The Northern Way

Grimm's Teutonic Mythology

Chap. 1 Sup.

Page 1

CHAPTER I. - INTRODUCTION.

p. 1, note) Paul. Diac. still uses heathen in the sense of rustici (Pertz, Archiv 7, 334). demo heidanin commane, Diut. 1, 504b. The abbrev. form heid occurs even before Luther: heide rhy. leide, G. Abent. 2, 67. dieser zeginer oder heit, Keller, Fastnachts-sp. p. 823 (like our christ for MHG. kristen, OHG. christani); yet the true genitive is retained in Chr. Weise's Erznarre 190: des jungen heidens los werden. --- Favorite epithets of the heathen are "wild, fierce, grim": wild heathen, wild men of the wild heath, Anegenge 23, 61. conf. Rabenschl. 1080. Neifen 14, 6. MsH. 1, 152a. die wuotendigen heiden, Kaiser-chr. 951. More freq. die übelen heiden, Diemer 158, 18. 162, 2. Morolt 376 seq. die bôsen h., Diemer 170, 24. 179, 17. der übele h., Pantal 1034. der vil arge h. 1847. den h. gramen, Servat. 148 (per contra, hypocrita is transl. dunni cristâni, Diut 1, 239b). Also "dogs," as in Judith 134, 39: þone haeðenan hund. Olaf Tryggv. saga, cap. 68: hund-heidinn. Svenske vis: hednings-hund. Mor. 418: den heidenschen hunt. In Willeh. 58, 16 the Sarrazin ride on dogs and hogs. ---- Graudually milder terms are used: dat domme heidine, Maerl. 3, 128. des gelouben gest (strangers to faith), Türl. Wh. 15a. heidinen die sunder êwe (without law) lebeten, Roth. 475. People do not like to be taken for heathens: sô bin ich niht ein heiden, MsH. 1, 42a. als ich waere ein heiden 45b. Yet there is pity for them: swie sie wâren heiden, och was zerbarmen umbe sie, Nib. Lament, 437; and Wolfram, like Walther, speaks of them quite humanely, Willeh. 450, 15: "Die nie toufes künde Enpfiengen, ist das sünde, Daz man die sluoc alsam ein vihe (a sin to slay the unbaptized)? Grôzer sünde ich drumbe gihe: Es ist gar Gotes hant-getât, Zwuo und sibenzec sprâche die er hât," they are God's handiwork, 72 languages wherein He speaks.

pp. 2-4.) Heathens in Italy and at Rome as late as Theoderic, Edict. Theod. 108. Salvianus de gubern. Dei, about 450, contrasts the vices of christian Romans and Provincials with the virtues of heathen Saxons, Franks, Gepidæ and Huns, and of heretical Goths and Vandals; towards the end of bk. 7, he says: 'Gothorum gens perfida, sed pudica est, Alamannorum impudica, sed minus perfida. Franci mendaces, sed hospitales, Saxones crudelitate efferi, sed castitate mirandi;' and further on: 'Vandali castos etiam Romanos esse fecerunt;' conf. Papencordt 271-2. The Bavarian Ratolf is converted in 788: coepi Deum colere, MB. 28b, 7. In the times of Boniface and Sturmi we read: Populi gentis illius (in Noricum), licet essent christiani, ab antiquis tamen paganorum contagiis et perversis dogmatibus infecti, Pertz 2, 366. Alamanns, who appear in Italy 552-3, are still heathens in contrast to the christian Franks, Agathias 2, 1. 1, 7. Eginhard cap. 7 (Pertz 2, 446): Saxones cultui daemonum dediti; cultum daem. dimittere; abjecto daem. cultu, et relictis patriis caerimoniis. The author of Vita Mathildis (Pertz 12, 575) says of the Saxons and of Widukind's family: Stirps qui quondam daem. captus errore, praedicatorum pro inopia idola adorans, christianos constanter persequebatur.

The Nialssaga cap. 101-6 relates the introduction of Christianity into Iceland in 995-1000. Yet at Nerike by Örebro, as late as the 17th cent., they sacrificed to Thor on certain rocks for toothache, Dybeck runa 1848 p. 26; and to this day old women sacrifice to rivers, and throw the branch on the stone 2, 3, 15. vit erum heiðin is said in Olaf the Saint's time in Gautland, Fornm. sög. 4, 187 and 12, 84. In the Norwegian districts of Serna and Idre, bordering on Dalarne, there were heathens in 1644, Samling (Christiania 1839) 6, 470-1. þa kunni enge maðr Paternoster i Straumi, Werlauff. grenzbest. 20. 37. In Sweden we hear of Oden'' followers in 1578, 1580 and 1601, Geyer Svearikes häfder 2, 329; in a folk-song a woman dreads the heathen that haunt the neighbouring wood: 'locka till Thor i fjäll,' Arvidsson 3, 504. Thursday was holy in Sweden till 100 or 150 years ago (p. 191). Relapses into heathenism were frequent there, Hervarars. cap. 20 (Fornald. sög. 1, 512). The secret practice of it was called launblôt, Fornm. sög. 2, 243.

The Slavs in Pomerania heathens till begin. of 12th century. A heathen festival near Pyritz, and that of Gerovit at Havelberg, Barthold's Gesch. v. Pomm. 2, 34. 76. Giesebrecht's Wend. gesch. 2, 265. 309. Heathen Rans, Barth. 2, 100-1. Pribizlaus of Mecklenburg baptized in 1164, Svantevit's temple destroyed 1168, Lisch's Meckl. jahrb. 11, 10. 97. ----- The Slaves betw. Elbe and Oder were Christians for 70 years, then relapsed ab. 1013, Helmold 1, 16; adhuc enim (1147) Slavi immolabant daemoniis et non Deo 68. The Prussians still heathen after conversion of Russians 1, 1. ----- Some Christians in Hungary in latter half of 10th century, Dümmler's Pilgrim von Passau 36 seq. Some heathens in Esthonia at the present day, Verhandl. 2, 36. The Lapps were still heathen in 1750, Castrén's Reise p. 69.

Mixed marriages were not entirely forbidden, as Chlodowig's example shows. Such too was Kriemhilt's union with the heathen Etzel, but she takes care to have her son Ortliep baptized, Nibel. 1328.

p. 5. ) Between heathen baptism (the vatni ausa, the dicare in nomine deorum, Greg. Tur. 2, 29) and christian baptism, stands the prîm-signaz, Egilss. p. 265, a mere signing with the cross. Thus, Gestr is 'prîmsigndr, eigi skîrðr,' Fornald. sög. 1, 314. The pains of hell were made to hang on being unbaptized (p. 918). ----- Whoever forsook paganica vetustas (Pertz. 2, 342), had to renounce the gods: den goten entfarn = get baptized, Türl. Wh. 130a. To abjure one's faith was abrenuntiare, abjurare, renegare, reneare, Ducange; Fr. renier, O.Fr. renoier, MHG. sich vernoijieren, Nib. 1207, 1. Lament 494. vernoierten sich von den Kristen, Livl. reimchr. 5719. M. Neth. vernogerde, Karel. 2, 75. vernoyert, Pajin 2, 519. 831. vernoyert rh. verghiert. Maerl. 3, 140. OHG. antrunneo, ant-trunneo aba-trunneo = apostata, renegatus, Graff 5, 533. li cuivers renoié, Ducange; tornadie, tornadis = retrayant. Other phrases: den touf hin legen, Livl. r. 6129. lâzen varn krist 6385. What is meant by: 'eosque (Hessians at Amenaburg) a sacrilega idolorum censura, qua sub quodam christianitatis nomine male abusi sunt, evocavit' in the Vita Bonifacii, Pertz 2, 342? probably a christian heresy, as p. 344 says of Thuringians: 'sub nomine religionis falsi fratres maximam hereticae pravitatis introduxerunt sectam,' conf. Rettberg 2, 308. ----- The Abrenuntiations declared the ancient gods by name to be devils and unholds. All heathen merrymaking, especially music and dancing, was considered diabolic, pp. 259. 618-9. 770. Feasts, games and customs connected with the old worship were now diaboli pompa, gelp inti zierida. Grieshaber's Serm. p. 48: da man singet und springet in des tievels dienste; conf. Aucassin in Méon's Fabl. 1, 385. Fauriel 3, 190.

p. 5. ) The mental protest against christianity shows itself in the continuance of the rough heroic conception of Paradise (p. 819). The christian paradise was often rejected, as by Radbod the Frisian, who withdrew his foot from the sacred font, because he did not care to give up the fellowship of his forefathers in hell and sit with a little flock in heaven, Vita Bonif. (Pertz 2, 221). Melis Stoke, rymkron. 1, 24. Comp. the contrary behaviour of Gudbrand (Maurer bekehrung 1, 537) and of Sighvatr at the baptism of Magnus, St. Olaf's saga c. 119. Waldemar likes hunting better than heaven, Thiele 1, 48. nit ze himelrîche sîn woldich vür dise reise, Roseng. 110. mir waere ie liep bî ir ze sîn dan bî Got in paradîs, MS. 1, 178a. möht aber mir ir hulde (her favour) werden, ich belibe (I would stay) ûf der erden alhie, Got liez ich dort die werden (worthies), MS. 2, 16b. daz himelrîche liez ich sîn, und waere bî in iemer wol alsô, Dietr. drachenk. 131b. waz sol ein bezzer paradîs, ob er mac vrô belîben von wol gelopten wîben? MsH. 1, 82b. si waere getreton durch Flôren in die helle, Fl. 5784. si me vauroit miex un ris de vous qu'estre en paradis, Thib. de N. 69. kestre ne voudroie en paradis, se ele nestoit mie 75; conf. 113. The hered. sewer of Schlotheim: 'had you one foot in heaven and one on the Wartburg, you'd rather withdraw the first than the last,' Rommel's Gesch. von Hessen 2, 17. fall from heaven to earth, Schwein. 1, 95. come back from paradise, Chans. histor. 1, 43. ------ Eyvindr, like christian martyrs, endures the utmost pains inflicted by Olaf Tryggvason, and will not apostatize, Fornm. sög. 2, 167. The Hist. S. Cuthberti says: quadam die cum Onalaf cum furore intrasset ecclesiam Cuthberti, astante episcopo Cuthheardo et tota congregatione, 'quid, inquit, in me potest homo iste mortuus Cuthbertus, cujus in me quotidie minae opponuntur? juro per deos meos potentes, Thor et Othan, quod ab die hac inimicissimus ero omnibus vobis,' Twysden 73-4. The heathenism smouldering in many hearts is perceptible even in Latin deeds of 1270, Seibertz no. 351.

p. 5. ) A peal of bells was hateful to heathens, and therefore to giants, p. 950, to dwarfs, p. 459, to witches, p. 1085.

p. 5. ) Even in christian times the heathen gods are credited with sundry powers. The idols speak, Pass. 307, 2 seq. Barl. 342, 8 or hold their peace, Pass. 306, 24. 34. The Livl. reimchr. 1433 seq. says:

Die Littouwen vuoren über sê,

daz ist genant daz Osterhap,

als ez Perkune ir abgot gap (when P. existed),

daz nimmer sô harte gevrôs (froze).
Hence the quarrel between the old and new religion was often referred to an ordeal or miracle: 'probemus miraculis, quis sit majoris potentiae, vestri multi quos dicitis dii, an meus solus omnipotens dominus J. Chr.' cries the christian priest in Vita Ansgarii (Pertz 2, 702); and the rain falls in torrents on the heathen Swedes despite their praying, while not a drop touches him. In Greg. Tur. mirac. 1 cap. 81, the ordeal of water decides whether the Arian or Catholic faith be the right one. In the legend of Silvester, the Jew sorcerer first kills a bull in the name of his God, and Silvester brings it to life again by calling upon Christ, W. Grimm's Silv. xv.---xx.

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