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Thread: The Heruls

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    New Member Dansk Jute's Avatar
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    The Heruls

    I'm in need of sources of any research and documentation on "The Heruls."
    The Heruli enjoys a prominent place in the Migration Age history. The name does not occur in the writings of the first two centuries AD, and it neither appears in sagas, Saxo or other Scandinavian sources. However, they are mentioned in the very first lines of the poem Beowulf.
    One can imagine that bards at the Dani court did not consider it opportune to sing about the country's former rulers, whom Dani had displaced, and this is the reason for the absence of Heruls in sagas and skaldic verses. The Eddas, on the other hand, strongly emphasize on telling that the Jotuns were the first and the originals.

    Jordanes mentions in his description of the peoples on the island of Scandia that Dani expelled Herulos from their settlements - perhaps in Scania, Halland, Blekinge or Sjælland, possibly around 200-300 AD. Procopius says that after a catastrophic defeat to the Longobards a very large part of the Heruli went back to Scandinavia, where they settled on the island of Thule that is the Scandinavian Peninsula "near the Goths" or "opposite the Goths."
    Therefore, it's believed that the Heruli originally came from Scandinavia, but since they are not mentioned in the Scandinavian historical sources, they must have been known there under a different name.

    In fact, the opening lines of "Beowulf" mention King Skjold's suppression of the "fearsome Herul" and other tribes beyond the "whale-road":

    "Listen! We - of the Spear-Danes in the days of yore,
    of those clan-kings heard of their glory.
    how those nobles performed courageous deeds.
    Often Scyld, Scef's son, from enemy hosts
    from many peoples seized mead-benches;
    and terrorised the fearsome Heruli (egsode Eorle) after first he was
    found helpless and destitute, he then knew to recompense for that:-
    he grew under the clouds, throve in honours,
    until to him each of the bordering tribes
    beyond the whale-road had to submit,
    and yield tribute:- that was a good king!"

    However, later in the poem, "Earle" is used in a way that can be understood as a title.

    The archaeologist Johannes Brøndsted wondered about the lack of finds from the oldest iron age on Sjælland and in Skåne. Some have suggested that the Bronze Age lasted longer in this part of the country than in Jylland and on Fyn, it being understood that the Bronze Age culture here lasted long into the Iron Age. However, probably so that they largely used weapons of iron.

    In Alvismal from the Elder Edda, it is told that the Elves called the sun Fager-wheel (Fager is an old Danish word for beautiful). There are thousands of rock carvings depicting wheel crosses, which we believe are sun symbols that we call wheel-crosses, all of which are carved by the bronze age people. They may have been the Elves or Alfs. Since the Bronze-culture probably existed for a longer time on Sjælland and in Scania than in the rest of the country, we can believe that the Heruls at the beginning of the Roman Iron Age was known as Elves or Alfs, and they were expelled by Dani.

    One can also look into it so that Elves are the only names label from the Scandinavian mythology, which is vacant, besides from Jats and dwarfs, and thus speculatively attach them to the Heruls in Scandinavia.

    Thank you for your time and consideration in any feedback.

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  3. #2
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    The Herules (or Heruli) were a mysterious north-Germanic people who most probably were native to Sjælland or Fyn. The empire of the West-Herules lasted into the 500's. One does not know if the East-Herules or other Herules were driven from Scandinavia by the Danes, as what according to the stories happened early in the 200's.

    Herules appeared by the lower part of the Rhine, while others settled near the Azov sea, where they lived first under the Goth sand later Hunnic rule. Some say the Herules practiced human sacrifice well into the 500's.

    Otto von Friesenand Elias Wessén had a theory that the runes were invented by the Goths and later introduced into Scandinavia by the Herules.

    In the year 267, Herules invaded the Roman empire and later Greece, where they plundered Athens, Corinth, Sparta and Argos. (Ludwig Schmidt, 'Die Ostgermanen', 1910).

    Herul King Rodulv (known from the Gothic history of Jordan) was actually a West Norwegian king who ruled over an empire that extended from Grenland in Telemark to Romsdalen, Norway in the year 551 he went south to Italy to the Gothic King Theodoric the Great. (Kåre Arnstein Lye, 'Jærboka', volume 3, Dreyer / Oikos 1981, page 179.)


    A rune inscription was found in Telemark, Norway; The Bratsberg brooch, year 400-500 AD

    The inscription reads: ek erilaR


    Meaning: I am the Runemaster, I the Heruler.
    erilaR / irilaR inscriptions have also been found at Veblungnes in Romsdal, Norheimsund at Hardangerfjord and Valsfjord in Sør-Trøndelag, all from before 500 AD.

    The inscription has also been found in Denmark and Sweden, but also in younger editions.

    In Italian, the Heruls are called Erilar , in German Heruler, Latin Heruli; Eruler and in English Herule (plural herules, adjective herulian)

    There has been some discussion about whether the Norwegian earl title was originally related to heruls and erilar, but this is probably not entirely certain.

    The UHA lineage belonged to the Heruls, and a number of men named Uha (mountain owl) acted as rune and bracteat artists in the Nordic countries. A bractaet artist creates these.

    In Gyldendal's one-volume lexicon of 1967 on bracteats:
    "Bracketat (of lat. Bractea, thin plate).
    Coins from the Middle Ages, of thin metal, so that the image is raised on one side and deepened on the other. - In recent times, names of gold pendants from the younger Iron Age. "
    The Heruls built a new community in Illyria on the Adriatic around the year 500, but were later overthrown by the Langobards. After this, many hercules returned to Northern Europe (Blekinge in Sweden?) again.

    The family gave the Heruls two kings in Southern Europe; Svartua who was instated by Emperor Justian, and Olchon who was killed by his own people around 545 AD.

    After the murder of King Olchon, they regretted their actions - "because they could not live without a ruler or commander" - and after long consultations, they decided to send a delegation to the island of Thule (Scandinavian area), to retrieve from here a king "of the blood". They found a royal subject, but he died on his return, in the land of the Danes. Then the Heruls returned to southern Scandinavia (Skåne, Blekinge?) And retrieved another named Datios. With him came his brother Aordos and two hundred of the Heruls in Thule. (Prokopios)
    Translated from https://www.arild-hauge.com/heruler.htm

    Longer text in Danish https://www.arild-hauge.com/heruler-historie-dansk.htm and via Google translate: https://translate.google.com/transla...orie-dansk.htm

    Another interesting text on them, in Norwegian http://arkeologi.blogspot.com/2011/0...ne-kommer.html

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    The Heruli are of dubious origins. Pliny mentions a people called the "Hirri" living in Scandinavia in the First century, which is thought to be the Heruli.

    I read an interesting paper that suggests that the Heruli were originally West Germanic speaking but adopted Gothic after being subjugated by the Huns. I'll try and dig it up for you.

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