Cradle of Civilization

A Blog about the Birth of Our Civilisation and Development

Dig into your unconsciousnes – the treasure trove

Posted by Fredsvenn on November 1, 2015

Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known as Tiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.

Tacitus wrote that Mannus was the son of Tuisto and the progenitor of the three Germanic tribes Ingaevones, Herminones and Istvaeones. In the 19th century, F. Nork wrote that the names of the three sons of Mannus can be extrapolated as Ingui, Irmin, and Istaev or Iscio.

Several authors consider the name Mannus in Tacitus’ work to stem from an Indo-European root. The English term “man” is derived from a Proto-Indo-European root *man- (see Sanskrit/Avestan manu-, Slavic mǫž “man, male”). More directly, the word derives from Old English mann.

According to Tacitus, the mythological progenitor of the Germanic tribes was called Mannus. *Manus in Indo-European mythology was the first man. The names Mannus and Tuisto/Tuisco seem to have some relation to Proto-Germanic Mannaz, “man” and Tiwaz, “Tyr, the god”.

A few scholars like Ralph T. H. Griffith have expressed a connection between Mannus and the names of other ancient founder-kings, such as Minos of Greek mythology, and Manu of Hindu tradition.

In Hindu tradition, Manu is the name of accorded to a progenitor of humanity being the first human to appear in the world in an epoch after universal destruction. According to the Puranas, 14 Manus appear in each kalpa (aeon). The period of each Manu is called Manvantara.

The current world is that of Vaivasvata, the seventh Manu of the aeon of the white boar (sveta varaha kalpa). Vaivasvata, also known as Sraddhadeva or Satyavrata, was the king of Dravida before the great flood. He was warned of the flood by the Matsya avatar of Vishnu, and built a boat that carried his family and the seven sages to safety, helped by Matsya.

The earliest extant text that mentions this story is the Satapatha Brahmana (dated variously from 700 BCE to 300 BCE). The myth is repeated with variations in other texts, including the Mahabharata and the various Puranas. It is similar to other flood myths such as that of Gilgamesh and Noah.

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.

The Mannaeans (country name usually Mannea; Akkadian: Mannai, possibly Biblical Minni) were an ancient people who lived in the territory of present-day northwestern Iran south of lake Urmia, around the 10th to 7th centuries BC.

At that time they were neighbors of the empires of Assyria and Urartu, as well as other small buffer states between the two, such as Musasir and Zikirta.

Urartu, corresponding to the biblical Kingdom of Ararat or Kingdom of Van (Urartian: Biai, Biainili) was an Iron Age kingdom centered on Lake Van in the Armenian Highlands. It is cognate with the Biblical Ararat, Akkadian Urashtu, and Armenian Ayrarat, but also with Sumerian Aratta and Indo-European Armenia.

Scholars such as Carl Ferdinand Friedrich Lehmann-Haupt (1910) believed that the people of Urartu called themselves Khaldini after their god (K)haldi. Hayk or Hayg, also known as Haik Nahapet (Hayk the Tribal Chief), is the legendary patriarch and founder of the Armenian nation.

His shrine was at Ardini (the present form of the name is Artin, meaning “sun rising” or to “awake”, and it persists in Armenian names to this day), known as Muṣaṣir (Akkadian for Exit of the Serpent/Snake) in Urartian Assyrian.

Inanna (Neo-Assyrian MUŠ; Sumerian: Inanna; Akkadian: Ištar) was the Sumerian goddess of love, fertility, and warfare, and goddess of the E-Anna temple at the city of Uruk, her main centre. She was the most prominent female deity in ancient Mesopotamia.

Inanna’s name derives from Lady of Heaven (Sumerian: nin-an-ak). The cuneiform sign of Inanna; however, is not a ligature of the signs lady (Sumerian: nin; Cuneiform: SAL.TUG) and sky (Sumerian: an; Cuneiform: AN).

These difficulties have led some early Assyriologists to suggest that originally Inanna may have been a Proto-Euphratean goddess, possibly related to the Hurrian mother goddess Hannahannah.

Aratta is a land that appears in Sumerian myths surrounding Enmerkar and Lugalbanda, two early and possibly mythical kings of Uruk also mentioned on the Sumerian king list.

Aratta is described in Sumerian literature as a fabulously wealthy place full of gold, silver, lapis lazuli and other precious materials, as well as the artisans to craft them. It is remote and difficult to reach. It is home to the goddess Inana, who transfers her allegiance from Aratta to Uruk. It is conquered by Enmerkar of Uruk.

Asha is the Avestan language term (corresponding to Vedic language ṛta) for a concept of cardinal importance to Zoroastrian theology and doctrine. In the moral sphere, aša/arta represents what has been called “the decisive confessional concept of Zoroastrianism.”

The significance of the term is complex, with a highly nuanced range of meaning. It is commonly summarized in accord with its contextual implications of ‘truth’ and ‘right(eousness)’, ‘order’ and ‘right working’. The opposite of Avestan aša is druj, “lie.”

In the early 6th century BC, the Urartian Kingdom was replaced by the Armenian Orontid dynasty. In the trilingual Behistun inscription, carved in 521 or 520 BC by the order of Darius the Great of Persia, the country referred to as Urartu in Assyrian is called Arminiya in Old Persian and Harminuia in Elamite.

Though there is no written evidence of any other language being spoken in this kingdom, it is argued on linguistic evidence that Proto-Armenian came in contact with Urartian at an early date (3rd-2nd millennium BC).

Scholars believe that Urartu is an Akkadian variation of Ararat of the Old Testament. Indeed, Mount Ararat is located in ancient Urartian territory, approximately 120 km north of its former capital.

In addition to referring to the famous Biblical mountain, Ararat also appears as the name of a kingdom in the Bible (Jeremiah 51:27), mentioned together with Minni and Ashkenaz. The Mannaeans are called Minni.

In the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), Minni is identified with Armenia, but it could refer to one of the provinces in ancient Armenia; Minni, Ararat and Ashkenaz.

According to examinations of the place and personal names found in Assyrian and Urartian texts, the Mannaeans, or at least their rulers, spoke Hurrian, a non-Semitic and non-Indo-European language related to Urartian.

Týr

Týr is a god associated with law and heroic glory in Norse mythology, portrayed as one-handed. Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Teiws, Old English Tīw and Old High German Ziu and Cyo, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Latinised name is Tius or Tio.

In the late Icelandic Eddas, Tyr is portrayed, alternately, as the son of Odin (Prose Edda) or of Hymir (Poetic Edda), while the origins of his name and his possible relationship to Tuisto suggest he was once considered the father of the gods and head of the pantheon, since his name is ultimately cognate to that of *Dyeus (cf. Dyaus), the reconstructed chief deity in Indo-European religion.

It is assumed that Tîwaz was overtaken in popularity and in authority by both Odin and Thor at some point during the Migration Age, as Odin shares his role as God of war. The earliest records of the Germanic peoples were recorded by the Romans, and in these works Odin is frequently referred to—via a process known as interpretatio romana (where characteristics perceived to be similar by Romans result in identification of a non-Roman god as a Roman deity)—as the Roman god Mercury.

The weekday name Wednesday derives from Old English. Cognate terms are found in other Germanic languages, such as Old High German wōdnesdæg, Middle Low German wōdensdach (Dutch Woensdag), and Old Norse Óðinsdagr (Danish, Norwegian and Swedish Onsdag). All of these terms derive from Proto-Germanic *Wodensdag, itself a Germanic interpretation of Latin Dies Mercurii (“Day of Mercury”).

Jacob Grimm theorized that Hel (whom he refers to here as Halja, the theorized Proto-Germanic form of the term) is essentially an “image of a greedy, unrestoring, female deity” and that “the higher we are allowed to penetrate into our antiquities, the less hellish and more godlike may Halja appear. Of this we have a particularly strong guarantee in her affinity to the Indian Bhavani, who travels about and bathes like Nerthus and Holda, but is likewise called Kali or Mahakali, the great black goddess.

In Mesopotamian mythology, Ereshkigal (EREŠ.KI.GAL, lit. “Queen of the Great Earth”) was the goddess of Irkalla, the land of the dead or underworld. Sometimes her name is given as Irkalla, similar to the way the name Hades was used in Greek mythology for both the underworld and its ruler, and sometimes it is given as Ninkigal, lit. “Great Lady of the Earth” or “Lady of the Great Earth”.

Ereshkigal is the sister and counterpart of Inanna/Ishtar, the symbol of nature during the non-productive season of the year. According to the doctrine of two kingdoms, the dominions of the two sisters are sharply differentiated, as one is of this world and one of the world of the dead. Ereshkigal was the only one who could pass judgment and give laws in her kingdom.

In some versions of the myths, she rules the underworld by herself, sometimes with a husband subordinate to her named Gugalana (Sumerian: GU.GAL.AN.NA. “the Great Bull of Heaven”), better known as the Bull of Heaven (Sumerian: GU.AN.NA), a Sumerian deity as well as the constellation known today as Taurus, one of the twelve signs of the Zodiac.

Istanu

Istanu (Ištanu; from Hattic Estan, “Sun-god”) was the Hittite and Hattic god of the sun. In Luwian he was known as Tiwaz or Tijaz. He was a god of judgement, and was depicted bearing a winged sun on his crown or head-dress, and a crooked staff.

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.

Mannaea

The Mannaeans (country name usually Mannea; Akkadian: Mannai, possibly Biblical Minni) were an ancient people who lived in the territory of present-day northwestern Iran south of lake Urmia, around the 10th to 7th centuries BC. At that time they were neighbors of the empires of Assyria and Urartu, as well as other small buffer states between the two, such as Musasir and Zikirta.

In the Bible (Jeremiah 51:27) the Mannaeans are called Minni. In the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906), Minni is identified with Armenia, but it could refer to one of the provinces in ancient Armenia; Minni, Ararat and Ashkenaz.

According to examinations of the place and personal names found in Assyrian and Urartian texts, the Mannaeans, or at least their rulers, spoke Hurrian, a non-Semitic and non-Indo-European language related to Urartian, with no modern language connections.

The Mannaean kingdom began to flourish around 850 BC. The Mannaeans were mainly a settled people, practicing irrigation and breeding cattle and horses. The capital was another fortified city, Izirtu (Zirta).

By the 820s BC they had expanded to become the first large state to occupy this region since the Gutians, later followed by the unrelated Iranian peoples, the Medes and the Persians. By this time they had a prominent aristocracy as a ruling class, which somewhat limited the power of the king.

Beginning around 800 BC, the region became contested ground between Urartu, who built several forts on the territory of Mannae, and Assyria. During open conflict between the two, ca. 750-730 BC, Mannae seized the opportunity to enlarge its holdings. The Mannaean kingdom reached the pinnacle of its power during the reign of Iranzu (ca. 725-720 BC).

In 716 BC, king Sargon II of Assyria moved against Mannae, where the ruler Aza, son of Iranzu, had been deposed by Ullusunu with the help of the Urartians. Sargon took Izirtu, and stationed troops in Parsua, which was distinct from Parsumash located further southeast in what is today known as Fars province in Iran. The Assyrians thereafter used the area to breed, train and trade horses.

According to one Assyrian inscription, the Cimmerians (Gimirru) originally went forth from their homeland of Gamir or Uishdish on the shores of the Black Sea in “the midst of Mannai” around this time.

The Cimmerians or Kimmerians were an ancient Indo-European people living north of the Caucasus and the Sea of Azov as early as 1300 BC until they were driven southward by the Scythians into Anatolia during the 8th century BC. Linguistically they are usually regarded as Iranian, or possibly Thracian with an Iranian ruling class.

After their exodus from the Pontic steppe the Cimmerians probably assaulted Urartu about 714 BC. The Cimmerians first appear in the annals in the year 714 BC, when they apparently helped the Assyrians to defeat Urartu. Urartu chose to submit to the Assyrians, and together the two defeated the Cimmerians and thus kept them out of the Fertile Crescent.

At any rate, after being repulsed by Sargon II of Assyria, who was killed whilst driving them out, in 705, the Cimmerians turned towards Anatolia and in 696–695 conquered Phrygia. By 679 they had instead migrated to the east and west of Mannae.

In 652, after taking Sardis, the capital of Lydia, they reached the height of their power. Soon after 619, Alyattes of Lydia defeated them. There are no further mentions of them in historical sources, but it is likely they settled in Cappadocia. It has been speculated that they settled in Cappadocia, known in Armenian as Gamir-kʿ (the same name as the original Cimmerian homeland in Mannae).

The Mannaeans are recorded as rebelling against Esarhaddon of Assyria in 676 BC, when they attempted to interrupt the horse trade between Assyria and its colony of Parsuash.

The king Ahsheri, who ruled until the 650s BC, continued to enlarge the territory of Mannae, although paying tribute to Assyria. However, Mannae suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Assyrians around 660 BC, and subsequently an internal revolt broke out, continuing until Ahsheri’s death.

Also in the 7th century BC, Mannae was defeated by the advancing Scythians, who had already raided Urartu and been repelled by the Assyrians, and who somewhat destroying Mannae in 585 BC. This defeat contributed to the further break-up of the Mannaean kingdom.

King Ahsheri’s successor, Ualli, as a vassal of Assyria, took the side of the Assyrians against the Iranian Medes (Madai), who were at this point still based to the east along the southwest shore of the Caspian Sea and revolting against Assyrian domination.

The Medes and Persians were subjugated by Assyria. However, the Neo Assyrian Empire which had dominated the region for three hundred years began to unravel, consumed by civil war after the death of Ashurbanipal in 627 BC.

The upheavals in Assyria allowed the Medes to free themselves from Assyrian vassalage and make themselves the major power in ancient Iran at the expense of the Persians, Mannaeans and the remnants of the indigenous Elamites whose kingdom had been destroyed by the Assyrians. The Mede kingdom conquered the remnants of Mannae in 616 BC and absorbed the populace.

After suffering several defeats at the hands of both Scythians and Assyrians, the remnants of the Mannaean populace were absorbed by an Iranian people known as the Matieni and the area became known as Matiene. It was then annexed by the Medes in about 609 BC.

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.

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.

 

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