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investigation has yet been made of the state of religion among the
Gauls immediately before and after the irruption of the Germans ;
side by side with the converts there were still, no doubt, some
heathen Gauls; it is difficult therefore to pronounce for either
hypothesis, cases of both kinds may have co-existed. So much for
the doubtful authorities ; but it is not all of them that leave us in
any doubt. If the Tanfana temple could be built by Germans, we
can suppose the same of the Alamann, the Saxon and the Frisian
temples; and what was done in the first century, is still more likely
to have been done in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

Built Temijles must in early times have been named in a variety
of ways (see Suppl.) : OHG. AS. OS. ON", liof, aula, atrium f—
OHG. halla, templum (Hymn. 24, 8), AS. heal, ON. holt (conf. hallr,
lapis, Goth, hallus) ;— OHG. sal, ON. salr, AS. sele, OS. sell, aula ;—
AS. reccd, domus, basilica (C?edm. 145, 11. 150, 16. 219, 23), OS*
rakml (Hel. 114, 17. 130, 20. 144, 4. 155, 20), an obscure word not
found in the other dialects ;— OHG. piitapur, delubrum (Diut. 1,

^ As the vulgar took Eoman fortifications for devil's dikes, it was natural
to associate with Roman castella the notion of idolatry. Eupertus Tuitiensis
(t 1135) in his account of the fire of 1128 that levelled such a castcllum at
Deuz, which had been adapted to christian worship, informs us that some
thought it was built by Julius Caesar, others by Constantius and Constantine.
In the emperor Otto's time, St. Mary appears by night to archbishop Heribert:
' surge, et Tuitiense castrum petens, locum in eodem mundari praecipe, ibique
monastcrium Deo mihique et omnibus Sanctis constitue, ut, ubi quondam
habitavit peccatiun et cultus daemoniivi, ibi jnstitia regnet et memoria
sanctorum,' with more of the like, in the Vita Heriberti cap. 15. Conf. the
fanum ut Cologne above, p. 81.

- The asylum that atrium and temple offered within their precincts is in
ON. gric^astui^r, OHG. frUhof, OS. vrUhoh, Hel. 151, 2, 9. MHG. vrone
vuthof. Nib. 1795. 2 ; not at all oiu- friedhof [but conn, with frei, free], conf.
Goth, freidjan, OS. fridon fparcere). That the constitution of the Old
German sanctuaries was still ibr the most part heathenish, is discussed in EA.


195=^)^; — to which were afterwards added petah'ds, minores ecclesiae
(Gl. sletst. 21, 32) and cUrililid, AS. cyrice. The MHG. poets like
to use heteh'ds of a heathen temple as opposed to a christian church
(En. 2695. Barl. 339, 11.28. 342,6. Athis D 93. Herb. 952. Wigal.
8308. Pass. 356, 73. Tit. 3329), so in M. Nethl. bedehus (Maerl.
1, 326. 3, 125), much as the Catholics in their own countries do not
allow to Protestants a church, but only a bethaus, praying-house
(see SuppL). 0. iv. 33, 33 has the periphrase gotes Mis, and ii. 4,
52 drulitines /wis. Notker cap. 17 makes no scruple of translating
the Lat. fanis by chilechon, just as bishop does duty for heathen
priest as well. In the earliest times temple was retained. Is. 382.
395. T. 15,4. 193,2. 209,1. Diut. 1, 195.^

The hut which we are to picture to ourselves under the term
fanum or pirr (A.S. bur, bower) was most likely constructed of logs
and twigs round the sacred tree ; a wooden temple of the goddess
Zisa will find a place in ch. XIII. With halla and some other
names w^e are compelled to think rather of a stone building.

We see all the christian teachers eager to lay the axe to the
sacred trees of the heathen, and fire under their temples. It would
almost seem that the poor people's consent was never asked, and
the rising smoke was the first thing that announced to them the
broken power of their gods. But on a closer study of the details in
the less high-flown narratives, it comes out that the heathen Avere
not so tame and simple, nor the christians so reckless. Boniface
resolved on hewing down the Thunder-oak after taking counsel with
the already converted Hessians, and in their presence. So too the
Thuringian princess might not have dared to sit so immovable on
her palfrey and give the order to fire the Prankish temple, had not
her escort been numerous enough to make head against the lieathen.
That these did make an armed resistance, appears from Eadegund's
request, after the fane was burnt down, ut inter se populi pacem

In most of the cases it is expressly stated that a church was
erected on the site of the heathen tree or temple.^ In this way the

^ Actiim in illo betap4re (the church at Fulda) publice, Trad. Fuld. ed.
Schannat no. 193. in bedebur, Lacombl. no. 412 (a.d. 1162). in bedebure, Erhard
p. 148 (A.D. 1121). bctbur, Meyer Ziirch. ortsn. 917.

" Sulp. Severus (ed. Amst. 1665), p. 458 : Nam ubi fana destruxerat
(Martiniis), statim ibi aut ecdesias ant monasteria construcbat. Dietniar of Merseb.
7, 52, p. 859 (speaking of Bishop Reinbern on Slav, territory, a.d. 1015) :


people's habits of thinking were consulted, and they conld believe
that the old sacredness had not departed from the place, but hence-
forth flowed from the presence of the true God (see Suppl.).

At the same time we here perceive the reason of the almost
entire absence of heathen monuments or their remains, not only
in Germany proper, but in the North, where certainly sucli
temples existed, and more plentifully ; conf. in chaps. VI. X. XVI.
the temple at Sigtun, baer i Baldrshaga, and the Nomas' temple.
Either these were levelled with the ground to make room for a
christian church, or their walls and halls were worked into the new
building. We may be slow to form any high opinion of the build-
ing art among the heathen Germans, yet they must have understood
how to arrange considerable masses of stone, and bind them firmly
together. We have evidence of this in the grave-mounds and places
of sacrifice still preserved in Scandinavia, partly also in Friesland
and Saxony, from which some important inferences miglit be drawn
with regard to the old heathen services, but these I exclude from
my present investigation.

The results are these : the earliest seat of heathen worship was
in groves, whether on mountain or in pleasant mead ; there the first
temples were afterwards built, and there also were the tribunals of
the nation.

Fana idolorura destruens incendit, et mare daemonibus cultum, immissis quatiior
lapidibus sacro chrismate penmctis, et aqua puryans benedicta, novam Domino
. . . plantationem ednxit.— On the conversion of the Pantheon into a
fluirch, see Massmann's Eradius 476.


The most general term for one who is called to the immediate
service of deity (minister deorum, Tac. Germ. 10) is one derived
from the name of deity itself. From the Goth. guS (deus) is formed
the adj. gaguch (godly, pius, eva-e^ij<i), then gagudci (pietas, euae^eia).
In OHG. and MHG., I find pius translated erJiafi, strictly reverens,
hut also used for venerandus ; our froinm has only lately acquired
this meaning, the MHG. vrum being simply able, excellent. The
God-serving, pious man is in Goth, gudja (t'epeu?, Matt. 8, 4, 27, 1.
63. Mk. 10, 34. 11, 27. 14, 61. Lu. 1, 5. 20, 1. Jo. 18, 19.
22. 19,6. w/«7^^wf?/'a(dp;!^i6/3ei'9) MklO, 33. gudjinon (lepareueiv),
Lu. 1, 8. gudjinassus {leparela) Lu. 1, 9. (see Suppl.).

That these were heathen expressions follows from the accordance
of the OK go&i (pontifex), liofs go&i (fani antistes), Egilss. 754.
Freys gocfi, Nialss. cap. 96. 117. Eornm. sog. 2, 206. go&ord
(sacerdotium). An additional argument is found in the disappear-
ance of the word from the other dialects, just as our alah dis-
appeared, though the Goths had found alhs unobjectionable. Only
a faint vestige appears in the OHG. cotinc by which tribunus is
glossed, Diut. 1, 187 (Goth, gudiggs ?). — Now as Ulphilas^ associates
gudja and sinista {'Trpea/Surepo';, elder, man of standing, priest), a
remarkable sentence in Amm. MarcelL 28, 5 informs us, that the
high priest of the Burgundians was called sinisto: Nam sacerdos
omnium m,axivius apud Burgundies vocatur sinistus, et est perpetu-
us,2 obnoxius discriminibus nuUis ut reges. The connexion of
priests with the nobility I have discussed in EA. 267-8 (see Suppl.).

More decidedly heathen are the OHG. names for a ]3riest
lianigari, Diut. 1, 514V and jjarawar-i, Diut. 1, 150% (being derived
from haruc and paro, the words for temple given on p. 68-9, and

^ Strictly the Evangelist ; the. translator had no choice. — Trans.

^ For the sense of perpetuity attaching to sin- in composition, see Gramm.
2, 554-5.

* If haruc meant wood or rock, and harugari priest, they are very like the
Ir. and Gael, cam, cairn, and cairneac priest. O'Brien 77^.


confirming what I have maintained, that these two terms were
synonymous). They can hardly have been coined by the glossist
to interpret the Lat. aruspex, they must liave existed in our ancient
speech. — A priest who sacrificed was named loluostrari (see p. 36).

The fact that cotinc could bear the sense of tribunus shows the
close connexion between tlie offices of priest and judge, "which
comes out still more clearly in a term peculiar to the High Germ,
dialect : eiva, ea signified not only the secular, but the divine law,
these being closely connected in the olden times, and equally
sacred ; hence eoiuart, ewart law- ward, administrator of law, vojjLVKO'i,
AS. se-gleaw, se-lareow, Goth, vitodafasteis, one learned in the law,
K. 55=^ 56%^ Gl. Hrab. 974^ N. ps. 50, 9. eioarto of the weak decl.
in O.I. 4, 2, 18. 72. gotes evmrto I. 4, 23. and as late as the 12th
century ewarte, Mar. 21. and, without the least reference to the
Jewish office, but quite synonymous with priest : der heilige
ewarte, Eeinh. 1705. der baruc und die eicartcn sin, Parz. 13, 25.
Wh. 217, 23 of Saracen priests (see Suppl.). The very similar
eosago, esago stood for judex, legislator, EA. 781.

The poet of the Heliand uses the expression* wihes ward (templi
custos) 150, 24; to avoid the heathen as well as a foreign term, he
adopts periphrases: the gierodo mail (geehrte, honoured), 3, 19.
the frodo man (frot, fruot, prudens) 3, 21. 7, 7. frodgumo (gumo,
homo) 5, 23. 6, 2. godcund gumo 6, 12, which sounds lilvc gudja
above, but may convey the peculiar sense in which Wolfram uses
' der guote man'} In the Eomance expressions prudeTis homo, bonus
homo (prudhomme, bonhomme) there lurks a reference to the
ancient jurisprudence. — Once Ulphilas renders apxiepev^ by auhu-
mists veiha, John 18, 13, but never Upev<i by veiha.

With Christianity there came in foreign words (see Suppl.).
The Anglo-Saxons adopted the Lat. sacerdos in abbreviated form :
sacerdj, pi. sacerdas ; and Alfred translates Beda's pontifex and
summus pontificum (both of them heathen), 2, 13 by hisco]) and
caldorhiscop. T. and 0. use in the same sense hisgof, hiscof (from

1 Parz. 457, 2. 458, 25. 460, 19. 476, 23. 487, 23. The godo gumo, Hel. 4, 16
is said of John ; ther giiato man, 0. ii. 12, 21. 49 of Nicodemus ; in Uhich's Lan-
zelot, an abbot is styled der guote man, 4013. 4639. conf. 3857, 4620 ewarte, 4026
priester. But with this is connected diu r/uote frouve (v. infra), i.e. originally
bona socia, so that in the good man also there peeps out something heathenisli.
heretical. In the great Apologue, the cricket is a clergyman, and is called
(Ken. 8 125) preuchms and Frobert = Fruotbert (see Suppl.).


episcopus), 0. I. 4, 4. 27. 47; and the Hel. 150, 24 hiscop. Later
on, 'priester (from presbyter, following the idea of elder and superior),
imdijyfaffe (papa) came to be the names most generally used; AS.
prcost, Engl, priest, Fr. prcstrc, pretre ; in Veldek, prester rhymes
with mester. En. 9002.

Wlien Cffisar, bell. Gall. 6, 21, says of the Germans: Neque
druides habent qui rebus divinis praesint, neque sacrificiis student,
— the statement need not be set down as a mistake, or as contra-
dicting what Tacitus tells us of the German priests and sacrifices.
C£esar is all along drawing a contrast between them and the Gauls.
He had described the latter 6, 16 as excessively addicted to
sacrifices ; and his ' non studere sacrificiis ' must in the comiexion
mean no more than to make a sparing use of sacrifices. As little
did there prevail among the Germans the elaborately finished
Druid-system of the Gauls ; but they did not want for priests or
sacrifices of their own.

The German priests, as we have already gathered from a cursory
review of their titles, were employed in the worship of the gods
and in judging the people. In campaigns, discipline is entrusted
to them alone, not to the generals, the w^hole war being carried on
as it were in the presence of the deity : Ceterum neque animad-
vertere neque vincire nee verberare quidem nisi sacerdotibus per-
missum, non quasi in poenam, nee ducis jussu, sed velut deo
imperante, quem adesse- bellantibus credunt. Germ. 7 (see SuppL).
The succeeding words must also refer to the priests, it is they that
take the ' efligies et signa ' from the sacred grove and carry them
into battle. We learn from cap. 10, that the sacerdos civitatis
superintends the divination by rods, whenever it is done for the
nation. If the occasion be not a public one, the paterfamilias
himself can direct the matter, and the priest need not be called in : —
a remarkable limitation of the priestly power, and a sign how far the
rights of the freeman extended in strictly private life ; on the same
principle, I suppose, that in very early times covenant transac-
tions could be settled between the parties, without the interven-
tion of the judge (RA. 201). Again, when the chvination was by
the neighing of the white steeds maintained by the state, priests
accompanied the sacred car, and accredited the transaction. The^^ncs^
alone may touch the car of Nerthus, by him her approaching
presence is perceived, he attends her full of reverence, and lead?


lier back at last to her sanctuary, cap. 40. Segimund, the son of
Seo-estes whom Tae. Ann. 1, 57 calls sacerdos, had been not a
German but a Eoman priest (apud aram Ubiorum), and after tearing
up the alien chaplet (vittas ruperat), had fled to his home.

Tkese few incidental notices of priests give us anything but a
complete view of their functions (see SuppL). On them doubtless
devolved also the performance of public prayers, the slaying of
victims, the consecration of the kings and of corpses, perhaps of
marriages too, the administering of oaths, and many other duties.
Of their attire, their insignia and gradations, we hear nothing at
all ; once Tacitus cap. 43 speaks of a sacerdos muliebri ornatu, but
gives no details. No doubt the priests formed a separate, possibly
a hereditary order, though not so powerful and influential as in
Gaul. Probably, beside that sacerdos civitatis, there were higher
and lower ones. Only one is cited by name, the Cattian, i.e.
Hessian, Libes in Strabo (Ai^t]<; rwv Xdrrav lepeiK;), who with
other German prisoners was dragged to Eome in the pompa of
Germanicus. Of him Tacitus (so far as we still have him) is
silent.^ Jornandes's statement is worthy of notice, that the Gothic
priests were termed pileati in distinction from the rest of the people,
the capillati, and that during sacrifice they had the head covered
with a hat ; conf. EA. 271 (see Suppl.). OSinn is called SiShottr,

The succeeding period, down to the introduction of Christi-
anity, scarcely yields any information on the condition of the
priesthood in continental Germany ; their existence we infer from
that of temples and sacrifices. A fact of some importance has been
preserved by Beda, Hist. eccl. 2, 13 : a heathen priest of the Anglo-
Saxons was forbidden to carry arms or to ride a male horse : Non
enim licuerat, pontificem sacrorum vel arma ferre, vel praetcrquam
in equa equitare. Can this have any connexion with the regulation
which, it is true, can be equally explained from the Bible, that
christian clergymen, when riding about the country, should be
mounted on asses and colts, not horses (KA. 86-88) ? Festus also
remarks : Uquo vehi flamini diali non licebat, ne, si longius digre-
deretur, sacra neglegerentur (see Suppl). The transmission of
such customs, which have impressed themselves on the habits of

1 Libes might be Leip, Leb, O.N. Leifr, Goth. Laibs ? A var. lect. has Ai/3us.


life, would seem to have been quite admissible. I shall try else-
where to show in detail, how a good deal in the gestures and atti-
tudes prescribed for certain legal transactions savours of priestly
ceremony at sacrifice and prayer (see Suppl.). It is not unlikely,
as heathen sacred places were turned into christian ones, that it
was also thought desirable amongst a newly converted people to
attract their former priests to the service of the new religion.
They were the most cultivated portion of the people, the most
capable of comprehending the christian doctrine and recommending
it to their countrymen. From the ranks of the heathen priesthood
would therefore proceed both the bitterest foes and the warmest
partizans of innovation.^ The collection of the Letters of Boniface
has a passage lamenting the confusion of christian and heathen
rites, into which foolish or reckless and guilty priests had suffered
themselves to fall.^ This might have been done in blameless ignor-
ance or from deliberate purpose, but scarcely by any men except
such as were previously familiar with heathenism.

Even the ;N"orse priesthood is but very imperfectly delineated in
the Eddas and sagas. A noteworthy passage in the Ynglingasaga
cap. 2 which regards the Ases altogether as colonists from Asia,
and their residence Asgard as a great place of sacrifice, makes the
twelve principal Ases sacrificial priests (hofgoGar) : skyldu Jjeir raSa
fyrir bio bum ok domum manna 1 milli (they had to advise about
sacrifices and dooms) ; and it adds, that they had been named diar
(divi) and drottnar (domini). This representation, though it be but
a conjecture of Snorri's, shows the high estimation in which the
priestly order stood, so that gods themselves were placed at the
head of sacrifices and judgments. But we need not therefore con-
found diar and drottnar with real human priests.

-1 Just as the Catholic clergy furnished as well the props as the opponents of
the Reformation. The notable example of a heathen priest abjuring his ancient
faith, and even putting forth his hand to destroy the temple he had once held
sacred, has been quoted from Beda on p. 82. This priest was an English, not
a British one, though Beda, evidently for the mere purpose of more exactly
marking his station, designates him by a Gaefic word Coifi (choibi, choibhidh,
cuimhi, see Jamieson, supplement sub. v. coivie, archdruid). Coifi is not a
proper name, even in Gaelic ; and it is incredible that Eadwine king of Nor-
thumbria should have adopted the British religion, and maintained a British

2 Ed. Wurdtw. 82. Serr. 140 : Pro sacrilegis itaque presbyteris, ut scripsisti,
qui tauros et hircos diis paganorum immolabant, manducantes sacrificia mor-
tuorum. . . . modo vero incognitum esse, utrum baptizantes trinitatem
dixissent an non, &c. — Connect with this the presbyter Jovi mactans, Ep. 25.


T must draw attention to the fact, that certain men who stood
nearer to the gods by services and veneration, and priests first of
all, are entitled /mwfZs of the, gods^ (see Suppl.). Hence such names
as Frcysvinr, AS. Fredtvinc, Bregowine for heroes and kings (see ch.
X, Frowin). According to Eyrbygg. pp. 6, 8, 16, 26, Eolfr was a
Thors vinr ; he had a hof of that god on a meadow, and was there-
fore named Thorrolfr, he dedicated to him his son Steinn and named
liim Thorsteinn, who again dedicated his son Grimr to the god and
named him Thorgrimr ; by this dedicating (gefa), was meant the
appointing to the office of goGi or priest. And (according to Landn.
2, 23) Hallstein gave his son as goSi to Thorr. Here we see the
priestly office running on through several generations (see Suppl.).
However, Odysseus is also called All ^t'Xo?, II. 10, 527. Also
AloXo'i <})l\o<; ddavdroKTi OeoiaL, Od. 10, 2 ; but then in Od. 10, 21
he is ra/uLLTj'i dv6/j,(ov, director of winds, therefore a priest.

How deeply the priestly office in the North encroached on the
administration of justice, need not be insisted on here ; in their
judicial character the jDriests seem to have exercised a good deal of
control over the people, whereas little is said of their political
influence at the courts of kings ; on this point it is enough to read
the Nialssaga. In Iceland, even under Christianity, the Judges
retained the name and several of the functions of heathen godar,
Gragas 1, 109-113. 130. 165. Convents, and at the same time
state-farmers, especially occupiers of old sanctuaries (see p. 85, note)
apparently continue in the Mid. Ages to have peculiar privileges,
on which I shall enlarge in treating of weisthiimer. They have the
keeping of the county cauldron, or weights and measures, and above
all, the hrood-animals, to which gTeat favour is shown everywhere
(see Suppl.).

The goSi is also called a hlotmad'r (sacrificulus), hliotr (Egilssaga
p. 209), but all blotmenn need not be priests ; the word denoted
rather any participant in sacrifices, and afterwards, among christians,
the heathen in general. It tallies with the passage in Tacitus
about the paterfamilias, that any iarl or hersir (baron) might per-
form sacrifice, though he was not a priest. Saxo Gramm. p. 176

1 The MHG, poets still bestow on hermits and monks the epithets gotes
frhmt, gotes degen (J^egn, warrior). In the Eenner 24587, St. Jost is called
heiliger gotes kneht (cniht, servant). [See however 'serviis dei, famulus dei'
passim in the lives of saints].


relates of Harald after liis baptism : Delubra diruit, vidimarios
proscripsit, flaminium abrogavit. By victimarii he must mean
blotmenn, by flamens the j)riests. He tells us on p. 104, that at
the great Upsala sacrifices there were enacted effoeniinati corporum
motus, scenicique mimorum plausus, ac mollia nolarum crepitacula ;
Greek antiquity has also something to tell of choruses and dances
of priests.

On the clothing of the ISTorse priests, I have not come across
any information. Was there a connexion between them and the
poets ? Bragi the god of song has nothing to do with sacrifices ;
yet the poetic art was thought a sacred hallowed thing : OSinn
spoke in verse, he and his Iwfgo&ar are styled liod'asmi&ir (song-
smiths), Yngl. saga cap. 6. Can sMlcL (poeta, but neut.) be the
same as the rare OHG. sgalto (sacer) ? Diut. 1, 183. Gl. ker. 69,
scaldo. Even of christian minstrels soon after the conversion one
thing and another is told, that has also come down to us about
heathen skalds.

Poetry borders so closely on divination, the Eoman vates is
alike songster and soothsayer, and soothsaying was certainly a
priestly function. Amm. Marcell. 14, 9 mentions Alamannian
auspices, and Agathias 2, 6 fiavrei'; or 'x^prjafMoXoyot 'AXaixavviKoL

Ulphilas avoids using a Gothic word for the frequently occur-
ring 7rpo(jii]T7]^, he invariably puts praiifetus, and for the fern.
irpo^rjTL'i praufeteis, Lu. 2, 36 ; why not veitaga and veitago ? The
OHG. and AS. versions are bolder for once, and give wizago, vAtcga}
Was the priest, when conducting auguries and auspices, a veitaga ?
conf, inveitan, p. 29. The ON. term is sjmmad'r (spae-man), and for
prophetess spdkona (spae- woman, A.S. witegestre). Such diviners
were Mimir and Gripir. In old French poems they are devi7i
(divini, divinatores), which occasionally comes to mean poets :
uns devins, qui de voir dire est esprovez, Meon 4, 145. ce dient li
devin, Een. 7383 ; so Tristr. 1229 : li contor dient (see Suppl.).

We have now to speak of the prophetesses and priestesses of
antiquity. — The mundium (wardship) in which a daughter, a sister,
a wife stood, appears in the old heathen time not to have excluded

1 The ). is become ei in our weissager, MHG. Avissage for wizege ; equally
erroneous is oui' verb weissagen, MHG. wissagen, Iw. 3097 (OHG. wizagon, AS.


tliem from holy offices, such as sacrificing (see Suppl.), or from a
good deal of influence over the people. Tacitus, after telling us
how mightily the German women wrought upon the valour of their
warriors, and that the Eomans for greater security demanded noble
maidens from particular nations, adds : Inesse quin etiam sanctum
et providum (feminis) putant^, ncc aut consilia earum aspernantur,

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