Teutonic Mythology, Vol. 3 (of 3) Gods and Goddesses of the Northland
Gods and Goddessesof the Northland
By VIKTOR RYDBERG, Ph.D.,
MEMBER OF THE SWEDISH ACADEMY; AUTHOR OF "THE LAST ATHENIAN"AND OTHER WORKS.
AUTHORISED TRANSLATION FROM THE SWEDISH
RASMUS B. ANDERSON, LL.D.,
EX-UNITED STATES MINISTER TO DENMARK; AUTHOR OF "NORSE
MYTHOLOGY," "VIKING TALES," ETC.
HON. RASMUS B. ANDERSON, LL.D., Ph.D.,
EDITOR IN CHIEF.
J. W. BUEL, Ph.D.,
PUBLISHED BY THE
LONDON COPENHAGEN STOCKHOLM BERLIN NEW YORK
There are but six hundred and fifty sets made for the world,of which this is
T. H. SMART,
TABLE OF CONTENTS.
|Story of the Seven Sleepers||707|
|The Anthropology of the Mythology||729|
|Svipdag and Groa||747|
|Menglad's Identity with Freyja||751|
|The Sword of Revenge||759|
|Orvandel, the Star-Hero||767|
|Svipdag Rescues Freyja from the Giants||770|
|Svipdag in Saxo's Account of Hotherus||781|
|Ericus Disertus in Saxo||793|
|Later Fortunes of the Volund Sword||808|
|The Svipdag Epithet "Skirnir"||815|
|Transformation and Death of Svipdag||819|
|Reminiscences of the Svipdag Myth||830|
|Orvandel, Egil and Ebbo||847|
|Frey Fostered in the Home of Orvandel||865|
|Ivalde, Svipdag's Grandfather||870|
|Parallel Myths in Rigveda||874|
|Judgment Passed on the Ivalde Sons||884|
|Olvalde and Ivalde Sons Identical||890|
|A Review of Thorsdrapa||932|
|Of Volund's Identity with Thjasse||952|
|The Worst Deed of Revenge||956|
|The Guard at Hvergelmer and the Elivagar||968|
|Slagfin, Egil, and Volund||971|
|The Niflung Hoard left by Volund||975|
|Slagfin-Gjuke a Star-Hero||981|
|Slagfin's Appearance in the Moon Myth||985|
|Review of the Synonyms of Ivalde's Sons||991|
LIST OF PHOTOGRAVURES.
|Thor's Journey to Geirrodsgard||Frontispiece|
|Idun Brought Back to Asgard||807|
|Thor, Hymir, and the Midgard Serpent||915|
|King Svafrlame Secures the Sword Tyrfing||1003|
THE MYTH IN REGARD TO THE LOWER WORLD.
(Part IV. Continued from Volume II.)
THE SEVEN SLEEPERS.
Völuspa gives an account of the events which forebodeand lead up to Ragnarok. Among these we also findthat leika Mims synir, that is, that the sons of Mimer"spring up," "fly up," "get into lively motion." Butthe meaning of this has hitherto been an unsolved problem.
In the strophe immediately preceding (the 44th)Völuspa describes how it looks on the surface of Midgardwhen the end of the world is at hand. Brothersand near kinsmen slay each other. The sacred bonds ofmorality are broken. It is the storm-age and the wolf-age.Men no longer spare or pity one another. Knivesand axes rage. Volund's world-destroying sword of revengehas already been fetched by Fjalar in the guise ofthe red cock (str. 41), and from the Ironwood, where ithitherto had been concealed by Angerboda and guardedby Egther; the wolf-giant Hate with his companionshave invaded the world, which it was the duty of the gods[Pg 708]to protect. The storms are attended by eclipses of thesun (str. 40).
Then suddenly the Hjallar-horn sounds, announcingthat the destruction of the world is now to be fulfilled,and just as the first notes of this trumpet penetrate theworld, Mimer's sons spring up. "The old tree," theworld-tree, groans and trembles. When Mimer's sons"spring up" Odin is engaged in conversation with thehead of their father, his faithful adviser, in regard to theimpending conflict, which is the last one in which thegods are to take a hand.
I shall here give reasons for the assumption that theblast from the Hjallar-horn wakes Mimer's sons from asleep that has lasted through centuries, and that the Christianlegend concerning the seven sleepers has its chief,if not its only, root in a Teutonic myth which in the secondhalf of the fifth or in the first half of the sixth centurywas changed into a legend. At that time large portionsof the Teutonic race had already been converted toChristianity: the Goths, Vandals, Gepidians, Rugians,Burgundians, and Swabians were Christians. Considerableparts of the Roman empire were settled by the Teutonsor governed by their swords. The Franks were onthe point of entering the Christian Church, and behindthem the Alamannians and Longobardians. Their mythsand sagas were reconstructed so far as they could beadapted to the new forms and ideas, and if they, more orless transformed, assumed the garb of a Christian legend,then this guise enabled them to travel to the utmostlimits of Christendom; and if they also contained, as in[Pg 709]the case here in question, ideas that were not entirelyforeign to the Greek-Roman world, then they might themore easily acquire the right of Roman nativity.
In its oldest form the legend of "the seven sleepers"has the following outlines (Miraculorum Liber, vii., i.92):
"Seven brothers" have their place of rest near the cityof Ephesus, and the story of them is as follows: Inthe time of the Emperor Decius, while the persecutionof the Christians took place, seven men were capturedand brought before the ruler. Their names were Maximianus,Malchus, Martinianus, Constantius, Dionysius,Joannes, and Serapion. All sorts of persuasion was attempted,but they would not yield. The emperor, whowas pleased with their courteous manners, gave themtime for reflection, so that they should not at once fallunder the sentence of death. But they concealed themselvesin a cave and remained there many days. Still,one of them went out to get provisions and attend toother necessary matters. But when the emperor returnedto the same city, these men prayed to God, asking Himin His mercy to save them out of this danger, and when,lying on the ground, they had finished their prayers, theyfell asleep. When the emperor learned that they werein the above-mentioned cave, he, under divine influence,commanded that the entrance of the cave should be closedwith large stones, "for," said he, "as they are unwillingto offer sacrifices to our gods, they must perish there."[Pg 710]While this transpired a Christian man had engraved thenames of the seven men on a leaden tablet, and also theirtestimony in regard to their belief, and he had secretlylaid the tablet in the entrance of the cave before the latterwas closed. After many years, the congregationshaving secured peace and the Christian Theodosius havinggained the imperial dignity, the false doctrine of theSadducees, who denied resurrection, was spread amongthe people. At this time it happens that a citizen ofEphesus is about to make an enclosure for his sheep onthe mountain in question, and for this purpose he loosensthe stones at the entrance of the cave, so that thecave was opened, but without his becoming aware of whatwas concealed within. But the Lord sent a breath oflife into the seven men and they arose. Thinking theyhad slept only one night, they sent one of their number,a youth, to buy food. When he came to the city gate hewas astonished, for he saw the glorious sign of the Cross,and he heard people aver by the name of Christ. Butwhen he produced his money, which was from the time ofDecius, he was seized by the vendor, who insisted thathe must have found secreted treasures from former times,and who, as the youth made a stout denial, brought himbefore the bishop and the judge. Pressed by them, hewas forced to reveal his secret, and he conducted themto the cave where the men were. At the entrance thebishop then finds the leaden tablet, on which all that concernedtheir case was noted down, and when he hadtalked with the men a messenger was despatched to theEmperor Theodosius. He came and kneeled on the[Pg 711]ground and worshipped them, and they said to the ruler:"Most august Augustus! there has sprung up a false doctrinewhich tries to turn the Christian people from thepromises of God, claiming that there is no resurrectionof the dead. In order that you may know that we areall to appear before the judgment-seat of Christ accordingto the words of the Apostle Paul, the Lord God hasraised us from the dead and commanded us to makethis statement to you. See to it that you are not deceivedand excluded from the kingdom of God." When theEmperor Theodosius