The myths and heroic poems are not wanting in ideal heroes, who are models of goodness of heart, justice, and the most sensitive nobleness. Such are, for example, the Asa-god Balder, his counterpart among heroes, Helge Hjorvardson, Beowulf, and, to a certain degree also, Sigurdur Fafnesbane. Halfdan did not belong to this group. His part in the myth is to be the personal representative of the strife-age that came with him, of an age when the inhabitants of the earth are visited by the great winter and by dire misfortunes, when the demoralisation of the world has begun along with disturbances in nature, and when the words already are applicable, “hart er i heimi” (harsh is the world). Halfdan is guilty of the abduction of a woman — the old custom of taking a maid from her father by violence or cunning is illustrated in his saga. It follows, however, that the myth at the same time embellished him with qualities which made him a worthy Teutonic patriarch, and attractive to the hearers of the songs concerning him. These qualities are, besides the necessary strength and courage, the above-mentioned knowledge of runes, wherein he even surpasses his father (Rigsth.), great skaldic gifts (Saxo, Hist., 325), a liberality which makes him love to strew gold about him (Helge Hund., i. 9), and an extraordinary, fascinating physical beauty — which is emphasised by Saxo (Hist., 30), and which is also evident from the fact that the Teutonic myth makes him, as the Greek myth


makes Achilleus, on one occasion don a woman’s attire, and resemble a valkyrie in this guise (Helge Hund., ii.). No doubt the myth also described him as the model of a faithful foster-brother in his relations to the silent Hamal, who externally was so like him that the one could easily be taken for the other (cp. Helge Hund., ii. 1, 6). In all cases it is certain that the myth made the foster-brotherhood between Halfdan and Hamal the basis of the unfailing fidelity with which Hamal’s descendants, the Amalians, cling to the son of Halfdan’s favourite Hadding, and support his cause even amid the most difficult circumstances (see Nos. 42, 43). The abduction of a woman by Halfdan is founded in the physical interpretation of the myth, and can thus be justified. The wife he takes by force is the goddess of vegetation, Groa, and he does it because her husband Orvandel has made a compact with the powers of frost (see Nos. 33, 38, 108, 109).

There are indications that our ancestors believed the sword to be a later invention than the other kinds of weapons, and that it was from the beginning under a curse. The first and most important of all sword-smiths was, according to the myth, Thjasse,* who accordingly is called fadir mörna, the father of swords (Haustlaung, Younger Edda, 306). The best sword made by him is intended to make way for the destruction of the gods (see Nos. 33, 98, 101, 103). After various fortunes it comes into the possession of Frey, but is of no service to Asgard. It is given to the parents of the giantess Gerd, and in Ragnarok it causes the death of Frey.

* Proofs of Thjasse’s original identity with Volund are given in Nos. 113-115.


Halfdan had two swords, which his mother’s father, for whom they were made, had buried in the earth, and his mother long kept the place of concealment secret from him. The first time he uses one of them he slays in a duel his noble half-brother Hildeger, fighting on the side of the Skilfings, without knowing who he is (cp. Saxo, Hist., 351, 355, 356, with Asmund Kæmpebane’s saga). Cursed swords are several times mentioned in the sagas.

Halfdan’s weapon, which he wields successfully in advantageous exploits, is, in fact, the club (Saxo, Hist., 26, 31, 323, 353). That the Teutonic patriarch’s favourite weapon is the club, not the sword; that the latter, later, in his hand, sheds the blood of a kinsman; and that he himself finally is slain by the sword forged by Thjasse, and that, too, in conflict with a son (the step-son Svipdag — see below), I regard as worthy of notice from the standpoint of the views cherished during some of the centuries of the Teutonic heathendom in regard to the various age and sacredness of the different kinds of weapons. That the sword also at length was looked upon as sacred is plain from the fact that it was adopted and used by the Asa-gods. In Ragnarok, Vidar is to avenge his father with a hjörr and pierce Fafner’s heart (Völuspa). Hjörr may, it is true, also mean a missile, but still it is probable that it, in Vidar’s hand, means a sword. The oldest and most sacred weapons were the spear, the hammer, the club, and the axe. The spear which, in the days of Tacitus, and much later, was the chief weapon both for foot-soldiers and cavalry in the Teutonic armies, is wielded by the Asa-father himself, whose Gungnir was


forged for him by Ivalde’s sons before the dreadful enmity between the gods and them had begun.

The hammer is Thor’s most sacred weapon. Before Sindre forged one for him of iron (Gylfaginning), he wielded a hammer of stone. This is evident from the very name hamarr, a rock, a stone. The club is, as we have seen, the weapon of the Teutonic patriarch, and is wielded side by side with Thor’s hammer in the conflict with the powers of frost. The battle-axe belonged to Njord. This is evident from the metaphors found in the Younger Edda, p. 346, and in Islend. Saga, 9. The mythological kernel in the former metaphor is Njordr klauf Herjan’s hurdir, i.e., “Njord cleaved Odin’s gates” (when the Vans conquered Asgard); in the other the battle-axe is called Gaut’s meginhurdar galli, i.e., “the destroyer of Odin’s great gate.” The bow is a weapon employed by the Asa-gods Hödr and Ullr, but Balder is slain by a shot from the bow, and the chief archer of the myth is, as we shall see, not an Asa-god, but a brother of Thjasse. (Further discussion of the weapon-myth will be found in No. 39.)



In regard to the significance of the conflicts awaiting Halfdan, and occupying his whole life, when interpreted


as myths of nature, we must remember that he inherits from his father the duty of stopping the progress southward of the giant-world’s wintry agents, the kinsmen of Thjasse, and of the Skilfing (Yngling) tribes dwelling in the north. The migration sagas have, as we have seen, shown that Borgar and his people had to leave the original country and move south to Denmark, Saxland, and to those regions on the other side of the Baltic in which the Goths settled. For a time the original country is possessed by the conquerors, who, according to Völuspa:, “from Svarin’s Mound attacked and took (sótti) the clayey plains as far as Jaravall.” But Halfdan represses them. That the words quoted from Völuspa really refer to the same mythic persons with whom Halfdan afterwards fights is proved by the fact that Svarin and Svarin’s Mound are never named in our documents except in connection with Halfdan’s saga. In Saxo it is Halfdan-Gram who slays Svarin and his numerous brothers; in the saga of “Helge Hundingsbane” it is again Halfdan, under the name Helge, who attacks tribes dwelling around Svarin’s Mound, and conquers them. To this may be added, that the compiler of the first song about Helge Hundingsbane borrowed from the saga-original, on which the song is based, names which point to the Völuspa strophe concerning the attack on the south Scandinavian plains. In the category of names, or the genealogy of the aggressors, occur, as has been shown already, the Skilfing names Alf and Yngve. Thus also in the Helge-song’s list of persons with whom the conflict is waged in the vicinity of Svarin’s Mound. In the Völuspa’s


list Moinn is mentioned among the aggressors (in the variation in the Prose Edda); in the Helge-song, strophe 46, it is said that Helge-Halfdan fought á Móinsheimum against his brave foes, whom he afterwards slew in the battle around Svarin’s Mound. In the Völuspa’s list is named among the aggressors one Haugspori, “the one spying from the mound”; in the Helge-song is mentioned Sporvitnir, who from Svarin’s Mound watches the forces of Helge-Halfdan advancing. I have already (No. 28B) pointed out several other names which occur in the Völuspa list, and whose connection with the myth concerning the artists, frost-giants, and Skilfings of antiquity, and their attack on the original country, can be shown.

The physical significance of Halfdan’s conflicts and adventures is apparent also from the names of the women, whom the saga makes him marry. Groa (growth), whom he robs and keeps for some time, is, as her very name indicates, a goddess of vegetation. Signe-Alveig, whom he afterwards marries, is the same. Her name signifies “the nourishing drink.” According to Saxo she is the daughter of Sumblus, Latin for Sumbl, which means feast, ale, mead, and is a synonym for Ölvaldi, Ölmódr, names which belonged to the father of the Ivalde sons (see No. 123).

According to a well-supported statement in Forspjallsljod (see No. 123), Ivalde was the father of two groups of children. The mother of one of these groups is a giantess (see Nos. 113, 114, 115). With her he has three sons, viz., the three famous artists of antiquity — Ide, Gang-Urnir, and Thjasse. The mother of the other


group is a goddess of light (see No. 123). With her he has daughters, who are goddesses of growth, among them Idun and Signe-Alveig. That Idun is the daughter of Ivalde is clear from Forspjallsljod (6), álfa ættar Ithunni hèto Ivallds ellri ýngsta barna.

Of the names of their father Sumbl, Ölvaldi, Ölmódr, it may be said that, as nature-symbols, “öl” (ale) and “mjöd” (mead), are in the Teutonic mythology identical with soma and somamadhu in Rigveda and haoma in Avesta, that is, they are the strength-developing, nourishing saps in nature. Mimer’s subterranean well, from which the world-tree draws its nourishment, is a mead-fountain. In the poem “Haustlaung” Idun is called Ölgefn; in the same poem Groa is called Ölgefion. Both appellations refer to goddesses who give the drink of growth and regeneration to nature and to the gods. Thus we here have a family, the names and epithets of whose members characterise them as forces, active in the service of nature and of the god of harvests. Their names and epithets also point to the family bond which unites them. We have the group of names, Idvaldi, Idi, Idunn, and the group, Ölvaldi (Ölmódr), Ölgefn, and Ölgefion, both indicating members of the same family. Further on (see Nos. 113, 114, 115) proof shall be presented that Groa’s first husband, Orvandel the brave, is one of Thjasse’s brothers, and thus that Groa, too, was closely connected with this family.

As we know, it is the enmity caused by Loke between the Asa-gods and the lower serving, yet powerful, divinities of nature belonging to the Ivalde group, which produces


the terrible winter with its awful consequences for man, and particularly for the Teutonic tribes. These hitherto beneficent agents of growth have ceased to serve the gods, and have allied themselves with the frost-giants. The war waged by Halfdan must be regarded from this standpoint. Midgard’s chief hero, the real Teutonic patriarch, tries to reconquer for the Teutons the country of which winter has robbed them. To be able to do this, he is the son of Thor, the divine foe of the frost-giants, and performs on the border of Midgard a work corresponding to that which Thor has to do in space and in Jotunheim. And in the same manner as Heimdal before secured favourable conditions of nature to the original country, by uniting the sun-goddess with himself through bonds of love, his grandson Halfdan now seeks to do the same for the Teutonic country, by robbing a hostile son of Ivalde, Orvandel, of his wife Groa, the growth-giver, and thereupon also of Alveig, the giver of the nourishing sap. A symbol of nature may also be found in Saxo’s statement, that the king of Svithiod, Sigtrygg, Groa’s father, could not be conquered unless Halfdan fastened a golden ball to his club (Hist., 31). The purpose of Halfdan’s conflicts, the object which the norns particularly gave to his life, that of reconquering from the powers of frost the northernmost regions of the Teutonic territory and of permanently securing them for culture, and the difficulty of this task is indicated, it seems to me, in the strophes above quoted, which tell us that the norns fastened the woof of his power in the east and west, and that he from the beginning, and undisputed, extended the


sceptre of his rule over these latitudes, while in regard to the northern latitudes, it is said that Nere’s kinswoman, the chief of the norns (see Nos. 57-64, 85), cast a single thread in this direction and prayed that it might hold for ever:

ther austr oc vestr
enda fâlo,
thar átti lofdungr
land a milli;
brá nipt Nera
á nordrvega
einni festi,
ey bath hon halda.

The norns’ prayer was heard. That the myth made Halfdan proceed victoriously to the north, even to the very starting-point of the emigration to the south caused by the fimbul-winter, that is to say, to Svarin’s Mound, is proved by the statements that he slays Svarin and his brothers, and wins in the vicinity of Svarin’s Mound the victory over his opponents, which was for a time decisive. His penetration into the north, when regarded as a nature-myth, means the restoration of the proper change of seasons, and the rendering of the original country and of Svithiod inhabitable. As far as the hero, who secured the “giver of growth” and the “giver of nourishing sap,” succeeds with the aid of his father Thor to carry his weapons into the Teutonic lands destroyed by frost, so far spring and summer again extend the sceptre of their reign. The songs about Helge Hundingsbane have also preserved from the myth the idea that Halfdan and his forces penetrating northward by land and by sea are accompanied in the air by “valkyries,” “goddesses from the


south,” armed with helmets, coats of mail, and shining spears, who fight the forces of nature that are hostile to Halfdan, and these valkyries are in their very nature goddesses of growth, from the manes of whose horses falls the dew which gives the power of growth back to the earth and harvests to men. (Cp. Helg. Hund., i. 15, 30; ii., the prose to v. 5, 12, 13, with Helg. Hjörv., 28.) On this account the Swedes, too, have celebrated Halfdan in their songs as their patriarch and benefactor, and according to Saxo they have worshipped him as a divinity, although it was his task to check the advance of the Skilfings to the south.

Doubtless it is after this successful war that Halfdan performs the great sacrifice mentioned in Skaldskaparmal, ch. 64, in order that he may retain his royal power for three hundred years. The statement should be compared with what the German poems of the middle ages tell about the longevity of Berchtung-Borgar and other heroes of antiquity. They live for several centuries. But the response Halfdan gets from the powers to whom he sacrificed is that he shall live simply to the age of an old man, and that in his family there shall not for three hundred years be born a woman or a fameless man.



When Halfdan secured Groa, she was already the bride


of Orvandel the brave, and the first son she bore in Halfdan’s house was not his, but Orvandel’s. The son’s name is Svipdag. He develops into a hero who, like Halfdan himself, is the most brilliant and most beloved of those celebrated in Teutonic songs. We have devoted a special part of this work to him (see Nos. 96-107). There we have given proofs of various mythological facts, which I now already must incorporate with the following series of events in order that the epic thread may not be wanting:

(a) Groa bears with Halfdan the son Guthorm (Saxo, Hist. Dan., 34).

(b) Groa is rejected by Halfdan (Saxo, Hist. Dan., 33). She returns to Orvandel, and brings with her her own and his son Svipdag.

(c) Halfdan marries Signe-Alveig (Hyndluljod, 15; Prose Edda, i. 516; Saxo, Hist., 33), and with her becomes the father of the son Hadding (Saxo, Hist. Dan., 34).

(d) Groa dies, and Orvandel marries again (Grógaldr, 3). Before her death Groa has told her son that if he needs her help he must go to her grave and invoke her (Grógaldr, 1).

(e) It is Svipdag’s duty to revenge on Halfdan the disgrace done to his mother and the murder of his mother’s father Sigtrygg. But his stepmother bids Svipdag seek Menglad, “the one loving ornaments” (Grógaldr, 3).

(f) Under the weight of these tasks Svipdag goes to his mother’s grave, bids her awake from her sleep of


death, and from her he receives protecting incantations (Grógaldr, 1).

(g) Before Svipdag enters upon the adventurous expedition to find Menglad, he undertakes, at the head of the giants, the allies of the Ivalde sons (see Fjölsvinsm, 1, where Svipdag is called thursathjodar sjólr), a war of revenge against Halfdan (Saxo, 33 ff., 325; cp. Nos. 102, 103). The host of giants is defeated, and Svipdag, who has entered into a duel with his stepfather, is overcome by the latter. Halfdan offers to spare his life and adopt him as his son. But Svipdag refuses to accept life as a gift from him, and answers a defiant no to the proffered father-hand. Then Halfdan binds him to a tree and leaves him to his fate (Saxo, Hist., 325 ; cp. No. 103).

(h) Svipdag is freed from his bonds through one of the incantations sung over him by his mother (Grógaldr, 10).

(i) Svipdag wanders about sorrowing in the land of the giants. Gevarr-Nökkve, god of the moon (see Nos. 90, 91), tells him how he is to find an irresistible sword, which is always attended by victory (see No. 101). The sword is forged by Thjasse, who intended to destroy the world of the gods with it; but just at the moment when the smith had finished his weapon he was surprised in his sleep by Mimer, who put him in chains and took the sword. The latter is now concealed in the lower world (see Nos. 98, 101, 103).

(j) Following Gevarr-Nökkve’s directions, Svipdag goes to the northernmost edge of the world, and finds there a descent to the lower world; he conquers the guard


of the gates of Hades, sees the wonderful regions down there, and succeeds in securing the sword of victory (see Nos. 53, 97, 98, 101, 103, 112).

(k) Svipdag begins a new war with Halfdan. Thor fights on his son’s side, but the irresistible sword cleaves the hammer Mjolner; the Asa-god himself must yield. The war ends with Halfdan’s defeat. He dies of the wounds he has received in the battle (see Nos. 101, 103; cp. Saxo, Hist., 34).

(l) Svipdag seeks and finds Menglad, who is Freyja who was robbed by the giants. He liberates her and sends her pure and undefiled to Asgard (see Nos. 96, 98, 100, 102).

(m) Idun is brought back to Asgard by Loke. Thjasse, who is freed from his prison at Mimer’s, pursues, in the guise of an eagle, Loke to the walls of Asgard, where he is slain by the gods (see the Eddas).

(n) Svipdag, armed with the sword of victory, goes to Asgard, is received joyfully by Freyja, becomes her husband, and presents his sword of victory to Frey. Reconciliation between the gods and the Ivalde race. Njord marries Thjasse’s daughter Skade. Orvandel’s second son Ullr, Svipdag’s half-brother (see No. 102), is adopted in Valhal. A sister of Svipdag is married to Forsete (Hyndluljod, 20). The gods honour the memory of Thjasse by connecting his name with certain stars (Harbardsljod, 19). A similar honour had already been paid to his brother Orvandel (Prose Edda).

From this series of events we find that, although the Teutonic patriarch finally succumbs in the war which he


waged against the Thjasse-race and the frost-powers led by Thjasse’s kinsmen, still the results of his work are permanent. When the crisis had reached its culminating point; when the giant hosts of the fimbul-winter had received as their leader the son of Orvandel, armed with the irresistible sword; when Halfdan’s fate is settled; when Thor himself, Midgards veorr (Völusp.), the mighty protector of earth and the human race, must retreat with his lightning hammer broken into pieces, then the power of love suddenly prevails and saves the world. Svipdag, who, under the spell of his deceased mother’s incantations from the grave, obeyed the command of his stepmother to find and rescue Freyja from the power of the giants, thereby wins her heart and earns the gratitude of the gods. He has himself learned to love her, and is at last compelled by his longing to seek her in Asgard. The end of the power of the fimbul-winter is marked by Freyja’s and Idun’s return to the gods by Thjasse’s death, by the presentation of the invincible sword to the god of harvests (Frey), by the adoption of Thjasse’s kinsmen, Svipdag, Ull, and Skade in Asgard, and by several marriage ties celebrated in commemoration of the reconciliation between Asgard’s gods and the kinsmen of the great artist of antiquity.



Thus the peace of the world and the order of nature


might seem secured. But it is not long before a new war breaks out, to which the former may be regarded as simply the prelude. The feud, which had its origin in the judgment passed by the gods on Thjasse’s gifts, and which ended in the marriage of Svipdag and Freyja, was waged for the purpose of securing again for settlement and culture the ancient domain and Svithiod, where Heimdal had founded the first community. It was confined within the limits of the North Teutonic peninsula, and in it the united powers of Asgard supported the other Teutonic tribes fighting under Halfdan. But the new conflict rages at the same time in heaven and in earth, between the divine clans of the Asas and the Vans, and between all the Teutonic tribes led into war with each other by Halfdan’s sons. From the standpoint of Teutonic mythology it is a world war; and Völuspa calls it the first great war in the worldfolcvig fyrst i heimi (str. 21, 25).

Loke was the cause of the former prelusive war. His feminine counterpart and ally Gulveig-Heidr, who gradually is blended, so to speak, into one with him, causes the other. This is apparent from the following Völuspa strophes:

Str. 21. That man hon folcvig
fyrst i heimi
er Gullveig
geirum studdu
oc í haull Hárs
hana brenndo.
Str. 22. Thrisvar brendo
Thrisvar borna
opt, osialdan
tho hon en lifir.


Str. 23. Heida hana heto
hvars til husa com
vólo velspá
vitti hon ganda
seid hon kuni
seid hon Leikin,
e var hon angan
illrar brudar.
Str. 24. Thá gengo regin oll
a raukstola
ginheilog god
oc um that gettuz
hvart scyldo esir
afrad gjalda
etha scyldo godin aull
gildi eiga.
Str. 25. Fleygde Odin
oc i folc um scáut
that var enn folcvig
fyrst i heimi.

Brotin var bordvegr
borgar asa
knatto vanir vigspa
vollo sporna.

The first thing to be established in the interpretation of these strophes is the fact that they, in the order in which they are found in Codex Regius, and in which I have given them, all belong together and refer to the same mythic event — that is, to the origin of the great world war. This is evident from a comparison of strophe 21 with 25, the first and last of those quoted. Both speak of


the war, which is called fólkvig fyrst í heimi. The former strophe informs us that it occurred as a result of, and in connection with, the murder of Gulveig, a murder committed in Valhal itself, in the hall of the Asa-father, beneath the roof where the gods of the Asa-clan are gathered around their father. The latter strophe tells that the first great war in the world produced a separation between the two god-clans, the Asas and Vans, a division caused by the fact that Odin, hurling his spear, interrupted a discussion between them; and the strophe also explains the result of the war: the bulwark around Asgard was broken, and the Vans got possession of the power of the Asas. The discussion or council is explained in strophe 23. It is there expressly emphasised that all the gods, the Asas and Vans, regin oll, godin aull, solemnly assemble and seat themselves on their raukstola to counsel together concerning the murder of Gullveig-Heidr. Strophe 23 has already described who Gulveig is, and thus given at least one reason for the hatred of the Asas towards her, and for the treatment she receives in Odin’s hall. It is evident that she was in Asgard under the name Gulveig, since Gulveig was killed and burnt in Valhal; but Midgard, the abode of man, has also been the scene of her activity. There she has roamed about under the name Heidr, practising the evil arts of black sorcery (see No. 27) and encouraging the evil passions of mankind: æ var hon angan illrar brudar. Hence Gulveig suffers the punishment which from time immemorial was established among the Aryans for the practice of the black art; she was burnt. And her mysteriously terrible and


magic nature is revealed by the fact that the flames, though kindled by divine hands, do not have the power over her that they have over other agents of sorcery. The gods burn her thrice; they pierce the body of the witch with their spears, and hold her over the flames of the fire. All is in vain. They cannot prevent her return and regeneration. Thrice burned and thrice born, she still lives.

After Völuspa has given an account of the vala who in Asgard was called Gullveig and on earth Heidr, the poem speaks, in strophe 23, of the dispute which arose among the gods on account of her murder. The gods assembled on and around the judgement seats are divided into two parties, of which the Asas constitute the one. The fact that the treatment received by Gulveig can become a question of dispute which ends in enmity between the gods is a proof that only one of the god-clans has committed the murder; and since this took place, not in Njord’s, or Frey’s, or Freyja’s halls, but in Valhal, where Odin rules and is surrounded by his sons, it follows that the Asas must have committed the murder. Of course, Vans who were guests in Odin’s hall might have been the perpetrators of the murder; but, on the one hand, the poem would scarcely have indicated Odin’s hall as the place where Gulveig was to be punished, unless it wished thereby to point out the Asas as the doers of the deed; and, on the other hand, we cannot conceive the murder as possible, as described in Völuspa, if the Vans were the ones who committed it, and the Asas were Gulveig’s protectors; for then the latter, who were the


lords in Valhal, would certainly not have permitted the Vans quietly and peaceably to subject Gulveig to the long torture there described, in which she is spitted on spears and held over the flames to be burnt to ashes.

That the Asas committed the murder is also corroborated by Völuspa’s account of the question in dispute. One of the views prevailing in the consultation and discussion in regard to the matter is that the Asas ought to afrád gjalda in reference to the murder committed. In this afrád gjalda we meet with a phrase which is echoed in the laws of Iceland, and in the old codes of Norway and Sweden. There can be no doubt that the phrase has found its way into the language of the law from the popular vernacular, and that its legal significance was simply more definite and precise than its use in the vernacular. The common popular meaning of the phrase is to pay compensation. The compensation may be of any kind whatsoever. It may be rent for the use of another’s field, or it may be taxes for the enjoyment of social rights, or it may be death and wounds for having waged war. In the present instance, it must mean compensation to be paid by the Asas for the slaying of Gullveig-Heidr. As such a demand could not be made by the Asas themselves, it must have been made by the Vans and their supporters in the discussion. Against this demand we have the proposition from the Asas that all the gods should gildi eiga. In regard to this disputed phrase at least so much is clear, that it must contain either an absolute or a partial counter-proposition to the demand of the Vans, and its purpose must be that the Asas ought not — at least, not alone — to


pay the compensation for the murder, but that the crime should be regarded as one in reference to which all the gods, the Asas and the Vans, were alike guilty, and as one for which they all together should assume the responsibility.

The discussion does not lead to a friendly settlement. Something must have been said at which Odin has become deeply offended, for the Asa-father, distinguished for his wisdom and calmness, hurls his spear into the midst of those deliberating — a token that the contest of reason against reason is at an end, and that it is to be followed by a contest with weapons.

The myth concerning this deliberation between Asas and Vans was well known to Saxo, and what he has to say about it (Hist., 126 ff.), turning myth as usual into history, should be compared with Völuspa’s account, for both these sources complement each other.

The first thing that strikes us in Saxo’s narrative is that sorcery, the black art, plays, as in Völuspa, the chief part in the chain of events. His account is taken from a mythic circumstance, mentioned by the heathen skald Kormak (seid Yggr til Rindar — Younger Edda, i. 236), according to which Odin, forced by extreme need, sought the favour of Rind, and gained his point by sorcery and witchcraft, as he could not gain it otherwise. According to Saxo, Odin touched Rind with a piece of bark on which he had inscribed magic songs, and the result was that she became insane (Rinda . . . quam Othinus cortice carminibus adnotato contingens lymphanti similem reddidit). In immediate connection herewith it is related


that the gods held a council, in which it was claimed that Odin had stained his divine honour, and ought to be deposed from his royal dignity (dii ... Othinum variis majestatis detrimentis divinitatis gloriam maculasse cernentes, collegio suo submovendum duxeruntHist., 129). Among the deeds of which his opponents in this council accused him was, as it appears from Saxo, at least one of which he ought to take the consequences, but for which all the gods ought not to be held responsible (... ne vel ipsi, alieno crimine implicati, insontes nocentis crimine punirenturHist., 129; in omnium caput unius culpam recidere putares, Hist., 130). The result of the deliberation of the gods is, in Saxo as in Völuspa, that Odin is banished, and that another clan of gods than his holds the power for some time. Thereupon he is, with the consent of the reigning gods, recalled to the throne, which he henceforth occupies in a brilliant manner. But one of his first acts after his return is to banish the black art and its agents from heaven and from earth (Hist., 44).

Thus the chain of events in Saxo both begins and ends with sorcery. It is the background on which both in Saxo and in Völuspa those events occur which are connected with the dispute between the Asas and Vans. In both the documents the gods meet in council before the breaking out of the enmity. In both the question turns on a deed done by Odin, for which certain gods do not wish to take the responsibility. Saxo indicates this by the words: Ne vel ipsi, alieno crimine implicati innocentes nocentis crimine punirentur. Völuspa indicates it by letting the Vans present, against the proposition that godin


öll skyldu gildi eiga, the claim that Odin’s own clan, and it alone, should afrád gjalda. And while Völuspa makes Odin suddenly interrupt the deliberations and hurl his spear among the deliberators, Saxo gives us the explanation of his sudden wrath. He and his clan had slain and burnt Gulveig-Heid because she practised sorcery and other evil arts of witchcraft. And as he refuses to make compensation for the murder and demands that all the gods take the consequences and share the blame, the Vans have replied in council, that he too once practised sorcery on the occasion when he visited Rind, and that, if Gulveig was justly burnt for this crime, then he ought justly to be deposed from his dignity stained by the same crime as the ruler of all the gods. Thus Völuspa’s and Saxo’s accounts supplement and illustrate each other.

One dark point remains, however. Why have the Vans objected to the killing of Gulveig-Heid? Should this clan of gods, celebrated in song as benevolent, useful, and pure, be kindly disposed toward the evil and corrupting arts of witchcraft? This cannot have been the meaning of the myth. As shall be shown, the evil plans of Gulveig-Heid have particularly been directed against those very Vana-gods who in the council demand compensation for her death. In this regard Saxo has in perfect faithfulness toward his mythic source represented Odin on the one hand, and his opponents among the gods on the other, as alike hostile to the black art. Odin, who on one occasion and under peculiar circumstances, which I shall discuss in connection with the Balder myth, was guilty of the practice of sorcery, is nevertheless the


declared enemy of witchcraft, and Saxo makes him take pains to forbid and persecute it. The Vans likewise look upon it with horror, and it is this horror which adds strength to their words when they attack and depose Odin, because he has himself practised that for which he has punished Gulveig.

The explanation of the fact is, as shall be shown below, that Frey, on account of a passion of which he is the victim (probably through sorcery), was driven to marry the giant maid Gerd, whose kin in that way became friends of the Vans. Frey is obliged to demand satisfaction for a murder perpetrated on a kinswoman of his wife. The kinship of blood demands its sacred right, and according to Teutonic ideas of law, the Vans must act as they do regardless of the moral character of Gulveig.



The duty of the Vana-deities becomes even more plain, if it can be shown that Gulveig-Heid is Gerd’s mother; for Frey, supported by the Vana-gods, then demands satisfaction for the murder of his own mother-in-law. Gerd’s mother is, in Hyndluljod, 30, called Aurboda, and is the wife of the giant Gymer:

Freyr atti Gerdi,
Hon vor Gymis dottir,
iotna ættar
ok Aurbodu.


It can, in fact, be demonstrated that Aurboda is identical with Gulveig-Heid. The evidence is given below in two divisions: (a) Evidence that Gulveig-Heid is identical with Angerboda, “the ancient one in the Ironwood”; (b) evidence that Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda is identical with Aurboda, Gerd’s mother.

(a) Gulveig-Heid identical with Angerboda. Hyndluljod, 40-41, says:

Ol ulf Loki
vid Angrbodu,
(enn Sleipni gat
vid Svadilfara);
eitt thotti skars
allra feiknazst,
that var brodur fra
Byleistz komit.

Loki af hiarta
lindi brendu,
fann hann haalfsuidinn
hugstein konu;
vard Loptr kvidugr
af konu illri;
thadan er aa folldu
flagd hvert komit.

From the account we see that an evil female being (ill kona) had been burnt, but that the flames were not able to destroy the seed of life in her nature. Her heart had not been burnt through or changed to ashes. It was only half-burnt (hálfsvidinn hugsteinn), and in this condition it had together with the other remains of the cremated woman been thrown away, for Loke finds and swallows the heart.


Our ancestors looked upon the heart as the seat of the life principle, of the soul of living beings. A number of linguistic phrases are founded on the idea that goodness and evil, kindness and severity, courage and cowardice, joy and sorrow, are connected with the character of the heart; sometimes we find hjarta used entirely in the sense of soul, as in the expression hold ok hjarta, soul and body. So long as the heart in a dead body had not gone into decay, it was believed that the principle of life dwelling therein still was able, under peculiar circumstances, to operate on the limbs and exercise an influence on its environment, particularly if the dead person in life had been endowed with a will at once evil and powerful. In such cases it was regarded as important to pierce the heart of the dead with a pointed spear (cp. Saxo, Hist., 43, and No. 95).

The half-burnt heart, accordingly, contains the evil woman’s soul, and its influence upon Loke, after he has swallowed it, is most remarkable. Once before when he bore Sleipnir with the giant horse Svadilfari, Loke had revealed his androgynous nature. So he does now. The swallowed heart redeveloped the feminine in him (Loki lindi af brendu hjarta). It fertilised him with the evil purposes which the heart contained. Loke became the possessor of the evil woman (kvidugr af konu illri), and became the father of the children from which the trolls (flagd) are come which are found in the world. First among the children is mentioned the wolf, which is called Fenrir, and which in Ragnarok shall cause the death of the Asa-father. To this event point Njord’s


words about Loke, in Lokasenna, str. 33: ass ragr er hefir born of borit. The woman possessing the half-burnt heart, who is the mother or rather the father of the wolf, is called Angerboda (ól ulf Loki vid Angrbodu). N. M. Petersen and other mythologists have rightly seen that she is the same as “the old one,” who in historical times and until Ragnarok dwells in the Ironwood, and “there fosters Fenrer’s kinsmen” (Völuspa, 39), her own offspring, which at the close of this period are to issue from the Ironwood, and break into Midgard and dye its citadels with blood (Völuspa, 30).

The fact that Angerboda now dwells in the Ironwood, although there on a former occasion did not remain more of her than a half-burnt heart, proves that the attempt to destroy her with fire was unsuccessful, and that she arose again in bodily form after this cremation, and became the mother and nourisher of were-wolves. Thus the myth about Angerboda is identical with the myth about Gulveig-Heid in the two characteristic points:

Unsuccessful burning of an evil woman.
Her regeneration after the cremation.

These points apply equally to Gulveig-Heid and to Angerboda, “the old one in the Ironwood.”

The myth about Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, as it was remembered in the first period after the introduction of Christianity, we find in part recapitulated in Helgakvida Hundingsbane, i. 37-40, where Sinfjotli compares his opponent Gudmund with the evil female principle in the heathen mythology, the vala in question, and where


Gudmund in return compares Sinfjotli with its evil masculine principle, Loke.

Sinfjotli says:

Thu vart vaulva
i Varinseyio,
scollvis kona,
bartu scrauk saman;
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Thu vart, en scetha,
scass valkyria,
autul, amátlig
at Alfaudar;
mundo einherjar
allir beriaz,
svevis kona,
um sakar thinar.
Nio attu vith
a neri Sagu
ulfa alna,
ec var einn fathir theirra.

Gudmund’s answer begins:

Fadir varattu
fenrisulfa. . . .

The evil woman with whom one of the two heroes compares the other is said to be a vala, who has practised her art partly on Varin’s Isle, partly in Asgard at Alfather’s, and there she was the cause of a war in which all the warriors of Asgard took part. This refers to the war between the Asas and Vans. It is the second feud among the powers of Asgard.


The vala must therefore be Gulveig-Heid of the myth, on whose account the war between the Asas and Vans broke out, according to Völuspa. Now it is said of her in the lines above quoted, that she gave birth to wolves, and that these wolves were “fenrisulfar.” Of Angerboda we already know that she is the mother of the real Fenris-wolf, and that she, in the Ironwood, produces other wolves which are called by Fenrer’s name (Fenris kindir — Völuspa). Thus the identity of Gulveig-Heid and Angerboda is still further established by the fact that both the one and the other is called the mother of the Fenris family.

The passage quoted is not the only one which has preserved the memory of Gulveig-Heid as mother of the were-wolves. Völsungasaga (c. ii. 8) relates that a giantess, Hrímnir’s daughter, first dwelt in Asgard as the maid-servant of Frigg, then on earth, and that she, during her sojourn on earth, became the wife of a king, and with him the mother and grandmother of were-wolves, who infested the woods and murdered men. The fantastic and horrible saga about these were-wolves has, in Christian times and by Christian authors, been connected with the poems about Helge Hundingsbane and Sigurd Fafnersbane. The circumstance that the giantess in question first dwelt in Asgard and thereupon in Midgard, indicates that she is identical with Gulveig-Heid, and this identity is confirmed by the statement that she is a daughter of the giant Hrímnir.

The myth, as it has come down to our days, knows only one daughter of this giant, and she is the same as


Gulveig-Heid. Hyndluljod states that Heidr is Hrimner’s daughter, and mentions no sister of hers, but, on the other hand, a brother Hrossthiofr (Heidr ok Hrorsthiofr Hrimnis kindar — Hyndl., 30). In allusion to the cremation of Gulveig-Heid fire is called in Thorsdrapa Hrimnis drósar lyptisylgr, “the lifting drink of Hrimner’s daughter,” the drink which Heid lifted up on spears had to drink. Nowhere is any other daughter of Hrimner mentioned. And while it is stated in the above-cited strophe that the giantess who caused the war in Asgard and became the mother of fenris-wolves was a vala on Varin’s Isle (vaulva i Varinseyio), a comparison of Helgakv. Hund., i. 26, with Volsungasaga, c. 2, shows that Varin’s Isle and Varin’s Fjord were located in that very country, where Hrimner’s daughter was supposed to have been for some time the wife of a king and to have given birth to were-wolves.

Thus we have found that the three characteristic points —

unsuccessful cremation of an evil giantess,
her regeneration after the cremation,
the same woman as mother of the Fenrer race —

are common to Gulveig-Heid and Angerboda.

Their identity is apparent from various other circumstances, but may be regarded as completely demonstrated by the proofs given. Gulveig’s activity in anitiquity as the founder of the diabolical magic art, as one who awakens man’s evil passions and produces strife in Asgard itself, has its complement in Angerboda’s activity as the


mother and nourisher of that class of beings in whose members witchcraft, thirst for blood, and hatred of the gods are personified. The activity of the evil principle has, in the great epic of the myth, formed a continuity spanning all ages, and this continuous thread of evil is twisted from the treacherous deeds of Gulveig and Loke, the feminine and the masculine representatives of the evil principle. Both appear at the dawn of mankind: Loke has already at the beginning of time secured access to Allfather (Lokasenna, 9), and Gulveig deceives the sons of men already in the time of Heimdal’s son Borgar. Loke entices Idun from the secure grounds of Asgard, and treacherously delivers her to the powers of frost; Gulveig, as we shall see, plays Freyja into the hands of the giants. Loke plans enmity between the gods and the forces of nature, which hitherto had been friendly, and which have their personal representatives in Ivalde’s sons; Gulveig causes the war between the Asas and Vans. The interference of both is interrupted at the close of the mythic age, when Loke is chained, and Gulveig, in the guise of Angerboda, is an exile in the Ironwood. Before this they have for a time been blended, so to speak, into a single being, in which the feminine assuming masculineness, and the masculine effemninated, bear to the world an offspring of foes to the gods and to creation. Both finally act their parts in the destruction of the world. Before that crisis comes Angerboda has fostered that host of “sons of world-ruin” which Loke is to lead to battle, and a magic sword which she has kept in the Ironwood is given to Surt, in whose hand it is to be the


death of Frey, the lord of harvests (see Nos. 89, 98, 101, 103).

That the woman who in antiquity, in various guises, visited Asgard and Midgard was believed to have had her home in the Ironwood* of the East during the historical age down to Ragnarok is explained by what Saxo says — viz., that Odin, after his return and reconciliation with the Vans, banished the agents of the black art both from heaven and from earth. Here, too, the connection between Gulveig-Heid and Angerboda is manifest. The war between the Asas and Vans was caused by the burning of Gulveig by the former. After the reconciliation with the Asas this punishment cannot again be inflicted on the regenerated witch. The Asas must allow her to live to the end of time; but both the clans of gods agree that she must not show her face again in Asgard or Midgard. The myth concerning the banishment of the fatuous vala to the Ironwood, and of the Loke progeny which she there fosters, has been turned into history by Jordanes in his De Goth. Origine, ch. 24, where it is stated that a Gothic king compelled the suspected valas (haliorunas) found among his people to take their refuge to the deserts in the East beyond the Moeotian Marsh, where they mixed with the wood-sprites, and thus became the progenitors of the Huns. In this manner the Christian Goths got from their mythic traditions an explanation of the source of the eastern hosts of horsemen, whose ugly faces and

* In Völuspa the wood is called both Jarnvidr, Gaglvidr (Cod. Reg.), and Galgvidr (Cod. Hauk.). It may be that we here have a fossil word preserved in Völuspa meaning metal. Perhaps the wood was a copper or bronze forest before it became an iron wood. Compare ghalgha, ghalghi (Fick., ii. 578) = metal, which, again, is to be compared with Chalkos = copper, bronze.


barbarous manners seemed to them to prove an other than purely human origin. The vala Gulveig-Heid and her like become in Jordanes these haliorunæ; Loke and the giants of the Ironwood become these wood-sprites; the Asa-god who caused the banishment becomes a king, son of Gandaricus Magnus (the great ruler of the Gandians, Odin), and Loke’s and Angerboda’s wonderful progeny become the Huns.

Stress should be laid on the fact that Jordanes and Saxo have in the same manner preserved the tradition that Odin and the Asas, after making peace and becoming reconciled with the Vans, do not apply the death-penalty and burning to Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda and her kith and kin, but, instead, sentence them to banishment from the domains of gods and men. That the tradition preserved in Saxo and Jordanes corresponded with the myth is proved by the fact that we there rediscover Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda with her offspring in the Ironwood, which was thought to be situated in the utmost East, far away from the human world, and that she remains there undisturbed until the destruction of the world. The reconciliation between the Asas and Vans has, as this conclusively shows, been based on an admission on the part of the Asas that the Vans had a right to find fault with and demand satisfaction for the murder of Gulveig-Heid. Thus the dispute which caused the war between Asas and Vans was at last decided to the advantage of the latter, while they on their part, after being satisfied, reinstate Odin in his dignity as universal ruler and father of the gods.


(b) Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda identical with Aurboda.

In the Ironwood dwells Angerboda, together with a giant, who is gygjar hirdir, the guardian and watcher of the giantess. He has charge of her remarkable herds, and also guards a sword brought to the Ironwood. This vocation has given him the epithet Egther (Egtherr — Völuspa), which means sword-guardian. Saxo speaks of him as Egtherus, an ally of Finns, skilled in magic, and a chief of Bjarmians, equally skilful in magic (cp. Hist., 248, 249, with Nos. 52, 53). Bjarmians and Finns are in Saxo made the heirs of the wicked inhabitants of Jotunheim. Vilkinasaga knows him by the name Etgeir, who watches over precious implements in Isung’s wood. Etgeir is a corruption of Egther, and Isung’s wood is a reminiscence of Isarnvidr, Isarnho, the Ironwood. In the Vilkinasaga he is the brother of Vidolf. According to Hyndluljod, all the valas of the myth come from Vidolf. As Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda is the chief of all valas, and the teacher of the arts practised by the valas, this statement in Hyndluljod makes us think of her particularly; and as Hrimner’s daughter has been born and burnt several times, she may also have had several fathers. Among them, then, is Vidolf, whose character, as described by Saxo, fits well for such a daughter. He is a master in sorcery, and also skilful in the art of medicine. But the medical art he practises in such a manner that those who seek his help receive from him such remedies as do harm instead of good. Only by threats can he be made to do good with his art (Hist., 323, 324). The statement in Vilkinasaga compared with that in Hyndluljod


seems therefore to point to a near kinship between Angerboda and her sword-guard. She appears to be the daughter of his brother.

In Völuspa’s description of the approach of Ragnarok, Egther, Angerboda’s shepherd, is represented as sitting on a mound — like Aurboda’s shepherd in Skirnisför — and playing a harp, happy over that which is to happen. That the giant who is hostile to the gods, and who is the guardian of the strange herds, does not play an idyl on the strings of his harp does not need to be stated. He is visited by a being in the guise of the red cock. The cock, says Völuspa, is Fjalarr (str. 44).

What the heathen records tell us about Fjalar is the following:*

(a) He is the same giant as the Younger Edda (i. 144 ff.) calls Utgard-Loke. The latter is a fire-giant, Loge’s, the fire’s ruler (Younger Edda, 152), the cause of earthquakes (Younger Edda, 144), and skilled in producing optical delusions. Fjalar’s identity with Utgard-Loke is proved by Harbardsljod, str. 26, where Thor, on his way to Fjalar, meets with the same adventures as, according to the Younger Edda, he met with on his way to Utgard-Loke.

(b) He is the same giant as the one called Suttung. The giant from whom Odin robs the skaldic mead, and whose devoted daughter Gunlad he causes bitter sorrow, is called in Havamál sometimes Fjalar and sometimes Suttung (cp. 13, 14, 104, 105).

* In Bragarœdur’s pseudo-mythic account of the Skaldic mead (Younger Edda, 216 ff.) the name Fjalarr also appears. In regard to the value of this account, see the investigation in No. 89.


(c) Fjalar is the son of the chief of the fire-giants, Surtr, and dwells in the subterranean dales of the latter. A full account of this in No. 89. Here it will suffice to point out that when Odin flies out of Fjalar’s dwelling with the skaldic mead, it is “from Surt’s deep dales” that he “flying bears” the precious drink (hinn er Surts or sökkdölum farmagnudr fljúgandi bar, a strophe by Eyvind, quoted in the Younger Edda, p. 242), and that this drink while it remained with Fjalar was “the drink of Surt’s race” (Sylgr Surts ættar, Fornms., iii. 3).

(d) Fjalar, with Froste, takes part in the attack of Thjasse’s kinsmen and the Skilfings from Svarin’s Mound against “the land of the clayey plains, to Jaravall” (Völuspa 14, 15; see Nos. 28, 32). Thus he is allied with the powers of frost, who are foes of the gods, and who seek to conquer the Teutonic domain. The approach of the fimbul-winter was also attended by an earthquake (see Nos. 28, 81).

When, therefore, Völuspa makes Fjalar on his visit to the sword-guardian in the Ironwood appear in the guise of the red cock, then this is in harmony with Fjalar’s nature as a fire-giant and as a son of Surt.

Sat thar a haugi
oc sló haurpo
gygjar hirthir,
gladr Egther.
Gol um honom
i galgvithi
fagrraudr hani
sa er Fjalar heitir (Völusp., 41).


The red cock has from time immemorial been the symbol of fire as a destructive power.

That what Odin does against Fjalar — when he robs him of the mead, which in the myth is the most precious of all drinks, and when he deceived his daughter — is calculated to awaken Fjalar’s thirst for revenge and to bring about a satisfaction sooner or later, lies in the very spirit of Teutonic poetry and ethics, especially since Odin’s act, though done from a good motive, was morally reprehensible. What Fjalar’s errand to Angerboda’s sword-guard was appears from the fact that when the last war between the gods and their enemies is fought a short time afterwards, Fjalar’s father, the chief of the fire-giants, Surt, is armed with the best of the mythical weapons, the sword which had belonged to a valtivi, one of the gods of Asgard (Völusp., 50), and which casts the splendour of the sun upon the world. The famous sword of the myth, that which Thjasse finished with a purpose hostile to the gods (see No. 87 and elsewhere), the sword concealed by Mimer (see Nos. 87, 98, 101), the sword found by Svipdag (see Nos. 89, 101, 103), the sword secured through him by Frey, the one given by Frey to Gymer and Aurboda in exchange for Gerd, — this sword is found again in the Ragnarok conflict, wielded by Surt, and causes Frey’s death (Völuspa), it having been secured by Surt’s son, Fjalar, in the Ironwood from Angerboda’s sword-guard.

Gulli keypta
leztu Gymis dottur
oc seldir thitt sva sverth;


Enn er Muspells synir
rida myrcvith yfir
veizta thu tha, vesall, hve thu vegr.

(Lokas., 42)

This passage not only tells us that Frey gave his sword in exchange for Gerd to the parents of the giantess, Gymer and Aurboda, but also gives us to understand that this bargain shall cause his death in Ragnarok. This bride-purchase is fully described in Skirnersmal, in which poem we learn that the gods most unwillingly part with the safety which the incomparable sword secured to Asgard. They yield in order to save the life of the harvest-god, who was wasting away with longing and anxiety, but not until the giants had refused to accept other Asgard treasures, among them the precious ring Draupner, which the Asa-father once laid on the pulseless breast of his favourite son Balder. At the approach of Ragnarok, Surt’s son, Fjalar, goes to the Ironwood to fetch for his father the sword by which Frey, its former possessor, is to fall. The sword is then guarded by Angerboda’s shepherd, and consequently belongs to her. In other words, the sword which Aurboda enticed Frey to give her is now found in the possession of Angerboda. This circumstance of itself is a very strong reason for their identity. If there were no other evidence of their identity than this, a sound application of methodology would still bid us accept this identity rather than explain the matter by inventing a new, nowhere-supported myth, and thus making the sword pass from Aurboda to another giantess.

When we now add the important fact in the disposition


of this matter, that Aurboda’s son-in-law, Frey, demands, in behalf of a near kinsman, satisfaction from the Asas when they had killed and burnt Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, then it seems to me that there can be no doubt in regard to the identity of Aurboda and Angerboda, the less so, since all that our mythic fragments have to tell us about Gymer’s wife confirms the theory that she is the same person. Aurboda has, like Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, practised the arts of sorcery: she is one of the valas of the evil giant world. This is told to us in a strophe by the skald Refr, who calls her “Gymer’s primeval cold vala” (ursvöl Gymis völva — Younger Edda, i. 326, 496). She might be called “primeval cold” (ursvöl) from the fact that the fire was not able to pierce her heart and change it to ashes, in spite of a threefold burning. Under all circumstances, the passage quoted informs us that she is a vala.

But have our mythic fragments preserved any allusion to show that Aurboda, like Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda, ever dwelt among the gods in Asgard? Asgard is a place where giants are refused admittance. Exceptions from this prohibition must have been very few, and the myths must have given good reasons for them. We know in regard to Loke’s appearance in Asgard, that it is based on a promise given to him by the Asa-father in time’s morning; and the promise was sealed with blood (Lokasenna, 9). If, now, this Aurboda, who, like Angerboda, is a vala of giant race, and, like Angerboda, is the owner of Frey’s sword, and, like Angerboda, is a kinswoman of the Vans — if now this same Aurboda, in further likeness with


Angerboda, was one of the certainly very few of the giant class who was permitted to enter within the gates of Asgard, then it must be admitted that this fact absolutely confirms their identity.

Anrboda did actually dwell in Asgard. Of this we are assured by the poem “Fjölsvinsmal.” There it is related that when Svipdag came to the gates of Asgard to seek and find Menglad-Freyja, who was destined to be his wife (see Nos. 96, 97), he sees Menglad sitting on a hill surrounded by goddesses, whose very names, Eir, Björt, Blid, and Frid, tell us that they are goddesses of lower or higher rank. Eir is an asynja of the healing art (Younger Edda, i. 114). Björt, Blid, and Frid are the dises of splendour, benevolence, and beauty. They are mighty beings, and can give aid in distress to all who worship them (Fjolsv., 40). But in the midst of this circle of dises, who surround Menglad, Svipdag also sees Aurboda (Fjolsv., 38).

Above them Svipdag sees Mimer’s tree — the world-tree (see No. 97), spreading its all-embracing branches, on which grow fruits which soothe kelisjukar konur and lighten the entrance upon terrestrial life for the children of men (Fjolsv., 22). Menglad-Freyja is, as we know, the goddess of love and fertility, and it is Frigg’s and her vocation to dispose of these fruits for the purposes for which they are intended.

The Volsungasaga has preserved a record concerning these fruits, and concerning the giant-daughter who was admitted to Asgard as a maid-servant of the goddesses. A king and queen had long been married without getting


any children. They beseeched the gods for an heir. Frigg heard their prayers and sent them in the guise of a crow the daughter of the giant Hrimner, a giantess who had been adopted in Asgard as Odin’s “wish-maid.” Hrimner’s daughter took an apple with her, and when the queen had eaten it, it was not long before she perceived that her wish would come to pass (Volsungasaga, pp. 1, 2). Hrimner’s daughter is, as we know, Gulveig-Heid.

Thus the question whether Aurboda ever dwelt in Asgard is answered in the affirmative. We have discovered her, though she is the daughter of a giant, in the circle around Menglad-Freyja, where she has occupied a subordinate position as maid-servant. At the same time we have found that Gulveig-Heid has for some time had an occupation in Asgard of precisely the same kind as that which belongs to a dis serving under the goddess of fertility. Thus the similarity between Aurboda and Gulveig-Heid is not confined to the fact that they, although giantesses, dwelt in Asgard, but they were employed there in the same manner.

The demonstration that Gulveig-Heid-Angerboda is identical with Aurboda may now be regarded as completed. Of the one as of the other it is related that she was a vala of giant-race, that she nevertheless dwelt for some time in Asgard, and was there employed by Frigg or Freyja in the service of fertility, and that she possessed the sword, which had formerly belonged to Frey, and by which Frey is to fall. Aurboda is Frey’s mother-in-law, consequently closely related to him; and it must have been in behalf of a near relation that Frey and Njord


demnanded satisfaction from the Asas when the latter slew Gulveig-Heid. Under such circumstances it is utterly impossible from a methodological standpoint to regard them otherwise than identical. We must consider that nearly all mythic characters are polyonomous, and that the Teutonic mythology particularly, on account of its poetics, is burdened with a highly-developed polyonomy.

But of Gulveig-Heid’s and Aurboda’s identity there are also other proofs which, for the sake of completeness, we will not omit.

So far as the very names Gulveig and Aurboda are concerned the one can serve as a paraphrase of the other. The first part of the name Aurboda, the aur of many significations may be referred to eyrir, pl. aurar, which means precious metal, and is thought to be borrowed from the Latin aurum (gold). Thus Gull and Aur correspond. In the same manner veig in Gulveig can correspond to boda in Aurboda. Veig means a fermenting liquid; boda has two significations. It can be the feminine form of bodi, meaning fermenting water, froth, foam. No other names compounded with boda occur in Norse literature than Aurboda and Angerboda.

Ynglingasaga* (ch. 4) relates a tradition that Freyja kendi fyrst med Ásum seid, that Freyja was the first to practise sorcery in Asgard. There is no doubt that the statement is correct. For we have seen that Gulveig-Heid, the sorceress and spreader of sorcery in antiquity, succeeded in getting admission to Asgard, and that Aurboda

* Ynglingsaga is the opening chapters of Snorre Sturlason’s Heimskringla.


is mentioned as particularly belonging to the circle of serving dises who attended Freyja. As this giantess was so zealous in spreading her evil arts among the inhabitants of Midgard, it would be strange if the myth did not make her, after she had gained Freyja’s confidence, try to betray her into practising the same arts. Doubtless Völuspa and Saxo have reference to Gulveig-Heid-Aurboda when they say that Freyja, through some treacherous person among her attendants, was delivered into the hands of the giants.

In his historical account relating how Freyja (Syritha) was robbed from Asgard and came to the giants but was afterwards saved from their power, Saxo (Hist., 331; cp. No. 100) tells that a woman, who was secretly allied with a giant, had succeeded in ingratiating herself in her favour, and for some time performed the duties of a maid-servant at her home; but this she did in order to entice her in a cunning manner away from her safe home to a place where the giant lay in ambush and carried her away to the recesses of his mountain country. (Gigas fœminam subornat, quœ cum obtenta virginis familiaritate, ejus aliquamdiu pedissequam egisset, hanc tandem a paternis procul penatibus, quœsita callidius digressione, reduxit; quam ipse mox irruens in arctiora montanœ crepidinis septa devexit.) Thus Saxo informs us that it was a woman among Freyja’s attendants who betrayed her, and that this woman was allied with the giant world, which is hostile to the gods, while she held a trusted servant’s place with the goddess. Aurboda is the only woman connected with the giants in regard to whom our


mythic records inform us that she occupied such a position with Freyja; and as Aurboda’s character and part, played in the epic of the myth, correspond with such an act of treason, there is no reason for assuming the mere possibility, that the betrayer of Freyja may have been some one else, who is neither mentioned nor known.

With this it is important to compare Völuspa, 26, 27, which not only mentions the fact that Freyja came into the power of the giants through treachery, but also informs us how the treason was punished:

Tha gengo regin oll
A ráukstola,
ginheilog god
oc um that gettuz
hverir hefdi lopt alt
levi blandit
etha ett iotuns
Oths mey gefna
thorr ein thar va
thrungin modi,
hann sialdan sitr
er hann slict um fregn.

These Völuspa lines stand in Codex Regius in immediate connection with the above-quoted strophes which speak of Gulveig-Heid and of the war caused by her between the Asas and Vans. They inform us that the gods assembled to hold a solemn counsel to find out “who had filled all the air with evil,” or “who had delivered Freyja to the race of giants”; and that the person found guilty was at once slain by Thor, who grew most angry.

Now if this person is Gulveig-Aurboda, then it follows


that she received her death-blow from Thor’s hammer, before the Asas made in common the unsuccessful attempt to change her body into ashes. We also find elsewhere in our mythic records that an exceedingly dangerous woman met with precisely this fate. There she is called Hyrrokin. A strophe by Thorbjorn Disarskald, preserved in the Younger Edda, states that Hyrrokin was one of the giantesses slain by Thor. But the very appellation Hyrrokin, which must be an epithet of a giantess known by some other more common name, indicates that some effort worthy of being remembered in the myth had been made to burn her, but that the effort resulted in her being smoked (rökt) rather than that she was burnt; for the epithet Hyrrokin means the “fire-smoked.” For those familiar with the contents of the myth, this epithet was regarded as plain enough to indicate who was meant. If it is not, therefore, to be looked upon as an unhappy and misleading epithet, it must refer to the thrice in vain burnt Gulveig. All that we learn about Hyrrokin confirms her identity with Aurboda. In the symbolic-allegorical work of art, which toward the close of the tenth century decorated a hall at Hjardarholt, and of which I shall give a fuller account elsewhere, the storm which from the land side carried Balder’s ship out on the sea is represented by the giantess Hyrrokin. In the same capacity of storm-giantess carrying sailors out upon the ocean appears Gymer’s wife, Aurboda, in a poem by Refr:

Færir björn, thar er bára
brestr, undinna festa,


Opt i Ægis kjopta
úrsvöl Gymis völva.
“Gymer’s ancient-cold vala often carries the ship amid breaking billows into the jaws of Ægir.” Gymer, Aurboda’s husband, represents in the physical interpretation of the myth the east wind coming from the Ironwood. From the other side of Eystrasalt (the Baltic) Gymer sings his song (Ynglingasaga, 36); and the same gale belongs to Aurboda, for Ægir, into whose jaws she drives the ships, is the great open western ocean. That Aurboda represents the gale from the east finds its natural explanation in her identity with Angerboda “the old,” who dwells in the Ironwood in the uttermost east, Austr byr hin alldna i iarnvithi (Völusp.).

The result of the investigation is that Gulveig-Heidr, Aurboda, and Angrboda are different names for the different hypostases of the thrice-born and thrice-burnt one, and that Hyrrokin, “the fire-smoked,” is an epithet common to all these hypostases.



When the Asas had refused to give satisfaction for the murder of Gulveig, and when Odin, by hurling his spear, had indicated that the treaty of peace between him and the


Vans was broken, the latter leave the assembly hall and Asgard. This is evident from the fact that they afterwards return to Asgard and attack the citadel of the Asa clan. The gods are now divided into two hostile camps: on the one side Odin and his allies, among whom are Heimdal (see Nos. 38, 39, 40) and Skade; on the other Njord, Frigg (Saxo, Hist., 42-44), Frey, Ull (Saxo, Hist., 130, 131), and Freyja and her husband Svipdag, besides all that clan of divinities who were not adopted in Asgard, but belong to the race of Vans and dwell in Vanaheim.

So far as Skade is concerned the breach between the gods seems to have furnished her an opportunity of getting a divorce from Njord, with whom she did not live on good terms. According to statements found in the myths, Thjasse’s daughter and he were altogether too different in disposition to dwell in peace together. Saxo (Hist., 53 ff.) and the Younger Edda (p. 94) have both preserved the record of a song which describes their different tastes as to home and surroundings. Skade loved Thrymheim, the rocky home of her father Thjasse, on whose snow-clad plains she was fond of running on skis and of felling wild beasts with her arrows; but when Njord had remained nine days and nine nights among the mountains he was weary of the rocks and of the howling of wolves, and longed for the song of swans on the sea-strand. But when Skade accompanied him thither she could not long endure to be awakened every morning by the shrieking of sea-fowls. In Grimnersmal, 11, it is said that Skade “now” occupies her father’s “ancient


home” in Thrymheim, but Njord is not there named. In a strophe by Thord Sjarekson (Younger Edda, 262) we read that Skade never became devoted to the Vana-god (nama snotr una godbrúdr Vani), and Eyvind Skaldaspiller relates in Haleygjatal that there was a time when Odin dwelt í Manheimum together with Skade, and begat with her many sons. With Manheimar is meant that part of the world which is inhabited by man; that is to say, Midgard and the lower world, where are also found a race of menskir menn (see Nos. 52, 53, 59, 63), and the topographical counterpart of the word is Ásgardr. Thus it must have been after his banishment from Asgard, while he was separated from Frigg and found refuge somewhere in Manheimar, that Odin had Skade for his wife. Her epithet in Grimnersmal, skír brúdr goda, also seems to indicate that she had conjugal relations with more than one of the gods.

While Odin was absent and deposed as ruler of the world, Ull has occupied so important a position among the ruling Vans that, according to the tradition preserved in Saxo, they bestowed upon him the task and honour which until that time had belonged to Odin (Dii . . . Ollerum quendam non solum in regni, sed etiam in divinitatis infulas subrogavereHist., 130). This is explained by the fact that Njord and Frey, though valtívar and brave warriors when they are invoked, are in their very nature gods of peace and promoters of wealth and agriculture, while Ull is by nature a warrior. He is a skilful archer, excellent in a duel, and hefir hermanns atgervi (Younger Edda, i. 102). Also, after the reconciliation


between the Asas and Vans, Thor’s stepson Ull has held a high position in Asgard, as is apparently corroborated by Odin’s words in Grimnersmal, 41 (Ullar hylli ok allra góda).

From the mythic accounts in regard to the situation and environment of Asgard we may conclude that the siege by the Vans was no easy task. The home of the Asas is surrounded by the atmospheric ocean, whose strong currents make it difficult for the mythic horses to swim to it (see Nos. 65, 93). The bridge Bifrost is not therefore superfluous, but it is that connection between the lower worlds and Asgard which the gods daily use, and which must be captured by the enemy before the great cordon which encloses the shining halls of the gods can be attacked. The wall is built of “the limbs of Leirbrimir” (Fjolsv., 12), and constructed by its architect in such a manner that it is a safe protection against mountain-giants and frost-giants (Younger Edda, 134). In the wall is a gate wondrously made by the artist-brothers who are sons of “Solblinde” (Valgrind — Grimnism., 22; thrymgjöll — Fjölsvinnsm., 10). Few there are who understand the lock of that gate, and if anybody brings it out of its proper place in the wall-opening where it blocks the way for those who have no right to enter, then the gate itself becomes a chain for him who has attempted such a thing (Forn er su grind, enn that fáir vito, hor hve er i lás um lokin — Grimn., 22. Fjöturr fastr verdr vid faranda hvern er hana hefr frá hlidi — Fjölsv., 10).

Outside of the very high Asgard cordon and around it there flows a rapid river (see below), the moat of the


citadel. Over the eddies of the stream floats a dark, shining, ignitible mist. If it is kindled it explodes in flames, whose bickering tongues strike their victims with unerring certainty. It is the vaferloge, “the bickering flame,” “the quick fire,” celebrated in ancient songs — vafrlogi, vafreydi, skjótbrinni. It was this fire which the gods kindled around Asgard when they saw Thjasse approaching in eagle guise. In it their irreconcilable foe burnt his pinions, and fell to the ground. “Haustlaung,” Thjodolf’s poem, says that when Thjasse approached the citadel of the gods “the gods raised the quick fire and sharpened their javelins” — Hófu skjót; en skófu sköpt; ginnregin brinna. The “quick fire,” skjót-brinni, is the vaferloge.*

The material of which the ignitible mist consists is called “black terror-gleam.” It is or odauccom; that is to say, ofdauccom ognar ljoma (Fafn., 40) (cp. myrckvan vafrloga — Skirn., 8, 9; Fjolsv., 31). It is said to be “wise,” which implies that it consciously aims at him for whose destruction it is kindled.

How a water could be conceived that evaporates a dark ignitible mist we find explained in Thorsdrapa. The thunder-storm is the “storm of the vaferfire,” and Thor is the “ruler of the chariot of the vaferfire-storm” (vafr-eyda hreggs húfstjóri). Thus the thundercloud contains the water that evaporates a dark material for lightning. The dark metallic colour which is peculiar to the thunder-cloud was regarded as coming from that very

* The author of Bragarœdur in the Younger Edda has understood this passage to mean that the Asas, when they saw Thjasse approaching, carried out a lot of shavings, which were kindled (!).


material which is the “black terror-gleam” of which lightning is formed. When Thor splits the cloud he separates the two component parts, the water and the vafermist; the former falls down as rain, the latter is ignited and rushes away in quick, bickering, zigzag flames — the vaferfires. That these are “wise” was a common Aryan belief. They do not proceed blindly, but know their mark and never miss it.

The river that foams around Asgard thus has its source in the thunder-clouds; not as we find them after they have been split by Thor, but such as they are originally, swollen with a celestial water that evaporates vafermist. All waters — subterranean, terrestrial, and celestial — have their source in that great subterranean fountain Hvergelmer. Thence they come and thither they return (Grimn., 26; see Nos. 59, 63, 33). Hvergelmer’s waters are sucked up by the northern root of the world-tree; they rise through its trunk, spread into its branches and leaves, and evaporate from its crown into a water-tank situated on the top of Asgard, Eikthyrnir, in Grimnersmal, str. 26, symbolised as a “stag”* who stands on the roof of Odin’s hall and out of whose horns the waters stream down into Hvergelmer. Eikthyrnir is the great celestial water-tank which gathers and lets out the thunder-cloud. In this tank the Asgard river has its source, and hence it consists not only of foaming water but also of ignitible

* In the same poem the elf-artist, Dáinn, and the “dwarf”-artist, Dvalinn, are symbolised as stags, the wanderer Rate (see below) as a squirrel, the wolf-giant Grafvitner’s sons as serpents, the bridge Bifrost as a fish (see No. 93), &c. Fortunately for the comprehension of our mythic records such symbolising is confined to a few strophes in the poem named, and these strophes appear to have belonged originally to an independent song which made a speciality of that sort of symbolism, and to have been incorporated in Grimnersmal in later times.


vafermists. In its capacity of discharger of the thunder-cloud, the tank is called Eikthyrnir, the oak-stinger. Oaks struck by lightning is no unusual occurrence. The oak is, according to popular belief based on observation, that tree which the lightning most frequently strikes.

But Asgard is not the only citadel which is surrounded by vafermists. These are also found enveloping the home where dwelt the storm-giant Gymer and the storm-giantess Aurboda, the sorceress who knows all of Asgard’s secrets, at the time when Frey sent Skírnir to ask for the hand of their daughter Gerd. Epics which in their present form date from Christian times make vaferflames burn around castles, where goddesses, pricked by sleep-thorns, are slumbering. This is a belief of a later age.

To get over or through the vaferflame is, according to the myth, impossible for anyone who has not got a certain mythical horse to ride — probably Sleipnir, the eight-footed steed of the Asa-father, which is the best of all horses (Grimn., 44). The quality of this steed, which enables it to bear its rider unscathed through the vaferflame, makes it indespensable when this obstacle is to be overcome. When Skírnir is to go on Frey’s journey of courtship to Gerd, he asks for that purpose mar thann er mic um myrckvan beri visan vafrloga, and is allowed to ride it on and for the journey (Skirn., 8, 9). This horse must accordingly have been in the possession of the Vans when they conquered Asgard, an assumption confirmed by what is to be stated below. (In the great epic Sigurd’s horse Grane is made to inherit the qualities of this divine horse.)


On the outer side of the Asgard river, and directly opposite the Asgard gate, lie projecting ramparts (forgardir) to protect the drawbridge, which from the opening in the wall can be dropped down across the river (see below). When Svipdag proceeded toward Menglad’s abode in Asgard, he first came to this forgardar (Fjöls., i. 3). There he is hailed by the watch of the citadel, and thence he gets a glimpse over the gate of all the glorious things which are hid behind the high walls of the citadel.

Outside the river Asgard has fields with groves and woods (Younger Edda, 136, 210).

Of the events of the wars waged around Asgard, the mythic fragments, which the Icelandic records have preserved, give us but very little information, though they must have been favourite themes for the heathen skaldic art, which here had an opportunity of describing in a characteristic manner all the gods involved, and of picturing not only their various characters, but also their various weapons, equipments, and horses. In regard to the weapons of attack we must remember that Thor at the outbreak of the conflict is deprived of the assistance of his splendid hammer: it has been broken by Svipdag’s sword of victory (see Nos. 101, 103) — a point which it was necessary for the myth to assume, otherwise the Vans could hardly be represented as conquerors. Nor do the Vans have the above-mentioned sword at their disposal: it is already in the power of Gymer and Aurboda. The irresistible weapons which in a purely mechanical manner would have decided the issue of the war, were disposed of in advance in order that the persons themselves,


with their varied warlike qualities, might get to the foreground and decide the fate of the conflict by heroism or prudence, by prescient wisdom or by blind daring. In this war the Vans have particularly distinguished themselves by wise and well calculated undertakings. This we learn from Völuspa, where it makes the final victors conquer Asgard through vígspá, that is, foreknowledge applied to warlike ends (str. 26). The Asas, as we might expect from Odin’s brave sons, have especially distinguished themselves by their strength and courage. A record of this is found in the words of Thorbjorn Disarskald (Younger Edda, 256):

Thórr hefir Yggs med árum
Ásgard of threk vardan.

“Thor with Odin’s clan-men defended Asgard with indomitable courage.”

But in number they must have been far inferior to their foes. Simply the circumstance that Odin and his men had to confine themselves to the defence of Asgard shows that nearly all other divinities of various ranks had allied themselves with his enemies. The ruler of the lower world (Mimer) and Honer are the only ones of whom it can be said that they remained faithful to Odin; and if we can trust the Heimskringla tradition, which is related as history and greatly corrupted, then Mimer lost his life in an effort at mediation between the contending gods, while he and Honer were held as hostages among the Vans (Ynglingas., ch. 4).


Asgard was at length conquered. Völuspa, str. 24, relates the final catastrophe:

brotinn var bordvegr
borgar asa
knatto vanir vigspa
vollo sporna.

Broken was the bulwark
of the asaburg;
through warlike prudence were the Vans able
its fields to tread.
Völuspa’s words seem to indicate that the Vans took Asgard by strategy; and this is confirmed by a source which shall be quoted below. But to carry out the plan which chiefly involved the finding of means for crossing the vaferflames kindled around the citadel and for opening the gates of Asgard, not only cunning but also courage was required. The myth has given the honour of this undertaking to Njord, the clan-chief of the Vans and the commander of their forces. This is clear from the above-quoted passage: Njordr klauf Herjans hurdir — “Njord broke Odin’s doors open,” which should be compared with the poetical paraphrase for battle-axe: Gauts megin-hurdar galli — “the destroyer of Odin’s great gate,” — a paraphrase that indicates that Njord burst the Asgard gate open with the battle-axe. The conclusion which must be drawn from these utterances is confirmed by an account with which the sixth book of Saxo begins, and which doubtless is a fragment of the myth concerning the conquest of Asgard by the Vans corrupted and told as history.


The event is transferred by Saxo to the reign of King Fridlevus II. It should here be remarked that every important statement made by Saxo about this Fridlevus, on a closer examination, is found to be taken from the myth concerning Njord.

There were at that time twelve brothers, says Saxo, distinguished for courage, strength, and fine physical appearance. They were “widely celebrated for gigantic triumphs.” To their trophies and riches many peoples had paid tribute. But the source from which Saxo received information in regard to Fridlevus’ conflict with them did not mention more than seven of these twelve, and of these seven Saxo gives the names. They are called Bjorn, Asbjorn, Gunbjorn, &c. In all the names is found the epithet of the Asa-god Bjorn.

The brothers had had allies, says Saxo further, but at the point when the story begins they had been abandoned by them, and on this account they had been obliged to confine themselves on an island surrounded by a most violent stream which fell from the brow of a very high rock, and the whole surface of which glittered with raging foam. The island was fortified by a very high wall (prœaltum vallum), in which was built a remarkable gate. It was so built that the hinges were placed near the ground between the sides of the opening in the wall, so that the gate turning thereon could, by a movement regulated by chains, be lowered and form a bridge across the stream.

Thus the gate is, at the same time, a drawbridge of that kind with which the Germans became acquainted during the


war with the Romans already before the time of Tacitus (cp. Annal., iv. 51, with iv. 47). Within the fortification there was a most strange horse, and also a remarkably strong dog, which formerly had watched the herds of the giant Offotes. The horse was celebrated for his size and speed, and it was the only steed with which it was possible for a rider to cross the raging stream around the island fortress.

King Fridlevus now surrounds this citadel with his forces. These are arrayed at some distance from the citadel, and in the beginning nothing else is gained by the siege than that the besieged are hindered from making sallies into the surrounding territory. The citadel cannot be taken unless the above-mentioned horse gets into the power of Fridlevus. Bjorn, the owner of the horse, makes sorties from the citadel, and in so doing he did not always take sufficient care, for on one occasion when he was on the outer side of the stream, and had gone some distance away from his horse, he fell into an ambush laid by Fridlevus. He saved himself by rushing headlong over the bridge, which was drawn up behind him, but the precious horse became Fridlevus’ booty. This was of course a severe loss to the besieged, and must have diminished considerably their sense of security. Meanwhile, Fridlevus was able to manage the matter in such a way that the accident served rather to lull them into increased safety. During the following night the brothers found their horse, safe and sound, back on the island. Hence it must have swum back across the stream. And when it was afterwards found that the dead body of a


man, clad in the shining robes of Fridlevus, floated on the eddies of the stream, they took it for granted that Fridlevus himself had perished in the stream.

But the real facts were as follows: Fridlevus, attended by a single companion, had in the night ridden from his camp to the river. There his companion’s life had to be sacrificed, in order that the king’s plan might be carried out. Fridlevus exchanged clothes with the dead man, who, in the king’s splendid robes, was cast into the stream. Then Fridlevus gave spur to the steed which he had captured, and rode through the eddies of the stream. Having passed this obstacle safely, he set the horse at liberty, climbed on a ladder over the wall, stole into the hall where the brothers were wont to assemble, hid himself under a projection over the hall door, listened to their conversation, saw them go out to reconnoitre the island, and saw them return, secure in the conviction that there was no danger at hand. Then he went to the gate and let it fall across the stream. His forces had, during the night, advanced toward the citadel, and when they saw the drawbridge down and the way open, they stormed the fortress and captured it.

The fact that we here have a transformation of the myth, telling how Njord at the head of the Vans conquered Asgard, is evident from the following circumstances:

(a) The conqueror is Fridlevus. The most of what Saxo relates about this Fridlevus is, as stated, taken from the myth about Njord, and told as history.

(b) The brothers were, according to Saxo, originally twelve, which is the well-established number of Odin’s


clansmen: his sons, and the adopted Asa-gods. But when the siege in question takes place, Saxo finds in his source only seven of the twelve mentioned as enclosed in the citadel besieged by Fridlevus. The reason for the diminishing of the number is to be found in the fact that the adopted gods — Njord, Frey, and Ull — had left Asgard, and are in fact identical with the leaders of the besiegers. If we also deduct Balder and Hödr, who, at the time of the event, are dead and removed to the lower world, then we have left the number seven given. The name Bjorn, which they all bear, is an Asa epithet (Younger Edda, i. 553). The brothers have formerly had allies, but these have abandoned them (deficientibus a se sociis), and it is on this account that they must confine themselves within their citadel. The Asas have had the Vans and other divine powers as allies, but these abandon them, and the Asas must defend themselves on their own fortified ground.

(c) Before this the brothers have made themselves celebrated for extraordinary exploits, and have enjoyed a no less extraordinary power. They shone on account of their giganteis triumphis — an ambiguous expression which alludes to the mythic sagas concerning the victories of the Asas over Jotunheim’s giants (gigantes), and nations have submitted to them as victors, and enriched them with treasures (trophœis gentium celebres, spoliis locupletes).

(d) The island on which they are confined is fortified, like the Asa citadel, by an immensely high wall (prœaltum vallum), and is surrounded by a stream which is impassable


unless one possesses a horse which is found among the brothers. Asgard is surrounded by a river belt covered with vaferflames, which cannot be crossed unless one has that single steed which um myrckvan beri visan vafrloga, and this belongs to the Asas.

(e) The stream which roars around the fortress of the brothers comes ex summis montium cacuminibus. The Asgard stream comes from the collector of the thunder-cloud, Eikthynir, who stands on the summit of the world of the gods. The kindled vaferflames, which did not suit an historical narration, are explained by Saxo to be a spumeus candor, a foaming whiteness, a shining froth, which in uniform, eddying billows everywhere whirl on the surface of the stream (tota alvei tractu undis uniformiter turbidatis spumeus ubique candor exuberat).

(f) The only horse which is able to run through the shining and eddying foam is clearly one of the mythic horses. It is named along with another prodigy from the animal kingdom of mythology, viz., the terrible dog of the giant Offotes. Whether this is a reminiscence of Fenrir which was kept for some time in Asgard, or of Odin’s wolf-dog Freki, or of some other saga-animal of that sort, we will not now decide.

(g) Just as Asgard has an artfully contrived gate, so has also the citadel of the brothers. Saxo’s description of the gate implies that any person who does not know its character as a drawbridge, but lays violent hands on the mechanism which holds it in an upright position, falls, and is crushed under it. This explains the words of Fjölsvinnsmal about the gate to that citadel, within which


Freyja-Menglad dwells: Fjöturr fastr verdr vid faranda hvern, er hana hefr frá hlidi.

(h) In the myth, it is Njord himself who removes the obstacle, “Odin’s great gate,” placed in his way. In Saxo’s account, it is Fridlevus himself who accomplishes the same exploit.

(i) In Saxo’s narration occurs an improbability, which is explained by the fact that he has transformed a myth into history. When Fridlevus is safe across the stream, he raises a ladder against the wall and climbs up on to it. Whence did he get this ladder, which must have been colossal, since the wall he got over in this manner is said to be præaltum? Could he have taken it with him on the horse’s back? Or did the besieged themselves place it against the wall as a friendly aid to the foe, who was already in possession of the only means for crossing the stream? Both assumptions are alike improbable. Saxo had to take recourse to a ladder, for he could not, without damaging the “historical” character of his story, repeat the myth’s probable description of the event. The horse which can gallop through the bickering flame can also leap over the highest wall. Sleipnir’s ability in this direction is demonstrated in the account of how it, with Hermod in the saddle, leaps over the wall to Balder’s high hall in the lower world (Younger Edda, 178). The impassibility of the Asgard wall is limited to mountain-giants and frost-giants; for a god riding Odin’s horse the wall was no obstacle. No doubt the myth has also stated that the Asas, after Njord had leaped over the wall and sought out the above-mentioned place of concealment,


found within the wall their precious horse again, which lately had become the booty of the enemy. And where else should they have found it, if we regard the stream with the bickering flames as breaking against the very foot of the wall?

Finally, it should be added, that our myths tell of no other siege than the one Asgard was subjected to by the Vans. If other sieges have been mentioned, they cannot have been of the same importance as this one, and consequently they could not so easily have left traces in the mythic traditions adapted to history or heroic poetry; nor could a historicised account of a mythic siege which did not concern Asgard have preserved the points here pointed out, which are in harmony with the story of the Asgard siege.

When the citadel of the gods is captured, the gods are, as we have seen, once more in possession of the steed, which, judging from its qualities, must be Sleipnir. Thus, Odin has the means of escaping from the enemy after all resistance has proved impossible. Thor has his thundering car, which, according to the Younger Edda, has room for several besides the owner, and the other Asas have splendid horses (Grimnersmal, Younger Edda), even though they are not equal to that of their father. The Asas give up their throne of power, and the Vans now assume the rule of the world.



In regard to the significance of the change of administration in the world of gods, Saxo has preserved a tradition which is of no small interest. The circumstance that Odin and his sons had to surrender the reign of the world did not imply that mankind should abandon their faith in the old gods and accept a new religion. Hitherto the Asas and Vans had been worshipped in common. Now, when Odin was deposed, his name, honoured by the nations, was not to be obliterated. The name was given to Ull, and, as if he really were Odin, he was to receive the sacrifices and prayers that hitherto had been addressed to the banished one (Hist., 130). The ancient faith was to be maintained, and the shift involved nothing but the person; there was no change of religion. But in connection with this information, we also learn, from another statement in Saxo, that the myth concerning the war between Asas and Vans was connected with traditions concerning a conflict between various views among the believers in the Teutonic religion concerning offerings and prayers. The one view was more ritual, and demanded more attention paid to sacrifices. This view seems to have gotten the upper hand after the banishment of Odin. It was claimed that sacrifices and hymns addressed at the same time to several or all of the gods, did not have the efficacy of pacifying and reconciling


angry deities, but that to each one of the gods should be given a separate sacrificial service (Saxo, Hist., 43). The result of this was, of course, an increase of sacrifices and a more highly-developed ritual, which from its very nature might have produced among the Teutons the same hierarchy as resulted from an excess of sacrifices among their Aryan-Asiatic kinsmen. The correctness of Saxo’s statement is fully confirmed by strophe 145 in Havamál, which advocates the opposite and incomparably more moderate view in regard to sacrifices. This view came, according to the strophe, from Odin’s own lips. He is made to proclaim it to the people “after his return to his ancient power.”

Betra er obethit
en se ofblothit
ey ser til gildis giof;
betra er osennt
enn se ofsóit.
Sva thundr um reist
fyr thiotha rauc,
thar hann up um reis
er hann aptr of kom.

The expression, thar hann up um reis, er hann apter of kom, refers to the fact that Odin had for some time been deposed from the administration of the world, but had returned, and that he then proclaimed to the people the view in regard to the real value of prayers and sacrifices which is laid down in the strophe. Hence it follows that before Odin returned to his throne another more exacting doctrine in regard to sacrifices had, according to the myth, secured prevalence. This is precisely what Saxo tells us.


It is difficult to repress the question whether an historical reminiscence is not concealed in these statements. May it not be the record of conflicting views within the Teutonic religion — views represented in the myth by the Vana-gods on the one side and the Asas on the other? The Vana views, I take it, represented tendencies which, had they been victorious, would have resulted in hierarchy, while the Asa doctrine represented the tendencies of the believers in the time-honoured Aryan custom of those who maintained the priestly authority of the father of the family, and who defended the efficacy of the simple hymns and sacrifices which from time out of mind had been addressed to several or all of the gods in common. That the question really has existed among the Teutonic peoples, at least as a subject for reflection, spontaneously suggests itself in the myth alluded to above. This myth has discussed the question, and decided it in precisely the same manner as history has decided it among the Teutonic races, among whom priestcraft and ritualism have held a far less important position than among their western kinsmen, the Celts, and their eastern kinsmen, the Iranians and Hindoos. That prayers on account of their length, or sacrifices on account of their abundance, should give evidence of greater piety and fear of God, and should be able to secure a more ready hearing, is a doctrine which Odin himself rejects in the strophe above cited. He understands human nature, and knows that when a man brings abundant sacrifices he has the selfish purpose in view of prevailing on the gods to give a more abundant reward — a purpose prompted by selfishness, not by piety.



The conflict between the gods has its counterpart in, and is connected with, a war between all the Teutonic races, and the latter is again a continuation of the feud between Halfdan and Svipdag. The Teutonic race comes to the front fighting under three race-representatives — (1) Yngve-Svipdag, the son of Orvandel and Groa; (2) Gudhorm, the son of Halfdan and Groa, consequently Svipdag’s half-brother; (3) Hadding, the son of Halfdan and Alveig (in Saxo called Signe, daughter of Sumbel), consequently Gudhorm’s half-brother.

The ruling Vans favour Svipdag, who is Freyja’s husband and Frey’s brother-in-law. The banished Asas support Hadding from their place of refuge. The conflict between the gods and the war between Halfdan’s successor and heir are woven together. It is like the Trojan war, where the gods, divided into parties, assist the Trojans or assist the Danai. Odin, Thor, and Heimdal interfere, as we shall see, to protect Hadding. This is their duty as kinsmen; for Heimdal, having assumed human nature, was the lad with the sheaf of grain who came to the primeval country and became the father of Borgar, who begat the son Halfdan. Thor was Halfdan’s associate father; hence he too had duties of kinship toward Hadding and Gudhorm, Halfdan’s sons. The gods, on the


other hand, that favour Svipdag are, in Hadding’s eyes, foes, and Hadding long refuses to propitiate Frey by a demanded sacrifice (Saxo, Hist., 49, 50).

This war, simultaneously waged between the clans of the gods on the one hand, and between the Teutonic tribes on the other, is what the seeress in Völuspa calls “the first great war in the world.” She not only gives an account of its outbreak and events among the gods, but also indicates that it was waged on the earth. Then —

sa hon valkyrior,
vitt um komnar,
gaurvar at rida
til Godthjodar.
saw she valkyires
far travelled
equipped to ride
to Godthjod.

Godthjod is the Teutonic people and the Teutonic country.

When Svipdag had slain Halfdan, and when the Asas were expelled, the sons of the Teutonic patriarch were in danger of falling into the power of Svipdag. Thor interested himself in their behalf; and brought Gudhorm and Hadding to Jotunheim, where he concealed them with the giants Hafli and Vagnhofde — Gudhorm in Hafli’s rocky gard and Hadding in Vagnhofde’s. In Saxo, who relates this story, the Asa-god Thor appears partly as Thor deus and Thoro pugil, Halfdan’s protector, whom Saxo himself identifies as the god Thor (Hist., 324), and partly as Brac and Brache, which name Saxo formed from Thor’s epithet, Asa-Bragr. It is by the name Brache that Thor appears as the protector of Halfdan’s sons. The giants Hafli and Vagnhofde dwell, according to Saxo, in “Svetia” probably, since Jotunheim, the northernmost


Sweden, and the most distant east were called Svithiod hiin kalda.*

Svipdag waged war against Halfdan, since it was his duty to avenge the disgrace of his mother Groa, and also that of his mother’s father, and, as shall be shown later, the death of his father Orvandel (see Nos. 108, 109). The revenge for bloodshed was sacred in the Teutonic world, and this duty he performed when he with his irresistible sword felled his stepfather. But thereby the duty of revenge for bloodshed was transferred to Halfdan’s sons — less to Gudhorm, who is himself a son of Groa, but with all its weight to Hadding, the son of Alveig, and it is his bounden duty to bring about Svipdag’s death, since Svipdag had slain Halfdan. Connecting itself with Halfdan’s robbery of Groa, the goddess of growth, the red thread of revenge for bloodshed extends throughout the great hero-saga of Teutonic mythology.

Svipdag makes an effort to cut the thread. He offers Gudhorm and Hadding peace and friendship, and promises them kingship among the tribes subject to him. Groa’s son, Gudhorm, accepts the offer, and Svipdag makes him ruler of the Danes; but Hadding sends answer that he prefers to avenge his father’s death to accepting favours from an enemy (Saxo, Hist., 35, 36).

Svipdag’s offer of peace and reconciliation is in harmony, if not with his own nature, at least with that of his kinsmen, the reigning Vans. If the offer to Hadding had

* Filii Gram, Guthormus et Hadingus, quorum alterum Gro, alterum Signe enixa est, Svipdagero Daniam obtinente, per educatorem suum Brache nave Svetiam deportati, Vagnophto et Haphlio gigantibus non solum alendi, verum etiam defensandi traduntur (Saxo, Hist., 34).


been accepted, we might have looked for peace in the world. Now the future is threatened with the devastations of war, and the bloody thread of revenge shall continue to be spun if Svipdag does not prevent it by overpowering Hadding. The myth may have contained much information about the efforts of the one camp to capture him and about contrivances of the other to frustrate these efforts. Saxo has preserved a partial record thereof. Among those who plot against Hadding is also Loke (Lokerus — Saxo, Hist., 40, 41),* the banished ally of Aurboda. His purpose is doubtless to get into the favour of the reigning Vans. Hadding is no longer safe in Vagnhofde’s mountain home. The lad is exposed to Loke’s snares. From one of these he is saved by the Asa-father himself. There came, says Saxo, on this occasion a rider to Hadding. He resembled a very aged man, one of whose eyes was lost (grandœvus quidam altero orbus oculo). He placed Hadding in front of himself on the horse, wrapped his mantle about him, and rode away. The lad became curious and wanted to see whither they were going. Through a hole in the mantle he got an opportunity of looking down, and found to his astonishment and fright that land and sea were far below the hoofs of the steed. The rider must have noticed his fright, for he forbade him to look out any more.

The rider, the one-eyed old man, is Odin, and the horse is Sleipnir, rescued from the captured Asgard. The

* The form Loki is also duplicated by the form Lokr. The latter is preserved in the sense of “effeminated man,” found in myths concerning Loke. Compare the phrase “veykr Lokr” with “hinn veyki Loki.”


place to which the lad is carried by Odin is the place of refuge secured by the Asas during their exile i Manheimum. In perfect harmony with the myths, Saxo refers Odin’s exile to the time preceding Hadding’s juvenile adventures, and makes Odin’s return to power simultaneous with Hadding’s great victory over his enemies (Hist., 42-44). Saxo has also found in his sources that sword-slain men, whom Odin chooses during “the first great war in the world,” cannot come to Valhal. The reason for this is that Odin is not at that time the ruler there. They have dwelling-places and plains for their warlike amusements appointed in the lower world (Hist., 51).

The regions which, according to Saxo, are the scenes of Hadding’s juvenile adventures lie on the other side of the Baltic down toward the Black Sea. He is associated with “Curetians” and “Hellespontians,” doubtless for the reason that the myth has referred those adventures to the far east.

The one-eyed old man is endowed with wonderful powers. When he landed with the lad at his home, he sang over him prophetic incantations to protect him (Hist., 40), and gave him a drink of the “most splendid sort,” which produced in Hadding enormous physical strength, and particularly made him able to free himself from bonds and chains. (Compare Havamál, str. 149, concerning Odin’s freeing incantations by which “fetters spring from the feet and chains from the hands.”) A comparison with other passages, which I shall discuss later, shows that the potion of which the old man is lord contains


something which is called “Leifner’s flames,” and that he who has been permitted to drink it, and over whom freeing incantations have simultaneously been sung, is able with his warm breath to free himself from every fetter which has been put on his enchanted limbs (see Nos. 43, 96, 103).

The old man predicts that Hadding will soon have an opportunity of testing the strength with which the drink and the magic songs have endowed him. And the prophecy is fulfilled. Hadding falls into the power of Loke. He chains him and threatens to expose him as food for a wild beast — in Saxo a lion, in the myth presumably some one of the wolf or serpent prodigies that are Loke’s offspring. But when his guards are put to sleep by Odin’s magic song, though Odin is far away, Hadding bursts his bonds, slays the beast, and eats, in obedience to Odin’s instructions, its heart. (The saga of Sigurd Fafnersbane has copied this feature. Sigurd eats the heart of the dragon Fafner and gets wisdom thereby.)

Thus Hadding has become a powerful hero, and his task to make war on Svipdag, to revenge on him his father’s death, and to recover the share in the rulership of the Teutons which Halfdan had possessed, now lies before him as the goal he is to reach.

Hadding leaves Vagnhofde’s home. The latter’s daughter, Hardgrep, who had fallen in love with the youth, accompanies him. When we next find Hadding he is at the head of an army. That this consisted of the tribes of Eastern Teutondom is confirmed by documents


which I shall hereafter quote; but it also follows from Saxo’s narrative, although he has referred the war to narrower limits than were given to it in the myth, since he, constructing a Danish history from mythic traditions, has his eyes fixed chiefly on Denmark. Over the Scandian tribes and the Danes rule, according to Saxo’s own statement, Svipdag, and as his tributary king in Denmark his half-brother Gudhorm. Saxo also is aware that the Saxons, the Teutonic tribes of the German lowlands, on one occasion were the allies of Svipdag (Hist., 34). From these parts of Teutondom did not come Hadding’s friends, but his enemies; and when we add that the first battle which Saxo mentions in this war was fought among the Curetians east of the Baltic, then it is clear that Saxo, too, like the other records to which I am coming later, has conceived the forces under Hadding’s banner as having been gathered in the East. From this it is evident that the war is one between the tribes of North Teutondom, led by Svipdag and supported by the Vans on the one side, and the tribes of East Teutondom, led by Hadding and supported by the Asas on the other. But the tribes of the western Teutonic continent have also taken part in the first great war of mankind. Gudhorm, whom Saxo makes a tributary king in Yngve-Svipdag’s most southern domain, Denmark, has in the mythic traditions had a much greater empire, and has ruled over the tribes of Western and Southern Teutondom, as shall be shown hereafter.



The circumstance that the different divine clans had their favourites in the different camps gives the war a peculiar character. The armies see before a battle supernatural forms contending with each other in the starlight, and recognise in them their divine friends and opponents (Hist., 48). The elements are conjured on one and the other side for the good or harm of the contending brother-tribes. When fog and pouring rain suddenly darken the sky and fall upon Hadding’s forces from that side where the fylkings of the North are arrayed, then the one-eyed old man comes to their rescue and calls forth dark masses of clouds from the other side, which force back the rain-clouds and the fog (Hist., 53). In these cloud-masses we must recognise the presence of the thundering Thor, the son of the one-eyed old man.

Giants also take part in the conflict. Vagnhofde and Hardgrep, the latter in a man’s attire, contend on the side of the foster-son and the beloved Hadding (Hist., 45, 38). From Icelandic records we learn that Hafli and the giantesses Fenja and Menja fight under Gudhorm’s banners. In the Grottesong (14, 15) these maids sing:

En vit sithan
a Svidiothu
framvisar tvœr
i folk stigum;
beiddum biornu,


en brutum skioldu
gengum igegnum
graserkiat lit.
Steyptom stilli,
studdum annan,
veittum gothum
Gothormi lid.
That the giant Hafli fought on the side of Gudhorm is probable from the fact that he is his foster-father, and it is confirmed by the fact that Thor paraphrased (Grett., 30) is called fangvinr Hafla, “he who wrestled with Hafli.” Since Thor and Hafli formerly were friends — else the former would not have trusted Gudhorm to the care of the latter — their appearance afterwards as foes can hardly be explained otherwise than by the war between Thor’s protégé Hadding and Hafli’s foster-son Gudhorm. And as Hadding’s foster-father, the giant Vagnhofde, faithfully supports the young chief whose childhood he protected, then the myth could scarcely avoid giving a similar part to the giant Hafli, and thus make the foster-fathers, like the foster-sons, contend with each other. The heroic poems are fond of parallels of this kind.

When Svipdag learns that Hadding has suddenly made his appearance in the East, and gathered its tribes around him for a war with Gudhorm, he descends from Asgard and reveals himself in the primeval Teutonic country on the Scandian peninsula, and requests its tribes to join the Danes and raise the banner of war against Halfdan’s and Alveig’s son, who, at the head of the eastern Teutons, is marching against their half-brother Gudhorm.


The friends of both parties among the gods, men and giants, hasten to attach themselves to the cause which they have espoused as their own, and Vagnhofde among the rest abandons his rocky home to fight by the side of his foster-son and daughter.

This mythic situation is described in a hitherto unexplained strophe in the Old English song concerning the names of the letters in the runic alphabet. In regard to the rune which answers to I there is added the following lines:

Ing väs œrest mid Eástdenum
geseven secgum od he siddan eást
ofer væg gevât. Væn æfter ran;
thus Heardingas thone häle nemdon.

“Yngve (Inge) was first seen among the East-Danemen.
Then be betook himself eastward over the sea.
Vagn hastened to follow:
Thus the Heardings called this hero.”
The Heardings are the Haddings — that is to say, Hadding himself, the kinsmen and friends who embraced his cause, and the Teutonic tribes who recognised him as their chief. The Norse Haddingr is to the Anglo-Saxon Hearding as the Norse haddr to the Anglo-Saxon heard. Vigfusson, and before him J. Grimm, have already identified these forms.

Ing is Yngve-Svipdag, who, when he left Asgard, “was first seen among the East-Danes.” He calls Swedes and Danes to arms against Hadding’s tribes. The Anglo-Saxon strophe confirms the fact that they dwell in the East, separated by a sea from the Scandian


tribes. Ing, with his warriors, “betakes himself eastward over the sea” to attack them. Thus the armies of the Swedes and Danes go by sea to the seat of war. What the authorities of Tacitus heard among the continental Teutons about the mighty fleets of the Swedes may be founded on the heroic songs about the first great war not less than on fact. As the army which was to cross the Baltic must be regarded as immensely large, so the myth, too, has represented the ships of the Swedes as numerous, and in part as of immense size. A confused record from the songs about the expedition of Svipdag and his friends against the East Teutons, found in Icelandic tradition, occurs in Fornald, pp. 406-407, where a ship called Gnod, and capable of carrying 3000 men, is mentioned as belonging to a King Asmund. Odin did not want this monstrous ship to reach its destination, but sank it, so it is said, in the Lessö seaway, with all its men and contents. The Asmund who is known in the heroic sagas of heathen times is a son of Svipdag and a king among the Sviones (Saxo, Hist., 44). According to Saxo, he has given brilliant proofs of his bravery in the war against Hadding, and fallen by the weapons of Vagnhofde and Hadding. That Odin in the Icelandic tradition appears as his enemy thus corresponds with the myth. The same Asmund may, as Gisle Brynjulfsson has assumed, be meant in Grimnersmal (49), where we learn that Odin, concealing himself under the name Jalk, once visited Asmund.

The hero Vagn, whom “the Haddings so called,” is Hadding’s foster-father, Vagnhofde. As the word


höfdi constitutes the second part of a mythic name, the compound form is a synonym of that name which forms the first part of the composition. Thus Svarthöfdi is identical with Svartr, Surtr. In Hyndluljod, 33, all the mythical sorcerers (seidberendr) are said to be sprung from Svarthöfdi. In this connection we must first of all think of Fjalar, who is the greatest sorcerer in mythology. The story about Thor’s, Thjalfe’s, and Loke’s visit to him is a chain of delusions of sight and hearing called forth by Fjalar, so that the Asa-god and his companions always mistake things for something else than they are. Fjalar is a son of Surtr (see No. 89). Thus the greatest agent of sorcery is descended from Surtr, Svartr, and, as Hyndluljod states that all magicians of mythology have come of some Svarthöfdi, Svartr and Svarthöfdi must be identical. And so it is with Vagn and Vagnhöfdi; they are different names for the same person.

When the Anglo-Saxon rune-strophe says that Vagn “made haste to follow” after Ing had gone across the sea, then this is to be compared with Saxo’s statement (Hist., 45), where it is said that Hadding in a battle was in greatest peril of losing his life, but was saved by the sudden and miraculous landing of Vagnhofde, who came to the battle-field and placed himself at his side. The Scandian fylkings advanced against Hadding’s; and Svipdag’s son Asmund, who fought at the head of his men, forced his way forward against Hadding himself, with his shield thrown on his back, and with both his hands on the hilt of a sword which felled all before it.


Then Hadding invoked the gods who were the friends of himself and his race (Hadingo familiarium sibi numinum præsidia postulante subito Vagnophtus partibus ejus propugnaturus advehitur), and then Vagnhofde is brought (advehitur) by some one of these gods to the battle-field and suddenly stands by Hadding’s side, swinging a crooked sword* against Asmund, while Hadding hurls his spear against him. This statement in Saxo corresponds with and explains the old English strophe’s reference to a quick journey which Vagn made to help Heardingas against Ing, and it is also illustrated by a passage in Grimnersmal, 49, which, in connection with Odin’s appearance at Asmund’s, tells that he once by the name Kjalar “drew Kjalki” (mic heto Jalc at Asmundar, enn tha Kialar, er ec Kialka dró). The word and name Kjálki, as also Sledi, is used as a paraphrase of the word and name Vagn.** Thus Odin has once “drawn Vagn” (waggon). The meaning of this is clear from what is stated above. Hadding calls on Odin, who is the friend of him and of his cause, and Odin, who on a former occasion has carried Hadding on Sleipnir’s back through the air, now brings, in the same or a similar manner, Vagnhofde to the battle-field, and places him near his foster-son. This episode is also interesting from the fact that we can draw from it the conclusion

* The crooked sword, as it appears from several passages in the sagas, has long been regarded by our heathen ancestors as a foreign form of weapon, used by the giants, but not by the gods or by the heroes of Midgard.

** Compare Fornald., ii. 118, where the hero of the saga cries to Gusi, who comes running after him with “2 hreina ok vagn” —

Skrid thu af kjalka,
Kyrr thu hreina,
seggr sidförull
seg hvattu heitir!


that the skalds who celebrated the first great war in their songs made the gods influence the fate of the battle, not directly but indirectly. Odin might himself have saved his favourite, and he might have slain Svipdag’s son Asmund with his spear Gungnir; but he does not do so; instead, he brings Vagnhofde to protect him. This is well calculated from an epic standpoint, while dii ex machina, when they appear in person on the battle-field with their superhuman strength, diminish the effect of the deeds of mortal heroes, and deprive every distress in which they have taken part of its more earnest significance. Homer never violated this rule without injury to the honour either of his gods or of his heroes.



The first great conflict in which the warriors of North and West Teutondom fight with the East Teutons ends with the complete victory of Groa’s sons. Hadding’s fylkings are so thoroughly beaten and defeated that he, after the end of the conflict, is nothing but a defenceless fugitive, wandering in deep forests with no other companion than Vagnhofde’s daughter, who survived the battle and accompanies her beloved in his wanderings in the wildernesses. Saxo ascribes the victory won over Hadding to Loke. It follows of itself that, in a war


whose deepest root must be sought in Loke’s and Aurboda’s intrigues, and in which the clans of gods on both sides take part, Loke should not be excluded by the skalds from influence upon the course of events. We have already seen that he sought to ruin Hadding while the latter was still a boy. He afterwards appears in various guises as evil counsellor, as an evil intriguer, and as a skilful arranger of the fylkings on the field of battle. His purpose is to frustrate every effort to bring about reconciliation, and by means of persuasion and falsehoods to increase the chances of enmity between Halfdan’s descendants, in order that they may mutually destroy each other (see below). His activity among the heroes is the counterpart of his activity among the gods. The merry, sly, cynical, blameworthy, annd profoundly evil Mefisto of the Teutonic mythology is bound to bring about the ruin of the Teutonic people like that of the gods of the Teutons.

In the later Icelandic traditions he reveals himself as the evil counsellor of princes in the forms of Blind ille, Blind bölvise (in Saxo Bolvisus); Bikki; in the German and Old English traditions as Sibich, Sifeca, Sifka. Bikki is a name-form borrowed from Germany. The original Norse Loke-epithet is Bekki, which means “the foe,” “the opponent.” A closer examination shows that everywhere where this counsellor appears his enterprises have originally been connected with persons who belong to Borgar’s race. He has wormed himself into the favour of both the contending parties — as Blind illi with King Hadding — whereof Hromund Greipson’s saga has


preserved a distorted record — as Bikke, Sibeke, with King Gudhorm (whose identity with Jormunrek shall be established below). As Blind bölvise he lies in waiting for and seeks to capture the young “Helge Hundingsbane,” that is to say, Halfdan, Hadding’s father (Helge Hund., ii.). Under his own name, Loke, he lies in waiting for and seeks to capture the young Hadding, Halfdan’s son. As a cunning general and cowardly warrior he appears in the German saga-traditions, and there is every reason to assume that it is his activity in the first great war as the planner of Gudhorm’s battle-line that in the Norse heathen records secured Loke the epithets sagna hrœrir and sagna sviptir, the leader of the warriors forward and the leader of the warriors back — epithets which otherwise would be both unfounded and incomprehensible, but they are found both in Thjodolf’s poem Haustlaung, and in Eilif Gudrunson’s Thorsdrapa. It is also a noticeable fact that while Loke in the first great battle which ends with Hadding’s defeat determines the array of the victorious army — for only on this basis can the victory be attributed to him by Saxo — it is in the other great battle in which Hadding is victorious that Odin himself determines how the forces of his protégé are to be arranged, namely, in that wedge-form which after that time and for many centuries following was the sacred and strictly preserved rule for the battle-array of Teutonic forces. Thus the ancient Teutonic saga has mentioned and compared with one another two different kinds of battle-arrays — the one invented by Loke and the other invented by Odin.


During his wanderings in the forests of the East Hadding has had wonderful adventures and passed through great trials. Saxo tells one of these adventures. He and Hardgrep, Vagnhofde’s daughter, came late one evening to a dwelling where they got lodgings for the night. The husband was dead, but not yet buried. For the purpose of learning Hadding’s destiny, Hardgrep engraved speech-runes (see No. 70) on a piece of wood, and asked Hadding to place it under the tongue of the dead one. The latter would in this wise recover the power of speech and prophecy. So it came to pass. But what the dead one sang in an awe-inspiring voice was a curse on Hardgrep, who had compelled him to return from life in the lower world to life on earth, and a prediction that an avenging Nifelheim demon would inflict punishment on her for what she had done. A following night, when Hadding and Hardgrep had sought shelter in a bower of twigs and branches which they had gathered, there appeared a gigantic hand groping under the ceiling of the bower. The frightened Haddinng waked Hardgrep. She then rose in all her giant strength, seized the mysterious hand, and bade Hadding cut it off with his sword. He attempted to do this, but from the wounds he inflicted on the ghost’s hand there issued matter or venom more than blood, and the hand seized Hardgrep with its iron claws and tore her into pieces (Saxo, Hist., 36 ff.).

When Hadding in this manner had lost his companion, he considered himself abandoned by everybody; but the one-eyed old man had not forgotten his favourite.


He sent him a faithful helper, by name Liserus (Saxo, Hist., 40). Who was Liserus in our mythology?

First, as to the name itself: in the very nature of the case it must be the Latinising of some one of the mythological names or epithets that Saxo found in the Norse records. But as no such root as lis or lís is to be found in the old Norse language and as Saxo interchanges the vowels i and y,* we must regard Liserus as a Latinising of Lýsir, “the shining one,” “the one giving light,” “the bright one.” When Odin sent a helper thus described to Hadding, it must have been a person belonging to Odin’s circle and subject to him. Such a person and described by a similar epithet is hinn hvíti áss, hvítastr ása (Heimdal). In Saxo’s account, this shining messenger is particularly to oppose Loke (Hist., 40). And in the myth it is the keen-sighted and faithful Heimdal who always appears as the opposite of the cunning and faithless Loke. Loke has to contend with Heimdal when the former tries to get possession of Brísingamen, and in Ragnarok the two opponents kill each other. Hadding’s shining protector thus has the same part to act in the heroic saga as the whitest of the Asas in the mythology. If we now add that Heimdal is Hadding’s progenitor, and on account of blood kinship owes him special protection in a war in which all the gods have taken part either for or against Halfdan’s and Alveig’s son, then we are forced by every consideration to regard Liserus and Heimdal as identical (see further, No. 82).

* Compare the double forms Trigo, Thrygir; Ivarus, Yvarus; Sibbo, Sybbo; Siritha, Syritha; Sivardus, Syvardus; Hiberniu, Hybernia; Isora, Ysora.



Some time later there has been a change in Hadding’s affairs. He is no longer the exile wandering about in the forests, but appears once more at the head of warlike hosts. But although he accomplishes various exploits, it still appears from Saxo’s narrative that it takes a long time before he becomes strong enough to meet his enemies in a decisive battle with hope of success. In the meanwhile he has succeeded in accomplishing the revenge of his father and slaying Svipdag (Saxo, Hist., 42) — this under circumstances which I shall explain below (No. 106). The proof that the hero-saga has left a long space of time between the great battle lost by Hadding and that in which he wins a decided victory is that he, before this conflict is fought out, has slain a young grandson (son’s son) of Svipdag, that is, a son of Asmund, who was Svipdag’s son (Saxo, Hist., 46). Hadding was a mere boy when Svipdag first tried to capture him. He is a man of years when he, through decided successes on the battle-field, acquires and secures control of a great part of the domain over which his father, the Teutonic patriarch, reigned. Hence he must have spent considerable time in the place of refuge which Odin opened for him, and under the protection of that subject of Odin, called by Saxo Liserus.


In the time intervening important events have taken place in the world of the gods. The two clans of gods, the Asas and Vans, have become reconciled. Odin’s exile lasted, according to Saxo, only ten years, and there is no reason for doubting the mythical correctness of this statement. The reconciliation must have been demanded by the dangers which their enmity caused to the administration of the world. The giants, whose purpose it is to destroy the world of man, became once more dangerous to the earth on account of the war among the gods. During this time they made a desperate effort to conquer Asgard occupied by the Vans. The memory of this expedition was preserved during the Christian centuries in the traditions concerning the great Hun war. Saxo (Hist., 231 ff.) refers this to Frotho III’s reign. What he relates about this Frotho, son of Fridlevus (Njord), is for the greatest part a historicised version of the myth about the Vana-god Frey (see No. 102); and every doubt that his account of the war of the “Huns” against Frotho has its foundation in mythology, and belongs to the chain of events here discussed, vanishes when we learn that the attack of the Huns against Frotho-Frey’s power happened at a time when an old prophet, by name Uggerus, “whose age was unknown, but exceeded every measure of human life,” lived in exile, and belonged to the number of Frotho’s enemies. Uggerus is a Latinised form of Odin’s name Yggr, and is the same mythic character as Saxo before introduced on the scene as “the old one-eyed man,” Hadding’s protector. Although he had been Frotho’s enemy, the aged


Yggr comes to him and informs him what the “Huns” are plotting, and thus Frotho is enabled to resist their assault.*

When Odin, out of consideration for the common welfare of mankind and the gods, renders the Vans, who had banished him, this service, and as the latter are in the greatest need of the assistance of the mighty Asa-father and his powerful sons in the conflict with the giant world, then these facts explain sufficiently the reconciliation between the Asas and the Vans. This reconciliation was also in order on account of the bonds of kinship between them. The chief hero of the Asas, Thor, was the stepfather of Ull, the chief warrior of the Vans (Younger Edda, i. 252). The record of a friendly settlement between Thor and Ull is preserved in a paraphrase, by which Thor is described in Thorsdrapa as “gulli Ullar,” he who with persuasive words makes Ull friendly. Odin was invited to occupy again the high-seat in Asgard, with all the prerogatives of a paterfamilias and ruler (Saxo, Hist., 44). But the dispute which caused the conflict between him and the Vans was at the same time manifestly settled to the advantage of the Vans. They do not assume in common the responsibility for the murder of Gulveig-Angerboda. She is banished to the Ironwood, but remains there unharmed until Ragnarok, and when the destruction of the world approaches, then Njord shall leave the Asas threatened with the ruin they have themselves caused and return to the “wise Vans” (i aldar

* Deseruit eum (Hun) quoque Uggerus vates, vir ætatis incognitæ et supra humanum terminum prolixæ; qui Frothonem transfugæ titulo petens quidquid ab Hunis parabatur edocuit (Hist., 238).


rouc hann mun aptr coma heim med visom vaunom — Vafthr., 39).

The “Hun war” has supplied the answer to a question, which those believing in the myths naturally would ask themselves. That question was: How did it happen that Midgard was not in historical times exposed to such attacks from the dwellers in Jotunheim as occurred in antiquity, and at that time threatened Asgard itself with destruction? The “Hun war” was in the myth characterised by the countless lives lost by the enemy. This we learn from Saxo. The sea, he says, was so filled with the bodies of the slain that boats could hardly be rowed through the waves. In the rivers their bodies formed bridges, and on land a person could make a three days’ journey on horseback without seeing anything but dead bodies of the slain (Hist., 234, 240). And so the answer to the question was, that the “Hun war” of antiquity had so weakened the giants in number and strength that they could not become so dangerous as they had been to Asgard and Midgard formerly, that is, before the time immediately preceding Ragnarok, when a new fimbul-winter is to set in, and when the giant world shall rise again in all its ancient might. From the time of the “Hun war” and until then, Thor’s hammer is able to keep the growth of the giants’ race within certain limits, wherefore Thor in Harbardsljod 23 explains his attack on giants and giantesses with micil mundi ett iotna, ef allir lifdi, vetr mundi manna undir Mithgarthi.

Hadding’s rising star of success must be put in connection with the reconciliation between the Asas and


Vans. The reconciled gods must lay aside that seed of new feuds between them which is contained in the war between Hadding, the favourite of the Asas, and Gudhorm, the favourite of the Vans. The great defeat once suffered by Hadding must be balanced by a corresponding victory, and then the contending kinsmen must be reconiciled. And this happens. Hadding wins a great battle and enters upon a secure reign in his part of Teutondom. Then are tied new bonds of kinship and friendship between the hostile races, so that the Teutonic dynasties of chiefs may trace their descent both from Yngve (Svipdag) and from Borgar’s son Halfdan. Hadding and a surviving grandson of Svipdag are united in so tender a devotion to one another that the latter, upon an unfounded report of the former’s death, is unable to survive him and takes his own life. And when Hadding learns this, he does not care to live any longer either, but meets death voluntarily (Saxo, Hist., 59, 60).

After the reconciliation between the Asas and Vans they succeed in capturing Loke. Saxo relates this in connection with Odin’s return from Asgard, and here calls Loke Mitothin. In regard to this name, we may, without entering upon difficult conjectures concerning the first part of the word, be sure that it, too, is taken by Saxo from the heathen records in which he has found his account of the first great war, and that it, in accordance with the rule for forming such epithets, must refer to a mythic person who has had a certain relation with Odin, and at the same time been his antithesis. According to Saxo, Mitothin is a thoroughly evil being, who,


like Aurboda, strove to disseminate the practice of witchcraft in the world and to displace Odin. He was compelled to take flight and to conceal himself from the gods. He is captured and slain, but from his dead body arises a pest, so that he does no less harm after than before his death. It therefore became necessary to open his grave, cut his head off, and pierce his breast with a sharp stick (Hist., 43).

These statements in regard to Mitothin’s death seem at first glance not to correspond very well with the mythic accounts of Loke’s exit, and thus give room for doubt as to his identity with the latter. It is also clear that Saxo’s narrative has been influenced by the medieval stories about vampires and evil ghosts, and about the manner of preventing these from doing harm to the living. Nevertheless, all that he here tells, the beheading included, is founded on the mythic accounts of Loke. The place where Loke is fettered is situated in the extreme part of the hell of the wicked dead (see No. 78). The fact that he is relegated to the realm of the dead, and is there chained in a subterranean cavern until Ragnarok, when all the dead in the lower world shall return, has been a sufficient reason for Saxo to represent him as dead and buried. That he after death causes a pest corresponds with Saxo’s account of Ugarthilocus, who has his prison in a cave under a rock situated in a sea, over which darkness broods for ever (the island Lyngvi in Amsvartnir’s sea, where Loke’s prison is — see No. 78). The hardy sea-captain, Thorkil, seeks and finds him in his cave of torture, pulls a hair from the


beard on his chin and brings it with him to Denmark. When this hair afterwards is exposed and exhibited, the awful exhalation from it causes the death of several persons standing near (Hist., 432, 433). When a hair from the beard of the tortured Loke (“a hair from the evil one”) could produce this effect, then his whole body removed to the kingdom of death must work even greater mischief, until measures were taken to prevent it. In this connection it is to be remembered that Loke, according to the Icelandic records, is the father of the feminine demon of epidemics and diseases, of her who rules in Nifelheim, the home of the spirits of disease (see No. 60), and that it is Loke’s daughter who rides the three-footed steed, which appears when an epidemic breaks out (see No. 67). Thus Loke is, according to the Icelandic mythic fragments, the cause of epidemics. Lokasenna also states that he lies with a pierced body, although the weapon there is a sword, or possibly a spear (pic a hiorvi scolu binda god — Lokas., 49). That Mitothin takes flight and conceals himself from the gods corresponds with the myth about Loke. But that which finally and conclusively confirms the identity of Loke and Mitothin is that the latter, though a thoroughly evil being and hostile to the gods, is said to have risen through the enjoyment of divine favour (cœlesti beneficio vegetatus). Among male beings of his character this applies to Loke alone.

In regard to the statement that Loke after his removal to the kingdom of death had his head separated from his body, Saxo here relates, though in his own peculiar


manner, what the myth contained about Loke’s ruin, which was a logical consequence of his acts and happened long after his removal to the realm of death. Loke is slain in Ragnarok, to which he, freed from his cave of torture in the kingdom of death, proceeds at the head of the hosts of “the sons of destruction.” In the midst of the conflict he seeks or is sought by his constant foe, Heimdal. The shining god, the protector of Asgard, the original patriarch and benefactor of man, contends here for the last time with the Satan of the Teutonic mythology, and Heimdal and Loke mutually slay each other (Loki á orustu vid Heimdal, ok verdr hvârr annars bani — Younger Edda, 192). In this duel we learn that Heimdal, who fells his foe, was himself pierced or “struck through” to death by a head (svâ er sagt, at hann var lostinn manns höfdi i gögnum — Younger Edda, 264; hann var lostinn i hel med manns höfdi — Younger Edda, 100, ed. Res). When Heimdal and Loke mutually cause each other’s death, this must mean that Loke’s head is that with which Heimdal is pierced after the latter has cut it off with his sword and become the bane (death) of his foe. Light is thrown on this episode by what Saxo tells about Loke’s head. While the demon in chains awaits Ragnarok, his hair and beard grow in such a manner that “they in size and stiffness resemble horn-spears” (Ugarthilocus . . . cujus olentes pili tam magnitudine quam rigore corneas æquaverant hastasHist., 431, 432). And thus it is explained how the myth could make his head act the part of a weapon. That amputated limbs continue to live and fight is a


peculiarity mentioned in other mythic sagas, and should not surprise us in regard to Loke, the dragon-demon, the father of the Midgard-serpent (see further, No. 82).


The mythic progenitor of the Amalians, Hamall, has already been mentioned above as the foster-brother of the Teutonic patriarch, Halfdan (Helge Hundingsbane). According to Norse tradition, Hamal’s father, Hagall, had been Halfdan’s foster-father (Helg. Hund., ii.), and thus the devoted friend of Borgar. There being so close a relation between the progenitors of these great hero-families of Teutonic mythology, it is highly improbable that the Amalians did not also act an important part in the first great world war, since all the Teutonic tribes, and consequently surely their first families of mythic origin, took part in it. In the ancient records of the North, we discover a trace which indicates that the Amalians actually did fight on that side where we should expect to find them, that is, on Hadding’s, and that Hamal himself was the field-commander of his foster-brother. The trace is found in the phrase fylkja Hamalt, occurring several places (Sig. Faf., ii. 23; Har. Hardr., ch. 2; Fornalds. Saga, ii. 40; Fornm., xi. 304). The phrase can only be explained in one way, “arranged the battle-array


as Hamall first did it.” To Hamal has also been ascribed the origin of the custom of fastening the shields close together along the ship’s railing, which appears from the following lines in Harald Hardradi’s Saga, 63:

Hamalt syndiz mèr hömlur
hildings vinir skilda.

We also learn in our Norse records that fylkja Hamalt, “to draw up in line of battle as Hamal did,” means the same as svinfylkja, that is, to arrange the battalions in the form of a wedge.* Now Saxo relates (Hist., 52) that Hadding’s army was the first to draw the forces up in this manner, and that an old man (Odin) whom he has taken on board on a sea-journey had taught and advised him to do this.** Several centuries later Odin, according to Saxo, taught this art to Harald Hildetand. But the mythology has not made Odin teach it twice. The repetition has its reason in the fact that Harald Hildetand, in one of the records accessible to Saxo, was a son of Halfdan Borgarson (Hist., 361; according to other records a son of Borgar himself — Hist., 337), and consequently a son of Hadding’s father, the consequence of which is that features of Hadding’s saga have been incorporated into the saga produced in a later time concerning the saga-hero Harald Hildetand. Thereby the Bravalla battle has obtained so universal and gigantic a character.

* Compare the passage, Eirikr konungr fylkti svá lidi sinu, at rani (the swine-snout) var á framan á fylkinganni, ok lukt allt útan med skjaldbjorg, (Fornm., xi. 304), with the passage quoted in this connection: hildingr fylkti Hamalt lidi miklu.

** The saga of Sigurd Fafnersbane, which absorbed materials from all older sagas, has also incorporated this episode. On a sea-journey Sigurd takes on board a man who calls himself Hnikarr (a name of Odin). He advises him to “fylkja Hamalt” (Sig. Fafn., ii. 16-23).


It has been turned into an arbitrarily written version of the battle which ended in Hadding’s defeat. Swedes, Goths, Norsemen, Curians, and Esthionians here fight on that side which, in the original model of the battle, was represented by the hosts of Svipdag and Gudhorm; Danes (few in number, according to Saxo), Saxons (according to Saxo, the main part of the army), Livonians, and Slavs fight on the other side. The fleets and armies are immense on both sides. Shield-maids (amazons) occupy the position which in the original was held by the giantesses Hardgrep, Fenja, and Menja. In the saga description produced in Christian times the Bravalla battle is a ghost of the myth concerning the first great war. Therefore the names of several of the heroes who take part in the battle are an echo from the myth concerning the Teutonic patriarchs and the great war. There appear Borgar and Behrgar the wise (Borgar), Haddir (Hadding), Ruthar (Hrútr-Heimdal, see No. 28a), Od (Ódr, a surname of Freyja’s husband, Svipdag, see Nos. 96-98, 100, 101), Brahi (Brache, Asa-Bragr, see No. 102), Gram (Halfdan), and Ingi (Yngve), all of which names we recognise from the patriarch saga, but which, in the manner in which they are presented in the new saga, show how arbitrarily the mythic records were treated at that time.

The myth has rightly described the wedge-shaped arrangement of the troops as an ancient custom among the Teutons. Tacitus (Germ., 6) says that the Teutons arranged their forces in the form of a wedge (acies per cuneos componitur), and Cæsar suggests the same (De


Bell. Gall., i. 52: Germani celeriter ex consuetudine sua phalange facta . . .). Thus our knowledge of this custom as Teutonic extends back to the time before the birth of Christ. Possibly it was then already centuries old. The Aryan-Asiatic kinsmen of the Teutons had knowledge of it, and the Hindooic law-book, called Manus’, ascribes to it divine sanctity and divine origin. On the geographical line which unites Teutondom with Asia it was also in vogue. According to Ælianus (De instr. ac., 18), the wedge-shaped array of battle was known to the Scythians and Thracians.

The statement that Harald Hildetand, son of Halfdan Borgarson, learned this arrangement of the forces from Odin many centuries after he had taught the art to Hadding, does not disprove, but on the contrary confirms, the theory that Hadding, son of Halfdan Borgarson, was not only the first but also the only one who received this instruction from the Asa-father. And as we now have side by side the two statements, that Odin gave Hadding this means of victory, and that Hamal was the first one who arranged his forces in the shape of a wedge, then it is all the more necessary to assume that these statements belong together, and that Hamal was Hadding s general, especially as we have already seen that Hadding’s and Hamal’s families were united by the sacred ties which connect foster-father with foster-son and foster-brother with foster-brother.



The appearance of Hamal and the Amalians on Hadding’s side in the great world war becomes a certainty from the fact that we discover among the descendants of the continental Teutons a great cycle of sagas, all of whose events are more or less intimately connected with the mythic kernel: that Amalian heroes with unflinching fidelity supported a prince who already in the tender years of his youth had been deprived of his share of his father’s kingdom, and was obliged to take flight from the persecution of a kinsman and his assistants to the far East, where he remained a long time, until after various fortunes of war he was able to return, conquer, and take possession of his paternal inheritance. And for this he was indebted to the assistance of the brave Amalians. These are the chief points in the saga cycle about Dieterich of Bern (Thjódrekr, Thidrek, Theodericus), and the fortunes of the young prince are, as we have thus seen, substantially the same as Hadding’s.

When we compare sagas preserved by the descendants of the Teutons of the Continent with sagas handed down to us from Scandinavian sources, we must constantly bear in mind that the great revolution which the victory of Christianity over Odinism produced in the Teutonic world of thought, inasmuch as it tore down the ancient mythical


structure and applied the fragments that were fit for use as material for a new saga structure — that this revolution required a period of more than eight hundred years before it had conquered the last fastnesses of the Odinic doctrine. On the one side of tbe slowly advancing borders between the two religions there developed and continued a changing and transformation of the old sagas, the main purpose of which was to obliterate all that contained too much flavour of heathendom and was incompatible with Christianity; while, on the other side of the borders of faith, the old mythic songs, but little affected by the tooth of time, still continued to live in their original form. Thus one might, to choose the nearest example at hand, sing on the northern side of this faith-border, where heathendom still prevailed, about how Hadding, when the persecutions of Svipdag and his half-brother Gudhorm compelled him to fly to the far East, there was protected by Odin, and how he through him received the assistance of Hrútr-Heimdal; while the Christians, on the south side of this border, sang of how Dieterich, persecuted by a brother and the protectors of the latter, was forced to take flight to the far East, and how he was there received by a mighty king, who, as he could no longer be Odin, must be the mightiest king in the East ever heard of — that is, Attila — and how Attila gave him as protector a certain Rüdiger, whose very name contains an echo of Ruther (Heimdal), who could not, however, be the white Asa-god, Odin’s faithful servant, but must be changed into a faithful vassal and “markgrave” under Attila. The Saxons were converted to Christianity by


fire and sword in the latter part of the eighth century. In the deep forests of Sweden heathendom did not yield completely to Christianity before the twelfth century. In the time of Saxo’s father there were still heathen communities in Smaland on the Danish border. It follows that Saxo must have received the songs concerning the ancient Teutonic heroes in a far more original form than that in which the same songs could be found in Germany.

Hadding means “the hairy one,” “the fair-haired”; Dieterich (thjódrekr) means “the ruler of the people,” “the great ruler.” Both epithets belong to one and the same saga character. Hadding is the epithet which belongs to him as a youth, before he possessed a kingdom; Dieterich is the epithet which represents him as the king of many Teutonic tribes. The Vilkinasaga says of him that he had an abundant and beautiful growth of hair, but that he never got a beard. This is sufficient to explain the name Hadding, by which he was presumably celebrated in song among all Teutonic tribes; for we have already seen that Hadding is known in Anglo-Saxon poetry as Hearding, and, as we shall see, the continental Teutons knew him not only as Dieterich, but also as Hartung. It is also possible that the name “the hairy” has in the myth had the same purport as the epithet “the fair-haired” has in the Norse account of Harald, Norway’s first ruler, and that Hadding of the myth was the prototype of Harald, when the latter made the vow to let his hair grow until he was king of all Norway (Harald Harfager’s Saga, 4). The custom of not cutting


hair or beard before an exploit resolved upon was carried out was an ancient one among the Teutons, and so common and so sacred that it must have had foothold and prototype in the hero-saga. Tacitus mentions it (Germania, 31); so does Paulus Diaconus (Hist., iii. 7) and Gregorius of Tours (v. 15).

Although it had nearly ceased to be heard in the German saga cycle, still the name Hartung has there left traces of its existence. “Anhang des Heldenbuchs” mentions King Hartung aus Reüssenlant; that is to say, a King Hartung who came from some land in the East. The poem “Rosengarten” (variant D; cp. W. Grimm, D. Heldensage, 139, 253) also mentions Hartunc, king von Riuzen. A comparison of the different versions of “Rosengarten” with the poem “Dieterichs Flucht” shows that the name Hartung von Riuzen in the course of time becomes Hartnit von Riuzen and Hertnit von Riuzen, by which form of the name the hero reappears in Vilkinasaga as a king in Russia. If we unite the scattered features contained in these sources about Hartung we get the following main outlines of his saga:

(a) Hartung is a king and dwells in an eastern country (all the records).

(b) He is not, however, an independent ruler there, at least not in the beginning, but is subject to Attila (who in the Dieterich’s saga has supplanted Odin as chief ruler in the East). He is Attila’s man (“Dieterichs Flucht”).

(c) A Swedish king has robbed him of his land and driven him into exile.

(d) The Swedish king is of the race of elves, and


the chief of the same race as the celebrated Velint — that is to say, Volund (Wayland) — belonged to (Vilkinasaga). As shall be shown later (see Nos. 105, 109), Svipdag, the banisher of Hadding, belongs to the same race. He is Volund’s nephew (brother’s son).

(e) Hartung recovers, after the death of the Swedish conqueror, his own kingdom, and also conquers that of the Swedish king (Vilkinasaga).

All these features are found in the saga of Hadding. Thus the original identity of Hadding and Hartung is beyond doubt. We also find that Hartung, like Dieterich, is banished from his country; that he fled, like him, to the East; that he got, like him, Attila the king of the East as his protector; that he thereupon returned, conquered his enemies, and recovered his kingdom. Hadding’s, Hartung’s and Dieterich’s sagas are, therefore, one and the same in root and in general outline. Below it shall also be shown that the most remarkable details are common to them all.

I have above (No. 42) given reasons why Hamal (Amala), the foster-brother of Halfdan Borgarson, was Hadding’s assistant and general in the war against his foes. The hero, who in the German saga has the same place under Dieterich, is the aged “master” Hildebrand, Dieterich’s faithful companion, teacher, and commander of his troops. Can it be demonstrated that what the German saga tells about Hildebrand reveals threads that connect him with the saga of the original patriarchs, and that not only his position as Dieterich’s aged friend and general, but also his genealogy, refer to this saga? And


can a satisfactory explanation be given of the reason why Hildebrand obtained in the German Dieterich saga the same place as Hamal had in the old myth?

Hildebrand is, as his very name shows, a Hilding,* like Hildeger who appears in the patriarch saga (Saxo, Hist., 356-359). Hildeger was, according to the tradition in Saxo, the half-brother of Halfdan Borgarson. They had the same mother Drot, but not the same father; Hildeger counted himself a Swede on his father’s side; Halfdan, Borgar’s son, considered himself as belonging to the South Scandinavians and Danes, and hence the dying Hildeger sings to Halfdan (Hist., 357):

Danica te tellus, me Sveticus edidit orbis.
Drot tibi maternum, quondam distenderat uber;
Hac genitrici tibi pariter collacteus exto.**

In the German tradition Hildebrand is the son of Herbrand. The Old High German fragment of the song,

* In nearly all the names of members of this family, Hild- or -brand, appears as a part of the compound word. All that the names appear to signify is that their owners belong to the Hilding race. Examples: —

Old High German fragment:   Herbrand — Hildebrand — Hadubrand.
Wolfdieterich:   Berchtung — Herbrand — Hildebrand.
Vilkinasaga:   Hildebrand — Alebrand.
A Popular Song about Hildebrand:   Hildebrand — The Younger Hildebrand.
Fundinn Noregur:   Hildir — Hildebrand — Hildir & Herbrand.
Flateyjarbok, i. 25:   Hildir — Hildebrand — Vigbrand — Hildir & Herbrand.
Asmund Kæmpebane’s Saga:   Hildebrand — Helge — Hildebrand.

** Compare in Asmund Kæmpebane’s Saga the words of the dying hero:

thik Drott of bar
af Danmorku
en mik sjálfan
á Svithiodu


about Hildebrand’s meeting with his son Hadubrand, calls him Heribrantes sunu. Herbrand again is, according to the poem “Wolfdieterich,” Berchtung’s son (concerning Berchtung, see No. 6). In a Norse tradition preserved by Saxo we find a Hilding (Hildeger) who is Borgar’s stepson; in the German tradition we find a Hilding (Herbrand) who is Borgar-Berchtung’s son. This already shows that the German saga about Hildebrand was originally connected with the patriarch saga about Borgar, Halfdan, and Halfdan’s sons, and that the Hildings from the beginning were akin to the Teutonic patriarchs. Borgar’s transformation from stepfather to the father of a Hilding shall be explained below.

Hildeger’s saga and Hildebrand’s are also related in subject matter. The fortunes of both the kinsmen are at the same time like each other and the antithesis of each other. Hildeger’s character is profoundly tragic; Hildebrand is happy and secure. Hildeger complains in his death-song in Saxo (cp. Asmund Kæmpebane’s saga) that he has fought within and slain his own beloved son. In the Old High German song-fragment Hildebrand seeks, after his return from the East, his son Hadubrand, who believed that his father was dead and calls Hildebrand a deceiver, who has taken the dead man’s name, and forces him to fight a duel. The fragment ends before we learn the issue of the duel; but Vilkinasaga and a ballad about Hildebrand have preserved the tradition in regard to it. When the old “master” has demonstrated that his Hadubrand is not yet equal to him in arms, father and son ride side by side in peace and happiness to


their home. Both the conflicts between father and son, within the Hilding family, are pendants and each other’s antithesis. Hildeger, who passionately loves war and combat, inflicts in his eagerness for strife a deep wound in his own heart when he kills his own son. Hildebrand acts wisely, prudently, and seeks to ward off and allay the son’s love of combat before the duel begins, and he is able to end it by pressing his young opponent to his paternal bosom. On the other hand, Hildeger’s conduct toward his half-brother Halfdan, the ideal of a noble and generous enemy, and his last words to his brother, who, ignorant of the kinship, has given him the fatal wound, and whose mantle the dying one wishes to wrap himself in (Asmund Kæmpebane’s saga), is one of the touching scenes in the grand poems about our earliest ancestors. It seems to have proclaimed that blood revenge was inadmissible, when a kinsman, without being aware of the kinship, slays a kinsman, and when the latter before he died declared his devotion to his slayer. At all events we rediscover the aged Hildebrand as the teacher and protector of the son of the same Halfdan who slew Hildeger, and not a word is said about blood revenge between Halfdan’s and Hildeger’s descendants.

The kinship pointed out between the Teutonic patriarchs and the Hildings has not, however, excluded a relation of subordination of the latter to the former. In “Wolfdieterich” Hildebrand’s father receives land and fief from Dieterich’s grandfather and carries his banner in war. Hildebrand himself performs toward Dieterich those duties which are due from a foster-father, which,


as a rule, show a relation of subordination to the real father of the foster-son. Among the kindred families to which Dieterich and Hildebrand belong there was the same difference of rank as between those to which Hadding and Hamal belong. Hamal’s father Hagal was Halfdan’s foster-father, and, to judge from this, occupied the position of a subordinate friend toward Halfdan’s father Borgar. Thus Halfdan and Hamal were foster-brothers, and from this it follows that Hamal, if he survived Halfdan, was bound to assume a foster-father’s duties towards the latter’s son Hadding, who was not yet of age. Hamal’s relation to Hadding is therefore entirely analagous to Hildebrand’s relation to Dieterich.

The pith of that army which attached itself to Dieterich are Amelungs, Amalians (see “Biterolf”); that is to say, members of Hamal’s race. The oldest and most important hero, the pith of the pith, is old master Hildebrand himself, Dieterich’s foster-father and general. Persons who in the German poems have names which refer to their Amalian birth are by Hildebrand treated as members of a clan are treated by a clan-chief. Thus Hildebrand brings from Sweden a princess, Amalgart, and gives her as wife to a son of Amelolt serving among Dieterich’s Amelungs, and to Amelolt Hildebrand has already given his sister for a wife.

The question as to whether we find threads which connect the Hildebrand of the German poem with the saga of the mythic patriarchs, and especially with the Hamal (Amala) who appears in this saga, has now been answered.


Master Hildebrand has in the German saga-cycle received the position and the tasks which originally belonged to Hamal, the progenitor of the Amalians.

The relation between the kindred families — the patriarch family, the Hilding family, and the Amal family — has certainly been just as distinctly pointed out in the German saga-cycle as in the Norse before the German met with a crisis, which to some extent confused the old connection. This crisis came when Hadding-thjódrekr of the ancient myth was confounded with the historical king of the East Goths, Theoderich. The East Goth Theoderich counted himself as belonging to the Amal family, which had grown out of the soil of the myth. He was, according to Jordanes (De Goth. Orig., 14), a son of Thiudemer, who traced his ancestry to Amal (Hamal), son of Augis (Hagal).* The result of the confusion was:

(a) That Hadding-thjódrekr became the son of Thiudemer, and that his descent from the Teuton patriarchs was cut off.

(b) That Hadding-thjódrekr himself became a descendant of Hamal, whereby the distinction between this race of rulers — the line of Teutonic patriarchs begun with Ruther-Heimdal — together with the Amal family, friendly but subject to the Hadding family, and the Hilding family was partly obscured and partly abolished. Dieterich himself became an “Amelung” like several of his heroes.

* The texts of Jordanes often omit the aspirate and write Eruli for Heruli, &c. In regard to the name-form Amal, Closs remarks, in his edition of 1886: AMAL, sic. Ambr. cum Epit. et Pall, nisi quod hi Hamal aspirate.


(c) That when Hamal thus was changed from an elder contemporary of Hadding-thjódrekr into his earliest progenitor, separated from him by several generations of time, he could no longer serve as Dieterich’s foster-father and general; but this vocation had to be transferred to master Hildebrand, who also in the myth must have been closely connected with Hadding, and, together with Hamal, one of his chief and constant helpers.

(d) That Borgar-Berchtung, who in the myth is the grandfather of Hadding-thjódrekr, must, as he was not an Amal, resign this dignity and confine himself to being the progenitor of the Hildings. As we have seen, he is in Saxo the progenitor of the Hilding Hildeger.

Another result of Hadding-thjódrekr’s confusion with the historical Theoderich was that Dieterich’s kingdom, and the scene of various of his exploits, was transferred to Italy: to Verona (Bern), Ravenna (Raben), &c. Still the strong stream of the ancient myths became master of the confused historical increments, so that the Dieterich of the saga has but little in common with the historical Theoderich.

After the dissemination of Christianity, the hero saga of the Teutonic myths was cut off from its roots in the mythology, and hence this confusion was natural and necessary. Popular tradition, in which traces were found of the historical Theoderich-Dieterich, was no longer able to distinguish the one Dieterich from the other. A writer acquainted with the chronicle of Jordanes took the last step and made Theoderich’s father Thiudemer the father of the mythic Hadding-thjódrekr.


Nor did the similarity of names alone encourage this blending of the persons. There was also another reason. The historical Theoderich had fought against Odoacer. The mythic Hadding-thjódrekr had warred with Svipdag, the husband of Freyja, who also bore the name Ódr and Ottar (see Nos. 96-100). The latter name-form corresponds to the English and German Otter, the Old High German Otar, a name which suggested the historical Otacher (Odoacer). The Dieterich and Otacher of historical traditions became identified with thjódrekr and Ottar of mythical traditions.

As the Hadding-thjódrekr of mythology was in his tender youth exposed to the persecutions of Ottar, and had to take flight from them to the far East, so the Dieterich of the historical saga also had to suffer persecutions in his tender youth from Otacher, and take flight, accompanied by his faithful Amalians, to a kingdom in the East. Accordingly, Hadubrand says of his father Hildebrand, that, when he betook himself to the East with Dieterich, floh her Otachres nîd, “he fled from Otacher’s hate.” Therefore, Otacher soon disappears from the German saga-cycle, for Svipdag-Ottar perishes and disappears in the myth, long before Hadding’s victory and restoration to his father’s power (see No. 106.)

Odin and Heimdal, who then, according to the myth, dwelt in the East and there became the protectors of Hadding, must, as heathen deities, be removed from the Christian saga, and be replaced as best they could by others. The famous ruler in the East, Attila, was better suited than anyone else to take Odin’s place,


though Attila was dead before Theoderich was born. Ruther-Heimdal was, as we have already seen, changed into Rüdiger.

The myth made Hadding dwell in the East for many years (see above). The ten-year rule of the Vans in Asgard must end, and many other events must occur before the epic connection of the myths permitted Hadding to return as a victor. As a result of this, the saga of “Dieterich of Bern” also lets him remain a long time with Attila. An old English song preserved in the Exeter manuscript, makes Theodric remain thrittig wintra in exile at Mœringaburg. The song about Hildebrand and Hadubrand make him remain in exile, sumarô enti wintro sehstic, and Vilkinasaga makes him sojourn in the East thirty-two years.

Mæringaburg of the Anglo-Saxon poem is the refuge which Odin opened for his favourite, and where the former dwelt during his exile in the East. Mæringaburg means a citadel inhabited by noble, honoured, and splendid persons: compare the Old Norse mœringr. But the original meaning of mœrr, Old German mâra, is “glittering” “shining” “pure,” and it is possible that, before mœringr received its general signification of a famous, honoured, noble man, it was used in the more special sense of a man descended from “the shining one,” that is to say, from Heimdal through Borgar. However this may be, these “mæringar” have, in the Anglo-Saxon version of the Hadding saga, had their antitheses in the “baningar,” that is, the men of Loke-Bicke (Bekki). This appears from the expression Bekka veóld Baningum,


in Codex Exoniensis. The Banings are no more than the Mærings, an historical name. The interpretation of the word is to be sought in the Anglo-Saxon bana, the English bane. The Banings means “the destroyers,”the corrupters,” a suitable appellation of those who follow the source of pest, time all-corrupting Loke. In the German poems, Mæringaburg is changed to Meran, and Borgar-Berchtung (Hadding’s grandfather in the myth) is Duke of Meran. It is his fathers who have gone to the gods that Hadding finds again with Odin and Heimdal in the East.

Despite the confusion of the historical Theoderich with the mythic Hadding-thjódrekr, a tradition has been handed down within the German saga-cycle to the effect that “Dieterich of Bern” belonged to a genealogy which Christianity had anathematised. Two of the German Dieterich poems, “Nibelunge Noth” and “Klage,” refrain from mentioning the ancestors of their hero. Wilhelm Grimm suspects that the reason for this is that the authors of these poems knew something about Dieterich’s descent, which they could not relate without wounding Christian ears; and he reminds us that, when in the Vilkinasaga Thidrek (Dieterich) teases Högne (Hagen) by calling him the son of an elf, Högne answers that Thidrek has a still worse descent, as he is the son of the devil himself. The matter, which in Grimm’s eyes is mystical, is explained by the fact that Hadding-thjódrekr‘s father in the myth, Halfdan Borgarson, was supposed to be descended from Thor, and in his capacity of a Teutonic patriarch he had received divine worship (see Nos. 23


and 30). Anhang des Heldenbuchs says that Dieterich was the son of a “böser geyst.”

It has already been stated (No. 38) that Hadding from Odin received a drink which exercised a wonderful influence upon his physical nature. It made him recreatum vegetiori corporis firmitate, and, thanks to it and to the incantation sung over him by Odin, he was able to free himself from the chains afterwards put on him by Loke. It has also been pointed out that this drink contained something called Leifner’s or Leifin’s flames. There is every reason for assuming that these “flames” had the effect of enabling the person who had partaken of the potion of Leifner’s flames to free himself from his chains with his own breath. Groa (Groagalder, 10) gives her son Svipdag “Leifner’s fires” in order that if he is chained, his enchanted limbs may be liberated (ek lœt ther Leifnis elda fyr kvedinn legg). The record of the giving of this gift to Hadding meets us in the German saga, in the form that Dieterich was able with his breath to burn the fetters laid upon him (see “Laurin”), nay, when he became angry, he could breathe fire and make the cuirass of his opponent red-hot. The traditiorn that Hadding by eating, on the advice of Odin, the heart of a wild beast (Saxo says of a lion) gained extraordinary strength, is also preserved in the form, that when Dieterich was in distress, God sent him eines löwen krafft von herczenlichen zoren (“Ecken Ausfarth”).

Saxo relates that Hadding on one occasion was invited to descend into the lower world and see its strange things (see No. 47). The heathen lower world, with its fields


of bliss and places of torture, became in the Christian mind synonymous with hell. Hadding’s descent to the lower world, together with the mythic account of his journey through the air on Odin’s horse Sleipnir, were remembered in Christian times in the form that he once on a black diabolical horse rode to hell. This explains the remarkable dénouement of the Dieterich saga; namely, that he, the magnanimous and celebrated hero, was captured by the devil. Otto of Friesingen (first half of the twelfth century) states that Theodoricus vivus equo sedens ad inferos descendit. The Kaiser chronicle says that “many saw that the devils took Dieterich and carried him into the mountain to Vulcan.”

In Saxo we read that Hadding once while bathing had an adventure which threatened him with the most direful revenge from the gods (see No. 106). Manuscripts of the Vilkinasaga speak of a fateful bath which Thidrek took, and connects it with his journey to hell. While the hero was bathing there came a black horse, the largest and stateliest ever seen. The king wrapped himself in his bath towel and mounted the horse. He found, too late, that the steed was the devil, and he disappeared for ever.

Saxo tells that Hadding made war on a King Handuanus, who had concealed his treasures in the bottom of a lake, and who was obliged to ransom his life with a golden treasure of the same weight as his body (Hist., 41, 42, 67). Handuanus is a Latinised form of the dwarf name Andvanr, Andvani. The Sigurd saga has a record of this event, and calls the dwarf Andvari (Sig. Fafn., ii.).

From an etching by Lorenz Frölich)

Loke was at one time the comrade of Odin but by mis-mating with a giantess, Angerboda, he became the father of three monsters, the Fenris Wolf, the Midgard Serpent and the terrible Hel, at the sight of which latter living creatures were immediately stricken dead. Odin was so enraged by these issues of Loke’s commerce with a giantess, that he had the brood brought before him in Asgard, and seizing Hel and the snake in his powerful arms he flung them far out into space. Hell fell for nine days until she reached Helheim, far beneath the earth, where she became ruler over the dead. The snake dropped into the ocean that surrounds Midgard, where it was to remain growing until its coils should envelop the earth and in the end should help to bring about the destruction of the world. The wolf was borne away by Tyr and placed in chains, but escaping later at Ragnarok he devoured Odin.


The German saga is also able to tell of a war which Dieterich waged against a dwarf king. The war has furnished the materials for the saga of “Laurin.” Here, too, the conquered dwarf-king’s life is spared, and Dieterich gets possession of many of his treasures.

In the German as in the Norse saga, Hadding-thjódrekr’s rival to secure the crown was his brother, supported by Otacher-Ottar (Svipdag). The tradition in regard to this, which agrees with the myth, was known to the author of Anhang des Heldenbuchs. But already in an early day the brother was changed into uncle on account of the intermixing of historical reminiscences.

The brother’s name in the Norse tradition is Gudhormr, in the German Ermenrich (Ermanaricus). Ermenrich-Jörmunrekr means, like thjódrekr, a ruler over many people, a great king. Jordanes already has confounded the mythic Jörmunrekr-Gudhormr with the historical Gothic King Hermanaricus, whose kingdom was destroyed by the Huns, and has applied to him the saga of Svanhild and her brothers Sarus (Sörli) and Ammius (Hamdir), a saga which originally was connected with that of the mythic Jörmunrek. The Sigurd epic, which expanded with plunder from all sources, has added to the confusion by annexing this saga.

In the Roman authors the form Herminones is found by the side of Hermiones as the name of one of the three Teutonic tribes which descended from Mannus. It is possible, as already indicated, that -horm in Gudhorm is connected with the form Hermio, and it is probable, as already pointed out by several linguists, that the Teutonic


irmin (jörmun, Goth. airmana) is linguistically connected with the word Hermino. In that case, the very names Gudhormr and Jörmunrekr already point as such to the mythic progenitor of the Hermiones, Herminones, just as Yngve-Svipdag’s name points to the progenitor of the Ingvœones (Ingævones), and possibly also Hadding’s to that of the Istævones (see No. 25). To the name Hadding corresponds, as already shown, the Anglo-Saxon Hearding, the old German Hartung. The Hasdingi (Asdingi) mentioned by Jordanes were the chief warriors of the Vandals (Goth. Orig., 22), and there may be a mythic reason for rediscovering this family name among an East Teutonic tribe (the Vandals), since Hadding, according to the myth, had his support among the East Teutonic tribes. To the form Hasdingi (Goth. Hazdiggós) the words istœvones, istvœones, might readily enough correspond, provided the vowel i in the Latin form can be harmonised with a in the Teutonic. That the vowel i was an uncertain element may be seen from the genealogy in Codex La Cava, which calls Istævo Ostius, Hostius.

As to geography, both the Roman and Teutonic records agree that the northern Teutonic tribes were Ingævones. In the myths they are Scandiniavians and neighbours to the Ingævones. In the Beowulf poem the king of the Danes is called eodor Inguina, the protection of the Ingævones, and freâ Inguina, the lord of the Ingævones. Tacitus says that they live nearest to the ocean (Germ., 2); Pliny says that Cimbrians, Teutons, and Chaucians were Ingævones (Hist. Nat., iv. 28). Pomponius Mela


says that the land of the Cimbrians and Teutons was washed by the Codan bay (iii. 3). As to the Hermiones and Istævones, the former dwelt along the middle Rhine, and of the latter, who are the East Teutons of mythology, several tribes had already before the time of Pliny pressed forward south of the Hermiones to this river.

The German saga-cycle has preserved the tradition that in the first great battle in which Hadding-thjódrekr measured his strength with the North and West Teutons he suffered a great defeat. This is openly avowed in the Dieterich poem “Die Klage.” Those poems, on the other hand, which out of sympathy for their hero give him victory in this battle (“the Raben battle”) nevertheless in fact acknowledge that such was not the case, for they make him return to the East after the battle and remain there many years, robbed of his crown, before he makes his second and successful attempt to regain his kingdom. Thus the “Raben battle” corresponds to the mythic battle in which Hadding is defeated by Ingævones and Hermiones. Besides the “Raben battle” has from a Teutonic standpoint a trait of universality, and the German tradition has upon the whole faithfully, and in harmony with the myth, grouped the allies and heroes of the hostile brothers. Dieterich is supported by East Teutonic warriors, and by non-Teutonic people from the East — from Poland, Wallachia, Russia, Greece, &c.; Ermenrich, on the other hand, by chiefs from Thuringia, Swabia, Hessen, Saxony, the Netherlands, England, and the North, and, above all, by the Burgundians, who in the genealogy in the St. Gaelen Codex are counted among the


Hermiones, and in the genealogy in the La Cava Codex are counted with the Ingævones. For the mythic descent of the Burgundian dynasty from an uncle of Svipdag I shall present evidence in my chapters on the Ivalde race.

The original identity of Hadding’s and Dieterich’s sagas, and their descent from the myth concerning the earliest antiquity and the patriarchs, I now regard as demonstrated and established. The war between Hadding-Dieterich and Gudhorm-Ermenrich is identical with the conflict begun by Yngve-Svipdag between the tribes of the Ingævones, Hermiones, and Istævones. It has also been demonstrated that Halfdan, Gudhorm’s and Hadding’s father, and Yngve-Svipdag’s stepfather, is identical with Mannus. One of the results of this investigation is, therefore, that the songs about Mannus and his sons, ancient already in the days of Tacitus, have, more or less influenced by the centuries, continued to live far down in the middle ages, and that, not the songs themselves, but the main features of their contents, have been preserved to our time, and should again be incorporated in our mythology together with the myth in regard to the primeval time, the main outline of which has been restored, and the final episode of which is the first great war in the world.

The Norse-Icelandic school, which accepted and developed the learned hypothesis of the middle age in regard to the immigration of Odin and his Asiamen, is to blame that the myth, in many respects important, in regard to the olden time and its events in the world of gods


and men — among Aryan myths one of the most important, either from a scientific or poetic point of view, that could be handed down to our time — was thrust aside and forgotten. The learned hypothesis and the ancient myth could not be harmonised. For that reason the latter had to yield. Nor was there anything in this myth that particularly appealed to the Norse national feeling, and so could claim mercy. Norway is not at all named in it. Scania, Denmark, Svithiod (Sweden), and continental Teutondom are the scene of the mythic events. Among the many causes co-operating in Christian times, in giving what is now called “Norse mythology” its present character, there is not one which has contributed so much as the rejection of this myth toward giving “Norse mythology” the stamp which it hitherto has borne of a narrow, illiberal town mythology, which, built chiefly on the foundation of the Younger Edda, is, as shall be shown in the present work, in many respects a caricature of the real Norse, and at the same time in its main outlines Teutonic, mythology.

In regard to the ancient Aryan elements in the myth here presented, see Nos. 82 and 111.