparison with which those of the classical languages turned pale, and when they seemed to have the stamp of an antiquity by the side of which the European dialects seemed like children, then what could be more natural than the following conclusion: The original form has been preserved in the original home; the farther the streams of emigration got away from this home, the more they lost on the way of their language and of their inherited view of the world that is, of their mythology, which among the Hindoos seemed so original and simple as if it had been watered by the dews of life’s dawn.


To begin with, there was no doubt that the original tongue itself, the mother of all the other Aryan languages, had already been found when Zend or Sanscrit was discovered. Fr. v. Schlegel, in his work published in 1808, on the Language and Wisdom of the Hindoos, regarded Sanscrit as the mother of the Aryan family of languages, and India as the original honie of the Aryan family of peoples. Thence, it was claimed, colonies were sent out in prehistoric ages to other parts of Asia and to Europe; nay, even missionaries went forth to spread the language and religion of the mother-country among other peoples. Schlegel’s compatriot Link looked upon Zend as the oldest language and mother of Sanscrit, and the latter he regarded as the mother of the rest; and as the Zend, in his opinion, was spoken in Media and surrounding countries, it followed that the highlands of Media, Armenia, and Georgia were the original home of the Aryans, a view which prevailed among the leading scholars of the age, such as Anquetil-Duperron, Herder, arid Heeren, and found a place in the historical text-books used in the schools from 1820 to 1840.


Since Bopp published his epoch-making Comparative Grammar the illusion that the Aryan mother-tongue had been discovered had, of course, gradually to give place to the conviction that all the Aryan languages, Zend and Sanscrit included, were relations of equal birth. This also affected the theory that the Persians or Hindoos were the original people, and that the cradle of our race was to be sought in their homes.


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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2007, 06:50:21 pm »








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5.


THE ARYAN LAND OF EUROPE.


On one point—and that is for our purpose the most important one — the advocates of both hypotheses have approached each other. The leaders of the defenders of the Asiatic hypothesis have ceased to regard Asia as the cradle of all the dialects into which the ancient Aryan tongue has been divided. While they cling to the theory that time Aryan inhabitants of Europe have immigrated from Asia, they have well — nigh entirely ceased to claim that these peoples, already before their departure from their Eastern home, were so distinctly divided linguistically that it was necessary to imagine certain branches of the race speaking Celtic, others Teutonic, others, again, Greco-Italian, even before they came to Europe. The prevailing opinion among the advocates of the Asiatic hypothesis now doubtless is, that the Aryans who immigrated to Europe formed one homogeneous mass, which gradually on our continent divided itself definitely into Celts, Teutons, Slays, and Greco-Italians. The adherents of both hypotheses have thus been able to agree that there has been a European-Aryan country. And the question as to where it was located is of the most vital importance, as it is closely connected with the question of the original home of the Teutons, since the ancestors of the Teutons must have inhabited this ancient European-Aryan country.


Philology has attempted to answer the former question by comparing all the words of all the Aryan - European languages. The attempt has many obstacles to overcome ; for, as Schrader has remarked, the ancient words which to-day are common to all or several of these languages are presumably a mere remnant of the ancient European-Aryan vocabulary. Nevertheless, it is possible to arrive at important results in this manner, if we draw conclusions from the words that remain, but take care not to draw conclusions from what is wanting. The view gained in this manner is, briefly stated, as follows


The Aryan country of Europe has been situated in latitudes where snow and ice are common phenomena. The people who have emigrated thence to more southern climes have not forgotten either the one or the other name of those phenomena. To a comparatively northern latitude points also the circumstance that the ancient European Aryans recognised only three seasons—winter, spring, and summer. This division of the year continued among the Teutons even in the days of Tacitus. For autumn they had no name.


Many words for mountains, valleys, streams, amid brooks common to all the languages show that the European-Aryan land was not wanting in elevations, rocks, and flowing waters. Nor has it been a treeless plain. This is proven by many names of trees. The trees are fir, birch, willow, elm, elder, hazel, and a beech called bhaga, which means a tree with eatable fruit. From this word bhaga is derived the Greek F h g óV the Latin ***us, the German Buche, and the Swedish bok. But it is a remarkable fact that the Greeks did not call the beech but the oak F h g óV , while the Romans called the beech ***us. From this we conclude that the European Aryans applied time word bhaga both to the beech and the oak, since both bear similar fruit; but in some parts of the country the name was particularly applied to the beech, in others to the oak. The beech is a species of tree which gradually approaches the north. On the European continent it is not found east of a line drawn from Königsberg across Poland and Podolia to Crimea. This leads to the conclusion that the Aryan country of Europe must to a great extent have been situated west of this line, and that the regions inhabited by the ancestors of the Romans, and north of them b the progenitors of the Teutons, must be looked for west of this botanical line, and between the Alps and the North Sea.


Linguistic comparisons also show that the Aryan territory of Europe was situated near an ocean or large body of water. Scandinavians, Germans, Celts, and Romans have preserved a common name for the ocean—the Old Norse mar, the Old High German mari the Latin mare. The names of certain sea-animals are also common to various Aryan languages. The Swedish hummer (lobster) corresponds to the Greek Kauár o V , and the Swedish säl (seal) to the Greek s e l a c o V .


In the Aryan country of Europe there were domestic animals— cows, sheep, and goats. The horse was also known, hut it is uncertain whether it was used for riding or driving, or simply valued on account of its flesh and milk. On the other hand, the ass was not known, its domain being particularly the plains of Central Asia. The bear, wolf, otter, and beaver certainly belonged to the fauna of Aryan Europe. The European Aryans must have cultivated at least one, perhaps two kinds of grain; also flax, the name of which is preserved in the Greek l ín o n (linen), the Latin linum, and in other languages.

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6.


THE GEOGRAPHICAL POSITION OF ANCIENT TEUTONDOM. THE STONE AGE OF PREHISTORIC TEUTONDOM.


The northern position of the ancient Teutons necessarily had the effect that they, better than all other Aryan people, preserved their original race-type, as they were less exposed to mixing with non-Aryan elements. In the south, west, and east, they had kinsmen, separating them from non-Aryan races. To the north, on the other hand, lay a territory which, by its very nature, could be but sparsely populated, if it was inhabited at all, before it was occupied by the fathers of the Teutons. The Teutonic type, which doubtless also was the Aryan in general before much spreading and consequent mixing with other races had taken place, has, as already indicated, been described in the following manner: Tall, white skin, blue eyes, fair hair. Anthropological science has given them one more mark—they are dolicocephalous, that is, having skulls whose anterioposterior diameter, or that from the frontal to the occipital bone, exceeds the transverse diameter. This type appears most pure in the modern Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, and to some extent the Dutch; in the inhabitants of those parts of Great Britain that are most densely settled by Saxon and Scandinavian emigrants; and in the people of certain parts of North Germany. Welcker’s craniological measurements give the following figures for the breadth and length of Teutonic skulls:


Swedes and Hollanders....75—71


Icelanders and Danes....76—71


Englishmen....76—73
Holsteinians....77—71


Hanoverians, (The vicinity of Jena, Bonn, and Cologne)....77—72


Hessians....79—72


Swabians....79—73


Bavarians....80—74


Thus the dolicocephalous form passes in Middle and Southern Germany into the brachycephalous. The investigations made at the suggestion of Virchow in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland, and Austria, in regard to blonde and brunette types, are of great interest. An examination of more than nine million individuals showed the following result:


Germany 31.80% blonde, 14.05% brunette, 54.15% mixed.


Austria 19.79% blonde, 23.17 % brunette, 57.04 % mixed.


Switzerland 11.10% blonde, 25.70 % brunette, 61.40% mixed.


Thus the blonde type has by far a greater number of representatives in Germany than in the southern part of Central Europe, though the latter has German-speaking inhabitants. In Germany itself the blonde type decreases and the brunette increases from north to south, while at the same time the dolicocephalous gives place to the brachycephalous. Southern Germany has 25 % of brunettes, North Germany only 7%

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A. MEDIĈAL MIGRATION SAGAS. THE LEARNED SAGA IN REGARD TO THE EMIGRATION FROM TROY ASGARD.


7.


THE SAGA IN HEIMSKRINGLA AND THE PROSE EDDA.


In the preceding pages we have given the reasons which make it appear proper to assume that ancient Teutondom, within certain indefinable limits, included the coasts of the Baltic and the North Sea, that the Scandinavian countries constituted a part of this ancient Teutondom, and that they have been peopled by Teutons since the days of the stone age.


The subject which I am now about to discuss requires an investigation in reference to what the Teutons themselves believed, in regard to this question, in the earliest times of which we have knowledge. Did they look upon themselves as aborigines or as immigrants in Teutondom? For the mythology, the answer to this question is of great weight. For pragmatic history, on the other hand, the answer is of little importance, for whatever they believed gives no reliable basis for conclusions in regard to historical facts. If they regarded themselves as aborigines, this does not hinder their having immigrated in prehistoric times, though their traditions have ceased to speak of it. If they regarded themselves as immigrants, then it does not follow that the traditions, in regard to the immigration, contain any historical kernel. Of the former we have an example in the case of the Brahmins and the higher castes in India: their orthodoxy requires them to regard themselves as aborigines of the country in which they live, although there is evidence that they are immigrants. Of the latter the Swedes are an example: the people here have been taught to believe that a greater or less portion of the inhabitants of Sweden are descended from immigrants who, led by Odin, are supposed to have come here about one hundred years before the birth of Christ, and that this immigration, whether it brought many or few people, was of the most decisive influence on the culture of the country, so that Swedish history might properly begin with the moment when Odin planted his feet on Swedish soil.


The more accessible sources of the traditions in regard to Odin’s immigration to Scandinavia are found in the Icelandic works, Heimskringla and the Prose Edda. Both sources are from the same time, that is, the thirteenth century, and are separated by more than two hundred years from the heathen age in Iceland.

Asaland, where Odin ruled, is separated by a great mountain range from Tyrkland, by which Heimskringla means Asia Minor, of which the celebrated Troy was supposed to have been the capital. In Tyrkland, Odin also had great possessions. But at that time the Romans invaded and subjugated all lands, and many rulers fled on that account from their kingdoms. And Odin, being wise and versed in the magic art, and knowing, therefore, that his descendants were to people the northern part of the world, he left his kingdom to his brothers Vile and Ve, and migrated with many followers to Gardarike, Russia. Njord, Frey, and Freyja, and the other priests who had ruled under him in Asgard, accompanied him, and sons of his were also with him. From Gardarike he proceeded to Saxland, conquered vast countries, and made his sons rulers over them. From Saxland he went to Funen, and settled there. Seeland did not then exist. Odin sent the maid Gefion north across the water to investigate what country was situated there. At that time ruled in Svithiod a chief by name Gylfe. He gave Gefion a ploughland,* and, by the help of four giants changed into oxen, Gefion cut out with the plough, and dragged into the sea near Funen that island which is now called Seeland. Where the land was ploughed away there is now a lake called Logrin. Skjold, Odin’s son, got this land, and married Gefion. And when Gefion informed Odin that Gylfe possessed a good land, Odin went thither, and Gylfe, being unable to make resistance, though he too was a wise man skilled in witchcraft and sorcery, a peaceful compact was made, according to which Odin acquired a vast territory around Logrin; and in Sigtuna he established a great temple, where sacrifices henceforth were offered according to the custom of the Asas. To his priests he gave dwellings—Noatun to Njord, Upsala to Frey, Himminbjorg to Heimdal, Thrudvang to Thor, Breidablik to Balder, &c. Many new sports came to the North with Odin, and he and the Asas taught them to the people. Among other things, he taught them poetry and runes. Odin himself always talked in measured rhymes. Besides, he was a most excellent sorcerer. He could change shape, make his foes in a conflict blind and deaf; he was a wizard, and could wake the dead. He owned the ship Skidbladner, which could be folded as a napkin. He had two ravens, which he had taught to speak, and they brought him tidings from all lands. He knew where all treasures were hid in the earth, and could call them

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« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2007, 06:55:57 pm »








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30.


HALFDAN’S BIRTH AND THE END OF THE AGE OF PEACE. THE FAMILY NAMES YLFING, HILDING, BUDLUNG.


The first strophes of the first song of Helge Hundingsbane distinguish themselves in tone and character and broad treatment from the continuation of the song, and have clearly belonged to a genuine old mythic poem about Halfdan, and without much change the compiler of the Helge Hunbingsbane song has incorporated them into his poem. They describe Halfdan’s (" Helge Hundingsbane’s ") birth. The real niythic names of his parents, Borgar and Drott, have been retained side by side with the names given by the compiler, Sigmund and Borghild.
Ár var alda,

hnigo heilog votn

ŝat yr arar gullo,

af himinfjollum;

ŝá hafŝi Helga

inn hugom stora

Borghildr borit

i Bralundi.

Nott varŝ i bee,

nornir qvomo,

ŝer er auŝlingi

aldr um scopo ;

ŝann baŝo fylci

frĉgstan verŝa

oc buŝlanga

beztan ticcia.

Snero ŝer af afli

aurlaugŝátto,

ŝa er Borgarr braut

i Brálundi;

ŝer um greiddo

gullin simo

oc und manasal

miŝian festo.

ŝer austr oc vestr

enda fálo:

ŝar átti lofdungr

land a milli;

brá nipt Nera

a nordrvega

einni festi

ey baŝ hon halda.

Etti var at angri

Ylfinga niŝ

oc ŝeirre meyio

yr nunuŝ fĉddi;

hrafn gvaŝ at hrafni

—sat a hám meiŝi

andvanr áto :—

"Ec veit noceoŝ !
It was time’s morning,

eagles screeched,
holy waters fell
from the heavenly mountains.
Then was the mighty
Helge born
by Borghild
in Bralund.

It was night,
norns came,
they who did shape
the fate of the nobleman
they proclaimed him
best among Budlungs,
and most famed
among princes.

With all their might the threads
of fate they twisted,
when Borgar settled
in Bralund
of gold they made
the warp of the web,
and fastened it directly
‘neath the halls of the moon.

In the east and west
they hid the ends:
there between
the chief should rule
Nere’s * kinswoman
northward sent
one thread and bade it
hold for ever.

One cause there was
of alarm to the Yngling (Borgar),
and also for her
who bore the loved one.
Hungry cawed
raven to raven
in the high tree:
"Hear what I know



*Urd, the chief goddess of fate. See the treatise "Mythen cm Underjorden ".
"Stendr i brynio

burr Sigmundar,

dĉgrs eins gamall,

nu er dagr kominn;

hversir augo

sem hildingar,

sa er varga vinr,

viŝ scolom teitir.

Drótt ŝotti sa

dauglingr vera

quado meŝ gumnom

god-ár kominn;

sialfr gece visi

or vig ŝrimo

ungom fĉra

itrlauc grami.
"In coat of mail

stands Sigmund’s son,
one day old,
now the day is come;
sharp eyes of the Hildings
has he, and the wolves’
friend he becomes,
"We shall thrive."

Drott, it is said, saw
In him a dayling,*
saying, "Now are good seasons
come among men";
to the young lord
from thunder-strife
came the chief himself
with a glorious flower.



Halfdan’s (" Helge Hundingsbane’s ") birth occurs, according to the contents of these strophes, when two epochs meet. His arrival announces the close of the peaceful epoch and the beginning of an age of strife, which ever since has reigned in the world. His significance in this respect is distinctly manifest in the poem. The raven, to whom the battle-field will soon be as a well-spread table, is yet suffering from hunger (andvanr átu) but from the high tree in which it sits, it has on the day after the birth of the child, presumably through the window, seen the newcomer, and discovered that he possessed "the sharp eyes of the Hildings," and with prophetic vision it has already seen him clad in coat of mail. It proclaims its discovery to another raven in the same tree, and foretells that theirs and the age of the wolves has come: "We shall thrive ".


The parents of the child heard and understood what the raven said. Among the runes which Heimdal, Borgar’s father, taught him, and which the son of the latter in time learned, are the knowledge of bird-speech (Konr ungr klök nam fugla—Rigsthula, 43, 44). The raven’s appearance in the song of Helge Hundings


*‘Dayling = bright son of day or light.


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« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2007, 06:57:13 pm »








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At any rate, the book is much longer and filled with much interesting information (though also, of

course, much speculation). Those that are interested, feel free to follow the links. 
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