Halfdan's Identity With Mannus In Germania

: Teutonic Mythology

With Gram-Halfdan the Teutonic patriarch period ends. The human race had

its golden age under Heimdal, its copper age under Skjold-Borgar, and

the beginning of its iron age under Halfdan. The Skilfinga-Ynglinga race

has been named after Heimdal-Skelfir himself, and he has been regarded

as its progenitor. His son Skjold-Borgar has been considered the founder

of the Skjoldungs. With Halfdan the pedigree is divided into three
/> through his stepson Yngve-Svipdag, the latter's half-brother Gudhorm,

and Gudhorm's half-brother Hading or Hadding. The war between these

three--a continuation of the feud between Halfdan and Svipdag--was the

subject of a cycle of songs sung throughout Teutondom, songs which

continued to live though greatly changed with the lapse of time, on the

lips of Germans throughout the middle ages (see Nos. 36-43).

Like his father, Halfdan was the fruit of a double fatherhood, a divine

and a human. Saxo was aware of this double fatherhood, and relates of

his Halfdan Berggram that he, although the son of a human prince, was

respected as a son of Thor, and honoured as a god among that people who

longest remained heathen; that is to say, the Swedes (Igitur apud

Sveones tantus haberi caepit, ut magni Thor filius existimatus, divinis a

populo honoribus donaretur ac publico dignus libamine censeretur). In

his saga, as told by Saxo, Thor holds his protecting hand over Halfdan

like a father over his son.

It is possible that both the older patriarchs originally were regarded

rather as the founders and chiefs of the whole human race than of the

Teutons alone. Certain it is that the appellation Teutonic patriarch

belonged more particularly to the third of the series. We have a

reminiscence of this in Hyndluljod, 14-16. To the question, "Whence came

the Skjoldungs, Skilfings, Andlungs, and Ylfings, and all the free-born

and gentle-born?" the song answers by pointing to "the foremost among

the Skjoldungs"--Sigtrygg's slayer Halfdan--a statement which, after the

memory of the myths had faded and become confused, was magnified in the

Younger Edda into the report that he was the father of eighteen sons,

nine of which were the founders of the heroic families whose names were

at that time rediscovered in the heathen-heroic songs then extant.

According to what we have now stated in regard to Halfdan's genealogical

position there can no longer be any doubt that he is the same patriarch

as the Mannus mentioned by Tacitus in Germania, ch. 2, where it is

said of the Germans: "In old songs they celebrate Tuisco, a god born

of Earth (Terra; compare the goddess Terra Mater, ch. 40), and his

son Mannus as the source and founder of the race. Mannus is said to have

had three sons, after whose names those who dwell nearest the ocean are

called Ingaevonians (Ingaevones), those who dwell in the centre

Hermionians (Hermiones, Herminones), and the rest Istaevonians

(Istaevones)." Tacitus adds that there were other Teutonic tribes, such

as the Marsians, the Gambrivians, the Svevians, and the Vandals, whose

names were derived from other heroes of divine birth.

Thus Mannus, though human, and the source and founder of the Teutonic

race, is also the son of a god. The mother of his divine father is the

goddess Earth, mother Earth. In our native myths we rediscover this

goddess--polyonomous like nearly all mythic beings--in Odin's wife

Frigg, also called Fjorgyn and Hlodyn. As sons of her and Odin only

Thor (Voelusp.) and Balder (Lokasenna) are definitely mentioned.

In regard to the goddess Earth (Jord), Tacitus states (ch. 40), as a

characteristic trait that she is believed to take a lively interest and

active part in the affairs of men and nations (eam intervenire rebus

hominum, invehi populis arbitrantur), and he informs us that she is

especially worshipped by the Longobardians and some of their neighbours

near the sea. This statement, compared with the emigration saga of the

Longobardians (No. 15), confirms the theory that the goddess Jord, who,

in the days of Tacitus, was celebrated in song as the mother of Mannus'

divine father, is identical with Frigg. In their emigration saga the

Longobardians have great faith in Frigg, and trust in her desire and

ability to intervene when the fate of a nation is to be decided by arms.

Nor are they deceived in their trust in her; she is able to bring about

that Odin, without considering the consequences, gives the Longobardians

a new name; and as a christening present was in order, and as the

Longobardians stood arrayed against the Vandals at the moment when they

received their new name, the gift could be no other than victory over

their foes. Tacitus' statement, that the Longobardians were one of the

races who particularly paid worship to the goddess Jord, is found to be

intimately connected with, and to be explained by, this tradition, which

continued to be remembered among the Longobardians long after they

became converted to Christianity, down to the time when Origo

Longobardorum was written.

Tacitus calls the goddess Jord Nerthus. Vigfusson (and before him J.

Grimm) and others have seen in this name a feminine version of Njoerdr.

Nor does any other explanation seem possible. The existence of such a

form is not more surprising than that we have in Freyja a feminine form

of Frey, and in Fjorgyn-Frigg a feminine form of Fjoergynr. In our

mythic documents neither Frigg nor Njord are of Asa race. Njord is, as

we know, a Van. Frigg's father is Fjoergynr (perhaps the same as

Parganya in the Vedic songs), also called Annarr, Anarr, and

Onarr, and her mother is Narve's daughter Night. Frigg's high position

as Odin's real and lawful wife, as the queen of the Asa world, and as

mother of the chief gods Thor and Balder, presupposes her to be of the

noblest birth which the myth could bestow on a being born outside of the

Asa clan, and as the Vans come next after the Asas in the mythology, and

were united with them from the beginning of time, as hostages, by

treaty, by marriage, and by adoption, probability, if no other proof

could be found, would favour the theory that Frigg is a goddess of the

race of Vans, and that her father Fjoergyn is a clan-chief among the

Vans. This view is corroborated in two ways. The cosmogony makes Earth

and Sea sister and brother. The same divine mother Night (Nat), who

bears the goddess Jord, also bears a son Udr, Unnr, the ruler of the

sea, also called Audr (Rich), the personification of wealth. Both

these names are applied among the gods to Njord alone as the god of

navigation, commerce, and wealth. (In reference to wealth compare the

phrase audigr sem Njoerdr--rich as Njord.) Thus Frigg is Njord's

sister. This explains the attitude given to Frigg in the war between the

Asas and Vans by Voeluspa, Saxo, and the author of Ynglingasaga, where

the tradition is related as history. In the form given to this tradition

in Christian times and in Saxo's hands, it is disparaging to Frigg as

Odin's wife; but the pith of Saxo's narrative is, that Frigg in the

feud between the Asas and Vans did not side with Odin but with the Vans,

and contributed towards making the latter lords of Asgard. When the

purely heathen documents (Voelusp., Vafthr., Lokas.) describe her as a

tender wife and mother, Frigg's taking part with the Vans against her

own husband can scarcely be explained otherwise than by the Teutonic

principle, that the duties of the daughter and sister are above the

wife's, a view plainly presented in Saxo (p. 353), and illustrated by

Gudrun's conduct toward Atle.

Thus it is proved that the god who is the father of the Teutonic

patriarch Mannus is himself the son of Frigg, the goddess of earth, and

must, according to the mythic records at hand, be either Thor or Balder.

The name given him by Tacitus, Tuisco, does not determine which of the

two. Tuisco has the form of a patronymic adjective, and reappears in

the Norse Tivi, an old name of Odin, related to Dios divus, and

devas, from which all the sons of Odin and gods of Asgard received the

epithet tivar. But in the songs learned by Saxo in regard to the

northern race-patriarch and his divine father, his place is occupied by

Thor, not by Balder, and "Jord's son" is in Norse poetry an epithet

particularly applied to Thor.

Mannus has three sons. So has Halfdan. While Mannus has a son Ingaevo,

Halfdan has a stepson Yngve, Inge (Svipdag). The second son of Mannus is

named Hermio. Halfdan's son with Groa is called Gudhormr. The second

part of this name has, as Jessen has already pointed out, nothing to do

with ormr. It may be that the name should be divided Gudhormr, and

that hormr should be referred to Hermio. Mannus' third son is

Istaevo. The Celtic scholar Zeuss has connected this name with that of

the Gothic (more properly Vandal) heroic race Azdingi, and Grimm has

again connected Azdigni with Hazdiggo (Haddingr). Halfdan's third son

is in Saxo called Hadingus. Whether the comparisons made by Zeuss and

Grimm are to the point or not (see further, No. 43) makes but little

difference here. It nevertheless remains as a result of the

investigation that all is related by Tacitus about the Teutonic

patriarch Mannus has its counterpart in the question concerning Halfdan,

and that both in the myths occupy precisely the same place as sons of a

god and as founders of Teutonic tribes and royal families. The pedigrees


=Tacitus.= =Norse documents.=

Tivi and the goddess Jord. Tivi=Odin and the goddess


Tivi's son (Tiusco). Tivi's son Thor.

Mannus, progenitor of the Halfdan, progenitor of the

Teutonic tribes. royal families.

+--------+--------+ +---------+---------+

Ingaevo. Hermio. Istaevo. Yngve. Gudhormr. Hadding.