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Author Topic: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes  (Read 1070 times)

Vixen

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Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« on: March 15, 2017, 12:09:52 pm »
I've been doing some research into the Gods that were worshipped in the area that I live in and I come across several Gods that have the same name but are different and are somewhat intermixed with other Gods.
I'm confused...

An altarstone for Mars Halamardus was found near the town where I live. When I research him I find a reference in the Encyclopedia of Norse and Germanic Myth Folklore and Magic that states that oftentimes Mars can be seen as a Roman interpretation of Tyr, like Mars Thingsus. But Mars Halamardus is most likely not?

How can you have multiple gods called Mars, that are somehow related to Tyr, but not all. Are these different Mars' all different Gods, or representations of the Mars we know from the Roman pantheon?

How I look at it now is that Romans invaded Europe and brought with them their gods.  And when people try to intermingle they look for similarities, right? The Roman and Germanic Gods Tyr and Mars were kind of similar. So one God blends into the other. But maybe not always? And not always the same or in the same measure? Is Mars Halamardus a pure Roman God?

Sorry for the rambling. :o
Anybody care to help me shed some light on this?
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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2017, 03:49:59 pm »
Quote from: Vixen;203743
I've been doing some research into the Gods that were worshipped in the area that I live in and I come across several Gods that have the same name but are different and are somewhat intermixed with other Gods.
I'm confused...

An altarstone for Mars Halamardus was found near the town where I live. When I research him I find a reference in the Encyclopedia of Norse and Germanic Myth Folklore and Magic that states that oftentimes Mars can be seen as a Roman interpretation of Tyr, like Mars Thingsus. But Mars Halamardus is most likely not?

How can you have multiple gods called Mars, that are somehow related to Tyr, but not all. Are these different Mars' all different Gods, or representations of the Mars we know from the Roman pantheon?

How I look at it now is that Romans invaded Europe and brought with them their gods.  And when people try to intermingle they look for similarities, right? The Roman and Germanic Gods Tyr and Mars were kind of similar. So one God blends into the other. But maybe not always? And not always the same or in the same measure? Is Mars Halamardus a pure Roman God?

Sorry for the rambling. :o
Anybody care to help me shed some light on this?


Confusion is an entirely appropriate response to this situation. I think a significant contribution to this confusion is the somewhat differing notions of divinity of Germanic and Roman cultures at this time. While the Romans seemed to (at least sometimes) believe that there Gods were universal (hence reinterpreting other cultures Gods as "really" being Mars, etc.) Germanic cultures had many "local" deities who were only tied to one specific cultural group and/or geographical region.

It is possible that Mars Halamardus was a local deity involved with war and/or agriculture who became associated with Mars due to Roman cultural influence. Depending on the perspective of the person thinking about him, Mars Halamardus may have been interpreted as;

- the universal God Mars as he is worshiped in a particular area
- the universal God Tyr as he is worshiped in a particular area
- a local God who fulfills the "role" of Mars for a particular culture or location

My guess would be something like option 3, a local God who has become associated with, but not completely identical to the Roman God in the eyes of his worshipers.
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Jainarayan

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2017, 12:22:18 pm »
Quote from: Megatherium;203751
Confusion is an entirely appropriate response to this situation. ...

My guess would be something like option 3, a local God who has become associated with, but not completely identical to the Roman God in the eyes of his worshipers.

 
Consider also that certain concepts are universal across cultures... justice, truth, defensive war, natural events (thunder, rain, fertility of the Earth, etc.). That's what leads me to think of such various deities as Thor, Perun, Perkunas, Donar, Indra, being the same deity seen through different cultural lenses, with some attributes and facets missing or added as seen (or not) by various cultures. However, that doesn't mean all deities sharing certain attributes are the same deity. For example, while Mars and Tyr (and Kartikeya, for that matter) may be the same god, I don't believe Ares is. He's definitely not Kartikeya! ;)
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2017, 01:07:15 pm »
Quote from: Jainarayan;203818
Consider also that certain concepts are universal across cultures... justice, truth, defensive war, natural events (thunder, rain, fertility of the Earth, etc.). That's what leads me to think of such various deities as Thor, Perun, Perkunas, Donar, Indra, being the same deity seen through different cultural lenses, with some attributes and facets missing or added as seen (or not) by various cultures. However, that doesn't mean all deities sharing certain attributes are the same deity. For example, while Mars and Tyr (and Kartikeya, for that matter) may be the same god, I don't believe Ares is. He's definitely not Kartikeya! ;)

 
Consider this possibility*: Someone has put, say, the domain of the weather "up for bid." Thor won the contract in the Norse countries; Zeus won it in Greece; and so forth. Over the years since then there have been mergers and acquisitions, of course; Thor Partners LLC now controls the territory and trademarks of Zeus, Inc., but still provides support to legacy users. Just need to be aware of any plans for a hostile takeover....

[*Disclaimer: For Entertainment Purposes Only. Professional Theological Speculator On Closed Reality Course. Kids, Don't Try This At Home....]
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Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2017, 05:03:53 pm »
Quote from: ehbowen;203821
Consider this possibility*: Someone has put, say, the domain of the weather "up for bid." Thor won the contract in the Norse countries; Zeus won it in Greece; and so forth. Over the years since then there have been mergers and acquisitions, of course; Thor Partners LLC now controls the territory and trademarks of Zeus, Inc., but still provides support to legacy users. Just need to be aware of any plans for a hostile takeover....

[*Disclaimer: For Entertainment Purposes Only. Professional Theological Speculator On Closed Reality Course. Kids, Don't Try This At Home....]

 
Now that's really updated to modern times! :D:
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

hraefngar

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2017, 01:28:42 pm »
Quote from: Vixen;203743

How can you have multiple gods called Mars, that are somehow related to Tyr, but not all. Are these different Mars' all different Gods, or representations of the Mars we know from the Roman pantheon?

 
The Interpretatio Romano was not an exact science.  The Romans were interested in commonalities for political reasons, not because they were great cultural scholars interested in a different religion for its own sake.  A lot of the commonalities that the Romans used for their basis in the Interpretatio seem quite superficial and forced.  

Further, keep in mind the Germanic peoples didn't exactly have a united pantheon.  Every tribe could have its own spin on the gods.

Vixen

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2017, 06:34:02 am »
Thank you for all your insights. They're very helpful!


Quote from: ehbowen;203821
Consider this possibility*: Someone has put, say, the domain of the weather "up for bid." Thor won the contract in the Norse countries; Zeus won it in Greece; and so forth. Over the years since then there have been mergers and acquisitions, of course; Thor Partners LLC now controls the territory and trademarks of Zeus, Inc., but still provides support to legacy users. Just need to be aware of any plans for a hostile takeover....

[*Disclaimer: For Entertainment Purposes Only. Professional Theological Speculator On Closed Reality Course. Kids, Don't Try This At Home....]


Eric, I swear you crack me up every time. :p
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ehbowen

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2017, 08:04:10 am »
Quote from: Vixen;203954
Eric, I swear you crack me up every time. :p

 
Glad you enjoyed it. But, in all seriousness, while I'm not saying that's how things really are now, is it possibly a workable scenario for the future? That when you note local distinctions and specifics, you're actually speaking with a different local desk/supervisor of "Thor Partners LLC?"

Someday I hope to know all the details. Between now and then, I speculate. And I do try to have fun doing so....;)
--------Eric H. Bowen
Where's the KABOOM? There was supposed to have been an Earth-shattering KABOOM!

EnderDragonFire

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2017, 09:26:57 pm »
Quote from: Jainarayan;203818
leads me to think of such various deities as Thor, Perun, Perkunas, Donar, Indra, being the same deity seen through different cultural lenses ... that doesn't mean all deities sharing certain attributes are the same deity.

 
Interesting. How do you address the seeming disparity in level of power of those deities within their respective pantheons? How can Thor be subservient to Odin, while Perun and Indra* were rulers of their Pantheons?

*(In Vedic times. Modern Hindus have varying and often contradictory views of Indra)
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." - Sri Krishna

Hildeburh

Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2017, 08:20:22 pm »
Quote from: EnderDragonFire;203976
Interesting. How do you address the seeming disparity in level of power of those deities within their respective pantheons? How can Thor be subservient to Odin, while Perun and Indra* were rulers of their Pantheons?

*(In Vedic times. Modern Hindus have varying and often contradictory views of Indra)

 
Pantheons, the importance of individual deities and their respective mythologies vary though time, place and social group.  It is unlikely that Odin was always the head of the Norse pantheon, he may have supplanted Tyr, whose name literally translates as god.

Adam of Bremen's description of Uppsala places Thor as the "mightiest' god ahead of Odin and from archeology and toponomy it appears that the cult of Thor was more widespead than that of Odin.

I doubt one god was seen as more powerful than or subservient to another but more likely as more relevant in a specific situation and to a specific group. Such as the engraving to Mars Halamardus, this would likely have been made by foederati who were looking for success in war.

Mythologies often contain contradictory accounts that is the nature of mythology.

EnderDragonFire

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2017, 12:11:12 am »
Quote from: Hildeburh;203998
Mythologies often contain contradictory accounts that is the nature of mythology.

I suppose they do. I personally try to make personal decisions about which version I think makes the most sense. For example, I would believe that either Odin was the king of the Aesir (if I was a Norse pagan), and approach him as such, or believe that he was not. I would not treat him as if he was sometimes, maybe, occasionally king of the Gods and sometimes Thor was. The is nothing wrong with doing that, mind you, but it simply does not fit with my rather literal and personal interpretation of deities.

Something that always annoys me in my own belief system, is that Kali is alternatively said to be an independent Goddess, an incarnation of Shiva, an incarnation of Durga, or an incarnation of Parvati. Since I see gods as "real," extant beings with definite personalities, I cannot accept all four as true. I have to pick one, and stick with it. If that is not how you approach mythology, I imagine that makes inconsistencies easier to deal with.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2017, 12:11:55 am by EnderDragonFire »
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." - Sri Krishna

Jainarayan

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2017, 04:38:36 pm »
Quote from: EnderDragonFire;203976
Interesting. How do you address the seeming disparity in level of power of those deities within their respective pantheons? How can Thor be subservient to Odin, while Perun and Indra* were rulers of their Pantheons?

*(In Vedic times. Modern Hindus have varying and often contradictory views of Indra)

 
Well, I don't have it completely fleshed out. I've tried, but drove myself to the mead too often over it. :D: I think at different times, on different planes and in (as someone calls them) Otherworlds they switch roles.  After all, Tyr at one time was the sky god. I tend to think that time lines overlap. We may see part of one where something is happening, that seemingly contradicts something we glimpse from another time line.

Indra got pissed and threatened to flood the countryside of Govardhan when Krishna told the country folk not to perform Vedic sacrifices. When Indra sent the rains, Krishna simply lifted up Govardhan Hill and held it over the people and animals like an umbrella. Indra threw his tantrum, but soon realized Krishna's powers. That's a story that explains something like this. There may be stories and happenings we just don't know about.

Moreover, the Vedic gods took a backseat to Shiva and his forms and manifestations, Vishnu and his avatars, Devi and her forms and manifestations over time. Yet the Vedas still exist, and people still worship the Vedic gods as primary, as your footnote above points out. Although, Indra still is the king of the devas and Heaven. There are a number of classes of celestial beings. The Govardhana Hill incident deflated his ego a bit.

Just my take on it. I could be completely wrong. ;)
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

Jainarayan

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2017, 04:54:28 pm »
Quote from: EnderDragonFire;204005

Something that always annoys me in my own belief system, is that Kali is alternatively said to be an independent Goddess, an incarnation of Shiva, an incarnation of Durga, or an incarnation of Parvati.

 
OK, that one's easy. :D: The widely held view among Hindus is that Parvati, Durga and Kali are one and the same. Different forms, manifestations, personality facets of Parvati. Parvati, previously incarnated as Uma/Sati (we get the word suttee because Sati threw herself onto a sacrificial fire out of embarrassment). She rebirthed as Parvati. The Hindu Gods do that sort of thing.

During a fierce battle with the buffalo demon Mahishasura, he was gaining the upper hand over the gods. The gods went to Parvati and asked for help. She took on the warrior form of Durga. As the battle heated, Durga was becoming more and more pissed at Mahishasura's brazenness. She them manifested as Kali and went on a rampage destroying him and his henchmen. Kali became so enraged and drunken on blood lust she was (unintentionally) threatening all of creation.

The gods implored Shiva to stop his wife, but even he was at a loss. So he threw himself down on the ground like a corpse. As Kali was going about in a frenzy she stepped on his corpse and came to her senses. Another story (which I like better, though the first story is her usual iconography) says he turned himself into a baby or toddler on the battlefield. When Kali saw the child crying in fear, she stopped her rampage, picked him up and nursed him as any mother would do. Of course, once manifested, you can't unmanifest, which is why Kali and Durga are worshiped today as aspects of the Divine and Universal Mother. :)

I'm not making this up, really. It's in several of the Puranas. Hindu puranic stories are nothing if not colorful... and "colorful" is a gross understatement. :D:
śivāya vishnu rūpaya śivaḥ rūpaya vishnave
śivasya hridayam viṣṇur viṣṇoscha hridayam śivaḥ
Vishnu's appearance is Shiva; Shiva's appearance is Vishnu
Vishnu is the heart of Shiva; Shiva is the heart of Vishnu - Skandopanishad
 

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Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2017, 05:04:31 pm »
Quote from: Jainarayan;204024
The widely held view among Hindus is that Parvati, Durga and Kali are one and the same. Different forms, manifestations, personality facets of Parvati.

 
Well, that is what you typically hear from Vaishnavas. Shaktas tend to treat them as forms of Mahadevi, or to treat one form as the supreme from thereof. Some Shaivists treat Kali as the feminine form of Shiva.  Smritas see ALL gods as equal manifestations of the supreme Brahman (Somewhat true for all Hindus, but more direct with Smartism).

That is just getting into the MAIN sects of Hinduism. There are hundreds of smaller sects with different views on everything form the Trimurti to the Devas to the Asura, etc. To say nothing how Buddhists and Sikhs interpret Hindu deities.
"The worshippers of the gods go to them; to the manes go the ancestor-worshippers; to the Deities who preside over the elements go their worshippers; My devotees come to Me." - Sri Krishna

Hildeburh

Re: Roman Gods in Germanic Tribes
« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2017, 11:15:21 pm »
Quote from: EnderDragonFire;204005
I suppose they do. I personally try to make personal decisions about which version I think makes the most sense. For example, I would believe that either Odin was the king of the Aesir (if I was a Norse pagan), and approach him as such, or believe that he was not. I would not treat him as if he was sometimes, maybe, occasionally king of the Gods and sometimes Thor was. The is nothing wrong with doing that, mind you, but it simply does not fit with my rather literal and personal interpretation of deities.

Something that always annoys me in my own belief system, is that Kali is alternatively said to be an independent Goddess, an incarnation of Shiva, an incarnation of Durga, or an incarnation of Parvati. Since I see gods as "real," extant beings with definite personalities, I cannot accept all four as true. I have to pick one, and stick with it. If that is not how you approach mythology, I imagine that makes inconsistencies easier to deal with.

 
I dont think these issues mattered to pre-Christian pagans, they were not dogmatic.

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