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Thread: Rewriting the German War God Tyr [Georges Dumezil]

  1. #1

    Lightbulb Rewriting the German War God Tyr [Georges Dumezil]

    By Bruce Lincoln

    Abstract: Georges Dumezil was able to interpret the German god Tyr as a jurist and a counselor, rather than the battle-god he was traditionally seen as. Dumezil found evidence in myths and legends to assimilate Tyr as a stabilizing and calming agent, similar to other Indo-European deities. The subtexts for the myths about Tyr contain pacifistic, xenophobic, anti-communist, and anti-Nazi tones, according to Dumezil.


    Throughout its history, the study of Indo-European myth has been intertwined with the equally complex history of comparative philology on the one hand and that of the extreme right on the other. Prompted by linguistic discoveries of the early nineteenth century, the field developed quickly and won sensational acclaim as Friedrich Max Muller, Adalbert Kuhn, and others published and lectured at a feverish pace, convincing huge audiences they were recovering the oldest stones ever told, while simultaneously disclosing the origins of religion, poetry, and speculative thought. Their celebrity, however, was as evanescent as it was spectacular Before the century's end, their work was devastated by the criticism of more competent philologists and pioneer anthropologists.(1) In subsequent years, the field fell even further into disrepute, as Indo-European studies--linguistic, mythic, and (pseudo-)physiologic--provided the basis for the racial theories of Gobineau, Renan, Wagner, and subsequent Nazi hacks.(2)

    Notwithstanding these burdens inherited from the past, some have worked to reconstitute the field in the twentieth century, and at times they have met with significant success. Still, a taint of scandal remains. Not only are articles on Indo-European myth a mainstay of tawdry racist newsletters and the slick publications of the French "Nouvelle droite."(3) but even the chief scholarly journals of Indo-European studies have been connected with overtly reactionary and racist causes.(4)

    To legitimate themselves, the less savory aficionados of things Indo-European regularly invoke the name and accomplishments of Georges Dumezil (1898-1986), professor of Indo-European civilizations at the Sorbonne. A scholar of extraordinary abilities and erudition,Dumezil was master of countless languages (the entire Indo-European family, including some of its more obscure members [Armenian, Ossetic], as well as most of the Caucasian languages [one of which, Oubykh, he saved from extinction), and a few outliers like Quechua, that he seem to have acquired simply for fun).

    His oeuvre spanned six decades and includes more than fifty books. All are marked by extraordinary lucidity, ingenuity, rigor, and intelligence. His accomplishments have won wide acclaim among philologians, historians; of religions, and anthropologists.(5) Although he always understood himself as "un homme de la droite." Dumezil presented his work as strictly apolitical, and it powerfully influenced those of all ideological persuasions, including some on the left, like Michel Foucault, who regarded [/COLOR]Dumezil as a lifelong friend, patron, and mentor.(6) Even so, Dumezil's work is not without its critics.

    From the late 1930s until his death,
    Dumezil labored to demonstrate that Indo-European peoples imagined--and at times instandated--an ideal social order, in which "three functions" were integrated within a hierarchic system. The first, concerned with sovereignty and the sacred, encompassed disquieting magical figures and more reassuring specialists in law. The second, concerned with physical force, included two types of warrior, one noble and chivalric, the other course and brutal. The third function, concerned with abundance, prosperity, and fertility, could be parsed in several fashions: production and reproduction, for example, but also production and consumption, agriculture and herding, or even so specific a distinction as that between herding of cattle and herding of horses.(7)

    Earlier critics were inclined to focus on details in
    Dumezil's handling of ancient sources, the scope of his comparative venture, his schematizing tendency, and his insistence that the tripartite pattern distinguished Indo-European peoples from all others.(8) Since the early 1980s, however, they have been more inclined to call attention to the ideological positions they perceive in his texts and subtexts, stressing the following points: (1)

    Dumezil's idealization of the Indo-Europeans and their tripartite system; (2) the fact that he introduced his theory of the "three functions" in publications of 1938-42, when fascism in various forms was an urgent concern for any Frenchman; (3) the resemblance of this system to Mussolini's "corporate society" and the "integral nationalism" of Charles Maurras; (4) his involvement in circles close to Maurras's Action Francaise.(9)

    On a fifth point, opinions differ. This is the way one understands
    Dumezil's attitude toward fascism in its specifically German variety. Whereas Arnaldo Momigliano and Carlo Ginzburg perceived a "sympathy for Nazi culture" in Dumezil's Mythes et dieux des Germains (1939), Cristiano Grottanelli and I have not stressed this line of analysis and argumentation. It is on this last point, however, that Dumezil's defenders have focused discussion, the Parisian journalist Didier Eribon taking the lead.(10)

    Lacking the competence to evaluate the materials
    Dumezil studied, but well versed in the details of French academic life, Eribon centers his case on the scholarly world in which [COLOR=Black]Dumezil participated: "When one reconstructs the intellectual milieu of the 1920s and '30s, it is striking to see that scholars whose opinions were quite heterogeneous, even opposed, could get along, engage in dialogue and debate, without a political dimension ever intervening in their professional judgment. Undoubtedly this was because they shared an ethic founded on a profound commitment to the values of research and a determination to keep science apart from the fits and starts of the world outside. There was then a liberal tradition of the university and a faith in scientific procedure."(11)

    However appealing it may be, this picture of a science degagee is hardly credible.(12) political interests have often figured powerfully in discussions of Indo-European (aka "Aryan") religion and society. This was particularly true in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, not only in Germany--so much is obvious--but also beyond, and some of Dumezil's closest colleagues can be numbered among the worst offenders.(13) Consider, for instance, the Austrian folklorist Otto Hofler, whose work on the religious significance of frenzied martial bands, Kultische Geheimbunde der Germanen (1934), was so extreme that Alfred Rosenberg, Hitler's chief ideologist, thought it made Nazism appear ridiculous.(14) Rosenberg's enmity, however, gained Hofler the support of Himmler, who recruited him into the SS Ahnenerbe division and secured for him a chair as professor of German philosophy at the University of Munich.

    No Germanist was more influential on Dumezil than Hofler, nor more closely associated with him throughout his career, except the Dutch historian of religions Jan de Vries, whose Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte (1st ed., 1935-37) remains a model of encyclopedic learning.(15) Other of de Vries's works are less scrupulous. Welt der Germanen (1934) carries a swastika on its cover and celebrates the race of blue-eyed, blondhaired warriors. Onze Voorouders (1942) was made required reading for Dutch school children under the occupation and was designed to teach them reverence for the Teutonic ancestors they shared with their German brethren.

    De Vries's Germanophilia was both personal and professional. Days after the Nazi conquest, he was one of four university professors who met with the new Reichbskommissar (the infamous Artur Seyss-Inquart) and offered to establish a Nederlandsche Kultuurkamer that would regulate Dutch arts and learning under the Dew regime. Once formed, this institution was ran by the German propaganda ministry and had de Vries as its last president.

    Also noteworthy is the Swedish Indo-Europeanist Stig Wikander, who remained a close friend and made fundamental contributions to Dumezil's thought over a period of five decades. Initially, the two met at Uppsala University, where Hofler and Dumezil both taught for a time (1928-31 and 1931-33, respectively) while Wikander was preparing his dissertation under the direction of H. S. Nyberg. All these men were interested in the warrior bands of "Aryan" peoples, and all were given to right-wing politics: Hofler as a Nazi, Nyberg as a "radical conservative," and Dumezil as a fellow traveler of the Action Francaise.

    Wikander gratefully acknowledged the influence of all three in his thesis, "Der arische Mannerbund" (1938). Swedish academics were so shocked by his views, however, that when he defended that thesis in 1937 no fewer than twelve members of the Uppsala faculty rose to speak against it. Still, at Nyberg's urging it was approved, after which Wikander left for Munich, where he prepared the final German text while attending Hofler's course on warrior societies, which he playfully called "the Werewolf-Seminar."(16)

    It was not just those on the right or those outside France who mixed scholarship and politics. "Did Henri Hubert want to rehabilitate paganism?" Eribon asks, invoking this prominent member of Durkheim's circle, "Or simply to study it?"(17) As Ivan Strenski has made clear, however, Hubert's interest in pagan antiquity was anything but simple.(18) Best known as coauthor of the "Essai sur le sacrifice" (where he and Marcel Mauss treated "Aryan" and "Semitic" examples with studied even-handedness),(19) Hubert was charged with reviewing all books on race for L'annee sociologique. Using this position to advance his views as a socialist, a republican, and a Dreyfusard, he systematically combated all attempts to provide racism and anti-Semitism with scholarly apparatus, language, and legitimacy.

    Regarding European prehistory, his area of special expertise, Hubert advanced a set of provocative theses. First, he saw Celtic civilization as the foundation for Europe north of the Mediterranean, and most of all for France. In contrast, he considered the ancient Germans to have been relatively limited in their territorial distribution and cultural influence, suggesting that German culture was itself profoundly influenced by that of the Celts. Finally, Hubert argued that the Germans are not Indo-Europeans at all.

    Rather, he took the sound shifts and morphological simplifications that distinguish Germanic from other Indo-European languages as evidence that the Proto-Indo-European Ursprache entered German soil from outside and was powerfully transformed by the indigenous, non-Aryan population who adopted it there. These views he made public in a series of lectures at the Ecole du Louvre at a time when French postwar power and confidence were at their height (1923-25). It is difficult not to read these lectures as a paean to French civilization and a stinging rebuke to German nationalism of the volkisch sort.(20)

    Although
    Dumezil was familiar with Hubert's work and knew its relevance for his own, he studiously avoided him and refused to attend his lectures. Only when his thesis supervisor, Antoine Meillet, insisted he give Hubert a copy of his dissertation, "Le festin d'immortalite (1924), did he reluctantly do so. The result was a bitter encounter, in the wake of which [COLOR=Black]Dumezil left France, convinced that Hubert's opposition and Meillet's wavering support meant there would be no employment for him at home (1925).(21)


    Source: History of Religions[/B], Feb 1998 v37 n3 p187(22)

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    If Eribon seems naive on the matter of "scholarly milieu," he has still done us great service in other ways. In his eagerness to refute Carlo Ginzburg and Arnaldo Momigliano, who first charged [/COLOR][COLOR=Black]Dumezil with having Nazi sympathies, Eribon uncovered a so of evidence that offers a clearer view of Dumezil's Political Opinions then we ever hoped to Possess.

    This is the group of pseudonymous articles he published in two right-wing papers, Candide and Le Jour, upon returning to France after teaching in Turkey (1925-31) and Sweden (1931-33; the articles date 1933-35). Writing as "Georges Marcenay," he praised Mussolini's Italy and urged France to align itself with Il Duce, so thats, together they might check the growth of German power.(22) As Eribon rightly concludes, these articles show Dumezil to have been "profascist and anti-Nazi" in those years.(23) The question is whether--he advanced these views in publications bearing his own name, or whether--as Eribon would have it--he "neautralized his political judgments regarding contemporary events, because he was writing works of science."(24)

    To pursue this question, I Propose to consider a very specific and highly charged datum: the novel interpretation
    Dumezil offered for the god Tyr in his 1940 volume, Mitra-Varuna.(25) Previously, virtually all specialists agreed that Tyr was a god of war,(26) as could be seen in the description of him as "boldest and most courageous" of the Old Norse deities,(27) his epithet "battle-god,"(28) the Rontang, assimilation of him to Mars,(29) and use of the spear-shaped rune dud bears his name ([arrow up]) as a charm for victory.(30) In contrast, Dumezil stressed the sole myth told of Tyr, which Snorri Sturluson preserved in two variants, the shorter of which reads as follows.

    There is a god named Tyr. He is the boldest and most courageous, and he gives much counsel regarding victory in battles. It is good for valiant men to call on him. There is the expression that he who is "Tyr-valiant" surpasses other men and does not sit around idly. He was so wise that one who is wise is said to be "Tyr-sage." This is one mark of his boldness: When the gods enticed the Fenris Wolf to let them put the fetter "Gleipnir" on him the wolf did not trust them to let him free until they laid Tyr's hand in his mouth as a pledge. Then, when the gods would not set him loose, he bit WS hand off at the point which is now called the "wolf-joint" [i.e., the wrist], and Tyr is one-handed, and is not called a man of peace.(31)

    The longer version adds several significant details. First, "Gleipnir is a magic fetter, fashioned at Odinn's instructions to be delicate in appearance, but enormously strong. This was of interest to
    Dumezil, who understood Odinn as a master of magic, particularly the power to bind. Conversely, he saw Tyr as a master of law, stressing that by Tyr contributed to the god's success, not by any martial powers, but making a contract that he fultilled literally, while still evading its spirit. Citing other myths that connect Odinn's loss of an eye to his knowledge of magic, Dumezil took these two deities as a couple--one-eyed magician and one-handed jurist--who defined the two sides of Indo-European sovereignty, as did comparable figures in Roman, Irish, and Indic myths.

    Throughout the years, this reconstruction of "le manchot et le borgne" (the one-eyed and the one-handed) remained a centerpiece of
    [COLOR=Black]Dumezil's theory, although he abandoned first the Indic, then the Irish, side of Ins comparison.(32) One thus might raise questions about his use of comparative method, and several scholars have done so.(33) At present, however, I prefer to focus on the Germanic evidence and to emphasize some details in Snorri's text. First, Snorri explicitly frames his account as an example of Tyr's courage, not his fidelity or legal acumen.(34)

    Second, in the longer version, he specifies why the gods became frightened by the wolf. The gods raised the wolf at home, and only Tyr had the courage to go to the wolf and give it food. And when the gods saw how much he grew each day, and all the prophecies said he might be destined to do them harm then they adopted a plan."(35) Finally, the wolf himself loses a bodily member, complementing the losses suffered by Odinn and Tyr. "Then the wolf answered: `It seems to me there's no renown to be had from that ribbon, even if I tear asunder so thin a band. But if it is made with craft, even though it may seem small, that band won't come off my foot.'"(36)

    These details lead me to see this myth, pace Dumuzil, as the realization of a familiar sociogonic theme, in which each of the "three functions" originates from the loss of a body part that encodes the characteristic activity of the people associated with that function, while also assigning them a place in a vertical hierarchy.(37) Thus, the loss of an eye gives rise to the top-ranked sovereign function, represented by Odinn; the loss of a hand, to the intermediate warrior function, represented by Tyr; and the loss of a foot, to the lowly third function, represented by the Fenris Wolf. Here, the myth derogatorily emphasizes the lower order's propensity for consumption (rather than production), depicting the wolf's appetite and capacity for growth as the threat the gods check with their defining powers of trickery, magic, and force.

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    Several other German narratives realize this same theme, while differing in their details.(38) In place of an eye, one sometimes finds the head or other parts thereof, in place of a hand, the arm; and in place of a foot, the leg or another part of the lower body. But whenever a character loses an arm or hand, it is a warrior who does so.

    Consider, for example, the "Saga of Egil One-hand" (Egilssaga einhenda), a fabulous tale composed in Iceland in the thirteenth century. The story begins when a giant captures the saga's hero, shackles his feet, and forces him to tend his goats.(31) One evening, however, Egil finds a cat, hides it under his clothes, and brings it back to the giant's cave, where he lets the giant glimpse its eyes and persuades him these are "golden eyes" that let him see at night.

    Then, when the giant desires these precious orbs, Egil offers to install them, if only he is freed from the fetters on his feet. The giant obliges, then submits to brutal surgery: "Egil picked up a double-bladed dart and thrust it into the giant's eyes so that they fell out and lay on his cheekbones."(40) And after a struggle in which he loses an ear and the giant a hand, Egil makes good his escape.

    Later, Egil battles a second giant and cuts off his biceps, while losing his own hand in the process. In the final episode, a dwarf heals Egil's wound and fashions for him a sword-cum-prosthesis that lets him fight with unparalleled skill.(41) Notwithstanding the multiplication of severed members and possible influence from other traditions (Odysseus, Nuadu), the saga's pattern is clear enough. The injury to his feet makes Egil a servant and herdsman; the loss of his hand makes him a warrior; and the giant's desire for magical power leads him to lose his eyes.(42)

    Again, there is the great Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, whose three monsters succumb to wounds of different sorts. Grendel's arm is ripped from his shoulder, Grendel's mother decapitated, and the dragon is stabbed in the underbelly (niobor hwene). Each wound, moreover, corresponds to the status of the victor who dealt it, for Beowulf is a warrior champion when he wrenches off Grendel's arm, but the king's adoptive son when he takes the mother's head. Wiglaf, in contrast, is one liegeman among many, an untried youth in his first adventure, when he strikes the dragon's vitals, after Beowulf (by now a king) struck its head with no results.(43)

    These same associations also structure the preliminary attacks that prompt each combat. Thus, Grendel devours a soldier "feet and hands" (fet ond folma), Grenders mother tears the head off Hrothgar's foremost noble (aldorbegn), and the dragon's assault is provoked by a servant (beow), who violates his mound and steals a precious cup.(44) The same pattern is expressed once more in the gifts that reward each combat. Hrothgar gives Beowulf warrior goods--"horses and weapons" (wicga ond waepna)--after he has slain Grendel; to these he adds advice about good kings and bad following the victory over Grendel's mother. In contrast, Wiglaf wins the dragon's gold, rings, jewels, and treasure.(45)

    Finally, there is Waltharius, a minor epic of the ninth or tenth century, written in Latin, but based on much older Burgundian materials, to which Donald Ward and Udo Strutynski have called attention.(46) Here one finds an interesting inversion of the pattern, since it is a king, Guntharius, who loses his leg and the king's liegeman, Hagano, who loses an eye, along with his lip and six teeth. The text explains this reversal, however, telling how Guntharius deserves demotion because greed and weakness made him unworthy, while Hagano's bravery and righteousness made him the king's superior. Of prime interest to us, however, is the detail that remains constant. Here, as in all other examples, it is the loss of an arm that marks the warrior. Waltharius, the champion of the story.(47)

    Notwithstanding their other differences, all these texts describe how a hierarchic arrangement of "three functions" is inscribed on the body through a set of three wounds. A wound to the head or eye marks those who are sovereign (by virtue of royalty, sacrality, knowledge, magic, and/ or righteousness); a wound to the hand or arm, marks those of martial power; and wounds to the lower body mark low-ranking persons, whose appetites for food or wealth may be perceived as ignoble or dangerous, and who are reduced to positions of servile captivity (table 1).

    TABLE 1 GERMANIC NARRATIVES INVOLVING THE LOSS OF AN EYE, HAND, AND A FOOT OR LEG
    Loss of Eye Loss of Hand
    or Head = or Arm =
    Sovereign Power Martial Force

    Gylfaginning 25 and 34
    The one-eyed Odinn Tyr, bravest of directs production deities, loses his
    of a magical fetter. hand in the wolf's mouth.
    Egilssaga einhendr An oppressive giant Egil loses his bud
    seeks to gam magic fighting a giant
    "golden eyes," but and obtains a
    loses his own eyes prosthetic
    instead. hand-sward from a
    dwarf.

    Beowulf a) The king's foremost a) A warrior is eaten
    noble is beheaded by Grendel, "feet
    by Grendel's and hands."
    mother.

    b) Beowulf beheads b) Beowulf tears off
    Grendel's mother. Grendel's arm.

    c) Beowulf is c) Beowulf is
    rewarded with rewarded with
    advice about horses and
    kingship. weapons.

    Waltharius Hagano, the righteous Waltharius, the
    counsellor, loses his foremost warrior,
    eye, lip, and teeth. loses his hand.

    Loss of Font, Leg,
    or Wound to Lower
    Body =
    Production,
    Consumption, and
    Reproduction

    Gylfaginning 25
    and 34 The ravening Fenris
    wolf is bound by
    its leg.

    Egilssaga Egil has his feet
    einhendr fettered and is
    forced to herd the
    giant's goats.

    Beowulf a) A savant enters
    a dragon's lair
    and steals a
    precious cup.

    b) Wiglaf and
    Beowulf wound
    the dragon in the
    underbelly.

    c) Wiglaf pins the
    dragons gold,
    jewels, and
    treasure.

    Waltharius Guntharius, the
    unworthy,
    greedy king,
    loses his leg.[/COLOR] At this point, an intriguing question arises. Not only is Tyr's position in the myth of his encounter with the wolf perfectly consistent with the old interpretation of him as a war god, such an interpretation also makes this myth a perfect example of Dumezil's "three functions." Why on earth did he seek to read it otherwise, and what is at stake in his view of Tyr as a "legal sovereign"?

  4. #4
    Sorting out the motives of another is never an easy matter, even under the best of circumstances. What follows is admittedly speculative; still, I do think it possible to draw reasonable connections between Georges [/COLOR]Dumezil's beliefs and commitments, world politics in the late 1930s, and his construction of Tyr as something other than a god of war.

    Let me begin by considering Dumezil's view of Odinn, a deity whom Alfred Rosenberg, Martin Ninck, Carl Jung, and others writing in the mid-1930s treated as the inspiring force of the German nation and the Nazi movement.(48) [/COLOR]Dumezil first engaged this topic in Mythes et dieux des Germains, published in 1939, but written in 1936, as France anguished over Hitler's rearmament of the Rhineland. When it appeared, French readers, including Marc Bloch, understood it as a genealogical inquiry into German militarism.(49)

    Dumezil invited this reading, particularly in the book's final chapter, where, after observing that the Romans, Celts, and Indo-Iranians possessed strong and conservative Priestly institutions, he argued that the absence of such institutions among the Germans permitted a distinct "slippage" (glissement) in their mythology, which differentiated it from that of all other Indo-European peoples.(50)

    That mythology and these gods evolved in a military direction. In particular, the sovereign magician Odinn developed warrior powers that his Indo-European prototype possessed only in embryonic form. ... The "furor" that is legitimately attributed to him became ever more oriented toward war King of the gods and god of the king, master of runes and patron of priests, it seems he was only able to maintain and expand Ins prestige by transforming himself from king (rex) and priest (sacerdos) into war-leader (dux), and becoming celestial guarantor of a vague sort of "Teutonic Order," in which a whole people Could find themselves Mobilized.(51)

    Here,
    Dumezil tried to relieve Indo-Europeans of responsibility for German militarism and to place the blame on the Germans' misguided deviation from proper Indo-European ideals. To that end, he argues that without strong royal and priestly institutions--which Maurassians considered the indispensable foundation of any well-ordered society--the Germans were unable to hold the violence of their warriors in check. As proof, he points to the head of their pantheon: the terrifyingly militarized Odinn, whom he depicts as the mutant spawn of more properly sovereign forebears.

    Going further, he suggested that the "militarization" of German mythology secured for it a unique fate. In contrast to the Greek, Roman, and Celtic myths, which--having been entrusted to priests--gave way to the Christian conversion, Germanic stories survived in a host of heroic legends that were ready to be reactivated by Wagner, the Romantics, and others.(52) As a result, "the Third Reich did not have to create its fundamental myths: perhaps, on the contrary, it was Germanic mythology, resuscitated in the nineteenth century, which gave its form spirit, and institutions to a Germany whose unprecedented woes had rendered it marvelously malleable. Perhaps it was because he had suffered in the trenches haunted by the ghost of Siegfried that Adolf Hitler was able to conceive, forge, and practice a Sovereignty such as no German leader had known Since the fabulous reign of Odinn."(53)

    Throughout Mythes et dieux des Germains,
    Dumezil used the god Odinn as a way of thinking and speaking critically about German bellicosity. The "fabulous reign of Odinn," here associated with Hitler, is another term in his discourse that needs unpacking. It first appears in his treatment of a story from the first book of Saxo Grammaticus's Gesta Danorum (1.7), where Odinn goes into exile and is replaced by a certain Mithothyn. During his brief reign, this Mithothyn offered a separate sacrifice to each god, instead of sacrificing to all in common, as had been Odinn's practice. Odinn returned, however, and reversed tins reform much to the peoples pleasure.

    In Mythes et Dieux des Germains, Dumezil rather tersely and cryptically suggested that the contrast between Odinn's rituals and those of Mithothyn reflected political differences between the two,(54) but he left this theme undeveloped, preferring to work out a complex set of associations through which he struggled to identify Tyr, Ullr, and Mithothyn.(55)

    In Mitra-Varuna, however, be revisited this question, extrapolating from slim data with ever more transparent reference to contemporary politics. By the end of his discussion, the "reign of Odinn" encompasses a host of ills, including a confused egalitarianism, the dynamism of totalitarian economies, a communism that panders to the masses (the socialist side of National Socialism), and a heroic anticapitalist morality. In contrast, the "reign of Mithothyn" stands for private property, precisely calibrated compensation, graduated distinctions, lineal inheritance, and the rule of law.(56)

    This fantastic construction permitted
    Dumezil to offer a structural logic, deep prehistory, and obvious moral for the contemporary situation: Whereas all other indo-European peoples (even Anglo-Saxons and Scandinavians) had established socioeconomic systems of the Mithothynic type, only the continental Germans and Slavs--that is, the Nazis, Soviets, and their ancestors--made the mistake of exercising the Odinnic option.(57)

    Although published in 1940, Mitra-Varuna was based on
    [COLOR=Black]Dumezil's 1938-39 lectures on the dual nature of the sovereign function,(58) a concept he apparently used to assess and explain the ins of the world around him, in much of this book, he considered Roman and Indic examples cursorily mentioned in Mythes et dieux des Germains, while streamlining the earlier book's argument so that Tyr eclipsed Mithothyn and the other deities he had auditioned for the part of Odinn's antithesis: the reassuring warrior-turned-sovereign who balances the dangerous sovereign-turned-warrior.(59)

    For that role, Tyr had a clear advantage over his rivals, since he alone figured in a myth--"le manchot et le borgne"--that could be compared with Roman and other materials, thereby anchoring the claim that dual sovereignty has an Indo-European pedigree. Tyr also had a significant drawback, however, for he was widely understood as a god of war: the second, and not the first of his "three functions."(60)

    If Dumezil wanted to assimilate him to stabilizing and pacific deities of other Indo-European peoples, serious touch-up work was required. Tins he undertook in two crucial passages of Mitra-Varuna. In the first, recalling an isolated inscription that Frisian troops under Roman command dedicated to Mars Thincsus ("Mars of the Assembly"), Dumezil treated this as evidence that the continental version of Tyr (*Tiwaz) was not so much a warrior god as "the jurist of war, and something of a diplomat."(61) This laid the groundwork for his fuller discussion.

    Tyr's action [in binding the wolf] is precisely that expected of the jurist god. It is necessary to conclude with the enemy a pact-cum-snare, with a Pledge that has been lost from the start: Tyr, alone of all the gods, gives this pledge. The wolf is foolish enough to accept the contractual risk of an exchange in which the gods mutilation will compensate him for Ins total defeat: Tyr, the heroic master of legal maneuver seizes this opportunity ... Previously, we recalled that the *Tiwaz (or Mars Tincsus) of the continental Germans was god of the LAw of War, of war considered as a juridical matter. One must calculate how far this domain extends.... How far does one commit oneself when one commits? How does one engage the enemy in one of those treaties that is just as good as an ambush? How does one respect the letter and betray the spirit of ones oath?(62)

    This passage was written in the immediate aftermath of Munich, where Chamberlain and Daladier gave up Czechoslovakia for Hitler's promise of "peace in our time." Its closing questions are hardly idle. Thematization of Tyr as a master of legal maneuver (procedurier heroique) clearly provided a way to treat concerns beyond the antiquarian and academic.

  5. #5
    Tyr remains a deity best understood as a god of war. The danger of overcomplicating him, however, is equaled by that of oversimplifying Dumezil, and I do not mean to claim that my treatment has been exhaustive. Here--as elsewhere--the positions adopted by this extraordinarily learned and subtle scholar were surely overdetermined. But if one despairs of sorting out all he was up to, one can at least dispense with the jejune assertion that his work was scrupulously apolitical. His treatment of Tyr and other Germanic gods involved not just one political subtext, but no fewer than six, which may be recapitulated as follows.

    1. The Ariophile/Germanophobe, French-nationalist subtext: Germans are different from and more dangerous than all other Indo-European peoples (Odinn as a sovereign deity whom the Germans distorted toward war).

    2. The pacifist/defeatist subtext: It may be possible to maintain peace with Germany. Indeed, it is presumptuous and provocative to assume the worst of Hitler (Tyr as legal sovereign and a reasonable alternative to Odinn).(63)

    3. The xenophobe subtext: Even peace can be treacherous, and treaties with Germans or others (e.g., the Soviets)(64) may be a trap (Tyr as master of legal maneuver and deceiver of the wolf). [/COLOR]

    4. The anti-communist subtext: Private property and differentiated status are the foundations of a stable order. Egalitarian and communal experiments, however exciting or popular they may be, cause confusion, disruption, and danger ("Reign of Odinn," in contrast to that of Mithothyn).

    5. The royalist/Maurassian subtext: An integrated class hierarchy is ideal. Church and king are essential to the maintenance of such an order (Germanic "slippage" and the system of "three functions").

    6. The pro-fascist/anti-Nazi subtext. By preserving good relations with the Vatican and the monarchy, and by holding his blackshirts accountable to a few legal norms, Mussolini avoided Hitler's worst mistakes. Italy under fascism is a dynamic and well-ordered society, with which France ought align itself and from which the French could learn things. (Although it would take a lengthy discussion to work out the details, this subtext is evident in Dumezil's treatment of Roman data: Romulus and Numa, Jupiter and Dius Fidius, Luperci and Flamines, celeritas and gravitas. Just as Dumezil represented Germany in Mythes et dieux des Germains as the society in which Indo-European ideals were most seriously deformed, so conversely, in Mitra-Varuna Rome is one in which the same patterns were most faithfully preserved. Insofar as these patterns remain valid ideals, Germany--ancient and modern--appears as the problem, while Rome and its contemporary heir appear as the solution.)(65)

    Not all of these subtexts are advanced with equal consciousness, clarity, or commitment. Nor are the relations among them worked out in any systematic fashion. Indeed, it is possible to perceive a certain confusion among them, reflecting the contradictory impulses of those on the French Right in the late 1930s, whose nationalism made them antagonistic to Germany, at the same time their ideology made them sympathetic to many of Hitler's positions.(66) That Dumezil held such views is hardly surprising, given the circles he frequented during those years and what we know from his pseudonymous writings.

    What differentiates him from others of like opinion is the intricate scholarly code he developed, through which he made the arcane data of Indo-European mythology serve as the vehicles for his views, and through which his work came to command the attention of scholars everywhere. The body of work he produced is so challenging, so dense, and so influential that it deserves continued attention, but attention of a critical variety. Finally, when those on the New Right, like Alain de Benoist, cite Dumezil's writings in support of their positions--their fondness for hierarchy and authority, for example, their antipathy toward egalitarianism, the ideals of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, or their triumphal view of "Indo-Europeans" as superior to all other peoples, due to their "trifunctional ideology"(67) - we may suspect them of appropriating nothing other than positions of the Old Right that have been brilliantly recoded and misrepresented first as ancient wisdom, and second as scholarly discourse.(68)

    (1) Bernard Sergent, Les indo-europeens (Paris: Payot, 1995), pp. 20-64, offers a good historic summary of Indo-European studies. With regard to the vicissitudes of comparative mythology in the nineteenth century, see Richard Dorson, "The Eclipse of Solar Mythology," in Myth: A Symposium, ed. Thomas Sebeok (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1965), pp. 25-63; and the selections in Burton Feldman and R. Richardson, eds., The Rise of Modern Mythology: 1680-1860 (Bloomington: Indiana University press, 1972).

    (2) The standard account of these developments is Leon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth: A History of Racist and Nationalist Ideas in Europe (New York: Basic, 1974). See also Hans-Jurgen Lutzhoft, Der nordische Gedanke in Deutschland, 1920-1940 (Stuttgart: Klett, 1971); Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Lac Nancy, "The Nazi Myth," Critical Inquiry 16 (1990): 291-312; Klaus von See, Barbar, Germane, Arier: Die Suche nach der Identitat Deutschen (Heidelberg: Winter, 1994); and Martin Thom, Republics, Nations and Tribes (London: Verso, 1995).

    (3) See Pierre-Andre Taguieff, Sur la Nouvelle droite: jalons d'une analyse critique (Paris: Descartes & Cie, 1994), esp. pp. 173-80, and Alain Schnapp and Jesper Svenbro, "Du Nazisme a <>: reperes sur la pretendue Nouvelle droite," Quaderni di Storia 6 (1980): 107-20. In Alain de Benoist's collected writings, Vu de droite: Anthologie critique des idees contemporaines (Paris: Copernic, 1977), alongside pieces on sociobiology, genetics, race, and intelligence, one finds articles on "Le monde des Indo-Europeans" (pp. 32-37), "Carthage contre Rome" (pp. 53-55), "La civilisation celtique" (pp. 56-61), and "Structures de la mythologie nordique" (pp. 65-67). Of these, the first two are the most revealing, for the first is devoted to showing the connections between blood type and race, while the second is a thinly veiled discussion of the superiority of Aryans over Semites. The German edition, Aus rechter Sicht (Tubingen, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo: Grabert, 1983) titles the section in which these articles are grouped "Erbe" an ominous allusion to the ideological section of Himmler's SS, the Ahnenerbe division.

    (4) With regard to Etudes indo-europeennes (Lyon, 1982-) and its editor, Jean Haudry, see the scathing discussion of Bernard Sergent, "Penser--et mal penser--les indo-europeens" Annales: Economies, societies, civilisations 37 (1982): 669-81; and Anne-Marie Duranton-Crabol, Visages de la Nouvelle droite (Paris; Presses de la fondation nationale des sciences politiques, 1988), pp. 201-2 and 230-31. Among Haudry's writings, note the final chapter of Les indo-europeens (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1981; 2d, rev. ed., 1988), "L'origine des indo-europeens," Nouvelle ecole 42 (July 1985), pp. 123-28, and his "Avant propos" to the volume he coedited with Bernard Demotz, Revolution contre revolution: Tradition et modernite (Actes du Colloque, Lyon 1989) (Paris: Les editions du Porte-Glaive, 1990), pp. 9-11. On the Journal of Indo-European Studies, its editor Roger Pearson, and their connections to the openly racist Mankind Quarterly, the Pioneer Fund, and the World Anti-Communist League, see Charles Lane, "The Tainted Sources of `The Bell Curve,'" New York Review of Books 41, no. 20 (December 1, 1994): 14-19; Stefan Kuhl, The Nazi Connection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 3-9; and Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, Inside the League: The Shocking Expose of How Terrorists, Nazis, and Latin American Death Squads Have Infiltrated the World Anti-Communist League (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1986), esp. pp. 92-103. Roger Pearson's writings include Blood Groups and Race (London, 1966), Eugenics and Race (London, 1966), Race and Civilization (London, 1966), Early Civilisations of the Nordic Peoples (London, 1966); some were later distributed by The Thunberbolt Inc., an organ of the American Nazi Party. Most recent is his Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe, with an introduction by Hans Eysenck (Washington, D.C.: Scott-Townsend, 1991).

    (5) C. Scott Littleton, The New Comparative Mythology: An Anthropological Assessment of the Theories of Georges [/COLOR]Dumezil (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966; 3d ed., 1982). describes the reception of Dumezil work in a fashion that borders on the hagiographic. Among those outside the field of Indo-European studies who have endorsed Dumezil's research, one notes Claude Levi-Strauss. Mircea Eliade, Marshall Sahlins, Rodney Needham, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Georges Duby, and Jacques LeGoff.

    (6) See Georges
    Dumezil. Entretiens avec Didier Eribon (Paris: Gallimard, 1987), pp. 214-18; and Didier Eribon. Michel Foucault et son contemporains (Paris: Fayard, 1994), pp. 35-37, 105-83, and passim. Others on the left whose work has been influenced by Dumezil would include Roger Caillois. Georges Bataille, Bernard Sergent, John Scheid, Daniel Dubuisson, and Dominique Briquel.

    (7) The best summary of Georges [/COLOR]Dumezil's work is his L'ideologie tripartie des indo-europeens (Brussels: Collection Latomus, 1958). Best known in English is Littleton, The New Comparative Mythology the flaws of which were discussed by Robert Goldman in Journal of the American Oriental Society 89 (1969): 205-13. Alternatives include Jaan Puhvel, Comparative Mythology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press 1987); Wouter W. Belier, Decayed Gods: Origin and Development of Georges Dumezil's "ideologie tripartite" (Leiden: Brill, 1991); and Ham Jorgen Lundager Jensen and Jens Peter Schjodt, Suveraeniteten, Kampen og Frugtbarheden: Georges Dumezil og den indoeuropaeiske ideologi (Arhus: Aarhusuniversitetsforlag, 1994).

    (8) The most important of the early critiques include Karl Helm, "Mythologie auf alten und neuen Wegen," Beitrage zur Geschichte der deutschen Sprache und Literatur 77 (1955): 333-65; John Brough, "The Tripartite Ideology of the Indo-Europeans: An Experiment in Method," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies 22 (1959): 69-85; Paul Thieme, Mitra and Aryaman (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1957), and "The `Aryan' Gods of the Mitanni Treaties," Journal of the American Oriental Institute 80 (1960): 301-17; and Jan Gonda, "[/COLOR]Dumezil's Tripartite Ideology: Some Critical Observations" Journal Asian Studies 34 (1974): 139-49.

    (9) See Arnaldo Momigliano, "Premesse per una discussione su Georges Dumezil," Opus 2 (1983): 329-42 (awn. into English as "Introduction to a Discussion of Georges Dumezil," in G. W. Bowersock and T J. Cornell, eds., A. D. Momigliano: Studies on Modern Scholarship [Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1994], pp. 286-301), and "Georges Dumezil and the Trifunctional Approach to Roman Civilization," History and Theory 23 (1994): 312-30; Carlo Ginzburg, "Mitologia Germanica e Nazismo: Su un vecchio libro di Georges Dumezil," Quaderni Storici 19 (1984): 857-82 (English trans., Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method, trans. John and Anne C. Tedeschi [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1989), pp. 126-45); Bruce Lincoln, Death, War, and Sacrifice: Studies in Ideology and Practice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 231-68; and Cristiano Grottanelli, Ideologie miti massacri: Indoeuropei di Georges Dumezil (Palermo: Sellerio, 1993). The brief remarks of Charles Malamoud, "Histoire des religions et comparatisme: La question indo-europeenne," Revue de l'histoire des religions 208 (1991): 115-21, also deserve attention. Georges Dumezil responded to Momigliano in L'oubli de I'homme et I'honneur des dieux (Paris: Gallimard, 1985), pp. 329-41, and to Ginzburg in "Science et politique: `Annales Economies Societes Civilisations 40 (1985): 985-89. Dumezil's connections to Maurras were mediated through Pierre Gaxotte, a lifelong friend to whom he dedicated his first book. Regarding the crucial role Gaxotte played right-wing letters and politics during the 1920s and 1930s, see Diane Rubenstein, What's Left? The Ecole Normale Supirieure and the Right (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1990), pp. 106-17, 130-36, and passim.

    (10) Didier Eribon, Faut-il bruler [/COLOR]Dumezil? Mythologie, science, et politique (Paris: Flammarion, 1992). Carlo Ginzburg responded to Eribon in "Dumezil et les mythes, nazis," Le Monde des debats (September 1993), pp. 22-23, prompting a rejoinder by Eribon in "Dumezil et les mythes nazis: Didier Eribon repond a Carlo Ginzburg," Le Monde des debats (October 1993), p. 13. Other defenses have been offered by Daniel Dubuisson, Mythologies du XXieme siecle (Lille: Presses Universitaires Lille, 1993); C. Scott Littleton, D. A. Miller, Jaan Puhvel, and Udo Strutynski, "Georges Dumezil," Times Literary Supplement [December 5, 1986], p. 1375 (with my response, "Georges Dumezil," Times Literary Supplement [December 19, 1986], p. 1425); Marco V. Garcia Quintela, "Nouvelles contributions a l'affaire Dumezil," Dialogues d'histoire ancienne 20 (1994): 21-39; and Andrea Zambrini, "Georges Dumezil. Una polemica," Rivista di Storia della Storiografia 15 (1994): 317-89 (with a response by Grottanelli, "Un lettore <> e i trabocchetti della polemica," pp. 391-404). Georges Charachidze, "Hypothese indo-europeenne et modes de comparaison," Revue de l'histoire des religions 208 (1991): 203-28, defends not just Dumezil, but Indo-European studies in general against the sort of criticism advanced by Ulf Drobin, `Indogermanische Religion und Kultur? Eine Analyse des Begriffes `Indogermanisch,'" Temenos 16 (1980): 26-38; and Jean-Paul DeMoule, "Realite des indo-europeens: Les diverses apories do modele arborescent," Revue de l'histoire des religions 209 (1991): 169-202.

    (11) Eribon, Faut-il bruler
    Dumezil? p. 298: "Lorsque l'on reconstitute le milieu intellectuel des annees vingt et trente, il est frappant de constater que des savants dont les opinions sont tres heterogenes, voire opposees, peuvent cohabiter, dialoguer, discuter, sans jamais qu'intervienne dans leur jugement la dimension politique. Sans doute parce qu'ils avaient en partage une ethique fondee sur une adhesion profonde aux valeurs de la recherche et la ferme volonte de maintenir la science a l'ecart des soubresauts du monde exterieur. Il y avait une tradition liberale de la corporation universitaire et une foi dans l'activite scientifique." This general line of argument is developed at pp. 13-20 and 297-306. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.

    (12) See also Grottanelli, in his review of Eribon, Quaderni di Storia 37 (1993): 181-89.

    (13) See, inter alia, Poliakov (n. 2 above); Lutzhoft (n. 2 above); von See, Barbar, Germane, Arier (n. 2 above); Volker Losemann, Nationalsozialismus und Antike: Studien zur Entwicklung des Faches alte Geschichte (Hamburg: Hoffman & Campe, 1977); Ruth Romer, Sprachwissenschaft und Rassenideologie in Deutschland (Munich: Fink. 1995); George Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985); Jost Hermand, Old Dreams of a New Reick: Volkish Utopias and National Socialism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992); Sheldon Pollock, "Deep Orientalism: Sanskrit and Power beyond the Raj," in Orientalism and the Post-Colonial Predicament, ed. Peter van der Veer and Carol Breckenridge (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1993), pp. 76-133; Maurice Olender, The Languages of Paradise: Race, Religion, and Philology in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), and "Europe, or How to Escape Babel," History and Theory 33 (1994): 5-25; and James Dow and Hannjost Lixfeld, eds., The Nazification of an Academic Discipline: Folklore in the Third Reich (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994). Here, one may also note the influence
    Dumezil's ideas bed on Roger Caillois and others involved in the College de Sociologie, as recently discussed by Denis Hollier, "January 21st," Stanford French Review 12 (1988): 31-48.

    (14) Otto Hofler, Kultische Geheimbunde der Germanen (Frankfurt: Diesterweg, 1934), and Das germanische Koninuitatsproblem (Hamburg: Hanseatische, 1937). Regarding Hofler, his ideas, and associates, see von See, Barbar, Germane, Arier, pp. 319-42, and Kontinuitatstheorie und Sakraltheorie in der Germanenforschung. Antwort an Otto Hofler (Frankfurt: Athenaeum, 1972); and Olaf Bockhorn, "The Battle for the `Ostmark': Nazi Folklore in Austria," in Dow and Lixfeld, eds., pp. 135-55. Hofler's SS involvement is discussed in Helmut Heiber, Walter Frank und sein Reichsinstitut fur Geschichte des neuen Deutschlands (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1966), pp. 551-53, and passim, and Michael Kater, Das "Ahnenerbe" der SS 1935-1945. Ein Beitrag zur Kulturpolitik des Dritten Reiches (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1974), pp. 83, 138, 307, and 343. In postwar writings like his Verwandlungskulte, Volkssagen, und Mythen (Vienna: H. Bohlau, 1973), Otto Hofler remained unrepentant, yet
    Dumezil always cited his work whenever the question of Mannerbunde arose, and it was Hofler who arranged for the first translation of Dumezil's work into German, appropriately enough choosing Heur et malheur du guerrier (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1969) for the honor.

    (15) Jan de Vries, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, 2 vols. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1935-37; rev. ed., 1957), Die Welt der Germanen (Leiden: Quelle & Meyer, 1934), and Onze Voorouders (The Hague: De Schouw, 1942). De Vries's other wartime writings show similar tendencies: De Germanen (Haarlem: Zoon, 1941), Die geistige Welt der Germanen (Halle: Niemeyer, 1943), and De Goden der Germanen (Amsterdam: Hanner, 1944). On de Vries's role in the Kultuurkamer, see L. de Jong, Her Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, 14 vols. (The Hague: Staatsuitgeverij, 1969-91), 4:389-91, 5:260--64 and 327, 6:449-50. Regarding [/COLOR]Dumezil's relation to de Vries, see Udo Stutynski, introduction to Georges Dumezil, Gods of the Ancient Northmen, ed. Einar Haugen (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1973), pp. xxxiii-xxxv; Georges Dumezil, author's preface in ibid., pp. xlv-xlvi, and Littleton, New Comparative Mythology (n. 5 above), pp. 168-71.

    (16) Stig Wikander, Der arische Mannerbund (Lund: C. W. K. Gleerap, 1938). Much information on Wikander may be found in Sigrid Kahle, H. S. Nyberg: En verenskapsmans biografi (Stockholm: Norstedts, 1991). Discussion of his time in Munich revising his dissertation is found at p. 264. Regarding Wikander's relations with
    Dumezil, who visited him in Uppsala every summer, see Dumezil, Entretiens avec Didier Eribon, pp. 76 and 157-58; Littleton, New Comparative Mythology, pp. 156-61.

    (17) Eribon, Faut-il bruler [/COLOR]Dumezil? (n. 6 above), p. 290: "Henri Hubert, qui enseignait les religions primitives de l'Europe a l'Ecole des hautes etudes, voulait-il rahabiliter le paganisme? On simplement l'etudier?"

    (18) Ivan Strenski, "Henri Hubert, Racial Science and Political Myth," in his Religion in Relation: Method, Application and Moral Location (Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1993), pp. 180-201.

    (19) Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, Sacrifice: Its Nature and Function Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1964). The original French text appeared in L'annee sociologique for 1898. That these two scholars--a Jew and a Catholic, who regarded themselves as jumeaux de travaille--set materials from ancient India and Israel parallel to one another is surely no accident, for in this fashion they implicitly refuted a typical construction of the nineteenth century whereby Semites were associated with ritual (and sterile ritualism), Aryans with mythology (and thus poetry, philosophy, and the life of the imagination).

    (20) Henri Hubert, Les Celtes et l'expansion celtique jusqu'a l'epoque de la Tane and Les Celtes depuis l'epoque de la Tene (Paris: Corbeil, 1932), and Les Germains (Paris: Albin Michel, 1952). All three books were published posthumously, based on manuscripts and notes taken during his lectures of 1923-25.

    (21) For brief and guarded accounts of Dumezil's dealings with Hubert, see Dumezil, Entretiens avec Didier Eribon, pp. 47-52, and the interview that appears in Pour un temps: Georges Demezil with a preface by Jacques Bonnet (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, Pandora Editions, 1981), pp. 18-19. One would very much like to have Hubert's side of the story.

    (22) Eribon (n. 10 above), Faut-il bruler Dumezil? pp. 119-44.

    (23) Ibid., p. 140: "Une chose est sure: entre 1933 et 1935, Dumezil est resolument anti-nazi. Il est profasciste et antinazi."

    (24) Ibid., p. 189, with most specific reference to Georges Dumezil, Mythes et dieux des Germains (Paris: E. LeRoux, 1939): "Dumezil neutralise le jugement politique qu'il porte sur les evenements contemporains parce qu'il ecrit un livre de science, ou il s'agit de comprendre et non de juger, d'expliquer et non de s'indigner. Tous les historiens de l'epoque ne cessent de proclamer cette regle professionnelle."

    (25) Georges Dumezil, Mitra-Varuna: Essai sur deux representations indo-europeennes de la souverainete, 1st ed. (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1940), pp. 111-28, 2d ed. (Paris: Gallimard, 1948), pp. 133-47. An English translation was brought out by Zone Books in 1988, prompting an insightful review by Ron Inden in the Journal of Asian Studies (August 1990), pp. 671-74. The differences between these editions are inconsequential for my purposes, and in the discussion that follows I will quote from the second French edition.

    (26) Most pre-Dumezil interpretations based on the pioneering work of Jacob Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 4 vols. (Gottingen: Dieterich, 1835), 1:131-34; and Karl Mullenhoff, Deutsche Altertumskunde, 5 vols. (Berlin: Weidmann, 1887-1900), 4:519-28. The longest sustained discussions are those of Rudolf Much, "Der germanische Himmelsgott," in Abhandbulungen zur germanischen Philologie: Festgabe fur Richard Heinzel, ed. F. Detter et al. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1898), pp. 189-278; and Wolfgang Krause, "Ziu," in Nachrichten der Gottingen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (1940), pp. 155-72. See also Paul Herrmann, Nordische Mythologie (Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1903), pp. 235-42; Richard M. Meyer, Germanische Mythologie (Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer, 1910), pp. 178--89; J. von Negelein, Germanische Mythologie (Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer, 1910), pp. 178-89; J. von Negelein, Germanische Mythologie (Leipzig: B. G. Teubuer, 1912), pp. 57-58; Alexander Haggerty Krappe, Etudes de mythologie et de folklore germaniques (Paris: E. Le Roux, 1928), pp. 11-27; Walter Baetke, Art und Glaube der Germanen (Hamburg: Hanseatische, 1934), p. 34; Carl Clemen, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte (Bonn: Ludwig Rohrscheid, 1934), pp. 48-50; de Vries, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte (n. 15 above), 1st ed., 2:283-88; Alois Closs, "Neue Problemstellungen in der germanischen Religionsgeschichte," Anthropos 29 (1934): 477-96, esp. 485--89, and Die Religion des Semnonenstammes," in Wilhelm Koppers, ed., Die Indogermanen- und Germanenfrage (Salzburg: Pustet, 1936), pp. 549-674; J. H. Schleuder Germanische Mythologie (Leipzig: Stubenrauch, 1937), pp. 80-87; Hermann Guntert, Altgermanische Glaube nach Wesen und Grundlage (Heidelberg: Winter, 1937), pp. 50-52; Martin Ninck, Gotter und Jenseitsglauben der Germanen (Jena: Eugen Diederichs. 1937), pp. 134-38; and Friedrich van der Leyen, Die Gotter der Germanen (Munich: Beck, 1938), pp. 67, 86, 198. Some authors used the etymological connections between Tyr (

    (27) Snorri Sturluson, Gylfaginning, chap. 25: dialfaztr, ok bezt hugaor.

    (28) Snorri Sturluson, Skaldskaparmal, chap. 9: vigaguo.

    (29) For example, Tacitus, Germania, chap. 9. The Roman equation is evident in the names for days of the week: Tys-dagr ("Tyr's day," English Tuesday) = dies Martis (Mar's day, French mardi, Italian marteidi).

    (30) Sigrdrifumal (a poem of the Elder Edda), v. 6:
    You shall know victory runes, if victory you want to have.
    Cut them on the hilt of your sword,
    Also some on the blades ridge and some on the tip,
    And call Tyr twice by name.
    Sigrunar bu scalt kunna, ef bu vilt sigr hafa,
    oc rista a hialti hiors,
    sumar A vettrimom sumar a valbostom,
    oc nefna tysvar Ty.

    (31) Gylfaginning chap. 25: ,,sa er enn ass er Tyr heitir; hann er diarfaztr ok bezt hugaor, ok hann raeor miok sigri i orrostum. A hann er gott at heita hreystimonnum, bat er orotak at sa er tyhraustr er um fram er aora menn ok ekki setz firir. Hann var vitr sva at bat er maelt at sa er tyspakr er vitr er, bat er eitt mark diarfleik hans, ba er aesir lokkuou Fenrisulf til bess at leggia fioturinn a hann, Gleipni, ba truoi hann beim eigi at beir myndu leysa hann, fyrr en beir logou honum at veoi hond Tys i munn ulfsins. En ba er aesir vildu eigi leysa hann, ba beit hann hondina af bar er nu heitir ulflior, ok er hann einhedr ok ekki kallaor saettir manna." [/COLOR]

    (32) In "Mythes romains," Revue de Paris (December 1951), pp. 105-15, [/COLOR]Dumezil minimized the importance of the Indic and Insh materiaK and be abandoned the Indic comparisons altogether in "La transposition des dieux souverains mineurs en heros dans le Mahdbharata," Indo Iranian Journal 3 (1959): 1-16. In later works he maintained that counterparts to the one-armed figure could be found elsewhere, but nowhere outside Rome and Scandinavia was the one-eyed magical sovereign to be found, still less the couple as an ensemble. For other discussions of these maftrials, with occasional shifts in emphasis, interpretation, and evidentiary base, see Georges Dumezil, Lob (Paris: Maissoneuve, 1948), pp. 91-97 (2d ed. [Paris; Flammarion, 1986], pp. 69-74). L'heritage indo-europeen a Rome (Paris: Gallimard, 1949), pp. 149-59, Les dieux des germains (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1959), pp. 40-77 (trans. into English as Gods of the Ancient Northmen [n. 15 above], pp. 26-48), Mythe et epopee, 3 vols. (Paris: Gallimard, 1968-73), 1:423-28, 3:267-86, "`Le Borgne' et `Le Manchot': The State of the Problem," in Myth in Indo-European Antiquity, ed. Gerald Lmson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974), pp. 17-28, Les dieux souverains des Indo-Europeens (Paris: Gallimard, 1977), pp. 198-200, and L'oubli de l'homme et l'honneur des dieux (n. 9 above), pp. 261-65.

    (33) R. I. Page, "
    Dumezil Revisit," Saga-Book of the Viking Society 20 (1978-81): 49-69 (to which Dumezil responded, L'oubli de l'homme er l'honneur des dieux, pp. 259-77); Lincoln, "Kings, Rebels, and the Left Hand in Death, War, and Sacrifice (n. 9 above), pp. 244-58; Klaus von See, Mythos und Theologie im skandinavischen Hochmittelatter (Heidelberg: Winter, 1988), pp. 56-68; and three articles by Cristiano Grottanelli: "The Enemy King Is a Monster: A Biblical Equation," Studi Storico Religiosi 3 (1979): 5-36, "Temi Dumeziliani fuori dal mondo indoeuropea," Opus 2 (1983): 365-89, esp. pp. 381-84, and "Evento e modello nella storia antica: Due eroi cesariani," in La Cultura in Cesare, ed. Diego Poli (Rome: Il Calamo, 1993), pp. 427-44.

    (34) Note that it is the wolf who proposes the agreement and the gods who accept. Tyr is not involved in the negotiations. Rather, his role is defined by his courage and is limited to doing that winch no one else dares: putting his hand m the mouth of the beast. See also Page, pp. 52-58; and von Sm Kontinuit&sMeorie mad Sakrukhrorie in der Germanenforschung (n. 14 above), pp. 14-18.

    (35) Gylfaginning 34: Ulfinn faeddu aesir heima, ok hafdi Tyr einn diarfleik til at ganga at ulfnum ok gefa honum mat. En er gudin sa hversu mikit hann ox hvern dag, ok allar spar sogou at hann myndi vera lagor til skada peim, pa fengu aesir pat rao...

    (36) Gylfaginning 34: pa svarar ulfrinn: ,,Svi litz mer a Penna dregil sem onga fraego munak af hliota pott ek slita i sundr sva miott band. En ef Pat er gort med list ok vael pott Pat syniz litit, pa kemr bat band eigi a mina foetr" (emphasis added to translation).

    (37) For a fuller discussion, see Bruce Lincoln, Mytk Cosmos, and Society: Indo-European Themes of Creation and Destruction (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1986), esp. pp. 141-71.


    (38) In addition to the sources discussed below, the same pattern is evident in Volunoarvida and the story of Jormunrekk's death (Hamdismal 13, 24, and 28, Skaldskaparmal 42, and Volsungasaga 44).

    (39) Egilssaga einhenda 9.9-10: Sidan tok hann II steina, ok vagu halfvaett badir; par varu fastar vid jarnhespur. Hann laesti paer at fotum Egli, ok sagdi, at hann skyldi petta draga. The text is available in Ake Lagerholm, ed., Drei Lygisogur (Halle: Niemeyer, 1927), vol. 17 in the Altnordische Saga-Bibliothek, pp. 43-52. An English translation may be found in Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards, trans., Gautrek's Saga and Other Medieval Tales (New York: New York University Press, 1968), pp. 103-8.

    (40) Egils Saga Einhenda 10.6: Egill ... tok einn tviangadan flein, ok rekr i baedi augun a jotninum, sva pau liggja ut a kinnarbeinunum.

    (41) Egilssaga einhenda 11.8: Tok dvergrinn pa at smida honum eitt sverd; en upp fra hjoltunum gerdi hann fal sva [langan], at upp tok yfir olbogann, ok matti par spenna at, ok var Egli sva haegt at hoggva med pvi sverdi, sem heil vaeri hondin.

    (42) Note that the giant fails by permitting himself to lose both eyes (a crippling catastrophe), rather than one (a productive sacrifice on the order of Odinn's).

    (43) For the wounds to Grendel, see Beowulf, lines 813-21; to Grendel's mother, 1563-68; to the dragon, 2697-2705. Beowulf's assault on the dragon's head--which fails because his hand is "too strong" (waes sio hond to
    strong)--is described at 2677-97.


    (44) These provocatory incidents appear at lines 739-45 (Grendel eats the unnamed warrior), 1417-21 (Grendel's mother beheads AEschere, the royal favorite), and 2214-26 (a servant violates the dragon's barrow and steals its precious cup). Regarding AEscheres status, see lines 1296-99 and 1306-9, noting that no other character is called aldorbegn or designated as "dearest" (deorestan) to the king.

    (45) The gifts won for defeating Grendel are described at lines 1020-24, 1035-38, and 1045; Grendel's mother, 1709-57, 1866-67, and 2143-65; the dragon, 2742-71.

    (46) Donald Ward, The Divine Twins: An Indo-European Myth In Germanic Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), p. 101n.; Strutynsld (n. 15 above), p. xli n.

    (47) See esp. Waltharius, 1401-15. The text, with commentary may be found in Gernot Wieland, Waltharius (Bryn Mawr, Pa.: Bryn Mawr Latin Commentaries, 1989).

    (48) Alfred Rosenberg, Der Mythus des 20 Jahrhunderts: eine Wertung der seelischgeistigen Gestaltenkampfe unserer Zeit (Munich: Hoheneichen, 1935); Martin Ninck, Wodan und germanische Schicksaisgiazibe (Jena: Eugen Diederich, 1935); C. G. Jung, "Wotan," originally published in 1936, now available in vol. 10 of his Collected Works, ed. Herbert Read et al. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1964), pp. 179-93.

    (49) Bloch's review appeared in the Revue historique, 190 (1940): 274-76, and Dumezil made much of it when responding to Ginzburg.

    (50) Here Dumezil expanded upon a line of analysis that was introduced in the final year of the first World War, and was much more influential on French than on German scholars (for obvious reasons): Joseph Vendryes, "Les correspondences de vocabulaire entre l'indoiranien et l'italo-celtique," Memoires de la Societe de linguistique de Paris 20 (1918): 265-85.

    (51) Dumezil, Mythes et dieux des Germains (n. 24 above), pp. 153-54: "[C]ette mythologie, ces dieux, ont evolue dans le sens militaire. En particulier, le souverain magicien Odinn a developpe les puissances guerrieres que son prototype indo-europeen ne contenait qu'a l'etat de germes. Sans etre proprement un combattant, Odinn s'interesse aux combattants, les anime, les soutient, les recompense, les preside. La <> qui lui est legitimement attribuee, de plus en plus, s'est tournee vers la guerre. Dieu roi et dieu du roi, maitre des runes et patron des pretres, il semble qu'il n'a pu maintenir et etendre son prestige qu'en se transimuant de <> et de <> en <>, qu'en devenant le garant celeste d'une sorte de vague <> ou tout un peuple se trouvait mobilise." Use of the Latin terminology rex and dux derives from and alludes to Tacitus, Germania, chap. 7.

    (52) Dumezil, Mythes et dieux des Germains, pp. 155: "Peut-etre est-ce cette <>, deja prehistorique, de la mythologie qui lui a assure une fortune a peu pres unique: car elle n'est pas morte avec les formes exterieures, du paganisme; ou, ce qui revient au meme, elle a ressuscite au [XIX.sup.e] siecle, elle a repris une valeur qu'il n'est pas excessif de qualifier de religieuse et nous la voyons, de nos yeux, reprendre possession des Germains continentaux, les disputer aux disciplines et aux habitudes chretiennes, avec toute la frenesie d'une revanche."

    (53) Ibid., p. 156: "La troisieme Reich n'a pas eu a creer ses mythes fondamentaux: peutetre au contraire est-ce la mythologie germanique, ressuscitee au XIXe siecle, qui a donne sa forme, son esprit, ses institutions a une Allemagne que des malheurs sans precedent rendaient merveilleusement malleable; peut-etre est-ce parce qu'il avait d'abord souffert dans des tranchees que hantait le fantome de Siegfried qu'Adolf Hitler a pu concevoir, forger, pratiquer une Souverainete telle qa'aucun chef germain n'en a connue depuis le regne fabuleux d'Odhinn."

    (54) Ibid., p. 36: "Othinus et son remplapacant s'opposent, si l'on peut dire par leur politique: a la religion unitaire et confuse du premier, le second substitue une religion analytique, ou chacun a une part fixee. A l'indetermination, il substitue des regles. On dirait presque: a la fantaisie, il substitue un droit."

    (55) Ibid., pp. 37-42. His tortuous argument may be summarized as follows: (1) the stories Saxo tells of Mithothyn and Ollerus (1.7 and 3.4, respectively) are fundamentally the same; (2) Ollerus is a Latinized form of Old Norse Ullr. (3) Ullr is very little attested among the continental Germans; (4) in the south, Ullr's place is taken by *Tiwaz; (5) Tyr is the Old Norse form of *Tiwaz; (6) the Romans equated *Tiwaz with Mars; (7) a third-century inscription mentions a Mars Thincsus; (8) Thincsus refers to the Germanic thing. i.e., the popular assembly and place of disputation, (9) the name Mithothyn means "the judge." Some of these points we unexceptionable (2, 3, 5, 6), and some open to discussion (1, 8). Others are unlikely (4, 9), or given disproportionate importance (7).

    (56) [/COLOR]Dumezil, Mitra-Varuna (n. 25 above), pp. 152-59. The phrases I have used in the above description come directly from the text: The Odinnic system is thus described as "un <>, un <> permanente" (p. 157), "<> patronnee par *Wodanaz" (p. 157), "le rigime communisant ... apte a satisfaire et a contenir la plebe" (p. 155). "une morale heroique et anticapitaliste" (157). The Mithothymic has: "propriete morcelee, sable, heriditaire" (p. 157), "propriete avec compensation precise" (p. 157), "une repartition aussi rigoureuse et aussi claire que possible des biens" (p. 157), "<> patronne par *Tiwaz" (p. 156), "la propriete hereditaire, le bien familial" (p. 159). In Dumezil, Les dieux souverains des Indo-Europeens (n. 32 above), this system of contrasts has been reworked to place the opposition of private property and communism at its center (pp. 200-202).

    (57)
    Dumezil, Mitra-Varuna pp. 157-59. His statement regarding the Slavs is guarded, but suggestively open-ended: "Or chez les Slaves, jusqu'en pleine epoque historique, ont existe des formes de propriete collective avec redistribution periodique; la mythologie de la souverainete devait se modeler sur ces pratiques, et il eut ete d'autant plus interessant de la connaitre que les depositaires humain de la souverainete paraissent avoir ete, chez les Slaves, particulierement instables. Mais tout cela est irremediablement perdu" (p. 159).

    (58) For a discussion of this course and its relation to Mitra-Varuna, see
    Dumezil, Entretiens avec Didier Eribon (n. 6 above), pp. 67-68.

    (59) Earlier, not only Mithothyn played this role, but also Ullr, whom
    Dumezil imaginatively associated with the emergence of parliamentary institutions among the "good Germans" of England and Scandinavia: "L'opposition de ces deux conceptions du pouvoir souverain semble fondamentale dans la vie des peuples germaniques: si les societest scandinaves et anglo-saxonnes ont, tres tot, assure la suprematie d'Ullr, et du thing, et du parlement, et du droit precis, les Germains continentaux, ont garde la nostalgie du pur Wotan" (Dumezil, Mythes et dieux des Germains, p. 42).

    (60) See the literature cited above, n. 26.


    (61) Dumezil, Mitra-Varuna pp. 149-50: "Quel genre de rapports *Tiwaz-Mars soutientil avec la guerre? D'abord des rapports qui ne sont pas exclusifs, car il a d'autres activities: il est qualifie sur plusieurs inscriptions; de Thincsus; il est donc surement, en depit d'interminables discussions, protecteur du thing (allemand Ding), du peuple assemble en corps pour juger et decider. Mais en dehors de cette importante fonction civile, dans la guerre meme, *Tiwaz-Mars reste juriste.... Il y a bien des manieres d'etre dieu de la guerre, et *Tiwaz en definit une qui serait tres mal exprimee par les etiquettes <>, <>; le legitime patron du combat en tant que coups assenes, c'est *Thunraz, le champion (cf. Mythes et dieux des Germains, chap. 7), le modele de la force physique, celui que les Romains ont traduit en Hercules. *Tiwaz est autre chose: le juriste de la guerre, et en meme temps une maniere de diplomate." Although this passage refers to "plusieurs inscriptions," there is only one, found at Housesteads, Northumberland, dating from 225-35 C.E.; R. G. Collingwood and R. P. Wright, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain vol. 1 (Oxford: Clarendon, 1965), Do. 1593. Dumezil was criticized on this point and corrected himself in low publications.

    (62) Dumezil Mitra-Varuna, pp. 166-67: "Il est a peine besoin de souligner, et c'est on serieux indice de l'authenticite de la legende, que l'acte de Tyr est precisement celui qui convient au dieu juriste. Il faut conclure avec l'ennemi un pacte-piege, avec une caution perdue d'avance: Tyr, seul de tous les Ases, donne cette caution. L'ennemi a eu la sotisse d'accepter le risque contractuel d'un echange ou la simple mutilation d'un dieu compenserait sa defaite totale: Tyr, procedudrier hero/que, saisit l'occasion....Nous rappeliouns, au precedent chapitre, que le *Tiwaz (ou Mars Thincsus) des Germains continentaux etait le dieu du Droit de la Guerre, de la guerre cousideree comme matiere juridique. Il faut mesurer jusqu'ou s'etend ce domaine: des les temps les plus anciens, puisqu'il s'agissait deja de droit, la grande affaire a du etre de sauver les formes, d'agir au mieux des interets de son peuple sans se donner les torts internationaux; dans quelle mesure s'engage-t-on lorsqu'on s'engage? Comment engager l'ennemi dans un de ces traites qui valent une embuscade?"

    (63) Also relevant is Dumezil's view of Freyr, about whom he rhapsodized: "il y a une mystique, une mythologie de la <>, d'une paix incomparable, veritable age d'or, qui correspond surement a l'une des plus sinceres aspirations de l'ame germanique" (Mythes et dieux des Germains [n. 24 above], p. 128).

    (64) Note that Hitler used a Franco-Soviet agreement of February 1936 as his pretext for repudiating the Locamo Pact and rearming the Rhineland, claiming that in so doing he sought a new basis for peace in the face of French provocation. A focal audience for this preposterous argument was the French Right, which had bitterly opposed the Soviet treaty.

    (65) See further Cristiano Grottanelli, "Ancora Dumezil: Addenda e Corrigenda," Quaderni di Storia 39 (1994): 195-207, esp. pp. 198-200; and Hollier (n. 13 above), pp. 33-41. Although some aspects of Hollier's discussion are open to question, he rightly characterizes Dumezil's view of sovereignty as a theory of church-state rapprochement, in the manner of Mussolini's Concordat with the Vatican (p. 33). The same point is made, for very different purposes, by Alain de Benoist, L'eclipse du sacre (Paris: La Table Ronde, 1986), p. 107.

    (66) Antagonism to Germany during this period was best exemplified by Mantras, and Germanophilia by Robert Brasillach. Dumezil's close friend Pierre Gaxotte made the transition from the former position to the latter over the course of the 1930s, as did another of their compatriots from the Ecole Normale Supdneure, Pierre Drieu la Rochelle. It is worth noting that in the year after the fall of France, Drieu published an excerpt from Georges Dumezil's Jupiter Mars Quirinus (Paris: Gallimard, 1941), in which Dumezil extolled the long history of Indo-European conquests and called for the French and Germans to set aside their fratricidial quarrels, in "L'etude comparee des religions indo-europeennes: Notes sur la methode," Nouvelle Revue Francaise (1941), pp. 385-99. On Drieu's embrace of Nazism in this period and through tins venue, see Lionel Richard, "Drieu la Rochelle et la Nouvelle Revue Francaise des annees noires," Revue d'histoire de la deuxieme guerre mondiale 25 (1975): 67-84.

    (67) Regarding relations between de Benoist (on whom, see also n. 3 above) and Dumezil, see Maurice Olender, "Georges Dumezil et les usages <> de la prehistoire indo-europeenne," in Les Grecs, les Romains. et nous. L'Antiquite, est-elle moderne? ed. Roger-Pol Droit (Paris: Le Monde editions, 1991), pp. 191-228. Also relevant are Taguieff (n. 3 above), pp. 173-80; Eribon, Faut-il bruler Dumezil (n. 10 above), pp. 283-88; and Sergent, "Penser--et mal penser--les indo-europeens (n. 4 above), pp. 678-81. Most of these take pains; to defend Dumezil himself and to depict him as badly served by those who would appropriate Ins views for their own purposes Frequently, they emphasize the fact that although Dumezil permitted Alain de Benoist to include him on the Comite de patronage of Nouvelle ecole, flagship publication of the New Right, he immediately withdrew upon publication of the special issue ostensibly, but somewhat abusively, published in his honor ("Georges Dumezil et les etudes indo-europeennes," Nouvelle ecole 21-22 [Winter 1972-73]). Portions of this volume were republished in the Maitres a penser series, ed., de Benoist, alongside a similar volume devoted to Julins Evola: Jean-Claude Riviere, ed., Georges Dumezil: A la decouverte des Indo-Europeens (Paris: Copernic, 1979). Such a construction is possible, although de Benoist describes the affair in different terms, Nouvelle ecole 45 (February 1989), pp. 138-39. It is also worth noting that as late as 1978--six years after the supposed breach--Dumezil granted a very friendly interview to de Benoist: Jean Varenne and Alain de Benoist, "Georges Dumezil: L'explorateur de nos origines," Le Figaro Dimanche (April 29-30, 1978), p. 19.

    (68) Some, at least, we quite open about this, like Jean Boissel, who credits Gobineau--and not Dumezil--as the first to have described Indo-European trifunctionalism, Gobineau, l'orient et l'Iran (Paris: Klincksieck. 1973), 1:166, n. 170, with reference to Dumezil's Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus and Comte de Artur Gobineau's Histoire des Perses (Paris: Henri Plon, 1869; reprint edition, Tehran, 1976 under the patronage of Her Imperial Highness Princess Ashraf Pahlavi).

    In the past year, I have had the occasion to present different versions of this article at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Riverside, the University of Chicago, the University of Copenhagen, and Lund University. I am grateful to friends and colleagues at all these institutions, whose suggestions, comments, and criticisms helped refine my discussion.

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    The name of Tyr is an isogloss shared with other northern IE people, the Iranians (who originated near the Ural mountains) and peoples like Finns. It means "heaven" as distinct from atmospheric phenomena which goes with a seeming identification of Tyr with Polaris. Yet place names featuring Tyr include "bottomless" water bodies where swords were thrown as offerings. A similar theme occurs in Arthurian lore, at the death of Batradz in the Nart corpus and in Yezidism where they offer the sword to the waters. (Aquatic Tyr?) Not much is known about Tyr, he is not a clear figure to us as Odhinn, Thorr, Freyr or Freyja. If the Roman thought him Mars it must have been for a reason, but he seems more like a Mitra in the sources. Comparisons to the Celtic and Latin sources confirm something martial: is it possible Tyr was a psychopomp, like Roman Mars abd the Iranian Tir (Mercury, Sirius)? Tyr's name occurs together with those of Rig and Odin, both of them parallel to Iranian judges of the deceased. (Note that unlike *Wodhanaz the similarity of Tir's name to an Indo-Iranian counterpart does not demonstrate that he is a borrowing from the steppes.) Mars was much more than a war god and a psychopomp, having a Mitra-like aspect himself at times.

    Dumezil was a spook by the way. Some degree of propaganda should be expected from his writings, but they mostly stand up as comparative myth.

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    The prominent Armanist Guido Von List interpreted Tyr as an ascendant state of being. This applied to both his take on the Tyr rune along with Odin's ascension after hanging from Yggdrasil, discovering the runes and arising from himself. One could even say that the Garm, the hound of Hel, taking down Tyr during Ragnarok could be a mirror of the wolf Fenrir taking down Odin.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Nattevind View Post
    One could even say that the Garm, the hound of Hel, taking down Tyr during Ragnarok could be a mirror of the wolf Fenrir taking down Odin.
    Yes: and the enmity between Thorr and Jormungand goes back as a motif to Etana of Kish (and by inference furthsr).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catterick View Post
    ....

    Dumezil was a spook by the way. Some degree of propaganda should be expected from his writings, but they mostly stand up as comparative myth.
    What do you mean by Dumezil being a "spook"?

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