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

The War In Midgard Between Halfdan's Sons

The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors

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

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

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

The World War Its Cause The Murder Of Gullveig-heidr

The Significance Of The Conflict From A Religious-ritual Standpoint

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

Halfdan's Enmity With Orvandel And Svipdag

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

Halfdan's Character The Weapon-myth

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

Evidence That Halfdan Is Identical With Helge Hundingsbane

The Teutonic Emigration Saga Found In Tacitus

Loke Causes Enmity Between The Gods And The Original Artists

The Sacred Runes Learned From Heimdal

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

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

Heimdal And The Sun-dis Dis-goddess

Borgar-skjold's Son Halfdan The Third Patriarch

Halfdan's Identity With Mannus In Germania

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

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

Halfdan's Conflicts Interpreted As Myths Of Nature



Heimdal And The Sun-dis Dis-goddess






Category: THE MYTH CONCERNING THE EARLIEST PERIOD AND THE EMIGRATIONS FROM THE NORTH.

Source: Teutonic Mythology

In Saxo's time there was still extant a myth telling how Heimdal, as the
ruler of the earliest generation, got himself a wife. The myth is found
related as history in Historia Danica, pp. 335-337. Changed into a
song of chivalry in middle age style, we find it on German soil in the
poem concerning king Ruther.

Saxo relates that a certain king Alf undertook a perilous journey of
courtship, and was accompanied by Borgar. Alf is the more noble of the
two; Borgar attends him. This already points to the fact that the mythic
figure which Saxo has changed into a historical king must be Heimdal,
Borgar's co-father, his ruler and fosterer, otherwise Borgar himself
would be the chief person in his country, and could not be regarded as
subject to anyone else. Alf's identity with Heimdal is corroborated by
"King Ruther," and to a degree also by the description Saxo makes of his
appearance, a description based on a definite mythic prototype. Alf,
says Saxo, had a fine exterior, and over his hair, though he was young,
a so remarkably white splendour was diffused that rays of light seemed
to issue from his silvery locks (cujus etiam insignem candore
caesariem tantus comae decor asperierat, ut argenteo crine nitere
putaretur). The Heimdal of the myth is a god of light, and is described
by the colour applied to pure silver in the old Norse literature to
distinguish it from that which is alloyed; he is hviti ass (Gylfag.,
27) and hvitastr asa (Thrymskvida, 5); his teeth glitter like gold,
and so does his horse. We should expect that the maid whom Alf, if he is
Heimdal, desires to possess belongs like himself to the divinities of
light. Saxo also says that her beauty could make one blind if she was
seen without her veil, and her name Alfhild belongs, like Alfsol, Hild,
Alfhild Solglands, Svanhild Guldfjaeder, to that class of names by which
the sundises, mother and daughter, were transferred from mythology to
history. She is watched by two dragons. Suitors who approach her in vain
get their heads chopped off and set up on poles (thus also in "King
Ruther"). Alf conquers the guarding dragons; but at the advice of her
mother Alfhild takes flight, puts on a man's clothes and armour, and
becomes a female warrior, fighting at the head of other Amazons. Alf and
Borgar search for and find the troop of Amazons amid ice and snow. It is
conquered and flies to "Finnia," Alf and Borgar pursue them thither.
There is a new conflict. Borgar strikes the helmet from Alfhild's head.
She has to confess herself conquered, and becomes Alf's wife.

In interpreting the mythic contents of this story we must remember that
the lad who came with the sheaf of grain to Scandia needed the help of
the sun for the seed which he brought with him to sprout, before it
could give harvests to the inhabitants. But the saga also indicates
that the sun-dis had veiled herself, and made herself as far as possible
unapproachable, and that when Heimdal had forced himself into her
presence she fled to northern ice-enveloped regions, where the god and
his foster-son, sword in hand, had to fetch her, whereupon a happy
marriage between him and the sun-dis secures good weather and rich
harvests to the land over which he rules. At the first glance it might
seem as if this myth had left no trace in our Icelandic records. This
is, however, not the case. Its fundamental idea, that the sun at one
time in the earliest ages went astray from southern regions to the
farthest north and desired to remain there, but that it was brought back
by the might of the gods who created the world, and through them
received, in the same manner as Day and Night, its course defined and
regularly established, we find in the Voeluspa strophe, examined with so
great acumen by Julius Hoffory, which speaks of a bewilderment of this
kind on the part of the sun, occurring before it yet "knew its proper
sphere," and in the following strophe, which tells how the all-holy gods
thereupon held solemn council and so ordained the activity of these
beings, that time can be divided and years be recorded by their course.
Nor is the marriage into which the sun-dis entered forgotten.
Skaldskaparmal quotes a strophe from Skule Thorsteinson where Sol[12] is
called Glenr's wife. That he whom the skald characterises by this
epithet is a god is a matter of course. Glenr signifies "the shining
one," and this epithet was badly chosen if it did not refer to "the
most shining of the Asas," hvitastr asa--that is, Heimdal.

The fundamental traits of "King Ruther" resemble Saxo's story. There,
too, it is a king who undertakes a perilous journey of courtship and
must fight several battles to win the wondrous fair maiden whose
previous suitors had had to pay for their eagerness by having their
heads chopped off and fastened on poles. The king is accompanied by
Berter, identical with Berchtung-Borgar, but here, as always in the
German story, described as the patriarch and adviser. A giant,
Vidolt--Saxo's Vitolphus, Hyndluljod's Vidolfr--accompanies Ruther and
Berter on the journey; and when Vitolphus in Saxo is mentioned under
circumstances which show that he accompanied Borgar on a warlike
expedition, and thereupon saved his son Halfdan's life, there is no room
for doubt that Saxo's saga and "King Ruther" originally flowed from the
same mythic source. It can also be demonstrated that the very name
Ruther is one of those epithets which belong to Heimdal. The Norse
Hrutr is, according to the Younger Edda (i. 588, 589), a synonym of
Heimdali, and Heimdali is another form of Heimdall (Isl., i. 231).
As Hrutr means a ram, and as Heimdali is an epithet of a ram (see
Younger Edda, i. 589), light is thrown upon the bold metaphors,
according to which "head," "Heimdal's head," and "Heimdal's sword" are
synonyms (Younger Edda, i. 100, 264; ii. 499). The ram's head carries
and is the ram's sword. Of the age of this animal symbol we give an
account in No. 82. There is reason for believing that Heimdal's helmet
has been conceived as decorated with ram's horns.[13] A strophe quoted
in the Younger Edda (i. 608) mentions Heimdal's helmet, and calls the
sword the fyllr of Heimdal's helmet, an ambiguous expression, which
may be interpreted as that which fills Heimdal's helmet; that is to say,
Heimdal's head, but also as that which has its place on the helmet.
Compare the expression fyllr hilmis stols as a metaphor for the power
of the ruler.

[Footnote 12: Sol is feminine in the Teutonic tongues.--TR.]

[Footnote 13: That some one of the gods has worn a helmet with such a
crown can be seen on one of the golden horns found near Gallehuus. There
twice occurs a being wearing a helmet furnished with long, curved, sharp
pointed horns. Near him a ram is drawn and in his hand he has something
resembling a staff which ends in a circle, and possibly is intended to
represent Heimdal's horn.]





Next: Loke Causes Enmity Between The Gods And The Original Artists

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



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