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Thread: Human Sacrifices in Germany in the Bronze and Iron Ages

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think not. Toutatis, Belenus, Cernunnos, Esus, Taranis, Grannus, I don't see how any Celtic gods here are related to the Germanic at all. What do you base the idea that they are related on?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Interpr...retatio_romana

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    Senior Member Jens's Avatar
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    Ok so that says it may be as related to the Germanic as the Greek or Roman pantheons, based on the fact that they all have gods of war and fertility. Like every other polytheistic religion ever. Are you trying to say that Greeks and Romans are Germanic? Indo-European does not mean Germanic by any stretch of the imagination.

    What it actually says is that some cultures liked to compare the gods of other cultures with their own gods in order to make sense of them. This makes sense since polytheists generally believed in all gods they encountered. When two were very similar they assumed they were the same god with two names.

    That said, the link shows that Romans attempted to compare Latin gods with Germanic ones and Celtic ones, but there was no such syncretic relationship between the Germanic and Celtic, and that wikipedia entry doesn't even suggest that there is, so how is it supposed to address the question you quoted?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Ok so that says it may be as related to the Germanic as the Greek or Roman pantheons, based on the fact that they all have gods of war and fertility. Like every other polytheistic religion ever. Are you trying to say that Greeks and Romans are Germanic? Indo-European does not mean Germanic by any stretch of the imagination.
    The Celtic and Germanic pantheons are not "the same" in the sense that they are identical. But it's important to realize that just as Celtic and Germanic languages are related because of belonging to the Indo-European family, the same can be said of the ancient European religions as well... A good example: the name of the Nordic god Tyr (proto-Germanic Tiwaz) is derived from the name of the ancient Indo-European sky-god, *Dyeus. The same is true of the Greek god Zeus.
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    Senior Member Jens's Avatar
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    Yes but the point of my dissent is that Celtic practices of human sacrifice cannot be ascribed to Germanics without any actual evidence that this was a widespread practice in Germanic culture as well. Literally the only account that suggests that any Germans practiced human sacrifice is from Tacitus, and there is no surviving evidence to suggest that it ever happened. On the other hand, we have tons of specific accounts and evidence, not only that human sacrifices were widespread through in Celtic culture, but that there were many different types designed to honor different gods. What I'm getting at is that it isn't likely that any Germanic tribes ever practiced human sacrifice, and if they did we certainly can't prove it the way we can with Celts. He was trying to say that it doesn't matter if Germans didn't do it because if Celts did it then that is close enough. But it is not close enough. Because Germanics were not, and are not, Celts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Ok so that says it may be as related to the Germanic as the Greek or Roman pantheons, based on the fact that they all have gods of war and fertility. Like every other polytheistic religion ever. Are you trying to say that Greeks and Romans are Germanic? Indo-European does not mean Germanic by any stretch of the imagination.

    What it actually says is that some cultures liked to compare the gods of other cultures with their own gods in order to make sense of them. This makes sense since polytheists generally believed in all gods they encountered. When two were very similar they assumed they were the same god with two names.

    That said, the link shows that Romans attempted to compare Latin gods with Germanic ones and Celtic ones, but there was no such syncretic relationship between the Germanic and Celtic, and that wikipedia entry doesn't even suggest that there is, so how is it supposed to address the question you quoted?
    Logic will show that all gods of the Polytheistic Indo-European religions ARE related.

    Think, milennia ago we were One people, no Slavs, no Germanics, no Latins, no Greeks, no Celts, just Indo-Europeans. Logically, of course, we will have Gods with the same root, in the exact same way that our languages are related.

    Tyr, meaning literally 'God', comes from the proto-Germanic 'tiwaz', and proto-Indo-European being 'deiwos'. Can you not see the obviously link to the Latin word 'Deus' meaning God, and the other obvious cognate to 'Zeus', of the same root. Zeus-Piter 'Zeus the Father' = Ju-ppiter.

    Tyr is obviously the same God as Jupiter, it is just that he was not worshipped as holding the same position as Jupiter/Zeus to the Romans.

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    Senior Member Jens's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Krähe View Post
    Logic will show that all gods of the Polytheistic Indo-European religions ARE related.

    Think, milennia ago we were One people, no Slavs, no Germanics, no Latins, no Greeks, no Celts, just Indo-Europeans. Logically, of course, we will have Gods with the same root, in the exact same way that our languages are related.
    Precisely. Greeks did not practice human sacrifice, neither did the Romans, or the Germans. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that human sacrifice has any indo european root or relation to Germanic paganism. As far as the sources tell us, this was a Celtic phenomenon. Just because Christianity invented the idea of a Three in one trinity god doesn't mean Judaism and Islam now or ever did ascribe to that idea. How is this not getting through? You cannot just take things from Celts and ascribe them to Germanics. The reason we don't call them and ourselves indo europeans is precisely because they became different cultures and different religions. This is a Germanic forum, if you want to subscribe to some kind of pan european nationalism and associate Germans with Celtic, Latin, and Slavic history this is not the place.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Precisely. Greeks did not practice human sacrifice, neither did the Romans, or the Germans. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that human sacrifice has any indo european root or relation to Germanic paganism. As far as the sources tell us, this was a Celtic phenomenon. Just because Christianity invented the idea of a Three in one trinity god doesn't mean Judaism and Islam now or ever did ascribe to that idea. How is this not getting through? You cannot just take things from Celts and ascribe them to Germanics. The reason we don't call them and ourselves indo europeans is precisely because they became different cultures and different religions. This is a Germanic forum, if you want to subscribe to some kind of pan european nationalism and associate Germans with Celtic, Latin, and Slavic history this is not the place.
    I think we're missing each other here. I have nothing to say about the human sacrifice argument, and I was not trying to prove that we did such things.

    I was just making a point that the Gods of all Indo-European peoples were once the same, which is why interpretatio Romana was so easy.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    Precisely. Greeks did not practice human sacrifice, neither did the Romans, or the Germans. There is absolutely nothing to suggest that human sacrifice has any indo european root or relation to Germanic paganism. As far as the sources tell us, this was a Celtic phenomenon. Just because Christianity invented the idea of a Three in one trinity god doesn't mean Judaism and Islam now or ever did ascribe to that idea. How is this not getting through? You cannot just take things from Celts and ascribe them to Germanics. The reason we don't call them and ourselves indo europeans is precisely because they became different cultures and different religions. This is a Germanic forum, if you want to subscribe to some kind of pan european nationalism and associate Germans with Celtic, Latin, and Slavic history this is not the place.
    Well, this simply isn't correct.
    All these peoples did human sacrifices, the Greeks were probably the earliest to stop but they still sacrificed around the times of the Trojan War(and perhaps still around the time Homer wrote the Illiad, which was around 750 BC).

    The gladiator fights in the Roman Republic were originally ritual fights on the burial of a deceased ancestor, the defeated fighter being a human sacrifice. As late as the Punic Wars in 216 BC and the Cimbrian wars in 113 BC, the Romans buried couples of foreigners(Celts and Greeks) alive on the Forum Boarium to appease the gods and shift the course of war.

    As for the Germans, many of the bog bodies show signs of having been sacrificed and Tacitus makes a clear reference to human sacrifice in his Germania:
    Of all the Suevians, the Semnones recount themselves to be the most ancient and most noble. The belief of their antiquity is confirmed by religious mysteries. At a stated time of the year, all the several people descended from the same stock, assemble by their deputies in a wood; consecrated by the idolatries of their forefathers, and by superstitious awe in times of old. There by publicly sacrificing a man, they begin the horrible solemnity of their barbarous worship.
    Likewise he attests the killing of criminals in the bogs:
    Cowards, and sluggards, and unnatural prostitutes[probably adulterers] they smother in mud and bogs under an heap of hurdles.
    In his Annals he reports how years after the Battle of Teutoburg Forest, the Roman army came to the battlefield and buried its dead:
    In the centre of the field were the whitening bones of men, as they had fled, or stood their ground, strewn everywhere or piled in heaps. Near, lay fragments of weapons and limbs of horses, and also human heads, prominently nailed to trunks of trees. In the adjacent groves were the barbarous altars, on which they had immolated tribunes and first-rank centurions.
    References to later human sacrifices of the Viking Age Scandinavians are numerous as well, female slaves were often sacrificed upon the death of their lord and went to the grave with him.

    I don't agree with the notion of Ocko that this means that Celts and Germanics were the same though.
    It's however simply a fact that human sacrifices were common at one point.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jens View Post
    I think not. Toutatis, Belenus, Cernunnos, Esus, Taranis, Grannus, I don't see how any Celtic gods here are related to the Germanic at all. What do you base the idea that they are related on?
    Taranis and Þo(na)rR (preserved in German Donar, English Thunor) are etymologically related, the whole thing goes by simple metathesis of two phonemes with limited consonanticity [/n/ and /r/ could and can be both consonants and vowels in several IE languages].

    They are further related to Baltic Perkunas/Perkunos/Pērkons/Perkunis (literally, the "oak god") and Slavic Perun via the evidence of the IE root *perku- "oak". Via contact, these in turn, gave the Finns - who had their own thunder-god Ukko already, a second thunder-god, Perkele.
    -In kalte Schatten versunken... /Germaniens Volk erstarrt / Gefroren von Lügen / In denen die Welt verharrt-
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    -Auch ich verspüre Demut / Vor dem alten Geiste der Ahnen / Wird es mir vergönnt sein / Gen Walhalla aufzufahren?-

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    I don't understand how it is so important to deny that human sacrifice did happen at some point in the Germanic world. If one is of the opinion that human sacrifice is absolutely evil and fundamentally wrong in all contexts, then one would also have to say the same thing about war and the death penalty for criminals. That is, is human life has some absolute value that may never be sacrificed. If not, it would be a self-contradiction.
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