The Troy Saga In Heimskringla And The Prose Edda

: Teutonic Mythology

The sources of the traditions concerning the Asiatic immigration to the

North belong to the Icelandic literature, and to it alone. Saxo's

Historia Danica, the first books of which were written toward the

close of the twelfth century, presents on this topic its own peculiar

view, which will be discussed later. The Icelandic accounts disagree

only in unimportant details; the fundamental view is the same, and they

have fl
wn from the same fountain vein. Their contents may be summed up


Among the tribes who after the Babylonian confusion of tongues emigrated

to various countries, there was a body of people who settled and

introduced their language in Asia Minor, which in the sagas is called

Tyrkland; in Greece, which in the sagas is called Macedonia; and in

Crete. In Tyrkland they founded the great city which was called Troy.

This city was attacked by the Greeks during the reign of the Trojan king

Priam. Priam descended from Jupiter and the latter's father Saturnus,

and accordingly belonged to a race which the idolaters looked upon as

divine. Troy was a very large city; twelve languages were spoken there,

and Priam had twelve tributary kings under him. But however powerful the

Trojans were, and however bravely they defended themselves under the

leadership of the son of Priam's daughter, that valiant hero Thor, still

they were defeated. Troy was captured and burned by the Greeks, and

Priam himself was slain. Of the surviving Trojans two parties emigrated

in different directions. They seem in advance to have been well informed

in regard to the quality of foreign lands; for Thor, the son of Priam's

daughter, had made extensive expeditions in which he had fought giants

and monsters. On his journeys he had even visited the North, and there

he had met Sibil, the celebrated prophetess, and married her. One of the

parties of Trojan emigrants embarked under the leadership of AEneas for

Italy, and founded Rome. The other party, accompanied by Thor's son,

Loride, went to Asialand, which is separated from Tyrkland by a mountain

ridge, and from Europe by the river Tanais or Tanakvisl. There they

founded a new city called Asgard, and there preserved the old customs

and usages brought from Troy. Accordingly, there was organised in

Asgard, as in Troy, a council of twelve men, who were high priests and

judges. Many centuries passed without any political contact between the

new Trojan settlements in Rome and Asgard, though both well remembered

their Trojan origin, and the Romans formed many of their institutions

after the model of the old fatherland. Meanwhile, Rome had grown to be

one of the mightiest empires in the world, and began at length to send

armies into Tyrkland. At that time there ruled in Asgard an exceedingly

wise, prophetic king, Odin, who was skilled in the magic arts, and who

was descended in the twentieth generation from the above-mentioned Thor.

Odin had waged many successful wars. The severest of these wars was the

one with a neighbouring people, the Vans; but this had been ended with

compromise and peace. In Tyrkland, the old mother country, Odin had

great possessions, which fell into the hands of the Romans. This

circumstance strengthened him in his resolution to emigrate to the north

of Europe. The prophetic vision with which he was endowed had told him

that his descendants would long flourish there. So he set out with his

many sons, and was accompanied by the twelve priests and by many people,

but not by all the inhabitants of the Asia country and of Asgard. A part

of the people remained at home; and among them Odin's brothers Vile and

Ve. The expedition proceeded through Gardarike to Saxland; then across

the Danish islands to Svithiod and Norway. Everywhere this great

multitude of migrators was well received by the inhabitants. Odin's

superior wisdom and his marvellous skill in sorcery, together with the

fact that his progress was everywhere attended by abundant harvests,

caused the peoples to look upon him as a god, and to place their thrones

at his disposal. He accordingly appointed his sons as kings in Saxland,

Denmark, Svithiod, and Norway. Gylfe, the king of Svithiod, submitted to

his superiority and gave him a splendid country around Lake Maelar to

rule over. There Odin built Sigtuna, the institutions of which were an

imitation of those in Asgard and Troy. Poetry and many other arts came

with Odin to the Teutonic lands, and so, too, the Trojan tongue. Like

his ancestors, Saturnus and Jupiter, he was able to secure divine

worship, which was extended even to his twelve priests. The religious

traditions which he scattered among the people, and which were believed

until the introduction of Christianity, were misrepresentations spun

around the memories of Troy's historical fate and its destruction, and

around the events of Asgard.