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

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

Loke Causes Enmity Between The Gods And The Original Artists

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

Heimdal And The Sun-dis Dis-goddess

Halfdan's Enmity With Orvandel And Svipdag

Halfdan's Conflicts Interpreted As Myths Of Nature

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

Halfdan's Identity With Mannus In Germania

The Significance Of The Conflict From A Religious-ritual Standpoint

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

Halfdan's Character The Weapon-myth

Borgar-skjold's Son Halfdan The Third Patriarch

The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors

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

The World War Its Cause The Murder Of Gullveig-heidr

The Teutonic Emigration Saga Found In Tacitus

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

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

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

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

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

The Sacred Runes Learned From Heimdal

The War In Midgard Between Halfdan's Sons

Evidence That Halfdan Is Identical With Helge Hundingsbane

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


Source: Teutonic Mythology

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.[28]

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 rauc 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 characterized 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 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
reconciled. 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 mediaeval 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
Amsvartner'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 Niflheim, 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. Lakasenna also states that he lies
with a pierced body, although the weapon there is a sword, or possibly a
spear (pic a hiorvi scola binda god--Lakas., 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 (caelesti 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 a orustu
vid Heimdall, ok verdr hvarr 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 (sva er sagt, at hann var lostinn
manns hoefdi i goegnum--Younger Edda, 264; hann var lostinn i hel med
manns hoefdi--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 aequaverant
hastas--Hist., 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).

[Footnote 28: Deseruit eum (Hun) quoque Uggerus vates, vir aetatis
incognitae et supra humanum terminum prolixae; qui Frothonem transfugae
titulo petens quidquid ab Hunis parabatur edocuit (Hist., 238).]

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

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

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