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feather-shift suG;£rests the sandals of Athene, Sn. 132-7: 'Loki
§,tti shijba, er hann rann d lopt oh log' had shoes in which he ran
through air and fire. It was an easy matter, in a myth, for the
investiture with winged hamr or sandals to glide insensibly into
an actual assumption of a bird's form : GeirroSr catches the flying
Loki as a veritable bird, Sn. 113, and when Athene starts to fly,
she is a swallow (see Suppl.).

The mighty gods would doubtless have moved whithersoever it
pleased them, without wings or sandals, but simple antiquity was
not content with even these : the human race used carriages and
horses, and the gods cannot do without them either. On this point
a sensible difference is to be found between the Greek and German

All the higher divinities of the Greeks have a chariot and pair
ascribed to them, as their kings and heroes in battle also fight in
chariots. An 6xni^(^ for the god of thunder would at once be
suggested by the natural phenomenon itself ; and the conception of
the sun-chariot driven by Helios must also be very ancient. Tlie

' 0. Miiller's archaeol. 559.


car of Here, and how she harnesses her steeds to it, mounts it in
company with Athene, and guides it, is gorgeously depicted in II.
5, 720-76 ; so likewise Demeter and Kora appear seated in a
carriage. Hermes is drawn by rams,^ as the Norse Thorr [by he-
goats]. The Okeanides too have their vehicle, Aesch, Prom. 135.
But never are Zeus, Apollo, Hermes or any of the most ancient
gods imagined riding on horseback ; it is Dionysos, belonging to a
different order of deities, that first rides a panther, as Silenus does
the ass, and godlike heroes such as Perseus, Theseus, and above all,
the Dioscuri are mounted on horses. Okeanos bestrides a winged
steed, Prom. 395. It seems worth remarking, that modern Greek
legend represents even Charon as mounted.

In Teutonic mythology the riding of gods is a far commoner
thing. In the Merseburg poem both Wuotan and Phol ride in the
forest, which is not at all inconsistent with the word used, ' faran ' ;
for it is neither conceivable that Wuotan drove while Balder rode,
nor that Balder drove a one-horse carriage. Even Hartmann von
Aue still imagines God riding a horse, and contented with Euit for
his groom (p. 18). Among those that ride in the Edda are OSinn
(who saddles his Sleipnir for himself, Sa^m. 93''), Baldr and
HermoSr ; in Sfem. 44=^ and Sn. 18 are given the names of ten other
horses as well, on which the Ases daily ride to council, one of them
being Heimdall's Gulltoppr, Sn. 30. 66 ; the owners of the rest are
not specified, but, as there were twelve Ases and only eleven horses
are named, it follows that each of those gods had his mount, except
Thorr, who is invariably introduced either driving or walking (p.
167), and when he gets Gullfaxi as spoil from Hrungnir, gives him
away to his son Magni, Sn. 110. OSin's horse leaps a hedge seven
ells high, Eornm. sog. 10, 56. 175. Even tlie women of the gods
are mounted : the valkyrs, like O'Sinn, ride through air and water,
Sn. 107, Ereyja and Hyndla on a boar and a wolf, as enchantresses
and witches are imagined riding a wolf, a he-goat or a cat. Night
(fem.) had a steed Hrimfaxi, rimy-mane, as Day (masc.) had
Skinfaxi, shiny-mane.

At the same time carriages are mentioned too, especially for
goddesses (p. 107). The sacred car of Nerthus was drawn by cows,
that of Ereyja by cats, Holda and Berhta are commonly found
driving waggons which they get mended, the fairies in our nursery-

1 0. MuUer's archosol. 563.

VEHICLES. iionsES. 329

tales travel tlirougli the air in coaclies, and Brynliiklr drives in her
■wa<T"on to the nether world, Sicm. 227. The imafre of a Gothic
deity in a waggon was alluded to on p. 107 ; among the gods,
Freyr is expressly described as mounted on his car, while Thorr
has a waggon drawn by he-goats : on Woden's waggon, conf. p.
151 (see SuppL).

When we consider, that waggons were proper to the oldest
kings also, especially the Frankish kings, and that their riding on
horseback is nowhere mentioned ; it seems probable that originally
a similar equipage was alone deemed suitable to the gods, and their
riding crept in only gradually in the coarser representations of later
times. From heroes it was transferred to gods, though this must
have been done pretty early too, as we may venture to allow a
considerable antiquity to the story of Sleipnir and that of l)alder's
horse or foal. The Slavs also generally furnished their god
Svantovit with a horse to ride on.

Some few divinities made use of a ship, as may be seen by the
stories of Athene's ship and that of Isis, and Frey's SkiSblaSnir,
the best of all ships. Stem. 45^

But whichever way the gods might move, on earth, through air
or in water, their walk and tread, their riding and driving is
represented as so vehement, that it produces a loud noise, and the
din of the elements is explained by it. The driving of Zeus or
Thorr awakens thunder in the clouds ; mountains and forests
tremble beneath Poseidon's tread, II. 13, 18 ; when Apollo lets
himself down from the heights of Olympus, arrows and bow clatter
(eKXay^av) on his shoulder 1, 44, Betvr) Se KXajyr] yiver'' dpyupeoio
^Lolo, dreadful was the twang of his silver bow 1, 49. In the lays
of the Edda this stirring up of nature is described in exactly the
same way, while the AS. and OHG. writings, owing to the earlier
extinction of heathen notions, have preserved no traces of it :
' framm reiS OSinn, foldvegr dundi,' forth rode 0., earth's \vay
thundered, Sa^m. 94^ ; ' biorg brotnoSo, brann iorS loga, ok OSins
sonr i lotunheima,' mountains crumbled, earth blazed, when rode,
&c, 73=" ; ' flo Loki, fiaSrhamr dundi,' the wing-coat whirred, 70=*
71=" ; * iorS bifaz (quaked), enn aUir for scialfa garSar Gymis ' when
Skirnir came riding 83\ The rage and writhing of gods who were
bound produced equally tremendous effects (p. 24G).


On the other hand, delightful and salutary products of nature
are also traced to the mimediate influence of the gods. Flowers
spring up where their feet have strayed ; on the spot where Zeus
clasped Here in his arms, shot up a thick growth of sweet herbs
and flowers, and glittering dewdrops trickled down, II. 14, 346 — 51.
So, when the valkyrs rode through the air, their horses' manes
shook fruitful dew on the deep vales below, Seem. 145'' ; or it falls
nightly from the bit of Hrimfaxi's bridle 32^ (see SuppL).

Of one thing there is scarcely a trace in our mythology, thougli
it occurs so often in the Greek : that the gods, to screen themselves
from sight, shed a mist round themselves or their favourites who
are to be withdrawn from the enemy's eye, II. 3, 381. 5, 776. 18,
205. 21, 549. 597. It is called rjept, KaXxrmeiv, rjepa xeti', a-)(\.vv or
ve(^o<i (T-ecpecv, and the contrary a^Xw a-Kehd^etv to scatter, chase
away, the mist. We might indeed take this into account, that the
same valkyrs who, like the Servian vily, favour and shield their
beloved heroes in battle, were able to produce clouds and hail in
the air ; or throw into the reckoning our tarnkappes and helidhelms,
whose effect was the same as that of the mist. And the Norse
gods do take part with or against certain heroes, as much as the
Greek gods before Ilion. In the battle of Bravik, OSinn mingled
with the combatants, and assumed the figure of a charioteer Bruni ;
Saxo Gram., p. 146. Fornald. sog. 1, 380. The Grimnismal makes
GeirroSr the protege (fostri) of OSinn, Agnarr that of Frigg, and
the two deities take counsel together concerning them, Saem. 39 ; in
the Vols, saga cap. 42, OSinn suggests the plan for slaying the sons
of lonakr. The Greek gods also, when they drew nigh to counsel
or defend, appeared in the form of a human warrior, a herald, an
old man, or they made themselves known to their hero himself,
but not to others. In such a case they stand before, heside or
behind him {Trapd, II. 2, 279. eyyvdi, Od. 1, 120. dyxoO, II. 2, 172.
3, 129. 4, 92. 5, 123. irpoaeev 4, 129. oindev 1, 197) ; Athene leads
by the hand through the battle, and wards the arrows off 4, 52 ;
she throws the dreadful £egis round Achilles 18, 204 ; Aphrodite
shields Aeneas by holding her veil before him 5, 315; and other
heroes are removed from the midst of the fray by protecting
deities (p. 320). Venus makes herself visible to Hippomenes alone,
Ovid Met. 10, 650. Now they appear in friendly guise, Od. 7, 201


seq. ; now clothed in terror : ■)(a\e7rol Be deol ^aiveadat ivapyeK,

II. 20, 131 (see SuppL).

The Iliad, 14, 28G seq., relates ho\v"T7r^o<? (sleep), sitting in the
shape of a song-bird on the boughs of a fir-tree on Mt. Ida, over-
powers the highest of all the gods ; other passages show that the
gods went to their beds every night, and partook like men of the
benefit of sleep, II. 1, 609. 2, 2. 24, G77. Still less can it be
doubted of the Norse gods, that they too slept at night : Thorr on
his journeys looks out for night-lodging, Sn. 50 ; of Heimdall alone
is it said, that he needs less sleep than a bird, Sn. 30. And from
this sway of sleep over the gods follows again, what was maintained
above, that of death : Death is the brother of Sleep. Besides, the
gods fell a prey to diseases. Freyr was sick with love, and his
great hugsott (mind-sickness) awakened the pity of all the gods.
OSinn, NiorSr and Freyr, according to the Yngl. saga 10. 11. 12, all
sink under sicknesses (sottdauSir). Aphrodite and Ares receive
wounds, II. 5, 330. 858 ; these are quickly healed [yet not without
medical aid]. A curious story tells how the Lord God, having
fallen sick, descends from heaven to earth to get cured, and comes
to Arras ; there minstrels and merryandrews receive commands to
amuse him, and one manages so cleverly, that the Lord bursts out
laughing and finds himself rid of his distemper.^ Tliis may be very
ancient ; for in the same way, sick daughters of kings in nursery-
talcs are made to laugh by beggars and fiddlers, and so is the
goddess SkaSi in the Edda by Loki's juggling tricks, when mourning
the death of her father, Sn. 82. lambe cheered the sorrowing
Demeter, and caused her, ttoWcL irapaaKOiTnovaa, fieiSfjaac jeXdaai
re, Koi XXaov (ryelv dvfMov, Hymn, in Cer. 203 (see Suppl.).

Important above all are the similar accounts, given by Greek
antiquity and by our own, of the language of the gods. Thus,
passages in the Iliad and the Odyssey distinguish between the
divine and liuman names for the same object :

ov BpLupeoiv KokeovcTL deol, dvSpe<; Se re Traz^re?

Acyalcou. II. 1, 403.

rrjp ^Tot avSpe<i Bariecav KLK\rj(jKovaLv,

^ De la veiine de Dieu i Arras, in Jubinal's Nouveaii recueil de contcs 2,


aOdvajot Si re arjfjia 7ro\v(7Kup9/jLOio Mupu'7]<;. 2, 813.
^aX/ci'Sa KiK\y](TKOvai, 6eoi, civhpe^ he ku/jllvSlv. 14, 291.
OP aavOov KoXeovai deoi, ciphpe<i Se ^Kci/jiavSpov. 20, 74.^
fjLoiKv Se /.itv Kokiovcrc OeoL Ocl. 10, 305.
A whole song in the Edda is taken up with comparing the languages,
not only of gods and men, but of Vanir, elves, dwarfs, giants and
subterraneans, and that not in a few proper names and rare words,
but in a whole string of names for the commonest objects. At the
very outset it surprises us, that while goS and ffisir are treated as
synonymous, a distinction is drawn between goS and giuregin. In
13 strophes are given 78 terms in all: on examining these, it soon
appears that the variety of names (six) for each thing simply comes
of the richness of the Teutonic tongue, and cannot possibly be
ascribed to old remnants or later borrowings from any Finnic,
Celtic or Slavic languages. They are synonyms or poetic names,
which are distributed among six or eight orders of beings endowed
with speech, according to the exigencies of alliteration, not from
their belonging to the same class, such as poetical or prose. I will
illustrate this by quoting the strophe on the names for a cloud :
scy heitir meS monnom, en scl),rvdn meS goSom,
kalla vindfiot Vanir,
llrvdn iotnar, alfar ve&rmcgin,
kalla i heljo liidhn huliz.
Everything here is Teutonic, and still the resources of our language
are not exhausted by a long way, to say nothing of what it may
have borrowed from others. The only simple word is sky, still
used in the Scandinavian dialects, and connected with skuggi umbra,
AS. scuwa, scua, OHG. scuwo. The rest are all appropriate and
intelligible periphrases. Scurvan [shower-weening] pluviae expec-
tatio, from skur imber, Germ, schauer ; urvan just the same, from
ur pluvia, with which compare the literal meaning of Sanskr.
abhra nubes, viz. aquam gerens.^ Vindfiot is apparently navigium
venti, because the winds sail through the air on clouds. VeSrmegin
transposed is exactly the OIlGr. maganwetar turbo ; and hifdmr

1 Perhaps we ouglit also to reckon aleros and jrepKvos 24, 316, which is no
mere eV/KXr/o-is: as in 't, 138. 18, 487 (Od. 5, 273). 22, 29. 506, though 'Aarvdva^
in this last passage happens to have 2Kafidv8pios (6, 402) answering to it, as
3dv6os has ^Kanaudpos.

" Bopp, gloss, sanskr. 16=^ 209*.


Iiuliz appears elsewhere as luilizhialmr, OS. lielith-lielm, a tavn-
lielmet, grima, mask, which \\Taps one in like a mist or cloud. Of
course the Teutonic tongue could offer several other Avords to stand
for cloud, beside those six ; e.g., nifl, OHG. nelial, Lat. nebula. Or.
ve(f)e\r] ; Goth, niilhrna, Swed. moln, Dan. mulm ; Sansk. megha,
Gr. 6^i-)(\.r}, 6/jli)(\.7], Slav, mogla ; OHG. wolchan, AS. wolcen, wliich
is to Slav, oblako as miluk, milk, to Slav, mleko ; OX. ]?oka nebula,
Dan. taage ; M.Dut. swerk nubes, OS. gisuerc, caligo, nimbus ; AS.
hoSma nubes, Beow. 4911. And so it is with the other twelve
objects whose names are discussed in the Alvisnial. Where simple
words, like sol and sunna, mani and skin, or iord and fold, are
named together, one might attempt to refer them to different
dialects : the periphrases in themselves show no reason (unless
mythology found one for them), why they should be assigned in
particular to gods or men, giants or dwarfs. The whole poem
brings before us an acceptable list of pretty synonyms, but throws
no light on the primitive affinities of our language.

I'lato in the Cratylus tries hard to understand that division of
Greek words into divine and human. A duality of proper names,
like Briareos and Aigaion, reminds us of the double forms Hler and
Oegir (p. 240), Ymir and Oergelmir, which last Sn. 6 attributes to the
Hrinijnirses ; ISunn would seem by Saam. 89'*' to be an Elvish
word, but we do not hear of any other name for the goddess. In
the same way Xanthus and Skamander, Batieia and IMyrina might
be the different names of a thing in different dialects. More
interesting are the doulile names for two birds, the 'xjaXid'^ or
KVfiLvBi<; (conf. Plin. 10, 10), and the alero^ and irepKvo^. Xa\Ki<i
is supposed to signify some bird of prey, a hawk or owl, which does
not answer to the description 6pvi,<; \iyvpd (piping), and the myth
requires a bird that in sweet and silvery tones sings one to sleep,
like the nightingale. ITep/ci'o? means dark-coloured, which suits
the eagle ; to imagine it the bird of the thundergod Perkun, would
be too daring. Poetic periphrases there are none among these
Greek words.

The principal point seems to be, that the popular beliefs of
Greeks and Teutons agree in tracing obscure words and those
departing from common usage to a distinction between divine and
human speech. The Greek scholiasts suppose that the poet,
holding converse with the Muses, is initiated into the language of


gods,^ and wliere he finds a twofold nomenclature, he ascribes the
older, nobler, more euphonious (to Kpeirrov, ev<f>cDvov, Trpoyevia -
repov ouofia) to the gods, the later and meaner (to ekarTov, /xera-
yeularepov) to men. But tlie four or five instances in Homer are
even less instructive than the more numerous ones of the Norse
lay. Evidently the opinion was firmly held, that the gods, though
of one and the same race with mortals, so far surpassed living men
in age and dignity, that they still made use of words which had
latterly died out or suffered change. As the line of a king's
ancestors was traced up to a divine stock, so the language of gods
was held to be of the same kind as that of men, but riglit feeling
would assign to the former such words as had gradually disappeared
among men. The Alvismal, as we have seen, goes farther, and
reserves particular words for yet other beings beside the gods ;
what I maintained on p. 218 about the impossibility of denying the
Yanir a Teutonic origin, is confirmed by our present inquiry. — That
any other nation, beside Greeks and Teutons, believed in a separate
language of gods, is unknown to me, and the agreement of these
two is the more significant. When Ovid in Met. 11, 640 says :
Hunc Icelon supcri, mortale Phobetora vulgus nominat, this is
imitated from the Greeks, as the very names" show (see Suppl.).
The Indians trace nothing but their alphabet , (devanagari, deva-
writing), as our forefathers did the mystery of runes (p. 149), to a
divine origin, and the use of the symbol may be connected with
that of the sound itself; with the earliest signs, why should not
the purest and oldest expressions too be attributed to gods ?
Homer's e-nea •mepoevra (winged words) belong to heroes and other
men as well as to gods, else we might interpret them strictly of the
ease and nimbleness with which the gods wield the gift of speeck

Beside language, the gods have customs in common with men.
They love song and play, take delight in hunting, war and banquets,
and the goddesses in ploughing, weaving, spinning ; both of them
keep servants and messengers. Zeus causes all the other gods to be
summoned to the assembly [dyopi], II. 8, 2. 20, 4), just as the Ases

^ cos fiov(TOTpa(f)ris Koi ras irapa 6eois fTri(TTaTai Xf'^fiy, otSf rfjv rcov oeStv
btaXeKTOv, olSf ra tcop Bewv {ovofxara), <i>s inro (xovcraiv KaraTrvfofifvos. vtktov 6
iroirjTfjs fiei^ai on ^ovcrdXT/TTToy tariv, oii fiovov ra Toav dvOpuTrwv ovofiara iTray-
yiXkeTai tlSivai, dXX* wcrTrep koi ol 6eoi Xtyovai,


attend at the J?ing (Soera. 93^), on the rokstola, and by the Yggdra-
sill (Sxm. 1^ 2^ 44"*), to counsel and to judge. Hehe, youth, is
cupbearer of the gods and handmaid to Here (II. 5, 722), as FuUa
is to Frigg (Sn. 36) ; the youth Ganymede is cupbearer too, and so
is Beyla at the feast of the Ases (Stem. 67^^); Skirnir is Frey's
shoemaker (81) and messenger, Beyggvir and Beyla are also called
liis servants (59). These services do no detriment to their own
divine nature. Beside Hermes, the goddess Iris goes on errands
for the Greek gods (see Suppl.).

Among the gods themselves there is a difference of rani: Three
sons of Kronos have the world divided among them, the sky is
allotted to Zeus, the sea to Poseidon, hell to Hades, and the earth
they are supposed to share between them (H. 15, 193). These
three tower above all the rest, like Har, lafnhar and ThriSi in tlie
Norse religion, the triad spoken of on p. 162. This is not the same
thing as ' Wuotan, Donar, Ziu,' if only because the last two are not
brothers but sons of "VVuotan, although these pass for the three
mightiest gods. Then, together with this triad, we become aware
of a circle of twelve (p. 26), a close circle from which some of the
gods are excluded. Another division, that into old and neiv gods,
does not by any means coincide with this : not only OSinn and his
Ases, but also Zeus and his colleagues, appear as upstarts^ to have
supplanted older gods of nature (see Suppl.).

All the divinities, Greek and Norse, have offices and function
assigned them, which define their dominion, and have had a marked
influence on tlieir pictorial representation. In Sn. 27 — 29 these
offices are specified, each with the words : ' hann ra-Sr fyrir (he
looks after),' or ' a hann skal heita til, er gott at heita til (to him
you shall i)ray for, it is good to pray for) '. Now, as any remnants
of Greek or Teutonic paganism in the ]\Iid. Ages were sure to
connect themselves with some christian saints, to whom the
protection of certain classes or the healing of certain diseases was
carried over, it is evident that a careful classification of these
guardian saints according to the offices assigned them, on the
strengtli of which they are good to pray to,^ would be of advan-
tage to our antiquities. And the animals dedicated to each

^ Aesch. Prom. 439 Bto'icri to'h veois, 955 vtov vloi Kpare'trf, 9G0 rovs viovs
Giovs. Eumen. 156. 748. 799 ol vtwrepoi 6eoL Conf. Otlr. Muller,n). 181.
'■' Conf. Haupt's zeitschr. fiir d. alt. 1, 143-4.


deified saint (as once tliey were to gods) would liave to be sjDecified

The favourite residence of each god is particularly pointed out
in the Grtmuismal ; mountains especially were consecrated to the
Teutonic, as to the Greek deities : Sigt^sberg, Himinbiorg, &c.
Olympus was peculiarly the house of Zeus (zJio? Sw/ia), to which
the other gods assembled (II. 1, 494) ; on the highest peak of the
range he would sit apart {ccrep aXkwv 1, 498. 5, 753), loving to take
counsel alone (aTrdvevOe Oedv 8, 10). He had another seat on Ida
(11, 183. 336), whence he looked down to survey the doings of men,
as 05inn did from HliSscialf. Poseidon sat on a height in the
wooded range of Samos (13, 12). Valholl and Bilskirnir, the
dwellings of Oijinn and Thorr, are renowned for their enormous
size ; the one is said to have 540 doors, through any one of which
800 einheriar can go out at once, and Bilskirnir has likewise 540
' golfe ' [ON. golfr, floor] (see Suppl.).

If now we take in one view the relations of gods and men, we
find they meet and touch at all points. As the created being is
filled with a childlike sense of its dependence on the creator, and
prayers and offerings implore his favour, so deity too delights in its
creations, and takes in them a fatherly interest. Man's longing
goes forth towards heaven ; the gods fix their gaze on the earth, to
watch and direct the doings of mortals. The blessed gods do
commune with each other in their heavenly abodes, where feasts
and revels go on as in earthly fashion ; but they are more drawn to
men, whose destinies enlist their liveliest sympathy. It is not true,
what Mart. Cap. says 2, 9 : ipsi dicuntur dii, et caelites alias
perhibentur . . . nee admodum eos mortalium curarum vota
sollicitant, airaOehciwe perhibentur. Not content with making
their will known by signs and messengers, they resolve to come
down themselves and appear to men. Such appearance is in the
Hindu mythology marked by a special name : avatdra, i.e., de-


Under this head come first the solemn car-proecssions of deities
heralding peace and fruitfulness or war and mischief, which for the
most part recur at stated seasons, and are associated with popular
festivals ; on the fall of heathenism, only motherly wise-women

^ Eopp's gloss, sansk. 21^.


still go their rounds, and heroes ride through field or air. More
rarely, and not at regular intervals, there take place journeys of
gods through the world, singly or in twos or threes, to inspect the
race of man, and punish the crimes they have noticed. Thus
Mercury and OSinn appeared on earth, or Heimdall to found the
three orders, and Thorr visited at weddings ; OSinn, Hoenir and
Loki travelled in company ; medieval legend makes God the
Father seek a lodging, or the Saviour and St. Peter, or merely
three angels (as the Servian song does, Vuk 4, no. 3). Most
frequent however are the solitary a^ipearanccs of gods, who, invoked
or uninvoked, suddenly bring succour to their favoured ones in
every time of need ; the Greek epos is quite full of this. Athene,
Poseidon, Ares, Aphrodite mingle with the warriors, warning,
advising, covering ; and just as often do jNIary and saints from
heaven appear in christian legends. The Lithuanian Perkunos also
walks on earth (see Suppl.).

But when they descend, they are not always visible ; you may
hear the car of the god rush by, and not get sight of him bodily ;
like ghosts the blessed gods flit past the human eye unnoticed, till
the obstructive mist be removed from it. Athene seizes Achilles
by the hair, only by him and no other is she seen, II, 1, 197 ; to
make the succouring deities visible to Diomed, she has ' taken the
mist from his eyes, that was on them before ' 5, 127 :

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