The Result Of The Foregoing Investigations

Herewith I close the examination of the sagas in regard to the Trojan

descent of the Teutons, and in regard to the immigration of Odin and his

Asiamen to Saxland, Denmark, and the Scandinavian peninsula. I have

pointed out the seed from which the sagas grew, the soil in which the

seed could be developed, and how it gradually grew to be what we find

these sagas to be in Heimskringla and the Younger Edda. I have shown

that they do not belong to the Teutonic heathendom, but that they were

born, as it were of necessity, in a Christian time, among Teutons

converted to Christianity, and that they are throughout the work of the

Latin scholars in the middle age. The assumption that they concealed

within themselves a tradition preserved for centuries among the Teutons

themselves of an ancient emigration from Asia is altogether improbable,

and is completely refuted by the genuine migration sagas of Teutonic

origin which were rescued from oblivion, and of which I shall give an

account below. In my opinion, these old and genuine Teutonic migration

sagas have, from a purely historical standpoint, but little more claim

than the fables of the Christian age in regard to Odin's emigration from

Asia to be looked upon as containing a kernel of reality. This must in

each case be carefully considered. But that of which they furnish

evidence is, how entirely foreign to the Teutonic heathens was the idea

of an immigration from Troy or Asia, and besides, they are of great

interest on account of their connection with what the myths have to say

in regard to the oldest dwelling-places, history, and diffusion of the

human race, or at least of the Teutonic part of it.

As a rule, all the old migration sagas, no matter from what race they

spring, should be treated with the utmost caution. Large portions of

the earth's surface may have been appropriated by various races, not by

the sudden influx of large masses, but by a gradual increase of the

population and consequent moving of their boundaries, and there need not

have been very remarkable or memorable events in connection therewith.

Such an expansion of the territory may take place, and be so little

remarked by the people living around the centre, that they actually do

not need to be aware of it, and much less do they need to remember it in

sagas and songs. That a few new settlers year by year extend the

boundaries of a race has no influence on the imagination, and it can

continue generation after generation, and produce as its final result an

immense expansion, and yet the separate generations may scarcely have

been conscious of the change in progress. A people's spreading over new

territory may be compared with the movement of the hour-hand on a clock.

It is not perceptible to the eye, and is only realized by continued


In many instances, however, immigrations have taken place in large

masses, who have left their old abodes to seek new homes. Such

undertakings are of themselves worthy of being remembered, and they are

attended by results that easily cling to the memory. But even in such

cases it is surprising how soon the real historical events either are

utterly forgotten or blended with fables, which gradually, since they

appeal more to the fancy, monopolise the interest. The conquest and

settlement of England by Saxon and Scandinavian tribes--and that, too,

in a time when the art of writing was known--is a most remarkable

instance of this. Hengist, under whose command the Saxons, according to

their own immigration saga, are said to have planted their feet on

British soil, is a saga-figure taken from mythology, and there we shall

find him later on (see No. 123). No wonder, then, if we discover in

mythology those heroes under whose leadership the Longobardians and

Goths believed they had emigrated from their original Teutonic homes.

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