Jacob Grimm.

Teutonic mythology (Volume 1) online

. (page 34 of 46)
Online LibraryJacob GrimmTeutonic mythology (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 46)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

—II. 5, 330.
Theirs is no thick glutinous alfia (conf. our seim, ON", seimr, slime),
nor according to the Indians do they sweat ; and this dvaifirov
(bloodless) agrees with the above explanation of d^poTo<i. The

^ Atfjiie omncs pariter cleos perdet mors aliqiia et chaos. Seneca in Here,

'^ Cleopatra had costly pearls melted in her wine, and it is said to be still a
cii.stoni witli Indian princes ; conf. Si;eton. Calig. ^7.


adjectives a^poTo<;, a/jb^poTOf, a/x^pocrto';, veKrdpeo'i are passed on
from the food to other divine things^ (see Suppl.). Plainly then
the gods were not immortal by their nature, they only acquired and
secured this quality by abstaining from the food and drink of men,
and feasting on heavenly fare. And hence the idea of death is not
always nor as a matter of course kept at a distance from them ;
Kronos used to kill his new born children, no doubt before nectar
and ambrosia had been given them,^ and Zeus alone could be saved
from him by being brought up secretly. Another way in which
the mortality of certain gods is expressed is, that they fall a prey
to Hades, whose meaning borders on that of death, e.g., Perse-

If a belief in the eternity of the gods is the dominant one
among the Greeks, and only scattered hints are introduced of their
final overthrow ; with our ancestors on the contrary, the thought of
the gods being immortal seems to retire into the background.
The Edda never calls them eylifir or odauSligir, and their death is
spoken of without disguise : ]?a er regin dq/ja, Spem. 37^, or more
frequently : regin riufaz (solvuntur), 36^ 40*^ 108^ One of the
finest and oldest myths describes the death of Balder, the burning
of his body, and his entrance into the lower world, like that of
Proserpine ; OSin's destined fall is mentioned in the Voluspa Q'',
OSins lani (bane), Sn. 73, where also Tliorr falls dead on the
ground ; Hrungnir, a giant, threatens to slay all the gods (drepa
guS oil), Sn. 107. Yet at the same time we can point to clear
traces of that prolongation of life by particular kinds of food and
drink. While the einherjar admitted into Yalholl feast on the
boiled flesh of a boar, we are nowdiere told of the Ases sharing in
such diet (Srom. 36. 42. Sn. 42) ; it is even said expressly, that
OSinn needs no food (onga vist ]?arf hann), and only drinks wine
(vin er honum bseSi dryckr ok matr, both meat and drink) ;
with the viands set before him he feeds his two wolves Geri and
Freki. ViS vin eitt vapngofugr OSinn se lifir (vino solo armipotens
semper vivit), Ssem. 42^ ; aj lifir can be rendered ' semper vescitur,

1 Both nectar and ambrosia, like the holy grail of the Mid. Ages, have
miraculous powers : poured into the nose of a corpse, they prevent decay, II.
19, 38 ; they ward ott" hunger, II. 19, 347. 353.

^ As hiunan infants may only be exposed before milk and honey have
moistened their lips, conf. EA. pp. 458-9. When Zeus first receives in the
assembly of the gods the son whom Leto bore him, he hands him nectar in a
goklen bowl : by this act he recognised him for his child.


nutritur,' or ' immortalitatem nanciscitur,' and tlien the cause of his
iimnortality would be found in his partaking of the wine. Evi-
dently this wine of the Norse gods is to the beer and ale (olr) of
men, what the nectar of the Greek gods was to the wine of mortals.
Other passages are not so particular about their language ; ^ in
Seem. 59 the gods at Oegir's hall hav^e ale set before them, conf. ol
giora, 68^ ; Heimdall gladly drinks the good mead, 41^ ; verSar
nema oc sumbl (cibum capere et symposium) 52, leaves the exact
nature of the food undefined, but earthly fare is often ascrijjed to
the gods in so many words.'^ But may not the costly O&hroeris
drcckr, compounded of the divine Qvasir's blood and honey, be
likened to amrita and ambrosia ? ^ Dwarfs and giants get hold of
it first, as amrita fell into the hands of the giants ; at last the
gods take possession of both. OShroeris dreckr confers the gift of
poesy, and by that very fact immortality : OSinn and Saga, goddess
of poetic art, have surely drunk it out of golden goblets, gladly and
evermore (um alia daga. Stem. 41^). We must also take into
account the creation of the wise Qvasir (conf. Slav, kvas, convivium,
potus) ; that at the making of a covenant between the Aesir and
Vanir, he was formed out of their spittle (hraki) ; the refining of
his blood into a drink for gods seems a very ancient and far-
reaching myth. But beside this drink, we have also notices of a
special food for gods : ISunn has in her keeping certain apjyles, by
eating of which the aging gods make themselves young again (er
go'Sin skulo abita, J^a er |?au eldaz, oc verSa ]?a allir ungir, Sn. 30'').
This reminds one of the apples of Paradise and the Hesperides, of the
guarded golden apples in the Kindcrmiirchen no. 57, of the apples
in the stories of Fortunatus and of Merlin, on the eating or biting
of which depend life, death and metamorphosis, as elsewhere on a
draught of holy water. According to the Eddie view, the gods have
a means, it is true, of preserving perpetual freshness and youth,

1 As Homer too makes Ganymede olvoxoeveiv, II. 20, 234, and of Hebe it is
even said, viKzap it^voxod 4, .3.

'^ Zeus <,'0L's to bancjuet {Kara ^aiTa) with the Ethiopians, II. 1, 423 ; orav
Trpos haira Kai eVl dolvr)v 'Icoai, Plato's Pha;dr. 247, as Tliurr does with tlie Nor-
wegians ; even when disguised as a bride, he does not refuse the giants' dishes,
Saeni. 73'' ; and the Ases boiled an ox on their journey, Sn. 80.

' In Sanskrit, siulha nectar is distinguished from rnjin'to ambrosia. Every-
where there is an eitgli in the l)Usiness : Garuda is called sudhahara, or amrita-
harana, nectar-thief or ambrosia-thief (Pott, forsch. 2, 4.'')1) ; it is in the shape of
an eagle that Obinn carries off OShrajrir, and Zeus his cupbearer Ganymede
(see ch. XXXV and XXX, Path-crossing and Poetry).


but, for all that, tliey are regarded as subject to the encroach-
ments of age, so that there are always some yoinifi and some old
gods ; in particular, Odinn or Wuotan is pictured everywhere as an
old greybeard (conf. the old god, p. 21), Thorr as in the full
strength of manhood. Balder as a blooming youth. The gods grow
hdrir ok gamlir (lioar and old), Sn. 81, Freyr has ' at tannfe '
(tooth-fee) presented him at his teething, he is therefore imagined
as growing up. In like manner Uranos and Kronos appear as old,
Zeus (like our Donar) and Poseidon as middle aged, Apollo, Her-
mes and Ares as in the bloom of youth. Growth and age, the
increase and decline of a power, exclude the notion of a strictly
eternal, immutable, immortal being ; and mortality, the termination,
however long delayed, of gods with such attributes, is a necessity
(see SuppL),

Epithets expressing the power, the omnipotence, of the reigning
gods have been specified, pp. 21-2. A term peculiar to ON. poetry
is ^t?iregin, Saem. 28^ 50^ ol'^ 52^ ^i?iheilog goS 1^ ; it is of
the same root as gina, OHG. kinan, hiare, and denotes numina
ampla, late dominantia, conf. AS. ginne grund, Beow. 3101. Jud.
131, 2. ginne rice, Ctedm. 15, 8. ginfgest, firmissimus 176, 29.
ginf?esten god, terrae dominus 211, 10. garsecges gin, oceani
amplitudo 205, 3.

The Homeric pela (= paSi(o<;, Goth, rajnzo) beautifully ex-
presses the power of the gods ; whatever they do or undertake
comes easy to them, their life glides along free from toil, while
mortal men labour and are heavy laden : deol pela ^coovre'i, II. 6,
138. Od. 4, 805. 5, 122. When Aphrodite wishes to remove her
favourite Alexander from the perils of battle, tov S' i^ijpira^'
'AcfipoBlTr) pela fidX\ m cr r e ^eo'?, II. 3, 381 ; the same words are
applied to Apollo, when he snatches Hector away from Achilles 20,
443. The wall so laboriously built by the Greeks he overturns pela
fidXa, as a boy at play would a sand-heap 15, 362. With a mere
breath {Trvoifj), blowing a little (?}/ca p,d\a ^Irv^aaa), Athene turns
away from Achilles the spear that Hector had thrown 20, 440 (see
SuppL). Berhta also blows (p. 276), and the elves breathe (eh.
XVII), on people.

The sons of men grow up slowly and gradually, gods attain
their full size and strength directly after hirth. No sooner had


Themis presented nectar and ambrosia (a/j,/3poaiT)v tpareivi'iv) to
the newborn Apollo, than he leapt, Kare/Spco^ cl/x^poTov, out of his
swathiiigs, sat down among the goddesses, began to speak, and.
unshorn as he was, to roam through the country (Hymn, in Ap.
Del. 123 — 133). Not unlike Vali, whom Eindr bore to OSinii ;
when only one night old (einn?e.ttr), unwashen and unkempt, he
sallies forth to avenge Baldr's death on HoSr, Sajui. 6^ 95^. Here
the coincidence of aKepaeKo/xr]^ with the Edda's ' ne hofuS kembr '
is not to be disregarded. Hermes, born at early morn, plays the
lute at mid-day, and at eve drives oxen away (Hymn, in Merc. 17
seq.). And Zeus, who is often exhibited as a child among the
Kuretes, grew up rapidly {Kap7ra\.Lix(o<i fievo<; Kai (^aloLfxa f^vla
rjv^ero toIo avaKTo^;), and in his first years had strength enough to
enter the lists with Kronos (Hes. theog. 492). Tlie Norse mytho-
logy offers another example in Magni, Thor's son by the giantess
larnsaxa : when three nights old (]?rina2ttr), he flung the giant
Hriingni's enormous foot, under whose weight Thorr lay on the
ground, off his father, and said he would have beaten the said giant
dead with his fist, Sn. 110 (see Suppl.).

The shape of the gods is like the human (p. 105), only vaster,
often exceeding even the gigantic. When Ares is felled to the
ground by the stone which Athene flings, his body covers seven
roods of land (eTrra S' eVecr^^e irekeOpa ireaoiv, 1\. 21, 407), a size
tliat wiih a slight addition the Od. 11, 577 puts upon the titan
I'ityos. When Here takes a solemn oath, she grasps the earth
with one hand and the sea with the other (II. 14, 272). A cry
that breaks from Poseidon's breast sounds like that of nine or even
ten thousand warriors in battle (14, 147), and the same is said of
Ares when he roars (5, 859) ; Here contents herself with the voice of
Stentor, which only equals those of fifty men (5, 786). By the side
of this we may put some features in the Edda, which have to do
with Thorr especially : he devours at a wedding one ox and eiglit
salmon, and drinks three casks of mead, Siem. 73^ ; another time,
through a horn, the end of which reaches to the sea, he drinks a
good portion of this, he lifts the snake that encircles the whole
world off one of its feet, and with his hammer he strikes three deep
valleys in the rocky mountain, Sn, 59, 60. Again, Teutonic
mythology agrees with the Greek in never imputing to its gods the
deformity of many heads, arms or legs; they are only bestowed



on a few heroes and animals, as some of the Greek giants are
eKaroyyetpe^. Such forms are quite common in the Hindu and
Slav systems : Vishnu is represented with four arms, Brahma with
four heads, Svantovit the same, while Porevit has five heads and
Rugevit seven faces. Yet Hecate too is said to have been three-
headed, as the Eoman Janus was two-faced, and a Laceda3monian
Apollo four-armed.^ Khuvera, the Indian god of wealth, is a
hideous figure with three legs and eight teeth. Some of the Norse
gods, on the contrary, have not a superfluity, but a deficiency of
members : OSinn is one-eyed, Tyr one-handed, HoGr blind, and
Logi or Loki was perhaps portrayed as lame or limping, like
Hepha3stus and the devil. Hel alone has a dreadful shape, black
and white ; the rest of the gods and goddesses, not excepting Loki,
are to be imagined as of beautiful and noble figure (see Suppl.).

In the Homeric epos this ideally perfect human shape, to which
Greek art also keeps true, is described in standing epithets for gods
and especially goddesses, with w^hich our ruder poetry has only a
few to set in comparison, and yet the similarity of these is signi-
ficant. Some epithets have to serve two or three divinities by
turns, but most are confined to individuals, as characteristic of
them. Thus Here is XevKcoXevo^ or ^ocotti,^; (the former used also
of Helen, II. 3, 121,^ the latter of a Nereid 18, 40), Athene rf^avKw-
TTi? or i^vKOfio'i (which again does for Here), Thetis dpyvpoTre^a,
Iris aeXXo7ro9, iroh/jvefMO'i, ypvaoTTTepo';, Eos poSoSdKTv\o<;, Demeter
(Ceres) ^avd?] 5, 500, and Ka\\nr\6/ca/jLo<; 14, 326, just as Sif is
harfogr (p. 309), in allusion to the yellow colour of the waving
corn. As the sea rolls its dark waves, Poseidon bears the name
KvavoxaiTi<:, II. 14, 390. 15, 174. 20, 144. Zeus could either be
called the same, or Kvavocppv; (a contrast to Baldr brahvitr, brow-
white p. 222), because to him belong dfji^pocnat, '^alTai II. 1, 528, the
hair and locks of Wish (p. 142), and because with his dark brows
he makes signs. This confirmatory lowering of the brows or
nodding with the head (veveiv, Karaveiecv Kvaverjacv eir cx^puai II.
1, 527. 17, 209) is the regular expression of Zeus's will: Ke^aXfj
Karavevaofxai, ddavdroicri fieyicrrov reK/jLcop, II. 1, 524. In refusing,
he draws the head back (dvavevei). Thor's indignant rage is shown
by sinking the eyebrows over the eyes (siga bryunar ofan fyrir

1 0. Mi'iller's archseol. p. 515.

- And Aphrodite throws her iri'jx^f XevKcl) round iEneas. — Tran3.


angun, Sn. 50), displaying gloomy brows and shaking the beard.
Obviously the two gods, Zeus and Donar, have identical gestures
ascribed to them for expressing favour or anger. They are the
glowering deities, who have the avenging thunder at their command;
tliis was shown of Donar, p. 177, and to Zeus is given the grim
louring look {Beiva S' virohpa IScov, 11. 15, 13), he above all is the
fj,ey oxdi]aa<i (1, 517. 4, 30), and next to him Poseidon of the
dingy locks (8, 208. 15, 184). Zeus again is distinguished by
beaming eyes {rpeirev oaae <jiaet,voi 13, 3. 7. 14, 236. IG, 645),
which belong to none else save his own great-hearted daughter 21,
415 ; Aphrodite has ofijxaTa fiapfiaipovra, 3, 397, twinkling,
shimmering eyes (see Suppl.).

Figures of Greek divinities show a circle of rays and a nimbus
round the head ;^ on Indo-Grecian coins Mithras has commonly a
circular nimbus with pointed rays,^ in other representations the
rays are wanting. Mao (deus Lunus) has a halfmoon behind his
shoulders ; Aesculapius too had rays about his head. In what century
was the halo, the aureole, first put round the heads of christian
saints ? And we have also to take into account the crowns and
diadems of kings. Ammian. Marc. 16, 12 mentions Chnodomarius,
cujus vertici flammeus torulus aptabatur. N. Cap. 63 translates
the honorati capitis radios of the Sol auratus by houhctskhno (head-
sheen), and to portray the sun's head surrounded with flames is
extremely natural. In ON. I find the term ro&a for caput radiatum
sancti, which I suppose to be the OHG. riiota rod, since virga also
goes off into the sense of flagellum, radius, ON. geisli. A likening
of the gods to radiant luminaries of heaven would at once suggest
sucli a nimbus, and blond locks do shine like rays. It is in con-
nexion with the setting sun that Tac. Germ. 45 brings in formas
deorum and radios capitis. Around Thor's head was put, latterly at
all events, a ring of stars (Stephanii not. ad Saxon. Gram. p. 139).
According to a story told in the G alien restore, a beam came out of
Charles the Great's mouth and illumined his head.^ What seems
more to the purpose, among the Prilwitz figures, certain Slavic
idols, especially Perun, Podaga and Nemis, have rays about their

^ 0. Miiller's archoeol. p. 481.
2 Oottiiif,'. anz. 1838, 229.

* Tliis beam from Charles's mouth is like the one that shines into Im
beloved's mouth and lights up the gold inside (see ch. XVI., Menni).


heads ; and a head in Hagenow, fig. 6, 12 is encircled with rays, so
is even the rune E when it stands for Eadegast. Did rays originally
express the highest conception of divine and lustrous beauty ?
There is nothing in the Homeric epos at all pointing that way (see

It is a part of that insouciance and light blood of the gods, that
they are merry, and lavgh. Hence they are called bliS regin
(p. 26), as we find ' froh ' in the sense of gracious applied to gods
and kings,^ and the spark of joy is conveyed from gods to men.
Frauja, lord, is next of kin to froh glad (p. 210). It is said of the
Ases, tcitir varo, Saem. 2^ ; and of Heimdall, dreckr glaffr hinn go5a
mioS 41^. And ' in svdso guS ' 33^ contains a similar notion. In
this light the passages quoted (pp. 17-8) on the blithe and cheer/til
God gather a new importance : it is the old heathen notion still
lurking in poetry. When Zeus in divine repose sits on Olympus
and looks down on men, he is moved to mirth (opucov cf)peva Tep-yjro-
/u,aL, II. 20, 23), then laughs the blessed heart of him {iyeXaa-ae Se
01 <^l\ov rjTop, 21, 389) ; which is exactly the Eddie ' hlo honum
hugr i briosti, hlo HlorriGa liugr i briosti,' laughed the mind in his
breast : a fresh confirmation of the essential oneness of Zeus and
Thorr. But it is also said of heroes : ' hlo ]?a Atla hugr i briosti,'
Seem. 238^ ' hlo ];a, Brynhildr af ollum hug,' with all her heart
22 0^ OS. ' hugi ward fromod,' Hel. 109, 7. AS. ' mod ahloh,'
Andr. 454. Later, in the EudHeb 2, 174. 203. 3, 17 the king in
his speech is said subridcre ; in the Nibel. 423, 2 of Brunhild:
' mit smielinden mnnde si liber ahsel sah,' looked over her shoulder.
Often in the song of the Cid: ' sonrisose de la boca,' and ' alegre era'.^
0v/j,o<; Idvdrj, IL 23, 600 ; conf. Ovfiov Xatvov, Hymn, in Cer. 435.
Plalf in displeasure Here laughs with her lips, not her brows :
ijeXaacre 'y^etXeaiv, ovSe fiercoTrov evr' ocjipvai Kvaverjaiv lavOrj, 11.
15, 102 ; but Zeus feels joy in sending out his lightnings, he is
called T€p7TLKepavvo<; 2, 781. 8, 2. 773. 20, 144. So Artemis
(Diana) is lo-x^eaipa, rejoicing in arrows, 6, 428. 21, 480. Od. 11,
198, At the limping of Hephaestus, the assembly of gods bursts
into acr/Seo-To^ yeXco^, uncontrolled laughter, II. 1, 599 ; but a gentle
smile (/MeiSai') is peculiar to Zeus, Here and Aj^hrodite, As

^ Andreas mid Elene p. xxxvii.

^ Helbl. 7, 518 : diu warheit des crlachet, truth lauglis at that.

Ml Kill. GAIT. PACE, 62^

Aphrodite's beauty is expressed by ^iX.o/x/zetS/j's', smile-loving (II. 4,
10. 5, 375), so is Freyja's on the contrary by ' gnltfogT/ fair in
weeping (see Suppl.).

We have to consider next the manner in which the gods put
themselves in motion and become visible to the eyes of mortals.
We find they have a gait and step like the human, only far mightier
and swifter. The usual expressions are /3f;, ^>} i/jLev, ^Pi levui, II.
1, 44. 2, 14. 14, 188. 24, 347, /S6^/?«ei 1, 221, e^r) 14, 224, ^drr^v
o, 778, ^y^Tqv 14, 281, TToo-fc irpo^i^d'i 13, 18, 7rpoa€l3/]a6To 2, 48.
14, 292, KarelS/jaeTo 13, 17, aire^i^aero 2, 35 ; and in the Edda
gcnfjr, Sa^m. 9% gek 100% gengo 70'' 71^ gengengo 1^ 5% or else /or
SP 31^^ 53^ 75% this fara meaning no more than ire, proficisci, and
OSinn was even called Gangleri, S^em. 32. Sn. 24, i.e., the walker,
traveller ; the AS. poets use geiocit (evasit, abiit) or sidode of God
returning to heaven, Andr. 118. 225. 977. El. 94-5. But how
enormously the walk of the gods differs from the common, we see
in the instance of Poseidon, who goes an immense distance in three
steps, II. 13, 20, or that of the Indian Vishnu, who in three paces
traverses earth, air and sky. From such swiftness there follows
next the sudden ajjpcarance and disappearance of the gods; for
wliich our older speech seems to have used Goth, hvairban, OHG.
Imerban, AS. hweorfan (verti, ferri, rotari) : ' hivcarf him to
heofenum lullig dryhten ' says Credm. IG, 8 ; and ' OGinn livarf ];a,'
vanished. Stem. 47. Homer employs, to express the same thing,
either the verb ataaw (impetu feror), or the adverbs KapiraXifxco'i
(as if ap7ra\ifxo)<; raptim) and Kpanrvco'i raptim. Thus Athene
or Here comes al^aGa, Od. 1, 102. H. 2, 167. 4, 74. 19, 114.
22, 187 ; Thetis, the dream, Atliene, Here, all a[)pear KapTrdXi'p.co'i,
H. 1, 359. 2, 17. 1G8. 5, 8G8. 19, 115. Od. 2, 40G ; Fuseidon
and Here KpatTrvd, KpaLirvo)<^, II. 13, 18. 14. 292 ; even Zeus, when
he rises from his throne to look on the earth, arrrj dvai^a<i 15, 6.
So Holda and Berhta suddcnUj stand at the window (p. 274). IMuch
in the same way I understand the expression used in Sa3m. 53''^ of
Thorr and Tyr : foro driugom (ibant tractim, raptim, eXfcrjSov), for
driugr is from driuga, Goth, driugan trahere, whence also Goth,
drauhts, OHG. truht turba, agmen, ON. drangr larva, phantasma,
OHG. gitroc fallacia, because a spectre appears and vanishes
quickly in the air. At the same time it means the rush and din


that betoken the god's approach, the woma and omi above, from
which OSinn took a name (p. 144-5). The rapid movement of
descending gods is sometimes likened to a shooting star, or the
flight of birds, II. 4, 75. 15, 93. 237 ; hence they often take even
the form of some bird, as Tharapila the Osilian god flew (p. 77).
Athene flies away in the shape of a apirr] (falcon ?), II. 19, 350, an
6pvi<; bird, Od. 1, 320, or a ^/pr] osprey, 3, 372 ; as a swallow she
perches (e^er' avat^acra) on the house's fiekaOpov 22, 239. The
exchange of the human form for that of a bird, when the gods are
departing and no longer need to conceal their wondrous being,
tallies exactly with OSin's taking his flight as a falcon, after he
had in the shape of Gestr conversed and quarrelled with Hei'Sreckr:
viSbrast i vols liki, Fornald. sog. 1, 487 ; but it is also retained in
many stories of the devil, who assumes at departure the body of a
raven or a fly (exit tanquam corvus, egressus est in muscae
similitudine). At other times, and this is the prettier touch of the
two, the gods allow the man to whom they have appeared as his
equals, suddenly as they are going, to become aware of their divine
proportions : heel, calf, neck or shoulder betrays the god. When
Poseidon leaves the two Ajaxes, one of them says, II. 13, 71 :
i-Xyca yap fieroTriade ttoBwv i]Be Kvrjfiawv
peV ejvcov air i6 vt o<; • dpiyvcoToi, Se deoi irep.
So, when Venus leaves Aeneas, Virg. 1, 402 :

Dixit, et avcrtens rosea cervice refulsit
et vera incessu patuit dea. Ille ubi matrem
agnovit, ta\i fugientem est voce secutus.
So, II. 3, 396, Alexander recognises the

6ed<; irepiKaWea ceipi]v,
arrjOed 6^ ifiepoevTa koI ofi/xaTa /xap/xaipovra.
And in ON. legend, Hallbiurn on awaking sees the shoulder of a
figure in his dream before it vanishes : }?ykist sia a herSar honum,
Fornald. sog. 3, 103 ; as is likewise said in Olaf the saint's sagr
cap. 199. ed. Holm., while the Fornm. sog. 5, 38 has it: sia svi,
mannsins er a brutt gekk ; conf. os humerosque deo similis, Aen. 1
589. This also lingers in our devil-stories: at the Evil one's
departure his cloven hoof suddenly becomes visible, the 'L-xyia of
the ancient god.

As the incessus of Venus declared the goddess, the motion (Jd/jLo)
of Here and Athene is likened to that of timorous doves, II. 5, 778,


But the gliding of the gods over such immense distances must have
seemed from first to last like flying, especially as their departure
was expressly prepared for by the assumption of a bird's form. It
is therefore easy to comprehend why two several deities, Hermes
and Athene, are provided witli peculiar sandals {jreZiXa), wliose
motive power conveys them over sea and land with the speed of
wind, II. 24, 341. Od. 1, 97. 5, 45 ; we are expressly told that
Hermes flew with them {irerero, II. 24, 345. Od. 5, 49) ;
plastic art represents them as winged shoes, and at a later time adds
a pair of wings to the head of Hermes.^ These winged sandals
then have a perfect right to be placed side by side with the feather-
shift (fiaSrhamr) which Freyja possessed, and which at Thor's
request she lent to Loki for his flight to lotunheim, Sa^m. 70=^'^ ;
but as Freyja is more than once confounded with Frigg (p. 302),
other legends tell us that Loki flew off in the ' valsham Friggjar,'
Sn. 113. I shall come back to these falcon or swan coats in
another connexion, but their resemblance to the Greek pedila
is unmistakable; as Loki is here sent as a messenger from tlie
gods to the giants, he is so far one with Hermes, and Freyja's

Online LibraryJacob GrimmTeutonic mythology (Volume 1) → online text (page 34 of 46)