VIEW THE MOBILE VERSION of Informational Site Network Informational

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

The War In Midgard Between Halfdan's Sons

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

Heimdal And The Sun-dis Dis-goddess

The Significance Of The Conflict From A Religious-ritual Standpoint

The Teutonic Emigration Saga Found In Tacitus

Halfdan's Character The Weapon-myth

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

Halfdan's Conflicts Interpreted As Myths Of Nature

Loke Causes Enmity Between The Gods And The Original Artists

Evidence That Halfdan Is Identical With Helge Hundingsbane

Borgar-skjold's Son Halfdan The Third Patriarch

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

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

Halfdan's Enmity With Orvandel And Svipdag

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

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

Halfdan's Identity With Mannus In Germania

The Sacred Runes Learned From Heimdal

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

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

The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors

The World War Its Cause The Murder Of Gullveig-heidr

The Position Of The Divine Clans To The Warriors


Source: Teutonic Mythology

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 recognize 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 recognize 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
Hafle and the giantesses Fenja and Menja fight under Gudhorm's banners.
In the Grotte-song (14, 15) these maids sing:

En vit sithan
a Svidiothu
framvisar tvoer
i folk stigum;
beiddum biornu,
en brutum skioldu
gengum igegnum
graserkiat lit.
Steyptom stilli,
studdum annan,
veittum gothum
Guthormi lid.

That the giant Hafle 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 Hafle." Since Thor and Hafle 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 protege Hadding and Hafle'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 Hafle,
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 vaes oerest mid Eastdenum
geseven secgum od he siddan east
ofer vaeg gevat. Vaen aefter ran;
thus Heardingas thone haele nemdon.

"Yngve (Inge) was first seen among the East-Danemen.
Then he 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-Danemen." 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 Lessoe 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 hoefdi 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 Svarthoefdi is identical
with Svartr, Surtr. In Hyndluljod, 33, all the mythical sorcerers
(seidberendr) are said to be sprung from Svarthoefdi. 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 Svarthoefdi, Svartr and Svarthoefdi must be identical.
And so it is with Vagn and Vagnhoefdi; they are different names for the
same person.

When the Anglo-Saxon rune-strophe says that Vang "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 praesidia
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[25] 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
Grimnismal, 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 dro). The word and name
Kjalki, as also Sledi, is used as a paraphrase of the word and name
Vagn.[26] 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 Sleipner'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 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 Gungner; 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.

[Footnote 25: 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.]

[Footnote 26: 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 sidfoerull
seg hvattu heitir!

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

Previous: The War In Midgard Between Halfdan's Sons

Add to Add to Reddit Add to Digg Add to Add to Google Add to Twitter Add to Stumble Upon
Add to Informational Site Network

Viewed 823