05/12/2022

Norse Period 2 – Godwulf to Odin

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Note: Euhemerism
In proceeding to earlier generations we will need to understand the term Euhemrism, this is an approach to the interpretation of mythology in which mythological accounts are presumed to have originated from real historical events or personages.

Euhemerism supposes that historical accounts become myths as they are exaggerated in the retelling, accumulating elaborations and alterations that reflect the culture of the people.

It was named for the Greek mythographer Euhemerus, who lived in the late 4th century BC.

[GGF55]

GGF55 – Godwulf [or Gudólf or Goðólfr] Geatasson (80-163)

Godwulf is in Histria Brittonum

All sources agree that Godwulf was born in 80 CE, some suggest in ‘Denmark’ and others at Asgard, though are unclear if they mean the Norse dwelling-place of the gods, or the ‘Northern Troy’ established on the Black Sea by immigrating Trojans. Others suggest his birthplace at Ghowr, Afghanistan,

Ghowr, Afghanistan
The Ghowr province is in the western Hindu Kush, to the north-west of Kabul. There are traces of settlements dating back to 5,000 BCE. Its presence on the Silk Road has given it significance.

Evidence indicates that an advanced degree of urbanized culture has existed in the land since between 3,000 and 2,000 BCE. Bactria [Baktria] dates back to 2,500 BCE. Certainly the Indus Valley Civilisation stretched up to parts of Afghanistan.

The Medes (Persians) had an empire that stretched from Anatolia to Bactria. But the Afghan’s written recorded history began around 500 BCE when it was under the Achaemenid Empire. Alexander the Great and his Macedonian army arrived here in 330 BCE after the fall of the Achaemenid Empire during the Battle of Gaugamela. This was followedby the Greco-Bactrian kingdom from 250 – 130 BCE, the Scythians 2nd – 1st c BCE. The Parthians were here in the 1st c CE as Buddhism became adopted locally. They were followed by the Kushans, 1st c – 3rd c CE, who were stretched between Inidan and Hellenistic cultures. then the Sassanians from 224-651 CE, though they lost control of Bactria from 370 CE onwards to a series of northern invaders the Kidarites, the Hephthalites, the Alchon Huns, and the Nezak.

So the region has a rich tapestry of cultures, but I can find no specific data for a ‘Trojan’ or ‘Norse’ settlement in the Afghan province between 80 and 300 CE. Given that Hellenistic cultural influences, I am inclined to believe they perhaps served the Kushans in some sort of mercenery capacity? The Sassaniansdeveloped a reliance for their military exploits based around a heavy cavalry, perhaps this might have been my antecedents role?

Godwulf was the son of Geat and his unknown wife, and had at least ten siblings. Geat and his brother Hemul both have the epithet, the Prince of the Goths.

Godwulf married Gogolfr (80-?) said to be born in Ghowr, Afghanistan and died in Norway. They had one son Flocwald ‘TheTrojan’ (104-179).

Godwulf is also a character who appears in Norse mythology as a god and in genealogies as a real person, a case of euhemerism.

Historia Britonum details that: three vessels, exiled from Germany, arrived in Britain. They were commanded by Horsa and Hengist, brothers, and sons of Wihtgils. Wihtgils was the son of Witta; Witta of Wecta; Wecta of Woden; Woden of Frithowald; Frithowald of Frithuwulf; Frithuwulf of Finn; Finn of Godwulf; Godwulf of Geat …the offspring of one of their idols, and whom, blinded by some demon, they worshipped according to the custom of the heathen.

The Prologue to the Prose Edda said: Godwulf was a great warrior, as cunning and as ferocious as a hungry wolf. It was his boast that ‘Be a man friend or enemy, I will repay in full whatever debt I owe him.‘ He died among friends, having killed all of his enemies. He is also said in this document to be a descendant of Thor and Sibyl, and an antecedent of Odin.

[GGF54]

GGF54 – Flocwald (104-179)

Flocwald was born in 104 CE at Asgard, Scandinavia. He had eleven siblings, six of these were brothers including Frealaf, Friallaf, Fredulf and Froethelaf. Some give him the title King of the Trojans.

We could not be sure of his wife’s name, some say Godolfr, but give the same dates for her as for Godwulf’s wife of the same name. Others offer no name but say she lived from 104-200. They had four sons, including Finn.

One source has Flocwald dying in Ad Maluku, (the Molucca islands) Indonesia?

[GGF53]

GGF53 – Finn [or Finnr] Flocwaldsson ‘the Trojan’ (130-220)

Finn is indicated to have been a male who was born and died in Ghowr, Afghanistan. He is said to have married Hildeburgh Godwulf (134-190). The child for whom we have data is Frithuwulf [Freothelaf].

One source says: King Finn, son of Flocwald, and young king of Frisia, is married to Hildeburgh. Queen Hildeburgh is a daughter of king Halfdan, descendant of the heraldic Scyldingas and ruler of the Hocingas. It is unclear who the Hocingas were, but they were a Danish people.

One or two sources identify Finn as female, and married to Godwulf in 129 CE?

[GGF52]

GGF52 – Frithuwulf [or Freothelaf or Burr] (160-245)

18thc Icelandic illustration of Búri’s creation

MYTH? – Búrr [or Freothelaf] was the first god in Norse mythology. He was the father of Borr [or Frithuwald] and grandfather of Odin [or Woden]. He was created by being licked free from salty rime stones by the primeval cow Auðumbla, over the course of three days at Ginnungagap. However, the only extant source of this myth is Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda.

[GGF51]

GGF51 – Freothelaf [or Buri or Frealáf or Friðleifr] (160-?)

Another of my ancestors who wassaid to have been born in Ghowr, Afghanistan.

[GGF50]

GGF50 – Frithulwald [aka Bor] (190-280)

Frithuwald married Beltsa Wuotan [Beltsea or Beltsgar] Surtsdatter (185-?). They had three sons, Odin Vili and Ve.

MYTH? – Some sources suggest Beltsa was a giantess, daughter of the frost giant Bolthorn, the sone of Finn.

As Borr, he is mentioned in the Gylfaginning part of Snorri Sturluson’s Prose Edda. In skaldic and eddaic poetry Odin is occasionally referred to as Borr’s son but no further information on Borr is offered and other sources are silent. Given Borr’s wife, and particularly his son, he might be expected to appear in Norse mythology but there is no indication that he was worshipped in Norse paganism.

[GGF49]

GGF49 – Odin [or Woden or Óðinn] (215-300)


Georg von Rosen’s Odin, 1886
Odin, the god, is frequently portrayed as one-eyed and long-bearded, wielding a spear named Gungnir or in disguise wearing a cloak and a broad hat. He is often accompanied by animal familiars: the wolves Geri and Freki and the ravens Hugin and Munin, who collect information for him (see my Hugin experience), he rides the flying, eight-legged steed Sleipnir across the sky and into the underworld.

He takes part both in the creation of the world by slaying the primordial being Ymir and in giving life to the first two humans Ask and Embla. He also provides mankind with the knowledge of runic writing and poetry, showing his aspects as a culture hero.


Sources suggest that Thor was the supreme local god of the Scandinavian region, and that Odin was a later import of the Aesir (see more), the Trojan-derived immigrants. One source proposed that both Odin and the runes were introduced from Southeastern Europe in the Iron Age.

Odin became a prominent god in the recorded history of Northern Europe, from the Roman to the Viking period. His alternate name Woden is memoralised in the word Wednesday.

Norse mythology, the source of most surviving information about him, associates him with a raft of topics – wisdom, healing, death, royalty, the gallows, knowledge, war, battle, victory, sorcery, poetry, frenzy, and the runic alphabet, He was the husband of the goddess Frigg.

But Odin holds a particular place as a euhemerised ancestral figure among Norse royalty, and he is frequently referred to as a founding figure among various other Germanic peoples.

The Ynglinga saga (c1225 CE by Snorri Sturluson, based on an earlier 9th c CE work) explains how the city of Asaland or Asgaard, is where Odin was its chieftain. There were twelve temple priests, called Diar, that made direct sacrifices in Asgaard and also judges the people, who served and obeyed them. Odin is a great warrior, who conquers many kingdoms in all parts of the world, never losing a battle. His men are used to receiving his blessing before going into battle, and to call upon his name when fighting, in order to inspire themselves.

Odin had a premonition about a new dwelling place in the north and set out for it, leaving his brothers, Vili and Vé, to rule in Asgaard(the ‘Russian Troy’). First, Odin and his followers wandered west and south to Saxland, where Odin’s sons began to rule the various regions. Then Odin went towards the sea in the north, and settled in an island called Odinsö in Fyen (Denmark). He then despatch his team to discover new lands to the north, in Scandinavia. They reported back on the richness of the land.

Despite opposition the Asaland people gained the upper hand, made peace and settled there. Odin himself lived at the Lake Mälaren, in Old Sigtun, Sweden where he built a temple that was where sacrifices were made according to the customs of the Asaland people. He set his sons and followers to rule the neighbouring places: Njord dwelt in Noatun, Freyr in Upsala, Heimdal in the Himinbergs, Thor in Thrudvang, Balder in Breidablik.

Thor Heyerdahl (of KonTiki fame), in his The Hunt for Odin suggested that Odin may indeed have been a real King in the 1st Century BC from present-day Southern Russia [Asgard of the North], before being driven out by the Romans, and migrating to Sweden. Heyerdahl was involved in archaeological digs by the Sea of Azov, where ancient metal belt holders, rings and arm bands dating from 100-200 CE were found around the mouth of the Don River. They were found to be almost identical to Viking equivalents found in Gotland, Sweden, 800 years later.

He is shown by some as a mortal, the son of Frithuwald (aka Bor) and Beltsa Wuotan, he had two brothers, Vili and Vé.

In 214 Odin married Skadi Tjatesdatter, with whom he had

  • Njord Wegdaeg [or Withtlaeg], King of Ancient Saxony (234-?)
  • Skjöld I, King of Jutland (237-280)
  • Saeming Sexneat, Kingo f Halogaland, Norway (239-264)
  • Gefion, King of Skane (241-263)
  • Waegdag, King of Saxland (243-?)
  • Casere, Nobleman of Scandinavia (245-?)
  • Wecta [or Wiecta], King of the Swedes (247-260)
  • Gautr, King of Gotland (260-?).

His second wife was Beltsea [or Beltsgar] (200-?), they married in 222

His third wife was to Frigg Ånarsdatter of Lethra (217-?). They had a son Baeldaeg [or Beldeg or Baldaeg or Balday] (243-280) who became King of Westphalia. It was Baeldaeg who would becomethe ancestor of a line of princes who migrated to Britain in the fifth century.

The Ynglinga saga suggests that the pirate Sölve arrived at Old Sigtuna to claim the Swedish throne. He came unexpectedly in the night, surrounded the house in which the king was, and burned him and all his court. There was an eleven-day battle that Sölve won, and he ruled Sweden for a period. Other sources have him dying in bad and being ceremonially burned with honour. Both clearly suggests Odin was mortal.


Freya
The god Odin married Freya the goddess of love, beauty and fertility, Freya was also held to be a princess of Sweden, daughter of Njörðr the second mythological King of Sweden.

Odin had three residences in Asgard. First was Gladsheim , a vast hall where he presided over the twelve Diar or Judges, whom he had appointed to regulate the affairs of Asgard.

Second, Valaskjálf , built of solid silver, in which there was an elevated place, Hlidskjalf , from his throne on which he could perceive all that passed throughout the whole earth.


Valhalla
Third was Valhalla (the hall of the fallen), where Odin received the souls of the warriors killed in battle, called the Einherjar.


Viking Valkyries
The souls of women warriors, and those strong and beautiful women whom Odin favored, became Valkyries , who gather the souls of warriors fallen in battle, as these would be needed to fight for him in the battle of Ragnarök . They took the souls of the warriors to Valhalla. Valhalla has five hundred and forty gates, and a vast hall of gold , hung around with golden shields, and spears and coats of mail.

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