Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Behind the god Freyr

Posted by Fredsvenn on October 27, 2015

Freyr:

Freyr seems to share similiarities and connections with both the other deities among the Vanir (Venus), and then mostly with his twin sister Freyja, but also with Balder, the Germanic equvalent to the annually-renewed, ever-youthful vegetation gods and life-death-rebirth deities as the Sumerian god Tammuz, the Hittite god Telepinu and the Greek god Adonis, and husband of Nanna, who more than anything only seems to be a name of Freyja her self, who seems to be a doublet of Frigg.

Both Frigg, Freyja and Nanna seems to have similarities with the traditional mother goddess, which is also represented by the Sumerian goddess Inanna. Njord, his father, seems to have similarities with the Roman god Saturn and the Greek god Cronus, but also with the Sumerian god Enlil and his child Ninurta. But Freyr also seems to have similarities with other gods in other panthions. Here are some examples:

Khnum-Min

Since the annual flooding of the Nile brought with it silt and clay, and its water brought life to its surroundings, he was thought to be the creator of the bodies of human children, which he made at a potter’s wheel, from clay, and placed in their mothers’ wombs. He later was described as having moulded the other deities, and he had the titles Divine Potter and Lord of created things from himself.

Khnum has also been related to the deity Min, an ancient Egyptian god whose cult originated in predynastic times (4th millennium BCE). He was represented in many different forms, but was often represented in male human form, shown with an erect penis which he holds in his left hand and an upheld right arm holding a flail. As Khem or Min, he was the god of reproduction; as Khnum, he was the creator of all things, “the maker of gods and men”.

One feature of Min worship was the wild prickly lettuce Lactuca virosa and Lactuca serriola of which is the domestic version Lactuca sativa (lettuce) which has aphrodisiac and opiate qualities and produce latex when cut, possibly identified with semen.

In Egyptian art, Min was depicted as being covered in shrouds, wearing a crown with feathers, and often holding his penis erect in his left hand and a flail (referring to his authority, or rather that of the Pharaohs) in his upward facing right hand.

Around his forehead, Min wears a red ribbon that trails to the ground, claimed by some to represent sexual energy. The symbols of Min were the white bull, a barbed arrow, and a bed of lettuce, that the Egyptians believed to be an aphrodisiac, as Egyptian lettuce was tall, straight, and released a milk-like substance when rubbed, characteristics superficially similar to the penis.

Enkimdu

Enkimdu is the Sumerian god of farming, in charge of canals and ditches, a task assigned to him by the water god Enki during his organization of the world. He is featured prominently in the myth “Inanna Prefers the Farmer,” in which both he and the god Dumuzi are attempting to win the hand of the goddess Inanna.

While Inanna is quite infatuated with the down-to-earth farmer, her brother Utu/Shamash attempts to convince her to marry Dumuzi instead. Both Dumuzi and Enkimdu face off in an argument over who will win Inanna. While Dumuzi is aggressive in his arguments, attempting to prove that he is far better, Enkimdu is more docile and peaceful, attempting to resolve the situation diplomatically.

The clay tablet on which the myth is written has been damaged over the passage of time, but from later myths such as “Dumuzi and Inanna” and “Inanna’s Descent into the Underworld,” it is clear that Inanna eventually selects Dumuzi as her spouse.

Proserpina

(Libera – Liber / Froyja – Freyr)

Proserpina or Proserpine is an ancient Roman goddess whose cult, myths and mysteries were based on those of Greek Persephone and her mother Demeter, the Greek goddess of grain and agriculture. The Romans identified Proserpina with their native fertility goddess Libera, daughter of the grain and agriculture goddess Ceres and wife to Liber.

In 204 BC, a new “greek-style” cult to Ceres and Proserpina as “Mother and Maiden” was imported from southern Italy, along with Greek priestesses to serve it, and was installed in Ceres’ Temple on Rome’s Aventine Hill.

The new cult and its priesthood were actively promoted by Rome’s religious authorities as morally desirable for respectable Roman women, and may have partly subsumed the temple’s older, native cult to Ceres, Liber and Libera; but the new rites seems to have functioned alongside the old, rather than replaced them.

Just as Persephone was thought to be a daughter of Demeter, Romans made Proserpina a daughter of Demeter’s Roman equivalent, Ceres. Like Persephone, Proserpina is associated with the underworld realm and its ruler; and along with her mother Ceres, with the springtime growth of crops and the cycle of life, death and rebirth or renewal.

Her name is a Latinisation of “Persephone”, perhaps influenced by the Latin proserpere (“to emerge, to creep forth”), with respect to the growing of grain. Her core myths – her forcible abduction by the god of the Underworld, her mother’s search for her and her eventual but temporary restoration to the world above – are the subject of works in Roman and later art and literature.

In particular, Proserpina’s seizure by the god of the Underworld – usually described as the Rape of Proserpina, or of Persephone – has offered dramatic subject matter for Renaissance and later sculptors and painters.

Libera – Liber

Libera was a goddess of wine, fertility and freedom. She was the female equivalent of Liber (“the free one”), also known as Liber Pater (“The Free Father”), a god of viticulture and wine, fertility and freedom, while her name is in the feminine form.

At some time during Rome’s Regal or very early Republican eras, she became paired up with Liber, the Roman god of wine, male fertility, and a guardian of plebeian freedoms. She enters Roman history as Triadic cult companion to Ceres and Liber, in a temple established on the Aventine Hill ca. 493 BC.

The location and context of this early cult mark her association with Rome’s commoner-citizens, or plebs; she might have been offered cult on March 17 as part of Liber’s festival, Liberalia, or at some time during the seven days of Cerealia (mid to late April); in the latter festival she would have been subordinate to Ceres. Otherwise, her relationship to her Aventine cult partners is uncertain.

With the institution of the ritus graecia cereris (Greek rites of Ceres) c.205 BC, Libera was officially identified with Ceres’ daughter Proserpina and acquired with her a Romanised form of Greek mystery rite and attendant mythology, based on Greek cults to Demeter and Persephone.

In the late Republican era, Cicero describes Liber and Libera as Ceres’ children. At around the same time, possibly in the context of popular or religious drama, Hyginus equates her with Greek Ariadne, as bride to Liber’s Greek equivalent, Dionysus: therefore her mythographic associations and identity seem far from straightforward.

The older and newer forms of her cult and rites, and their diverse associations, persisted well into the late Imperial era. St. Augustine (AD 354 – 430) observes that Libera is concerned with female fertility, as Liber is with male fertility.

Liber was a patron deity of Rome’s plebeians and was part of their Aventine Triad. His festival of Liberalia (March 17) became associated with free speech and the rights attached to coming of age. His cult and functions were increasingly associated with Romanised forms of the Greek Dionysus/Bacchus, whose mythology he came to share.

Before his official adoption as a Roman deity, Liber was companion to two different goddesses in two separate, archaic Italian fertility cults; Ceres, an agricultural and fertility goddess of Rome’s Hellenised neighbours, and Libera, who was Liber’s female equivalent. In ancient Lavinium, he was a phallic deity.

Latin liber means “free”, or the “free one”: when coupled with “pater”, it means “The Free Father”, who personifies freedom and champions its attendant rights, as opposed to dependent servitude. The word ‘liber’ is also understood in regard of the concept libation, ritual offering of drink, which in Greek relates to ‘spondé’, literally related to English ‘to spend’. Roman writers of the late Republic and early Empire offer various etymological and poetic speculations based on this trope, to explain certain features of Liber’s cult.

Dionysus

Dionysus is the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness, fertility, theatre and religious ecstasy in Greek mythology. Alcohol, especially wine, played an important role in Greek culture with Dionysus being an important reason for this life style.

His name, thought to be a theonym in Linear B tablets as di-wo-nu-so, shows that he may have been worshipped as early as c. 1500–1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks; other traces of the Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete.

His origins are uncertain, and his cults took many forms; some are described by ancient sources as Thracian, others as Greek. In some cults, he arrives from the east, as an Asiatic foreigner; in others, from Ethiopia in the South.

He is a god of epiphany, “the god that comes”, and his “foreignness” as an arriving outsider-god may be inherent and essential to his cults. He is a major, popular figure of Greek mythology and religion, and is included in some lists of the twelve Olympians.

Dionysus was the last god to be accepted into Mt. Olympus. He was the youngest and the only one to have a mortal mother. His festivals were the driving force behind the development of Greek theatre. He is an example of a dying god.

The earliest cult images of Dionysus show a mature male, bearded and robed. He holds a fennel staff, tipped with a pine-cone and known as a thyrsus. Later images show him as a beardless, sensuous, naked or half-naked androgynous youth: the literature describes him as womanly or “man-womanish”.

In its fully developed form, his central cult imagery shows his triumphant, disorderly arrival or return, as if from some place beyond the borders of the known and civilized. His procession (thiasus) is made up of wild female followers (maenads) and bearded satyrs with erect penises. Some are armed with the thyrsus, some dance or play music. The god himself is drawn in a chariot, usually by exotic beasts such as lions or tigers, and is sometimes attended by a bearded, drunken Silenus.

This procession is presumed to be the cult model for the human followers of his Dionysian Mysteries. In his Thracian mysteries, he wears the bassaris or fox-skin, symbolizing a new life. Dionysus is represented by city religions as the protector of those who do not belong to conventional society and thus symbolizes everything which is chaotic, dangerous and unexpected, everything which escapes human reason and which can only be attributed to the unforeseeable action of the gods.

The bull, serpent, tiger, ivy, and wine are characteristic of Dionysian atmosphere. Dionysus is also strongly associated with satyrs, centaurs, and sileni. He is often shown riding a leopard, wearing a leopard skin, or in a chariot drawn by panthers, and may also be recognized by the thyrsus he carries. Besides the grapevine and its wild barren alter-ego, the toxic ivy plant, both sacred to him, the fig was also his symbol. The pinecone that tipped his thyrsus linked him to Cybele.

He is also known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans, and the frenzy he induces, bakkheia. His thyrsus is sometimes wound with ivy and dripping with honey. It is a beneficent wand but also a weapon, and can be used to destroy those who oppose his cult and the freedoms he represents.

He is also called Eleutherios (“the liberator”), whose wine, music and ecstatic dance frees his followers from self-conscious fear and care, and subverts the oppressive restraints of the powerful. Those who partake of his mysteries are possessed and empowered by the god himself. His cult is also a “cult of the souls”; his maenads feed the dead through blood-offerings, and he acts as a divine communicant between the living and the dead.

In Greek mythology, he is presented as a son of Zeus and the mortal Semele, thus semi-divine or heroic: and as son of Zeus and Persephone or Demeter, thus both fully divine, part-chthonic and possibly identical with Iacchus of the Eleusinian Mysteries. Some scholars believe that Dionysus is a syncretism of a local Greek nature deity and a more powerful god from Thrace or Phrygia such as Sabazios or Zalmoxis.

The Cult of Dionysus is strongly associated with satyrs, centaurs, and sileni, and its characteristic symbols are the bull, the serpent, the ivy, and the wine. The Dionysia and Lenaia festivals in Athens were dedicated to Dionysus, as well as the Phallic processions. Initiates worshipped him in the Dionysian Mysteries, which were comparable to and linked with the Orphic Mysteries, and may have influenced Gnosticism. Orpheus was said to have invented the Mysteries of Dionysus.

The Cult of Dionysus traces back to at least Mycenaean Greece, since his name is found on Mycenean Linear B tablets as di-wo-nu-so. Dionysus is often shown riding a leopard, wearing a leopard skin, or in a chariot drawn by panthers, and may also be recognized by the thyrsus he carries. Besides the grapevine and its wild barren alter-ego, the toxic ivy plant, both sacred to him, the fig was also his symbol. The pinecone that tipped his thyrsus linked him to Cybele.

Pan

As the central deity of fertility and possibly orgiastic rites Min became identified by the Greeks with the god Pan, the god of the wild, shepherds and flocks, nature of mountain wilds and rustic music, and companion of the nymphs.

His name originates within the Ancient Greek language, from the word paein, meaning “to pasture.” He has the hindquarters, legs, and horns of a goat, in the same manner as a faun or satyr.

With his homeland in rustic Arcadia, he is also recognized as the god of fields, groves, and wooded glens; because of this, Pan is connected to fertility and the season of spring. The ancient Greeks also considered Pan to be the god of theatrical criticism.

In Roman religion and myth, Pan’s counterpart was Faunus, a nature god who was the father of Bona Dea, sometimes identified as Fauna; he was also closely associated with Sylvanus, due to their similar relationships with woodlands. In the 18th and 19th centuries, Pan became a significant figure in the Romantic movement of Western Europe and also in the 20th-century Neopagan movement.

An area in the Golan Heights known as the Panion or Panium is associated with Pan. The city of Caesarea Philippi, the site of the Battle of Panium and the Banias natural spring, grotto or cave, and related shrines dedicated to Pan, may be found there.

In his earliest appearance in literature, Pindar’s Pythian Ode iii. 78, Pan is associated with a mother goddess, perhaps Rhea or Cybele; Pindar refers to virgins worshipping Cybele and Pan near the poet’s house in Boeotia.

The Roman Faunus, a god of Indo-European origin, was equated with Pan. However, accounts of Pan’s genealogy are so varied that it must lie buried deep in mythic time. Like other nature spirits, Pan appears to be older than the Olympians, if it is true that he gave Artemis her hunting dogs and taught the secret of prophecy to Apollo.

Pan might be multiplied as the Pans or the Paniskoi. Kerenyi (p. 174) notes from scholia that Aeschylus in Rhesus distinguished between two Pans, one the son of Zeus and twin of Arcas, and one a son of Cronus. “In the retinue of Dionysos, or in depictions of wild landscapes, there appeared not only a great Pan, but also little Pans, Paniskoi, who played the same part as the Satyrs”.

The worship of Pan began in Arcadia which was always the principal seat of his worship. Arcadia was a district of mountain people, culturally separated from other Greeks. Greek hunters used to scourge the statue of the god if they had been disappointed in the chase.

Being a rustic god, Pan was not worshipped in temples or other built edifices, but in natural settings, usually caves or grottoes such as the one on the north slope of the Acropolis of Athens. These are often referred to as the Cave of Pan.

Pan is famous for his sexual powers, and is often depicted with a phallus. Diogenes of Sinope, speaking in jest, related a myth of Pan learning masturbation from his father, Hermes, and teaching the habit to shepherds.

Pan’s greatest conquest was that of the moon goddess Selene. He accomplished this by wrapping himself in a sheepskin to hide his hairy black goat form, and drew her down from the sky into the forest where he seduced her.

The constellation Capricornus is traditionally depicted as a sea-goat, a goat with a fish’s tail (see “Goatlike” Aigaion called Briareos, one of the Hecatonchires). A myth reported as “Egyptian” in Hyginus’ Poetic Astronomy that would seem to be invented to justify a connection of Pan with Capricorn says that when Aegipan – that is Pan in his goat-god aspect – was attacked by the monster Typhon, he dove into the Nile; the parts above the water remained a goat, but those under the water transformed into a fish.

According to the Greek historian Plutarch (in De defectu oraculorum, “The Obsolescence of Oracles”), Pan is the only Greek god (other than Asclepius) who actually dies. During the reign of Tiberius (A.D. 14–37), the news of Pan’s death came to one Thamus, a sailor on his way to Italy by way of the island of Paxi. A divine voice hailed him across the salt water, “Thamus, are you there? When you reach Palodes, take care to proclaim that the great god Pan is dead.” Which Thamus did, and the news was greeted from shore with groans and laments.

Christian apologists such as G. K. Chesterton repeated and amplified the significance of the “death” of Pan, suggesting that with the “death” of Pan came the advent of theology. To this effect, Chesterton once said, “It is said truly in a sense that Pan died because Christ was born. It is almost as true in another sense that men knew that Christ was born because Pan was already dead. A void was made by the vanishing world of the whole mythology of mankind, which would have asphyxiated like a vacuum if it had not been filled with theology.”

It was interpreted with concurrent meanings in all four modes of medieval exegesis: literally as historical fact, and allegorically as the death of the ancient order at the coming of the new. Eusebius of Caesarea in his Praeparatio Evangelica (book V) seems to have been the first Christian apologist to give Plutarch’s anecdote, which he identifies as his source, pseudo-historical standing, which Eusebius buttressed with many invented passing details that lent verisimilitude.

In more modern times, some have suggested a possible a naturalistic explanation for the myth. For example, Robert Graves (The Greek Myths) reported a suggestion that had been made by Salomon Reinach and expanded by James S. Van Teslaar that the hearers aboard the ship, including a supposed Egyptian, Thamus, apparently misheard Thamus Panmegas tethneke ‘the all-great Tammuz is dead’ for ‘Thamus, Great Pan is dead!’, Thamous, Pan ho megas tethneke. “In its true form the phrase would have probably carried no meaning to those on board who must have been unfamiliar with the worship of Tammuz which was a transplanted, and for those parts, therefore, an exotic custom.”

Certainly, when Pausanias toured Greece about a century after Plutarch, he found Pan’s shrines, sacred caves and sacred mountains still very much frequented. However, a naturalistic explanation might not be needed. For example, William Hansen has shown that the story is quite similar to a class of widely known tales known as Fairies Send a Message.

Pan’s goatish image recalls conventional faun-like depictions of Satan. Although Christian use of Plutarch’s story is of long standing, Ronald Hutton has argued that this specific association is modern and derives from Pan’s popularity in Victorian and Edwardian neopaganism. Medieval and early modern images of Satan tend, by contrast, to show generic semi-human monsters with horns, wings and clawed feet.

In 1933, the Egyptologist Margaret Murray published the book, The God of the Witches, in which she theorised that Pan was merely one form of a horned god who was worshipped across Europe by a witch-cult.

This theory influenced the Neopagan notion of the Horned God, as an archetype of male virility and sexuality. In Wicca, the archetype of the Horned God is highly important, as represented by such deities as the Celtic Cernunnos, Indian Pashupati, and Greek Pan.

European pastoral literary and iconographic tradition often depicted nymphs and shepherds as living a life of rustic innocence and simplicity, untainted by the corruptions of civilization – a continuation of the Golden Age – set in an idealized Arcadia, a region of Greece that was the abode and center of worship of their tutelary deity, goat-footed Pan, who dwelt among them. This idealized and nostalgic vision of the simple life, however, was sometimes contested and even ridiculed, both in antiquity and later on.

Pushan

In 1924, Hermann Collitz suggested that Greek Pan and Indic Pushan might have a common Indo-European origin. Pushan is a Vedic solar deity and one of the twelve Adityas (Aditi’s sons). Aditi’s other eleven sons as narrated in Purana’s are Surya, Aryama, Tvashta, Savita, Bhaga, Dhata, Vidhata, Varuna, Mitra, Indra and Vishnu (in the form of Vamanadeva).

He is the god of meeting. Pushan was responsible for marriages, journeys, roads, and the feeding of cattle. He was a psychopomp, conducting souls to the other world. He protected travelers from bandits and wild beasts, and protected men from being exploited by other men. He was a supportive guide, a “good” god, leading his adherents towards rich pastures and wealth. He carried a golden lance, a symbol of activity.

Satyr

In Greek mythology, a satyr is one of a troop of ithyphallic male companions of Dionysus with horse-like (equine) features, including a horse-tail, horse-like ears, and sometimes a horse-like phallus because of permanent erection. Early artistic representations sometimes include horse-like legs, but in 6th-century BC black-figure pottery human legs are the most common.

In Roman Mythology there is a concept similar to satyrs, with goat-like features: the faun, being half-man, half-goat. Greek-speaking Romans often used the Greek term saturos when referring to the Latin faunus, and eventually syncretized the two. The female “Satyresses” were a late invention of poets — that roamed the woods and mountains. In myths they are often associated with pipe-playing.

Satyrs acquired their goat-like aspect through later Roman conflation with Faunus, a carefree Italic nature spirit of similar characteristics and identified with the Greek god Pan. Hence satyrs are most commonly described in Latin literature as having the upper half of a man and the lower half of a goat, with a goat’s tail in place of the Greek tradition of horse-tailed satyrs; therefore, satyrs became nearly identical with fauns. Mature satyrs are often depicted in Roman art with goat’s horns, while juveniles are often shown with bony nubs on their foreheads.

About Satyrs, Praxiteles gives a new interpretation on the subject of free and carefree life. Instead of an elf with pointed ears and repulsive goat hooves, we face a child of nature, pure, but tame and fearless and brutal instincts necessary to enable it to defend itself against threats, and survives even without the help of modern civilization.

Above all, the Satyr with flute has a small companion for him, shows the deep connection with nature, the soft whistle of the wind, the sound of gurgling water of the crystal spring, the birds singing, or perhaps the singing a melody of a human soul that feeds higher feelings.

Attic painted vases depict mature satyrs as being strongly built with flat noses, large pointed ears, long curly hair, and full beards, with wreaths of vine or ivy circling their balding heads. Satyrs often carry the thyrsus: the rod of Dionysus tipped with a pine cone.

As Dionysiac creatures they are lovers of wine and women, and they are ready for every physical pleasure. They roam to the music of pipes (auloi), cymbals, castanets, and bagpipes, and they love to chase maenads or bacchants (with whom they are obsessed, and whom they often pursue), or in later art, dance with the nymphs, and have a special form of dance called sikinnis. Because of their love of wine, they are often represented holding wine cups, and they appear often in the decorations on wine cups.

Silenus

The satyr’s chief was Silenus, a minor deity associated (like Hermes and Priapus) with fertility, and a companion and tutor to the wine god Dionysus. He is typically older than the satyrs of the Dionysian retinue (thiasos), and sometimes considerably older, in which case he may be referred to as a Papposilenus.

The plural sileni refers to the mythological figure as a type that is sometimes thought to be differentiated from a satyr by having the attributes of a horse rather than a goat, though usage of the two words is not consistent enough to permit a sharp distinction.

Fauns

The faun (Latin: faunus, Ancient Greek: phaunos) is a half human–half goat (from the head to the waist being human, but with the addition of goat horns) manifestation of forest and animal spirits that would help or hinder humans at whim. They are often associated with the satyrs of Greek mythology.

Romans believed fauns inspired fear in men traveling in lonely, remote or wild places. They were also capable of guiding humans in need, as in the fable of The Satyr and the Traveller, in the title of which Latin authors substituted the word Faunus.

Fauns and satyrs were originally quite different creatures: whereas fauns are half-man and half-goat, satyrs originally were depicted as stocky, hairy, ugly dwarfs or woodwoses with the ears and tails of horses or asses. Satyrs also were more woman-loving than fauns, and fauns were rather foolish where satyrs had more knowledge.

Ancient Roman mythological belief also included a god named Faunus often associated with enchanted woods and the Greek god Pan and a goddess named Fauna who were goat people.

Faunus

In ancient Roman religion and myth, Faunus was the horned god of the forest, plains and fields; when he made cattle fertile he was called Inuus. He came to be equated in literature with the Greek god Pan.

Faunus was one of the oldest Roman deities, known as the di indigetes. According to the epic poet Virgil, he was a legendary king of the Latins who came with his people from Arcadia. His shade was consulted as a god of prophecy under the name of Fatuus, with oracles in the sacred grove of Tibur, around the well Albunea, and on the Aventine Hill in ancient Rome itself.

Marcus Terentius Varro asserted that the oracular responses were given in Saturnian verse. Faunus revealed the future in dreams and voices that were communicated to those who came to sleep in his precincts, lying on the fleeces of sacrificed lambs. W. Warde Fowler suggested that Faunus is identical with Favonius, one of the Roman wind gods (compare the Anemoi).

In fable Faunus appears as an old king of Latium, grandson of Saturnus, son of Picus, and father of Latinus by the nymph Marica (who was also sometimes Faunus’ mother). After his death he is raised to the position of a tutelary deity of the land, for his many services to agriculture and cattle-breeding.

A goddess of like attributes, called Fauna and Fatua, was associated in his worship. She was regarded as his daughter, wife, or sister. The female deity Bona Dea was often equated with Fauna.

As Pan was accompanied by the Paniskoi, or little Pans, so the existence of many Fauni was assumed besides the chief Faunus. Fauns are place-spirits (genii) of untamed woodland. Educated, Hellenizing Romans connected their fauns with the Greek satyrs, who were wild and orgiastic drunken followers of Dionysus, with a distinct origin.

With the increasing Hellenization of literate upper-class Roman culture in the 3rd and 2nd–centuries BC, the Romans tried to equate their own deities with one of the Greeks’, applying in reverse the Greeks’ own interpretatio graeca.

Faunus was naturally equated with the god Pan, who was a pastoral god of shepherds who was said to reside in Arcadia. Pan had always been depicted with horns and as such many depictions of Faunus also began to display this trait. However, the two deities were also considered separate by many, for instance, the epic poet Virgil, in his Aeneid, made mention of both Faunus and Pan independently.

Faunus is the Latin outcome of a PIE *dhau-no- meaning “the strangler” and denotes the wolf. According to D. Briquel it is likely that the Luceres, one of the three tribes of Rome, were Daunians from Ardea, as well as the characters of the Aeneis Mezentius, Messapus and Metabus, who show a Daunian origin.

Towards the late Bronze Age (11th-10th centuries BC) Illyrian populations from the eastern Adriatic arrived in Apulia. The Illyrians in Italy united with the pre-existing people and groups from the Aegean, probably from Crete, created the Iapygian civilization which consisted of three tribes: Peucetia, Messapi and the Dauni.

The Daunia is a historical and geographical region in Apulia, southern Italy, mostly coincident with modern Province of Foggia. Its inhabitants were called the Daunians by the ancient Greeks and were also known as the Daunii and the Apulians to the ancient Romans. In ancient times, together with Peucetia and Messapia it formed the Iapygia.

The ethnonym is connected to the name of the wolf, plausibly the totemic animal of this nation. The cult of the wolf was widespread in ancient Italy and was related to the Arcadian mystery cult. In fact daunos means wolf, according to ancient glosses, and is the correspondent of Greek taunos from an Indoeuropean root *dhau- to strangle, meaning literally strangler.

Among the Daunian towns one may mention Lucera (Leucaria) and among other nations the ethnonym of the Lucani (Loucanoi) and of that the Hirpini, from another word meaning wolf. The outcome of the Indoeuropean voiced aspirate dh is proper of the Illyrian languages and thus different from the corresponding Latin Faunus and Oscan which is not attested.

There are numerous testimonies among ancient authors (Pseudo-Scylax, Vergil, Festus, Servius) of a presence of the Daunians beyond the Apennines in Campania and Latium where some towns claimed Diomedian origins.

The most notable instance is Ardea, the centre of the Rutulians who were considered Daunians: Vergil writes that Turnus’ father was Daunus. Festus writes that a King Lucerus of Ardea fought along with Romulus against Tatius and this is the origin of the name of the Roman Luceres.

The Iapyges or Iapygians were an Indo-European people who inhabited the heel of Italy (modern Apulia) before being absorbed by the Romans. The Iapyges have unknown origins but could have been an Illyrian tribe.

They spoke the Messapian language since the Messapians themselves were the southernmost tribe of the Iapyges. Their other tribes included the Dauni and the Peucetii.

The name Iapyges is derived from Greek authors, who linked the tribe’s origin to Daedalus’s son Iapyx. They were called Apuli, Salentini (or Sallentini) and Calabri by Roman authors. Iapygians were akin to the Oenotrians, an ancient Italic people who lived in the territory of Basilicata and Northern Calabria.

The genetive forms, -aihi- and -ihi- corresponding to the Sanskrit -asya- and the Greek -oio- , appear to indicate that the dialect belongs to the Indo-Germanic family. Other indications, such as the use of the aspirated consonants and the avoiding of the letters m and t as terminal sounds, show that this Iapygian dialect was essentially different from Italian and corresponds in some respects to the Greek dialects.

The supposition of an especially close affinity between the Iapygian nation and the Hellenes finds further support in the frequent occurrence of the names of Greek divinities in the inscriptions and the surprising facility with which the people became Hellenized, presenting a striking contrast to the shyness in the respect of the other Italian Nations. Apulia, which in the time of Timaeus (400) was still described as a barbarous land, had in the sixth century become a province thoroughly Greek, although no direct colonization from Greece had taken place.

The character of the Iapygian people, little capable of resistance, easily merging into other nationalities, agrees well with the hypothesis, to which their geographical position adds probability, that they were the oldest immigrants or the historical autochthones of Italy.

I. Pasqualini agrees on the presence of a Daunian connection in the towns of Latium claiming a Diomedean descent. Moreover it would seem that there is a sizable presence of Daunians in Latium and Campania. Festus 106 L records a king Lucerus who helped Romulus against Titus Tatius.

Moreover Oscan epithet Leucesius and Lucetius should be interpreted as related to the Luceres. He also lists the Leucaria mother of Romos, Jupiter Lucetius, toponyms Leucasia /Leucaria near Paestum, the ethnonym Lucani. Though Briquel is apparently unaware that the etymology of both “Luceres”, Lucera, Leucaria, Lucani and Dauni is from a word meaning wolf and therefore different from that of Leucesius/ Lucetius, i.e. from IE from *luq (wolf), not from *leuk light: compare also Hirpini and Dauni.

Daunos according to Walde Hoffmann is from IE root *dhau to strangle, meaning the strangler, epithet of the wolf: cfr. Greek thaunos, thērion Hes., Phrygian dáos, lykos Hes., Latin F(f)aunus. According to Alessio Latins and Umbrians both did not name the wolf because of a religious taboo, thence their use of loanwords such as lupus in Latin (which is Sabine, instead of the expected *luquos) and the Umbrians hirpos (cfr. Hirpini) originally male goat instead of expected *lupos, whence also herpex for hirpex tool in the shape wolf teeth.

In Gaul, Faunus was identified with the Celtic Dusios. In the Gaulish language, Dusios was a divine being among the continental Celts who was identified with the god Pan of ancient Greek religion and with the gods Faunus, Inuus, Silvanus, and Incubus of ancient Roman religion. Like these deities, he might be seen as multiple in nature, and referred to in the plural (dusioi), most commonly in Latin as dusii.

Triptolemus

Triptolemus (lit. “threefold warrior”; also known as Buzyges), in Greek mythology always connected with Demeter of the Eleusinian Mysteries, might be accounted the son of King Celeus of Eleusis in Attica, or, according to the Pseudo-Apollodorus the son of Gaia and Oceanus—another way of saying he was “primordial man”.

Demeter teached Triptolemus the art of agriculture and, from him, the rest of Greece learned to plant and reap crops. He flew across the land on a winged chariot while Demeter and Persephone, once restored to her mother, cared for him, and helped him complete his mission of educating the whole of Greece in the art of agriculture. Triptolemus was equally associated with the bestowal of hope for the afterlife associated with the expansion of the Eleusinian Mysteries.

In the 5th-century bas-relief in the National Museum, Athens, which probably came from his temple, the boy Triptolemus stands between the Two Goddesses, Demeter and the Kore, and receives from Demeter the ear of grain (of gold, now lost).

Porphyry ascribes to Triptolemus three commandments for a simple, pious life: “Honor your parents”, “Honor the gods with fruits”—for the Greeks, “fruits” would include the grain—and “Spare the animals”.

Triptolemus is also depicted as a young man with a branch or diadem placed in his hair, usually sitting on his winged chariot, adorned with serpents. His attributes include a plate of grain, a pair of wheat or barley ears and a scepter.

It is suggested that the Proto-Indo-European (or Graeco-Aryan) predecessor of Indra had the epithet *trigw-welumos or rather *trigw-t-welumos (“smasher of the enclosure” of Vritra, Vala) and diye-snūtyos (“impeller of streams”, the liberated rivers, corresponding to Vedic apam ajas “agitator of the waters”), which resulted in the Greek gods Triptolemus and Dionysus.

Ceres is the only one of Rome’s many agricultural deities to be listed among the Dii Consentes, Rome’s equivalent to the Twelve Olympians of Greek mythology. The Romans saw her as the counterpart of the Greek goddess Demeter, although Triptolemus was the god of farming whose mythology was reinterpreted for Ceres in Roman art and literature.

Priapus

In Greek mythology, Priapus was a minor rustic fertility god, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia. Priapus is marked by his oversized, permanent erection, which gave rise to the medical term priapism, alluding to the god’s permanently engorged penis. He became a popular figure in Roman erotic art and Latin literature, and is the subject of the often humorously obscene collection of verse called the Priapeia.

Priapus was described as the son of Aphrodite by Dionysus, or the son of Dionysus and Chione, perhaps as the father or son of Hermes, and the son of Zeus or Pan, depending on the source.

According to legend, Hera cursed him with impotence, ugliness and foul-mindedness while he was still in Aphrodite’s womb, in revenge for the hero Paris having the temerity to judge Aphrodite more beautiful than Hera. The other gods refused to allow him to live on Mount Olympus and threw him down to Earth, leaving him on a hillside. He was eventually found by shepherds and was brought up by them.

Priapus joined Pan and the satyrs as a spirit of fertility and growth, though he was perennially frustrated by his impotence. In a ribald anecdote told by Ovid, he attempted to rape the goddess Hestia but was thwarted by an ass, whose braying caused him to lose his erection at the critical moment and woke Hestia.

The episode gave him a lasting hatred of asses and a willingness to see them destroyed in his honour. The emblem of his lustful nature was his permanent erection and his large penis. Another myth states that he pursued the nymph Lotis until the gods took pity on her and turned her into a lotus plant. The Athenians often conflated Priapus with Hermes, the god of boundaries, and depicted a hybrid deity with a winged helmet, sandals, and huge erection.

Priapus’ role as a patron god for merchant sailors in ancient Greece and Rome is that of a protector and navigational aide. Recent shipwreck evidence contains apotropaic items carried onboard by mariners in the forms of a terracotta phallus, wooden Priapus figure, and bronze sheath from a military ram. Coinciding with the use of wooden Priapic markers erected in areas of dangerous passage or particular landing areas for sailors, the function of Priapus is much more extensive than previously thought.

Although Priapus is commonly associated with the failed attempts of rape against the nymphs Lotis and Vesta in Ovid’s comedy Fasti and the rather flippant treatment of the deity in urban settings, Priapus’ protection traits can be traced back to the importance placed on the phallus in ancient times (particularly his association with fertility and garden protection).

In Greece, the phallus was thought of to has a mind of its own, animal-like, separate from the mind and control of the man. The phallus is also associated with “possession and territorial demarcation” in many cultures, attributing to Priapus’ other role as a navigational deity.

Freyr

Freyr or Frey is one of the most important gods of Norse religion. He was one of the most widely and passionately venerated divinities amongst the heathen Norse and other Germanic peoples. One Old Norse poem calls him “the foremost of the gods” and “hated by none.” He was the God of sun, rain, fertility, domestication, luck, wealth, and the patron of bountiful harvests. He is both a god of peace and a brave warrior.

Freyr was associated with sacral kingship, virility and prosperity, with sunshine and fair weather, and was pictured as a phallic fertility god, Freyr “bestows peace and pleasure on mortals”. The gods gave him Álfheimr, the realm of the Elves, as a teething present.

Celebration of the Norse New Year; a festival of 12 nights.  This is the most important of all the Norse holidays.  On the night of December 20, the god Ingvi Freyr rides over the earth on the back of his shining dwarf-made boar Gullinbursti (“Golden-Bristled”), bringing Light and Love back into the World.  In later years, after the influence of Christianity, the god Baldur, then Jesus, was reborn at this festival.

Freyr is the most prominent and most beautiful of the male members of the Vanir, and is called ‘God of the World’. After the merging of the Aesir and the Vanir, Freyr was called ‘Lord of the Aesir’. He possesses the ship Skíðblaðnir (“Assembled from Pieces of Thin Wood”) which always has a favorable breeze and can be folded together and carried in a pouch when it is not being used. He has the servants Skírnir, Byggvir, and Beyla.

He is presented as one of the Vanir, the son of Njord and Njord’s unnamed sister, and the twin brother of the goddess Freyja. He’s also an honorary member of the other tribe of Norse gods, the Aesir, having arrived in their fortress, Asgard, as a hostage at the closing of the Aesir-Vanir War.

His benevolence particularly manifested itself in sexual and ecological fertility, bountiful harvests, wealth, and peace, and he provided health and abundance often symbolized by his fylgja, and by his enormous, erect phallus. He was a frequent recipient of sacrifices at various occasions, such as the blessing of a wedding or the celebration of a harvest. During harvest festivals, the sacrifice traditionally took the form of his favored animal, the boar. On land, Freyr travels in a chariot drawn by boars.

The most extensive surviving Freyr myth relates Freyr’s falling in love with the female jötunn Gerðr (Old Norse “fenced-in”, “Enclosure” or “Field”). The couple is the founders of the Yngling dynasty and produced a son, Fjölnir (Old Norse: Fjolnir; lit. “Manyfold” or “Multiplier”) who rose to kinghood after Freyr’s passing and continued their line. Gerðr is commonly theorized to be a goddess associated with the earth.

Fjölnir is also another name for Odin, found in Grímnismál when the god revealed himself to Geirröd, and in Reginsmál when he was standing on a mountain addressing Sigurd and Regin. Snorri also mentions it as an Odinic name in Gylfaginning.

In chapter 19 of the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, Gerðr is listed among “rivals” of the goddess Frigg, a list of sexual partners of Frigg’s husband, Odin. Instead of Gerðr, the jötunn Gríðr (Old Norse “greed” or “greed, vehemence, violence, impetuosity”), mother of Odin’s son Víðarr according to the Prose Edda, was probably intended. One manuscript has Gríðr corrected to Gerðr.

Gríðr, aware of Loki’s plans to have Thor killed at the hands of the giant Geirröd, helped Thor by supplying him with a number of magical gifts which included a pair of iron gloves, and a staff known as Gríðarvölr. These items saved Thor’s life.

Scholar John Lindow comments that Gerðr’s name has been etymologically associated with the earth and enclosures and that the wedding of Gerðr and Freyr is commonly seen as “the divine coupling of sky and earth or at least fertility god and representative of the soil.” Lindow adds that, at the same time, the situation can be read as simply the gods getting what they want from the jötnar.

Hilda Ellis Davidson comments that Gerðr’s role in Skírnismál has parallels with the goddess Persephone from Greek mythology, “since it is made clear that if [Gerðr] remains below in the dark kingdom of the underworld there will be nothing to hope for but sterility and famine. She does not become the bride of the underworld, however; her bridal is to be in the upper world when she consents to meet Freyr at Barri.”

Frey “possessed a magic sword which fights on its own “if wise be he who wields it” and that “struck out at Jotuns of its own accord.” Gerd never wanted to marry Freyr and refused his proposals. She is an earth goddess, the personification of the fertile soil, and daughter of the giant Gymir. Freyr has a page named Skírnir, who requests that Freyr give him a horse and Freyr’s sword if he is going to convince Gerðr.

Freyr sent his messenger Skirnir to woo her, but he did not succeed in winning her over with the eleven golden apples and the ring Draupnir he had with him. Eventually Skirnir threatened to use Freyr’s sword, which would cover the earth in ice, and powerful magic which would doom Gerd’s life to misery and sadness. She finally agreed to meet Freyr in a wood, nine days hence, and later became his wife.

Although deprived of this weapon, Freyr defeats the jötunn Beli with an antler of an elk. However, lacking his sword, Freyr will be killed by the fire jötunn Surtr (Old Norse “black” or “the swarthy one”) during the events of Ragnarök.

Surtr is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson. In both sources, Surtr is foretold as being a major figure during the events of Ragnarök; carrying his bright sword, he will go to battle against the Æsir, he will do battle with the major god Freyr, and afterward the flames that he brings forth will engulf the Earth.

In a book from the Prose Edda additional information is given about Surtr, including that he is stationed guarding the frontier of the fiery realm Múspell, that he will lead “Múspell’s sons” to Ragnarök, and that he will defeat Freyr.

The etymology of “Muspelheim” is uncertain, but may come from Mund-spilli, “world-destroyers”, “wreck of the world”. Muspelheim is fire; and the land to the North, Niflheim, is ice. The two mixed and created water from the melting ice in Ginnungagap. The sun and the stars originate from Muspelheim.

The name Freyr is conjectured to derive from the Proto-Norse *frawjaz, “lord”. *Fraujaz or *Frauwaz (Old High German frô for earlier frôjo, frouwo, Old Saxon frao, frōio, Gothic frauja, Old English frēa, Old Norse freyr), feminine *Frawjō (OHG frouwâ, later also frû, Old Saxon frūa, Old English frōwe, Goth. *fraujô, Old Norse freyja) is a Common Germanic honorific meaning “lord”, “lady”, especially of deities.

The epithet came to be taken as the proper name of two separate deities in Norse mythology, Freyr and Freyja. In both Old Norse and Old High German the female epithet became a female honorific “lady”, in German Frau further weakened to the standard address “Mrs.” and further to the normal word for “woman”, replacing earlier wîp (English wife) and qinô (English queen) “woman”.

Just like Norse Freyja is usually interpreted as a hypostasis of *Frijjō (Frigg), Norse Freyr is associated with Ingwaz (Yngvi) based on the Ynglingasaga which names Yngvi-Freyr as the ancestor of the kings of Sweden, reigning from Gamla Uppsala, which as Common Germanic *Ingwia-fraujaz would have designated the “lord of the Ingvaeones. Both Freyr and Freyja are represented zoomorphically by the pig: Freyr has Gullinbursti (“golden bristles”) while Freyjahas Hildisvíni has (“battle-pig”), and one of Freyja’s many names is Syr, i.e. “sow”.

Old Norse Yngvi, Old High German Inguin and Old English Ingwine all derived from the Proto-Germanic *Ingwaz and are names that relate to a theonym which appears to have been the older name for the god Freyr. Proto-Germanic *Ingwaz was the legendary ancestor of the Ingaevones, or more accurately Ingvaeones, and is also the reconstructed name of the Elder Futhark ŋ rune.

That his epithet *Fraujaz appears in Old Norse compounds Ingvifreyr and Ingunarfreyr, as well as in Old English fréa inguina, both of which mean ‘Lord of the Inguins’, i. e. the god Freyr, strongly indicates that the two deities are either the same or were syncretized at some very early period in the Germanic migration (or possibly before).

The Ingaevones or, as Pliny has it, apparently more accurately, Ingvaeones (“people of Yngvi”), as described in Tacitus’s Germania, written c. 98 CE, were a West Germanic cultural group living along the North Sea coast in the areas of Jutland, Holstein, Frisia and the Danish islands, where they had by the 1st century BCE become further differentiated to a foreigner’s eye into the Frisii, Saxons, Jutes and Angles. The postulated common group of closely related dialects of the Ingvaeones is called Ingvaeonic or North Sea Germanic.

Tacitus’ source categorized the Ingaevones near the ocean as one of the three tribal groups descended from the three sons of Mannus, son of Tuisto, progenitor of all the Germanic peoples, the other two being the Irminones and the Istaevones. According to the speculations of Rafael von Uslar, this threefold subdivision of the West Germanic tribes corresponds to archeological evidence from Late Antiquity.

Pliny ca 80 CE in his Natural History (IV.28) lists the Ingvaeones as one of the five Germanic races, the others being the Vandili (Vandals), the Istvaeones, the Hermiones and the Bastarnae, an ancient people who between 200 BC and 300 AD inhabited the region between the Carpathian mountains and the river Dnieper, to the north and east of ancient Dacia. The ethno-linguistic affiliation of the Bastarnae was probably Germanic, which is supported by ancient historians and modern archeology.

The Ingvaeones, who occupied a territory roughly equivalent to modern Denmark, Frisia and the Low Countries at the turn of the millennium, were mentioned by Pliny the Elder in his Natural Histories as one of “five Germanic tribes”. Pliny asserts their descent from *Ingwaz, perhaps himself the son of *Mannus, the Proto-Germanic ‘first man’. Other names that retain the theonym are Inguiomerus or Ingemar and Yngling, the name of an old Scandinavian dynasty.

Ing, the legendary father of the Ingaevones/Ingvaeones derives his name from a posited proto-Germanic *Ingwaz, signifying “man” and “son of”, as Ing, Ingo, or Inguio, son of Mannus. This is also the name applied to the Viking era deity Freyr, known in Sweden as Yngvi-Freyr and mentioned as Yngvi-Freyr in Snorri Sturluson’s Ynglinga saga.

Jacob Grimm, in his Teutonic Mythology considers this Ing to have been originally identical to the obscure Scandinavian Yngvi, eponymous ancestor of the Swedish royal house of the Ynglinga, the “Inglings” or sons of Ing. An Ingui is also listed in the Anglo-Saxon royal house of Bernicia and was probably once seen as the progenitor of all Anglian kings.

Since the Ingaevones form the bulk of the Anglo-Saxon settlement in Britain, they were speculated by Noah Webster to have given England its name. According to Grigsby on the continent “they formed part of the confederacy known as the ‘friends of Ing’ and in the new lands they migrated to in the 5th and 6th centuries. In time they would name these lands Angle-land, and it is tempting to speculate that the word Angle was derived from, or thought of as a pun on, the name of Ing.”

According to the Trojan genealogy of Nennius in the Historia Brittonum, Mannus becomes “Alanus” and Ing, his son, becomes Neugio. The three sons of Neugio are named Boganus, Vandalus, and Saxo—from whom came the peoples of the Bogari, the Vandals, and the Saxons and Thuringii.

In Scandinavian mythology, Yngvi, alternatively spelled Yngve, was the progenitor of the Yngling lineage, a legendary dynasty of Swedish kings, from whom also the earliest historical Norwegian kings claimed to be descended. Yngvi is a name of the god Freyr, perhaps Freyr’s true name, as freyr means ‘lord’ and has probably evolved from a common invocation of the god.

In the Íslendingabók (written in the early twelfth century by the Icelandic priest Ari Þorgilsson) Yngvi Tyrkja konungr ‘Yngvi king of Turkey’ appears as the father of Njörðr who in turn is the father of Yngvi-Freyr, ancestor of the Ynglings.

According to the Skjöldunga saga (a lost epic from 1180–1200, saved only partially in other sagas and later translation) Odin came from Asia and conquered Northern Europe. He gave Sweden to his son Yngvi and Denmark to his son Skjöldr. Since then the kings of Sweden were called Ynglings and those of Denmark Skjöldungs.

In the Gesta Danorum (late twelfth century, by Saxo Grammaticus) and in the Ynglinga saga (ca. 1225, by Snorri Sturluson), Freyr is euhemerized as a king of Sweden. In the Ynglinga saga, Yngvi-Freyr reigned in succession to his father Njörðr who had – in this variant – succeeded Odin. In the Historia Norwegiæ (written around 1211), in contrast, Ingui is the first king of Sweden, and the father of a certain Neorth, in his turn the father of Froyr.

In the introduction to his Edda (originally composed around 1220) Snorri Sturluson claimed again that Odin reigned in Sweden and relates: “Odin had with him one of his sons called Yngvi, who was king in Sweden after him; and those houses come from him that are named Ynglings.” Snorri here does not identify Yngvi and Freyr, although Freyr occasionally appears elsewhere as a son of Odin instead of a son of Njörðr.

In the Skáldskaparmál section of his Prose Edda Snorri brings in the ancient king Halfdan the Old who is the father of nine sons whose names are all words meaning ‘king’ or ‘lord’ in Old Norse, as well as of nine other sons who are the forefathers of various royal lineages, including “Yngvi, from whom the Ynglings are descended”.

But rather oddly Snorri immediately follows this with information on what should be four other personages who were not sons of Halfdan but who also fathered dynasties, and names the first of these again as “Yngvi, from whom the Ynglings are descended”. In the related account in the Ættartolur (‘Genealogies’) attached to Hversu Noregr byggdist, the name Skelfir appears instead of Yngvi in the list of Halfdan’s sons.

The Ynglinga Saga section of Snorri’s Heimskringla (around 1230) introduces a second Yngvi, son of Alrek, who is a descendant of Yngvi-Freyr and who shared the Swedish kingship with his brother Álf.

Istve

The Istvaeones, also called Istaevones, Istriaones, Istriones, Sthraones, and Thracones, were a Germanic tribal grouping in the 1st century AD. Their name was recorded by Tacitus and Pliny the Elder in the 1st century AD. They categorized them as one of the nations of Germanic tribes descended from one of the sons of Mannus, a Germanic ancestor.

Jacob Grimm in the book Deutsche Mythologie argued that Iscaevones was the correct form, partly because it would connect the name to an ancestor figure in Norse mythology named Ask, and partly because in Nennius where the name Mannus is corrupted as Alanus, the ancestor of the Istaevones appears as Escio or Hisicion.

Irmin

The Irminones, also referred to as Herminones or Hermiones, were a group of early Germanic tribes settling in the Elbe watershed and by the 1st century AD expanding into Bavaria, Swabia and Bohemia. Irminonic or Elbe Germanic is a conventional term grouping early West Germanic dialects ancestral to High German, which would include modern Standard German.

Jǫrmun, the Viking Age Norse form of the name Irmin, can be found in a number of places in the Poetic Edda as a by-name for Odin. Some aspects of the Irminones’ culture and beliefs may be inferred from their relationships with the Roman Empire, from Widukind’s confusion over whether Irmin was comparable to Mars or Hermes, and from Snorri Sturluson’s allusions, at the beginning of the Prose Edda, to Odin’s cult having appeared first in Germany, and then having spread up into the Ingvaeonic North.

A Germanic god Irmin, inferred from the name Irminsul and the tribal name Irminones, is sometimes presumed to have been the national god or demi-god of the Saxons. It has been suggested that Irmin was more probably an aspect or epithet of some other deity – most likely Wodan (Odin).

Irmin might also have been an epithet of the god Ziu (Tyr) in early Germanic times, only later transferred to Odin, as certain scholars subscribe to the idea that Odin replaced Tyr as the chief Germanic deity at the onset of the Migration Period. This was the favored view of early 20th century Nordicist writers, but it is not generally considered likely in modern times.

The Old Norse form of Irmin is Jörmunr, which just like Yggr was one of the names of Odin. Yggdrasil (“Yggr’s horse”) was the yew or ash tree from which Odin sacrificed him self, and which connected the nine worlds. Jakob Grimm connects the name Irmin with Old Norse terms like iörmungrund (“great ground”, i.e. the Earth) or iörmungandr (“great snake”, i.e. the Midgard serpent).

Irmin may be Old Saxon irmin “strong, whole”, maybe also “strong, tall, exalted” (Old High German ermen, Old Norse jǫrmun, Old English Eormen), from Proto-Germanic *erminaz, *ermenaz or *ermunaz, in personal names. The name comes from the Old High German irmin, meaning world. The anglicised form is Emma related to the Hebrew word for Mother – “EeMaH.”

Emma is a given female name. It is derived from the Germanic word ermen meaning whole or universal, and was originally a short form of Germanic names that began with ermen. Emma is also used as a diminutive of Emmeline, Amelia or any other name beginning with “em”. It was introduced to England by Emma of Normandy, who was the wife both of King Ethelred II (and by him the mother of Edward the Confessor) and later of King Canute. It was also borne by an 11th-century Austrian saint, who is sometimes called Hemma.

An Irminsul (Old Saxon, probably “great/mighty pillar” or “arising pillar”) was a kind of pillar which is attested as playing an important role in the Germanic paganism of the Saxon people. The oldest chronicle describing an Irminsul refers to it as a tree trunk erected in the open air. The purpose of the Irminsuls and the implications thereof have been the subject of considerable scholarly discourse and speculation for hundreds of years.

Irminenschaft (or, Irminism, Irminenreligion) is a current of Ariosophy based on a Germanic deity Irmin which is supposedly reconstructed from literaric, linguistic and onomastic sources.

Among other sources the Prefix “Irmin” is well documented in the from Irminsul “great pillar that supports all”/”Columna Universalis Sustenans Omni”, as described in Einhards ‘Vita Karoli Magni’, and informed by Tacitus (~1st century) via a mentioned Germanic tribe name of Hermiones; the Old Saxon adjective irmin being synonymous to “great, strong”.

As such it may also have been an epithet of later deities like Ziu (Týr) or Wodan (Odin)). Purported evidence also stems from the occurrence of the word “Irmingot”, found in the Old High German “Hildebrandslied”.

An Asherah pole is a sacred tree or pole that stood near Canaanite religious locations to honor the Ugaritic mother-goddess Asherah, consort of El. The relation of the literary references to an asherah and archaeological finds of Judaean pillar-figurines has engendered a literature of debate.

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