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ently carved and coloured, which were used in worship as symbols,
and on certain occasions carried about ; probably they contained
some reference to the nature and attributes of the several deities.
The model of a boat, signuni in modura liburnae figuratum (cap. 9),
betokened the god of sailing, the formac aprorum (cap. 45) the god
to whom the boar was consecrated ; and in the like sense are to be
taken the ferarum imagines on trees and at certain sacrifices (see
SuppL). The vehiculum veste coutectum of the goddess Earth
will be discussed further on.

The absence of statues and temples, considering the impotence
of all artistic skill at the period, is a favourable feature of the
German cultus, and pleasing to contemplate. But it by no means
follows that in the people's fancy the gods were destitute of a form
like the human ; without this, gods invested with all liuman
attributes, and brought into daily contact with man, would be
simply inconceivable. If there was any German poetry then in
existence, which I would sooner assert than deny, how should the
poets have depicted their god but ^vith a human aspect ?

Attempts to fashion images of gods, and if not to carve them
out of wood or stone, at least to draw and paint them, or quite
roughly to bake them of dough (p. C3), might nevertheless be made
at any period, even the earliest ; it is possible too, that the interior
parts of Germany, less accessible to the Eomans, concealed here
and there temples, statues and pictures. In the succeeding cen-
turies, however, when temples were multiplied, images also, to fill
their spaces, may with the greatest probability be assumed.

The terminology, except where the words simulacra, imagines,
which leave no room for doubt, are employed, makes use of several

Bohem. malik, the little finger, also Tliumbkin, Tom Thumb? which may
have to do with idol [In the Slavic languages, mal = little, s-mall]. Other
OHG. terms are avard; piladi, pilidi (bild) ethgies or imago in general ; in the
!Mid. Ages they said, lor making or forming (p. 23), cin hilde giezcn, eine
scha-ne junclrouwen enjiezen, Cod. Vindob. 428, num. 211, without any refer-
ence to metal-casting ; em bUde mezzen, Troj. 19(526, mezzen, IMisc. 2, IttO. On
the Lith. halwrnum, idolum, statua, conf. Pott de ling. Litth. 2, 51, Russ.
bolvdn, Hung, hulcany ; Russ. humlr, idol, both lit. and tig. (object of affeL;tion).


terms whose meaning varies, passing from that of temple to that of
image, just as we saw the meaning of grove mixed up with that of
numen. If, as is possible, that word alah originally meant rock or
stone (p. 67), it might easily, like haruc and ivih, melt into the
sense of altar and statue, of ara, fanurn, idolum. In this way the
OHG. ahcut, ahcuti (Abgott, false god) does signify both fana and
idola or statuae, Diut. 1, 497^ 513'' 515^ 533^ just as our gotze is at
once the false god and his image and his temple (see above, p. 15.
Gramm. 3, 69-1). Idolum must have had a similar ambiguity,
wdiere it is not expressly distinguished from delubrum, fanum and
templum. In general phrases such as idola colere, idola adorare,
idola destruere, we cannot be sure that images are meant, for just
as often and with the same meaning we have adorare fana, des-
truere fana. Look at the following phrases taken from OHG.
glosses : ahcuti wihero stetio, fana excelsorum, Diut. 1, 515\ abcut
in heilogem stetim, fana in excelsis, Diut. ], 213^ steininu zeihan
inti ahcuti, titulos et statuas, Diut. 1, 49 7^ altara inti manalihun
inti haruga, aras et statuas et lucos, Diut. 1, 513^ afgoda began-
gana, Lacombl. arch. 1, 11. — Saxo Gram, often uses simulacra for
idols, pp. 249, 320-1-5-7= The statement in Aribonis vita S.
Emmerammi (Acta sanct. Sept. 6, 483) : * tradidero te genti
Saxonum, quae tot idolorum cultor existit' is undeniable evidence
that the heatlien Saxons in the 8th century served many false gods
(Aribo, bishop of Freisingen in the years 764-783). The vita
Lebuini, written by Hucbald between 918-976, says of the ancient
Saxons (Pertz 2, 361-2): Inservire idolorum cultibus . . .
numinihus suis vota solvens ac sacrificia . . . simulacra quae
deos esse putatis, quosque venerando colitis. Here, no doubt,
statues must be meant (see SuppL).

In a few instances we find the nobler designation deus still
employed, as it had been by Tacitus : Cumque idem rex (Eadwine
in 625) gratias ageret diis suis pro nata sibi filia, Beda 2, 9.

The following passages testify to visible representations of gods ;
they do not condescend to describe them, and we are content to
pick up hints by the way.

The very earliest evidence takes us already into the latter half
of the 4th century, but it is one of the most remarkable. Sozomen,
Hist. eccl. 6, 37, mentions the manifold dangers that beset Ulphilas
among the heathen Goths : Wliile the barbarians were yet heathens

IMA.GES. 107

(ert Twv ^ap^dpcov eWrjvi.Kco'i 6pT](TK€v6vT(ov) — eX\7]viK(oi here
means in heathen fashion, and 6pr)aK6vetv (to worship) is presently
described more minutely, when the persecution of the Christians
by Athanaric is related — Athanaric, liaving set the statue (evidently
of the Gothic deity) on a umggon {^oavou e0' apfiafid^rj'i eo-Too?),
ordered it to be carried round to the dwellings of those suspected
of Christianity ; if they refused to fall down and sacrifice {irpoaKv-
velv Kol 6v€Lv), their houses were to be fired over their heads. By
dppbd[ia^a is understood a covered carriage ; is not this exactly the
vcMculum veste contectum, in which the goddess, herself unseen, was
carried about (Tac. Germ. 40) ? Is it not the vagn in which Freyr
and his priestess sat, when in holy days he journeyed round among
the Swedish people (Fornm. sog. 2, 74-5) ? The people used to
carry about covered images of gods over the fields, by which fertility
was bestowed upon them.'^ Even the harrdsclien in our poems of
the Mid. Ages, with Saracen gods in them, and the carroccio of the
Lombard cities (EA. 263-5) seem to be nothing but a late reminis-
cence of these primitive gods'-waggons of heathenism. The Eoman,
Greek and Indian gods too were not without such carriages.

What Gregory of Tours tells us (2, 29-31) of the baptism of
Chlodovich (Clovis) and the events that preceded it, is evidently
touched up, and the speeches of the queen especially I take to be
fictitious ; yet he would hardly have put them in her mouth, if it
were generally known that the Franks had no gods or statues at all.
Chrothild (Clotilda) speaks thus to her husband, whom she is try-
ing to prepossess in favour of baptism : Nihil sunt dii quos colitis,
qui neque sibi neque aliis poterunt subvenire ; sunt enim aut ex
hqnde aut ex ligno aut ex metallo aliquo scidpti, nomina vero, quae
eis indidistis, homines fuere, non dii. Here she brings up Satiirnns
and JiijAtcr, with arguments drawn from classical mythology;
and then : Quid Mars Mcrcuriusi^iwe potuere ? qui potius sunt
magicis artibus praediti quam divini numinis potontiam habuere.
Sed ille magis coli debet qui coelum et terram, mare et omnia quae
in eis sunt, verbo ex non extantibus procreavit, &c. Scd cum haec
regina diceret, nullatenus ad credendum regis animus movebatur,
sed diccbat : Dcorum nostrorum jussione cuncta crcantur ac j)ro-

1 De simulacro quod percanipos portant (Indie, snperstit. cap. 28) ; one vita
S. Martini cap. 9 (Suiius 6, 252) : Quia essut liaec Gallonini rusticis consne-
tiulo, simulacra (kiemomim, candido teda vdamine, niisera per agros sues cii'-
cumierre dementia.

108 GODS.

(leunt; deus vero vester nihil posse manifestatur, et quodmagis est,
nee de deorum gcnere esse probatur (that sounds German enough!).
When their little boy dies soon after receiving christian baptism,
Chlodovich remarks : Si in nomine deorum meorum puer fuisset
dicatus, vixisset utique ; nunc autem, quia in nomine dei vestri
baptizatus est, vivere omuino non potuit. — So detailed a report of
Chlodovich's heathenism, scarcely a hundred years after the event,
and from the mouth of a well instructed priest, would be absurd, if
there were no truth at the bottom of it. When once Gregory had
put his Latin names of gods in the place of the Frankish (in which
he simply followed the views and fashion of his time), he would as
a matter of course go on to surround those names with the appro-
priate Latin myths ; and it is not to be overlooked, that the four
deities named are all gods of the days of the week, the very kind
which it was quite customary to identify with native gods. I
think myself entitled therefore, to quote the passage as proving at
least the existence of images of gods among the Franks (see SuppL).
The narrative of an incident from the early part of the Vtli
century concerns Alamannia. Columban and St. Gallus in 612
came upon a seat of idolatry at Bregenz on the Lake of Constance :
Trcs ergo imagines aereas et dcauratas superstitiosa gentilitas
ibi colebat, quibus magis quam Creatori mundi vota reddenda
credebat. So says the Vita S. Galli (Pertz 2, 7) written in the
course of the next (8th) century. A more detailed account is given
by Walafrid Sti'abo in his Vita S. Galli (acta Bened. sec. 2. p. 233) :
Egressi de uavicula oratorium in honore S. Aureliae constructum
adierunt. . . . Post orationem, cum per gyrum oculis cuncta
lustrassent, placuit illis qualitas et situs locorum, deinde oratione
praemissa circa oratorium mansiunculas sibi fecerunt. Eepererunt
autem in templo ires imagines aereas deauratas parieti afjixas^ quas
populus, dimisso altaris sacri cultu, adorabat, et ohlatis sacrificiis
dicere consuevit : isti sunt dii veteres et antiqui hujus loci tutores,
quorum solatio et nos et nostra perdurant usque in praesens. . . .
Cumque ejusdem templi solemnitas ageretur, venit multitude non
minima promiscui sexus et aetatis, non tantum propter festivitatis
honorem, verum etiam ad videndos peregrines, quos cognoverant

1 So then, in a churcli really christian, these old heathen gods' images had
heen let into the wall, probaLly to conciliate the people, wlio ^vere still attached
to tliem ? There are several later instances of this practice, couf. Ledebur's
archiv. 14, 363. 378. Thiir. mitth. VI. 2, 13 (see iSuppl.).


advenisse. . . . Jussu venerandi abbatis (Columbani) Gallus
coepit viam veritatis ostendere populo, . . . et in conspectu
omnium arripiens simulacra, et lapidibus in frusta comminucns jiro-
jccit in lacum. His visis nonnulli conversi sunt ad dominum. — Here
is a strange jumble of lieatlien and christian worship. In an
oratory built in honour of St. Aurelia, three heathen statues still
stand against the wall, to which the people continue to sacrifice,
without going near the christian altar: to them, these are still their
old tutelary deities. After the evangelist has knocked the images
to pieces and thrown them into Lake Constance, a part of these
heathen turn to Christianity. Probably in more places than one
the earliest christian communities degenerated in like manner,
owing to the preponderance of the heathen multitude and the
supineness of the clergy. A doubt may be raised, however, as to
whether by these heathen gods are to be understood Alamannish, or
possibly Roman gods ? Eomau paganism in a district of the old
Helvetia is quite conceivable, and dii tutores loci sounds almost like
the very thing. On the other hand it must be remembered, that
Alamanns had been settled here for three centuries, and any other
worship than theirs could hardly be at that time the popular one. That
sacrifice to Woden on the neighbouring Lake of Zurich^ (supra, p. 56)
mentioned by Jonas in his older biography of the two saints,
was altogether German. Lastly, the association of three di-
vinities to be jointly worshipped stands out a prominent feature in
our domestic heathenism ; when the Eomans dedicated a temple to
several deities, their images were not placed side by side, but in
separate celiac (chapels).— Eatpert (Casus S. Galli, Pertz 2, 61)
seems to have confounded the two events, that on L. Zurich, and
the subsequent one at Bregenz: Tucconiam (to Tuggen) advenerunt,
quae est ad caput lacus Turicini, ubi cum consistere vellent, popu-
lumque ab errore demonum revocare (nam adhuc idolis immolahant),
(Jallo idola vana confringcnte ct in lacum vicinuvi demergcnte, populus
in iram conversus. . . . sanctos exinde pepulerunt. Inde iter
agentes pervenerunt ad castrum quod Arbona nuncupatur, juxta

^ Curionsly, Moiie (Gesch. des hcid. 1, 171-5) tries to put tliis W(jden-
worship at 'J'liK'^'cn upon the Heruli, who had never been heard of there, instead
of the Ahunanns, because Jonas says : Sunt inibi vicinae naliones Suevoruin.
But this means simply tliose settled thereabouts ; there was no occasion to speak
of distant ones. Columban was staving in a place not ai,'reenl)le to himself, in
order to convert tlie heathen inhabitants ; and by Wal'atVid's description too,
the district lies infra partes Alamanniae, where intra would do just as well.

110 GODS.

lacum potamicum, ibique a Willimaro presby tero honorifice suscepti,
septem dies cum gaudio permanserunt. Qui a Sanctis interrogatus,
si sciret locum in solitudine illorum proposito congruum, ostendit
eis locum jocundissimum ad inhabitandum nomine Brigantium.
Ibique reperientes templum olim christianae religioni dedicatum,
nunc autem demomim imaginihiis pollutum, mundando et conse-
crando in pristinum restituerunt statum, atque pro statuis quas
ejecerunt, sanctae Aureliae reliquias ibidem collocaverunt. — By this
account also the temple is first of all christian, and afterwards
occupied by the heathen (Alamanns), therefore not an old Eoman
one. That Woden s statue was one of those idola vana that were
broken to pieces, may almost be inferred from Jonas's account of
the beer-sacrifice offered to him. Eatpert's cantilena S. Galli has
only the vague words :

Castra de Turegum adnavigant Tucconium,
Decent fidem gentem, Jovcm linquunt ardentem.
This Jupiter on fire, from whom the people apostatized, may very
well be Donar (Thunar, Thor), but his statue is not alluded to.
According to Arx (on Pertz 2, 61), Eckehardus IV. quotes ' Jovis
et Neptuni idola,' but I cannot find the passage ; conf. p. 122
Ermoldus Nigellus on Neptune. It is plain that the three statues
have to do with the idolatry on L. Constance, not with that on L.
Zurich ; and if Mercury, Jupiter and Neptune stood there together,
the first two at all events may be easily applied to German deities.
In ch. VII, I will impart my conjecture about Neptune. But I think
we may conclude from all this, that our tres imagines have a better
claim to a German origin, than those imagines lapideae of the
Luxovian forest, cited on p. 83^

1 Two narratives by Gregory of Tours on statues of Diana in the Treves
country, and of Mercury and Mars in the soiith of Gaul, though they exchide
all thought of German deities, yet offer striking comparisons. Hist. 8, 15 :
Deinde territorium Trevericae urbis expetii, et in quo nunc estis monte
habitaculum, quod cernitis, proprio labore construxi ; reperi tamen hie Dianae
simulacrum, quod populus hie incredulus quasi deum adorahat. columnam, etiam
statui, in qua cum grandi cruciatu sine ullo pedum stabam tegmine. . . .
A^'erum ubi ad me multitudo vicinarum civitatiun confluere coepit, praedicabam
jugiter, nihil esse Dianam, nihil simulacra, nihilque quae eis videbatur exerceri
cultura : indigna etiam esse ipsa, quae inter pocula luxuriasque profluas cantica
proferebant, sed potius deo omnipotenti, qui coelum fecit ac terram, dignum
sit sacrificium laudis impendere. orabam etiam saepius, ut simulacro dominus
diruto dignaretur populum ab hoc errore discutere. Flexit domini miseri-
cordia menteiu rusticam, ut inclinaret aurem suam in verba oris mei, ut scilicet
relictis idolis dominum aequeretur, (et) tunc convocatis quibusdam ex eis
simulacrum hoc immensum, quod elidere propria virtute non poteram, cum


The chief authority for images of gods among the Saxons is the
famous passage in Widekind of Corvei (1, 12), where he relates
their victory over the Thuringians on the E. Unstrut (circ. 530),
* ut majorum memoria prodit ' : Mane autem facto, ad orientalem
portam (of castle Schidungen) ponunt aquilam, aramque vidoriae
construentes, secundum errorem paternum, sacra sua propria vener-
atione venerati sunt, nomine Martem, effigie cohimnarum imitantes
Herculem, loco Solem quem Graeci appellant AjJoIlinem. — This
important witness will have to be called up again in more than one

To the Corvei annals, at year 1145, where the Eresburg is
spoken of, the following is added by a 12th century hand (Pertz
5, 8 note) : Hec eadem Eresburg est corrupto vocabulo dicta, quam
et Julius Cesar Eomano imperio subegit, quando et Arispolis
nomen habuit ab eo qui Aris Greca designatione ac 3Iars ipse
dictus est Latino famine. Duobus siquidem idolis hec dedita fuit,
id est Aris, qui urhis mcniis insertus, quasi dominator dominantium,
et Ermis, qui et Mcrcurius mercimoniis insistentibus colebatur in
forensibus. — According to this, a statue of Mars seems to have stood
on the town-wall.

That the Frisian temples contained images of gods, there seems
to be sufficient evidence. It is true, the passage about Fosite (p.
84) mentions only fana dei ; we are told that Wilibrord laid violent
hands on the sacred fountain, not that he demolished any image.

eorura adjutorio possem eruere ; jam enim reliqiia sigillorum (tlie sniallor
figures) quae faciliora erant, ipse confregeram. Convenientibus autem multis
ad hanc Dianae statuam, missis funibus traliere coeperunt, sed nihil labor eorimi
proficere poterat. Then came prayers ; egressusque post orationem ad operarios
veni, adprehensumque funem ut prime ictu trahere coepimus, protinus simula-
crum ruit in terram, confradumque cum malleis ferreis m pulverem redegi. So
images went to the ground, whose contemplation we should think very in-
structive now. This Diana was probably a mixture of Roman and Gallic
worship ; there are inscriptions of a Diana arduiiina (Bouquet 2, 319). — The
second passage stands in Mirac. 2, 5 : Erat autem baud procul a cellula,
quam sepulchrum, martyris (Juliani Arvernensis) haec matrona constrnxerat
(in vico Brivatensi), cjrande delubrum, ubi in columna altissima siinulachrum
Martis Mercuriiqne colebatur. Cumque delubri illius festa a gentilibus agerentur
ac mortui mortuis thura deferrent, medio e vulgo commoventur pueri duo in
scandalum, nudutociue unus gladio alterum appetit trucidandum. The lioy
runs to the saint's cell, and is saved. Quarta autem die, cum gentilitas vellet
iterum diis exhibere liljamina, the christian priests offer a fervent jirayer to the
martyr, a violent thunderstorm arises, the heathens are terrified : Kecedente
autem tempestate, gentiles baptizati, statuas quas coluerant confringentes!, in
lacnm vico amnitjue proximum projecerunt. — Soon after this, the Burgundians
settled in tlie district. The statues broken d(n\n, crushed to powder, and tlimg
into the lake, every bit the same as in that story of Ratpert's.

112 GODS.

On the otiier hand, the Vita Bonifacii (Pertz 2, 339), in describing
the heathen reaction under King Eedbod (circ. 716), uses this
language : Jam pars ecclesiarum Christi, quae Francorum prius
subjecta erat imperio, vastata erat ac destructa, idolorum quoque
cultura exstructis delubrorum fanis lugubriter renovata. And if it
should be thought that idolorum here is equivalent to deorum, the
Vita Willehadi (Pertz 2, 380) says more definitely : Insanum esse
et vanum a lapidibus auxilium petere et a simulacris mutis et surdis
subsidii sperare solatium. Quo audito, gens fera et idololatriis
nimium dedita stridebant dentibus in eum, dicentes, non debere
profanum longius vivere, imo reum esse mortis, qui tam sacrilegia
contra dcos suos invidissimos proferre praesumsisset eloquia. — The
event belongs to the middle of the 8th century, and the narrator
Anskar (f 865) comes a hundred years later ; still we are not
warranted in looking upon his words as mere ilourishes. And I
am not sure that we have a right to take for empty phrases, what is
said in a Vita S. Goari (f 649), which was not written till 839 :
Coepit gentilibus per circuitum (i.e. in Eipuaria), simulacrorum
cultui deditis et vana idolorum superstitionis deceptis, verbum
salutis annuntiare (Acta Bened. sec. 2, p. 282), Such biographies
are usually based on older memorials.

The Frisians are in every sense the point of transition to the
Scandinavians ; considering the multifarious intercourse between
these two adjoining nations, nothing can be more natural than to
suppose that the Frisians also had in common with their neighbours
the habit of temple and image worship. Even Fosete's temple in
Heligoland I can hardly imagine destitute of images.

Some facility in carving figures out of wood or chiselling them
out of stone is no more than we should have expected from those
signa and effigies in Tacitus, and the art might go on improving up
to a certain stage. Stone weapons and other implements that we
find in barrows testify to a not unskilful handling of difficult
materials. That not a single image of a Teutonic god has escaped
the destructive hand of time and the zeal of the christians, need
surprise us less than the total disappearance of the heathen temples.
"Why, even in the North, where the number of images was greater,
and their destruction occurred much later, there is not one preserved;
all the Lethrian, all the Upsalian idols are clean gone. The technical
term in the Norse was shurdgo^ (Fornm. sog. 2, 73-5), from skera


(sculpere), skurd (sculptura) ; in the two passages referred to, it is
likueski af Freyr. Biorn gives sJcdrgoff, idolum, sculptile, from
skur, subgrundium (penthouse), because it had to be placed under
cover, in sheds as it were ; with which the OHG. skurguta (Graff
6, 536) seems to agree. But there is no distinct proof of an ON,

Dietmar's account is silent about the gods' images at Lethra ^ ;
in Adam of Bremen's description of those at Upsal (cap. 233), the
most remarkable thing is, that three statues are specified, as they
were in that temple of the Alamanns : Nunc de superstitione
Sveonum pauca dicemus. Nohilissinium ilia gens templum habet,
quod Ubsola dicitur, non longe positum a Sictona civitate (Sigtiin)
vel Birka. In hoc templo, quod totum ex auro paratum est, statuas
trium deorum veneratur populus, ita ut potentissimus eorum Thor
in medio solium habeat triclinio. Hinc et inde locum possident
Wodau et Fricco. The further description w-e have nothing to do
with here, but there occurs m it also the term scidpere ; as the
whole temple was ex auro paratum, i.e., decorated with gold, he
might doubtless have described the figures of tlie gods above all as
gilded, j\ist as those in Alamannia were aereae et deaiiratae. — Saxo
p. 13 tells of a golden statue of Othin ; Cujus numen Septentrionis
reges propensiore cultu prosequi cupientes, effigiem ipsius cmreo
complexi sivmlacro, statnam suae dignationis indicem maxima cum
religionis simulatione Byzantium transmiserunt, cujus etiani
brachiorum lineamenta confertissimo armillarum pondere per-
stringebant. The whole passage, with its continuation, is not only
unhistorical, but contrary to the genuine mytlis ; we can only see
in it the view of the gods taken by Saxo and his period, and
inasmuch as golden and bedizened images of gods were consonant
with such view, we may infer that there still lived in his time a
recollection of such figures (see SuppL). Ermoldus Nigellus, in
describing Herold's (Harald's) interview with King Charles,
mentions 4, 444 seq. (Pertz 2, 509-10) the gods images (sculpta) of
the heathen, and that he was said to have had ploughshares,
kettles and water-buckets forged of that metal. According to the
Nialssaga cap. 89, in a Norwegian temple (goSahus) there were to
be seen three figures again, those of Thor and the two half-goddesses
ThorgerSr and Irpa, of human size, and adorned with armlets ;

^ On recently discovered figures of ' Odin,' v. infra, Wudan.

114 GODS.

probably Thor sat hi the middle on his car. Altogether the
portraitures of Thor seem to have been those most in vogue, at least
in Norway.^ One temple in which many skurdgoS were wor-
shipped, but Thor most of all, is descriljed in Fornm. sog. 2, 153 and
159, and his statue 1, 295. 302-6; in 2, 44 we read: Thorr sat i
midju ok var mest tignaSr, hann var mikill ok allr gidli hiXinn ok
silfri (ex auro et argento confectus) ; conf. Olafs helga saga, ed.

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