View Full Version : German Oath of the Sword

Veritas Æquitas
Friday, December 15th, 2006, 12:09 PM
..this depicts in startling reality the sacred oneness that the old Teutonic tribes felt for the sword. The Schwert-Schwur or Eid der Klinge personified this infinity with the weapon. This was the oath of the sword or blade. In this ceremony the brotherhood of warriors pledged their loyalty and fidelity to folk and community. All the tribes observed this sacred oathing, the Cimbri, and the Teutones and the Istavones, who after war, became the Franks.

The Chauci, who became the Saxons, all were united in the importance of the oath. The Germanic tribes regarded each other as brethren and equals and they were united under great leaders. Everyone enjoyed personal freedom and had an exclusive right over his own property. “Liberty,” said the Roman poet Lucanus, “is the German’s birthright.”“It is a privilege,” wrote the Roman historian Florus, “whichnature has granted to the Germans and which the Greeks with all their great art knew not how to obtain.”

Hume, the great English historian, says, “If our part of the world would maintain sentiments of liberty, honor, equity, and valor superior to the rest of mankind, it owes these advantage to the seeds implanted by these generous Barbarians.” “Liberty,” observed Montesquien, “that lovely thing, was discovered in the wild forests of Germany.”“Who,” asks Seneca, “is braver than the German?” Sidonius says, “Death alone subdues them.”

The emperor Titus said, “Their bodies are great, but their souls are still greater!” And we know that the prevailing thought of these men at arms was always that “an existence devoid of strength and beauty appeared to him to be worthless and according to their religion the joys of Walhalla (heaven) would only be granted to those who fell by the sword.

Valerius Maximus relates that they sorrowed when dying on their beds and rejoiced while expiring on the field of battle, sword in hand. The old Germans despised as effeminate the refinements of civilized life and every wall appeared to them as a prison. The sword was the usual marriage gift between a bridal pair and the woman also learned to use it and the sacred sword oath was also used in the wedding ceremony when swearing to marital fidelity. The old song of Wieland in the northern Edda has the words “thou shalt swear to me by the deck of the ship and the rim of the shield, by the withers of the horse, and the point of the sword.”

The sword was also considered as proof of illustrious descent and was handed down from one generation to another. In the popular religion war was regarded as a sacred and imperative duty. The gods were even supposed to ride daily on the plains of Ida and do battle with each other, after which they held a joyous carousal in Walhalla, “The Hall of the Dead,” where the souls of warriors who had fallen honorably by the sword were received and permitted under the name of Eiheriar to join in the battles and drinking feasts of the gods.

Thus, a warrior’s death was the aspiration of every German, as that alone could unlock for him the gates of the blessed abode. The sword occurs in practically all Germanic legends. The Walkyren, or celestial women, were believed to be heavenly maidens, who hovered over every battlefield and chose expiring heroes for their companions in the eternal joys of Walhalla, a belief which caused German warriors to look upon death as a nuptial festival in the skies. Earthly maidens were also regarded as Walkyren, when they girded on the sword.

The saga of Siegfried made famous by Richard Wagner features the sword “Nothung” with which he slays the dragon Fafner. The sword (his father’s) is reforged. It was originally the magic sword of Siegmund that was shattered by Wotan as punishment, but after the reforging by Siegfried it becomes Nothung and symbolically cuts the iron anvil in half as the first test of the magic sword once more lifted in the joyous sign of victories to come. So, the sword to these Teutonic heroes of history and legend was obviously the pivotal object with no comparison for reverence, tradition, and even spiritual power.

From the good folks @ Germania International (http://www.germaniainternational.com)