Francis Lieber.

Library of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) online

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proposals of the sultan, Mohammed II., who had a profound admiration for him, and
sheltered by the mountainous nature of the country, carried on an unceasing warfare.
At last an armed convention was agreed to in 1461, and Scanderbeg profited by this
leisure to pay off his debt to the pope and the king of Aragon (both of whom had sup-
plied him with material assistance during his greatest need), and crossing over to Italy,
he routed the partisans of Anjou, and restored the kingdom of Naples to the latter of hi3
benefactors, returning home laden with honors and benedictions. At the instigation of
the pope, who had tried in vain to raise the other Christian princes of Europe against
the Turks, Scanderbeg broke the armed truce in 1464, and repeatedly defeated the Turks;
but Mohammed becoming furious at these unprovoked aggressions, equipped two mighty
armies, the first of which invested Croia, the second, under his own leadership, advanced
more leisurely. The first army was, after a desperate contest, defeated by Scanderbeg'
in 1466; but the restless and indomitable chief, worn out with the incessant toil of 24
years, died at Alisso, Jan. 17, 1467. The war continued to rage some time longer, but
the great mainstay of the country was now wanting, and before the end of 1478, the
Turkish standard floated undisturbed over Epirus. Barlesio, a fellow-countryman of
Scanderbeg, who has written his biography (De Vita et Martinis ac rebvs gestis Gen. ('UK-
trioti. Home, 1537), remarks his sobriety, the purity of his manners, and the strictness
of his religious belief. He had vanquished the Turks in 22 pitched battles.

SCANDINA VIA, a large peninsula in the n. of Europe, bounded on the n. by the
Arctic ocean; on the AV. by the Atlantic, North Sea, Skager Rack, Cattegat, and Sound;
and on the s. and e. by the Baltic sea, gulf of Bothnia and Finland, with which it is con-
nected on the n.e. by an isthmus 325 m. wide. This peninsula comprises the two king-
doms, Norway (q.v.) and Sweden (q.v.); is 1240 m. long, from 230 to 460 m. broad.
area 300,000 sq. m. The ridge of mountains which traverses the peninsula in the direc-
tion of its length gives character to the whole conformation. The western division of
the Scandinavian peninsula is covered with mountains; the eastern half, Sweden, con-
sists principally of low-lying country. The mountains of Scandinavia extend from
Waranger Fiord, in the extreme n.e., to the promontory of the Naze, in the extreme s.w.,
with an average breadth of 180 miles. They consist principally of gneiss and micaceous
schist, sometimes, but rarely, of porphyry, syenite, granite, and chalk; salt is not found ;
silver, copper, and iron abound. The Scandinavian mountains, though formin"- in

fields of the mountains of Scandinavia impart to this ransrc almost an Alpine character.
The climate of Scandinavia is much milder on the w. than on the c side a fact to be
ascribed probably to the influence of the Gulf stream. The character of the com try its
physical features, industries, etc., are given under the articles NORWAY and SWEDK*.

The ancient Scandia, or Scandinavia, included northern Denmark as well as the
peninsula that still retains the name. It is first mentioned by Plinv, who unaware that
the peninsula was attached to Finland on the n. considered Scandinavia as an island.

SCANDINAVIAN LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE. The lauirua<re which was spoken
during the heathen nges in all the northern or Scandinavian lands, and which in accord-
ance with traditionary belief, hid been introduced by Odin and his companions, when the
Gothic tribes supplanted the more ancient races of the Finns and Lapps is always referred
to by the oldest authorities either as the Donsk tunga, "Danish tongue/ or as the

m Scandinavia.


A/'onwna, "Norse." We never hear of the "Swedish" or "Gothic tongue," ;u .<!
although different dialects no doubt existed, from an early period, among the Scandi-
navian people, it is certain that substantially the same language was spoken by the
Northmen generally till the llth century. According to recent inquiries, the race of
the Northmen, before their .settlement in Sweden and Norway, was divided into an,
eastern and western branch, the former of which is supposed to have used the old lan-
guage' of Norway and Iceland, and the latter the Swedish and Danish dialects. These
two divisions of the race had entered Scandinavia by different routes, the eastern having
passed along the gulf of Bothnia, through the country of the Finns and "Lapps, while the
western branch had crossed from Russia to the Aland islands, and spread from thei;cc
southward and westward: and it seems natural to infer that in their respective lim s of
migration they may have incorporated into their own speech some of the special character-
istics that belonged to the language of the peoples with whom they come in contact, But
the differences thus introduced could not have been important, for we find the same lan-
guage employed in the several most ancient laws of the different people of Scandinavia,
while the two Eddas(q.v.) the oldest monuments of Scandinavian speech which were
compiled in Iceland, whither the Northmen had carried their language on their settlement
in the island in the 9th c., give evidence of an almost complete identity of local and
personal names. This unity of language is further proved by the agreement which is
found to exist in aU runic inscriptions, from Gleswick to the northern parts of Sweden,
and from Zealand to the western shores of Iceland. All monuments of this old North-
ern tongue would, however, have been lost to us, had not the Norraena or Norwegian
form of it been carefully preserved and cultivated in Iceland through the short
(hljod or quida) rel iting to the deeds of the gods and heroes of the north, which had existed
as early probably as the 7th c., and had passed with the religion and usages of Norway to
the Tiew co'ony. After the introduction of Christianity into Iceland in the year 1000,
schools were founded there, classic literature was cultivated, and Roman characters were
adopted for the writing of the national tongue, but this did not interfere with the zeal with
which the national laws and poems were collected and studied \>y native scholars. This
Jiterary activity continued unabated till the 18th c., when the republic of Iceland, after
having Jong been distracted by the dissensions of the rival aristocratic families of the
island, was conquered by Ilakon VI., king of Norway. Since 1380, Iceland has formed
part of the Danish dominions, and although since that period the colonists have partly
succumbed to ihe cramping influences of the subordinate and dependent conditions in
which they have been placed; the distance from the mother-country, and the tenacity
with which the people cling to all memorials of their former history, have enabled them
to preserve their language .so unchanged, that the Icelander of the present day can read
the sagas of a thousand years since, and still writes in the same phraseology that iiis
forefathers used ages ago. But while the old Scandinavian tongue was thus preserved
in the far-distant colony" it had undeigone great changes in Norway; and when, by the
union of Calmar in 1380, the latter country was united to Denmark, the Danish form of
speech, that had in the meanwhile been changing under the modifying influences due to
to the intrduction of Latin and to contact, with other nations, supplanted the Noiwegiau
language, which thenceforth being banished from the pulpit, the law courts, and from
literature, split up into numerous dialects peculiar to special valleys and fijords, but
unknown in the larger towns.

When we come to examine the Icelandic or ancient Scandinavian, which is closely
allied to its sister Teutonic languages, and like them betrays its eastern origin, we llml
that it differs from the latter in several important points. It has this striking peculiarity,
that the definite article, instead of coming before the noun, is appended as a termination
to the end of the word. The adjective, moreover, which in its indefinite form is subject
to inflections, for all genders and cases, undergoes, when in its definite fonti, fewer and
slighter changes. Again, while in the German tongues the verb in the infinitive ends in
a consonant, in the old Scandinavian it invariably 'Terminates in a vowel. The old Scan-
dinavian language has a passive form of the verb unknown to its Gothic sister tongues;
and while in German the third person of the present tense differs from the second person,
such is not the case in Old Northern. In the latter, the vowel sounds are greatly modi-
fied by a very perfect system of combinations, indicated by dots or accents; and in addi-
tion to thie consonants of the Gothic languages, it has an aspirated d and t. It pos^>ses.
moreover, a flexibility and richness of construction, which admit of favorable compari-
son with those of the ancient classical languages, while in regard to the number ar.d
comprehensiveness of its words, and its consequent independence of foreign derivates,
it presents a character of regularity and unity which is wanting to the other Germanic
languages. Its mode of construction is simple in prose, and in the earlier forms of
poetry, although in the latter periods of the skalds (q.v.) it degenerated into a state of
artificial complexity. The chief feature of the metrical system employed in Old North
ern poetry was alliteration (q.v.). The alliterative method was continued after the
introduction of terminal rhyme, but the simplicity of the ancient lay gave way in the
10th c. to the most artificial complexity of versification in the meters invented by the
skalds. Besides these skaldic measures, of which 106 are enumerated in the Hatta'i/k'i.
or Key of Meters, drawn up in the 13;h c. by the Icelander, Snorri Sturlesson (q.v.). the
skalds were required to know the Kenningar, or poetic synonyms, of which there



were an enormous number: some words, as Odin, Wand, etc. having upward of 100
The main feature of the svstem was that nothing must be called by Us right i
a ship was a beast of the 'sea, a serpent of the waters, a dragon of the ocean etc. ; a
woman was a graceful tree, a fair pearl, etc. ; a wife was a husband s Lane (q.v.), 01
confidential and intimate friend, etc. . r?;.!^

The fragments of old northern poetry that have come down to us in the KMat otic
for the most part to the 8th c. or even perhaps to the 7th c. ; and consist ot short t


LllC UVJCUJB > 1111 LI V^Cl^*-" tn>v jiiv- I*^*TV/-.. o ' <-> . ' , ., ,. ,1

prior to the immigration into Scandinavia of Odin and his followers; while, on the other
Land the local coloring of others sufficiently prove their northern origin. In addition
to the subjects belonging to the Odiuic mythology, we have m the mytho-historic lays
known as the son-s of the famous Smith Volundr, or thelolundar-gutda, a cyclus of
heroic poems similar to the old German epic the NibeUngenlied (q.v.); but much more
ancient in form than that in which the latter has reached us. In the 9th and 1
turies the ancient epic and the simple songs of the older poets gave place to the artificial
poetrv of the skalds, which, from its earliest development, manifested a realistic tern
and made the real adventures of living men the subject of their compositions,
these compositions, as the Eiriksmal, or the Death and Apotheosis of King Eric Bloodaxe,
who died in 952; the Hakonarmal, or Fall of Hakon the Good; and several poems by the
famous Icelandic skald Egill Skalagrimson, while they afford valuable materials for the
earlv history of the north, are among the latest of the skaldic productions that prccec
the more degenerate periods of the art. To the llth and 12th centuries belong the poems
known as Qrongaldr and Solar-ljod, which were composed m imitation ol the ancient
compositions and consist of moral and didactic maxims, the former conceived from an
assumed heathen, and the latter from a Christian point of view. In the ]
skaldic art thoroughly declined, and gave place, in Iceland, to a puerile literature, basec
upon biblicalstories and saints' legends. In Scandinavia proper, a more modern form
of national literature was in the meanwhile being gradually developed by means ot oral
transmission whence arose the folk-lore and popular songs of Norway and Sweden, and
the noble Danish ballads known as the Kinm-pe viser, whose composition in the old

northern writer who attempted to assign fixed dates to events by referenc-e to a definite

chronology, and his work is remarkable as the earliest historical composition written in
the old Danish or Norse, as it still remains in the living language of Iceland. These
works, which have since perished, entered largely into the composition of the annals of
the early kings of Norway, compiled a century later by Snorri Sturlesson under the title
of the Heimskringla. Throughout the middle ages the literature of Iceland was enriche.l
with numerous national and other sagas, the materials of which were drawn from
pkaldic songs, folk-lore, local traditions, and family histories; and in its later stages of
development included among its subjects the mythic cycle of Arthur and his knights,
Merlin, Alexander, Charlemagne, etc. The compilation of the laws of the island
attracted the attention of the Icelanders at an early period; and in 1118 a complete code,
known as the Gragas, which had been derived from the ancient Norse law, was submit-
ted to the allthing or popular assembly, and a few years later the canons of the church,
or the Kristinrettr, were settled and reduced to writing. A collection of those enact-
ments in the ancient and subsequent codes, which are still in force in Iceland, has been
made by Stephensen and Sigurdsson (("open. 1853), under the title of Lag'tsafn kttnda
Jtlandi; while the ancient Norse laws, beginning with the Gulathings-tig and the Uinl-
gkra of Hakon the good, which date from the 10th c., have been ably and critically
edited in Norway under the title of Norges gamle Lote (Christ. 1846-49)." The study <>f
the old northern language and literature, which was successfully inaugurated by the
native scholars of Iceland in the 17th c., was soon prosecuted with equally happy
results in Denmark and Sweden, and within the last 20 years in Norway, where the sub-
ject forms a necessary introduction to the investigation of the language and history of
the country. Copenhagen has, however, in recent times, been the principal seat, of
these inquiries, the successful prosecution of which has been materially facilitated by
the large number of important Icelandic MSS. contained in its libraries, and by the
foundation of the Arne-Maguussen collection in 1772; and the different societies espe-
cially designed to promote the study of Icelandic and of northern antiquarian
Among the Icelandic and Danish scholars who have gained pre-eminent distinction in
these departments of research, we may instance Arne-Magnussen, Torfanis, Olavsca,
Finn Maufimsscn, Worm, Hesenius. Bartholin, Thorlacius, Mi'iller, Kask, Kafn, Kevs< T,
Munch, Unger, Lange, etc. In the study of the grammar and comparative structure of
the language, which excited an interest as early as the 13th c., as is proved by the gram-
matical treatises and rules of prosody incorporated in the younger E-ldst, no one hai
evinced a higher order of scientific acumen and critical learning than llask (q.v.), who in
his erudite work Om det gamle Nonliske fymtgs (Jpri/idclsc (Kjopenh. 1818) threw a fioo4


of new and important light on the .subject; while the labors of Jakob Grimm, Munch,
and others, have tended materially to exhibit the affinities between the old northern and
the Teutonic languages, and to assign to it its right position among the kindred Indo-
Germanic tongues.

SCANDINAVIAN MYTHOLOGY. Our knowledge of Scandinavian mythology is
mainly derived from the collections of ancient northern sagas known as the Eddas (q.v.),
which constitute the Odinic bible, as it were, of heathen Scandinavia. The value and
interest, attaching to these records of the ancient faith of the Northmen are enhanced by
the fact that there are strong grounds for assuming that the closest affinity, if not
identity, of character existed between their religious doctrines and practices and those
of the Germanic nations generally. Hence, in the absence of anything beyond the inci-
dental notices of the pagan religion of Germany, which are contained in the classic
writers, the Eddaic exposition of northern mythology is of the highest importance to the
student of the history of every nation of Teutonic origin. Owing to the remote situa-
tion of the Scandinavian lands, and the hold which the Odin religion had taken of the
minds of the Northmen whose natural tendencies inclined more to the pagan merits of
valor, courageous endurance of hardships, indomitable resolution, and unflinching
fidelity in hate and love, than to the Christian virtues of submission, meekness, and for-
givene-s of injuries Christianity took root slowly and insecurely in those lands, and
only long after a national literature, based upon the superstitions and memorials of the
ancient faith, had been firmly established among the people. But although there is
every reason to believe that all branches of the great Indo- Germanic family of nations
had essentially the same system of belief and worship, and venerated the same deities,
minor differences were numerous. Thus, for instance, while Danes, Saxons, and Goth-
landers worshiped Odin as their chief god, the Swedes generally paid supreme honors to
Frey, the god of the year; some tribes of northern Germany regarded Hlodyn, or the
earth, as their principal deity; and the Norwegians directed their worship to Odin's son,
Thor; while in some parts of Norway even, as in Halgoland, the people worshiped
deities not honored elsewhere in Scandinavia. Thus the chief objects of worship in the
latter district were Thorgerd. Horgabrud, and Irpa, the daughters of Halogi, or high
flame, from whom the name of the country was derived, and who was probably identi-
cal with Loki (fire), who, after having, according to the myth, been beneficent in the
beginning of time and united with the All-father, fell from his high estate, and, like,
some fallen angel, became crafty, evil, and destructive as a desolating flame. Halgo-
hityd appears from remains discovered there to have been a special seat of fire or sun
worship, which seems to have been nearly universal at one period of the world's history.

Leaving for the present the discussion of the sources from whence the northern
mythology derived some of the numerous complex elements which entered into its com-
position, we proceed to give a short summary of its cosmogony: In the beginning of
time a world existed in the n. called Niflheim, in the middle of which was a well,
Hvergelmeer, from which sprang twelve rivers. In the s. was another world, Muspel-
hcim, a light, warm, radiant world, the boundary of which was guarded by Surt with a
flaming sword. Cold and heat contended together. From "Niflheim flowed venomous,
cold streams called Elivaager, which, hardening into ice, formed one icy layer upon the
other within the abyss of abysses that faced the n.. and was known as the Ginnunga-gap.
From the s. streamed forth the sparkling heat of Muspelheim; and as heat met cold, the
melting ice-drops became instinct with life, and produced, through the power of him
who Had sent forth heat, a human being, Ymir, the progenitor of the frost-giants, by
whom he was called (Ergelmer, or chaos. He was not a god, but evil, both he and ail
liis race. As yet there was neither heaven nor earth, neither laud nor sea, but only the
abyss Ginnunga-gap. Ymir drew his nourishment from the four milky streams which
flowed from the udders of the cow Aedhumla, a creature formed from the melting frost.
From Ymir there came forth offspring while he slept a man and woman growing from
under his left arm, and sons from his feet; and thus was generated the race of the frost-
giants, or llrimthursar, among whom the All-father dwelt in the beginning of time
before the heavens and the earth were created.

In the meanwhile, as the cow Aedhumla licked the frost-covered stones, there came
forth the first day a man's hair, the second day a head, and the third day an entice man.
This man, Jiiiri, or the producing, had a son Bdr (the produced), who married Beltsa, one
of the giant race, by whom he had three sons, Odin, Yili, and Ve.

These three brothers, who were gods, slew Ymir, and carrying his body into the mid-
dle of Ginnunga-gap, formed from it the earth and the heavens. Of his blood they
made all seas and waters, taking the gore that flowed from his body to form the impass-
able ocean which encircles the earth; of his bones they made the mountains, using the
broken splinters and his teeth for the stones and pebbles; of his skull they formed the
heavens, at each of the four corners of which stood a dwarf, viz., Aus'tri at the e.,
Vesiri at the w., Northri at the*n., and Suthri at the south. Of his brains they formed
the heavy clouds, of his hair plants and herbs of every kind, and of his eyebrows they
made a wall of defense against the giants round Midgard. the central garden or dwelling-
place for the sons of men. Then the three brothers took the glowing sp.irks that were
thrown out of the world Muspelheim, and casting them ov-r the face of heaven, raised


up the sun, rnoon, stars, and fiery meteors, and appointed to each its place and allotted
course; and thus arose days, months, and years.

Night was of the race of the giants, and in tarn married three husbands, by one of
whom she had a daughter. Earth, and by another a son, Day, who was bright and beau-
tiful like the gods, or CEsir. to whose race his father Delling belonged. To this mother
and son, who were akin to the opposite races of the frost-giants and the gods, Allfader
committed chariots and horses, and placed them in heaven, where Night rides lirst
through her twentv-four hours' course round the earth with her horse Hrimfaxi, from
whose bit fall the rime drops that each morning bedew the face of the earth. C lost
iiuer her comes her fair son Day, with his horse Skinfaxi, from whose shining mane
light beams over heaven and earth. All the maidens of giant race were not dark like
Niirht, for to Mundilfori were born a son and daughter of such beauty that their father
gave to them the names of Mani or Moon, and Sol or Sun. The gods, incensed at this
presumption, took them up to heaven, and ordained that they should direct the course
of the sun and moon, which had been made to give light to the world, and thenceforth
Sol drove the chariot of the sun, which was drawn by two horses, Arvakur (the watch-
fid) and Alsvith (the rapid), under whose shoulders the gods iu pity placed an ice-cool
breeze. A shield named Svaliii (the cooling) was also by their care attached to the front
of the car to save sea and land from being set on fire. Mani directs the course of the
moon, and he, like his sister, is followed by a wolf that seems about to devour him ; and
in the end of time this animal, which is of giant race, will with his kindred swallow np
the moon, darken the brightness of the sun, let loose the howling winds, and sate him-
self with the blood of all dying men.

When heaven and earth were thus formed, and all things arranged in their due order,
the chief gods or (Esir, of whom there were 12, met in the middle of their city Asgard,
which lay on the plain of Ida. These gods were Odin, or All-father, who has 12
names in" Asgard besides many others on earth; Thor, Baldur, Tyr, Bragi, Heimdal,
Hod, Yidar and Vali his sons, and Niord, Frey, Ull, and Forsetti. Here they raised for
themselves a court with a high seat for All-fader; a lofty hall for the goddesses; and a
smithy, in which they worked in metal, stone, and wood, but chiefly in gold, of which
precious substance all the implements which they used were made, and hence this period
of their existence was known as the golden age.

This age of peaceful labor lasted till three beautiful but evil maidens made their
way from the giants' world, Jotunhcim, to Asgard, when confusion and ill-will arose
in the world Then the gods, taking counsel, determined to create r.c\v beings to
people the universe, and first they gave human bodies and understanding to the dwarfs,
whu had been generated like maggots within the dead body of Ymir, but who now

Online LibraryFrancis LieberLibrary of universal knowledge. A reprint of the last (1880) Edinburgh and London edition of Chambers' encyclopaedia, with copious additions by American editors (Volume 13) → online text (page 49 of 203)