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Myths The Myth Concerning The Earliest Period And The Emigrations From The North.

Borgar-skjold's Son Halfdan The Third Patriarch

Scef The Author Of Culture Identical With Heimdal-rig The Original Patriarch

Sorcery The Reverse Of The Sacred Runes Gullveig-heidr The Source Of Sorcery The Moral Deterioration Of The Original Man

The War In Midgard Between Halfdan's Sons

The Creation Of Man The Primeval Country Scef The Bringer Of Culture

Hadding's Defeat Loke In The Council And On The Battle-field

Halfdan's Character The Weapon-myth

Evidence That Halfdan Is Identical With Helge Hundingsbane

Gulveig-heidr Her Identity With Aurboda Angrboda Hyrrokin The Myth Concerning The Sword Guardian And Fjalar

The Breach Of Peace Between Asas And Vans Frigg Skade And Ull In The Conflict

Loke Causes Enmity Between The Gods And The Original Artists

Halfdan's Identity With Mannus In Germania

The World War Its Cause The Murder Of Gullveig-heidr

The Sacred Runes Learned From Heimdal

Halfdan's Conflicts Interpreted As Myths Of Nature

Halfdan And Hamal Foster-brothers The Amalians Fight In Behalf Of Halfdan's Son Hadding

Halfdan's Birth And The End Of The Age Of Peace The Family Names Ylfing Hilding Budlung

The Teutonic Emigration Saga Found In Tacitus

The Significance Of The Conflict From A Religious-ritual Standpoint

The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors

Halfdan's Enmity With Orvandel And Svipdag

Heimdal And The Sun-dis Dis-goddess

Hadding's Journey To The East Reconciliation Between The Asas And Vans

Review Of The Svipdag Myth And Its Points Of Connection With The Myth About Halfdan

Hadding's Defeat Loke In The Council And On The Battle-field


Source: Teutonic Mythology

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, and 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 boelvise (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 ille 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 boelvise 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 hroerir 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 protege 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
Niflheim 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 Hadding
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

When Hadding in this manner had lost his companion, he considered
himself abandoned by everybody; but the one-eyed old man had not
forgotten his favourite. He sent him a faithful helper, by name
Liserus (Saxo, Hist., 40). Who was Liserus in our mythology?

First, as to the name itself: in the very nature of the case it must be
the Latinising of some one of the mythological names or epithets that
Saxo found in the Norse records. But as no such root as lis or lis
is to be found in the old Norse language, and as Saxo interchanges the
vowels i and y,[27] we must regard Liserus as a Latinising of
Lysir, "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 hviti ass, hvitastr asa
(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 Brisingamen, 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).

[Footnote 27: Compare the double forms Trigo, Thrygir; Ivarus,
Yvarus; Sibbo, Sybbo; Siritha, Syritha; Sivardus,
Syvardus; Hibernia, Hybernia; Isora, Ysora.]

Next: Hadding's Journey To The East Reconciliation Between The Asas And Vans

Previous: The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors

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