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The Cult of Nerthus

By: Dr. Gudmund Schütte

Reprinted From The Saga-Book of the Viking Society Vol. 7 & 8

1909

 

 

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1. INTRODUCTION.--TRADITION.

No religion has such a venerable place within old Northcrn myth-lore as the cult of Nerthus. It is verified through older tests than any other cult within that group of nations which was in Old Norse called Got-thiod, in Old English "eÞel Gotena," (Widsith) - we here prefer to say : the Gottonic group. (1)

The following little sketch does not pretend to be a special study on myth-lore or folklore. It simply collects those facts which quite involuntarily present themselves to any student who happens to read the evidences in question. For particulars of the discustion, see the works of the specialists, such as the German : Müllenhoff; the Dane : Axel Olrik; the Swede: Axel Kock; the Englishman: H. M. Chadwick.

The base of our notions about the Nerthus cult is a series of linguistical and mythological identifications. Nerthus, main goddess of the Angles, is identified with Niærth or Niorðr, main god of some Scandinavian tribes. The first name is the exact older linguistical stage of the latter.

Niorðr is married to his own sister; they have a son Freyr and a daughter Freyja, who in later times inherits the place of the parents. This secondary pair of deities as an '' emanation '' of the first.

Freyr, also called Fricco, is the spender of the sacred peace, O. Norse fróða-friðr. He reappears as a dethroned god in the Swedish king Frø, and as the Danish king Frið-Fróði or Frode Fredegod, the spender of the fróða-friðr.

Freyr is called Yngvi-Freyr or Ingun-ár-freyr, i.e., the "lord of Inguions," "the fertilityspending lord of Inguions.'' The Inguions are an ethnical group, embracing especially Angles, Jutes, Danes, and (later?) Swedes. The most direct continuation of the group seems to be the state of Denmark. A whole series of characteristical features accompany the cult more or less generally.

The deity is a symbol of fertility : Nerthus, Niorðr, Freyr, king Fróde, Frede-god. . The deity is a symbol of peace Nerthus, Niorðr, Freyr, Fr6de, Frede-god. During the feast of the deity all weapons are ritually locked up: Nerthus; Swedish custom, generalised by Tacirus. During the feast, the deity visits the districts of the country, driving- in a chariot : Nerthus, goddess of Hleiðrar (hleiðrar = tents) , Freyr, Frode Fredegod. The deity is concealed behind the veils of a tester : Nerthus, the gddess of Hleiðrar (hleiðrar = tents). The sanctuary is on an island, peninsula, or connected with sea- trade; Nerthus on an island in the Ocean, Nærbjerg on the isolated peninsular "Holy-ness" in N. Jutland, 2 Nærth-owæ ("Nerthus-hills") on the island of Funen; residence of a goddess in Hleiðrar on the isle of Sea-land, Niartherum on the isle of Sealand, islet Niærdholm near the coast of Skane, mythical residence of Niorðr in Noatun, "Naval town."

A ritual differentiation is observed, according to the sex of the deity : the female Nerthus as a priest, the male Nerthus (Freyr) as a priestess. Cf. Tacitus on the cult of the dioscures ("tveir lladdingjar") among the Vandales: the priests have female dress.

A death motive appears : the actual death or disappearance of the deity is hidden to the common people, whereas the priests go on receiving the sacrifices: Freyr (two different traditions), Frode Fredegod. Most likely it is a mere fortunity that the same feature does’t appear in the tradition about the female Nerthus.

The naval element is emphasised more in the tradition about Niorðr than in the traditions about the female Nerthus and about Freyr.

The element of fertility is, in the cult of Freyr, combined with phallic rites. This special feature does not appear in the tradition about the female Nerthus, but it quite natural that it was eliminated here, as it did not agree with Tacitus's tendency of idealizing the Gottons.

Most of the above statements are generally accepted by the specialists.

There is some dissension about the extension of the group of Inguions. Most Germans arbitrarily identify the group with the Anglo-Frisians, excluding the Scandinavians. Other Germans, such as Rieger, Kosinna, have shown the futility of this assumption. We here follow Chadwick, who places the centre of the Inguions exactly on Danish ground.

We shall now relate the different main evidences. II.EVIDENCES ON THE CULT.-2. TACITUS ON THE CULT OF NFRTHUS.-In his " Germania," C. 40, Tacitus speaks of a religious community behind the Semnons and Langobards, already belonging partly to the "less known parts of the Gottonic country" (secretiora Germanicæ"). Members of the community Rendings (Reudigni), Avions, Angles, Varines, Eudoses, "'Suarines"' or "Suardones," and "Nuithones"; the latter two names are no doubt corrupt - we may correct them into Charudes and Euthones, i.e., "Hardboer," and Jutes. (See under III.)

There is nothing particular to be said about these tribes, except that they jointly worship Nerthus, i.e., the 'Mother Earth.' On an island in the ocean there a chaste grove, and therein a sacred chariot, covered by a tester. Nobody is allowed to touch it except the priest; he notices when the goddess is present in the sanctuary; then he puts the female oxen to the chariot and follows it with great veneration. Then they have glad days, and there is feasting in all places, which the goddess honours by her presence. They do not begin wars, and touch no weapons; all iron is locked up. Peace and good time is the only thing they know of and aspire. And so it goes on, till at last the goddess gets tired of the intercourse with the mortal beings and retires to her temple. Then immediately the chariot and the garments, and, if people may believe it, the goddess is washed in a secret lake. Slaves make service at the washing, and immediately after it they are swallowed by the lake. Hence is the origin of the mysterious terror and the sacred ignorance about what that may be which nobody is allowed to see unless he is sure to die."

3.TACITUS ON THE CUSTOMS OF THE SWEDES. After describing how the republicanism of the southern Gottons is replaced by royalism among the Goths in Prussia, Tacitus goes on, making the Swedes represent royal absolutism. The Sitons (= Kvænes), north of the Swedes, form the top of the climax, being reigned by a queen. About the Swedes he says: "They pay much respect to wealth, and therefore a single man rules them, with no exceptions. The weapons are not granted to anybody indiscriminately, as among the other Gottons, but locked up under the custody of a slave. For the ocean prohibits sudden inroads of foes, and armed men's hands often strike out ('lasciviunt'), when they are idle." The whole description is obviously due to an exaggerated report about the ritual peace during the sacrifices.

4.SNORRI ON FREYR.-In his Ynglinga Saga, C. 4, et seq., Snorri, in his euhemeristic way, describes the religious development of ancient Sweden. The first vernacular gods were the Vanes. These must afterwards make terms with a southern set of gods, called Ases, who were headed by Woden. " The most prominent among the Vanes were Niorðr and his son. . . .  . Niorðr had had his sister as wife~this was allowed among the Vanes. Their children were Freyr and Freyja. But among the Ases it was forbidden to marry such near relations. Freyja was a priestess who presided at the sacrifices (blót-gyðja); she was the first to teach the Ases witchcraft (seið), which was used among Vanes. . . . Niorðr of Noatunir (" Naval towns") took over the rule among the Swedes, after Woden's death, and kept up the sacrifices. The Swedes called him their lord (dróttinn), and he took tributary gifts of them. In his days there was good peace and abundance of fertility, so that the Swedes believed that Niorðr determined the crops and the riches of men. Niorðr died of sickness; he made himself marked to Oðinn before his death. The Swedes burned him, and wept at at his grave."

Freyr took over the rule after Niorðr. He was called lord of the Swedes, and took tributary gifts of them; he was kind, and the spender of good years, like his her. Freyr built a large temple near Upsala, and took his residence there, endowing it with all his incomes and  possessions. This was the origin of the Upsala crownland, which has since been preserved. In his days the " Frode-peace " began, with fertility in lands. The Swedes attributed it to Freyr, and therefore he was worshipped more than all other gods, insomuch as the people grew richer. His wife was Gerð, daughter of Gymir; their son was Fiolnir. Freyr was also called Yngvi This name was long used as an honorary title within his family and his men were called Ynglings. Freyr finally got sick. When his death was approaching his men allowed only few people to see him, while they themselves built a large hill with a door and t hree small windows. When Freyr was dead they carried him secretly into the hill, saying to the Swedes that he was still alive. They guarded him there for three years, but all the tribute they poured down into the hill, the gold through one hole, the Silver through another, and the copper through the third. Then fertility and peace persisted."

"Freyja continued the sacrifices. She was now left as the only still living of the gods. . . . When the Swedes noticed that Freyr was dead, and that never the less peace and fertility lasted, they believed that it would remain so, as long as Freyr was in Sweden; therefore they would not burn him, but called him "god of the world," and brought him sacrifices for the sake of fertility and peace henceforth.''

 

1. Commonly used names of the group are - Goths, Teutons, Germanen." As all of these names are misleading, " Germanen" has some 8 or 9 significations-we have chosen the classical form "Guttones, Gothones" which is nowadays never used, and can therefore conveniently be privileged to signify the same as Old Norse, Got-thiod "the whole of our group of nations." Cf. our discussion with Karl Blind in previous volumes of the " Saga Book." Also our treatise "Gottonic Names," The Journal of Engl. and Germ. Philol., 1912.

 

5. OLAF TRYGGVASON'S SAGA ON FREYR (Flateyjarbook II., 337): Norwegian Gunnar Helming was suspected of having committed a murder. For fear of King Olaf he fled to Sweden. There happened to be great sacrifices in the honour of Freyr, and his idol had such a power that the devil spoke through it, and it had been given a young wife. People believed that they could have sexual intercourse. Freyr's wife was pretty, and she had the dominion over the temple. Gunnar asked her for shelter. She answered: "You are not fortunate, for Freyr does not like you. Nevertheless, stay here for three nights, and we may see." He said: "I like better to be helped by you than by Freyr." Gunnar was a very jolly and cheerful person. After three nights he asked whether he might stay there any longer. "I do not know exactly," said she. "You are a poor fellow, and still, as it seems, of good extraction, I should like to help you, only I am afraid that Freyr hates you. Still, remain here half a month, and we may again see." . Gunnar pleased the Swedes well because of his cheerfulness and smartness. After some time, he talked again with Freyr's wife. She said: " People like you well, and I think it is better you stay her this winter and accompany us when Freyr makes his annual journey. But I must tell you that he is still angry with you." Gunnar thanked her well. . . Now the festival time came, and the procession started. Freyr and his wife were placed in the carriage, whereas their servants and Gunnar had to walk beside. When driving through the mountains, they were surprised by a tempest and all the servants fled. Gunnar remained. At last he got tired of walking, went into the carriage and let the draught_cattle go as they liked. Freyr's wife said: "You had better try and walk again, for otherwise Freyr will arise against you." Gunnar did so, but when he got too tired, he said: "Anyhow, let him come, I will stand against him." Now Freyr arises, and they wrestle till Gunnar notices that he is getting weaker. Then he thinks by himself that if he overcomes this load Foe he will return to the right faith and be reconciled with King Olaf. And immediately after Freyr begins to give way, and afterwards to sink. Now this Foe leaps out of the idol, and it lay there empty. Gunnar broke it into pieces and gave Freyr's wife two alternatives: that he would leave, or that she might declare him publicly to be the god Freyr. She said that she would willingly declare what he liked. Now Gunnar dressed in Freyr's clothes, the weather improved and they went to the festival. People were very much impressed by the power of Freyr, because he was able to visit the country in such a tempest, allthough all the servants had fled. They wondered how he went about among them and talked like other men. Thus Freyr and his wife spent the winter going to festivals. Freyr was not more eloquent towards people than his wife, and he would not receive living victims, as before, and no offerings except gold, silk, and good clothings. Alter months, people began to notice that Freyr's wife was gravid. They thought it splendid, and many expected great wonders of their god Freyr. Also the weather was fine, and it looked like such a harvest as nobody remembered to have seen before. The rumours of Freyr's power were reported to Norway, and also brought before King Olaf. He had some suspicion of the truth and asked Gunnar's brother Sigurd what he knew about the exiled. Sigurd knew of nothing. The King said : "I believe this mighty god of the Swedes, who is so famous in all countries, is no other person than your brother Gunnar. For otherwise, those are the greatest where living men, are slaughtered. . . . . Now I send you to Sweden, for it is terrible to know that a Christian man's soul should be situated thus. I shall give up my wrath, if he comes voluntarily, for now I know that he has not committed the murder." . . . . Sigurd immediately went to Sweden and brought his brother these news. Gurinar answered : "Certainly might I willingly go back; but if the Swedes discover the truth, they will kill me." Sigurd said: "We shall secretly carry you away, and be sure that King Olaf's good fortune God's mercy is more powerful than the Swedes." Now Gunnar and his wife prepare their flight, tsking with them as many goods as they were able to carry. The Swedes went in pursuit of them, but lost the trace and did not find them. So Gunnar and his people arrived in Norway and went to King Olaf, who received them well and made him his wife to be baptized.

5.EDDA POEM SKIRNISMAL ON FREY'S LOVE OF GERÐ – Freyr here appears as the incarnation of sensual desire.

ADAM OF BREMEN ON FRICCO. — According to Adam , the three main gods of the Swedes had a temple in Upsala. The most venerated was Fricco, who was represented "cum ingenti priapo." The name of Fricco may contain the same Aryan root as Priapos, but it may at the same time have been regarded as a pet form of "frið-goði," "the peacegood."

8.SAXO ON KING FRØ. — According to Saxo, Once the Swedes were ruled by King Frø, who was a cruel tyrant. After conquering a Norwegian, King Siward, he used to carry off the wives and daughters of the most notable men in Norway, compelling  them to a sort of infamy. Because of his cruelty and lecherv he was at last slain by Ragnar Loðbrók.

9.SAXO ON KING FRØ’S SONS . — The champion Starkad, dwelt for seven years with King Frø’s sons in Sweden. At last he could no longer stand the lascivious dancing and jingling which took place in Upsala during the times of sacrifice. So he departed for Denmark. [Not King Frø, but the god seems to be meant directly.] The report goes on with a description of quite similar rites at the court of the Irish King, Hugleth, who is killed by Starkad and Haki. Snorri has exactly the same report on the destruction of the lascivious king and his court. But here the scene is at Upsala. Among King Hugleik's people, Snorri also mentions sorcerers ("seiðmenn"). It is obviously Snorri who preserves the correct localisation; the whole tradition must be referred to the Swedish cult of Freyr.

10. SAXO ON KING FRODE FREDEGOD. — What Saxo relates in his 5th book on King Frode Fredegod is mixed up wjth Icelandic fancy sagas of more or less individual fabrication. The whole story of Frode's battles and conquests must be eliminated. What remains is a ritual tradition which may be summed up in the following way. Frode established the firm and sacred peace (fróða friðr). In order to manifest its firmness, he placed unlocked treasures near the high roads on two spots in Norway and also in Jutland. Nobody ventured to steal them. At last a witch persuaded her son to steal them for her, and when the king set out to punish the thief, she transformed herself into a sea-cow and gored him with her horn. Frode died of the wound. But his chieftains embalmed his corpse, put it on a chariot, and dragged it round the country; so credulous people believed that he was still living, and paid their taxes as before. The corpse at last rotted so much that they could not bear the stench; so they buried it near Værebro, on the island Sealand. N. B. — This locality is close to Ud-Lejre, minding one of the name of the famous Sealandic place of worship.

We do not take into account the myths about Gefn, Baldr, and King Skjold, which have been regarded by several scholars as closely connected with the Nerthus-cult. As the connection is not strictly obvious, we think it better to leave this material aside.

III. LOCALISATION OF THE NERTHUS-PEOPLE OF TACITUS. — Tacitus says, " Germania," c. 40 : Nerthus worshipped by Rendingi, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines, Nuithones. Sanctuary: an island the ocean.

Corresponding group in Widsith: Rondings, Brondings, Wærnes, Eoves, Ytes. The Angles are left out, as they must be named at the end of the whole list, acording to the law of '' back stress.''

The hapax legomenon Reudigni of Tacitus no doubbt must be read Rendingi or Randingi = the Rendings of Widsith. (2) They may have lived near the river Gudenaa in North Jutland; this river must formerly have been called Rand, since the town at its mouth has the name of Randers, Randar-ós, "mouth of Rand. "Besides, there is a firth near Fredericia called Randsfjord.

Avions, Eowan, are either "Island-dwellers " or "River-dwellers." The first interpretation has been referred to the islands along the coast of South Jutland. Detlefsen, in Sieglin's "Quellen u. Forschungen zur alten . . . Geographie," Heft 8, Nachtrag, p. 10, suggests that the Avions might be the inhabitants of Abo Syssel in North Jutland, i.e., the environs of Randers and Aarhus. Abo means exactly " River - dweller." If the Rondings lived near Randers, the said localisation of the Avions would fit in very well. Yet we must provisionally leave the suggestion as a vague possibility.

Anglii, Angles, are inhabitants of the South Jutlandic district of Angel, perhaps also of the neighbouring east coast of Holstein.

2. Chadwick, The Origin of the English Nation, p. 599, combines the Varini with the South Jutlandic peninsular district of Varnæs, in the neighbourhood of Angel = "promontorium Varinorum in a document the thirteenth century." It is not quite excluded that this suggestion of Müllenhoff could be correct. But the assertion that the cited words actually found in a document," Liber census Daniæ," is false ; it due to a careless quotation from Müllenhoff in the extremely unreliable treatise of Seelman, in "Jahrbuch des Vereins für niederdeutsche Sprachforschung" 1886, p.31.

Varini, Wærnes, on the map of Ptolemy, are placed fairly in the present Mecklenburg. One of the main rivers of the country till this day are called Warnow; it debouches near the well-known railway junction of Warnemünde. The reign of the Varines was ruined by the Franks in the year 595. The later invading Slavs who settled near the river of Warnow called themselves Varnabi; perhaps the tribe may have been a denationalised remnant of the Varines.

Eudoses are like the Eudosbi of Ptolemy (corrupted into Fundusioi). Ptolemy's map places them on the north-west coast of Jutland, as neighbours of the Charudes who lived on the east coast. In Cesar's time Enduses and Charudes jointly made an inroad into Gaul.

We know of no other native possible equation than the tribe of Wederas in the Beowulf poem. As Euthungi are often called Vithungi, and the Jutæ often Vitæ, it does not seem to us quite excluded that a similar displacement of the initial sounds might have taken place in Euduses-Wederas. The R could be quite regularly developed from a voiced S.

Suarines or Suardones are by Chadwick and others combined with the Varini as Suvarines, and again refound in the Mecklenburgian town of Schwerin. We should prefer to correct Suarines, Suardones into Charudes, as these are the notorious neighbours of the Euduses.

Charudes on Ptolemy's map are placed on the east coast of Jutland, and here they are brought to mind by the medieval district of Harz Hæret, nowadays Hads Herred. The greater part of the Charudes, however, have moved on to the west coast, and live here as Hardboer, in the district of Hard Syssel.

Nuithones is evidently corrupt. It may be bettered inot Teutones or Euthiones. The Teutones, accordto Ptolemy's map, are the neighbours of the Varines, whereas Mela places them on the island of Codanonia (Scandinavia?). The Euthiones, who occur in a poem of Venantius Fortunatus, 583, of coursee would be identical with the well-known Jutes.

Half of the above interpretations, it is true, are questionable, but at least Angles, Varines and Euduses are firmly localised, and this is enough to give some idea of the general extension of the Nerthus community. Jutland in its whole length is included; that is to say, so far as it belongs to the Baltic sphere; the south-western part, because of its maritime intercourse ith the North Sea regions, seems to have belonged to another community. So the Nerthus-community belonged, moreover, to Mecklenburg, the territory of the Varines. As to the Danish islands, they are not directly mentioned. But the sacred "island in the ocean," in the opinion of many scholars, is Sealand. And at any rate we cannot wonder if Tacitus was not aware of the extension of the community beyond the Belts: for here his geographical knowledge was quite sporadic and unreliable.

IV. PLACE-NAMES OR RUNE-STONES PRESERVING THE NERTHUS-CULT. — Nærild in Varvith Syssel, West Jutland, anciently a church village = Nerthus-hill? Njære, vicarage in Aabo Syssel, near Randers, = Niarthar-ví, "Nerthus-sanctuary." Nærbjærg, in Aabo Syssel, on Hælghænæs, the "Holy Ness," = Nerthus~Barrow? The "Holy Ness " is no doubt the most suitable place for a maritime cult on the whole coast of North Jutland, as it stands far out into the Kattegat, widely visible with its steep bank, which is called Ellemandsbjerget, "the Elf-mountain." Rune-stone, on the island of Funen, mentioning Nora goÞi (Nura kuÞi), according to Magnus Olsen, "the priest of the Nerthus - worshippers." Nærthøwæ, now N. and S. Næraa, in the northern and eastern part of Funen, = "Nerthus - hill." Niartherum, now Nærum, in N. Sealand, = "Nerthusplace." Närlunda, near Helsingborg in Scania = "Nerthus-grove." Niærdholm, an unknown islet near the coast of Scania.

In the Upper Swedish provinces, place-names, preserving the cult of Nerthus, are exceedingly numerous. Sometimes they are now singularlv distorted, such as Mjerdevid, formerly Njærdevi; (H. V. Clausen). Also in Norway the name of Nerthus is represented, e. g., Njarðey, now Næro is the well known Nærøfjord.

V. EVIDENCES ON THE CULT OF THE ANCESTRAL HERO, INGUO. — The Inguions, as we have said before, arc generally identified with the Nerthus-worshippers. We must remark beforehand that according to ancient Gottonic laws of nomenclature, no ordinary human being was allowed to bear the name of his own native eponymous hero, national nor gentile. Hence we draw the conclusion that eponymous names, found in the early parts of ancient pedigrees, have a certain systematic significance: they proved the means of indicating the genealogical classification of the families concerned. This must be remembered in order to understand the evidences correctly.

Pliny, Nat. Hist., IV., 96 and 99. The lnguions consist of the inhabitants of Saevo (Norway), 'moreover of Cimbrians, Teutons, i.e., Jutlanders, and of Chauks in northern Hannoveria.

GENEALOGY OF THE ANGLIAN KINGS OF BERNICIA — Woden — Beornec — Ing-ui. Anglo-Saxon Rune-Song. Ing was first among the East-Danes. Hence he went over the wave. The chariot (?) ran after him.

BEOWULF. - The Skjoldungs or Danes are constantly called Ing-wine, i.e., "friends of Inguo."

GENEALOGY OF THE SIKLINGS, who, according to Saxo, have emigrated from Götland to Sealand. Ungavin the top of the genealogy, = Ing-vin.

GENEALOGY OF THE YNGLINGS OR SKILFINGS, Kings of Sweden, worshipping the gods called Vanes. Niorthr-Freyr (called Yngvi, Yngvi-Frejr or Ingunár-Freyr) (Vana f.) Vanlandi (Skjalf f.) Yngvi.

VI.FIRST COUNTER - VERIFICATION. LOCAL OR NON - LOCAL

CHARACTER OF THE NERTHUS - CULT. — It is a question how much of the above~mentioned rites is international, and how much of more local origin.

The sacrificial procession of driving is of course not local. We again find it with the lascivities, etc., on Rhenish ground in the year of 1123 (Rodulf's Chronicon abbatiæ S. Trudonis lib. XI., see Kögel, Gesch. d. deutsch. Litt I., p. 23, Grimm Mythologie [3] 242, [4] III., 86).

The chariot with religious images is found on Celtic ground in Steiermark (Sophus Müller, "Urgesch. Europas," p. 131, Hallstadt Period) and Danish ground near the Seelandic place of Trundholm, belonging to the cult of the Sun (Müller, ibid, p. 116).

Survivals of sacrificial sexual rites were found on the island of Helgoland as late as in the 17th century (Nathan Chytræus).

If we should try to trace the existence of more local features, we should like to point out the difference in means of conveyance. The Baltic districts evidently prefer the ordinary chariot. Evidences : Nerthus, goddess of Lejre, Peace-Frode, Freyr, Sun-chariot from Sealand. We may, perhaps, add Gefion’s plough as a sub-species. Only one instance of ship driving is known within this region; the custom exists till this day in Aarhus, the capital of Jutland.

The South Teutonic region seems to prefer the ship driving. Tacitus relates that a goddess, "Isis," is worshipped by the Swebians in the likeness of a ship. And we again find the ship-procession both on Rhenish ground and in Tyrol (Kögel, i.e.). As the ship symbol is inappropriate for an inland country like the Tyrol, the custom may have been carried thither by Swebian "Isis-worshippers."

VII. SECOND COUNTER-VERIFICATION. — EVIDENCES ABOUT NONINGUIONIC TRIBES. — (a) Saxons. A national symbol of theirs is Saxnôt. From him the East-Saxon kings in England are derived, whereas all Jutic and Anglian kings are derived from Woden. Another national god of the Saxons is Er, who is also worshipped by the Bavarians. His symbol most likely is the Irmin-sûl, "the enormous column," worshipped by the Saxons, who therefore would seem to belong to the Ermines, a group co-ordinate with the Inguions; the Saxons, and the neighbouring Sigulons and Ambrons of classical times appear in the same relation to the Inguions as the Saxons, Siggs and Ymbres of Widsith, not being mentioned within the Nerthus group.

(b) Swebians, etc. According to Pliny, they belong to the group of Ermines, coordinate with Inguions. The Bavarians in 'the middle ages remembered their origin from Ermin or " Armen," who was, by learned conjecture, derived from Armenia. The national god Er is worshipped from Saxony to Bavaria; hence Bavarian Ertag=Tuesday. Symbol: Irmin-sûl? Compare the Saxons. The god Woden is unknown to the Bavarians; hence German Mittwoch = Wednesday. A part of the Swebians, according to Tacitus, Germ. c. 9, worship "Isis," symbolized as a ship. The ship-symbol also found in the Rhineprovince (near Aachen), and the Tyrol, see above. The German name of " Isis

It was perhaps Hulda, Frau Holle. She may have been counterpart of the female Nerthus.

(c) Frisians, etc. A national god of theirs is Forsete, president of the "thing" or lawcourt, worshipped especially in Helgoland, or "Fosetesland." He seems be the same as the Mars Thingsus, worshipped by Tuiantes the inhabitants of Twenthe, south of West Frisia. Tuesday in German is named after Mars Thingsus:Dingstag, Dienstag; this denomination is most frequent in Western Germany and Holland. The Norwegians in later times adopted Forsete into their mythology, but real worship of him cannot be traced on Scandinavian ground.

(d) Franks. According to Pliny, the people near the Rhine form a group called Istiones, or Istvæones. The statement is supported by a 6th century "Generatio regum and gentium," written down in Gaul; here the Franks appear as "sons of Istio." Even if the genealogy is not to be trusted, its statement about vernacular tribe may lay claim to reliability. We know nothing about local Franconian gods of greater significance.

The collective evidence from the tribes south of Jutland seems to show that their worship is characterized by special features, in contrast to that of the Inguions. At any rate, we have found nothing which justifies the assertion that the Inguions belonged to a southern type, limited to the countries west of the Øresund and sharply contrasting with the Scandinavian type.

 
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