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Comment to thelocal article on norse gods

History is interesting

jostein
post 3.Apr.2013, 07:10 PM
Post #1
Joined: 22.Mar.2011

We all know death. We all know life. And we all know the great religions tell these tales. However, religions are not all made of eternal truths. A great deal of their corpus be manipulations and powermongering to establish effective behavioural patterns in adherents. Some would argue this is the real value of religions. Existential truths being so unconstructive as they are. Some would argue they are mere windowdressing. While others would argue that they are two parts of a whole.

Be that as it may. TheLOcals article and walkthrough of the old religion inspired me to write a comment to TheLocals wellmeaning article. Alas. The comment crashed and burned, for whatever reason. Maybe it posted, maybe it was lost in cyberspace. So i post it in the discussian-thread instead/as well, since it took me some time to write. NB, i may be a nationalist. However, truth be truth, no matter what we wish it to be. Id much prefer the truth to be that the Heruli were not the likely root of the Ynglinga dynasti and that european modernity not be the source of their dominance in Svitjod. But thats where the evidence points, when i read it. Here goes (my comment was originally provoked by theLocal somewhat ambigously inferring Freja as one of the Aesir):

"Frej-Freja, Njord-Njärd
These were not Aesir but Vanir, hostages living with the Aesir ever since the Aesir-Vanir war. The Vanir had a reputation as uninhibited and lustful and sensual. They seem to be siblings and spouses at the same time. The Njord (Seagod) and Njärd (mother earth) is a clue that the old religion did not divide the world into heaven and earth but into earth and sea. The Aesir-Vanir war echoes of invasion and later amalgation of two peoples. Another interesting tidbit is that Odin only got half of the slain, the other half went to Freja and her hall of Folkvangr (presumably making her a wargodess). Basically, the Vanir seem to be seperate from the Aesir in their very essence.

Speaking of which. According to Snorri the Aesir were really invaders from Asia that established the powerfull ynglinga dynasti in sweden from which all the old royal houses of old scandinavia claim descent. Possibly the present danish royal house can still do so. According to Snorri Odin made his hall in Sigtuna (fornsigtuna ca 4 km west of present day Sigtuna) and handed out estates to his chieftains. Frej receiving Old Uppsala that still exist today. A historical interpetation would be that some gothic who were based north of the black sea were thrown into scandinavia at the collapse of Attila the Huns empire in 453, first making a temporary base in Sigtuna and then relocating to Disavägen 6 in Uppsala. The old kingshall in Old Uppsala is dated to 550 by archeologists. If you have not been to old Uppsala, it is the most worthwhile tourist location in sweden, imho. But maybe thats just because its my history."

Atle the vile, Atle the powerful:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Attila

The monsters that wielded superior military technology:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hunnic_Empire

Unwanted vagabonds and wayward sons that forged our oldest surviving legends:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heruli

Thelocals article (i see now my comment made it through so this thread is a doublepost):
http://www.thelocal.se/47106/20130403/#read_comments

Old Uppsala:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamla_Uppsala

The one and only, Snorri Sturlason:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snorri_Sturluson
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snarky
post 3.Apr.2013, 09:57 PM
Post #2
Joined: 22.Jan.2013

I have never been to Uppsala, but now I want to go! I love the history here and exploring it, we explore all summer long! Sweden is certainly a beautiful country. At least twice a year we go to Kalmar and Oland just to see the castles and other cultural landmarks even though we have seen them many times. We went to a place called Stenhuvuds National Park last summer and the entire area was wonderful. I have a new book called 'Svenska slott och herrgardar' and can't wait to start 'hunting' some of them down. I also need to find a nice book on the Norse gods and mythology. smile.gif

Btw - Have you seen that new show called 'Vikings'? I really like it, of course not all factually accurate (I am no expert anyway, haha) but I really have enjoyed it so far.
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jostein
post 4.Apr.2013, 08:33 PM
Post #3
Joined: 22.Mar.2011

QUOTE (snarky @ 3.Apr.2013, 09:57 PM) *
I have never been to Uppsala, but now I want to go! I love the history here and exploring it, we explore all summer long! Sweden is certainly a beautiful country. At l ... (show full quote)

Havent seen it yet, thanx for the tip!

If you want to experience anything about vikings in sweden, old Uppsala is a nice place. The temple was probably burned in 1087 after Inge the older murdered the last heathen scandinavian king and had a church built on top of it.
The museum at old Uppsala have a large photograph of when the pope visits old Uppsala, he made a special point of visiting the last place conquered by christendom in western Europe biggrin.gif Most sources regard it as the most important religious center in scandinavia during the viking age. Museum is a bit small thou, and mostly focused on the religion and the site itself rather than speaking of wider viking themes. But its a real historical site and the huge previking gravemounds make history very real there. I mean, the internet normally beat any museum when it comes to information smile.gif I liked it anyway.

The temple and the royal institutions that ruled from old Uppsala are older than the vikings. How old the place is as a religious center is not known but the kings arrived around 500-550 or somesuch. Germanic tribes did not traditionally have kings and had less developed and weaker (and less unpleasent) political structures. Germanic kingship supported by a professional warrior class evolved between 50bc and 380ad by the contact with the Romans and by the wealth and agricultural technology that the roman world leaked into Germania. However, it did not leak all the way up to scandinavia so the people here were easy prey to people armed with superior political structures and possibly with superior hunnic military technology. This made sweden enter the viking age with very different political institutions than say Norway which developed kingship and central authority during the viking age. Icleand was populated by people fleeing from this process of establishing central power in Norway.

Swedish travellers/colonists/mercenaries/traders tended to travel east into the rivers of Russia in order to trade with Constantinopel and the arab world. Novgorod and Kiev started as their strongpoints in this trade. These permanent settlers were called "Rus" by the arabs and greeks. The period is about 830-1015 (death of Vladimir) but this traderoute would have made sense ever since the arabs started their military conquest of the then known world in about 630 (armed with islam and superior cavalry). The Arab conquests destroyed the traderoutes on the mediterranean (to christian europe at least) and thus laid the economic foundation for the viking age (the new traderoute Constantinopel-russian rivers-baltic-north sea).

Example of swedish mercenaries that might be passed off as Vikings:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Varangian_Guard

Also, avoid the Historical museum in Stockholm. Its mindbogglingly bad. I mean, why pay to be misinformed?
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Gamla Hälsingebock
post 4.Apr.2013, 11:14 PM
Post #4
Joined: 21.Dec.2006

Well written jostein...Tack

GH
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snarky
post 5.Apr.2013, 08:57 PM
Post #5
Joined: 22.Jan.2013

Thanks for all the information, I really appreciate it! smile.gif
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ninkasp
post 6.Apr.2013, 08:45 PM
Post #6
Joined: 4.Mar.2013

Jostein, thank you for this .Mindblowing stuff. I hope at least one out of 10 people does some research on this. Mythology is not mythology, it is actual history or the distorted account of the people who lived in those times about their encounters with highly advanced human like beings from a different civilisation.
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Storsjöodjuret
post 11.Apr.2013, 01:08 AM
Post #7
Location: Östersund
Joined: 30.Nov.2012

Nice to see interest in our indigenous spiritual tradition.

Thoughts on Snorri: He was a relentless self-promoter, and a weasel. He made the connection to the Illiad for two reasons (apparently).

1. because the Fall of Troy was in vogue in Europe at that time. It is a great story, and since the Icelandic stories were in the public domain, he thought he could position himself as the Nordic Homer. No legitimate Nordic scholars believe Odhinn is some roaming Asian warlord. The Germanic gods were already worshipped before the time of Homer.

2. To make the old stories palatable after the conversion to Christianity, Snorri had to do a hatchet job on the gods. In keeping with the middle eastern disdain for strong women, he rendered great Freja into a greedy slut. He presented Tor, the farmers friend, as a slow witted muscleman. Up until that time, Tor was called upon to make things and activities sacred. And Odhinn had been the god of inspiration, passion, fury, death, curiously, and noble action. Odhinn and his brothers made the first of us, and he breathed life into us.

Snorri was a Christian. He professed Christianity, and died a Christian death, murdered while cowering in his basement. If he retained Heathen values he would have met his enemies in the field and accepted his fate.
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