Friday, November 18, 2016

Did Norse Pagans Regard Odin's Kingship in Uppsala Region, and his Stepson Frey's as Historically Real?

CMI* made an excellent argument about the Flood account in Sumerian and Akkadian sources.

Did the Mesopotamians regard the Flood as historically real? This can be answered affirmatively. First, the Sumerian King List (SKL) attests this, when at the end of a list of eight antediluvian kings reigning for a total of 241,200 years (!) there comes a note: “The Flood then swept over the land. After the Flood had swept over (the land) and kingship had descended from heaven (a second time) Kish became (the seat) of kingship.”19 This occurs in what for the Sumerians and Akkadians was a sober list of historical kings. Indeed, many of the post-Diluvian kings are now known to be figures of history and not mere legend, including Gilgamesh of Uruk himself.20

Then there is the Dynastic Chronicle, another Sumerian text, which, although fragmentary, is similar to the SKL, but which included an excursus describing the Flood. This excursus of at least eleven lines is unfortunately not preserved, but the first word or two began this description.21

Two King lists which parallel each other both say that Flood was real, therefore it is so?

Well, two king lists from Norse sources (Icelander Snorre and Dane Saxo) say that the reign of the Æsir in Upsala region was real too!

Note, I say "in Upsala region", for two reasons.

  • Today's Upsala, which was a Catholic and is a Lutheran Cathedral (vs "Cathedral", same building though) is further West and was originally called Östra Aros.** The place where Æsir came is known as Gamla Upsala (Old Upsala or Elder Upsala).
  • Odin didn't even come to Elder Upsala as a city already there, it was his stepson Frey who actually founded it.

Snorre tells the story of their coming twice. In the Prologue of the Edda, it is easy to overlook. The rest of the Edda (properly so called, since Poetic Edda didn't bear that name) deals with creation mythologies of divinites (including a Flood before creation of Earth and of mankind!) and of heroics legends which would have taken place at latest during Völkerwanderung, when Old Norse no more existed than Shakespear's English did in King Alfred's time***

But he tells of their story another time too. Here the context is NOT mythological. Odin, Thor and Frey are not cited as sources of Gylfi, like the nine Muses for Hesiod, but they are cited as starting a series of kings.

This series of kings is also cited as including the son of Frey, Fjölner, a man clearly human, since he drowned in a vat of hydromel. In other words, the first man of that family not to be divinised by Swedes°. This hydromel drowning episode was at the court of a Danish King, Frode°°, qualified both as Fred-Frode (Peace Froda) and as Frode Haddingson, and qualifed as contemporary of Caesar Augustus.

Saxo too in his Danish king list has two diverse Frode, namely Frode I who was Frode Haddingson, the host of Fjölner, and Frode II who was Fred-Frode, contempporary of Caesar Augustus.

Saxo does not agree the only king before Odin's arrival (a generation before Fjölner and Frode) known in Sweden was Gylfe. I think (but would have to check) he does not even agree the Yngling descendants of Odin remained in Upsala after Odin and Frey, or not unchallenged. He recounts a war with, I think a rival Swedish dynasty, in which Odin's son Balder is killed in battle - and the mourning of Balder is, on the other hand, of proportions like the mythological ones.

But, in both narrators, differing as they are otherwise, Odin and Frey start a series of Kings which includes Frey's son Fjölner, and, in both narrators, too, this is in the region of Upsala - which one of them, I think Saxo was the one I checked latest, considers to have been founded by Frey.

And in both narrators the Danish kings are NOT supposed to come from a line starting with Odin ruling in Denmark. Funny that Danish Pagans agreed on that one before becoming Christians, if that was just fiction? Sure, Odin is said to be father of Sköld, grandfather of Hadding (or was there a Halfdan in between?), and ancestor of Frode. But he is not said to have reigned there, and Frey is totally not said to be even directly connected in earthly terms with the Danish kings.

That is why I believe the Asar (Swedish version of Æsir) coming to that region is a historic event. The late Thor Heyerdahl, most famous for the Kon-Tiki expedition, alas a neo-Pagan after an apostasy in the teens, after what I read, thought so too. He looked for their ancestors or origin at the Black Sea.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Dedication of Sts Peter and Paul
Basilicas in Rome

Romae Dedicatio Basilicarum sanctorum Petri et Pauli Apostolorum. Earum primam, restitutam in ampliorem formam, Summus Pontifex Urbanus Octavus consecravit hac ipsa recurrente die; alteram vero, miserando incendio penitus consumptam, ac magnificentius reaedificatam, Pius, Nonus die decima Decembris solemni ritu consecravit, ejusque annuam commemorationem hodierna die agendam indixit.

* CMI : Gilgamesh and the biblical Flood—part 2
by Murray R. Adamthwaite

With its footnotes for the paragraph:

19 Kramer, S.N., The Sumerians, University of Chicago, p. 328, 1963.

20 See discussion in Kramer, ref. 19, pp. 45–49.

21 Grayson, A.K., Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, Eisenbrauns, pp. 41 and 139, 2000.

** If fans of George R. R. Martin thinks it rings a bell, Östra Aros is east of a lake and Westra Aros, now Westerås (but you could spell it Westeros!) is west of same lake.

*** A time falling about midway between Sigurd and Snorre writing of him, or, if Sigurd after all was a fiction, of his near contemporaries Gunnar (Gunthari) and Tjodrik (Theoderik) and Snorre writing of them.

° The Norwegian dynasty of which Snorre is writing, started with Odin in Sweden and ended with the halfbrother of Saint Olaf in Norway. Between that, the last of the direct line to rule in Sweden was Ingjald "Illråda" (the ill counselled, the ill-counselling, the deceitful), his son knew he couldn't stay there after what his father had done, so Olof "Trätelgja" (wood crafter) settled in Wermland (as yet not part of Sweden) and his descendants in Norway, up to Saint Olaf and his half brother.

°° ON Fróði, AS Froda, Lat Frotho, borrowed by Tolkien as Frodo for quite another person, and a fictive one at that ...

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