The Northern Way

Grimm's Teutonic Mythology

Chap. 14 Sup.

Page 1

CHAPTER XIV.CONDITION OF GODS.

p. 318. ) The heathen notion of the power of the gods is esp. seen in their being regarded as wonder-workers, who did not sink into sorcerers till Christian times; conf. p. 1031. GDS. 770. The giants on the other hand were looked upon, even by the heathen, as stupid, pp. 526-8-9. ----- The longevity of gods (long-aevi, lanc-libôn, Notk. Cap. 144) depends on simple food and a soul free from care (p. 320-4). So thinks Terence, Andr. 5, 5: ego vitam deorum propterea sempiternam esse arbitror, quod voluptates eorum propriae sunt; and the dwarfs ascribe their long and healthy lives to their honesty and temperance (p. 458). ----- Amrita (Somad. 1, 127) is derived by Bopp. Gl. 17a, from a priv. and mrita mortuus, hence immortal and conferring immortality; and a-mbrosia (279a) fr. a-mrosia, brotoj being for mrotoj. Various accounts of its manufacture in Rhode's Relig. bildung d. Hindus 1, 230. It arises from the churning of the ocean, says Holtzmann 3, 146-150, as ambrosia did from treading the wine press, K. F. Hermann's Gottesd. alth. p. 304. Doves carry ambrosia to Zeus, Od. 12, 63; conf. Athen. 4, 317. 321-5. Ambrosia and nectar are handed to goddess Calypso, while Odysseus partakes of earthly food beside her, Od. 5, 199. Moirai eat the sweet heavenly food of honey (p. 415n.). Even the horses of gods have in their manger ambrosia and nectar, Plato's Phædr. 247. Yet the gods eat white alfiton, meal (Athen. 1, 434), which Hermes buys for them in Lesbos. Ambrosial too is the odour shed around the steps of deity (Suppl. to 327 end), of which Plautus says in Pseud. iii. 2, 52:

ibi odos demissis pedibus in coelum volat;

eum odorem coenat Juppiter cotidie.
What nectar is made of, we learn from Athen. 1, 147-8, conf. 166. zwroteron nektar, Lucian's Sat. 7. purpureo bibit ore nectar, Hor. Od. iii. 3, 12. Transl. in OHG. by stanch, stenche, Graff 6, 696; in some glosses by seim, and if seim be akin to aima, our honig-seim still shows the affinity of honey to blood (pp. 468. 902); consider the renovating virtue of honey as well as blood: der Saelden honic-seim, Engelh. 5138. ----- The spittle of gods is of virtue in making blood and mead (p. 902), in brewing öl (ale): hann lagði fyri dregg hrâka sinn, Fornald. sög. 2, 26. Kvâsir is created out of spittle: so came Lakshmi out of the milk-sea, Holtzm. 1, 130, as Aphrodite from foam, Sri from milk and butter 3, 150.

p. 320. ) The belief of the Greeks in the Immortality of their gods was not without exceptions. In Crete stood a tomb with the inscription: 'Zeus has long been dead (teqnewj palai), he thunders no more,' Lucian's Jup. tragoed. 45; conf. p. 453n. Frigga's death is told by Saxo, ed. M. 44; dead Baldr appears no more among the gods, Sæm. 63b; then Freyr falls in fight with Surtr, Týr with Garmr, Thôrr with miðgarðsormr; Oðinn is swallowed by the wolf, Loki and Heimðall slay each other. Duke Julius 302-3. 870 (in Nachtbüchlein, 883), says he has heard that the Lord God was dead (the Pope?). ----- Oðinn and Saga drink, Sæm. 41a; Heimðall drinks mead 41b, and always 'gladly' : drecka glöð 41a. dreckr glaðr 41b (p. 324). Thôrr eats and drinks enormously, Sæm. 73b. Sn. 86, and a Norweg. tale of his being invited to a wedding.

p. 321. ) Of a god it is said: rhidiwj eqelwn, Od. 16, 198. rhidion qeoisi 211; of Circe: reia parexelqousa, Od. 10, 573. Zeus can do the hardest things, ouden asqmainwn menei, Æsch. Eum. 651. In Sn. formâli 12, Thôrr attains his full strength at twelve years, and can lift ten bear's hides at once. Wäinämöinen, the day after his birth, walks to the smithy, and makes himself a horse.

p. 322. )

Got ist noch liehter (brighter) denne der tac (day),

der antlitzes sich bewac (assumed a visage)

nâch menschen antlitze. Parz. 119, 19.
It is a mark of the Indian gods, that they cast no shadow, never wink, glide without touching the ground, are without dust or sweat (their garments dustless), and their garlands never fade, Holtzm. 3, 13. 19; conf. Bopp's Nalus p. 31. Even men, going into a temple of Zeus, cast no shadow, Meiner's Gesch. d. re. 1, 427. ----- Oðinn appears as a 'mikli maðr, herðimikill,' Fornm. sög. 2, 180-1. God has a beard: bien font a Dieu barbe de fuerre, Méon 1, 310. faire barbe de paille à Dieu, Dict. comique 1, 86-7. Finn. to see God's beard = to be near him, Kal. 27, 200. Vishnu is chatur-bhuja, four-handed, Bopp's Gl. 118a; Siva three-eyed, ibid. p. 160-1. Zeus too was sometimes repres. with three eyes, Paus. ii. 24, 4; Artemis with three heads, Athen. 2, 152. The Teut. mythol. has none of these deformities in its gods; at most we hear of a Conradus Dri-heuptl, MB. 29b, 85 (an. 1254). Yama, the Indian death, is black, and is called kâla, niger, Bopp's Gl. 71b. Vishnu in one incarnation is called Krishna, ater, niger, violaceus, Slav. chernyi (Bopp 83a), so that Cherni-bôgh would correspond to Krishna. ----- The beauty of the gods has already been noticed p. 26n.; that of the goddesses is sufficiently attested by giants and dwarfs suing for them: Þrymr wants Freyja, Þiassi Iðun, and the dwarfs demand the last favour of Freyja.

p. 323. ) Numen, orig. a neuma, nutus, means the nod of deity, and deity itself, as Festus says (ed. O. Müller 173, 17): numen quasi nutus dei ac potestas dicitur. Athena also 'nods' with her eyebrows: ep ofrusi neuse, Od. 16, 164. Diu (frau Minne) winket mir nû, daz ich mit ir gê, Walth. 47, 10; and Egilss. p. 305-6 has a notable passage on letting the eyebrows fall. Les sorcils abessier, Aspr. 45b. sa (si a) les sorcils levez, Paris expt. p. 104. Thôrr shakes his beard, Sæm. 70a.

The anger, hatred, vengeance of the gods was spoken of on p. 18-9. They punish misdeeds, boasting, presumption. Their envy, fqonoj, is discussed by Lehrs in Königsb. abh. iv. 1, 135 seq.; conf. qelgein (Suppl. to 331). twn tinoj fqonerwn daimonwn mhcanh gegone, Procop. 2, 358. thj tuchj o fqonoj 2, 178. ephreia daimonoj = tantalizing behaviour of a god, Lucian pro lapsu in salut. 1. Loki loves mischief when he brings about the death of Baldr. So the devil laughs to scorn: der tiuvel des lachet, Diut. 3, 52. smutz der tiuvel, welch ein rât! Helbl. 5, 89. des mac der tiuvel lachen 15, 448; conf. the laughing of ghosts (p. 945).

p. 324. ) Radii capitis appear in pictures, Not. dign. orient. pp. 53. 116. Forcellini sub. v. radiatus. Ztschr. des Hess. ver. 3, 366-7. astraphn eiden eklamyasan apo tou paidoj, saw lightning flash out of his son (Asklepios), Paus. ii. 26, 4. dô quam unser vrôve zu ime, und gotlîche schîne gingen ûz irme antlitze (fr. Mary's face), D. myst. 1, 219.

p. 325. ) The Homeric gods are without care, autoi de t akhdeej eisin, Il. 24, 526; they are blessed, serene, and rejoice in their splendour. Zeus sits on Olympus, kudei gaiwn (glad of his glory), terpi-keraunoj (delighting in thunder), and looks down at the smoking sacrifices of those he has spared. Ares too, and Briareus are kudei gaiontej. A god feels no pain: eiper qeoj gar estin, ouk aisqhsetai, Aristoph. Frogs 634. So Grîpir is 'glaðr konôngr,' Sæm. 172b. ----- The gods laugh: gelwj d ep autw toij qeoij ekinhqh, Babr. 56, 5; risus Jovis = vernantis coeli temperies, Marc. Cap. (conf. giant Svâsuðr, p. 758). subrisit crudele pater (Gradivus), Claudian in Eutr. 2, 109. Callaecia risit floribus ...... per herbam fluxere rosae, Claud. laus Serenae 71. 89. riserunt floribus amnes, Claud. Fl. Mall. 273; conf. laughing or sneezing out roses, rings, etc. Athena too is said to meidan, Od. 13, 287.

p. 327. ) For gods becoming visible Homer has a special word enarghj: calepoi de qeoi fainesqai enargeij, Il. 20, 131. qeoi fainontai enargeij, Od. 7, 201. 16, 161. enarghj hlqe 3, 420. enarghj suggenomenoj, Lucian's Sat. 10. ----- Gods can appear and vanish as they please, without any outward means: dwarfs and men, to become invisible, need the tarn-hat or a miraculous herb. No one can see them against their will: tij an qeon ouk eqelonta ofqalmoisin idoit h enq h enqa kionta; Od. 10. 573. ----- As a god can hear far off: kluei de kai proswqen wn qeoj, Æsch. Eum. 287. 375; as 'Got und sîn muoter sehent dur die steine,' MS. 2, 12a; so gods and spirits enter locked and guarded chambers unperceived, unhindered, Holtzm. 3, 11. 48. Dame Venus comes 'dur ganze mûren,' p. 455-6; the Minne conducts 'durch der kemenâten ganze want,' through the chamber's solid wall, Frib. Trist. 796. St. Thomas walks through a closed door, Pass. 248, 26-7. Athena's messenger eishlqe para klhidoj imanta, Od. 4, 802. para klhida liasqh 4, 838. Loki slips through the bora Sn. 356; and devils and witches get in at the keyhole.

Examples of sudden appearance, p. 400; disappearance, p. 951-2. Oðinn, Höner, Loki in the Färöe poem, when invoked, immediately appear and help. Sudden appearing is expressed in ON. both by the verb hverfa: þâ hvarf Fiölnir, Völsungas. c. 17; and by the noun svipr, Fornald. sög. 1, 402. Sæm. 157a. der engel von himele sleif, Servat. 399. dô sih der rouh ûf bouch, der engel al damit flouch, Maria 158, 2. er fuor in die lüfte hin, die wolken in bedacten, Urstende 116, 75; conf. 'rîða lopt ok lög,' and p. 1070-1. der menschlîch schîn niht bleib lang, er fuor dahin, Ls. 3, 263. Homer uses anaissein of Ares and Aphrodite: anaixante, Od. 8. 361; and the adv. aiya as well as karpalimwj and kraipna, Il. 7, 272. When Ovid. Met. 2, 785 says of Minerva: 'haud plura locuta fugit, et impressa tellurem reppulit hasta,' her dinting the ground with her spear expr. the ease of her ascent. Their speed is that of wind: h d anemou wj pnoih epessuto (of Athena), Od. 6, 20. sic effata rapit coeli per inania cursum diva potens, unoque Padum translapsa volatu, castra sui rectoris adit, Claud. in Eutr. 1, 375. Eros is winged, Athen. 5, 29. Winged angels, pennati pueri (p. 505). Vishnu rides on Garuda, Bopp's Gl. 102a. Indra and Dharma as vulture and dove, Somadeva 1, 70. Holtzm. Ind. sagen 1, 81. Though Athena appears as a youth in Od. 13, 222, as a girl 13, 288, her favourite shape is that of a bird: ornij d wj anopaia dieptato 1, 320. As vultures, she and Apollo settle on a beech-tree, and look merrily on at men, Il. 7, 58. As a swallow, she sits on the rooftree amid the fighters, and thence (uyoqen ex orofhj) uplifts the ægis, Od. 22, 297; so Louhi sits a lark on the window of the smithy (Suppl. to 338), and the eagle in the dream ezet epi prouconti melaqrw, Od. 19, 544; conf. the vulture, who the moment he is named looks in at the door, Meinert's Kuhl. 165. Bellona flies away a bird, Claud. in Eutr. 2, 230; Gestr, i.e. Oðin, as a valr (falcon), and gets a cut in his tail, Fornald. sög. 1, 487-8. Athena sth de kat antiquron klisihj, Od. 16, 159; si mache sich schoen, und gê herfür als ein götinne zuo der tür, Renner 12227. When the unknown goddess steps inside the door, her stature reaches to the roofbeam, melaqrou kure karh, then in a moment she is recognized, Hymn to Aphrod. 174, to Ceres 189. A woman's spirit appears to a man in a dream: sîðan hvarf hun â brott; Olafr vaknaði, ok þôttist siâ svip konunnar, Laxd. 122. sîðan vaknaði Heðinn, ok sâ svipinn af Göndul, Fornald. sög. 1, 402. svipr einn var þar, Sæm. 157a.

Fragrance and brightness emanate from a deity, Schimmelpfeng 100-1. Hymn to Ceres 276-281 (Suppl. to 318); a sweet smell fills the house of Zeus, Athen. 3, 503. So with the Hebrews a cloud, a mist, or the glory of the Lord fills the house of the Lord, 1 Kings 8, 10-1; 2 Chron. 5, 13. comarum (of Venus) gratus odor, Claud. de nupt. Heaven breathes an odor suavitatis, that nourishes like food, Greg. Tur. 7, 1. The bodies of saints, e.g. Servatius, exhale a delicious odour (p. 823); conf. the flowers that spring up under the tread of feet divine (p. 330). The hands and feet of gods leave their mark in the hard stone, so do the hoofs of their horses (Suppl. to 664). Gods appear in human form and disguise, Oðinn often as a one-eyed old man, a beggar, a peasant, to Hrolf as Hrani bôndi (Hrani is a hero's name in Hervararsaga, Rani in Saxo).

p. 329. ) The Indian gods ride in chariots, like the Grk: Indra, Agni, Varuna, etc., Nalus 15-6; 7 steeds draw the car of Sûryas the god of day, Kuhn's Rec. d. Rigveda 99. 100; Râtri, night, Usa, aurora, are drawn by kine. Plato in Phædr. 246-7 speaks of the gods' horses, chariots, charioteers, of Zeus driving a winged car. Selene is appealed to: pot wkeanon trepe pwlouj, Theocr. 2, 163. asterej, eukhloio kat antuga Nuktoj opadoi 2, 166. ------ The German gods occasionally drive in star-chariots, or the stars themselves have a chariot, pp. 151. 723n.; conf. the car-processions p. 336; the sun too drives a chariot: Sôl varp hendi inni hoegri um himiniódýr, Sæm. 1b (who is Vagnarunni in Egilss. 610, Oðinn or Thôrr?). But riding is the rule, though Loki says to Frigg: ec þvî rêð, er þû rîða sêrat sîðan Baldr at sölum, Sæm. 63b; even beasts ride in the Beast-apologue, Renart 10277-280-460-920.

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