Jacob Grimm.

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Professor MAX MULLER, M.A., Sue, &c.,

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ft. J<ING AND pO., fl^NTEF^, ^^BEF^EEN.


" I THINK Scandinavian Paganism, to us here, is more interesting
than any otlier. It is, for one thing, the latest ; it continued in
these regions of Europe till the eleventh century ; 800 years ago
the Norwegians were still worshippers of Odin. It is interesting
also as the creed of our fathers ; the men whose blood still runs in
our veins, whom doubtless we still resemble in so many ways.
. . . There is another point of interest in these Scandinavian
mythologies, that they have been preserved so well." — Carlyle's
" Hero-Worship ".

What Mr. Carlyle says of the Scandinavian will of course apply
to all Teutonic tradition, so far as it can be recovered ; and it was
the task of Grimm in his Deutsche Mynwlogie to supplement the
Scandinavian mythology (of which, thanks to the Icelanders, we
happen to know most) with all that can be gleaned from other
sources, High-Dutch and Low-Dutch, and build it up into a whole.
And indeed to prove that it was one connected whole ; for, strange
as it seems to us, forty years ago it was still considered necessary to
prove it.

Jacob Grimm was perhaps the first man who commanded a wide
enough view of the whole field of Teutonic languages and literature
to be able to bring into a focus the scattered facts which show the
prevalence of one system of thought among all the Teutonic nations
from Iceland to the Danube. In this he was materially aided by
his mastery of the true principles of Philology, which he was the
first to establish on a firm scientific basis, and which enabled him
to trace a word with certitude through the strangest disguises.

The Comparative Mythology of all nations has made great
strides since Grimm first wrote his book ; but as a storehouse of facts
within his special province of Teutonic Mythology, and as a clue to
the derivation and significance of the Names of persons and things

vi Translator's Preface,.

in the various versions of a myth, it has never been superseded
and perhaps it never can be. Not that he confines himself to the
Teutonic field ; he compares it at every point with the classical
mythus and the wide circle of Slavic, Lettic and occasionally of
Ugric, Celtic, and Oriental tradition. Still, among his Deutsch
kindred he is most at home ; and Etymology is his forte. But then
etymology in his hands is transfigured from random guessing into
scientific fact.

There is no one to whom Folk-lore is more indebted than to
Grimm. Not to mention the loving care with which he hunted up
his Kinder und Raus-mdrchen from all over Germany, he delights
to detect in many a nursery-tale and popular custom of to-day the
beliefs and habits of our forefathers thousands of years ago. It is
impossible at times to forbear a smile at the patriotic zeal with
which he hunts the trail of his German gods and heroes ; the glee
with which he bags a new goddess, elf, or swan-maid ; and his
indignation at any poaching Celt or Slav who has spirited away a
mythic being that was German born and bred : " Ye have taken
away my gods, and what have I more ? "

The present translation of the Deutsche Mythologie will, like the
last (fourth) edition of the original, be published in three volumes ;
the first two of which, and part of the third, will contain the trans-
lation of Grimm's text, and the remainder of the third volume will
consist of his own Appendix and a Supplement.

The author's second and third editions (1844 and 1854) were
each published in 2 vols., accompanied by an Appendix consisting,
first, of a short treatise on the Anglo-Saxon Genealogies, and secondly,
of a large collection of the Superstitions of various Teutonic nations.
This Appendix will form a part of our Vol. III. After Grimm's
death his heirs entrusted to Prof. E. H. Meyer, of Berlin, the task
of bringing out a fourth edition, and including in it such additional
matter as the author had collected in his note-books for future use.
If Grimm had Kved to finish his great Dictionary, which engrossed
the latter years of his life,^ he would, no doubt, have incorporated

1 He used to say, he had a boolc ready to run out of each of his ten fingers,
but he was no longer free.

Translator's Preface. vii

the pith of these later jottings in the text of his book, rejecting
much that was irrelevant or pleonastic. The German editor, not
feeling himself at liberty to select and reject, threw the whole of
this posthumous matter into his third volume (where it occupies
370 pages), merely arranging the items according to the order of
subjects in the book, and numbering each by the page which it
illustrates. This is the Supplement so frequently referred to in
the book, under the form (" see Suppl."). I have already introduced
a few extracts from it in the Foot-notes, especially where it appeared
to contradict, or materially to confirm, the author's opinion ex-
pressed in the text. But in the present English edition it is intended
to digest this Supplement, selecting the most valuable parts, and
adding original articles by the editor himself and by other gentlemen
who have devoted special attention to individual branches of the
science of Folk-knowledge. A full classified Bibliography and an
accurate and detailed Index to the whole work will accompany the
book. It is hoped by this means to render the English Edition as
complete and serviceable as possible.

Grimm's Preface to the edition of 1844, giving a vigorous re-
sum^ of the book, and of the whole subject, will, as in the German
accompany Vol. II. There is so much in it, which implies the
reader's acquaintance with every part of the book, that I have felt
bound to keep it where I find it in the original.

The only additions or alterations I have ventured to make in
the text are the following : —

1. The book bristles with quotations in various languages, for
the most part untranslated. An ordinary German reader might
find the Old and the Middle High German about as intelligible as
an ordinary Englishman does Anglo-Saxon and Chaucer respec-
tively. But when it comes to making out a word or passage in
Old Norse, Greek, and even Slavic, I must suppose the author to
have written for a much more limited and learned public than that
which, I hope, will find this English edition sufficiently readable.
I have therefore translated a great many words and sentences.

viii Translator's Preface.

where the interest, and even the argument, of the paragraph de-
pended on the reader's understanding the quotations. To have
translated all that is not English would have swelled the size of
the book too much. Apart from such translation, any additions of
my own are always placed in square brackets [ ], except a few
notes which bear the signature " Trans.".

2. For the sake of clearness, I have divided some of the chapters
(XII. to XVI.) into smaller sections with headings of their own.

3. I have consulted the English reader's convenience by sub-
stituting the 10 and ce, which he is accustomed to see in Anglo-
Saxon words, for Grimm's v and a, as ' waeg ' instead of ' vag '. I
have also used the words ' Dutch, Mid. Dutch ' in a wider sense
comprehending aU the Teutonic dialects of the Netherlands, instead
of coining the awkward adjective ' Netherlandish '.

One word on the title of the book. Ought not " Deutsche
Mythologie " to be translated German, rather than Teutonic Myth-
ology ? I am bound to admit that the author aimed at building
up a Deutsch mythology, as distinct from the Scandinavian, and
that he expressly disclaims the intention of giving a complete
account of the latter, because its fulness would have thrown the
more meagre remains of the Deutsch into the shade. At the same
time he necessarily draws so much upon the richer remains of the
Norse mythology, that it forms quite a substantive portion of his
book, though not exhaustive as regards the Norse system itself.
But what does Grimm mean by Deutsch ? To translate it by
German would be at least as misleading in the other direction. It
would not amongst us be generally understood to include — what he
expressly intends it to include — the Netherlands and England ; for
the English are sunply a branch of the Low German race which
happened to cross the sea. I have therefore thought, that for the
English ear the more comprehensive title was truer to the facts on
the whole than the more limited one would have been.

r VL


From the westernmost shore of Asia, Christianity had turned at
once to the opposite one of Europe. The wide soil of the continent
which had given it birth could not supply it long with nourish-
ment; neither did it strike deep root in the north of Africa.
Europe soon became, and remained, its proper dwelling-place and

It is worthy of notice, that the direction in which the new faith
worked its way, from South to North, is contrary to the current of
miration which was then driving the nations from the East and
North to tlie West and South. As spiritual light penetrated from
the one quarter, life itself was to be reinvigorated from the other,

1 In a book that deals so much with Heathenism, the meaning of the term
ought not to be passed over. The Greeks and Romans had no special name for
nations of another faith (for erepodo^oi, fiap^apoi were not used in that sense) ;
but with the Jews and Christians of the N.T. are contrasted 'idvos, Wvta,
idviKOL, Lat. gentes, gentiles ; Ulphilas uses the pi. thiudos, and by preference in
the gen. after a pronoun, thai thiudo, simrai thiudo (giiamm. 4, 441, 457), while
thiudiskus translates idviKws Gal. 2, 14. As it was mainly the Greek religion
that stood opposed to the Judteo-Christian, the word"EXX.r;y also assumed the
meaning iOviKos, and we meet with (K\r)viK(ioi = i6viKoii, which the Goth would
still have rendered thiudiiilcos, as he does render "EXXf^i/e? thiudos, John 7, 35.
12, 20. 1 Cor. 1, 24. 12, 13 ; only in 1 Cor. 1, 22 he prefers Krekos. This
"eXX»;i/ = gen tills bears also the meaning of giant, which has developed itself
out of more than one national name (Hun, Avar, Tchudi) ; sc the Hellenic
walls came to be heathenish, gigantic (see ch. XVIII). In Old High German,
Notker still iises the pi. diete for gentiles (Graff 5, 128). In the meanwhile
pagus had expanded its narrow meaning of kw/xt; into the wider one of ager,
campus, in which sense it still lives on in It. paese, Fr. pays ; while 2Mganus
began to push out gentilis, which was lapsing into the sense of nobilis. All the
Romance languages have their pagano, paycn, &c., nay, it has penetrated into
Bohem. pohan, Pol. poganin, Lith. pagonas [but Russ. j)or/a?i = unclean]. The
Gothic hdithi campus early developed an adj. haithns agrestis, campestris =^
paganus (Ulph. in Mark 7, 2(i renders fk\r]i/is by liaitlind), the Old H.G. heida
an adj. lieidaii, Mid. H.(}. and Dutch heide heiden, A.S. hu:L) Jtcc^in, Engl, heath
heathen. Old Norse heitJi hei'Sinn ; Swed. and Dan. use /leffiit'wj/. The O.H.G
word retains its adj. nature, and forms its gen. pi. heidanero. Our present
heide, gen. heiden (for heiden, gen. heidens) is erroneoi;s, but current ever since
Luther. Full confirmation is afforded by Mid. Lat. agrestis = paganus, e.g. in
the passage quoted "in ch. IV from Vita S. Agili ; ami the ' wilde heiden' in
our Heldenbuch is an evident pleonasm (see Supplement).



The worn out empire of the Eomans saw both its interior con-
vulsed, and its frontier overstept. Yet, by the same mighty
doctrine which had just overthrown her ancient gods, subjugated
Eome was able to subdue her conquerors anew. By this means the
flood-tide of invasion was gradually checked, the newly converted
lands began to gather strength and to turn their arms against the
heathen left in their rear.

Slowly, step by step, Heathendom gave way to Christendom.
Five hundred years after Christ, but few nations of Europe believed
in him ; after a thousand years the majority did, and those the
most important, yet not all (see SuppL).

From Greece and Italy the Christian faith passed into Gaul first
of all, in the second and thiid centuries. About the year 300, or
soon after, we find here and there a christian among the Germans
on the Ehine, especially the Alamanni ; and about the same time
or a little earlier^ among the Goths. The Goths were the first
Teutonic people amongst whom Christianity gained a firm footing ;
this occurred in the course of the fourth century, the West-goths
leading the way and the East-goths following ; and after them the
Vandals, Gepida^ and Eugii were converted. All these races held
by the Arian doctrine. The Burgundians in Gaul became Catholic
at the beginning of the fifth century, then Arian under their
Visigoth rulers, and Catholic again at the commencement of the
sixth century, The Suevi in Spain were at first Catholic, then
Arian (about 469), until in the sixth century they, with all the
West-goths, went over likewise to the Catholic church. Not till the
end of the fifth or the beginning of the sixth did Christianity win
the Eranks, soon after that the Alamanni, and after them the
Langobardi. The Bavarians were converted in the seventh and
eighth centuries, the Frisians, Hessians and Thuringians in the
eighth, the Saxons about the ninth.

Christianity had early found entrance into Britain, but was
checked by the irruption of the heathen Anglo-Saxons. Towards
the close of the sixth and in the course of the seventli century, they
also went over to the new faith.

The Danes became christians in the tenth century, the Norwe-
gians at the beginning of the eleventh, the Swedes not completely

^ Waltz's UlfUa, p. 35.


till the second half of the same century. About the same time
cliristianity made its way to Iceland.

Of the Slavic nations the South Slavs were the first to adopt
the christian faith: the Carentani, and under Heraclius (d. 640)
the Croatians, then, 150 years after the former, the Moravians in
the eighth and ninth centuries. Among the North Slavs, the
Obotritie in the ninth, Bohemians ^ and Poles in the tenth, Sorbs
in the eleventh, and Eussians at the end of the tentL

Then the Hungarians at the beginning of the eleventh, Li-
vonians and Lettons in the twelfth, Esthonians and Finns in the
twelfth and thirteenth, Lithuanians not even till the commencement
of the fifteenth.

All these data are only to be taken as true in the main ; they
neither exclude some earlier conversions, nor a longer and later
adherence to heathenism in limited areas. Eemoteness and inde-
pendence might protect the time-honoured religion of a tribe.
Apostates too would often attempt at least a partial reaction.
Christianity would sometimes lead captive the minds of the rich
and great, by whose example the common people were carried
away ; sometimes it affected first the poor and lowly.

When Chlodowig (Clovis) received baptism, and the Salian
Franks followed his lead, individuals out of all the Frankish tribes
had already set the example. Intercourse with Burgundians and
West-goths had inclined them to the Arian doctrine, while the
Catholic found adherents in other parts of Gaul. Here the two
came into collision. One sister of Chlodowig, Lantlnld, had become
an Arian christian before his conversion, the other, Albofled, had
remained a heatlien ; the latter was now baptized with him, and
the former was also won over to the Catholic communion.^ But
even in the sixth and seventh centuries heathenism was not yet
uprooted in certain districts of the Frankish kingdom. Neustria

1 Fourteen Bohemian princes baptized 845 ; see Palacky 1, 110. The
Middle North-slavs— Riaderi, Tolenzi, Kycini, Circipani— still heathen in the
latter half of the 11th century ; see HehuolTl 1, 21. 23 (an. 1066). The
Rugians not till 1168 ; Helm. 2, 12. 13.

- ha-ptizata est Albofledi.s. . . . Lanthildis chrismata est, Greg. Tur. 2,
31. So among the Goths, chrismation is administered to Sigibert's wife Brune-
child (4, 27), and to Ingund's husband Herminichild (5, 38, who assumes the
new name of Joannes. The Arians appear to have re-baptized converts froni
Catholicism ; Ingund herself was compelled by her grandmother-mother in
law Goisuiiitha ' ut rebaptizaretur '. Rebaptizare katholicos, Eugippii vita
Severini, cap. 8.


had heathen inhabitants on the Loire and Seine, Burgundy in the
Vosges, Austrasia in the Ardennes ; and heathens seem still to
have been living in the present Flanders, especially northwards
towards Friesland.^ Vestiges of heathenism lingered on among the
Frisians into the ninth century, among the Saxons into the tenth,
and in like manner among the Normans and Swedes into the
eleventh and twelfth.^ Here and there among the northern Slavs
idolatry was not extinct in the twelfth century, and not universally
so among the Finns and Lithuanians in the sixteenth and seven-
teenth^ ; nay, the remotest Laplanders cling to it still.

Christianity was not popular. It came from abroad, it aimed at
supplanting the time-honoured indigenous gods whom the country
revered and loved. These gods and their worship were part and
parcel of the people's traditions, customs and constitution. Their
names had their roots in the people's language, and were hallowed
by antiquity ; kings and princes traced their lineage back to
individual gods ; forests, mountains, lakes had received a living
consecration from their presence. All this the people was now to
renounce ; and what is elsewhere commended as truth and leyalty
was denounced and persecuted by the heralds of the new faith as a
sin and a crime. The source and seat of all sacred lore was
shifted away to far-off regions for ever, and only a fainter borrowed
glory could henceforth be shed on places in one's native land.

The new faith came in escorted by a foreign language, which
the missionaries imparted to their disciples and thus exalted into a
sacred language, which excluded the slighted mother-tongue from
almost all share in public worship. This does not apply to the
Greek-speaking countries, which could follow the original text of
the christian revelation, but it does to the far wider area over
which the Latin church-language was spread, even among
Eomauce populations, whose ordinary dialect was rapidly emanci-
pating itself from the rules of ancient Latin. Still more violent
was the contrast in the remaining kingdoms.

The converters of the heathen, sternly devout, abstemious,
mortifying the flesh, occasionally peddhng, headstrong, and in

^ Authorities given in Cli. IV.— Conf. lex Frisionum, ed. Gaup}), p. xxiv,
19, 47. Heathenism lasted the longest between Laubach and the Weser.

^ Fornmanna sogur 4, 116. 7, 151.

3 Wedekind's notes 2, 275, 27(3. Rhesa dainos, p. 3.33. The Lithuanians
proper converted 1387, the Samogits 1413.


slavish subjection to distant Eome, could not fail in many ways to
offend the national feeling. Not only the rude bloody sacrifices,
but the sensuous pleasure-loving side of heathenism was to them
an abomination (see Suppl.). And what their words or their
wonder-working gifts could not effect, was often to be executed
against obdurate pagans by placing fire and sword in the hands of
christian proselytes.

The triumph of Christianity was that of a mild, simple, spiritual
doctrine over sensuous, cruel, barbarizing Paganism. In exchange
for peace of spirit and the promise of heaven, a man gave liis
earthly joys and the memory of his ancestors. Many followed the
inner prompting of their spirit, others the example of the crowd,
and not a few the pressure of irresistible force.

Although expiring heathenism is studiously thrown into the
shade by the narrators, there breaks out at times a touching
lament over the loss of the ancient gods, or an excusable protest
against innovations imposed from without^ (see Suppl.).

The missionaries did not disdain to work upon the senses of the
heathen by anything that could impart a higher dignity to the
Christian cultus as compared with the pagan : l^y white rol)es for
subjects of baptism, by curtains, peals of bells (see Suppl.), the
lighting of tapers and the burning of incense.- It was also a wise
or politic measure to preserve many heathen sites and temples by
simply turning them, when suitable, into Christian ones, and
assigning to them anotlier and equally sacred meaning. Tlie
heathen gods even, though represented as feeble in comparison with
the true God, were not always pictured as powerless in themselves ;
they were perverted into hostile malignant powers, into demons,
sorcerers and giants, who had to be put down, l)ut were never-
theless credited with a certain mischievous activity and influence.
Here and there a heathen tradition or a superstitious custom lived
on by merely changing the names, and applying to Christ, Mary
and the saints what had formerly been related and believed of idols
(see Suppl.). On the other hand, the piety of christian priests
suppressed and destroyed a multitude of heathen monuments,
poems and beliefs, whose annihilation history can liardly cease to

1 Fomnianna so^nir 1, 31-35. Luxda'la, p. 170. Kralodworsky rukopi.^,

"' Greg. Tur. 2, 31. Fonnu. sog. 1, 260. 2, 200.


lament, though the sentiment which deprived us of them is not to
be blamed. The practice of a pure Christianity, the extinction of
all trace of heathenism was of infinitely more concern than the
advantage that might some day accrue to history from their longer
preservation. Boniface and Willibrord, in felling the sacred oak,
in polluting the sacred spring, and the image-breaking Calvinists
long after them, thought only of the idolatry that was practised by
such means (see SuppL). As those pioneers ' purg<ed their floor ' a
first time, it is not to be denied that the Reformation eradicated
aftergrowths of heathenism, and loosing the burden of the Piomish
ban, rendered our faith at once freer, more inward and more
domestic. God is near us everywhere, and consecrates for us every
country, from which the fixing of our gaze beyond the Alps would
alienate us.

Probably some sects and parties, non-conformity here and there
among the heathen themselves, nay, in individual minds a precoci-
ous elevation of sentiment and morals, came half-way to meet
the introduction of Christianity, as afterwards its purification
(see SuppL). It is remarkable that Old Norse legend occasionally
mentions certain men who, turning away in utter disgust and doubt
from the heathen faith, placed their reliance on their own strength
and virtue. Thus in the Solar lioS 17 we read of Vebogi and
Eadey ' a sik ];au truSu,' in themselves they trusted ; of king Hakon
(Fornm. sog. 1, 35) ' konungr gerir sem allir aSrir, ]?eir sem trua a
matt sinn ok megin,' the king does like all others who trust in their
own might and main ; of BarSr (ibid. 2, 151) ' ek trui ekki a skurSgoS
ec5r fiandr, hefi ek ];vi lengi truat a matt minn ok megin,' I trust not
in idols and fiends, I have this long while, &c. ; of Hiorleifr ' vildi
aldri biota,' would never sacrifice (Landn. 1, 5.7) ; of Hallr and
Thorir goSlaui^ 'vildu eigi biota, ok triiSu a matt sinn' (Landn. 1,
11) ; of king Hrolfr (Fornm. scig. 1, 98) ' ekki er ]?ess getit at Hrolfr
konungr ok kappar bans hafi nokkurn tima blotat goS, lieldr triiSu
fi matt sinn ok megin,' it is not thought that king H. and his cham-
pions have at any time, &c.; of Orvaroddr (Fornald. sog. 2, 165; cf.
505) ' ekki vandist blotum, ]?vi hann truSi a matt sinn ok megin ';
of Finnbogi (p. 272) ' ek trui a sialfan mik.' Tliis is the mood that
still finds utterance in a Danish folk-song (D.V. 4, 27), though
without a reference to religion :


Forst troer jeg mit gode sviird.
Og saa min gode liest,
Derniist troer jeg mine dannes«v"enne,
Jeg troer mig self allerbedst ;

and it is Christian sentiment besides, wliicli strives to elevate and
consecrate the inner man (see Siippl.).

We may assume, that, even if Paganism conld have lived and
luxuriated a while longer, and brought out in sharper relief and
more spontaneously some characteristics of the nations that obeyed

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