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THE HEROIC AGE

The
Series
is

Archaeological and Ethnological supervised by an Editorial Committee consisting

Cambridge

of WILLIAM RIDGEWAY, Sc.D., F.B.A., Disney Professor of Archaeology, A. C.

HADDON, Sc.D., F.R.S., University
M.
R. JAMES, Litt.D., F.B.A.,

Reader

in Ethnology,

Provost of

Kings

College,

and

C.

WALDSTEIN, Litt.D.

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MAP OF CENTRAL EUROPE
illustrating the

Heroic Age of the Teutonic Peoples
in capitals

Where

the

same name occurs both
in

the early part of the position occupied mark a change or extension of territories.

and italics the former denote a Heroic Age, while the latter

Hf MUNRO CHADWICK Fellow of Clare College. Cambridge Cambridge at the : University Press 1912 .THE HEROIC AGE BY .

P. MANAGER HA! 100. F.. A.G. #to 38ombag anto $orfe : PUTNAM'S SONS CO. PRINCES STREET Berlin: A. LTD. F. FETTER LANE.CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS C. E. fLttpjtg: ASHER AND CO. CLAY. Calcutta: MACMILLAN AND PN All rights reserved . BROCKHAUS G.

the antiquity of the earliest poems and the conditions under which they were produced. Occasional illustrations have been taken from other groups of poems belonging to the same type. certain similar features are to be found in poems of this type which are widely separated from one another both in date ' and place of origin. an attempt has been made to estimate the significance of the various elements. The subjects discussed include the distribution of the stories and the relationship between the various versions of them. The second traditions. the bearings of which can hardly be estimated relate These to a period which without reference to the existence of similar phenomena elsewhere. many problems.PREFACE 'T^HE JL type of poetry commonly known as heroic its is one which makes appearance in various nations and in No one can fail to observe that various periods of history. Lastly. mythical and fictitious. In general I have followed the same plan as in the . historical. more especially poetry with those stories which were the common property of various The Teutonic peoples. of which the stories are composed. part is deals with Greek for heroic poetry and little external evidence or no and consequently they present available. first part of the book deals with the early heroic and traditions of the Teutonic peoples. It is pointed out that these stories all relate to a period with definite limits a period for which a considerable amount of information is available from external sources. In view of this fact it has seemed worth while to attempt a comparative study of two groups of such poems with the object of determining the nature of the resemblances between them and the causes to which they are due.

Any such system is of course open to objections. my to the representation of Greek names scheme with The same remarks apply which will doubtless displease many critics. In this conclusion I am with Dr Haddon. and consequently I have not felt inclined to carry out rigid consistency. . such as this. where references will be found to several important works which have appeared in the meantime. it has not hitherto been approached from this point of view. In the representation of Teutonic names the system adopted in my previous books has in general been retained. of the cogency of which I am quite aware. I would therefore respectfully call the reader's attention to the list of Addenda at the end. of thanking him for bringing the matter before opportunity the Syndics of the University Press and for the interest which he has kindly taken in the progress of the work. South Slavonic names and words are given according to the usual Croatian orthography. so far as my knowledge goes. In the third part attention has been called to the existence first of a number of somewhat striking characteristics common to the two groups of poems and an attempt made to account for them. Owing to the pressure of teaching and other duties a considerable time has unfortunately elapsed since the earlier portions of the book were printed. The conclusion to which I have been brought is that the resemblances in the poems are due primarily to resemblances in the ages to which they relate and to which they The comparative study of heroic ultimately owe their origin. who this glad to find myself in agreement suggested to me that a comparative study of kind would be a suitable subject for the Cam- I take this bridge Archaeological and Ethnological Series. ' problems of anthropology.Vlll PREFACE part. If some excuse is necessary for dealing with so well worn a theme I may plead that. Heroic poetry therefore involves the comparative study of and the problems which it presents are essentially Ages'. In a work. difficulties necessarily arise with regard to the spelling of proper names. which deals with records preserved in a number of different languages. and made use throughout of the results obtained there.

M. H. Rivers. Quiggin and Mr F. W. Mr E. much of what I have had to do is in the nature One name however. of Clare College. Atkins. remains for me to record my obligations to a number of who have generously responded to my requests for information or criticism on various points. . A. Paues. particular I I From kind services in the proofs of the later staff of the University Library in must mention Mr A. Scutt. Mr C. Mr A. that of Professor Ridgeway. M. Dr W. Rogers and Mr O. to my pupils. Lastly. Professor A. it cannot leave unmentioned. Mawer. who have most kindly read through a considerable part of the book in proof and several chapters even in manuscript. for chapters. A. Mr S. It is scarcely necessary to add that in the sections dealing with Celtic history and poetry Mr Quiggin's criticism has been of the greatest value to me. In particular I must mention Miss A. Above all I am indebted to Mr E. Cook. It will be seen that they are many and I that of criticism. H. since is influence by no means through is his writings alone largely to his inspiring that my interest in these subjects It due. Green. Professor J. of Magdalene friends College. I have to thank the Syndics of the University Press for undertaking the publication of the book and the staff for the efficient and obliging way in which the printing and corrections have been carried out. H. C. B. further. Cook. December. Beck. My thanks are due. R. C. 1911. Johnson similar the have received the same unfailing and courteous attention as in the past. G. Minns and Mr F.PREFACE I IX cannot attempt here to enumerate the various scholars to whose writings I am indebted. C. W. H. and Mr Bruce Dickins.

221 . THE HEROIC STORIES . V. THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE THE HOMERIC POEMS EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY . 249 263 292. MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS . . 168 X. PAGE I. THE HEROIC AGE OF THE TEUTONIC PEOPLES SCENE AND NATIONALITY IN . -4V. 30 41 THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE HEROIC POEMS . THE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF TEUTONIC AND GREEK HEROIC POETRY 32O 344 366 393 (-XVI. FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS XV... RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE XIX. no 131 151 ^rVII. XIV. THE EARLY NARRATIVE POETRY OF THE TEUTONIC PEOPLES * I "TI..POEMS MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS . VI. THE POETRY AND MINSTRELSY OF EARLY TIMES SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS IN ..CONTENTS CHAPTER "<*. 19 ^/TII. XIII. . 77 . THE USE OF FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS . . 193 XL XII.. THE HEROIC STORIES . IX. . SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE C/XVII. GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE XVIIi. . THE CAUSES AND ANTECEDENT CONDITIONS OF THE HEROIC AGE 432 . SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS IN THE HOMERIC. VIII.

LITERARY INFLUENCE IN BEOWULF IV. SHOWING THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE DiA-r between . PEOPLES .. 288 ana 200 . ON THE DATING SAXON OF CERTAIN SOUND-CHANGES IN ANGLO66 73 . VII. VI. CENTRAL EUROPE. POLITICAL AND RELIGIOUS CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CELTIC AND SLAVONIC HEROIC AGES . THE SOCIAL. ON THE HEROIC POETRY OF THE SLAVONIC 101 V... . 244 313 VIII. 4>b.. xi THE USE OF HEROIC NAMES IN ENGLAND . CHAPTER I. PAGE 64 II. . 105 THE TROJAN CATALOGUE THE BATTLE OF Kossovo IN SERVIAN POETRY . ILLUSTRATING THE HEROIC AGE OF THE TEUTONIC PEOPLES To face . ILLUSTRATING THE CATALOGUE OF SHIPS LECTS IN HISTORICAL TIMES \ GREECE.. .. THE HEROIC POETRY OF THE CELTIC PEOPLES .CONTENTS NOTES. Title-page GREECE. 427 ADDENDA ET CORRIGENDA INDEX 464 469 MAPS.

RENDEL HARRIS IN GRATITUDE AND FRIENDSHIP .TO JAMES.

by night and devours all whom he finds Beowulf. THE EARLY NARRATIVE POETRY OF THE TEUTONIC PEOPLES. Hygelac has perished in an the Frisians. king verses. longest poem of this class is Beowulf. c. a nephew of Hygelac. but is unable to enjoy the The use of it who attacks the hall on account of the ravages of a monster named Grendel. as it is admitted by all authorities to be the earlier of the two. of inconsiderable length.CHAPTER I. He is thanked and rewarded for his exploits and returns to his own home. After this a long by Hrothgar. with THE The one Most of them are narrative exception. i . remains of English poetry which have come down to us from times anterior to the Norman conquest are mainly of a religious character and deal with the lives of saints or with subjects derived from the Bible or ecclesiastical tradition. of the Danes. and his son Heardred has been expedition against slain by the Swedes. One group deals with the exploits of English kings and noblemen of the tenth century. hearing of Hrothgar's distress comes to his help and destroys first the monster himself and then his mother who had come to there. an epic of 3183 the subject of which briefly is as follows: Hrothgar. period is supposed to elapse. Beowulf has succeeded to the throne and exact vengeance. the other with the exploits and adventures of persons who did not belong to this country. secular poems are comparatively few in number and. has built a splendid hall. and admit of a very obvious classification according topoems the choice of subjects with which they are concerned. king of the Geatas. We will take the second group of poems first.

Hrothgar's father. it A of Healfdene. have to mention presently. Eormenric. The fragment gives an account of the fighting which took place. probably in the encounter immediately after Hnaefs death. certain Eadgils. though not before he has himself received a mortal wound. who are known to us from other sources. he The greater visited the court of the Gothic king Eormenric. and that in company with Ealhhild. defence that Finn was compelled to come to terms with them. is eventually succeeds in destroying it. refers to a large of the characters which figure in Beowulf. The fragment relating to Finn is very obscure and indeed would be quite unintelligible were same story not for a passage in Beowulf (vv. of whom all except one forsake him. Finn and It is stated that the poet was in the service of a aldhere. though not an epic poem itself. . when an opportunity presented itself they took vengeance upon Finn and slew him. Finn and Offa. The poem ends with an account of his funeral. The action is interrupted a good many times by references to incidents in the history of the royal families of the the Geatas.2 EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY [CHAP. The story of Waldhere is well known from German sources which we is shall taken up Burgundian king Guthhere. particularly to Hygelac's fatal expedition Danes and and to the dealings of his family with the Swedish kings Ongentheow. he many years. prince of the Myrgingas. and in spite of the cowardice followers. while the other contains an exhortation to Waldhere by the lady to acquit himself bravely. king of the Frisians. apparently a princess of the same family. 1068 1159) where the is introduced as the subject of a recitation by certain Hnaef. represented as a vassal Hrothgar's minstrel. before they begin to fight. find also a number of allusions to Onela and Eadgils. To the same class of poetry belong some fragments dealing with the stones of Finn and Waldhere. was slain in a fortress belonging His followers made so brave a to Finn. reigned of his dragon which In his old age he resolves to attack a ravaging the land. Subsequently. We heroes of the past such as Sigemund. One of the fragments by an altercation between Waldhere and the number W T Widsith.

Weland and Beaduhild. Others describe Edmund's conquest of the Five Boroughs. At the end he says that he had been the bard of the Heodeningas. the glories of his reign. the Husband's Message and the Ruin to which we may perhaps add the first half of the Seafarer. Theodric and the subjects of Eormenric. as historical. remark that though the MSS. In a later chapter we shall have to discuss the question when At present it will be enough to these poems were composed. the troubles which The followed. The most important of these are the Wanderer. after the events which they comshort In addition to the above there are a number of other poems which are not essentially of a religious character. and lastly the death of Edward the Confessor. for In their present form they with the exception of the Finn- fragment all of them contain Christian allusions. cannot be earlier than this. while probably the majority would refer their composithat his office tion. in which Byrhtnoth. the coronation of Edgar. The battle later group of secular narrative poems of may best be described of Scottish The earliest them celebrates the Brunanburh won by Aethelstan in 937 over the king Constantine II and his Scandinavian allies. They are probably all of i 2 . Each notice ends with a refrain expressing the belief or hope that the poet will be able to survive his misfortunes as they did. earl of Essex. the Wife's Complaint. Geat. but had been taken away from him and given to a skilful minstrel named Heorrenda. lost his life. All these pieces except the last are found inserted in texts of the Saxon Chronicle and all without exception appear to have been composed soon memorate. in which they are preserved date only from the tenth or eleventh centuries almost all scholars agree that the poems themselves cannot be later than the eighth century. longest of all is a detailed account of the disastrous battle of Maldon. The elegy of Deor consists of a number of brief notices of misfortunes which had befallen various persons.I] EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY 3 part of the had visited poem is taken up with lists of peoples which he and of famous princes whom he knew personally or by report. in part at least to the seventh.

both in form and matter. Those of them which can be called narrative deal apparently with typical characters or situations. p. Saxon Chronicle and in Latin works Attempts have been made also to show that narrative poems were used by the compilers of the early part of the Chronicle and by several Latin histories referring to the same period. of these 1 poems pp. It is scarcely open to doubt that a large amount of Anglo- Saxon narrative poetry has perished. *. . op. Brandl. and ballads of the tenth and eleventh traced in texts of the Several historical poems centuries. 1083 are of French ff.. Perhaps the most likely the story of Hengest and Horsa. terminology. only notice the entire difference in subject-matter the poems of the second group contain no allusion to the subjects of the first. 137 . while metrical riddles are numerous. Much greater changes however. Cf. . 17) of Gado (Wada). 1 The majority d. but these need not concern us here. a St Albans work dating from the beginning of the thirteenth century. origin we find A similar Walter Map's story (De Nugis A few corrupt verses of a poem on this subject. 3 This remark applies more especially to the poems on Brunanburh aad Maldon in the later group. II 1087 f. EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY [CHAP.4 fairly early date. a Academy. but the evidence adduced case is is very doubtful. especially in the form in which it appears in the Historia Brittonum. Here we need " .. are derived ultimately from poems which described incidents to which Offa's single combat and marriage brief references in Widsith and Beowulf respectively. The love of battle-scenes is also common to both. . Brandl in Paul's Grundriss I germ. have been preserved in a Latin homily 2 The earlier and later groups of narrative poems have in 3 general the same metrical form and on the whole a very similar may perhaps II be claimed for Curialium. cf. cit. now lost. obviously of late date. 1896. In other respects however they differ greatly. can be 1 . are noticeable when English poetry reappears in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. Philol. On the other hand it is probable that parts of the Vitae Duorum Offarum. A certain amount of magical and gnomic poetry has also survived. 1085. discussing in the fact that but they differ from the poems we have been they contain no proper names.

thirty years later. and the fragment comes to an end in the midst of the encounter. The religious element is prominent throughout. Hildebrand is therefore obliged to fight. and one poem of somewhat later date. But the young man refuses to believe him. On from exile. and taunts him with cowardice and guile in trying to put him off his guard. warrior named Hadubrand. dating from about 800. but in the later rhyming verse. acquaints him with the fact and tries to dissuade him from the combat with offers of rich presents. preserved in a MS. and seems to have been composed before the It is king's death in the following year. The period of German literature which corresponds cnrono--' logically to the Anglo-Saxon period in England is far inferior to the latter in remains of secular narrative poetry. king of the West Franks. the subjects which is certainly not are usually drawn from written sources To the the case with the historical poems of the tenth century. scarcely a reference. There is no doubt that a considerable amount of secular narrative poetry once existed in German. similar to the AngloSaxon magical pieces mentioned above. not in the old Teutonic alliterative metre which we find in Anglo-Saxon poetry and in the Hildebrandslied. possess only one fragment of a poem somewhat similar to the Finn- We fragment. challenged by a young In the altercation with which the is he piece opens Hildebrand discovers that his opponent is his own son. with special reference to his victory over the Northmen at Saucourt in 88 1. of the earlier group of Anglo-Saxon poems there is subjects origin.I] EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY 5 But even when the scene is laid in England. celebrating a victory of Ludwig III. Einhard in his Life of Charlemagne (cap. 29) states that the emperor collected native and very ancient poems in which were related the deeds . The subject of the is first of these poems is as follows : tjilde- brand (Hiltibrant) an old warrior who has left his country with his return Dietrich (Theotrifi) and served with the Huns. To these we may add three or four very short metrical charms. The Ludwigslied is a poem of fifty-nine verses celebrating the praises of Ludwig III.

and battles of kings of former times 1 But during the following centuries poetry of this kind seems to have gone entirely out of favour among the higher classes. After many years they Hearing of escaped and carried off with them much treasure.6 EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY . one of which combines German with Latin in each verse. But here it is expressly stated that it was among the peasants (rustici) that these poems were known. King Guntharius. Waltharius and Hiltgund. who dwelt at Worms. waylay them and set out with twelve warriors. but had to be given up as hostages to Attila. [CHAP. of which the by most important is Waltharius manu fortis^ composed probably about 930 by Ekkehard of St Gall. We do indeed find occasional references to such poems in later Latin works. 1 is literature. In particular the Annals of Quedlinburg have incorporated from them a number of notices relating to Eormenric. Theodric (Thideric de Berne) and other heroes of antiquity. were betrothed in their childhood. The subject is the same as that of the Anglo-Saxon Waldhere fragments. other poems. a defile of the Vosges and slays In his final encounter eleven of the warriors in single combat. Waltharius with are overtaken in Waltharius Hagano and Guntharius all three are crippled. though generally they appear to have been of a less serious similar to the Some compensation afforded for the loss of early German poetry is the preservation of a few Latin poems. who wrote about 890. from Einhard. The second period of German twelfth century. Germ. king of the Huns. I 268). beginning incomparably superior to the first in the in the Pippinox Carolos Hludoivicos Saxo Poeta. celebrating the deeds of the contemporary Saxon emperors and their relatives. speaks of uulgaria carmina which celebrated et Theodricos et Carlomannos Hlothariosque (Mon. . contemporary Anglo-Saxon poems. which may have been somewhat character. among them the brave Hagano who had formerly is shared Waltharius' exile. whose work he was using. But it is usually held that these words are due to a mistaken inference Script.. determined to this. Other Latin chronicles cite lost poems relating to persons and events of the tenth century. the son and daughter respectively of two princes in Gaul. but There is able to make his way home with Hiltgund.

Here too we may notice the Seyfridslied. in the Rhine. and the Huns for in anger at this treachery Hildebrand. Here we need only concern ourselves with those poems which draw their subjects from ancient native traditions. and after a huge slaughter on both sides. learns from Kriemhild of the part played by Siegfried towards On hearing this she begins to long for his death. These are mostly anonymous and come from the southern districts. slays her. who have lost all their men. Soon after their arrival she brings about a quarrel. He joins Gunther in his campaigns and by magical arts enables him to win the amazon Brunhild Worms and The two wives quarrel. the sister of the Burgundian king Gunther. Kriemhild puts them to death. the chief of Gunther's knights.I] EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY 7 amount of secular narrative poetry which it has left behind. resume of its contents can be given here. which describes the funeral of those slain in the fighting with Gunther and the lamentation over them. violating the oath which she had given to spare them. comes from Xanten asks for the hand of Kriemhild. Etzel's vassal. persuades him to invite Gunther on a visit. Kriemhild is afterwards married to Etzel. together with his brothers Gernot and Giselher and also Hagen. Their metrical form is modern especially Austria and Bavaria. The best known of these poems is the Nibelungenlied. The first relates how he was down brought up by a smith and slew a dragon. though in the form in which it has come to us it belongs to a much later period. which dates from the beginning of the thirteenth century. The second gives an account of another similar adventure this time with a fiery . Hagen also deprives Kriemhild of Siegfried's treasure (der Nibelunge hort) and sinks it her. Dietrich's old retainer. Gunther and Hagen. both of which clearly deal with Siegfried's early years. and eventually he is murdered at a hunting party by Hagen (Hagene). are captured^ by Dietrich von Bern. Closely connected in subject with the Nibelungenlied is the Klage. king of and. In reality it is a combination of two different ballads. and Brunhild (Priinhilt) for his bride. the son of to Only a very brief Siegmund. and similar to that of other poetry of the same period. burning vengeance. Siegfried (Sivrif).

He then marries the widow of a king the dragon which had killed him. but the outline may be given briefly as follows. Dietrich is made to fight with Siegfried. is kept The out of his inheritance by his brothers or their guardian Saben on He betakes himself to a faithful old the ground of illegitimacy. In the Rabenschlacht in battle with we are told how Dietrich with the help of Etzel set out to recover his inheritance. named Ortnit and destroys Eventually he succeeds in winning his father's kingdom and releasing his faithful followers. Though the plot fails. Witege. his brother Diether sons of Etzel are slain by Witege. Sigenot and Laurin. Hildebrand's nephew. the son of king Hugdietrich. a falls poem Kudrun . describes called others. and Wolfdietrich has to go into exile. but Witege disappears in the sea. in the While he is engaged and two young Dietrich rides after Witege how Muter Virginal Dietrich was imprisoned by a giant in a castle and rescued by Hildebrand. Wolfdietrich. Hildebrand and several of Dietrich's other knights are captured and imprisoned. Dietrichs Flucht relates how Ermenrich (Ermrich) was instigated his by an evil counseller named Sibeche to plot destruction for his nephew Dietrich. and in order to obtain their release Dietrich is forced to go into exile.8 EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY [CHAP. number of other medieval poems deal with the adventures A of Dietrich von Bern and his knights. Siegfried kills the dragon and at the same time takes possession of the treasure of certain dwarfs. who raises an army to help him. But in the battle that ensues Berchtung and his sons are all slain or captured. Some The In the story of the first naturally into two parts. by the former of whom he was treacherously slain. Ermenrich. hears of Hilde. and encounter with two of Ermenrich's warriors named Witege and Heime. Berchtung of Meran. Hetel (Hetele). Alpharts Tod tells the story of the young knight Alphart. to exact vengeance. Rosengarten story of Wolfdietrich and Ortnit has come down to us in several different forms. the sons of Nybling. king of Denmark. elements of this story appear to have been incorporated in the romance of King Rother. knight. Heime and In the Further adventures with giants and dwarfs are related Eckenlied. dragon which had carried off Kriemhild from her father's home.

The characters are for the most part identical with those which figure in the High German epics. harshly treated by his mother Gerlind. Alexandri. but a The vernacular poetry of the Langobardi has entirely number of stories given by the Latin historians . As her father. Witege. Walther. The North German dialects have no poetry of this type. Besides the references in the Annals of Quedlinburg. Traces of poems of much earlier date have been sought in several Latin chronicles. of which the most important is one on Eormenric's death.I] EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY and desires to 9 princess of Ireland marry her. At last because she will not consent to become his wife. is preserved in the Norse work ThitSreks Saga af Bern. In conclusion mention must be made of some fragments of a poem dealing with Walther and Hildegund. and her brother Ortwin with the warriors Wate. Fruote Herwig and Horand come and rescue her. The subject latter seems to have been identical with that of Ekkehard's Waltharius. will not consent. Reminiscences of other ancient stories are occasionally to be found in poems of a romantic character. Finally a reconciliation takes place and Hilde is allowed to marry Hetel. especially that of the victory over the Thuringian king Irminfrith. Ludwig is killed but Hartmuot is spared at Kudrun's intercession. except a few ballads dating from much later times. Hagen pursues them to Denmark. but in the fight which follows he is nearly killed by Wate. which dates from about the middle of the thirteenth century. a portion of which seems to be derived from the story of Weland. Among these we may note especially the poem Herzog Friedrich von Schwaben. the fierce Hagen. the daughter of Hetel and Hilde. Kudrun is kept at Hartmuot's home for seven years. Dietrich von Bern. But a great mass of legend. is at length accepted. perished. In the second part Hartmuot and Herwig are The suitors for Kudrun. but Kudrun is carried off by Hartmuot and his father Ludwig (Ludewic). Hetel's warriors Wate. mention may be made of the Saxon stories given by Widukind and the Translatio S. Fruote and Horand carry her off. derived chiefly from North German sources. Ermenrich. Siegfried etc. to which we have already alluded. A pursuit follows and Hetel is killed by Ludwig.

Script. notably the death of Sunilda and the vengeance subsequently exacted by her brothers Sarus and Ammius (cap. 5) that his comwere wont to celebrate the deeds of their famous men patriots in poetry. Iceland however is peculiarly rich in secular narrative poetry. Origo Gentis Langobardorum (Mon. deutschen Litteratur. I p. I 8. but most of them are generally believed to belong to the tenth century. suggest a tradition preserved in poetic form. 2 Cf.). Hist. In the story of Hermanaricus also several incidents. others perhaps from the referred to Greenland. The first and most of these is the account of the battle with the Vandals. Moreover though the earliest of these poems are probably quite two centuries later Christian influence. Lang. king in which the two armies appeal 1 . with gods. p. and more especially the story of Authari and Theudelinda 2 . 4) in which case ancient poems are expressly mentioned but also perhaps that of the first migra- tion under Berig (ib. are thought to be based on early poems. and it is probable that many of the legends which he gives were ultimately derived from such poems. Germ. 3 The poems were not all composed in Iceland. Many Isles. or almost exclusively.). as well as the incidental reference to Vidigoia's death (cap. i6f. Geschichte d. historian Jordanes states (cap. . 34). they are entirely free from Indeed it can hardly be doubted that a considerable proportion of them date from heathen times. British while others again are . and other supernatural 2 f. than Beowulf. 1 1 5 flf.) and some part of the account of Ostrogotha (cap. of the earliest doubtless came from Norway.. It will be convenient to begin with the collection of poems These are all anonymous usually known as the Older Edda. such as that of Alboin's visit to Turisind. Kogel. striking for victory to Wodan and Fria similar origin has been claimed for several respectively other narratives.IO EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY [CHAP. while a few may really have been composed in Norway at a still earlier date.. Rerum Langobard. Paulus Diaconus. 24). No Scandinavian country except Iceland 3 has preserved any The ancient literature of /early poems in its native language. giants 1 Eleven of these poems deal exclusively. A of the Gepidae. Among them The Gothic we may to the Black include not only the story of Filimer and the migration Sea (cap.

HarbarftslioS is taken up with an altercation between the god Thor and a ferryman called HarbarSr (generally supposed to be Othin). how Othin went to consult a sibyl VegtamskviSa on the impending fate of Balder. and how Thor came disguised as Freyia and slew the Alvissmal is a dialogue between Thor and the dwarf giant. the servant of the god Frey. there are two semi-mythical poems contained in other works. here to give a brief synopsis of their contents. with occasional references to myth and ritual. whereupon the king stumbles Skirnismal relates how Skirnir. VafJ>ru5nismal describes how Othin visited the giant Vafj?ru5nir and entered into a contest mythological lore.I] EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY II and hence stand quite apart from the class of poetry with which we are concerned. But since we shall have to refer to them occasionally in the following pages it will be convenient beings. having obtained hammer. demanded the goddess Freyia as his bride. It deals with the origin of the world. who is a suitor for his daughter. Voluspa is a mythological poem in the form of a speech delivered to the god Othin by a sibyl whom he is consulting. Havamal is a collection of proverbial wisdom and moral precepts of the heathen age. In addition to these pieces. all of which probably come from one collection. The subject of Grimnismal is a paid by Othin in disguise to a king named GeirroSr. the history of the gods and their coming fate. how the giant Thrymr. Othin gives a long discourse on mythological with him in visit over his sword and dies. Lokasenna is occupied with a number of scandalous charges brought by Loki against various gods and goddesses who have been invited to a feast by Aegir. who tortures him. was sent to obtain for his master the hand of the giantess GerSr. Rfgsmal or Rigsjmla relates how a certain Ri'gr (identified in the introduction with the god Heimdallr) became . with questions on the various names of natural objects and ThrymskviSa relates possession of Thor's phenomena describes until the fatal moment of daybreak. Thor detains the dwarf Alvi'ss. who refuses to take him over a strait. HymiskviSa gives an account of Thor's adventures when he went to visit the giant Hymir. matters and finally reveals himself. of whom he had become passionately enamoured.

narrating how Freyia went to consult the giantess as to the ancestry of her devotee. the son of Sigmundr. the son of Sigmundr. his mother. but SigurSr HoSbroddr . subsequently slew Helgi in revenge for his father. probably a late work. Svipdagr calls up the spirit of Groa. A different Helgi. in the latter he comes to the enchanted abode of MengloS and. Sinfiotli. Both poems relate how the hero overthrew a king named Hundingr and how he was afterwards summoned by Sigrun. a in The next poem. Ottarr the son of It contains also some purely mythological matter Hyndla which is Innsteinn. gives in dialogue form a somewhat complicated story of the adventures of a king named HiorvarSr and his son Helgi. the son of Hogni. to save her from The marriage to a prince named HoSbroddr. Gripisspa. hamstrung and compelled to work as his smith. which clearly belong together. the progenitor of the three classes of men the characteristics of which are described at length. Volundr executes vengeance on the king's sons and daughter (BoSvildr) and then flies away.12 EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY [CHAP. HelgakvitJa HiorvarSssonar. after many questions with the gatekeeper. the daughter of Hogni. HyndlulioS is mainly a genealogical poem. generally supposed to have Here also we may mention two pieces come from a separate poem. HelgakviSur Hundingsbana. first poem ends with Helgi's victory over Hogni and but the second goes on to describe how Dagr. gives summary of the adventures of SigurSr. . is the subject of the two following poems. whom she detested. The purely mythological poems of the Edda are followed by VolundarkviSa. which gives a fairly full account of the story of Volundr (Weland). It describes how Volundr and his brothers obtained as their wives three swan-maidens. known as Grogaldr and In the former Fiolsvinnsmal. is not mentioned. Then Volundr is captured by a king Ni'SuSr. who after eight years deserted them. is at length recognised as her destined lover. figures in both poems. the form of a dialogue between the hero and his uncle Gripir. named The next poem. the son of Sigmundr. and there can be little doubt really a folk-tale. In much later times we find Swedish and Danish versions of the same that it is story.

(iii) Brynhildr is the sister of Atli (Etzel). which used the lost poems as well as the others. (str. Andvari laid a curse on the gold. 7 ff. Then. betook himself to SigurSr and became his The poem then goes on to describe how a certain attendant. (ii) The wife of SigurSr is called GuSrun. HelreiiS Brynh. Vols. the son of HreiSmarr. AtlakviSa and Atlamal deal with practically the same events as the Nibelungenlied. Loki robbed a dwarf. Fafnir's Reginn. str. 41. plotting treachery. S. of his gold. GuSrunarkviSa II (kin forna]. This is followed by three The pieces which may really be parts of one original poem. brother. Of the following nine poems six SigurSarkviSa I (a frag- ment).) and the prose versions (Skaldsk. Hence in order to obtain a full account of the story it is necessary to refer to the Volsunga Saga (see below). SigurSarkviSa II (hin skamma). But unforat the tunately.I] EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY is 13 who endowed with prophecy. 1 In several authorities 2 she is identified with the valkyrie is Called a dragon (dreki) in Volsunga Saga. first (commonly called Reginsmal) relates how three of the gods. Hoenir and Loki. and HreiSmarr was soon killed by his own son Fafnir. 40 ff. owing to the lacuna in the MS. a valkyrie who has is owing to a lacuna in the MS. . GuSrunarkviSa I. finding that Reginn carries off Fafnir's finds and wakens been punished by Othin with an enchanted sleep. a much debated question whether the two are identified also in Fafnismal. Having to pay compensation to the father. . who subsequently turned into a serpent 1 Hnikarr (Othin) guided SigurSr on an expedition he undertook In the next piece (Fafnismal) against the sons of Hundingr. The chief variations from the : German version of the story are as follows (i) Sigmundr has been killed before the birth of SigurSr (Siegfried) by the sons of Hundingr. he slays him also and In the third (Sigrdrifumal) SigurSr gold. killed a certain Otr. It 20). 2 In Gripisspa they seem clearly to be separated. Othin. several poems beginning of the series have been lost. She imparts but the close of the poem is lost to him much magical lore . named Andvari. Grimhildr being the name of her mother and Giuki that of her father. a maid named Sigrdrifa. SigurSr at Reginn's instigation attacks and kills Fafnir.

The second describes the actual fighting. (iv) Hogni (Hagen) is the brother of Gunnarr (Gunther). while HamSir and Sorli (Ammius and Sarus) are said to be the sons of GuSrun and a poems 1 by the fact that Svanhildr (Sunilda) is certain lonakr. 1 the first poem GuSrun their sister To his death is attributed the fact that lormunrekr. and it changed vows of love but named Guthormr. and subsequently avenges their deaths by killing Atli and the children he had had by her. to Jordanes' account of which we have already Here the story is connected with the preceding alluded (p.14 EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY is [CHAP. of Sigrdrifumal. 10). (v) The death of Gunnarr and Hogni is attributed to Atli. preceded however by the account of a quarrel in which Erpr. where it is the prose authorities) to the evil counsel of a certain Bikki. GuSrun was accused to Atli of adultery with ThioSrekr. . but dealing with incidents unknown to the German version. but by the ordeal. and SigurtSr had exSigurSr's love was subsequently turned to GutSrun through a magic potion given him by Gri'mhildr. an adviser of lormunrekr. and in place of Gernot and Gtselher there is another brother stated that she . and he is It is the last-named who actually kills himself killed by the dying man. In Oddrunargratr a sister of Atli named Oddrun comes to Borgny. to relieve her in her travail. SigurSr. The death (as in of Svanhildr attributed is mentioned also in SigurftarkviSa II. whom she had married after Atli's death. The HelreiS Brynhildar describes how Brynhildr on her tells way the story of her to Hell encounters a giantess. GuSrun on the other hand warns her brothers of the treachery awaiting them. incites her sons to In avenge and then bewails her many misfortunes. to whom she GuSrunarkviSa III relates how life. is killed by his halfbrothers. The last two poems GuSrunarhvot and HamSismal are concerned with the story of the attack upon lormunrekr (Hermanaricus). a stepson of GuSrun. and gives an account of the relations between herself. Brynhildr then puts herself to death and is burned with SigurSr. the daughter of a certain HeiSrekr. Interspersed among these poems are three others connected with the same story. Brynhildr and Gunnarr. established her innocence represented as the daughter of GuSrun and SigurSr.

Next perhaps in importance to ThioSolfr was Thorbiorn Hornklofi. both in the prose Edda and elsewhere. Most of these deal Fair-haired several poems are known. celebrating the copied the Hakonarmal of Eyvindr death of Haakon I at the battle of. we have also a number of works by known poets. a genealogical traces the descent of Rognvaldr. The prose Edda (Skaldskaparmal. a number of fragments of poems. either wholly or in part with contemporary and events. dating from shortly after the middle of the tenth century. which dealt with mythological subjects. 15 lost was able and both though he both hands cap. some of which refer to SigurSr and his family and some to other stories. celebrates the death of King Eirikr BloSox and his reception by Othin in Valhalla. Besides this we have. Another famous work by the same poet was the Haustlong.I] EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY to survive the onslaught. the story of two giant maidens who Grottasongr. Among them may be mentioned especially the Ynglingatal of ThioSolfr of Hvin. who is known chiefly from the remains of a work (Hakonardrapa) in honour of Haakon I. Somewhat later we hear of celebrating the exploits of Harold. Harold. which gives had to grind gold and peace for the Danish king Fr6Si. The earliest date from the ninth century persons and are of Norwegian origin. A famous fragment (Eireksmal) by an unknown poet. a cousin of from the ancient kings of the Swedes and the god Frey. At the end there is an allusion to Halfdan and Hrolfr Kraki (see below). In Hervarar Saga large portions of an early poem relating to the Goths and Huns have been preserved. From this is Skaldaspillir. a poet named GoSSormr Sindri. which the achievements of the Danish king Hrolfr Kraki celebrated and the heroism of his retinue in the battle wherein he lost his mention may life. from whom poem which we have fragments of two poems (Hrafnsmal and Glymdrapa). though nearly all of them are in a very fragmentary condition. Probably the oldest of all are the fragments of Bragi Boddason. . Among the latter be made especially of a poem Biarkamal. all of which are anonymous. feet. the chief of which is a description From the reign of Harold the of his shield (Ragnarsdrapa). 43) contains a poem. In addition to the poems enumerated above.

p. Hildr. known chiefly from the HofuSlausn. which is largely a paraphrase and expansion of Ynglingatal. In Sorla Thattr we meet 1 with a story found also in the prose Edda (Skaldsk. Ynglinga Saga. an elegy over one of his sons. The latter is famous chiefly for his poem Vellekla. By tives or sagas (sogur) the time of Harold III the composition of prose narrahad already begun to be cultivated by Icelanders.1 6 EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY The same [CHAP. From this time onwards the cultivation of poetry seems to have been almost entirely limited to Icelanders. is derived mainly from the poems of the Edda. Many sagas are based on old narrative poems as for instance . earl of Lade. In it he traced the ancestry of Haakon. GuSrun and Svanhildr. in which all the combatants are killed. the Arinbiarnardrapa. the daughter of Hogni. though it was not until towards the end of the following century that they were first committed to writing. back through the kings of Halogaland to Othin and SkaSi. which gives the stories of Helgi. who lived from about 900 to 982. Many other distinguished poets down to the time flourished during the following half century but it is not necessary here to discuss III (HarSraSi) of Harold their works. Fitje (A. SigurSr. in which he celebrated the exploits of Earl Haakon.D. . 961). Among them the most noteworthy and almost the earliest was He is Egill Skallagrimsson. in honour of his friend Arinbiorn. who ruled Norway from about 975 to 995. composed for Eirikr BloSox in England. Of his younger contemporaries perhaps the best known are Kormakr Ogmundarson and Einarr Helgason. poet also composed a genealogical poem (Haleygiatal) in imitation of Ynglingatal. many of whom resided largely at the courts of various Scandinavian kings. They are overtaken and a battle follows. Volsunga Saga. 391 ff. 50) and alluded to in Bragi's Ragnarsdrapa which is clearly connected with that of the first part of the German poem Kudrun. dealing with Sigmundr and his ancestors seems to have drawn upon some lost poems. The earlier part. though it has used other materials. and the Sonatorrek. 1 Hildr by magic spells I P'ornaldar Sogur Norftrlanda. is carried off in her father's absence by his friend HeSinn.

the sons of Halfdan. Lastly. In the course of this chapter we have reviewed briefly the secular narrative poetry produced by the various Teutonic peoples c. Among Latin authorities the most important is the great Danish History (Gesta Danorum} of Saxo Grammaticus. Of these perhaps the most noteworthy are the Biarkamal and some of the poems to StarkaSr (Starcatherus). lormunrekr and Helgi Hundingsbani. Certain incidents in the story. HagbarSr which was involved in vendetta with the Danish king Sigarr. though no mention is made of Sigmundr or SigurSr. Here also we find a detailed account of the tragic story of HagbarSr and Signy. The adventures also of Haraldr Hilditonn and Ragnarr LoSbrok are related at considerable length. Signy and all her maidens destroyed themselves when he was led to the gallows. Saga. But having fallen in love with Signy. such as Hrolfr's dealings with the Swedish king ASils. especially Ragnars Saga LoSbrokar and the Thdttr af LoSbrokar sonum. parts of which are known also from other sources. It deserves notice here on account of its obvious identity with the English story of Offa. which dates from the end of the twelfth century and contains metrical translations or paraphrases of many old poems. which seems to be derived ultimately from old poems like Biarkamal. Many other stories are given entirely in prose.I] EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY I/ rouses the slain each night to renew the battle. of which we have little except an abridged Latin transThis saga also related at length the stories of Haraldr Hilditonn. and of Helgi's son. lation. down to the end of the tenth century. we may mention a story which is not recorded by any Icelandic authority. SigurSr Hringr and Ragnarr LoSbrok. namely that of the single combat fought by Uffo the son of Wermundus. In the case of 2 . he visited her disguised as a woman ture which ended in his being discovered and condemned to death. which is attributed very frequently alluded to in belonged to a family Old Norse poetry. are related also in other The same characters figured prominently in Skioldunga sagas. particularly those addressed to Ingialdr (Ingellus). In Hr61fs Saga Kraka we have an account of the Danish kings Helgi and Hroarr. the an advenking's daughter. Hr61fr Kraki. among them those of HeSinn and Hogni.

owing to the abundance of material. I works by historical Norwegian and Icelandic poets. we have restricted ourselves to mentioning only the leading names.1 8 EARLY TEUTONIC POETRY [CHAP. Elsewhere we have endeavoured to give a more or less complete summary. we have among taken into consideration only those which are concerned with stories of ancient times. On the other hand. works dating from later than the tenth century. in the following chapters. The stories themselves will be discussed .

The in brief references to the story of Weland and Beaduhild quite sufficient to prove the Anglo-Saxon poem Deor are its substantial identity with that told in VolundarkviSa. in the Edda. IT will not have escaped notice that a large proportion of the stories described or alluded to in the preceding chapter are found in the literature of more than one nation. Heime and Dietrich von incidents are different.).CHAPTER II. The connection between the German poem Kudrun and the Scandinavian story of HeSinn and Hogni is perhaps less striking. though the Eormenric (Ermenrich) is a and German poetry. is furnished by the AngloGerman-Latin Waltharius. In other cases related the same characters appear. 1 Yet Sinfiotli. The VVudga and Hama of Widsith (Waldhere and Beowulf) and the Theodric of Waldhere are clearly identical with the Witege. as well as prominent Anglo-Saxon in Scandinavian and Gothic records. Except of course those which deal only with supernatural beings n 2 f. A still closer resemblance Saxon poem Waldhere and the but not open to question. as given in the Edda and Volsunga Saga. figure in Bern of the German epics. The most casual reader could not fail to observe the identity of the story of SigurSr and GuSrun. Of all the Edda poems 1 those which show the least connection with non-Scandinavian poetry are the three HelgakvitSur. story of lormunrekr and Svanhildr in the same Scandinavian authorities and that of Hermanaricus and Sunilda given by Jordanes. 2 . THE HEROIC AGE OF THE TEUTONIC PEOPLES. (p. while Theodric figures also. as well as Sigmundr. with that of Siegfried and Kriemhild related in the Equally obvious is the connection between the Nibelungenlied. though not prominently.

though not in connection with precisely the same incidents. Ingeld. Eormenric. Among other persons mentioned in the poem Scyld is doubtless tradition lulioS . and Hrothwulf the nephew and colleague of Hrothgar. have Offa. Hrothgar. . his sons Hroarr and Helgi and Helgi's son. Kama. his sons Hrothgar and Halga. with Halfdan. 66). mentioned in Skioldunga Saga but there is nothing to show that Sigeferth is identical with SigurtSr . Oddlevus and Gunnlevus. There is no doubt as to the identity of the Danish kings Healfdene. which is doubted by some scholars. Quoted in the prose Edda (Skaldskaparmal. the episode in which Ingeld is incited by an old warrior to avenge his father Froda is evidently to be connected with certain poems given by Saxo. In Widsith however we find a large number of persons who are well known from Continental and Scandinavian authorities. such as Sigemund. while his uncle and opponent Onela is clearly the same person as ASils' traces that his name was once known opponent Ali. On the other hand most of the chief characters of the poem are well known from Scandinavian records. Beowulf (under the form Fitela) and there are in Germany. the son of Sigmundr. Equally obvious is the identity of the Swedish prince Eadgils the son of Ohthere with ASils the son of Ottarr in Ynglingatal. to be identified with the Skioldr of Scandinavian probably also Heremod with the HermoSr of Hynd1 . although the latter is represented as a Norwegian in Old Norse literature. characters of the Finn fragment are much less easy to Two of Hnaefs warriors named Ordlaf and Guthlaf are probably to be identified with two Danish princes. Besides Eormenric. We may observe that in Beowulf it is only the persons mentioned in casual references and in episodes lying outside the main action of the story. Hrothwulf and 1 of whom we already spoken.2O is THE HEROIC AGE mentioned in [CHAP. cap. To the and Weoxtan with the Vesteinn of the Kalfsvisa Biarki of Scandinavian identification of Beowulf himself with the tradition. Kama and Weland. in which the old warrior Starcatherus rouses Ingellus to avenge his father Frotho. The trace elsewhere. Wudga. Further. to whom we find allusions in German poetry. the famous Hrolfr Kraki all likewise kings of the Danes. we shall have to U return later.

and Sigehere. though far from exhaustive. who are doubtless to be identified with the Embrica and Fritla. nephews of Eormenric. king of the Huns (Atli. those of Ludwig III and other German princes only in the of their own country. derived from earlier poems and not belonging to contemporary persons. a skilful minstrel of the Heodeningas named Heorrenda. I ff. If these introduce any personal names known in the poetry of England or Germany they are names. king of the Danes (i. 3) and the German historical poems of the ninth and following centuries the case is quite otherwise. We may compare a passage of Deor (v. as well as the Goths Eastgota the father of Unwine (i. Similarly neither English nor German poetry celebrates the deeds of Eirfkr BloSox or Haakon the Good. those which deal with human beings) there is but one (HelgakviSa HiorvarSssonar) which introduces no characters known elsewhere. 35 ff.) which tells of v. Among the early Anglo-Saxon poems treated on p. 21 " : Heoden (MS. presumably the Horand of the German poem. the Gunnarr and Giuki of the Edda).e. will be sufficient to show that the same characters recur again and again in the last In the early narrative poetry of the various Teutonic peoples. Etzel). we find no such case. mentioned in the Annals of Quedlinburg and elsewhere. like Sigmundr and HermoSr. These instances. (probably Bikki. Becca counsellor of lormunrekr) and the Herelingas. nineteen poems of the Older Edda (viz. Emerca and Fridla. The phenomena noted above seem to indicate that the poetic cycles with which we have been dealing have a common origin or at least that there was a considerable amount of borrowing . The exploits of Aethelstan and Byrhtnoth are celebrated only in English poems. probably Sigarr. kings of the Burgundians (i. (p. It is more than probable also that in Hagena ruled the Holmryge and Henden) the Glommas. the father of Signy).II] THE HEROIC AGE 21 we hear of Aetla. 5. 7 ff. So also with the skaldic poems poetry of the North.e. Guthhere and Gifeca.e." we have an allusion to the story of HeSinn and Hogni (the Hetel and Hagen of Kudrun). the evil Jordanes' Ostrogotha the father of Hunwil). and the same is probably true of the German poems With the later Anglo-Saxon poems discussed on pp.

Of too slight to justify any confident statethe other members of the Burgundian royal family Gifeca (Giuki) and Gislhere (Giselher) are mentioned in the laws of King Gundobad who died in the year 5i6 3 . Leg. Scr. Aetla (Atli. some of the characters of the common Thus there can be no doubt that cycles are historical persons. . Germ. king of the Huns.. Hist.. frontier at this period is ment on such a point. We may note in passing that no doubt need be entertained as to the historical basis : of the later group of Anglo-Saxon poems. 3 (Mon. xin).. historical who Again the Burgundian king Guthhere plays so prominent a part in the stories is clearly identical with the defeat in 435 Burgundian king Gundicarius (Gundaharius). but he is a late authority. Idatius. of Waldhere and SigurSr-Siegfried. liberos liberasue fuisse constiterit. Scr. attributes the whole of the Burgundian disasters to Aetius bellum contra Burgundionum gentem memorabile exarsit quo uniiiersa pene gens cum rege per Aetium deleta (Mon. et patruum. Min. 262). Chron. Misc. Gunther). (Gunnarr. Godomarem. patrem quoque nostrum in eadem libertate permaneant. Chron. of German poems such as the Ludwigslied or of the Northern skaldic poems however much the true facts may be obscured by poetic embellishments. is the famous Hunnish king It is clear enough that Attila who died in 453. 97) . (ii) to what period or periods of history they belong.22 THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. cap. between poets of different nations.. id est Gebicam. ill p. Germ. qua non diu potitus est. (A. Mettensium (Mon. 533): si quos apud regiae memoriae auctores nostros. eodem tempore Gundicarium Burgundionum regem intra Gallias habitantem Aetius bello obtriuit. In order however to be able to form an opinion on this point it is necessary first to consider the following questions (i) how far the characters and incidents of these poems are to be regarded as historical. I p. Germ. . II p. xiv (Muratori.. Vol. 435) pax facta ctim Vandalis.D... Of his end Prosper says only that the Huns temporary him together with his family and nation 1 and some destroyed But scholars have denied that Attila had any part in this event 2 our knowledge of the course of events on or beyond the Roman . Etzel). of Guthhere is ascribed to Attila by Paulus Diaconus in his Gesta episc. Theodosio xv et Valentiniano IV coss. The overthrow which ends in the year 452. 3 Liber Legum Gundebati. whose by the Roman general Aetius is recorded by conwriters. siquidem ilium 1 : Hunni cum populo 2 atque stirpe sua deleuerunt. Theodosii ann. xii. On the other hand an anonymous Gaulish chronicle. But this seems to be due to : the confusion of two events which Prosper clearly distinguishes (cf. Gislaharium^ Gundaharium. I 660). pacemque ei siipplicanti dedit.

which culminated in the surrender of Ravenna in 493. in where we him in the Edda and German poetry. The identification of characters is which figure in stories difficult. relating to the northern kingdoms since references to such persons 1 naturally more by contemporary Roman This cycle is supposed to have been known in England at one time. 534 548) and his father Theodric I (r. lormunrekr) is another doubtless historical character.II] THE HEROIC AGE 23 The Gothic king Eormenric (Hermanaricus. handed down probably in poetic form but the statement that . The application of the name Hugo Theodoricus to Theodric I in the Annals of Quedlinburg cannot at best prove more than that the chronicler identified the two. commonly 1 held the poems dealing with the hero and his father Hugdietrich represent a confusion of the Prankish kings Theodberht (r. Theodric. king of the Franks. 115. In Dietrich von Bern (the Theodric of Waldhere and the ThioSrekr of the Edda) we certainly have reminiscences of the Ostrogothic king Theodoric who ruled Italy from 489 to 526. who is known to have been with Attila. . 511 In this case however it 534). from whom we gather that the event took place He also states that Eormenric was a most shortly after 370. much less that he had any The former mistake is generally dealings with attributed to confusion between Dietrich and his father Dietmar (Thiudemer). 3. i). is mentioned in the same poem (v. Eormenric. But it cannot possibly be true that he was find present at Attila's court. v. Wolfdietrich must be confessed that the resemblances are extremely slight. The statement in the Hildebrandslied that he fled from the hostility of Ottachar and the story of the Rabenschlacht recall his campaigns with Odoacer. owing to the juxtaposition of the names Seafola (Saben) and Theodric in Widsith. The other error however discussed It is is more difficult to account for and that in will require to be later. by the warlike king and feared by the surrounding nations on account of his many brave deeds. The account of him given by Jordanes seems indeed to be derived from tradition. -24). he took his own life through fear of the Huns is confirmed strictly contemporary writer Ammianus Marcellinus (xxxi.

states that the bones of a certain Getarum rex Huiglaucus. 1 Cf. Berger de Xivrey. . Most of the Danish and Swedish princes common to Beowulf and the Northern authorities are now generally regarded as historical characters. historians are extremely rare. Traditions Ttratologiques. It is to be noted in the first place that though the persons themselves are common to the two traditions. who had been slain by the Franks. There can be no question that the person referred to in these passages is the Hygelac of Beowulf. who reigned LoSbrok's father SigurSr Hringr has been identified with a certain Sigifridus whose conflict with another Danish king named Anulo is recorded in a number of Latin from 863 to 867. which ended in his defeat and death through the arrival of an army under Theodberht. references to Lotforok himself are rare and doubtful. 12. Gregory of Tours (ill 3) and the Gesta Francorum (cap. The Liber Monstrorum (I. The sons of LoSbrok are well known from contemporary historical documents through the the it their piratical expeditions. The date of the expedition. Further. a work of perhaps the seventh century. though great invasion of England in 866. Lastly a few words must be said with regard to the stories of Haraldr Hilditohn. though not precisely fixed by any authority. referred to several times in Beowulf. SigurtSr Hringr and Ragnarr LoSbrok. 3 1 ). they are not as a rule mentioned in connection with the same incidents. though we have no reference to them in contemporary documents. there is no evidence for communication between England and the Baltic during the seventh and eighth centuries. is clear him to death enough that the king Ella who is said to have put was the Northumbrian usurper Aella. p. cap. 19) mention a very serious raid on the lower Rhine by a king of the Danes named Chocilaicus. may safely be placed within a few years of 520. One safe instance however is furnished by the incident. English and Northern.24 THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. more especially Moreover. This renders it probable that the two records go back independently to a time at which persons who remembered Hygelac's younger contemporaries might still be alive. were preserved on an island at the mouth of the Rhine. of Hygelac's disastrous expedition against the Franks and Frisians.

as he places Haraldr Hilditonn not long after the time of Hrolfr Kraki. v.) have been identified with historical persons of the fifth century. it has been suggested that a reference to Haraldr Hilditonn may quite possibly be preserved . The difference in tone is sufficiently accounted for by the social conditions of the Viking Age. died in 548. which are entirely confined to Northern literature. to be compared with German and English works such as the Ludwigslied and the poem on the battle of Brunanburh.. 2 The list makes ro claim to completeness. I 27) says common I Prof. Geistesleben. apparently rejects this identification. p. Qf p n gl i. The statement no qualified in 1 that the historical characters later than one case. which were wholly different from those which prevailed in the Christian kingdoms. But the evidence is far from satisfactory. if he is rightly identified with Theodberht. Hygelac again was a contemporary of Theodric while Wolfdietrich. Thus several of the characters in Einhardi Ann. The above identifications 2 are sufficient to show that historical characters are introduced into most of the stories with which we have been dealing. 199). Further and this is a very remarkable fact apart from the last cycles embracing Haraldr Hilditonn and Ragnarr LoSbrok. all the historical personages whom we have been able to identify belong to a period extending over barely two centuries. like the skaldic poems. 250) 6li . in the description of quondam regis^. .2$ chronicles under the year 812.shr German and Scandinavian poets we find no mention of historical persons who lived after the middle of the Anulo as nepos Herioldi (p. and Anulo himself with that OH who is represented as Sigurftr's ally at the battle of Bravik. Scr. Attila and the Burgundian kings in the first half of the fifth Theodric towards the end of the same century and in the first quarter of the sixth. 44) Hervarar Saga (probibly mentioned also in Widsith.. Eormenric flourished in the latter half of the fourth century. In the stories which form the common thgmgs. . sixth century. 812 (Mon. n6ff. Lastly. Olrik (Nordisches p. cycles of tradition mention about 550 ought perhaps to be Paulus Diaconus (Hist.for according to Saxo was the son of Haraldr's sister and eventually succeeded him on the Danish throne. Now it will be clear that the cycles of stones dealing with Ragnarr LoSbrok and his ancestors are really.II] THE HEROIC AGE . Germ. Lang..

who died in 572 (or 573). with Hence jf the incidents which it Healfdene. There remain of course a number of stories which contain / no names of persons mentioned in contemporary records. is In spite of his to suspicious to a genuine tradition. . But if so. relates are to be regarded as historical. He is mentioned also by Cassiodorus ( Var. the wise and good father of Unwine. 10) is probably name what him by Jordanes seems cap. where he is apparently the latest person mentioned. were sung by the Saxons. must be referred to times long anterior to the middle of the fourth century.26 THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. than Hygelac's expedition. he is probably to be referred to a time anterior to the upper limit fixed above. Apart from Gothic tradition the only mention of any of these persons occurs in a brief passage in Widsith (v.): "(I have Now visited) Eastgota. even setting aside both point the reference to Philip and the genealogy given by Jordanes in said of 5. Yet it is not clear that Alboin figured in any poems which can properly be called narrative. Into the story of Filimer and the migration we need not enter. except perhaps On the other hand among his own peoplesome of the Gothic heroes recorded by Jordanes. the Langobardic victory over the Vandals (cf. we find the generosity of the same king celebrated in the Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith. Hence there is some ground for including him among the characters of common Teutonic poetry which will involve our extending the lower of the chronological limits fixed above by about twenty years. XL i) as one of the ancestors of Amalasuintha and Ostrogotha is as a prince renowned for forbearance (patuntia). they must be dated somewhat earlier. 113 f. p. Bavarians and other peoples. and it has been suggested that his account of certain incidents in Alboin's career is derived from poetic sources." brought by Jordanes into connection with the Emperor Philip (v. though certainly not morevthan a century The story (of Offa and his earlier. Further. if we are to trust his chronology at all. king of the Langobardi. Hrothgar's father. as there is no reason for supposing The story of it to be anything but a purely Gothic tradition. rather loosely. that the praises of Alboin. The story of Finn is in Beowulf connected. 244 249). of a similar character.

especially the first But FroSi is associated with different sets of persons portion. Gothorum forttssimus. in his early youth. and his resemblance to the god Frey rather suggests that he was regarded as the typical representative of a Golden Age in the past. This is a question to which we shall have to refer later. The story of Weland. very Widsith however. But also with Theodric. 214) to old served Saga (cap. as well . 134 f.) the two are brought into connection with one another. 5). doubt that he is to be identified with the Gothic Vidigoia who is mentioned as a hero of the past by Jordanes (cap. a date is afford ed by a StarkaSr. In Ynglinga The poem who in attributed his by Saxo (p. and it is certainly to be noted that a Fruote von Tenemarke The only important Peaceful plays rather a prominent part in Kudrun. is probably to be identified with the Eadgils The latter is prince of the Myrgingas mentioned in Widsith.contains any historical element. if it .e.II] THE HEROIC AGE 2/ father Wermund must be referred to a still earlier period if we are to trust the evidence of the Mercian genealogy in which 1 these persons figure. Witege). as in many German is authorities. Venimus in ilium locum ubi dudum Vidigoia. but this genealogy cannot be entirely correct. I have tried elsewhere to show that the Athislus. including ThiSreks Saga. should be placed perhaps slightly further back for in Waldhere. represented as the contemporary of Eormenric. which 1 is our earliest authority for it. represents 2 3 The Origin of the English Nation. in different works. age Ingeld. poet. Ingellus. says that he had followed Haki. both in regard to time and scene. Sarmatum (cf. Weland latter is Widia ( Wudga. The often associated with Eormenric 2 and there can be little said to be the father of . dolo occubuit also cap. p. 34) in a 3 For the story of HagbarSr and Signy quotation from Priscus . In Saxo's history (p. The story of HeSinn and Hogni is difficult to locate. i. four generations above ASils. the stories which remain are those of FroSi and HeSinn and Hogni. 158 ff. 23) Haki is made to fight with the Swedish king lorundr. the brother of HagbarSr. and the date thus obtained agrees with that given by the genealogy. who in Saxo's version of the story appears as Wer- mund's enemy. the son-in-law of Hrothgar. .

in all and in part also that There is no doubt that these cases the conquest of the Roman provinces brought with it a great accession of wealth and profoundly affected the life of the invaders. a to be taken into account. do the cycles of story which are common Why ? to the various Teutonic peoples later mention no historical character than Alboin Before answer to this question. Since the whole of the south coast of the Baltic had probably become Slavonic by the end of the Hagena (Hogni) fifth century.28 THE HEROIC AGE as king of the [CHAP. Its upper limit must in view of the evidence given above be set from two to three centuries back probably three centuries if we include the story of Ostrogotha. who appear to have dwelt in eastern Pomerania. Holmryge. authorities to generations anterior to the Hence we may safely conclude that the characters of Beowulf. Theodric. . Among these were the realms of Guthhere and of Attila. shall it is at all events unlikely that the story refers to any period after this. tories. we can hope to give a satisfactory number of other phenomena will have One or two observations however will The period extending backwards from two to three centuries before the reign of Alboin coincides with what is generally known as the Age of National Migrations (VolkerwanderungsIt was during this period that many of the Teutonic nations broke through the frontiers of the Roman empire and carved out for themselves extensive kingdoms within its terrizeit). all the stories which we have just been discussing fiction. These limitations are clearly such as to call for some attempt at explanation. are referred by our period embraced by the common poetry and traditions of the various Teutonic peoples what we may call the Heroic Age of these peoples had come to an end by the middle of the sixth century or at least by the death of Alboin. the connections of which are obscure. have to discuss later how far these stories are to be regarded as historical and to what extent the characters and incidents with which they deal are to be attributed to myth or We Here it is sufficient to point out that with the exception of the story of HeSinn and Hogni. not be out of place here.

e. others such as Theodric were certainly Christians.' as a translation of Helden- dichtung or Heltedigtning. for while some of the Attila for instance and doubtless Eormenric. It is worth remarkdo. Yet the Danes took no part. Whatever weight we may be disposed to attach to these it should be noted that they do not seem to apply to every case. ing therefore that stories relating to Denmark stop where they and that for centuries after the time of Hrolfr we can scarcely give the name of a single Danish prince. In the following chapters it will be convenient to speak of the period which we have been discussing simply as the Heroic Age. poetry . may of course be applied in a sense to such works as Hakonarmal or the poem on the battle of Maldon. nor did Christianity penetrate to them before the ninth century. throughout the period ending with Hrolfr Kraki. Yet it is not clear at first sight how this change is connected with the chrono- continental Teutonic peoples chief logical limitation of the stories. not only in Scandinavian but also in English records. those of any other nation. i. collectively at least. to the period embraced by the common and traditions of the various Teutonic peoples. The change of faith is not a motive which plays any part in the stories themselves.II] THE HEROIC AGE The same 29 period witnessed the conversion of most of the to Christianity. in the movements against the Roman Empire. were characters. The term * heroic poetry. Thus we shall see in the course of the next that Danish characters figure more prominently than chapter observations. But no ambiguity will arise if we limit the term 'heroic' here to what may be called the Teutonic Heroic Age (das germa' ' nische Heldenalter). just as well as to Beowulf or the Hildebrandslied. heathens. another change which produced far-reaching effects upon them.

Something must the geographical and ethnographical regarding the localities in which the scenes are nationalities to limitations of the stories and the which the various characters be- longed. scenes are distributed over a considerable part of Europe. in the later German poems. we do occasionally find references to them generally to Scotland or Ireland which are probably due to confusion with stories of Indeed it is remarkable that the early Anglothe Viking Age. . Saxon poems contain no reference to persons or events connected with this country.CHAPTER SCENE AND NATIONALITY IN the last III. Further. though in the late form in which some of the stories have come down to us. and coming to an end in now be laid said the latter half of the sixth century. extending over about two or possibly three hundred years. not made the scene of any of the main stories. while references to places in only Italy are limited practically to the Dietrich (Theodric) and Norway also is is though it Wolfdietrich cycles. IN THE HEROIC STORIES. except possibly in the case of the story of Hengest and Horsa. extending from Italy to Sweden and from western Russia to the Vosges and the Netherlands. we have no evidence worth consideration that poems dealing with such subjects ever existed. The British Isles The however seem to have lain outside the area. mentioned incidentally in English and German as The Balkan peninsula figures well as Scandinavian poems. chapter it was pointed out that the age covered by the heroic poetry and traditions of the Teutonic peoples coincides with a clearly marked period of history.

and it is not Nibelungenlied clear that Xanten was in the possession of the Franks at the time to which the story refers. In several German poems . Attila . In any case both stories refer to a period considerably anterior to the real conquest of Gaul by the Franks. Theodric. (ix) to the Gotar Hygelac. (x) to the Swedes (Svear) ASils and his family. though he is also called a . (c) Hrolfr Kraki and his family. It appears then that though most of the principal Teutonic nations are represented in our stories the relative prominence 1 These poems do introduce Bavarian characters. (vi) to the Frisians Finn (vii) to the Angli Wermund and Offa. Wudga (Witege) and probably most of the heroes : associated with them .CHAP. but they are not found elsewhere in heroic poetry. his family (iv) to the Rugii apthe father of Hild (v) to the Franks . such as the Markgraf Riidiger is . Frankish nationality is claimed by most scholars for Siegfried. and probably also the Visigoths. (b) Sigarr and his family. The same nationality may perhaps be claimed for Waldhere. if the identifications are correct . perhaps also Froda (Frotho IV) and Ingeld. Langres is said to be his home. (iii) to the Burgundians Guthhere and parently Hagena (Hogni). 3 said to Hence many scholars regard him as a Visigoth. (ii) to the Huns . (viii) to the Danes (a) FroSi the Peaceful. 2 In the prose piece Frd datf&i Sinfiotla (in the Older Edda) Sigmundr have held territories in the land of the Franks. Beowulf and their relatives . . while the evidence for Frankish heroes is slight and rather unsatisfactory. together probably with HagbarSr and Haki. while Ekkehard makes his father king of Aquitaine To this question we shall have to return later. Ill] SCENE AND NATIONALITY 31 Turning to the question of nationality we find the following peoples represented (i) to the Goths belong Eormenric. 3 Spaniard. which have come down to us are almost entirely derived from The Vandals too are unreprethe territories of these peoples sented. chiefly on the ground that Xanten is represented as his home in the 2 Yet he is never called a Frank. It is somewhat remarkable that we have no stories dealing with Alamannic or Bavarian heroes. since the German poems 1 . Hugdietrich and Wolfdietrich. and it is certainly a curious fact that Clovis and his great achievements seem to be entirely unnoticed in poetry. .

to any person of English nationality except is Offa and his relatives (Beow.32 SCENE AND NATIONALITY all [CHAP. 1944 ff. Theois Guthhere. after them the English king Offa. king of the Langobardi) and In all these poems there is no reference. correspond to what we should Most remarkable all the fact that in stories relating to the chief characters (Eormenric. between the royal families of these two nations the only other dynasty which comes in for any considerable share of attention In the story of Finn the interest is is that of the Swedes. nationality. the Continent nearly dric. the phenomena which confront us are on the whole very similar. which are Norse (Norwegian-Icelandic). himself belongs to the latter nation. the scene is In Beowulf laid first in the land of the Danes and later in that of the Gotar.) belong to nations which had passed out of existence before the end of the sixth century.). centred in a prince and his followers who according to Beowulf were of Danish nationality and involved in hostilities with the In Waldhere the hero and heroine. Gothic king Eormenric . so far as the vernacular entirely literature is concerned. As we might expect from the com- we parative lateness of our authorities the nationality of the various It is remembered that characters is not very clearly indicated. the Danish kings Hrothgar and Hrothwulf. 5) we gather that the preservation of the early Gothic traditions was very largely due to the pride taken by that people in its own heroes of the past. Let us first examine the Anglo-Saxon poems. while their opponents are BurgunIn Deor the interests are mainly. perhaps exclusively. Guthhere. whatever their Frisians. etc. Attila. The hero but in the earlier part of the more prominent. From Jordanes (cap. If turn now to the Scandinavian records. and the Gothic. Yet it is not easy to see how the survival of the stories which have come down to us can be ascribed to any such feeling. Aelfwine (Alboin. assigned to them does not at expect. as far as we know. In Widsith the foremost characters are Eadgils. i . belong to Gaul. nor except in Widsith the name of the Angli even mentioned. several Gothic heroes. prince of the Myrgingas (a dynasty hostile to the Angli). poem the former are decidedly the Taking it as a whole the interest is divided . king of the Burgundians. dians.

Even in the German poems national feeling has influenced the choice of subjects comparatively little. e. c - 3 . cannot have lived before the seventh century. The poems in their Yet except in present form are mainly Austrian or Bavarian. Italy and other countries which had ceased to be Teutonic before the time of our authorities. but Gunnarr (Guthhere) is only once called lord of the Burgundians.Ill] SCENE AND NATIONALITY 33 Atli (Attila) belonged to the Huns and lormunrekr (Eormenric) to the Goths. These stories however are peculiar to NorwegianIcelandic literature. if we may regard them as historical. to whom the Goths may have been added at a fairly early date. which is also the scene of Helgi's exploits. and even here it is clearly remembered that he belonged to Italy. In stories relating to earlier times the scene is practically always laid in Denmark or southern Sweden or in the lands south of the Baltic. Of course there are numerous other sagas which deal exclusively with Norwegian history . proved. Hungary. and the earliest persons who figure in them. and legend. and even there the Bavarian characters that occur are generally believed to be rather late additions to the story. namely In the sagas it is prose of HelgakviSa HiorvarSssonar. But the most 1 Tyrol is the scene of several of Dietrich's and Wolfdietrich's adventures . As for SigurSr. it is true? seems to have become a national hero in the south-east. the second half of the Nibelungenlied this region does not figure prominently 1 . Most noteworthy however is the fact that is only mentioned once in the Older Edda. The stories which deal with the Rhineland those of Siegfried and Walther may be derived ultimately from early Prankish poems. in the account of Biarki's origin Norway in the in Hrolfs Saga Kraka but these passages are usually regarded as accretions to the original stories. but generally it is the southern (Italian) part of that country. but this cannot be Most of the others are concerned with Gothic heroes. but the history of his family is generally connected with Denmark.g. the true scene of whose adventures is to be sought in Poland. Theodric. somewhat more prominent. but this feature is prominent only in the latest poems. his later adventures are uniformly located in the Rhineland. The chief characters of the story in its original form were clearly Burgundians and Huns.

seems to be altogether wanting. The poem itself is probably Austrian. apart from the royal family. but with the prowess of the English army as a whole. where Haakon. i. in the interests of the poet's own nation or The interest is centred tribe. But nationalism in the narrower sense. but the nation. It is not concerned with the personal adventures of the king or his brother. they may be derived the battle of The poem on Maldon approximates much more closely than any other of this age to the spirit of the old poetry.34 SCENE AND NATIONALITY [CHAP. Yet if we take into account the various Scandinavian versions and the references to the story in Anglo-Saxon poetry. but the names which it contains show that the story is derived from Frisian sources. then in Denmark and lastly in Normandy. it does also embrace the history of the family to which these persons belonged. 3). from within the Teutonic world for even Attila can hardly be regarded as an exception. uniformly deal with the poet's own nation. at the head described as the terror of the Danes. . It may come down 1 perhaps be urged that. They national in the sense that the characters are drawn are certainly entirely.e. as in Hakonarmal of his Norwegian troops. is (v. We have seen that these poems. Even in the skaldic poetry of the North traces of national pride are clearly discernible. The scene is laid first in Ireland. in one or more individual characters and in the various adven- Sometimes. or almost entirely. The bravery of the is princes is certainly noticed. in spite of its strongly religious tone. but they appear to be regarded as the champions and representatives of the nation. as in Beowulf. is practically disregarded. though the poems which have to us have no national interest. The contrast afforded tures that befall them. The poem on the battle of Brunanburh an expression of national triumph. by the historical poems of the ninth and tenth centuries 1 is sufficiently obvious. remarkable case is that of Kudrun. there it came originally from the Baltic. is every probability that This short discussion will suffice to show how singularly free the poems we have been discussing are from anything in the nature of national interest or sentiment. The Ludwigslied breathes on the whole a similar spirit. whether English or German.

is common element dians. If it had been the chief intention of the original poet to glorify the Danish nation. scholars believe Beowulf to be of Scandinavian one sense or another. though the linguistic arguments which have been brought forward in favour of this view are not But there is a curious lack of uniformity generally admitted. especially that of the is hardly of such a character as to suggest its derivation from a poem composed for the glorification of the Burgundian king. as we have already seen. Traditions of this kind are no doubt generally of a mythical and consequently their origin is to be sought in the particular locality or family with which they are concerned. The account of the early kings of the Danes seems to be in the nature of a tribal or family tradition to be compared with the early stories given by Jordanes. have no evidence that such traditions formed the main theme of stories which were common to the poetry of the various Teutonic peoples. Thus the stories of Siegfried and Attila are connected both in the Nibelungenlied and the Edda. nation. and it may very well be that the second But it is to be observed part of the poem is a later addition. the two stories Yet the only supplied by the Burgun- and the portraiture of their princes. character. in the national interests of the poem. But it is natural enough that a poet who was well acquainted with some royal family. On the other hand if his intenGotar he would hardly have begun with an account of the early kings of the Danes.Ill] SCENE AND NATIONALITY 35 from older poems which Thus many origin in originated in the hero's own land. The difficulty has in the latter part of the was to glorify the been got over by supposing that the poem as we have it is of composite formation. and that they The evidence then possessed a considerable amount of information regarding them. he would not have ignored it as he has done tion poem. of Beowulf alone is scarcely sufficient to us in assuming more than that its author or authors were justify interested in the royal families of the North. and there can be no doubt that the connection is of in considerable antiquity. Paulus Diaconus and Widukind. that somewhat similar phenomena occur in other cases. whether that of his own We 32 .

But few scholars would now be willing to admit such a proposition. 1 The victories over the Saxons and Danes described in the Nibelungenlied and the Thattr af Nornagesti have little in common and are scarcely to be regarded as an essential feature in the story of Sigurftr. and that he would incidentally or by way of introduction in a poem largely concerned with the fortunes of that family. of Ingeld (Ingellus) by the old warrior be held to point to a common origin in is With the stories of SigurSr (Siegfried) and Waldhere the case somewhat different. English and German in the other. that SigurSr and Waldhere were real persons and that their adventures are founded on fact. their exploits such as to influence the destiny of nations 1 In the age of Hunnish supremacy scores of petty princes must have undergone somewhat similar adventures and distinguished themselves by similar deeds of heroism. whether in poem or saga. viz. it does not by any means follow that the different versions of their stories must have originated independently. probably of Scandinavian origin. Hence it can hardly be due to accident that the handful whose names we know were celebrated far and wide in the Teutonic world. Certain incidents. may poem or saga but most of the events narrated appear to have been either preserved by memory or invented independently. nor were . in the one case. we should be bound to hold that they were derived from a common story. have sprung from a common source. nation or not. It is the opinion of the great majority of scholars that both these heroes are mythical or fictitious.36 SCENE AND NATIONALITY [CHAP. Neither hero seems to once that the Scandinavian and German have belonged to a family of outstanding position. them Of course if it could be shown that the Danish princes who figure both in Beowulf and the various Scandinavian records were fictitious persons. . If this view is correct a question which at we shall have to discuss later we may conclude different versions of the two stories. such as the exhortation (Starcatherus). But even if we take the opposite view. who never really existed. The main story of the poem stands on a different footing. in spite of the fact that they are associated with undoubtedly historical characters. . would also utilise know its traditions.

who wrote apparently a few years before Jordanes. we can hardly help inferring that they are derived from a narrative source. 49) says that Attila died from the bursting of a blood-vessel on the night of his marriage with a girl named Ildico. viz. Germ. There can be no question that this king was a historical person. but the earliest detailed account which we possess of his doings. ut dignus erat. and Jordanes recognises that his death was partly due to this cause. importance. find Now we what is chief feature wanting in Jordanes' acHow much the Annals of Quedlinburg 1 supplied by truth the story contains we are not in a position to decide.Ill] SCENE AND NATIONALITY 37 The story of Eormenric is again rather a different case. there can be little doubt that it is correct. whom he had treacherously put to death. common In conclusion mention may be made of a story which appears to be definitely at variance with historical truth. namely the account of Swanhild and the vengeance attempted by her brothers. the event first its can hardly have been of the seems really to have failed in object. quorum patrem interfecerat. both in Jordanes and the Older Edda (GuSrunarhvot and HamSismal) with comparatively death. in p. even if we grant that the main features are historical. that given by Jordanes. not only in the names of the characters but also in the description of Swanhild's death. 31). Hence if we bear in mind the close agreement between the Gothic and Scandinavian versions of the story. since the attack Ammianus Marcellinus says that Eormenric committed suicide owing to despair at the impending Hunnish invasion. dates from nearly two centuries after his perhaps the most striking episode in Eormenric's story.. arnputatis Gothorum afratribus Hemido et manibus et pedibus turpiter. says his 1 Anastasius annos XXVII Ermanrici Scr. But slight variations. But in the later (Scandinavian and German) accounts it is entirely forgotten. Now Jordanes (cap. regis Serilo el Adaccaro. namely the account of Attila's death given in the Edda poems AtlakviSa and Atlamal. As his account is derived from Priscus. . occisio (Mon. a contemporary and trustworthy writer. Yet it should be observed that the Roman chronicler Marcellinus Comes. The count is . It is there stated that Attila was murdered with two children by his wife Guftrun in revenge for her brothers (Gunnarr and Hogni).

Aetio et Studio coss. But. 454) : Attila rex Hunnorum Europae sangiiinis orbator proninciae noctu miilieris reiectione manu cultroque confoditur. in spite of the fact that they did not appeal to national interests. but there is have a number of ancient poems written down to show that his collection had any permanent influence. The question how they were preserved and transmitted is one which we shall have to discuss in the following chapters. it is a proof of the popularity of these stories that they were preserved until comparatively late in the Middle Ages. These examples will be sufficient to show that the subjects of many of our poems are derived from stories which passed from one Teutonic people to another and some of which were of great antiquity. some of the Edda poems date probably from the ninth century. and the story of HeSinn and Hogni is used by the poet Bragi who lived apparently in the early part of that century. not used to any great extent. namely by means of writing. Indeed considering the circumstances it is by no means unlikely that the therefore Edda the story originated immediately after the event. the Anglo-Saxon fragments show a treatment of the subject totally different from that which appears in Ekkehard's poem. quidam uero necatum perhibent. though it had been known for many centuries. before the end of the tenth century. nothing When the Quedlinburg annalist or his authority quotes the . which shows probably the least amount of variation. . among the Romans within a century after Attila's death. Again. vn. We may note at once however that the most obvious means of preservation. while the Runic alphabet. On the Continent of course the case We have seen that Charlemagne did is somewhat different. Further. there is no evidence that the Roman alphabet was used in the North. 1 Ind. was almost certainly Had that been the case the between the different versions of the stories would divergencies be far less noticeable than they are. except possibly by a few foreigners here and there.D.38 that Attila died in SCENE AND NATIONALITY by the hand of is [CHAP. as we have already mentioned. a woman 1 . (A. Even in the case of Waldhere. seems not to have been employed for literary purposes until very late times. The account given no invention of an Icelandic or but founded on a story which was current Norwegian poet.

that the different versions of the story are ultimately derived from a the common 1 narrative. is but poorly represented. . It German and Scandinavian records. It will be convenient now to summarise briefly the of . and also an appreciable number which are not in verse or prose. There can be no question that a large number of similar stories have perished. that the stories of the mentioned elsewhere figure in in Anglo-Saxon literature. which nations. Norway and England however. The latter observation deserves notice all the more in view of for the story of 1 . the obvious popularity of such stories in England a fact proved not merely by Beowulf and Finn. Thus we have no evidence Waldhere in the North while stories dealing with Danish heroes seem to have been little known in Germany. have further seen that a very large proportion of the characters of the heroic stories figure in the literature of two or lost their nationality in the We more them. and that frequently the same stories are told of In the latter case it is probable. where in connection with S. results We have seen that the scenes of the heroic ^ most of the lands formerly occupied the Teutonic peoples. On same characters are known but only Excluding of course Thiftreks the other hand. It is doubtless by oral tradition therefore. whether Heroic Age have mainly been preserved. but still more by the prominence assigned to Danish characters in Widsith. as by well as the distant kingdoms of the Visigoths and Vandals. perhaps some two centuries later. indeed often practically certain. seem stories are distributed over to lie outside the area. af Bern. A glance through the catalogues of Widsith will show many names which otherwise are entirely unknown to us. course of the sixth century. though they would scarcely be wise however to assume that all the stories of the Heroic Age were common Teutonic property. Thus the Prankish nation. he refers not to any written works but to songs formerly current among the country people.Ill] SCENE AND NATIONALITY 39 heroic stories. which ultimately became dominant. The heroes also are drawn from many though not in the proportion which we should expect. nations.our discussion. while the most prominent places are taken by peoples such as the Ostrogoths and Burgundians.

such derivation can can be shown that the characters themselves are fictitious.40 SCENE AND NATIONALITY be proved only [CHAP. This remark applies especially to a number of characters common to Beowulf and Scandinavian stories relating to Hr61fr Kraki and his times. if it Ill different events. with local or tribal Their tone indeed may be described as in a sense international. . It is fully in are not concerned at accord with these facts that the heroic poems all or at least only to a very slight degree interests. though with the restriction that characters and scenes alike are drawn exclusively from within the Teutonic world.

ZfdA. Epist." From this passage it is in end of the eighth century there were current Northumbria certain poems.ibi decet lectorem audiri. the In your heathen. Alcuin to " The most important is contained in a letter from 797 It : is Hygebald. ille paganus in quiet rex ille aeternus regnat perditus plangit in inferno. Mon. We must now try to see whether any means are to be found of dating their composition more precisely. probably well known poems. it has Ingeld to do with Christ ? will not be able to hold them both. sermones patrum. Unfortunately very few references to the poems or their subjects occur in works which can be dated with anything like certainty. the The king of heaven will have no part with so-called kings who are heathen and damned for the one king reigns eternally in heaven. utrosque tenere non poterit. xv 314.. the . is damned and groans in hell. not a rabble of those who make merry in the streets 1 . THE ORIGIN AND HISTORY OF THE HEROIC POEMS. whom we need not clear that at the 1 Verba Dei legantur in sacerdotali conuiuio. Germ. What house . quid Hinieldus cum Christo? angusta est domus . non citharistam . cf. houses the voices of those who read should be heard. . Carol. bishop of Lindisfarne. dealing with a heathen king named Ingeld. not to the poems of the Strait is heathen. II 124. 3) it was mentioned that the English heroic poems are usually ascribed to the seventh or eighth centuries. not to a harpist. non ridentium turuam in plateis. non uult rex coelestis cum paganis et perditis coelo. to the discourses of the fathers. other. fitting on such occasions to listen to a reader.CHAPTER IV. non carmina gentilium. written in the year When priests dine together let the words of God be read. Janicke. IN an earlier chapter (p. uoces legentiiun audiri in domibus tuis. O. nominetenus regibus communionem habere.

which dates probably from about the same period. This passage contains a genealogy. Further evidence is afforded by names of persons and places. archbishop of Canter- bury (65 5 dedit 664). was in all probability called after the British king of (685 688) the same name. It is extremely likely that Hlothhere. a Frisian king mentioned in Beowulf and Widsith. as well as in the fragment which bears his name. In the Historia Brittonum however in place of Finn Godwulfing we find Finn qui fuit Folcwald which is clearly due to confusion with Finn the son of Folcwalda (Finn Folcwalding). 721). obtained his name from one (615 while the West of the Frankish kings. who figures in Beowulf. It must not be assumed that persons bearing such names were necessarily of Celtic blood. Thus the sixth century Tytla. The latter part is known also from many other texts. are instances which no one will bishop In the Durham Liber Vitae we meet with the names dispute. Danihel.42 THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS [CHAP. in which it regularly runs as follows: also Woden Frealafing. Frithuwulf Finning. probably taken from the . for the part played by Ingeld in that poem is insignificant. tracing the descent of Hengest and Horsa from Woden and of Woden from Geat. Of course it is not at all likely that the reference is to Beowulf itself. and lohannes. Acquaintance with the subjects of the heroic poems is shown by a mistake in the Historia Brittonum. Godwulf Geating. bishop of Winchester (d. 31. who died in 642. Indeed the spelling suggests rather that they were Englishmen called after Aidan and Kentigern. Deusdedit. of Hexham (d. There can be no doubt that even in the seventh century it was customary to take the names of famous men of the past or present. 745). for the element hloth. Frealaf Frithuwulfing. hesitate to identify with Ingeld the son of Froda. Lothair II (584 628) or Lothair III (656670). the is we hear of called after Frankish or Gothic name of the father of the East Anglian king Redwald. king of Kent (673 685). Aethan and Cundigeorn. doubtless derived his name from Pope DeusSaxon king Ceadwalla 618). Finn Godwulfing.is not used elsewhere in Anglo-Saxon names. Even in who seem to be English princes kings of the same period.

. e. before the end of the seventh century thirteen of them are unknown after the same period. Finn. is in 1000).. Cart. Abel. it As the element theod- is somewhat rare in England. II Beowanhammes hecgan and Grendeles mere in Wiltshire in our list. Alexandreas and Casere are not included. For the figures and the method of calculation see Note I. Widsith and documents. The total number of personal names found in the five poems Beowulf. But it has not been sufficiently pointed out that such in the earliest names occur most frequently times and gradually become more rare a fact which is of considerable importance for our purpose. altogether 57 recur as historical Deor is I32 and of these names of persons mentioned in English Over forty of these names belonged to 1 . xxiv 251 ff. only from contemporary persons and from books but also from poems and been made the latter Indeed researches which have in this direction have demonstrated that names of type were extremely popular. and consequently that the connection with 1 The names Grendel. Waldhere. perhaps after the Gothic king Theodric and his successor Athalaric. A similar case. have been 2 while at least born. persons who appear to have lived. The occurrence (Biuulf) in the native of such names as Widsith and Beowulf Liber Vitae shows that names 'were taken not traditions.IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS . it is In local nomenclature 132 names mentioned above. 2 3 Cain. 677).g. To the latter class belong the important names Widsith and Beowulf. a son of Aethelric. though neither of these names is included But in the majority of cases it is more probable that is the place-name taken in the first instance from that of a previous landowner. when we find in Kent two localities close together called Hokes clif and Hengstes earas (Birch. But open to very serious objections. Sax. W. or at any rate to . Two sons of the Northumbrian king Ida were called Theodric and Aethelric. possible to trace at least 51 of the In some cases these names may have been taken direct from the story. cited 3 . W. very frequently that of (ib. Lawrence in the Publications of the Modern Language Association of America. as has been shown by Prof. not unlikely that the Northumbrian prince Theodbald. 43 Gothic king Totila it is not of an English type. derived his name from the Prankish king is Theodbald.

and consequently that they exhibit an earlier stratum of personal nomenclature. The name and based on the travels with which the minstrel credited. 10 134) it is non-strophic. showing the popularity of the stories it cannot prove the In one case existence of the poems which we now possess. in which name It is in all probability a later 2 composition and designed to explain what of importance therefore to note that. after the general fashion of Anglo-Saxon poetry. The introduction.g. which is likewise non-strophic. The doubtless in the fact that the place-names became fixed at a very early period. especially if we bear in mind that the materials for this period of the eighth century. such as we find e. poem century. 135143). are centuries. in Rigsmal or AtlakviSa. and of these again almost all occur in the course These statistics show clearly that such names were most popular during the sixth and seventh centuries. if we may judge from the place in which this name occurs in the Liber Vitae. the story is only secondary. than those for the following three are justified in drawing any conclusions from nomenclature. 2 In contrast with the body of the 1 . is exception.44 THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS [CHAP. extremely rare. Compound names containing wid. the popularity of the heroic stories was distinctly on the wane in Alcuin's time. Out of this number only seven apparently are limited to persons born after the end of the seventh century. may belong to the same stratum.or -sl\ (-sin\-) are used in other Teutonic languages. but the latter apparently does not occur in England. it must have been borne by a person of the seventh than the rest of the follows. while the former is poem (vv. Hence it is important to notice that out of the 51 place-names no less than 19 contain names which are not borne by persons explanation of this for the most part lies in historical documents. less if we The argument from nomenclature for holds good of course only . The epilogue (vv. If we add the place-names to the personal names the total number of heroic names found in England in historical documents seems to be 76. Originally when the poem was recited it may have been introduced with a short explanation in prose. incomparably Hence. however we Widsith alone the is may probably is make an 1 obviously fictitious occurs.

B. Exodus 10 see Brandl. If the Dream of the Cross. the proportion is 7 1 2 but in Beowulf it is only I 5. Yet at the same time there are a sufficient number of Midland or Northumbrian characteristics 1 to render it highly probable that the poems were not only composed but also originally written down in one of these dialects. statistics for : these poems : are as follows : Juliana : 27:3. It occurs comparatively seldom in connection with a weak adjective followed by a substantive a usage which is nearly universal in most of the Christian poems. Beyond this however no safe conclusions can be attained owing to the lateness of criteria are of a We the MSS. that the heroic poems do not exhibit any dialect in its purity a remark which is true of Anglo-Saxon poetry in general. who flourished while Especially the regular use of unsyncopated forms such as 3 sg. Beowulf 3 Cf. zu Berlin. onsended. it seems reasonable to date the composition of Beowulf quite half a century further back. though it is generally believed to be one of the earliest of the Christian poems. 1905. which is believed to date from soon after the middle of : the eighth century. in which the proportion is over 2 3. In regard to syntax the heroic poems are at least as archaic as any other remains of Anglo-Saxon poetry which have come down to us. Its archaic character would be natural : enough 1 if it is really the work of Caedmon. past part. Unfortunately we have no certain means of dating this work. Dream of the Cross 10 5. U. 14. The linguistic somewhat unsatisfactory nature and investigaIt is clear tions in this field have led to few definite results. West Saxon forms predominate and there is no doubt that the final recension of the text is due to scribes who employed this dialect.IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS 45 must next turn to the internal evidence. We may article. : : . The nearest approach to the usage of Beowulf is shown by Exodus. der Wiss. 9. 721 ff. Brandl. and even in the first part of Guthlac. (p. 2 The 65 . is rightly attributed to the early years of the eighth century 3 : . Thus in Cynewulf's works the proportion of examples with and without the article varies from 7:1 to 9 I. which in reality is still notice especially the use of the definite a demonstrative pronoun in the heroic poems. in which the proportion is 2 i. . Christ (II) 28 : : 3.). 718 f. Akad. onwindfS. p. d. Elene 66 13 : Guthlac (A) 42 6. S.

IV In principle.g. but the operation of this change would render it impossible and necessitate the substitution of a synonymous 1 expression. As a matter of fact half. absence of contraction after the loss of intervocalic -h. in the half-verse hean huses) can be paralleled in poems dating from the close of the eighth century or even later. the Hist. we Thus in place of the expression to widan feore widan feore in the same sense. Beowulf itself containing at least eight examples. etc. is Prof. it should be observed. sed II et perplura de beneficiis et iudiciis diuinis. Thus it .(e. For a brief discussion of this question see Note III. which would offend against the metre. resurrectione et ascensione in caelum^ de Spiritus Sancti aduentu et apostolorum item de terrore futuri iudicii et horrore poenae gehennalis ac dulcedine regni doctrina. Before the loss of final -u it would be a perfectly regular half-verse. de aliis plurimis sacrae scripturae historiis. caelestis multa carmina faciebat . et Eccl. . . 1028) holds that the reference to lyric poems throughout. passione. Hild was abbess at Whitby (658 680) and who according to Bede 1 did compose a poem or poems on this subject. especially in a metre so flexible as that of the Teutonic oral alliterative verse. de incarnatione dominica. The metrical characteristics of the heroic poems differ but Cases of little from those of Anglo-Saxon poetry in general. tradition alone are manifestly liable to small verbal by changes. But 2 3 is this interpretation really necessary? On this date see Note II. canebat autem de creatione mtindi et origine humani de egressu Israel ex Aegypto et ingressu in terram repromissionis. where they are doubtless to importance be regarded as poetic archaisms. and even in Beowulf we meet with widan feorh which is not improbably the find occasionally oldest form of the phrase. On the other hand is generally attached to the absence of any evidence -r- and to the shortening which was originally followed by is contended that such combinations as to widan feore in the latter half of a verse cannot go back to the middle of the seventh century 2 since the form in use at that time would be feorha.verses of the condemned type do occur in Anglo-Saxon poetry. But even if we were to admit all these statements and emend the offending verses the argument would be conclusive only on the assumption that the poems were written Poems which are preserved down from the very beginning 3 for the retention of -u after a long syllable of syllables containing antevocalic -h-...46 THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS [CHAP. Brandl (Grundr. 24 : generis tota genesis historia.

1626. 2216 (?). 17168. 10614. whether any safe conclusions as to the date of the poems can be obtained from metrical considerations. 1997 2819 f.. vi. (?).) to from these there appears to be no reference Apart to any passage in the Bible except perhaps in v. The appears in these passages is of a singularly vague type.. 1314 f.. 3069. 232931. 588 f. 2088. not merely in the general metrical scheme but also in the construction of individual verses 1 improbable. 1271 6. 1317. amount of resemblance between English and German poetry. The rest vary from three to nine verses 4 The theology which . one (v. to render such a conclusion extremely Consequently I am very much inclined to doubt . 3814.. 27413. the next longest (v. 788. and in v. 27. 27947.verses 2 while another sixteen affect not verses in each case 3 . 1379. and Abel and one (v. 1201. 2874 3108 w. 1255. 16. 6857. 706.) to the Creation. 756 (?). 17246^) contains at least 37 verses. 1609 1X 16614. 1745 ff. 175 fF. unless we are prepared to deny that any old poems or even Yet there is a sufficient verses survived the period of apocope. the Flood. 945 f. all our poems contain passages or references of a religious (Christian) character. 908. 696702. 1658. which are thought by some to be based on Ephes.. 975. There are four distinct references to incidents in the early part of Genesis. 940. vv. 570. 1778 4 1841 f. except of course as regards their final form. 2650. (?). 1682. 786. In Beowulf alone there are about seventy such passages of which the significance is not open to question. which consists of only fifty verses. more than two longest passage of all (v. 478 f. 22913. 711.. 967..IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS 47 assumption of such substitutions seems to be absolutely necessary. 168893. 105662. 625 f. 8n. 3054 7. or half.. two (vv. 852. 9779. 90 ff. 306973. f. 3168. 2469. 72. 986 2276 3 (?). 92831. which contains the phrase day of judgment. 806. 101. f. 2 vv. 23413 (?). and seven or eight others which may belong to the same category. 107 ff. 790. 3083 f. 44o f. f. 227 f. Of far greater importance is the fact that with the exception of the Finn-fragment. 801.. 1553 6.. 1680. (?).) to the story of Cain ' 1 A few examples are given in the following chapter. 955 f.. 1397 f. 6657 (?). 12615. > . 670..) fourteen.' We find 1261 ff. viz. 1688 ff.. 2855-9. Out of the total number thirty-three are limited to single verses . 2182... 168 f.

). Indeed it has been observed 3 It " with the exception perhaps of vv. appears then that the religious utterances of the poem are of a singularly one-sided character. dryhten). The other epithets of the Deity is The word god ' are 1 ' lord ' ' (/raz. haelend Hardly less curious is the total ' absence of the word engel. guider of the heavens (rodera raedend).. 977 3. Beowulf. almighty (alwalda. w. there are no references to the saints. of very frequent occurrence and always used in the Christian sense. ( father ' ' ' (faeder). ' creator ' (scyppend). p. Lastly. especially since the religious poems are pervaded by a wholly different tone. This certainly seems Moreover there 1 the case much better than explanation the other. in a future also a few references to rewards life 1 . direct knowledge with of the Christian religion. for expressions such as lord of angels (engla dryhten*) are among the most frequent epithets of the Deity in Anglo-Saxon religious poems. Saviour ' (nergend. to the cross or to the church. their theology is covered by the Old Testament. in its favour. men (ylda or fira waldend). nor of any epithet denoting etc. 2741 perhaps worth noting that in v. One suggestion is that Beowulf was composed under the as to call for influence of the missionaries from lona . some explanation. ' name Crist. is one piece of positive evidence f. . 'king of glory' (wuldurcyning). but that he religious was acquainted some to fit poems. aelmihtigd). it is Celtic influence at all more probably Welsh. 2 1 86 the expression dryhten ivereda is used Elsewhere in Anglo-Saxon poetry this phrase is applied only to the of Hygelac. 588 a It is Deity." Certainly the facts are such that. ( ' ruler of (waldend). but it is extremely doubtful whether the influence of Irish Christianity would tend 4 Another is that the poet had little in this direction at all . king of the other hand there is no ' ( example of the word gast nor of the a religious sense (Holy Ghost).48 THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS and punishments [CHAP. If there is xxviii. 3 4 Clark Hall. helm of the heavens ruler ' ( ' ' ' ' (Jieofena helm). 'shepherd of glory' (wuldres hyrde). ruler of glory (wuldres waldend]. f. and a pious Jew would have no difficulty in assenting to them all. 2819 9. nor to rites or any Christian ceremonies. 977 9. ruler of victories ' victories ' (sigora softcyning). in On (sigora waldend}.

IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS v. It is true that the Christian passages or references cannot as a rule be removed without breaking into the rhythm. and the subject of the recitation is It appears to me highly probable the creation of the world. the Creation that he first became known. On the other hand if the Christian passages are due to interpolation the upper limit for the dating of the into air. 49 In Beow. Indeed. have here an allusion to Caedmon's poem or poems on that we Genesis. the author of Beowulf would have no other contemporary Christian poet on whom to draw. we hear of recitation to the accompaniment of the harp in Hrothgar's hall. c. where the passage is quoted in full. ' narrative poetry is preserved exclusively by oral tradition. In the former case of course the poem cannot have been composed before the second quarter of the seventh century. 89 ff. 4 . The inference is strengthened by the rather close resemblance which the hymn If the two poets were bears to the phraseology of Beowulf.' minstrels. if we grant the use of Caedmon's poetry the earliest possible date would be about 660. it is usually the case that the minstrel is allowed a certain amount 1 Cf. if interpolation has taken place we must assume it to be the work of poets or But have we any reason for doubting that the minstrels of that period were capable of such Wherever poetry at all events anonymous interpolation. note. 46. which may very well have been among the earliest of At all events it was by his hymn on that poet's productions. As a matter of fact two or three out of the list given by Bede 1 would have been quite sufficient to provide him with all the statements and terms that he uses. Consequently. and not of scribes. p. There is another question however with regard to the composition of Beowulf which has aroused more controversy than this. and the limitations of his theological equipment might be satisfactorily accounted for on the hypothesis that he knew only a few of Caedmon's works. poem vanishes As to the possibility of such interpolation in principle we need scarcely entertain any doubt. namely whether the Christian passages formed an original part of the poem or not.

242 ff. 101 but it is of freedom differs of course greatly from case to case (cf. use of earlier lays. Quellen und Forschungen. poem to lays. Brink. But those who have p. .5O THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS . if we grant that such poems were already in existence. Note IV.) . most fully developed in the writings of Miillenhoff and ten Until within 2 According to the former the poem was made up from four separate lays. does it really involve a greater amount of effort on ' by removing objectionable matter and introducing expressions in accordance with the new religion than to compose an entirely new set of poems on the same subjects. origin of the the various parts of the poem there was great divergence of It is opinion both between these scholars and generally. of freedom in the presentation of his subject 1 Now probably no one will suggest that it was only after their conversion to Christianity that the English began to compose poems about heathen kings. Beowulf (1889).' But. perhaps partly on this account that in recent years there has been a reaction in favour of believing that the poem as we have it is practically the work of one man. the last few years the majority of scholars This theory was believed that Beowulf was a composite work. but explained its inconsistencies as not to extensive interpolations but to the combination being due In regard to the relative antiquity of of two parallel versions. summarised p. LXII (1888) . The probability or the only narrative . [CHAP. pp. Therefore we must poem which down to us entire without prejudice on the general question and we must endeavour to see whether it bears the stamp of a new composition or that of an old work which has been brought into conformity with new ideas. though it is allowed that he 1 may have made The amount ff. consider the case of Beowulf improbability of the latter view will of course depend largely on the amount of inconsistency which the poem is found to contain. though in its present form nearly half of it The latter 3 likewise traced the is the work of interpolators. I cannot think that such a view has come will the part of the minstrels to bring these poems up to date be seriously maintained. only in communities which have elaborated the art of minstrelsy to a very high degree that the form of 2 3 words can become absolutely stereotyped. 110160.

believing that such was the case within the historical period. note. Again. connection with the missionary expeditions of St Willibrord. preclude the possibility that these stories were acquired from the Danes. as I have tried elsewhere to show. when the first missionaries arrived in this country. Now in the first place it is clear that the story of Beowulf is to settle is derived from the Baltic. known in this country 42 . in that their temporary disappearance supremacy held by the Frisians. references quoted on p. At logical was due all to the maritime events we have archaeo- evidence for a considerable amount of communication between southern Norway and the Frisian coasts during this period. and I think it 1 2 first The The Origin of the English Nation. and there is no doubt that down to the time of the invasion of Britain they were thoroughly familiar with all the But we have no evidence whatever for surrounding regions. belonged to the Christian period. 41 ff. The Angli themselves were originally a Baltic people. an Englishman across the North Sea for several centuries. while for the Baltic such evidence is almost wholly wanting. and the first question which we have is as to the time at which the information on which it based became known in England. I have suggested elsewhere 1 early in the eighth century. whatever his precise date. the Danes became familiar to the west of Europe during the sixth century but from about 580 onwards we hear no more of their presence on the North Sea for fully two centuries. when the latter again became about the close of the eighth century. p.IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS this 51 adopted view seem to agree that the author. By the end of the sixth century._ Next we have to notice that we have practically no trustworthy information regarding the history of the English kingdoms before the middle of the sixth century. During the whole of this period their name is heard of only . Bearing these facts in mind we can hardly doubt that the information used by Beowulf was acquired before the ^nd_o__thje_ in all probability we may say considerably before^ sixth_cenliiry that date*. they had apparently ceased to be a seaand we have no record of any voyage made by faring people. 93. and consequently that the religious passages are not due to interpolation.

while in the scene between Beowulf and Hygelac it is possible that an older poem has been incorporated. like some of the pieces contained in the Older Edda. probably also the use of^ the boar on < A different view taken by Schiicking. v. If we may trust the analogy of recitative pieces Such may have what appear to be the oldest pieces in this collection. though abounds in expressions of Christian sentiment. of the omens ff. while the connecting narrative might in prose and quite brief. such as VolundarkviSa or HelgakviSa Hundingsbana II. Such pieces may of course have been quite text 1 . the offerings at the shrines in v. ff. Beowulfs Riickkehr (Studien zur engl. like the Icelandic and Irish sagas. and it is likely enoughJLhat_oujL_gpic has^made_Ueofmore than one of them. Among these we may mention the tuneral srnp~in vT27 v. p. Philologie. the speeches would be given in metre.. have no evidence for believing that the early Teutonic peoples ever used entirely prose narratives. for be partly or wholly We such purposes. At all events it seems to me that if Beowulf is Jio older than the middle of -the. more or less complete.52 will THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS [CHAP. But we have yet to take account of what is perhaps the most striking feature of the poem. 204 and the curious reference to Jhanging in (cf.. namely the fact that. One perhaps may have dealt with the hero s exploits at the Danish court and another with his last adventure. the observation in v. so far as I can see.). yet the it customs and ceremonies to which it alludes are uniformly heathen. 2444 1 2939 is ff. ff. become embodied in stories in a more or less fixed form consisted of poetry alone or of poetry mixed with prose. be the opinion of any attentive student of early English history that even the best informed persons of Bede's time were not much better off in this respect than we ourselves are. in the short. 65 . is that the doings of such persons must have which were preserved by recitation of words. 175 f. xxi). How then are we to account for the preservation of detailed information regarding the early kings of the Danes and Swedes ? The only answer to this question. seventh century we are bound to assume the existence oLearHer poems omarratives gnjjiesame subject.

But most important of all are the descriptions of the disposal of the H^aH the long account in vv. 3 . 2233 ff. 1451 ff.) to construct for him a lofty barrow on the and ending with the scene of the twelve round the barrow. constantly should in all~po5stbte^ detail. is scarcely Christian . 2802 ff. 49 (from Priscus). preserves is its for not long before he has introduced a song of the Creation court. 2794 2 ff. proclaiming the dead man's princes riding we have the most detailed description of an early exploits funeral which has come down to us. especially the 'last words of all (v. and to express his faith anA the other hand ijLthe poem- be recited in the references to actual heathen worship or belief have to be either accompanied by censure presence of bishops or clergy.IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS 53 helmets_(vv. iiiif. 2i24ff. . Again giving he lay Beowulf himself to rest with heathen O'DJ at the Danish is why (vv. ) the hero has been made On gratitude to the Almighty? was originally a heatKen work thesg_jnconsistencies are perfectly If it was to retain its place after the change of faith natural. it difficult to see why the poet should go out of his way in V. together with the curse imprecated on the person who should disturb it (v. to represent the Danes as offering heathen sacrifices. but they contain nothing which is obviously opposed to Christian doctrine. 2813 ff. 2152) and the burial of the treasure (v. and in the sequel Hrothgar utterance to Christian sentiments.when in his dying speeches to 2739 ff.. 1286. and one of which Teutonic the accuracy is confirmed in every point by archaeological ^r contemporary literary evidenceM Such an account must have edge of the cliff. The significance of these passages seems to me to have been altogether misapprehended by recent writers. Apart from certain expressions the general tone of these speeches. ^i^/ff. cap. If the poem original form and is the work of a Christian. 303 f. or else in and their place taken by expressions suppressed accordance We may refer especially to the account of Attila's funeral given by Jordanes.). iioSff.).-I75 ff. all would of necessity as is the case in the homiletic verses altogether. by^cremation \In of Beowulf's obsequies beginning with the dying king's injunction (v. 3069 ff. 175 ff. 1 following v. been composed within living memory of a time when ceremo of tm's kind were still actually in use..)..

cit.. morning came the knights of the Danes could not burn his is : " on the pyre. __ True but it is quite incredible that a Christian poet ^hnnlH borrow from this quarter a method of funeral for his If the description of Beowulf's obsequies Christianised heroes. in the imprecation. nor lay the man they loved She had carried the body away.. though heathen. rather in in the probable that nature of substitutions \ me than gratuitous additions and the same way I would account for the occasional survival of . and based upon a traveller's story. and 3069 ff. had long ago passed out of use. op. II. (Aeschere's) lifeless form with fire. xxiv 37 f. in later E.g. possibility of Christian authorship seems to me to be definitely On the hypothesis that these jdescriptions had come down from the days of English heathenism all isjeasily explicable. stood alone a bare possibility might be conceded to the sugges: tion that it had once formed a poem by itself. xxni 75 f. 342 f. vn 79 f. seems to such expressions are frequently for objectionable matter. may be urged that cremation_seems to have lingered on among the Old Saxons of the Continent until late in the eighth It 2 century. and above all there Yet when the purely incidental reference in v. 2 Cf. But cremation is clearly regarded as the normal rite throughout the poem. ideas which appear to be essentially heathen 1 though they are cloaked in ^hrist^__pjimGGotogy: "But references to practices such as cremation which. apart from the legendary story of Scyld. v.. etc. e. In such a rase jhe materially to their sorrow. Od. with Christian doctrine. would not excite the same repugnance and consequently might be allowed to stand.54 THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS Hence it [CHAP. . Brai\dl." etc. 1003.). iioSff. p. The imprecatory formulae of charters can scarcely be regarded as analogous. Here the 3 poet realises the significance of the rite quite clearly and consequently notes that the inability of the Danes to carry it out added excluded.. 2124 ff. unconnected with Beowulf. At the time when the poem was Christianised it may very well not have been known that the ri>e_^fLjcre_mation was still practised 1 among the heathen of the Continent.g.. 8 xxn The same idea is frequently expressed in the Homeric poems.. We have anotheFdescription of it in the episode dealing with Finn (v. xi 71 ff.

Indeed we may say with safety that it had passed out of general use. may possibly have lingered in Northumbria longer than elsewhere . Other and additions may have been made about the same changes revision' 1 Cremation that This date does not depend in any way on the question where the poem originated.~Tt~must in the main have been in existence some time before the conversion. at least in the southern half of England. but to kingdom seems have become entirely Christian between 626 and 642. like Alcuin. if we are justified in believing that the descriptions of cremation ceremonies contained in Beowulf date from a time whenjthe practice was still remembered. by any scholar that the account of Beovvulfs obsequies belongs to the earlier It is the final scene of the story. been conquered during the latter half of the sixth century. religious element. I am aware. perceived clearly enough that. contained in Hence. quite a generation before this time for there are scarcely any traces of it to be found in those western districts which appear to have . however much coated over with Christian phraseology. . arrived here otherwise it is difficult to account for the absence of any reference to the custom in the records which have come down to us. the heroic poems were in reality of an essentially heathen character. Including the valley of tfre Thames. Consequently. in this Now cremation was widely prevalent country during a fact attested by the early days of the Saxon invasion numerous cemeteries especially in the northern and midland counties. I do not mean to suggest that the 1 was entirely limitecTtcTthe. Well-informed persons however. we must conclude that they were composed not later than the third or fourth decade^ of the seventh century 1 r But it is not contended.IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS 55 days the_verses of the old poet would be handed on in parrot fasffion without their^ significance being generally understood. is if legitimate. the line of argument which we have been following we shall be forced to admit that though thej)oem has undergone a fairly thorough revision in early Christian times. so far as . and further it is of a thoroughly epic character and would be quite out of place in a short lay. who had travelled abroad. it is not parts of the poem. any speech. But it appears to have become a thing of the past when the Roman missionaries .

8 f. Heodeningas} means HeSinn and his men. in fulLe4>i<^ "fo?m^-an appreciable time before' the -4 middle of the seventh century. Deor and Widsith. 16). time 1 What I do mean in is must have been existence that the great bulk of the_rjpem not merely as a collection of lays "or^sTories.' 2 and since Heorrenda can hardly be separated from the minstrel Horand in Kudrun. name Hegelinge in Kudrfin is probably a corruption of Hetelinge vv. It is true with a number that incidentally he mentions that he had met of other princes. . possibly some of the elegiac passages (e. why theme. and sixth centuries but the visit to Eormenric is his main Eormenric is of course one of the most prominent of the Heroic Age. but. The poet states that he Widsith is still more explicit. 2450 2464). but there seems to be no valid reason for doubting that they are quite as criteria for estimating the early. first of them.e.e. founded upon a tradition that this Eadgils possessed a famous minstrel breaks fictitious as down upon the name we have seen (p. it would seem that the poet claims to have been a contemporary of HeSinn and Hogni. [CHAP. 2236 to 2270.g. some of whom lived in the fifth . who as we know died about 370. 44). Deor person says that he had been the bard of the Heodeningas and that he had been displaced by a skilful minstrel named Heorrenda.56 THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS . The other heroic poems do not furnish us with any similar date of their composition. with whose story we have dealt briefly above (pp. The suggestion that the poem is prince of the Myrgingas. 88 (i. ' Two visited the Gothic king Eormenric. but I am not prepared to suggest an elaborate analysis of the poem. 3 Presumably including 108. Since in old Norse literature Hicfcningar (i. Heodeningas). But then it is by no means so easy to see he is associated with such an obscure person as Eadgils.g. vv. are expressed in the and lay claim to being of a remote antiquity. which show a certain resemblance 2 The such poems as the Ruin and the Wanderer. and it may be for this reason as figures the type of a powerful king that he is chosen for the poet's host and patron. Widsith^ which It is obviously appears to me that considerably less difficulty is involved in the hypothesis that the kernel of the poem 3 is really the work of an unknown bard 1 E.

Metrical catalogues of this These lists ' kind are said to be in use among Servian minstrels at the present day is . which is almost without parallel.IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS 57 of the fourth century.. Lastly. apparently and that this presupposes the existence not only of the poem itself but also of the introduction. a feature rare elsewhere in Anglo-Saxon poetry. since it seventh has been suggested that this is really a transla- German poem. The less complicated form of the latter in which Guthhere is omitted and Hagena represented as an officer of Attila. Ekkehard represents her as a timid creature. have been adduced in favour of the German origin of the poem But it is further to be are not now generally maintained. while the characterisation of the heroine is as unlike as it well could be. The case of Waldhere stands somewhat apart from the others. while Deor also has a refrain. where a specimen given. which is clearly later. pursuing the fugitives may be due either to imperfect acquaintance with the story which 1 it or. p. cf. Slavische Volkforschungen. It is unwise to lay on agreements between Ekkehard and the fragments as against the version of the story given in ThiSreks Saga af Bern. differently noticed that the poet seems to have treated his subject very from Ekkehard. we have seen in the that century. and that successive minstrels from time to time have added the names of famous heroes with which they were acquainted 1 a process to which the original plan of the poem may well have offered inducement. of course be granted but we have also to consider when and The linguistic arguments which in what form it was brought. The speeches. Krauss. Widsith occurs as a personal name. on which Ekkehard's Waltharius That the story came from the Continent may is also based. but in the fragments she displays a spirit stress which may fairly be called martial. Both appear to be constructed in strophic form. with which the fragments are entirely taken up. to the conditions under had been preserved. tion of a lost . have nothing corresponding to them in the Latin poem. However this may be neither of the poems shows any characteristics which suggest a later date than Beowulf. perhaps more probably. We shall see later that for a inventories' are perhaps derived in part from mnemonic catalogues of the stories known to the minstrels who composed them. . i86ff.

Deor and Widsith may quite possibly contain still older elements. who seems to have lived in the first half of the ninth century. i. To this question however we can hardly hope to obtain a satisfactory answer.) appear to have been made by some one who possessed a certain amount of erudition .g. while all except the most prominent characters drop out. together. considerable period heroic poetry appears to have been entirely and it may be neglected by the higher classes in Germany . Deor and Widsith all contain Christian passages. accepted as generally true that when stories are preserved only by the peasants complex situations tend to become simplified. We may evidence now turn to the Old Norse poems. Here the data at our disposal are of a very different character. we may conclude with of Beowulf is correct we shall have to refer the first treatment of the subject to the sixth century. perhaps half a contains references to the story of HagbarSr and century later. 15 f. There seems therefore to be no adequate reason for believing Waldhere to have had a for the date at different history from the other heroic poems. In this poem we find allusions both to the story of HeSinn and Hogni and Sorli. taking the poems. like Beowulf. probability that they assumed 1 substantially their present form in the course of the seventh But if our reasoning with regard to the composition century. Waldhere. Hildegyth and Hereric were all names current during the seventh century. . vv. to the attack made upon lormunrekr by HamSir and 1 Thiodolfr's Ynglingatal.. almost if not quite to the Heroic Age itself. for the metrical is said to preclude the possibility that any of the extant poems date from before the ninth century.58 THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS [CHAP. The interpolations in Widsith (e. is probably the earliest extant piece which refers to stories of the Heroic Age. Waldhere. It may perhaps be questioned whether all of them are necessarily new compositions since that time whether certain of them may not be old poems somewhat recast. The fragmentary Ragnarsdrapa of Bragi Boddason. As which the story became known in England we may note that besides Aetla and Hagena. including Beowulf. all On the whole. 82 ff. which may come from other sources.e. but there is no need to ' ' attribute them to a different period.

4 Such names may have been current before. p. little Sigemund (Sigmundr) himself is more than a name in German tradition. The story of SigurSr is generally supposed to have been introduced into Norway from Germany and in some sense or other this would seem necessarily to be true. 20). the scene is laid chiefly in the But it is apparently impossible to determine when what form the story was transmitted. Gullrond (Guftrun?) with Giuki and Gunnarr. 34).-Sax. it is worth noting that. 3 In contrast (e. far as it goes. .g. It is perhaps worth noting that alliteration is shown by certain names which are generally believed to Eitill with Atli. are not mentioned by any early Danish authority. as well as brief accounts of the Swedish kings Ottarr and All these ASils. since in the Northern .) with Kudrfin. This consideration. Kilderne til Sakses Oldhistorie. in a which points to their derivation from Danish rather than Norse sources On the other hand the stories of the Volsungar. to have been quite common in the North during the Viking yet the apparent absence of umlaut suggests derivation from a (Frisian ?) form corresponding to the Ang. Olrik. Sigmundr and SigurSr. Gunnarr. are told also by Saxo. Hogni. may judge from the genealogies in Landnamabok and elsewhere the principle of seems to have been generally given up in family alliteration names before the ninth century. e. e. to be taken into account. certainly favours a very early date but it is 4 hardly conclusive The story of Sigmundr stands . 2 The name appears Age . Aecci> Aeddi beside Acca. as times. 132. We have already is noticed that there archaeological evidence for a considerable amount of communication between Norway (not Denmark) and the southern (Frisian) coasts of the North Sea during the seventh and eighth centuries.g. as well as in the Rhineland. Erpr. Aetla (cf.IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS 59 Signy. which clearly shows its foreign origin (cf.g. somewhat version. though their frequent occurrence is no proof of this and may be due to the popularity of the heroic poems. p. the exception perhaps of Atli'2 the . except that of Ottarr. and this is clearly a factor which deserves Further. Adda}. Giiiki^ Buftli. who are mentioned in Beowulf (cf. and in German. 3 Northern form as . stories. have been introduced into the story in Norway or Iceland. with if names all appear in regular they had been known from the earliest . on a somewhat different footing. p. while though first In the place 1 Cf. If we Giaflaug. 1 . but different form. Oddrtin.

38f. account given 1 But the story of Frotho seems really rather to resemble the so it in Beowulf of Sigemund's dragon-fight . 2633 60) and certain passages (especially Saxo's version). zu Leipzig. rather striking verbal resemblance 2 between the Wiglaf (Beow. The same two persons are in German brought together also the Hakonarmal I likewise between them. Sievers. which is Sigmundr the story of Siegfried. story. the former is brought into juxtaposition.). and Fitela. unless the same incidents are There is a related of them. which is generally not the case. Cf. first in speech of Biarkamal . 45 ff. who is unknown to the Beowulf. iSoff. Ber.e. The Cult of Othin. We have seen that many of the persons mentioned in the main narrative of Beowulf were remembered also in Scandinavian But since these persons are in all probability to be tradition. the passages specified this HermoSr (Heremod) literature. they are not connected in any the Helgi poems. d. Ges. connected with the Baltic. . which knows Sigemund Thirdly. p. p. with a Danish prince named Heremod. and here again a connection can be traced indirectly between the two heroes. Scandinavian is apparently but the facts noted seem to indicate that the* two characters were connected in poetry before English and Danish tradition i. while seems to imply some connection have tried to show elsewhere Apart from in the 1 . though not SigurSr. 2 3 Bugge. regarded as historical. But the words themselves are of a somewhat general character and might have been used on and this fact is the other occasions. 1895.60 THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS [CHAP. Welsung and in Sintarfizzilo occur as personal names. Beitrcige. and apparently also into comparison. 51 f. presumably in the sixth century. it is hardly safe to infer the existence of ancient Scandinavian poems. as not mentioned in Old Norse poem HyndlulioS. Wiss. contain no reference to SigurSr. where Hialti is addressing Biarki more noteworthy if Biarki is really to be identified with Beowulf. became separated. xii Cf. and this is still more way with clearly the case with his son Helgi. Again there is a certain 3 affinity between the account of the dragon-fight in Beowulf and that of a similar incident related of Frotho I by Saxo (p. Again.

2047 2056). The relationship of be compared with that of 1068 The poems on Ingeld given by Saxo is 1159) to the fragment dealing with are traced by little Danish source. the story is cut right away from the surroundings in which we find it in Beowulf.e. dating from the sixth century. Further. 118 . and it may be it that for a time it survived in it Denmark only can be little in ballad form. But the details of the combat. which are present in both the Danish and English versions of the story. It was certainly well known in England and there is good reason for believing that its home is to be found in the district to which it refers.. or at events heroic narrative. pp. 132. that origin ultimately to be sought in heroic poetry. in is came under Saxo's treatment. in). and certain legendary features. however much change had undergone before doubt. all Lastly we must mention the story of UfTb's single combat. i. 18 p. though there (p.) little verbal 41 that in Moreover we have seen Alcuin's time poems dealing with Ingeld were resemblance. 1 Kilderne til Sakses Oldhistorie. in which that warrior exhorts Ingellus to avenge These are clearly to be connected with the speech his father. Slesvig and 2 to show that this story I have tried elsewhere Rendsburg. Prof. as they share the characteristics exhibited other stones which appear to come from the same quarter Thus the queer's name is not given and her brothers (cf. Olrik 1 to a (vv. though. 2 The Origin of the English Nation. and there can be doubt that his view by correct. are described simply as sons of Suertingus. this is probably not of Danish origin. the neighbourhood of Angel. A that of the poems attributed by Saxo to Starcatherus. such as the dumbness or silence of the hero. is f. strongly favour the view that it was embodied in also rests on historical foundations. in known and probably popular another passage Finn.IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS 61 may two did not be questioned whether the points of affinity between the originally form part of a standard description of clearer case is incidents of this kind. the passage in Beowulf to these may England. of the old warrior to Ingeld in Beowulf (vv. as given by Saxo and Svend Aagesen. ff. ff. there its view of the English evidence. p. Yet. strictly speaking.

directly or indirectly. our chief authority on this subject. during the Heroic Age itself. Regarding the antiquity of Gothic heroic poetry there can be no question. is nothing The story is apparently unknown to all Norse authorities. a story with which we shall have to deal more fully in a later chapter. We may probably therefore refer them at least to the seventh century. In the poem which celebrated their victory over the Vandals (cf. for Jordanes. is described as Gothorum fortissimus in a quotation (cap. the only one of whom we know anything. at which time the Langobardi were already Christians.62 THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS [CHAP. There is good reason therefore for believing that the Goths possessed heroic poems as early as the first half of the fifth century. It seems likely that some of the lost poems of the Langobardi were of still greater antiquity. But of the heroes whom he enumerates (cap. 37) that his account of Eormenric appears to be coloured by poetic tradition. We have already noticed (p.) would scarcely be appropriate unless they were believed to be more than a century old by that time. from earlier but regarding the antiquity of the latter nothing can be ones. 5 f. a very prominent part appears to have been played by the heathen Such a piece can hardly have been composed after the gods. 29). 10). to show that such poems survived till Saxo's time. who lived about a century earlier 2 . who according to Jordanes (cap. wrote about the middle of the sixth century. Vidigoia. 48) reigned shortly after Eormenric's death. vin 9) states that the Gothic king Gensimundus. cap. 1 Item barbara et antiquissima carmina. scripsit memoriaeque mandauit (Vita Caroli Magni.e. to be known extant piece of early poetry. goes back at all events to the 1 Further. On the other hand there poetic form at a very early period. The Hildebrandslied. 2 Cassiodorus (Var. which is the only stated with certainty. end of the fifth century. the language used by Einhard in eighth century. Many are of the German poems which have come down to us derived. . p. describing the poems collected by Charlemagne (cf. records. quibus ueterum return actus et bella canebantur. was widely celebrated in poetry (toto orbe cantabilis] but his name is preserved only in Gothic . i. p. 5) as celebrated in poetry. 34) from Priscus.

On the whole then it seems probable that the development of heroic poetry began in the Heroic Age itself. The chief monument of English heroic poetry must be ascribed to the first half of that century. The lost heroic poetry of the Danes seems to have been occupied largely with the same subjects as the English poems. and since the of the other stories generally refer to the Baltic we may reasonably infer that heroic poetry flourished in that region during the sixth century. We may The now sum up briefly the results of Age heroic poetry of the Goths certainly belonged to the Heroic itself.IV] THE ORIGIN OF THE POEMS 63 our discussion. Some heroic poems belonging to German peoples may probably be referred at least to the seventh century. while some poems claim to be of greater antiquity. not only among the Goths world. and it is more than likely that certain Langobardic other poems were nearly as old. but throughout the greater part of the Teutonic .

while fol. and 22* persons to persons born after 800. and it is longer only reasonable therefore to expect that the same is true of the much A brief examination of the names will lists of clerics and monks. Becca. while fol.for in more frequent at the beginning of the lists than later so Above all we may note the uncompounded names -/-. The asterisk denotes names to . fol. Hygelac. Now we fifth 1 shall 38 has only one. 14 or 15 to born between 700 and 800. apart from the Liber Vitae. Eadwine. of which nine (eleven) are peculiar Of those which occur in other documents 29 2 belong to work 1 distribution of heroic . but practically extinct after the -z. *Hrothmund. *Aehha. It must be remembered that. Ingeld. the first in the clerics' list. Offa. Wiglaf. Eanmund. Wermund. See the Addenda. those printed in Sweet's Oldest English Texts^ p. a type eighth century. 30 contains none . contains eleven such names. Sigeferth. Ingeld. Hereric. 3 persons born apparently before 700. names in English historical documents is as The Liber Vitae contains 35 (37). Aetla. the first in the monks' list. the materials for the ninth centuries are much more abundant than those for earlier times. *Hagena. 5 Only the Lines 159 earlier lists. In the Liber Vitae itself it is and tenth possible within certain limits to distinguish between persons of early and later date. Becca. Sigemund. Vurmeri limited to persons of the sixth and seventh centuries. such as -ferth for -frith.for -ct-. are practically confined to the last parts of the lists. Alewih.64 HEROIC NAMES IN ENGLAND [CHAP. Frithuric perhaps also Herebald. Aelfwine. . *Gislhere (perhaps Eomaer). which may be by later hands 6 But even within the parts certainly written by the first scribe archaic forms such make clear that such is actually the case. Witta. Waldhere. the emendation of the corrupt forms Vychga&n&. Heardred. it Some modernisms of language. Wermund. 154 ff. two to such persons only. Wudga) 2 Ecglaf. of orthography. *Ordlaf. Offa. Oswine. Wada. Wulfgar. Eadwine.for -to- are also occasional -b. Offa. Heremod.. Wulfhere. Wada. 4 *Aelfhere. *Eormenric. Oswine. NOTE THE follows. Sigeferth. Frod(a). . are taken into account. Sigemund. Weohstan. Eadgils. Frithuric (possibly also Deor). Eadgils. probably be well within the in mark if we assume in the that one of the names if each list 6 belong to persons born seventh 37 (eleven). six to such persons only. queens and abbots have shown that they are arranged chronologically. Ecglaf. and Vyrmheri (Wyrmhere). 3 *Hringwald. Investigations in the lists of kings. Sigehere. has eight. Theodric. such as -ht. Aelfwine. 24. we admit Wydiga (Widia. *Hun. Wiglaf. as -iu. Eanmund. common in early Anglo-Saxon. Wulfhere. *Scilling. Fol. Sigehere. four to such persons only. Eomaer. 6 192 and 332 362 in Sweet's text. or . *Sceafthere. THE USE OF HEROIC NAMES IN ENGLAND. Waldhere. *Hoc. Weohstan. Wada. Oslaf. to that I. Garwulf. 34.

Fitela. Hrethel. fHrothwulf. tHildeburg. in part to its 6 Eight of these however occur also in place names*. Wulfgar. each century (cf. Wermund. 4 5 Hildeburg. Sigemund. The number of personal names recorded for the south of England during the sixth and seventh centuries is very small yet it is only here that . Names marked with a dagger are confined to the Liber Vitae. We have still to mention a few heroic names which are not found in the Theodhere (Diether) is known only extant remains of Anglo-Saxon poetry. : Hygelac. Hringwald. Frod. . Beaduca. Aelfwine. Frithla. Hereric. 3 For the details see the preceding notes. Cart. Herding. Garwulf. v 6). Breca. The frequence therefore of heroic names in the Liber Vitae is to be attributed in part to the great abundance of the material and comparatively early date. Weland. if it is not allowed for the Liber For the list of place-names (not the personal names) I am dependent upon Binz. Heoden. Aetla. Gislhere. Oslaf. the evidence of the Liber Vitae there are fifteen heroic names Including which seem to be borne only by persons of the eighth century or later times. fHama. 497) and may be a mistake for Diara (ib. Hild. Gifeca to which we may add in Waelse Vitae. fHeathuric. . Heremod. The latter (in the form Diar) occurs only once (Birch. XX 141 223. Omoling only from the 1 Alewih (fWidia?). Wald. Wulfgar. Geat. Frithuric (tWyrmhere?). 7 Gifeca. Aelfhere. Hoc and Hagena names which belong to quite different cycles of story. Hengest. Wiglaf. The name Diora need not be of heroic origin it may be an abbreviation from such names as Diorwald. Offa. Of the remaining seven one or possibly two 6 make their appearance during the eighth except On the other hand it has already been mentioned that not less century. fAegelmund perhaps also Herebald. Wiglaf. The following names are found both in the early and late parts of the lists Eanmund. The fact that so many heroic names occur in the Liber Vitae has led of English heroic poetry was in the north. Helm. 6 Diornoth. Hrothwulf. and twelve (thirteen) to persons of the eighth 2 The total number of names . Beitr. if the abbot of this name is to be identified with the one mentioned by Bede (H. luring. Witta. all than nineteen heroic names 7 occur only in local nomenclature. Heardred. from the sixth century. Ordlaf. Sigeferth. Heathuric. Wyrmhere (?). Walsingaham. . fFolcwald. p. Finn. several writers to conclude that the true home we meet with persons called Eormenric. Guthhere. Eadwine. Moreover out of the 37 heroic names preserved in the Liber Vitae no less than 28 occur in place-names in various parts of England. Wada. Weohstan. 43) may be obtained by comparing the evidence of the Liber Vitae with that of the other documents 3 in . E. Secca. Ingeld. But no such inference is really justified by the evidence. Widia is also to be added. Sax. 507). On this basis we find that of the 35 (37) heroic names which occur in the Liber Vitae nine (ten) are limited to persons of the seventh century 1 . Scilling. Wulfhere. Garwulf. Hnaef. Eadgils.IV] HEROIC NAMES IN ENGLAND 65 century. Aelfhere and Dior. 2 tBeowulf. Scyld. fWidsith. Theodric. tBilling. Hun. Dior.

<i paper Zur Datierung des Beowulfepos has dealt with several of the same problems and come to conclusions which differ widely from those at which I arrived. that after a long syllable which bore the chief accent -u was not lost before Morsbach : the end of the seventh century. [CHAP.e. ON THE DATING OF CERTAIN SOUND-CHANGES IN ANGLO-SAXON. that 'palatal umlaut' in Northumbrian and ii. pp. Mercian and Northumbrian. 1906. Ecgheard from the eighth and ninth. 251277. of 'palatal umlaut' (monophthongisation). all from periods. . 265). Sigesteb only from the ninth. that . Wulfheard the eighth century.66 seventh. Wulfheard and Ecga In some of these cases.) ii.g. 117. e. though after a long nebentonig syllable the loss was somewhat earlier (p. 273) he loss of -u (p. 528) in dating the origin of e (from 'West Germ. The pagereferences are to the figures in the outer corners. conclusions (pp. 146. iii. 264) postconsonantal h (before vowels) was retained in Kentish in 679 at least in . Hild. in Northumbrian in his before 650). but after the in summarising the results of his discussion (p. and in placing the loss of h before / (in neolaecaii) anterior to the operation for the loss of -u.' a) before the breaking. in that of are found also in place'names. Ecga only from mere accident Hildegyth. that intervocalic h was lost in Kentish by about 680. that contraction through loss of . may be dated about 700. iv. v.took place in all contemporaneous with the operation of (i. the non-occurrence of the name in the poems is clearly due to but it would scarcely be safe to assume that all these . Hildegyth HEROIC NAMES IN ENGLAND and Blaedla from the seventh and eighth. characters were celebrated in Anglo-Saxon poetry. 253 fif. NOTE II. 2 Nachrichten von dcr Kbnigl. but in Mercian and Northumbrian the same change . 1 Transactions of the Ca?nbridge Philological Society. Vol. iv. Part II. The chief differences are as follows i. ' ' cannot be shown to have taken place before about 700 (p. published in 1899. Studies in Old English 1 . Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Gb'ttingen. dialects at a time approximately palatal umlaut Prof. that the loss of long syllables and in words of the form -"". intervocalic final -u after h may be dated roughly between 680 710. change from x about 650 680 to the same to e (in all dialects except West Saxon) was in operation iii. 261 f. its loss. that the the dialect of the Vespasian Psalter took place before 650 : . that the loss of intersonantal h (in all dialects) belongs period or a little later . I endeavoured to formulate a scheme for dating approximately the chief sound-changes which In my took place in English during the first few centuries after the invasion of In the course of these investigations I was led to the following Britain.) i. " " " " about 700 for the loss of postconsonantal h and shortly before 700 gives Incidentally he follows Biilbring {Elementarbuch.

it is clear that Bede wrote his own but will anyone venture to hold that this represents the current \ or indeed for some half a century earlier? pronunciation of his name in 731 In personal names we must clearly allow for traditional orthography. is. 52 . Morsbach himself (p. 274) proposes for the composition of Beowulf is 700 statistics (given . above. which contains the place-name Vuestan ae beside the personal name Velhisd (Latin Gen. and similarly the form Vuestan ae may be used as evidence for the loss of h. in which the grantor is called both > name Baeda Oedelraedus and Ho(dt]lredus ? Again. above. line of argument. since it number of half. e. This seems to me yet the opinion of a scholar who stands in such deservedly Kentish intervocalic h was lost before postconsonantal h. 2 But Morsbach's paper raises a number of questions besides those mentioned I am obliged here to confine my attention to those which have a bearing on the dating of Beowulf. contains a are really justifiable. The form Irminredi may no doubt be used as evidence for the change & > ^. The evidence derived from a single charter issued by King Hlothhere in 679 (Birch. 81).IV] THE DATING OF CERTAIN SOUND-CHANGES 67 The importance of this discussion for our present purpose 1 lies in the dates proposed for the loss of -u and of postconsonantal h. Morsbach holds that in is He finds no difficulty in reconciling this with the 730. single instance of such a kind is totally insufficient ground for supposing A that the Kentish dialect treated postconsonantal and intervocalic h differently. But forms. First it will be convenient to take the loss of h. Now let us examine the evidence on which these conclusions are based. which are quite few in number.verses which would have been metrically impossible before the operation of these changes. no for the preservation of h. For Mercian 2 we are dependent Prof. like Velhisd and Aedilmaeri. Prof. while cases of its omission are numerous 1 in Bede's History (written in 731). rather strange high estimation cannot lightly be disregarded. 263 f. may very well show an antiquated orthography one which correctly represented the pronunciation of thirty or forty years previously. earliest East Saxon charter (Birch. Cart. ofer fealone flod(u\ to ividan I have already expressed scepticism as to whether such inferences feor(ti}e.g. But surely conclusions of this kind are admissible only when a number of examples can be adduced. The application of this term to the Epinal and Erfurt glossaries (or the arche- type) seems to me to be open to grave objection. Sax. Prof. The date which Prof. In Northumbrian there admittedly.). Morsbach concludes that Beowulf cannot have been composed before 700.). which must long have been in use. This applies more particularly to the verses affected by the question of postconsonantal h. 45) for the use of the article. Next we must consider the date given for the loss of h in Mercian and Northumbrian Morsbach's evidence at all (p. I find some difficulty here in following Prof. p.especially personal names. 45). in addition to one or two instances in probably earlier authorities. On the same principle we might argue from the name Irminredi (in the same charter) that e had taken place and also from the name Aedilmaeri (again the change se And what should we do with the in the same charter) that it had not.

as may be seen from the use of b and/ 3 Further. on which enough has been said above. since all the extant glossaries themselves date from times when h was already lost. 1 If I have interpreted his difficulty in understanding the "mit -h. 3 am not quite clear as to Cf. It is to be remembered that in these glossaries we are dealing not with independent documents but with copies made. . Whoever time compares the evidence for forms with and without h with that for/ and b will. per anticipationem \orch obst} shows that the materials were derived largely from 4 Many of these glosses glosses in books. Studies in Old English. was that in at least eight entries (probably several more) all three glossaries agree in showing forms without h. p. The first of these arguments. But I admit that I have had great argument in paragraph 5 of p. Erfurt and Corpus glossaries. 2 meaning correctly. it will be seen. In Epinal such modernisation is not unknown. 232. but it is restricted within very narrow limits. 240. I came to the conclusion that in this archetype the cases of retention and omission of h were probably about equal in number." of line 12). The occurrence of numerous Dative forms and of expressions containing more than one word (e.68 THE DATING OF CERTAIN SOUND-CHANGES [CHAP. be forced to the conclusion that the forms with h do not earlier than the compilation of bears these facts in mind and at the same more represent the pronunciation of the compiler of the archetype. it has without doubt used a considerable number of the same glosses (especially in Sweet's XLV) which were incorporated in their archetype. p. the archetype of which is placed before 700 by Prof. while incidentally the forms have from one original. The second depends upon a hypothesis which we shall have to consider presently. In my Studies. This remark applies of Erfurt than to Corpus for in the latter the as well as augmented from other sources. more or less mechanically. 263 (especially the Kentish as exceptional in I its Prof. He himself decides 1 against the loss of h in the archetype for two reasons (i) because postconsonantal and intervocalic h are treated alike in the glossaries and the former was still retained in Kentish when the archetype was written 2 (2) because the assumption of such an early date for the loss of h would be incompatible with his own date for the loss of -u. extent. course much more to Epinal and materials have been rearranged. This text represents a more primitive type of glossary than the others and. though it is not an ancestor of theirs. just as in the Leiden glossary . rests upon the dating of the loss of postconsonantal h in Kentish. rather than in that of postconsonantal h. My reason for concluding that the loss of h occurred in the archetype : . Prof. may have been written a generation or the archetype glossary.g. Morsbach replies that there is no necessity for such a conclusion. Morsbach. it is to be remarked that we have no ground for assuming the language of the arche- type itself to have been consistent. I think. his reason for this. on the Epinal. 4 . Morsbach seems to regard treatment of intervocalic h. been modernised to a considerable . but that they were taken over by him from earlier sources.

Morsbach lays any weight . Even in the I more intelligible parts of the inscription we find a number of forms which present serious difficulty Romivalus. genekwa^ etc. admitted as evidence for this hypothesis. but also by neolaecan and neowest (cf. Hence the change 3? e can hardly have taken place much before 650. . Prof. Morsbach further argues that even if my interpretation of unneg was ' * correct it would prove nothing. perhaps fiod u(p}ahof. gasric. nehw\ . Morsbach rejects my explanation of these forms also and adopts that of Prof. as stated above. breaking. if not . 2 Prof. Lind. Morsbach rejects inscription. 264 f. 156. Giu^easu. That Ang. fairly we should never find forms with ae. with O. certain p. 253 ff. > z Apart from unneg there are three forms on the recently discovered right side of the casket which may show loss of -u. It is improbable that coins of type were minted after the sixth century. Goth.g. Morsbach comes to the conclusion that the only 1 example of a form in which -u is retained is the wor&flodu in the on the Franks casket As the whole theory largely depends on inscription the value attached to this form we must consider it carefully. one is due to the loss of some letters e. p.) these forms are scarcely h was already lost. which he < i perfectly well from *nah( w]u (earlier *nehwo}. The If the last of these still seems to me to present the best illustration of flodn. as Nom. Sax. But neither the -gar of the 70) nor the felt of the East Saxon charter can be ' ' (p. also has. I suggested that it same time pointed out that -u is lost Prof. Napier (An English Miscellany. confess that since the discovery of the new side I am less inclined to regard the form flodu as an archaism than as a mere blunder. nah. neh has lost an w-sound is. The only other instance of -u on which Prof. which as a matter of In particular fact are common in the earliest texts of all dialects.IV] THE DATING OF CERTAIN SOUND-CHANGES Now we may take the evidence for the proposed date of the loss of 69 -u.) a list of cases which have been suggested by various scholars Prof. sg. In my Studies. I contend. since -u was probably lost after a long nebentonig syllable earlier than after a long Bewcastle inscription (cf. su for su(maz] the same may : be the case with the other 4 At all events an inscription which presents so many difficulties cannot be regarded as a safe authority on which to base a scheme for the chronology of sound-changes. I should be regarded as an archaism and at the in another word (unneg) in the same this explanation of unneg. But this form can come if not from *ndh wa (cf. Morsbach intelligible unless 4 haupttonig syllable. But the interpretation of this part of the inscription is still uncertain in many details.). 375 f. connects. Biilbring. shown not only by the Gothic forms. 3 In spite of what is said by Prof. p. think now. fern. rightly. But the latter is untenable for if e (from a) had come into existence before the operation of nehwa.g. Reumwalus*. we may note that the three extant coins of the Mercian king Aethelred (675 704) all have -rxd.) is inclined to regard the forms sser and dan (?). neah. 1 The form scanomodu on this the solidus need not be taken into account. After enumerating (p. Prof.-Sax. E.

2 Prof. . Many scholars cite it as an example of -u without reserve. for the place mentioned is called Vuidmundes felt. 257). Most usually this combination has been reduced to e. it is the work of a foreign scribe and it is very carelessly copied. But we have no evidence that the influence of * sentence-accent made itself felt in this ' way. how anyone can uphold the evidence of the Erfurt glossary against the other But in this case it is used to prove the existence of an archaic form for which none of the glossaries elsewhere present a parallel. no letter or combination of letters has suffered more than ae. even a proper name. Morsbach's explanation is that felt here is a long nebentonig syllable. 264). 530 (B. in question 2 But we can get back further than this. we may remark that though it is frequently assumed that the word gar was an ^-stem (*gaizu-} no evidence worth consideration has ever been adduced to prove two. 81). Some considerable time must have elapsed after Prof. We the loss of -u before a noun. Lastly. B. hrad. . nacthegelae. it 1 On all grounds therefore we are brought to the conclusion that the evidence for the preservation of -u in aetgaru is not merely open to question but entirely worthless. ann. The entry in question (framea aetgaru} occurs in the Epinal and Corpus glossaries. but the loss of e is not infrequent. the form aetgaru in the Erfurt glossary. He speaks of it as 'nicht unwahrscheinlich (p. Now the Erfurt glossary is the latest of the three. which dates from 692 3.7O is THE DATING OF CERTAIN SOUND-CHANGES ' [CHAP. In view of these facts it is unintelligible to me smal. There can be no doubt that the relationship between the three glossaries is as follows : x (Arch. I) y (Arch. 1 its inflection The place-name Wihtgarabyrg in the Saxon Chronicle. Epinal exactly the extant texts and the original II) Erfurt Corpus though we do not know question at issue the original form is how many intermediate stages lie between It will be seen that the archetype. Now in order to form a just estimate necessary to take in the of the value of any form which occurs in the glossaries it is obviously it in connection with the forms which the other texts show same entry. though 'fraglich' (p. C).g. C) is more probably to be regarded as a corruption of Wiht-wara. though the two former have aetgaeru (aztgaeru] for aetgaru. . as well as in that of Erfurt. must now notice certain early documents in which -u is clearly lost. Moreover. whether the Erfurt glossary or the other two have kept archetype had contained both forms we may assume that some trace of the double entry would have been preserved (as in for if the other cases).through the influence of the personal name Wihtgar. 544 (A. e . Morsbach mentions the form felt in the earliest East Saxon charter Here then -u was lost before the date (Birch. could change and adopt the endings of ^-sterns.

g. has been rightly interpreted. documents which he used. Oswiu (Oswald) cf. by this time the forms used must have been -fordu or and it is most unlikely.g. quoted in iv 17. the same lost If -u had not been -fordus. tion that this it what was originally the Accus. 671685) Ecgfrid rex. Vynfrid. i. It is to be observed that Bede preserved seems to have scrupulously followed the orthographical peculiarities of the More important in Thus in Papal letters dating from the first half of the seventh century we find such forms as Adilbercto. The form -gar on the Bewcastle column can prove nothing. in view of Bede's practice have altered them. Aeduini. Audubaldi which are not used elsewhere in the work 2 Now in the record of the proceedings at the Council of Hertford in 673. it can hardly be doubted that the form Osuiu.).e. I have not taken account of could be proved the the possibility that -uiu originally contained an -h-.e. In the same inscription however we may find an example in Cyniburug for in view of hnutu etc. At the time when -u was lost here the change a > & was clearly still operaWill anyone suggest that this was the case after the middle of the seventh century ? Again. a printer's error in Victor's book). have become current Accus. Baduwini. antiquated in his time (e. it is probable . .. addressed to Osuiu (v.g. Vurligerno. sg. If that . represents the pronunciation 3 current in the time of that In Bede's History. which is quoted in iv 5. we have extracts from a Papal letter king. Vilfridu(s]. elsewhere. . assumed that 3 all these cases are derived from earlier documents. That this represents the contemporary orthography is shown by a coin of that king which bears the legend author almost always writes the (r.IV] THE DATING OF CERTAIN SOUND-CHANGES /I Next let us take the Northumbrian evidence. surely unnecessary to enter into further details. we find the forms . that he would name of the Northumbrian king Ecgfrith as Ecgfrid (in the Nom. if not also Osuald. sg. The form os. much used in Northumbria. We have seen that 685705 Morsbach would assign the monument to the time of Aldfrith. there is a whole series of names. Eadhaed). Aeodbaldo] and also foreign forms in the names of persons of Continental origin (e. in Osuio] regi Saxonum.can scarcely compounds before -u was lost in the Nom. Hrofaescaestir and in the similar record for the Council of Hatfield in 680. III 29. Herutford. But it may safely be Agilberctus). But further. 2 In his own narrative of course he often uses forms which must have been Prof. that consonantal stems used the Nom. which have as their second element -hae} from earlier -ha\u (e. form also for (as in Old Norse). present discussion would be practically superfluous. Baduuini. who reigned (not 725. etc. As a matter of fact the latter of these documents contains two forms Hymbronensium (or Humbr-) and Estranglorum which are not used elsewhere by Bede. I. Again. It is 1 1. we find the form Haethfelth. tive.. is the fact that no example of -u after a long syllable is Bede's Ecclesiastical History. I cannot see any probability in the suggesmonument may date from some considerable time after 670 J if . sg. Vilfrid.

1 Cf. B and C agree in f (for is very small. if not entirely. Any h (whether intervocalic or postconsonantal) must have which Prof. in charters and in early Northumbrian authorities of various kinds. We may probably assume that Period IV begins more or less about 700. 247. Velhisci and flodu. and I cannot conceive how the transition can have been accomplished anywhere in less than half a century. although the latter has already largely encroached on the former in the Moore MS. unknown to the archetype. It is clear from a comparison of the glossaries that this confusion was later than the loss of h and also that it was almost. whereas examples of its omission are numerous. while the other is of exceedingly doubtful value and on the other hand that this chronology has opposed to it a large number of forms . my Studies. and necessarily so. admitted. attempt to fix an absolute chronology is of course rendered difficult by the absence of very early texts. The Kentish charter of 679 falls in Period III. I conclude therefore that the dates which I gave in my Studies were approximately If there was an error it was in putting some of the changes slightly correct. Now when -u was been a spirant a fact century. It is quite incredible that only a few years should elapse between that stage and the total loss of intervocalic h seen in the charter. But before the date of the earliest extant glossary (Epinal) a further change or changes had taken place which brought about the confusion of original # and f. 1 We may therefore constitute two subdivisions of earliest charters. that the loss of -u took place before the For the sake of convenience we may apply the terms Period I ' ' to times anterior to the loss of -u and Period ' ' II to the interval between the two changes. It is loss of h. were composed at a later time ('Period III') when // was no longer pronounced. in the glossaries. are to reckon the inscription on the Franks casket to Period I. unless we neither of these periods have we any texts surviving. practically the proposed chronology consists of two forms. though doubtless often written. From and apparently also the lost archetype of the glossaries. of -u took place not later than the second or third decade of the seventh lost. In Bede's History we have no instance of h preserved in an English word. for it shows confusion of It belongs in wylif according to Prof. I therefore not to Period but to Period IV. .72 THE DATING OF CERTAIN SOUND-CHANGES whole evidence for the [CHAP. Morsbach also in sefu. ) and f. Now IV we can # and / see clearly where to date the Franks casket. I have little hesitation now in expressing my opinion that the loss too late. Now let us consider the various sound-changes in relation to one another. Our the period subsequent to the loss of ^. one of which is incapable of proving what it is meant to prove. On the other hand it is clear that Bede usually retained the distinction between b (i. It will ) be seen that the number of cases in which M. The corresponding period in Germany lasted centuries. So also in Northumbrian. namely 'Period III' prior to the confusion of t andyj and 'Period subsequent to this confusion. p.e. Morsbach seems to have entirely ignored.

the argument applies only to the tenth century. is manifest. but only from street-minstrels whom he looked upon with disgust. Ker's second statement that they were intended as books to read. am not aware that any serious argument has been brought forward to show its that Beowulf was a production. "Beowulf and Walderc* he says. so far as the earlier part of this passage goes. and they were intended^ no doubt. scholars. in a sense. like the Elder ^^/g^a_collecjiQii. " are the work of educated men. But have . as we shall see in the next Note. to use the is composition frequently due to less there is undoubtedly a widespread reluctance but this word write with reference to mere carelessness. unlearned in their present form." Here we have three distinct statements. The most definite pronouncement on this subject known to me is contained in Prof. But this statement surely requires some evidence. . one places it read. . classical. as books to read. even that the poems were committed to writing much before the end of the eighth century. Theyltre not. Yet Bede and Alcuin can hardly have been ignorant of any important literary activity during their times. The Dark Aes. p. LITERARY INFLUENCE literary IN BEOWULF. Whether they are traditional oral poems at all is a different question.IV] LITERARY INFLUENCE IN BEOWULF 73 NOTE I III. the answer to which depends in the first place on our attitude to Prof. Ker's book. and the naturally in the library of a great house or a monastic school contents of it have the same sort of association they do not belong to the . and is got up with some care. It ' is customary indeed. we any right to assume that scholars of the seventh or eighth centuries viewed these poems or their subjects in a similar light ? If so how are we to account for the total' absence of references to such subjects in the works of Bede? And what about Alcuin? Quid Hinieldus cum Christo? Is it likely that Alcuin would have regarded these pagani et perditi reges as suitable subjects for the attention of scholars? The natural presumption from his language is that he knew of them not from literary works. ' especially among English . The only argument is intended as a book to be brought forward is that "the Beowulf MS From the look of it. only with the second. 250." But. of traditional oral po"erns. Here we need concern ourselves partly on account of its of rather an advanced order. No one will deny that the earlier Anglo-Saxon poems were studied at that time indeed they had probably come to be regarded as. and it would be unfair to regard them merely as religious In view of their silence it seems to me a precarious hypothesis bigots. That Beowulf and Waldriere are not a collection of poems. Nevertheto admit that the poem came into existence without the use of writing length and partly because its technique is The first of these difficulties has now been definitely settled by the Servian poems. like the Edda.

was due to a wide- spread inability to write. Again (p. The more learned clergy clearly preferred to use Latin for the less learned Bede states (Ep. But this is not what I'rof. 99) Wihtred. but at all events it . to truTauthors studieoTby Aldhelm' If so'V is it not remarkable that no obvious trace of such and^JBede. although their knowledge of this subject seems to have been of In Widsith we actually have at least one a most elementary description." influence can be pointed out? It must not be assym^ responsible for the composition or preservation of Beowulf would have. instead of signing. This document exists only in a late copy . history^o^poetry in various parts of the world 2 than I caujnake any claimlVpossess. orthograprjTcal characteristics of eighth century documents point to the same conclusion. (Birch. ad Ecgb. is made to say: signum sanctae crucis pro ignorantia litterarum expressi. by the latter part of the second of the quotations given above. cap. I confess that I am strongly inclined to suspect that anyone imbued with Latin learning would havelackeoTnot 'GnTTTtrg-iircHualiuii ImtTdso the ability^c^compose This hnwevpr^J^flTi_jTipininn whjch could only he snBT such"~a~ poem as Beowulf. Where was a reading public to be looked such a period 1 ? But we have yet to discuss the statement that " Beowulf and aldere W what is meant by the N Nowadays the expression 'educated Chinese's used in more than one sense. Laws were written in English from the beginning but we-may . Ker means. in all probability ecclesiastics. except of course in glosses. safely assume that this was done by professional scribes. 5) that he had himself had to make translations even of the Creed and the Lord's . especially in newspaper language.any The use which N. Otherwise there is little definite evidence for the writing of the vernacular. 1 The unknown case of it King Aldfrith shows is that educated laymen were not entirely but suggests that the practice of making the cross.. 252) he says " The English epic is possibly due to Virgil and Statius possibly to Ju^encus^and other Christian poets. stantiated by a wider knowledge of the. for for in them to learn by heart. inclination to disguise their knowledge of foreign poetry. king of Kent. as may"be seen . .74 LITERARY INFLUENCE IN BEOWULF [CHAP. But the paucity of earlier evidence renders it probable that this was a recent innovation and the .. it is used only of those T Chinese who have received a Western education. Xthey have made of incidents derTvecIlrom the Bible is decisive evidence to the contrary. : In one charter extremely unlikely that they were common. . There is no doubt of course that the writing of English _was_in_QBimfln use during the early part of the ninth century." The question here is W education whichhehas in view is ot foreign (Roman. Sometimes it is applied to those who have received a good education according to the traditional standard of that nation. e need not doubt that the poets of Beowulf and Waldhere were among the*rj>est educated men__pf If they were court their day according to the traditional native~standard. minstrels a question we ^liall have tu discuss in llig~next~"ch apter they could hardly be otherwise. The are the work of educated men. Sometimes however. type. Prayer.

the other is the commander of a fleet. 343). Brandl 1 has likewise been attracted by the idea that the growth of ** * . in Old Norse literature. i . The arrival of the wanderer (Scyld. which no attentive student of Beowulf can fail to appreciate. II 1008... Brandl speaks of Aeneas' " Verhandlung mit Dido zuerst durch eine etikettegemasse Mittelsperson. Anglo-Saxon epic poetry may have been due to Latin models. the comparisons suggested by Prof. . 90 ff. easily enough. Is there any reason Wealhtheow was not in for full supposing that the act of courtesy ascribed to accordance with early Teutonic custom? Parallels may be found. I 418) with stig wisode gumum aetgaedere (Beow. Brandl strike me as surprising beyond measure..... are due to practices which are worldto the feast with remarks that at the feast wide. Lastly. I 595 f. . The one is a baby and probably alone . I5ff...IV] LITERARY INFLUENCE IN BEOWULF 75 But Beowulf is entirely free reference to a classical character (v. In the midst of the scene the cloud is suddenly parted and Aeneas disclosed to Dido's eyes. But Aeneas is Certainly this description applies to the entry of Beowulf. coming as they do towards the close of an admirable discussion of the subject. not Beowulf) has nothing in common with that of Aeneas. as to the resemblance between Beowulf's visit to Hrothgar and Aeneas' visit to Dido. of passages in this and incidents in Beowulf.. he compares the racing after Grendel's overthrow (Beow. germ.--.ejie_Jie Jiasjixed upon the Aeneid and even indicated a .) with Beowulf is min narna (Beow. noting the various stages in the arrival of the two heroes from their disembarkation logical subjects. Aeneas) who came over the sea (feasceaft. . 864 ff. primus et profugus) and founded a great dynasty or Then he suggests empire. he compares the whole of the scene which contains the latter passage with the account of Beowulf's reception at Heorot.). mi .). Prof.) with the' rowing contest in memory of Anchises (Aen.. I 738). I confess that. Prof.. As a probable sourfMr-sf iuclv4nflu. such as one could find between almost any two narrative poems? When Prof. he Wealhtheow hands the cup to Hrothgar and then to the visitors (Beow. shrouded in a cloud with which' Venus has covered him. poem which may have suggested certain scenes Thus he notes that both poems begin with the story of a wanderer (Scyld.. present beforehand. and coram quern quaeritis adsum Troius Aeneas (Aen.. The resemblances between the athletic contests. : 1 Grundriss d. Then. v 104 ff). number a connection between the song of Hrothgar's minstrel on the Creation (Beow. while Dido pays the same honour to Bitias (Aen.) which describes how Dido's minstrel lopas sang of the origin of men and beasts._. Brandl seems to lay most stress on this incident and points out certain parallelisms in the language corripuere uiam qua semita monstrat (Aen. I can only say that I fail to detect its existence. which they are welcomed in the palaces. . 615 ff.. Philol.." I do not understand what is meant. so far as they have any existence at all.). I 742 ff. from anything of the kind. But are these not purely accidental coincidences. Incidentally. i .) and a passage (Aen... It seems to me that no meeting could well be more different.. 320 f. - _- . among other cosmoFurther.

when the study ol Teutonic antiquity was still young. It is this intellectual atmosphere which. But in Beowulf and the Homeric poems. has given birth to the chimaera of a literary Beowulf a creature which.how much more plausibje^a cannot^quit this subject couldbe made out for deriving Beowulf from the Hom^ic^jDp^nas^-Here there are Striking parallels both in diction especially the Odyssey. If we wish to find a real parallel to the reception of Beowulf by We Hrothgar. coupled with a readiness to accept theories of biblical or classical influence on the slightest possible evidence. in spite of Grendel. It is no doubt a curious coincidence but the introduction of such a subject in Beowulf may be accounted for quite satisfactorily without . . may note especially the epithets applied to princes and the formulae with which speeches are introduced. For part I prefer the explanation that jsimilar poetry is the outcome i_Qr^ rather the expression. it is provided by the account of Telemachos' visit to Menelaos. common features seems to me to indicate that both the Greek and English poets were depicting types of life with whichTthey were themselves familiar. there was a general eagerness to refer every institution and belief to a native origin. I and terminology. naturally enough. if I am not mistaken. of similar social conditions. as against the Aeneid. the hypothesis of any acquaintance with Virgil. we have additional common elements is in the fact that the interest is centred in the actual characters not in the destiny of their descendants and in the vividness and reality of the The latter of these two narratives. IV There remains then only the fact that the two minstrels treat a somewhat similar theme (though in Beowulf this does not take place on the occasion of the hero's arrival). Scylla and the rest.76 LITERARY INFLUENCE IN BEOWULF [CHAP. as we shall see in a later chapter. To-day we see the inevitable reaction a hypercritical attitude towards every explanation of this character. case without remarking. whereas no one will dispute that the Aeneid is a product of the library Half a century ago. Are we then to suppose that Beowulf is based upon the Odyssey ? That my own a hypothesis which I will gladly leave for others to work out. Similar parallels are to be obtained for the minstrel's lays and many other incidents. belongs to the same genus as certain well-known theories in N drthern mythology.

such as we find later in the sagas of Iceland and Ireland. But in point of fact we have no evidence whatever for the cultivation of such traditional prose narratives among any peoples. But the materials from which our poems are formed must largely be referred to the sixth century. resemblances in age is probably to be attributed to language. THE POETRY AND MINSTRELSY OF EARLY TIMES. Waldhere and Svanhildr.CHAPTER V. The fact that these resemblances sometimes occur in stories relating to entirely different characters need not prevent us from believing that they spring ultimately from a common It origin.). that they were transmitted from one generation to another in a more or less stereotyped form of prose narrative. as of the early Teutonic we shall see shortly. whereas there is good reason. such as those shown by the hortatory like A addresses and the accounts of dragon-fights cited in the last chapter (p. fifth or sixth centuries. For the existence of English. cannot of course be proved that the materials from which the heroic poems are derived were themselves always in poetic In principle we must admit the possibility (metrical) form. . IN the preceding chapters we have seen that the persons and events celebrated in the heroic poems apparently all belonged to the fourth. 60 f. and further that heroic poetry was flourishing among the Goths during the same period. Scandinavian or German heroic we have no absolutely conclusive evidence. This may be seen most clearly in cases where the poems of two or more nations not merely treat an identical theme but also agree in the motif or in poetry at this time comparatively small details. as in the stories of Ingeld.

43) man wic furnam ('war carried him off'). 55) ibu dir din ellen taoc ('if thy prowess is told me by mariners '). 42) t sunu which is c : may compare Beow. especially the Old Saxon Heliand. for English and German poems frequently exhibit verses and half-verses of very similar con- Thus in the Hildebrandslied speeches are generally introduced with the formula: Hadubrant gimahalta. who says {Germ. 572 ^onne his ellen deah and 1080 wig ealle fornam Finnes \egnas. we find the verse dat sagetun mi seolidante ( it has been (v. differed but little from this type. . II 88). On 1 the whole then we need not doubt quod unum apud illos that memoriae the heroic et celebrant carrninibus antiquis. Hiltibrantes struction. est. Note should also be taken of such phrases as (v. except of course The application of that it was always arranged in strophes. In the first poetry down place we may note that English and German to the ninth century shared a common system of metre and that the FornyrSislag. . to the peoples of western Germany rather than to probability the Goths.78 EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. The number of such parallels might be greatly increased if we were to take into account passages from religious poems. 2) that the Germani possessed ancient poems or songs (carmind) even in his time and adds expressly that they had no other means of That these poems were partly preserving a historical record be called a 'heroic' character is clear from another of what may passage {Ann. as compared with Beow.adhuc . For a very much earlier period direct evidence is furnished by the Roman historian Tacitus. like (v. where it is stated that Arminius was still 1 . a subject of poetry among barbarian nations (canitur . almost identical with a formula used in Beowulf: In the same German poem VViglaf ma&elode^ Weohstanes sunn. In both cases the reference is in all barbaras apnd gentes). which is used in most of the Edda poems. annalium genus etc. 377 \onne saegdon \aet saelfoende. for believing that narrative poetry was both ancient and widely cultivated. with which we : sufficient') and definitely poetical expressions. this common metre to narrative purposes can scarcely be regarded as a recent innovation.

may of course have been known. who had never been able to learn a song. Epist. in England occurs in Bede's account of the poet story Caedmon it (Hist. rather perhaps minstrelsy. used to leave the festivities and make his way home as soon as he saw the harp coming in his are told that direction 1 . 41 f. ranging in date probably from the tenth century to the seventeenth or later. Another of his letters 2 speaks carminum aliquando didicerat. Aeui. hold that it was exclusively choric.V] EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 79 poetry which we find in England and Germany during the seventh and eighth centuries had a long history behind it. unde nonnunquam in conuiuio cum esset causa decretum ut omnes per ordinem cantare deberent. not Probably they would perhaps longer than the hymn learned by Caedmon from the It is not unlikely that angel. . 1 nil laetitiae 2 Mon. resembled some of the metrical riddles more than any other they form of Anglo-Saxon poetry which has come down to us. which is preserved in a number of different versions. shall have to bear in mind in The or earliest historical reference to the cultivation of poetry. non ludentes in : platea. Germ. which contains only nine verses. Lindisfarnensem) audiantur in domibus uestris legentes. we No information is given as to the character of these as a rule be quite short songs. Scandinavian story of Svipdagr and MengloS. of a narrative type.) that in the eighth century at least the recitation of heroic poetry was by no means un- known. ille ubi adpropinquare sibi citharam cernebat surgebat a media caena et egressus ad suam domum repedebat. much Longer songs. Indeed we may infer from the language used by Alcuin (ridentium turtiam in plateis) that it enjoyed a good deal of favour with the general public. studium lectionis exercete. Of course as to the form of the poetry current in the first Many scholars century we are entirely without information. In this was the custom that. when the villagers met together to drink and amuse themselves. not only in Tacitus' time but for four or five centuries later. But it is a question whether such songs would deal We may think of the with heroic themes or with folk-tales.. everyone should take his turn in singing to the harp. This is one of the questions the course of our which we discussion. EccL IV 24). Carol. II 21 (ad Hygbaldum episc. But we have already seen (p. Caedmon.

etc.. like a professional minstrel (quasi artem cantitandi profession). n i (Mon. Leg. Vita S. But the language of the letters seems rather to suggest that the performers in such cases were persons who citharista that word these recitations made minstrelsy more or less of a profession. Liudgeri. Qui harpatorem qui cum circulo illud quarta parte maiore compositione (Mon. fuit Thideric de Berne de quo cantabant rustici olim 3 (Mon.80 to EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. was brought to the missionary. much the same effect. From a much earlier period reference to a Frisian minstrel disciple of named we have an interesting Bernlef. but " he was greatly when he loved by his neighbours because of his geniality and his skill in reciting to the accompaniment of the harp stories of the deeds of the ancients and the wars of kings 3 . 4 II discumbente cum discipulis suis oblatus est cecus uocabulo p. v 2 Amulung Et ecce illo Theoderic dicitur. etc. 190 (from King Alfred's Handboc}. who became a He had been blind for three years.. states that the country people used to sing of Dietrich von Bern 2 . 31). . A We of the poems he recited. which fixes a 4 special compensation for injury to the hand of a harpist From all this we gather that in the eighth century there definitely shown by the . On the Continent we find very similar evidence. Bernlef qui a uicinis suis ualde diligebatur eo quod esset affabilis et antiquorum actus regumque certamina bene noiierat psallendo promere. A passage in the Annals of Quedlinburg. century earlier the existence of professional minstrels may be inferred from the well-known story of Aldhelm 1 that he used to take up his position on a bridge. m harpare potest in manum percusserit componat quam alteri eiusdem conditionis komini. Germ. to which we have already alluded and which dates perhaps ultimately from the tenth century..et Scr.. 412). and sing to the people in order to call are not informed as to the character them back to church." This incident appears to have taken place before 785. Scr. existed both in whose practice 1 it England and Germany a class of minstrels was to play the harp and recite heroic poetry iste William of Malmesbury. 699 f.). That minstrelsy was recognised as a profession among the Frisians is last clause in the Lex Frisonum. in p.. Gesta Pontif. We may gather from the use of the also were accompanied by the harp. Germ.. St Liudger. but clearly they were of a type calculated to attract the country people. Germ.

369. my Studies on Anglo-Saxon Institutions." There may be some difference of opinion as to the precise meaning of the word londrykt but it is clear enough that the poet had been a court-minstrel and that he had been supplanted in the king's favour by a rival. My name is Deor. the Myrgingas. man of good position. he is called Hroftgares scop. like the introduction. On the last occasion.) Deor gives the account of himself: "With regard to myself I will following say that formerly I was the bard (scop) of the Heodeningas At the and dear to my lord. a valuable ring which had been given him ' ' This present was a reward to Eadgils for his kindness in granting the poet the land formerly held by his father. and twice mention is made of the harp. Eadgils prince home. He states also that he served under various princes who by . return of At all events in v. p. 94 the poet speaks of his when he presented to his lord. In find mention of a person who seems to hold Beowulf also we a similar position. 496. But now Heorrenda. 2). 90. . poem (vv. when he recites the story of Finn and Hnaef at the banquet (cf. In each case he is represented as singing or reciting. we find that they but these appear to have been quite a different class of persons from those with whom we have been dealing. a skilful poet. The traveller case of Widsith is somewhat different. has received the domain which the king had before given to me. p. For many years I have had a good office and a gracious master. whom he had been handsomely rewarded. The poet is a prides himself on the large number of nations he has visited. close of his elegy (v. The poem ends with some reflections on the life of wandering minstrels but these verses may be a later addition. the village-streets or on bridges or wherever they could Now if we turn to the poems themselves also contain references to professional minstrels . It would seem then that the poet is represented as a by Eormenric.V] in EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 81 gather an audience. 35 ff. The word scop occurs three times in this 1 . 1066) always perhaps with reference to the same man. which seems to imply a sort of official position. 1 Whether we describe him as a wandering Cf.

apparently of noble or knightly rank. poems be appreciated the Anglo-Saxon are either princes or may in humbler rank are referred to. 1794 ff. should be observed that persons of royal rank are very seldom spoken of with disrespect. We may note especially the long and detailed account of Beowulf's arrival at the Danish king's hall and the conversation which the chamberlain holds with the king on the one hand and the The visitor on the other. and in the last two cases Moreover the reprobation is qualified in a very marked way. attached to the On the rare occasions when persons of retinues of princes.. In the later German poems this feature must of course be attributed to the conditions of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.. when he approaches chamberlain's u he knew the custom of knightthe king and it is added that 1 hood . 500 f.) . but most of all the poet loves to picture the movements of the king and queen (vv. which stands by itself \eaw (v. 612 fT. This fact that all the women mentioned are of royal birth. The rare exceptions to this rule probably all refer to persons of a remote past. cruelty or treachery.. from the note their strongly aristocratic tone. Apart from these personal notices there can be little doubt that the heroic poems which have come down to us were of In the first place we may courtly and not of popular origin. But it is quite as marked even in Beowulf. Again the poems frequently refer to details of court etiquette. 920 ff. Indeed. 1 162 f. occupation is clearly to be regarded as court-minstrelsy and different therefore from that of Bernlef and the harpists mentioned by Alcuin. Of immoral except or unseemly conduct in the story of 1 Weland we have no mention. with which they seem to be well acquainted. In Beowulf no name is given even to the court-minstrel.). the ground of censure is invariably violence.. in many Ctf$e he dugufte ." Other members of the court also have their position or duties described (vv. 359). before the latter is invited to enter.. Thrytho and Heremod. their names are not mentioned. it Then again Eormenric. while the men persons. n6if. his [CHAP. exact position is remarked.82 minstrel EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY or not. when the poems were composed. n65f.

867 ff we find a king's thegn coman account of the hero's adventure immediately after posing * ' its occurrence. though not in the same degree. In Beow. At the time when leisure necessary for On the other hand we have seen that minstrelsy of some kind was cultivated even by peasants in Caedmon's time. such as we frequently entirely avoided. and indeed from references of any kind which could offend even the most fastidious taste. p. find in Saxo's history. 981 f. But the gnomic and theological poems of the Edda show a wholly different tone. the instrument that makes good cheer 1 . op. lore 1 .. while the allusions with which it abounds point to the possession of much historical or traditional of it was produced the knowledge and such composition is scarcely likely to have been found outside the entourages of kings. Now the martial 2 hero would lay his hands harp : " on the joyous harp. It is generally 2 /. It has been remarked that the composition of epic poetry requires a more or less professional training. Cf. and utilising apparently by way of illustration the story of Sigemund. thought that all these sentences refer to the king. not only on account of is its length but also because a very large vocabulary needed its for the constant interchange of epithets which is one chief characteristics.g. and in the case of such poems as Beowulf this is doubtless true.V] EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 83 ways. as we shall see later such subjects seem to be studiously More than this the Anglo-Saxon heroic poems are free from coarseness of language. In general the same remarks are true also of the German and Scandinavian heroic poems. in Lokasenna) verges on bestiality. The old Scylding (Hrothgar) related stories of old time out of his great store of information. which at its worst (e. This person may be the court minstrel. In a later passage 2105 fc)> referring to the banquet after the fight with Grendel. but the identity of the two is scarcely certain. Brandl. There we had poetry and music. 62 . We can hardly doubt that such was the case to a higher degree in court circles. we hear of the king himself taking his turn with the (v. polish of style the heroic we must not overlook poems the fact that in dignity and far surpass any narrative works which the English language has to offer for many centuries later. Lastly.

/cat oi jj. now he would recite a poem. would begin to lament that he had lost the martial vigour of youth. SirjyelpovTO rotj TjdovTO rots iroir]fj. recounting war. 2 K. Fragmenta Historicorum Graecorum. was a general accomplishment in we royal households. ol 5t TWJ/ TroX^/xwv di>a/JU/j. Perhaps the most important reference is a passage in Priscus' account of his visit After describing the banquet given to Attila in the year 448.affu>. the old warrior king. of the court who had attained the greatest proficiency in his The statements of the poems as to the prevalence of courtminstrelsy during the Heroic Age are fully confirmed by the testimony of contemporary Roman writers. Nothing is said as to the language in which the poems were 1 Cf. eiri-yevofj. Others again burst into feebled to them. while others were roused spirit.ov p.^* 5 ecirtpas Treiroirjfj. 'ArnjXa irapeXdovres pdpftapoi pdovres dperdsrov pcr/tara TTJJ t\eyov. " 2 When by the king to his guests he proceeds as follows evening came on torches were lighted and two barbarians stepped : forth in front of Attila and his recited composed. Miiller." reference here is to lyrical effusions rather than to anything 1 but I am inclined to doubt in the nature of epic narrative .fr a 5es avritftd-rjaav. cit. j/kas aurou *ai ras Kara. [CHAP. including narrative as well as lyric poetry. some in being charmed with the poems. uv . 92.Vot itirb <ppovififji. if are justified in totally excluding the latter. His heart surged within him as he called to mind the It is held that the manifold experiences of a long life. Brandl. because their bodies were en- came back by age and their martial ardour had perforce to remain unsatisfied. victories The banqueters fixed poems which they had and his valiant deeds in their eyes upon them. I would rather favour the view that the cultivation of minstrelsy.v.acri.ei> ts oDs oi euwx^cts dirtp\eirov." It will be noticed that this account bears a curious resem- blance to the passage from Beowulf which we have just quoted. as the recollection of their wars tears. loc.84 EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY . bowed with age as he was. dXXoi 5e i^^povv s ddKpva. true but sad now a story of marvel would be related in due course by the magnanimous Now again. IV d6o d dvTLKpti roD 7r6\efj.vr]0-K6fj. and that the office of court-minstrel was an honour given to that member art.

The former document is an answer from the Ostrogothic king Theodric to a request from Clovis. I. not possible that here it is an error for leudes (N.) and Sidonius Apollinaris (Ep." the harp. 3 4 Hunnish and Latin. Italy the songs were in (v. Venantius Fortunatus (Carm. The word but is it generally interpreted as in the next passage (Ang. Thalia (v.) ? leudos is . More than a century later period. 363. A clearer case of Teutonic minstrelsy. king of the Franks (d. in spite of his disgust. Sidonius' letter is a very full of Theodric II.). who reigned account from 453 to 466. 85 composed the duet (v. dating from the same in one of Sidonius' poems (Carm. p. lyra plaudal tibi barbarus harpa. Then it and I to sing with clear voices we played was openly confessed by many brave-hearted and experienced men that they had never heard a better song.V] EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 1 . nos tibi uersiculos.. For in we : an interesting parallel a passage of Widsith Scilling 103 ff. n. 1 The performers who followed 2 Freely translated by Hodgkin. That the national language appears from the phrases Germanica uerba are said to have used Gothic. Then Evidence for the cultivation of minstrelsy at Teutonic courts Gaul is furnished by letters of Cassiodorus ( Variarum II. He states that the king seldom admitted jesters when he was dining.-Sax. though in diverse strains 4 . 61) says: "Let the Roman sound your praise with his lyre and the barbarian with his harp 3 ". and again " Let us frame verses for you. I2 2 ). lecfo) . 511). 40 f. dent barbara carmina kudos: sic uariante tropo laus sonet una uiro. duke of Aquitaine. while barbarian poets compose their lays thus the hero will be greeted with like honour. in which the author complains that he has to live among troops of longhaired and greedy Burgundians. 67 f. Invaders'*. pi.) began before our victorious lord loudly rang out our music as . but at find " all events as in other respects Attila we need hardly doubt that in this was following Gothic custom. VII 8. king of the Visigoths.. listening with polite attention.. Vol. 4)." In the introduction : . poem addressed to Lupus. that the performers were Goths. barbaricis abacta plectris. 2). about the year 580. who had asked him to send him a skilled minstrel. occurs in we hear In a of Frankish court-minstrelsy in a neighbouring district. to their songs. 9 Romanusque v. and her f. and that he took no pleasure in music except when it encouraged manliness of spirit as well as In neither of these cases however is it certain pleased the ear.

Ktdaptffrrj Se dya0(j) ovn ySi. 2). On the whole the impression which we gain from our authorities is that the cultivation of the art was more or less general as in evidence is Roman not so clear. Taken together with the references in Anglo-Saxon poetry. Antiquiss. explanation given by the messenger was that the king had composed a song upon his misfortunes and as he was a good minstrel he was anxious to accompany it with a mournful tune on the harp as he bewailed of Hrothgar. Tom. period in a passage to which we have already referred. of the harp." Again. which deals of course with the more northern peoples. Fridigernus. Germ. Hanalae^ Fridigerni. a loaf and a sponge.D. Vidigoia and others who are very famous in this 3 nation .1 eireLyerai. antique etiam cantu maiorum facta modulationibus cilharisque canebant. says that the Goths " used to sing to the strains of the harp ancient poetry dealing with the deeds of their ancestors. they leave no doubt that the prevalence of court-minstrelsy was one of the characteristics of the Heroic Age. but perhaps his son his fate 2 still . Gelimer. as it resounds to the barbarian lays 1 curious case of royal minstrelsy is recorded by Procopius account of the siege of Mount Pappua ( Vand.(popa. it must certainly not be assumed that the poems of the were always of an ephemeral character.V 00. Hanala. quales uix heroas fuisse miranda iactat antiquitas. We are again reminded more of Hrethel's dirge over show that minstrelsy was (Beow. Jordanes (cap. Eterparmara.86 to his EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. king of the Vandals. wrote a letter to the Herulian chief who commanded the besieging army. the north.v rr]v Trapov<rav TreTro^rat. Vidigoiae et aliorum quorum in hac gente magna opinio est. begging him to send him a harp. 84). II 6) in his A (A. when he mentions the migration of the Goths But 1 sola saepe bombicans barbaros leudos arpa relidens (Mon. The 534). 2 iv i p. poems the same author complains of the constant buzzing . T)V di) TTOOS 3 Kidapav Bp-rjvTjffaL re /ecu air OK\O. . 2460 f. Faras. Respamarae. TIS ? aury es %vfj. These examples are sufficient to widely cultivated in the courts of the Teutonic princes who had established themselves in Roman territory.). Auct. 5). For the existence of professional minstrels the though we may regard in this light the two 'barbarians' mentioned by Priscus (p..

" The meaning of the first expression " I have been in explained by another passage (v. as far as my knowledge Italy with Alboin. where commonly related in almost historical style From such expressions we must conclude that Jordanes knew. 87 he refers to "their ancient poems.' as in the story of Bernlef. In the latter period we hear only of very ancient poems or of poems dealing with The the deeds of the ancients. we have no evidence which can be called satisfactory 2 In the Heroic Age on the other hand we have references . et in priscis eorum carminibus pene historico ritu in commune recolitur. of Gothic poems which he believed to this event is have been in existence for a considerable time. At the end of the poem we are told that he who wins praise (lof) shall have his glory (dom) established on high beneath the sky. We scarcely doubt therefore that Beowulf truly reflects the spirit of the times when it makes one of the Danish king's thegns compose a poem on the event. . for there original composer. not only to 'ancient poems' but also to original compositions. The beginning of the process may be seen from a few It is to " passages in Widsith. had a readier hand than had Audoin's son for the winning is : 1 quemadmodum For a passage note. ' ' ' is two expressions may really be more or nothing to show that Bernlef was an less equivalent. 70 ff. as we know from an eye-witness. For the existence in his time of court-minstrelsy. 62). The exploits dealing with the praise or fortunes of living men. p. 4). p. goes. an essential difference between the minstrelsy of the Heroic Age and that of Charlemagne's time. directly or indirectly. one of the leading figures of that age. 2 in Saxo Poeta which seems to indicate the existence of such poems cf.V] to the Black EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY Sea (cap. or indeed of any poetry dealing with contemporary persons and events. 6. his of Attila. ' Jordanes' language may be compared with Einhard's reference to the barbarous and very ancient poems collected by ' But in reality there appears to be Charlemagne (cf." 1 . were sung in need own presence. in hero's exploit immediately after the such compositions that heroic poetry indeed a sense we may say the Heroic Age itself owes its origin.) No human being.

as well as in England. 1490 f.): "Thou hast brought it about that men shall esteem thee far and near and for all eternity. 99 ff. nor a heart rings and shining bracelets. for though his praises were sung among the Saxons and Bavarians. 13876. 1221 ff. when he is no more. the Heroic perhaps we are in a better position to understand why Age ends when it does. Is it possible that in Alboin's time the conditions favourable that courtto such elaboration were no longer in existence was dying out or had lost its creative power ? minstrelsy It will perhaps be urged that the absence of reference to court-minstrelsy after Venantius' time may be due to mere accident." Such glory may be won by brave deeds.88 EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. who wrote apparently about ten years connection between these two facts ? It should be remembered that we have felt some hesitation in including Alboin among the characters of the Heroic Age. Roman author who mentions Teutonic court-minstrelsy is Is there a Now Venantius Fortunatus. who time." or again when the queen says to Beowulf (ib. the hero says: "Let him. We may reasonably expect that such stories would as a rulenot necessarily require a certain time in which to be elaborated. when I set myself to declare in song where under heaven it was that I knew of a gold-adorned of praise. : court to court. more ungrudging in the distribution of We may compare also what the of his patroness." The chief object which the characters of the Heroic Age set before themto have their fame celebrated for all selves is to win glory Thus in Beow. But a short consideration of the political position ." queen who lavished presents in the noblest fashion. later. he does not figure in any widely known story. wheresoever the sea encircleth its wind-swept barriers.): "Her poet says praise spread through many lands. or death shall take me. the princess Ealhhild (v." But the same object can be attained by generosity. as when Beowulf says to Hrothgar before his second adventure (ib. that is the best thing can. The latest person mentioned The last in the heroic poems is Alboin who died about 572. which will ensure one's praise being sounded from ' ' . win for himself glory before he dies which can come to a knight in after times.) "I will win for myself glory with Hrunting (a sword).

34) and probably also the Norse version of story of SigurSr (cf. . p. and to a large extent the Franks also. Alamanni. were settled among alien peoples and thus exposed to denationalising influences. for there is no evidence that the Old MoreSaxons were under kingly government at this time 1 . Hence we may conclude that even court-minstrelsy survived in a few places the poems had now no longer any chance of obtaining a wide international circulation. such as ^udrun (cf.V] will . Thuringians. over the Danes were almost cut off from the western peoples by the irruption of the Slavs who now occupied the greater part of ancient if Germany. The change of faith is of course another consideration which must be taken into account. Of the purely Teutonic kingdoms. Langobardi. undergone great changes. One of its effects was to cut off the Christian kingdoms from those of the Frisians and Danes. Many kingdoms had among them those of the Huns. 59). and they moreover had become subject to the Franks before the middle of the sixth century. >me of the most important of the heroic poems. excluding Denmark. This is partly true also of the Bavarians. p. Rugii. Probably the only other Teutonic kingdoms which remained on the Continent were those of the Frisians and the Danes. appear to be derived from 1 At . Visigoths and Langobardi. EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY is 89 show that there good reason for thinking otherwise. Burgundians. that )f the Frisians was the last to retain both its independence and later times It can hardly be due to accident therefore that religion. for there can be little doubt that this was >riginally permeated by heathen ideas. Heruli. At all events we find surprisingly few traces of heroic poetry in the jrritories of the Franks. Vandals and Ostrogoths. and probably also the Warni and Of the nations which survived the Visigoths and Gepidae. Probably also it had an adverse influence on the cultivation of court-minstrelsy. all events they had no kings when we first obtain definite information about towards the close of the following century. During the period which had elapsed since the time of Priscus and Sidonius we may say roughly about a century and a quarter the Teutonic world had disappeared.

for at the end of the sixth century this country probably contained more Teutonic kingdoms than did the whole of western and central Europe. It would seem then that minstrelsy of its this type was regarded as a distinctive characteristic of the Frisians poetry retained hold upon them at a time when and that heroic it was little known In elsewhere. It is true that there is no external evidence for such minstrelsy but that is fully explained by the fact that we have practically no literature of any kind before the last . significant is the fact that in the passage quoted was fixed Still above 80) from the Vita Liudgeri. The consider briefly the courthistory of heroic poetry in We the all poems which have of Norse come down to us are probably social (Norwegian-Icelandic) origin.9O EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. England the conditions appear to have been quite different from those with which we have been dealing. Most probably its extinction religious fervour which was started by the Kentish king Erconberht and which in the course of the following half century seems to have succeeded in enforcing was due to that wave of conformity to the new faith throughout the whole country. although it dealt entirely with stories derived from abroad. extending over some two centuries and a half. We have seen reason for believing that Beowulf was composed within about half a century of Venantius' time and that the other heroic poems may date from the same period. It will be convenient poetry of the the North unfortunately cannot be traced in its entire course. though this region was not their original home. describing Bernlefs skill in reciting heroic poetry. were very different from those conditions of the Viking Age which prevailed on the Continent during the same period and Yet the . for injury done to the hand of a harpist. and also that now to Viking Age. we have noticed that in Frisian law a special compensation more (p. Further. From the evidence which we have discussed above we should naturally conclude that court-minstrelsy lasted somewhat longer in England than elsewhere. in Danish tradition. have seen that there is a long gap. one text adds the words more gentis suae. decades of the seventh century. Frisian sources.

Age may throw light on the earlier saw in an earlier chapter (p. as professionals in any strict sense of the term.) that.V] EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 91 unquestionably nearer than the latter to those of the Heroic It is not unreasonable therefore to expect that the Age. ninth and tenth centuries. 1 5 f. all ranks. for the harp seems not to have been used by such persons. example we may take a verse quoted by Gunnlaugs Saga )rmstungu (cap. As a rule they appear to have been men of good family. as well as to the ancestors of reigning Many of the authors. Eyvindr Skaldaspillir. earl of More. court-poetry of the Viking period. . refused to receive insist sufficient influence with Harold to his being reconciled with his son . 7) from the poem composed by the hero. warrior prince first rl of Son of Rognvaldr. Halfdan Svarti. ThioSolfr was a familiar friend of Harold the Fair-haired. considerable number of them may A be regarded as court-poems. and half-brother of Gonguhrolfr (Rollo). such as ThioSolfr of Hvin. GoSSormr Sindri. though they contain frequent references to characters Heroic Age. Thorbiorn Hornklofi and GoSSormr Sindri. on Another 1 poet of the same period. was earl of Orkney and practically an independent prince. Einarr commonly called Torf-Einarr. These are usually the work of known authors and deal for the most part with contemporary persons and events. who entrusted with the education of one of his sons. since they were composed in honour )f princes whom the authors were As visiting at the time. call court-minstrels We or rather court. I who was earl of attached to the service of Haakon It and Haakon.poets. 'hen he visited London in 1001 "The whole nation reveres : England's generous ruler as a 1 god . at least in the latter But they can scarcely be regarded part of the Viking Age. Normandy. him who any composed poems reward and had for the same king. was himself a descendant of Harold the Fair-haired. apart from the Old Norse literature is rich in narrative poems of the Edda. has been mentioned that from the middle of the tenth century onwards most of the poems quoted in the sagas are of Icelandic authorship. were what we may of the princes. Lade.

if we may use it as an authority. Wanderer. 1 (mac) of the king Again. commonly regarded as the type of a roving poet-warrior of the Viking Age. we may take the case of StarkaSr. we have the case of a minstrel who claims far wandered like by whom. seems to make him set out at first on a definite commission from that The permanent lordless state was probably altogether The lordless man to the conditions of the Heroic Age. Until he finds another lord he has neither home nor :urity. for with the somewhat doubtful exception of the Old Saxons we have It is no evidence In Widsith. like Deor. Aethelred presented Gunnlaugr with a scarlet cloak. true. But Widsith had a lord at home to whom he subsequently returned. to have for it is independent commonwealths during that period. and his condition is pitiable in the extreme. and people alike. bow down to Aethelred. Indeed the introduction. But in reality he seems to belong to the is He Heroic Age for however late the poems attributed to him may be in their final form. It happened very frequently that men like Gunnlaugr would enter a king's retinue and remain with him for months and even years. There is no conclusive .92 EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. while Sigtryggr. they had their counterparts in England probably as early as the sixth century. to which they eventually returned. foreign in the poems is either one who has lost his lord. In Kudrun the minstrel Horant (Heorrenda) seems to GoSSormr Sindri hold a position quite comparable with that of ThioSolfr or indeed he is even described as a relative . he was handsomely rewarded. gave him a fur-lined cloak. But they would seldom consent to recognise any lordship permanently." Such poems were often handsomely rewarded. hardly probable that any class of persons exactly corresponding to this existed in the Heroic Age itself. But it is by no means so clear how the court-minstrels of the Heroic Age differed from the Norwegian poets of the Viking Age. king of Dublin. as in the prince. and wide and to have visited many princes Gunnlaugr. . lined with fur and embroidered with lace. or one who has been dismissed from his lord's service. since as a rule they had lands of their own in Iceland. . 1 In the Norse form of the story Hiarrandi is the name of HeSinn's father. a lace-embroidered tunic and a gold ring which weighed a mark.

namely the recitation of metrical The cultivation of such speeches accompanied by the harp. The story of StarkaSr is bound up with the history of heroic a difficult problem. At all events it deals with characters belonging to former times. Lastly. But with the close of the Heroic Age the evidence for minstrelsy of this type apparently ceases altogether. minstrelsy seems to have been more or less general.V] EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 93 evidence for denying either that he was the foster-father of Ingialdr (Ingeld) or that he entered the service of a number of different kings. to which we may note here however poetry shall in the Viking Age have to refer again shortly.D. 1030) St Olaf ordered the Icelander ThormoSr Kolbrunarskald to recite the old Biarkamal. Thus on the morning of the battle of Stiklestad (A. The minstrelsy of this period seems not to have been creative. we find poems dating from the twelfth and . and it is certain that princes had their praises and exploits celebrated in poems of this kind during their lifetime and even in their presence. Between these two periods we have poems and probably regarded as ancient in to set the composition of the English heroic also those German poems which were in Germany a series of Charlemagne's time. There seems to be no reason therefore for denying in principle the possibility that poems may have survived even from the Heroic Age. as well as works of their own composition. Ingeld only or Alboin or ancient kings in general. It is to be observed that court-poets were expected to be able to recite old poems. We poems of ThioSolfr and Hornklofi must have been preserved for some three centuries by oral tradition before they that the were committed to writing. the love of the heroic itself in interesting as it shows that was strong enough to assert poems an hour of supreme danger and under a most religious is This story king. In the course of this chapter characteristics of the Heroic we have seen that one Age was the prevalence of of the court- minstrelsy of a certain type. In the eighth century we hear only of wandering minstrels who are invited into houses or perform in the streets.

cap. Stage II is represented by the Anglo-Saxon poems. which are clearly products of court-life. To Stage Stage belong the court-poems of the Heroic poems based on eighth and of the twelfth and the epic and narrative these. It may be that on the scale of Beowulf were first composed in England poems though this can hardly be proved. but also such probably nothing though it would be difficult to point out any essential difference between Gelimer's dirge and the Elegy of Deor. to II . Still I should prefer to speak of short and long epics.). 3 1 70 ff. p. 91 f. Beow. appears then that the history I of heroic poetry falls naturally into four stages.94 EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. But the difference between the two classes seems to me to be one of degree and not of narrative 1 Jordanes. or rather perhaps of short and long narrative poems. as we have seen (p. Very probably the earliest poems were comparatively short. but in a It thirteenth centuries in which the old stories are treated again new form. to Stage III the popular poetry of the following centuries to Stage IV the German poems Age itself. We can form an idea however of these earliest poems from the poetry of the Viking Age. To Stage I we may assign not only laudatory poems dealing with the victories and valour of living princes. As instances we may cite Gunnlaugr's poem on Aethelred II (cf. classifying It may be the former as epics and the latter as lays (Lieder). Some writers draw a distinction between Beowulf and Waldhere on the one hand and Finn and the Hildebrandslied on the other. compositions as Gelimer's funeral chant over Attila 1 dirge and choric songs this stage like the From has come down to us to discuss later. 49 . which we shall have . granted that the style of the two latter poems appears to be more rapid and less diffuse than that of the others. when heroic following centuries. cf. From its general resemblance to these it seems probable that the Hildebrandslied belongs to the same class. which seems to have been composed under very similar conditions.) and Eyvindr's poem on the death of Haakon I. composed at a time subjects had again come into favour with the higher classes. 81 ff. .

It must be remembered of course that our authorities knew 1 . to writing that they show that their diction it is not .g.V] kind. they appear to have had a preference for biographical sketches. Stage in is directly represented only by certain ballads such as the Seyfridslied. They tended complex stories by the loss of minor characters and to amalgamate stories which were originally quite unconnected. the popular We the poems only as they existed in the twelfth century cannot say with any confidence that Bernlefs poems possessed same characteristics. and it may that we owe its preservation. e. and from parts of Saxo's History which seem to be derived from Danish ballads.g. which is largely based on the popular heroic poetry of northern Germany. The type All that Anglo-Saxon poems may not have been committed a still later period. There is nothing to show that the Hildebrandslied was written be to persons of his till down before his time. So far as we can judge from our differed in authorities the popular poems seem to have those which many ways from to simplify we have been discussing. Again. We have seen that in Iceland poems of a rather elaborate type could be preserved by oral tradition for over three centuries. This however was in a community which is 1 Ekkehard's Waltharius of course belongs to a much earlier period. remote from them as is the case with Beowulf. the absence of any detailed acquaintance with court-life and a general approximation to the characteristics of folk-tales. in the introduction of nameless characters and persons of humble station. from ThiSreks Saga af Bern. but always clear what has been added by Ekkehard himself. is EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 95 At all events no one will suggest that the Hildebrandslied even approximately contemporaneous with the events which One would expect it to be at least as it professes to describe. which in their present form date from a time considerably later than the poems belonging to Stage IV. e. we can say is no obvious signs of popular corruption and much more archaic than that of poems which were composed in the eighth century. Much indirect evidence however can be obtained from various sources of earlier date. whereas the court poems are usually occupied with accounts of We may add also adventures which lasted only a few days.

were coming to be regarded it is as ancient. very imply. especially in the form of folk-tales. Stage IV is represented by the Middle High German epic poems. Again. raised whether the latter were necessarily derived from poems of Stages I and II whether some heroic poems may not have been entirely of popular origin. was largely given up to the cultivation of poetry. who as time went on became less and less expert in their profession. poems of a more or less narrative type may have been composed quite soon after the events which they . With this problem we shall have to deal later. The process of disintegration which the poems underwent in the latter country points to their being preserved only by village minstrels. It may be freely granted that the poetry of Stage II was constantly exposed to popular inMost scholars fluence. Stage Thus well be later than others which belong to Stage II.96 EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. Then again. On the whole however at I am inclined to doubt whether we possess a single heroic story which has not been treated in court-poetry an earlier stage in its career. There can be no doubt that the poems of Stage IV are But the question may be derived from those of Stage III. A Such favourable conditions can hardly have existed either in England or Germany. I extremely probable that Gothic princes were listening to laudatory poems about themselves at a time when other Gothic poems. but we have no evidence for the composition of new poems on these subjects. the relationship between Stage I and Stage II is not so simple as the bare statement given above might seem to In the first place it is only as a class that poems of Individual poems may can be regarded as the earlier. In England this stage was never reached. There may have been a revival of interest in heroic poetry during the ninth and tenth centuries. which both in form and spirit show all the characteristics of the age in which they were composed. of a definitely narrative type. indeed hold that some of the best known heroic stories. such as those of SigurSr-Siegfried and Weland. knowledge of the old poems would be a necessary part of the training of those who hoped to win rewards for their art in foreign courts. are derived from popular mythology.

Indeed. n p. Grundriss. 15 if. Yet the author was himself It is by no means clear then that poems present at the battle. This Gothic is War a passage which occurs in Procopius' History of the After describing the embassy sent to (IV 20). we may almost class among the narrative fall poems Eyvindr's Hakonarmal. . Twenty-two warriors in speeches. does but of a single person among the enemy not record the that need not prevent us from regarding it as an epic. we are scarcely justified in denying the\ possibility that even epics may have been composed upon quite Few will deny that the poem on the battle of recent events. been. that poems of this type may have been composed supposing within the Heroic Age itself? have no reason whatever for We denying that this age was capable of such compositions. whatever its original poems or indeed of materials of author's personal . Liebermann. c. in a sense. Brandl. 1 Warni and the Angli ('Ayyi\oi) who inhabit the Not long before the Warni had ci. ' Justinian by the Utiguri in the year 551. Indeed there is one piece of evidence which points very much to the contrary. Maldon has a good claim to that title.V] treat. The extant portion contains nine seven different persons. few years. . Arch. there can be no reasonable doubt that it name Yet was composed within a . to Stage II necessarily presuppose the existence of belonging earlier any kind beyond the and imagination. knowledge But. more than this. of the battle 1 It is likely enough that the author of this poem was well acquainted with heroic poetry and that his treatment of the But is that any objection to subject was affected thereby. 7 . 106. but it is only a short step from such works to purely narrative pieces. p. and in about a dozen length may have / ' cases the names of differs their fathers or other relatives are also given. the author goes on to state that about this time hostilities broke out between the ' nation of the island of Britain (Bpirrta). The poem from the heroic type in the fact that it . by the English army are mentioned by name. which describes of Haakon I at the battle of Fitje. possibly even months. EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 97 HornklofVs Hrafnsmal and the poem on the battle of Brunanburh must be regarded as analogous to poems of Stage I. Cf.

he is pardoned on condition that he returns to his He former engagement.98 EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP.tvr)s Tepareva'd/j.d-rjfj. Radiger should marry his widow. and Radiger proceeds to But the princess. which show clearly that it was derived from someone who was well acquainted with the peoples of northern Europe. been ruled by a king named Hermegisklos who. . sought and obtained in marriage a sister of Theodberht. when the king was riding in a certain place with the chief men of his nation. ouros dvrip Qvapvw rots XoyL/uLCordrois ev ^wpty ry TTJS 'nnrev6fj.evos 6pviv riva eirl dtvdpov re Ka. This story contains a number of features. is The completely defeated. irapov<ni> fudvs tyaffKev u>s "Tf\v re^^^erai reffffapaKovra i)/j. etre 5 opvidos TTJS <puvr)S jewels efre rots &\\o ptv Ti ^eiriffTa/uLevos.is vtrrepov.000 men.vrj(rTelas avrfj 5e5a>/cws \6ytf}. namely that this 1 . . By a previous wife he had an only son named Radiger. who at time was betrothed to a sister of the king of the Angli and had paid her a large sum of money in furtherance of his suit One day. such as the prophecy of the bird. whether it was that he really understood what the bird said.pa. expects to be put to death. but after explaining the cause of his action. conduct. TOVTO yap avrtp Tr)s opvidos ST/XOUJ' irpbpprjffiv. Now. 1 %/9i)yu. and eventually he captured and brought before her. gathers together a fleet of four hundred vessels and invades the land of the Warni with 100. and he takes refuge in a dense princess insists on his being taken alive at all is costs.ara 2 /neyaXa ri$ t-tov rrjs /j. he saw a bird sitting on a tree and croaking loudly. There is no ground for disputing that it has a historical basis but at the same time .avTVO/j. vveivcu 8e rrjs opvidos fj. in accordance with national custom. the payment of the ' bride-fee ' and Radiger's marriage with his stepmother. king of the Franks. Radiger 's army forest.ei'os. or whether he had some other source of information but pretended that the bird was uttering a prophecy which he understood at all events he declared on the spot to his companions that he would die forty days later. for this had been clearly foretold to him by the bird 2 Thereupon he gives advice as to what should be done after his death.tv'rjv el8e Kal TroXXa Kp&ov<rav. infuriated at his carry out his injunctions. On the fortieth day the king died. being anxious to establish his throne on a secure foundation. and dissolve his engagement with the English princess.

. since Procopius' work appears to have been written within the next seven or eight years. as we have seen. shorter duration in their case. but I do think that the intellectual atmosphere which could produce such a story must have been exactly of the kind most favourable to the growth of such compositions. To persons who had themselves taken part in the events poems like that on the battle of Brunanburh would appeal for much more strongly than purely narrative pieces.V] it is EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY obviously in 99 facts. than their They :losely lat German Stage in was of much poems of Stage II both in form and spirit much more But this may be due partly to the fact counterparts do. Therefore. places this war in or about the year 551. and we can certainly understand the course of events more easily if it took place after Theodberht's death (A. a mere record of Apart from the incident apparent and certain the gross exaggeration pictorial character of the the narrative. I do not mean to suggest that his source of information was an epic poem. . On the other hand I we must remember that refers to a distant region a fact think not without significance for the history of contemporary narrative poetry. It is ics 2 not clear whether the marvellous account of Britain which follows this story certainly resemble from the same source or not. the story had had little time to develop before it came it to his ears. indicates a close affinity with heroic poetry. Un-heroic features are not wanting the introduction of nameless persons and the political reflections of Irmingisl but they may with probability be attributed to Procopius himself. we have taken no account of the heroic There can be little doubt that these poems poems must be assigned to Stage IV of our scheme for though some of them are probably three or four centuries older than the German poems of this class. Procopius. 72 . It is persons who were either ignorant of the events or knew them only by hearsay that the latter would seem to be primarily intended.D. much more than of the bird details 1 . 548). they bear fairly obvious marks of the disintegrating process which seems to characterise popular 2 It may be asked how such an opinion is compatible poetry In this discussion of the Edda. especially in its earlier part.

We have no poems and few stories of any kind dealing with persons of Norwegian nationality who lived before that period. whom he had sought hospitality ( Vols. . when Norwegian princes had begun to enrich themselves with maritime enterprises. cap. scarcely flourishing court-poetry. On the other hand it has what we may call a Heroic Age of its own namely the Viking Age. the only one used in Norway when it . and it may very well be that this primitive type of poetry was the heroic stories first became was to Frisian and Danish minstrels But the conditions suitable for a that the change was due 1 like that of the Heroic Age. not only politically but also in the cultivation of poetry.IOO EARLY POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. I it believe. p. poverty and mountainous nature of the country doubtless retarded its development. The strophic character of all Norse poetry is generally held to point to a choric origin. known there. who fled to may perhaps be preserved in the story of the Norway with the child Aslaug concealed in a harp and was murdered there by a peasant from Saga. 33) that Norway plays no part in stories of the Heroic Age. The remoteness. 30. We noted in an earlier chapter (pp. The true explanation is. 1 A reminiscence of such minstrels unfortunate Heimir. with the view that the story of SigurSr was derived from the Continent during the seventh century (cf. 43). that heroic in poetry passed through Stage III after became known Norway. Possibly existed before the last years of the eighth century. 59).

which we have been discussing Europe. though only a few are as yet accessible in translaThese poems afford an interesting illustration of our subject. Murko in the Zeitschrift des Vereins fur Volkskunde (Berlin). a time when at the height of its power. the verse not being appreciably shorter than the average Teutonic alliterative verse. The average length of the pieces described as epic is given at 873 verses . not only because they deal with similar themes heroism in battle. Out of 320 pieces collected by Dr Marjanovic thirty contained less than 100 verses. and sixty-two from 1000 to 1500. peoples of Serbo-Croatian nationality. dial. The minstrel begins his recitation quite slowly. ON THE HEROIC POETRY OF THE SLAVONIC PEOPLES. such as we hear of among the Teutonic peoples only through occasional notices in that ancient records. The period in question embraces the greater part of the sixteenth the Turkish and seventeenth Empire was centuries. for pjevac} to accompany his recitation on a musical instrument. Such recitations are extremely fatiguing. belong to a well-marked historical period. the tambura. love and revenge and often in quite as full detail. i3ff. but after about a hundred verses he attains such a speed that is metre not even a shorthand writer can keep pace with him. which we may regard as a kind of Heroic Age. But beyond all this the value of the illustration lies largely in the fact we have here what may be called a living heroic poetry. is in use. single combats. The collections poems published by Marjanovic and Hermann have not been accessible to me. .. a hundred and three vary from 600 to 1000. It will be seen Prof. These figures are especially important in view of their bearing on certain prevalent ideas as to the limits of oral poetry. The poems vary greatly in length. As among the latter it is customary for the minstrel (pivac. more especially the latter. to the types of poetry probably to be found among the various . As an example we may take the 1 Since the poetry current among the Mohammedan population of Bosnia a large number of narrative poems have been occupation of that province and published. 1909. while fifteen exceeded 2000. hostilities and when its armies were frequently engaged in Croatia. the longest of all amounting to over 4000. a kind of guitar with only two metal strings. with the Austrians in Many of the characters mentioned in the poems are well Hungary and known historical persons. p. questions 1 and criticism.V] SLAVONIC HEROIC POETRY IOI NOTE THE nearest IV. but also since the events with which they are concerned and the conditions they reflect collected tions. and in the longer poems it is customary to allow intervals of rest for refreshments. Among the Christian population the gusle. which the reader is referred for further information and authorities. a primitive type of fiddle. to of The first part of this note is mainly derived from an interesting paper by M. It is to be observed that the ordinary Servian decasyllabic. at least in is modern analogy.

employed" (ib. In one instance two variants of a poem are known. who The Cases are faculty for expansion and compression is also very marked.102 that if SLAVONIC HEROIC POETRY [CHAP. To a certain degree. In the recitation ' great freedom is allowed. for the relationship of lays and epics. of which one contains 1284 verses. The minstrels belong to various stations of life. A minstrel need only hear a poem two or three times (once. Murko. but the majority are peasant proprietors or workmen. 2000. supply interesting evidence for the origin of different recensions of epic poems particularly. or even 3000. p. yet other poetry is not altogether extinguished among them and their musicians. as Prof. which apparently render it almost unrecognisable. carry on minstrelsy as a regular profession. But the minstrels of the present day are invariably unable to read or write. it seems probable that some poems have been committed to writing in the past. As ' ' . says Prof. the actions of ancient Slavi Although the Morlacchi usually sing their kings and barons or some tragic event ancient songs. especially in the night time. 1 . Some are men of good Not many family. often too the minstrels are invited to the residences of the is The case recorded of one minstrel who recited over a among apparently interesting remarks relating to the prevalence of minstrelsy the Christian population during the eighteenth century are to be found in Morlacco travels along the Fortis' Travels into Dalmatia (London. . special popularity being enjoyed by those know best how to describe a girl's dress or the trappings of a horse. known of minstrels who have doubled and even trebled the length of poems which they had heard. accompanied with the guzla. after singing an ancient piece. The Very recitations are given in coffee-houses or at any holiday hundred gathering. 85). From what has been said it will be clear enough that the poems are preserved by oral tradition. Murko remarks. in praise of the personage by whom they are . But even by the same man a poet never repeated in In the course of years changes may be introduced exactly the same words. Some "A desert mountains singing.. 1778). we may add. Vague rumours of written texts are heard of from time to time and. Such cases. though most of them are believed to be about two centuries old. every minstrel is a ('Nachdichter'). the reproduction is if it is by no means sung) in order to reproduce it . Four minstrels knew of an authoress a certain pale-cheeked Ajka from the Lika (in Croatia) but regarding her little or no information seems to have been obtained. though none have yet been discovered. except when they have fallen on bad Begs 1 times. to the age and origin of the poems nothing is known for certain. sometimes finish it with some extempore verses. Some minstrels are more or less creative poem is experts in particular lines. The other minstrels could only give the names of those from whom they had themselves heard the poems. but given in the same words. the other barely 300. verses carried out on these principles the recitation of a Teutonic poem of would be nothing impossible in the course of a * long evening's entertainment.

there for English minstrels mentioned by Alcuin. it can only be in a very restricted sense so far at least as the extant poems are concerned. 2 number of poems the Beg Ljubovic appears as the representative of Hercegovina. sometimes in corn or livestock. But their position can never have been comparable with that of even petty Teutonic princes. sometimes For his services the minstrel receives money. We may therefore reasonably look for traces of those characteristics which distinguish Stage III in the history of Teutonic heroic poetry. The characters mentioned by name are few in number and recur again and again in different stories. each district apparently having a favourite hero who is introduced as its representative on many different occasions 2 . and of this their knowledge is naturally highest personages with whom they are really acquainted are the Begs. time. The were much more wealthy and that influential than they some Begs then had minstrels attached to their now are and it may be own personal following. Practically the only court which Stage in. The unsympaMoreover. . we in consecutive constantly find repetitions of the verses after the manner of ballads. Stamboul. 1389). 3 we shall Especially several of those dealing with the battle of Kossovo have to refer in a later note. though the poems show the characteristics which Indeed the characteristics of the poems their merits as well as their faults are to a large extent those of we associate with questionable whether we are justified in including them in this category for there is no evidence that they have passed through anything corresponding to Stages I and II. to which . while historical persons figure in quite unhistorical relationships. Hence. But. if we are entitled to suggest the previous existence of court-poetry at all. apart from the coffee and is scarcely a single feature in the description given above which we should not expect to find parallels in Teutonic minstrelsy towards the close of the eighth century. It will not escape notice that a good deal of what is said here might be applied with considerable probability to the Frisian minstrel Bernlef or the cigarettes. Indeed. sometimes only in coffee and cigarettes. Geographical indications are very frequently erroneous. payment. in The Mohammedan especially fond of such recitations. same words or formulae generally popular rather than court poetry. On the other hand Servian poetry has without doubt had a long history.V] SLAVONIC HEROIC POETRY for 103 ladies are poems a certain Beg within six weeks. thetic characters are often guilty of atrocious brutality. It is not unlikely that in the days of Turkish supremacy the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries the provincial nobility they at all is that of know slight and remote. Indeed some of the Christian poems 3 seem 1 The Thus following observations are based in a on the poems published in Krauss' Slamsche Volkforschungen. it is . and in point of fact there seems to be abundant evidence in this direction 1 The action is usually spread over a considerable . and even heroic poems are by no means the exclusive property of the Mohammedan population.

To this question we shall have to refer again. Volksk. But it is rpayLKois. . 14. Before we leave the subject however note must be taken of one more important feature in the poems. are scarcely recognised. into two hostile camps. In the north of Russia numerous ballads are still current which seem to be based on events poetry.. In order to form a sound opinion one would have to take account of the history of narrative poetry among the neighbouring peoples. ruled over Kiev about 980-1015. the other under the Emperor (Cesar). Bosnian poetry shows affinity with the Old French epics.. where it is stated of his followers: 0wj/cus xP& t>TO Ka ^ /*^e<rt ovdt rot idftev. characteristics of popular poetry to such an extent that they are scarcely distinguishable from folk-tales. slav. The total change of subjects in the Mohammedan poems Slovenians would be a necessary consequence of the change of faith that heroic poetry survived such a change at all is probably to be attributed to the fact that a large proportion of the nobility in Bosnia embraced Islam. as in several others. Byz. and the spirit of religious war is generally present. . together with his chief hero. which may be 1 There are references to the existence of heroic poetry in the neighbourhood of Spalato and Sebenico as far back as the sixteenth century. The Mohammedan Bosnians were religious It is not fanatics. Ilja of who In their present form these figures in ThiSreks Saga af Bern. fairly be brought under Stages I and II At all events there is some reason for suspecting that in early times court-poetry was not unknown in Russia. f. . Evidence to this effect is supplied by the Slovo o polku Igoreve (* Story of Igor's expedition '). Vereins f. p. whereas in early Teutonic poetry 2 . The subject as a whole however is one which must be left to experts. one under the Sultan (Car).IO4 SLAVONIC HEROIC POETRY [CHAP.y8ov d' apa K\ea avdpuv wv olov K\tos d/cotfo/*e' vm extremely doubtful whether these persons were Servians. much earlier reference has been traced in Nicephorus PhiloL. note). absolutely universal some poems even represent Moslems and Christians As a rule however the world is regarded as divided in sworn brotherhood. 1909. cf. differences of creed. Murko. In this respect. enough that the beginnings of heroic poetry go back to the fourteenth or fifteenth centuries 1 at which time its growth may have been fostered by conditions much more similar to those of the Teutonic Heroic Age. xxvin 378. ballads show the in part they are descended from poems which might of our scheme. A 14) of his mission to the court of Stephan Uros Gregoras' account (Hist. much more remote than anything treated in Servian Many of them deal with stories relating to the time of Vladimir I. Arch. Matthias Hunyadi died in 1490. . Zeitschr. and their antiquity is rendered highly probable by the fact that the same king. in the year 1326. 2 In the middle of the sixteenth century the Slovenians of Tolmino used to sing "di Mattia re d' Ungheria e di altri celebri personaggi di quella nazione" (Murko. d. more especially the Bulgarians and It is likely . to exhibit the characteristics of Stage in to a far less degree than the Mohammedan ones and they frequently deal with much earlier events. and even nationality. Yet it is possible that Murom.

We shall have to confine our attention therefore to the heroic poetry of the Cymry. to Scandinavian influence. for Bojan sons of Vladimir intimate relations to is represented as singing the praises of the In their time the Russian courts still maintained with the Scandinavian kingdoms. in part at least. referring to a remote period. The subject is a disastrous expedition undertaken by Igor. It is Certainly we may note that the author repeatedly refers to a certain Bojan the Wise. both historical and linguistic. that it cannot be approached with safety except by an expert. But. composed within two years of the event. In the first place we have some traces of heroic poetry among the ancient Gauls. We may 1 Wiener. the subject is beset with so many difficulties. Vladimir indeed have had Norwegians in his service. for the 1 and glory beings. against It is believed to be an the Polovtses on the Don in the year 1185. Both in language and spirit it shows rather a striking resemblance to Anglo-Saxon heroic poetry.' a poet who is unknown from other ' sources. Moreover. in the thicket storm in The Russians a feast of bones the foxes bark for the crimson shields bar the long fields with their crimson shields." There are frequent references also to mythical held by many that this work was composed by a bard who belonged to the druzina or military following of the prince and that it is the last relic of what may once have been a considerable body of poetry. NOTE V. but who of the Slovo. Prince . . 84. therefore that this early poetry may have been due. nightingale of ancient time. though it has no fixed metrical form. . these have come down to us for the most part only in prose. together with all their vernacular records. the son of Svjatoslav. whatever may have been their original form. Then again Ireland has preserved a great body of heroic literature. absolutely contemporary work. Yet many of these poems deal with events which are sixth century and the first half of the note especially four groups of poems (i) a few concerned : referred by the chronicles to the seventh. apparently lived nearly a century before the composition This carries us back practically to what we may call the I. Russian Heroic Age. Anthology of Russian Literature^ I p.V] SLAVONIC HEROIC POETRY IO5 described as an epic. THE HEROIC POETRY OF THE CELTIC PEOPLES. seeking honour for themselves . In the history of the various Celtic peoples there is evidence for the existence of more than one Heroic Age. and Olafr Tryggvason appears is said to have been It is scarcely impossible brought up at his court. Igor leads his soldiers to the Don the birds forebode his misfortune the wolves bristle up and howl a the mountain clefts the eagles screech and call the beasts to : " . though unfortunately it has entirely perished. stories Even here it is fairly clear that the difficulties to be encountered are sufficiently serious.

There are also two or three others. In the Historia Brittonum (Harleian text). and his death of Dyvynival Vrych doubtless the Dalriadic king Domnall Brecc. For the characters mentioned in the Gododin poems no such evidence The poems themselves however contain references to the is available. of four kings. We have no ground for doubting that the references to Urbgen and the rest are based on equally good tradition. As St Columba died probably in 597. simul uno tempore in poemate Britannico daruerunt. qui uocatur Gueinth Guaut. Unfortunately it is not made clear Tune Dutigirn in illo tempore fortiter dimicabat contra gentem Anglorum. Urien and . It is there stated (l I5 ) that Rodercus. 63. i. But the poems of the second group seem also to have a historical basis. tune Talhaern Tataguen in poemate claruit. are attributed to two poets named Taliessin and Aneirin. such as the elegy over Cynddylan. Vrbgen et Riderch Hen et Guallanc et Morcant^ who fought against the Northumbrian king Theodric and his successors. qui in Petra Cloithe regnauit. though they cannot be classed under any of these headings. especially those included in the second and third groups. In any case they cannot well be later than They . who according to the Irish annals was killed by the Britons three years after the fall 1 of Oswald. with the exploits of Arthur and his heroes (2) a referring to princes named Gwallawg. which is of course altogether 2 independent of Welsh tradition. somewhat number certain Rhydderch (3) poems dealing with Gododin and Catraeth (4) a few relating to Cadwallon. first the All king of Dumbarton. But one of them. consulted St Columba as to his fate and received the answer that he would die a peaceful death in his house a prophecy which was subsequently given for fulfilled. The origin of these entries is unfortunately obscure. Riderch Hen. the for three father of Theodric. which seem to refer to the same period. et Neirin et Taliessin et Bluchbard et Cian. Urbgen is said to have besieged his opponents we hear days in Lindisfarne (Metcaud). [CHAP. the date Riderch . about the year 645. Hen Historia Brittonum agrees well enough with what is stated in the for according to the most trustworthy records Theodric two immediate successors reigned from about 572 to 592 or 593. is genealogies named in Adamnan's Life of St Columba.e. In another passage ( 62) we hear of through Neirin et Taliessin among other poets who composed British poetry in the time of a king named Dutigirn 1 . are incorporated with an English genealogical document. the four kings mentioned in 63 are known to us also from of the tenth century. A number of the above poems.IO6 WELSH HEROIC POETRY . and to have perished eventually the jealousy of Morcant. 2 De rege Roderco. larger . Frithuwald and Hussa. filio Tothail. quarter of the ninth century. . dating apparently from the end of the eighth century but they may quite possibly be derived from earlier sources. who is made contemporary with Ida. There is no doubt that Cadwallon is the well known Welsh king who overthrew the Northumbrian king Edwin in 633 and was himself destroyed by Oswald in the following year.

And can it really be proved that many of the heroes ilebrated in these poems were claimed as ancestors by families in Wales ? At all events it is clear that the author of the entries in the Historia Jrittonum fo out of 1 knew of ancient British poets. of Cymmrodorion.V] in WELSH HEROIC POETRY what relationship this event stands to the IO/ . such as that described in Gododin poems. At the present time however 2 it seems to be generally held that they are scholastic products of a later age. p. the rest apparently being altogether worth noting that the Irish annals record a battle between Oswio same year as Domnall Brecc's death cf. when Brittonum ( it was incorporated in the Historia 56). historical truth this story contains we do the chronicles refer Arthur to the early part of the sixth How much doubtedly later date. 1903-4). Some of the poems themselves claim to be the work of the poets Aneirin and Taliessin. of the Hon. who died about times. figures prominently that the beginnings of these stories were due to a similar cause. and it is by no means icredible that the same process may have been in operation for centuries. is This view pp. There can scarcely be any doubt that we are justified in regarding the period covered by the poems as a kind of Heroic Age. and it is likely enough 548. As to the origin of the poems discussed above we have no evidence which can be called conclusive. It is possibly id the Britons in the Picts 2 and Scots. apart from the question when the poems under discussion were composed. 7 f. Soc. The story of Arthur was the one most elaborated in later times a process which must have The few identifications begun before the ninth century. But argument is scarcely decisive for it is clear that parts of the poems ive undergone a certain amount of modernisation.e. find it difficult to lilies poems would be composed recording an believe that in order to celebrate the ancestry of certain action which is represented ic an overwhelming disaster for the British forces. not know. though century. 70. main action of the poems 1 which can be made from the genealogies seem to be compatible with a date somewhere about this time. of this view it is contended that the language of the poems cannot possibly represent the form of this Welsh spoken in the sixth or seventh centuries. Neirin and Taliessin are only five names recorded by him. 348. Moreover it must not be assumed that these were the only persons of the poetry. in which the same heroes are mentioned. i. king of in traditions of later same period whose praises were celebrated in Gwynedd. Maelgwn. such as the Englynion y Beddau. To a certain extent however the other stories have experienced the same process for. . Skene. favoured by Prof. On the other hand there is apparently no evidence for the composition of poems dealing with the exploits of princes who lived in the latter part of the seventh century or for several centuries later. Chronicles of . . Anwyl in his Prolegomena to the Study of Old 7 elsh Poetry (Trans. the beginning of our period. based upon chronicles and composed with the intention of In support glorifying the ancestry of some distinguished Welsh families. there are others of un.

the has been suggested that Bluchbard (cf. no knowledge of Aneirin. and that in some cases perhaps we have nothing more than disjecta membra of earlier pieces. unknown from other sources we should note that the last British king mentioned in these a certain Cadafael (Catgabail Catguommed). [CHAP. 2 The question of the antiquity of the poems must of course be distinguished from that of their authorship. though in both the latter the narrative element is much more fully developed. In the meantime we shall be ready to admit that the poems are extremely corrupt. or they are exceedingly clever imitations of such works. : really are works of Stage . it . who are referred to the earlier part of this period and of whom two are traditionally associated with the Next we must notice that the poems themselves. We have seen now that the persons and events celebrated in the poems belong to a period extending roughly from 500 to 650 and that there are ancient records of famous British poets. pp. between two alternatives either the poems which have survived from the Heroic Age itself. the work of Taliessin and Aneirin. It is probable enough that on the withdrawal of the legions large portions of the country were occupied by northern Britons from beyond the Wall who are represented in tradition 3 These were doubtless affected by Roman by Cunedda and his sons . even in the poems. to the poems which deal with Urien we can hardly do better than turn to the court-poetry of the Viking Age (cf. 655).108 WELSH HEROIC POETRY 1 . 106. p. If they are. note) may be a corruption of Certainly the form Neirin (which is thought to be due to a misunderstanding of aneirin as et neiriri) seems to show that the scribe himself had It 1 name Llywarch. If the . but they never attain to true narrative. The Certainly entries is wording of this passage ( 65) seems rather to suggest acquaintance with a poem on the subject. 15 f. It is true that he places all these persons about a generation before Urien and Rhydderch Hen.. even in part. 3 In dealing with such traditions it is essential to remember that our authorities date from times when (apart from Strathclyde) the Cymry had long been confined to Wales and that they represent the point of view of writers living in Wales. who is said to have escaped alone from the battle in which Penda was killed (A.D. Their characteristics are For analogies those of court-poetry. The decision between these two alternatives must of course be left to experts. The in history of Cumbrian heroic poetry is easily intelligible when taken connection with the national history. but chronological accuracy is hardly to be expected in references to such a remote period. we must conclude that these poets are wrongly dated in the Historia Brittonum. But until conclusive evidence is brought forward it seems to me highly improbable that the original poems have been entirely lost 2 to seems me that the choice lies I. 91) for the Gododin poems perhaps the best parallels are to be found in the Battle of Maldon and the Story of Igor's Expedition. Taking all the evidence into account. plainly show all the marks of Stage I of our scheme. corrupt and often unintelligible form in which they are preserved. composed at a time when the latter were still in existence.

V] influence to a very WELSH HEROIC POETRY much less 109 . degree than the inhabitants of the province and the growth of heroic poetry during the sixth century may be satisfactorily accounted for by the wealth and prosperity which would naturally accrue It was to their princely families during the early days of their dominion. At all events they show a certain resemblance to the Russian stories of Vladimir and his heroes. as we have seen. Any records which survived must owe their preservation. dealing with the later heroes. which can properly be called narrative. of which the traces elsewhere were obliterated by the English conquest. kings of Gwynedd were really descended from the ' men of the north ' their settlement in that region is probably to be regarded as part of a much larger movement. The only marvel is that so much has been preserved. Wales. . to refugees who escaped into the Welsh highlands. . the poorest and probably the most backward part of the province. Under such conditions we should expect that narrative poems would rapidly and it may be that here we disintegrate into the semblance of folk-tales have the explanation of the medieval stories of Arthur. Here the original type of poem seems to have become stereotyped presumably because conditions favourable to development were no longer present. Catraeth and dozens But further. were doubtless highly unfavourable to the development of heroic poetry. the conditions in of others) are incapable of identification. But the following half century was a most disastrous period. belongs to the beginning of the Heroic Age. But Arthur. probably not until the time of Aethelfrith that their power was really broken. We have no evidence for the composition of poems. ending in the permanent obliteration of their nationality in a political sense throughout the whole region between the Dee and the Clyde. Now we can see why so many place-names (Reged. ultimately at least.

or (2) by some common name such as Jack or Hans.' 'the girl. foundations probably that all the surviving heroic poems are built. Stories which are not put into poetic form are more liable to become obscured and forgotten.) described either (i) as 'the man. to us contain elements generally 'folk-tale' (Marchen).CHAPTER SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS MOST of the heroic VI. The lapse of time between the events narrated and the the latter term composition of the poem may amount to weeks or to generations. or (3) by a name which is obviously made to suit his or her special circumstances or characteristics. The term folk-tale 1 ' ' is of less wide application. The term cannot conveniently be used here.' etc. In fact the result is somewhat similar to that of committing it to writing. as it has acquired a wider signification.. it Probably . fictitious is in certain cases the story may be wholly does not affect our definition. different this scholars it would define in book is applied only to stories ways but in dealing with anonymous different is characters. IN THE HEROIC STORIES. such as 1 Aschenbrodel ' ' heading we may include metrical compositions. and tinguish tales of this class it poems and stories which have come down comprehended under the term will be convenient at once to tales in general. which conveys no means of identification. When a story but this put into metrical form by a skilful poet it becomes more or less crystallised and has a good chance of being preserved. Under this folk-song . dis- from popular Under we may include all stories which are frequently It is on such repeated without being committed to writing. The hero or heroine (villain etc.

VI] or SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS 1 1 1 It will be seen that this limitation would Sneewitchen. as in whose names are not given. in some form or other. the story of Alfred and the cakes is not a folk-tale according to our standard but if the king's name had been forgotten we should have no hesitation in regarding it as such. there can be no doubt that many modern folk-tales are In the same way we derived ultimately from literary sources. e. Yet by the time of our earliest authorities these names had come to denote definite personalities . In stories derived from Danish sources on the other hand the characters mentioned by name are few in number.CHAP. p. and consequently we must classify such stories in a separate On the other hand it must not be category. Frey. to take an instance. Again. Thus. it is possible very often to distinguish between the Danish and Norse sources followed by Saxo in his History. which in consequence of the loss )f proper names has been torn right away from its true conYet as may be seen by a comparison with Beowulf. were descended from heroic poems. Olrik 1 has pointed out that or absence of characters of Norse origin. is a necessary characteristic of folk-tales. In stories Old Norse literature generally.g. Such features do indeed occur very frequently but that is due merely to the . One of the safest criteria is the presence Prof. real or fictitious. we need not enter from attempts to account for apparently spring Others natural phenomena. Some viduals whose names have been forgotten. namely as myths. 18 ff. tales in origin . not prevent us from regarding stories about the gods as folkfor most of the gods bear descriptive names. that this story is 1 Kilderne til Sakses Oldhistorie. Balder. it is customary for every character to have a name a characteristic which also distinguishes the old heroic poetry. Frig. assumed that the presence of supernatural features. Thunor. as we have seen. ictions lere can be little doubt. A good instance is to be found in the story of Ingellus (Ingeld). . are probably founded on adventures. fact that in illiterate societies the marvellous has a special attraction for men's minds. of indiInto the origin of folk-tales in general here. social customs or religious rites. must regard it as possible that in earlier times many folk-tales .

that Danish tradition tended to approximate to the folk-tale.' does not of any more than that / I ' Apart from the distinguishing feature with which we have been dealing folk-tales as a class have certain general characteristics which may be appreciated by a comparison with those of heroic poetry. for the chief characters (Balder. 82 f. It would appear then ultimately derived from heroic poems. HoSr. which relates how some animal. The same become more and more phenomenon occurs of course in stories of famous men which have nothing to do with heroic poetry. In the Historia Brittonum (cap. It is a more difficult question and one which we shall have to discuss later whether any of the heroic stories are wholly story of Balder bears the stamp of a folk-tale. the well known bishop of Auxerre. 32) this story is related of St Germain. his account recent) predecessors was responsible for the setting. Thus in the story of HeSinn and Hogni the fact characters) necessity involve her origin in a folk-tale of her namesake. a goat. there is some reason for suspecting that either he himself or one of his (comparatively . sometimes passed into folk-tales it is still the latter tended to make their way into heroic clearer that If heroic stories stories. It should be observed however that the occurrence of one or more names with obvious meanings does not in itself prove that a story is derived from a folk-tale. Then on the following day the hero restores the animal to life. reindeer or calf. while in the later forms of the stories such incidents frequent. the abbess of Whitby. Nanna) have names with an obvious meaning. is killed and eaten. bears a that the heroine (in contrast with the other name which means 'war. The History that this story appears in a heroic setting and though seems to be more primitive in several respects than that given by the Norse authorities.112 SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS [CHAP. But it is only in Saxo's derived from folk-tales. most commonly in connection with the childhood or ancestry of the hero. but care is taken not to break any of its bones. In the last chapter (p. We shall see shortly that relate a number of incidents which even the early heroic poems seem to be derived from folk-tales.) we gave a . Thus there is a widely spread folk-tale (told of the god Thor in Old Norse literature).

VI]

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS
list

113

of the characteristics by which the latter is specially To all these the typical folk-tale presents a distinguished. Some of the leading characters, including marked contrast.
short
either the hero or the heroine or both, are usually persons of humble birth. The opponents of the hero or heroine tend to

be represented as monsters of cruelty or vice, even when they There is no inclination are of royal rank, as is often the case.

Above all we miss those to avoid horrible or coarse subjects. detailed descriptions of court life upon which the heroic poems
are so fond of dwelling.
reflected in folk-tales
is

The

life

and thought which we

find

that not of the court but of the village.^ It would of course be rash to assume that folk-tales formed
*

the sole intellectual

pabulum of the peasantry in early times. add popular tales,' similar to those which formed the foundation of the heroic poems. But since these

No doubt we have

to

tales

were not put into poetic form i.e. not into such poetic form as would ensure their preservation 1 they were always liable to disintegration and thus were constantly approximating to folk-tales. Hence, though we must make allowance for
influence of the one
far

upon the other, it is probably not so very from the truth that what heroic stories were to the courts
were to the

rest of the population. court poetry flourished down to Christian times, though in the generation before the conversion it had come mainly into the hands of Icelanders. But practically nothing

folk-tales

In

Norway

is

here

known as to we have, I

the existence of court poets in Denmark and think, the explanation of the peculiar character
;

of the Danish sources used by Saxo.

The

old heroic

poems

had been largely forgotten, and what remained was preserved only in the form of ballads and popular tales which in some
cases practically
Lastly,

amounted

to folk-tales.

we must note that the existence of a folk-tale sometimes be inferred when we have no knowledge of it in its uncontaminated form. Such is the case (e.g.) when we find the same adventure, especially if it be of a supernatural
character, related of several different

whose

historical existence
1

may
may

and unconnected persons, be quite satisfactorily authenti8

Ballads on heroic subjects

of course have begun quite early.

c.

114
cated.

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS
But such inferences must be used with caution,

[CHAP.
for
it

is

not necessary to suppose that supernatural incidents in heroic stories are always due to the influence of folk-tales. They may
often truly reflect the belief of an age which did not clearly That the superdistinguish between natural and supernatural. natural is less prominent in heroic poetry than in folk-tales is

due doubtless

to the fact that the courts of that period possessed a far higher degree of culture than the rest of the population.
is

The same phenomenon
literature

still

more noticeable
the early court
in evidence,

in

Welsh
in the
it

than
is

in

Teutonic.

In

poems the
is

supernatural

comparatively

little

whereas

Mabinogion, which are largely made up of developed to a most astounding degree.

folk-tales,

Various kinds of supernatural beings are brought before our notice in heroic stories. In the Northern versions the god

Othin

is

introduced

instances,

Sigmundr
hall at the

not unfrequently. Thus, to give a few the Volsunga Saga brings him into contact with on two occasions first when he enters Volsungr's
:

and plants in the tree a sword which wedding alone is able to draw out (cap. 3), and again in his Sigmundr last battle when the hero's sword is shattered at the touch of Twice also the same saga makes him Othin's javelin (cap. n). meet with SigurtSr: first when he chooses for him the horse Grani (cap. 13), and later when he accompanies him on his way
feast

Hundingr (cap. 17; cf. also cap. 18). In these cases alike the god's identity is not suspected, at least In the poem Reginsmal, from which until after his departure.
all

to attack the sons of

the last of these incidents

is

taken,

we

find also a story of quite

natural,

a different character and laid wholly in the realm of the supernamely the adventures of the gods Othin, Hoenir and Loki with the otter and the dwarf Andvari. Of other divine

we may mention HlioS, the daughter of Hrfmnir and adopted daughter of Frigg, who became the wife As a last instance of Volsungr and mother of Sigmundr. a passage from the lost Biarkamdl reference may be made to (Saxo, p. 66), where the hero suspects that Othin is present among the enemy and expresses his desire to attack him.
or semi-divine beings

VI]

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS
In the

115

German heroic poems, which are entirely Christian, no mention of the gods. Note should be taken however of an incident in the Rabenschlacht (v. 964 ff.), where Witege in his flight from Dietrich gallops into the sea and is rescued by the mermaid Wachilt. If we were dealing with a Greek story we
find

we should regard this person as a goddess without In much earlier times a very good instance is

hesitation.

furnished by

the legendary history of the Langobardi. According to the story (cf. p. 9 f.) the Langobardi, who were then called Winniles, soon
after their emigration

the Vandals.

from Scandinavia came into conflict with The Origo Gentis Langobardorum, an anonymous
:

tract dating from the latter part of the seventh century, gives the following account of what happened Ambri and Assi, the leaders of the Vandals, asked Wodan (Godan) that he should

give

them

victory over the Winniles.
I

Wodan

replied, saying

:

"Whomsoever
them

shall first look

will I give victory." Ibor and Aio, who were chiefs over the Winniles, asked Fria (Frea), the wife of Wodan, that she should be gracious to the

upon, when the sun rises, to Then Gambara with her two sons

Winniles.

come when
should

Fria then gave counsel that the Winniles should the sun rose and that their women should let down

their hair about their faces after the fashion

of a beard and
it

come with

their husbands.

Then, as

became

light,

while the sun was rising, Fria turned the bed, on which Wodan And he lay, and put his face to the east and wakened him.

looked and saw the Winniles and their
let

women
"

with their hair
are those

down about
"
?

their faces

and said
:

:

Who

long-

beards

And

Fria said to

a name, give them also

Wodan " As thou hast given them victory." And he gave them victory, etc.

Woden is mentioned also in the Anglo-Saxon poem on the In strictly heroic magic herbs, and Ing in the Runic poem. pieces however the only possible case is the reference to the Indeed, passionate love of Geat in the Elegy of Deor (v. I5) were it not for the Langobardic story we might perhaps suspect that the introduction of the gods in heroic poetry was a Scandi1
.

1

Elsewhere

this

name

ancestor of
the Geatas

Woden.

It is possible
(cf.

occurs only in the genealogies, where it is borne by an however that in the Elegy some unknown hero of

may be meant

Beow. 640, 1785

etc.).

82

Il6

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS
But as the case stands, although
it

[CHAP.
this story

navian innovation.
their

cannot properly be regarded as heroic,
.

is

more

likely that

non-appearance in the English heroic poems is due to a process of expurgation or elimination. From such passages as fBeow. 1756. we may infer with probability that no definite
;

reference to the gods would be tolerated after the courts become Christian (cf. p. 53f.).

had

In the

poems which have come down

to us the supernatural

element is represented chiefly by what we may call monsters. This is especially the case in Beowulf, the main part of which is devoted to encounters with such beings. We can hardly obtain
a better example than the hero's adventures in the first part of But it will be well at the outset to guard against the the poem. assumption that the story of Beowulf was in any way typical of
early heroic poetry. either the story of

Thus we have no satisfactory evidence that Waldhere or that of Finn contained super-

any kind, while even in that of Siegfried are comparatively unimportant. they The story of Beowulf's adventures with the monsters seems
natural elements of
to be derived from a folk-tale.

In the Icelandic Grettis Saga,

66, the famous outlaw Grettir, who died in cap. 64 credited with performing almost the same exploits.

icy,

is

semblance between the two stories cases even to small points of detail.
points of difference, may the two side by side.

The reindeed descends in some

These, as well as the best be seen by giving an analysis of

Beowulf learns that King Hrothgar's hall has been attacked by night for twelve years and many of his
lost

Grettir learns that Steinvor has

her

servant

at

husband and a trusted two successive Christnightly

warriors carried off and devoured

mases through mysterious
attacks on her house.
to her

by the monster Grendel. and offers his services.

He comes

He comes

and claims
is left

hospitality at the

third Christmas.
is left in charge of the hall at with his fourteen companions. night Grendel (a male monster) attacks

He

He

alone in charge of the

hall at night.

the hall,

engages

devours one warrior and in a desperate wrestling

He is attacked by a huge female monster and a desperate wrestling
struggle takes place,

struggle with Beowulf.

VI]

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS
Grettir
is

117

Grendel finds Beowulf too strong and eventually escapes, but with the loss of an arm which Beowulf tears
off.

dragged out of the

house to a precipice over the river, where he eventually succeeds in chopping off one of the monsters arms. She falls over the edge.

Grendel's mother attacks the hall

There
river

is

and

carries

off

a Danish knight.

Grettir determines to

no further attack, but examine the

Beowulf goes to the lake where the monsters were believed to dwell, in order to exact punishment.

from

curiosity.

Beowulf dives
is

into the lake

and

Grettir dives off the cliff into the
river,

by Grendel's mother who drags him into her cave, where there is a bright fire. Beowulf s followers and the Danes remain above on the
seized

just

below a

waterfall.

He

climbs up beneath the waterfall and finds a cave there with a fire in it.

The
the

priest Steinn waits for
cliff.

him on

bank.

The monster overthrows Beowulf
and attacks him with a dirk
(seax]
;

but he succeeds in chopping her asunder with a huge sword which he finds in the cave. After slaying her he comes upon the dead Grendel

Grettir on reaching the cave is attacked by a huge male monster armed with a heptisax^. This snaps at the first thrust and as the monster
;

reaches back for a sword which

is

and cuts

off his head.

He

also sees

a quantity of treasure.

hanging behind him, Grettir slashes him down the front. Afterwards he finds the remains of the two missing

The

lake

is

stained
All

with
think

the
that

men in the cave. The river is

stained

with

the

monster's

blood.

Beowulf has perished, and the Danes home; but Beowulf's followers remain on the bank.
return

monster's blood, and Steinn, thinking that Grettir has perished, leaves
the
cliff.

There can scarcely be any doubt that these two
connected
in

stories are

some way.
is

Some

scholars indeed hold that the
;

Icelandic story

derived from the other

but the discrepancies

seem
there

to
is

Moreover to be too great for this to be probable. another Scandinavian story which has to be taken into
This
is

me

account.

contained in
(

Orms Thattr

Storolfssonar 2

,

a

document which dates from the fourteenth century, and later ballads from Sweden and the Faroes. According
1

also in
to the
the

This word

is

said to occur only here
to have

and

in a following verse.

From

description the
shaft.
2

weapon seems
p.

been a kind of dirk with a long wooden

Fornmanna Sogur, in

204

ff.

(especially p. -223

flf.).

Il8

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS

[CHAP.

story Ormr was an Icelander who lived towards the end of the tenth century. Like Beowulf and Grettir he had a reputation for laziness in his youth. In his time an island called SauSey
off the coast of

Norway was inhabited by the monster Brusi and his mother who had the form of a black cat. One of Ormr's friends, a Dane named Asbiorn, lost his life in an
attack upon them. Ormr then set out to avenge him. When he reached the monster's den the cat assailed him fiercely with

her

claws,

but

he

ultimately succeeded
Brusi,

in

destroying her.
tore
'

Then he had an encounter with
open with

whose head he
'

blood-eagle upon his back. In the den he found a large amount of gold and silver. The later forms of the story add several features which
recall

his hands, afterwards cutting the

situation of the

the adventures of Beowulf, especially in regard to the den and the cannibalistic propensities of the

monsters.

the

Here again we have in all probability only another form of same story. But it is to be observed that there is no special affinity between the two Scandinavian versions, while the setting and the names of the characters are entirely different in all three. Yet if one version was really the source of the others it is difficult
its

to believe that every trace of

original connections could

have

vanished.

With

far

more probability we may conclude that the

story once existed independently, i.e. in the form of a folk-tale, and as a matter of fact we possess an Icelandic folk-tale which

contains most of the principal features, though the hero has been 1 In its original form the tale was split up into five brothers
.

probably only a specialised variety of the type familiar to us through Jack the Giant-killer. Stories of this kind seem to

have been particularly popular
in part to

in

Norway

a fact due perhaps

whom

the survival of isolated savage communities among cannibalism may not have been entirely unknown 2
.

We

meet with them sometimes in quite unexpected places. Thus in the account of Thoroddr Snorrason's mission to Jemtland in
n p. 993 f. The following pages Brandl, Grundriss d. germ. Philol.' (995 f.) contain an admirable summary of the whole question. 2 For stories of monsters which suggest Cf. Hansen, Landnam i Norge, p. 160.
1

Cf.

2

,

savages,

cf.

Ketils S. Haengs, cap. 2

f.,

and Grims S. Loflinkinna, cap.

i.

VI]

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS

1

19

circumstantial

St Olaf's Saga (Heimskr.), cap. 151, we find a graphic and story of a female monster who killed and
in

the inn where the envoy was Thor too, the chief Norwegian deity, came to be resting. regarded essentially as a giant-killer, his origin in the thunder being entirely, or almost entirely, forgotten.

devoured eleven merchants

It is no serious objection to our view that Grettir seems to be a perfectly historical character for no one will contend that the story of his doings at Sandhaugar is true, any more than The a number of other exploits with which he is credited.
;

whose father, the magistrate Snorri (Grettir's contemporary), was perhaps the best known and most influential man in Iceland. We have seen
to the story of Thoroddr,

same remark applies

that in the true folk-tale the hero
tures are liable to

is

nameless

;

but his adven-

become linked with the names of historical characters just as in our own day everyone knows of remarkable persons who have had associated with them stories which
really

were

in

existence before their time.

In Grettir's case

exceptionally favourable conditions for such association were provided by the man's great strength, by the unruly disposition which he showed from his childhood and by the many thrilling

adventures which he doubtless did experience during his long Indeed, though the saga in its present form was not outlawry.

composed

until nearly three centuries after his time,

we might

naturally expect that many untrue stories about such a person would be in circulation even before his death.

so

it

Just as the folk-tale became attached to the historical Grettir, may have been associated with another person in earlier

times.

Now the only character in Northern tradition who has been identified with Beowulf is a certain BoSvarr Biarki, a
warrior in the service of Hrolfr Kraki.

The

identification

is

denied by
the
first

many

scholars, but there are

two points

in the story
it.

of Biarki which seem to
place as

me

to lend great probability to

In

Beowulf goes from the land of the Geatas where his uncle is king, to the court of the Danish (Gautar), king Hrothgar, so Biarki goes from the land of the Gautar, where his brother is king, to the court of Hrolfr Kraki, i.e. Hrothwulf, Hrothgar's nephew and colleague. Secondly, at

I2O

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS

[CHAP.

a later time Biarki, like Beowulf, assists the Swedish prince ASils (Eadgils) in his victorious campaign against Ali (Onela), though he is represented not as king of the Gautar but as Hrolfr Kraki's emissary. On the other hand
it is true that no resemblance to the story shown by the Scandinavian accounts of Biarki's and death. In Hrolfs Saga Kraka which dates only

of Beowulf
origin

is

1

,

from the fourteenth century, Biarki is said to have been born in Norway. His father was called Biorn ('bear') and his mother Bera (' she-bear '). The former indeed was actually turned into a bear by witchcraft. Further, from the time of his arrival in Denmark Biarki remained in the service of Hrolfr till the end

and

lost his life in the final attack

made upon

that king.

A

reminiscence of his ursine antecedents appears in the last scene. When the enemy are attacking the king's hall Biarki cannot be

roused out of slumber, but a huge bear (the warrior's seen fighting among the king's knights.

spirit) is

Saxo says nothing about Biarki's origin and it may be that the story given in the saga was unknown in his time. At all In the twelfth events it is doubtless derived from a folk-tale.
2 century Vita et Passio Waldevi almost the same story is told of the father of Siward, the famous earl of Northumbria, who died in 1055, while a further parallel is to be found in the

work of the same period. Both stories contain indications of Scandinavian origin and we can hardly doubt that the motif was a popular one in the folkIndeed for the version of the story found tales of the North.
Gestis Herwardi Saxonis 3 another
,

De

in
1

Hrolfs Saga, transformation into animal form through the

A somewhat

similar account of Biarki's origin

is

given in the (fifteenth century)

Biarkanmur.
2

contra solitum ordinem
t

Tradunt relaciones antiquorum quod uir quidam nobilis, quern Dominus permisit, humane propaginis, ex quodam albo urso patre, muliere generosa

matre, procreari Ursus genuit Spratlingum ; Spratlingus Ulsium ; Ulsius Beorn, Hie Beorn Dacus fuit natione, comes cognomento Beresune, hoc est filius ursi. In signum autem illius diversitatis speciei ex parte generanet miles illustris. egregius

tium produxerat ei natura paternas auriculas, sive ursi etc. Michel, Chroniques Anglo-normandes, p. 104. 3 cuius pater in silvis fertur puellam rapuisse et ex ea Ilium maximum ursum Biernum regent Nonveye genuisse. ib. p. 7 f. A similar story is told by Saxo (p. 345 f.)
of the ancestry of Svend Estrithson.

VI]

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS

121
in

agency of a wicked stepmother, analogies are to be found

many parts of the world. In his account of the last fight Saxo quotes at great length from the lost Biarkamal but here again no reference is made to
;

the bear motif 1
is

.

We may

note however that in this version no

given of Biarki's behaviour in refusing to rise explanation from his bed in response to the exhortations of his colleague 2
.

assume that Saxo's scarcely safe therefore, account apart from the quotations which consist entirely of speeches necessarily represents an earlier form of the story
It
is
I

think, to

than that given
is

in the

saga

;

for in the latter Biarki's

conduct

There is surely at least as quite satisfactorily explained. much to be said for supposing that the incident of the bear
it

or something which gave rise to

has been ignored or

for-

gotten by Saxo.

Now Beowulf is represented as an enormously strong man, but his strength is not altogether of a natural order. We are told that he was fated not to gain victory with the sword. It is not only the struggle with Grendel which he wins by wrestling
;

j

;

in v. 25o6f.

hugged or crushed to death the a method of warfare appropriate Frisian champion Daeghrefn The explanation is perhaps to a bear rather than to a man.
that he
to be found in the curious

we hear

j

\

phenomenon

called berserksgangr*,

which
works.

is

so frequently mentioned in sagas and even in legal It is to be remembered that in popular belief this form

of madness was connected with the werwolf idea, of which the bear form was a common variety. The transition therefore to
the story found in Hrolfs Saga is nothing very strange. In conclusion mention must be made of an incident which
1

Yet

significance of which
p. 51)

Hialti's third speech (p. 61) contains the words igne ursos arcere licet, the It is curious, as Prof. Olrik (Danmarks Heltedigtning, is obscure.

has pointed out, that Hrolfs Saga (cap. 33) refers to bears in a corresponding

place,
2

though the context

is

quite different.
p.

Prof. Olrik (op.

cit.,

natural character

and suggests that
:

of a super45) says that Biarki's sleep is certainly it is due to magical arts on the part of the

enemy.
3

Cf. especially Yngl. S. 6

Othin's

men went

to battle without mail-coats

were frenzied like dogs or wolves.
bears or bulls.
effect

They

bit into their shields
;

They made slaughter of other men upon them. This is called berserksgangr.

and and were as strong as but neither fire nor iron took

122

SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS
connection with
In-

[CHAP.
fight

has been
that

brought into Beowulf and Grendel.
shortly
after
his

the

between

Hrolfs Saga, cap. 23, it is stated arrival at the Danish court Biarki

encountered and slew an animal demon which at two successive Yules had ravaged the live-stock in the king's farm. Saxo

same story when he won great fame by killing a huge bear
alludes clearly to the
1
.

states that Biarki

Now
.

it

should be

observed that the representation of Grendel

is

by no means

clearly anthropomorphic, though the human element is much more apparent in the cave scene. The various accounts may, I think, be satisfactorily reconciled on the hypothesis that in

the original story the hero killed a monster or demon (iotunri) in the form of a bear (biarnar kamr). In England this story must have been expanded and modified by the influence of the
folk-tale of the

two cannibal monsters which we have discussed

above.

In Scandinavian tradition however no such intrusion

took place, though a totally different folk-tale became attached to the early history of the same hero.

Two
first,

adventures with dragons are recorded in Beowulf.

The

that of Sigemund, is related quite briefly (vv. 884 900), but the second forms the subject of the latter part of the poem. The Older Edda (Fafnismdl), followed by the prose Edda and

Volsunga Saga, gives an account of the killing of Fafnir by and in the late Seyfridslied two adventures of the SigurSr same kind are narrated in connection with the same hero.
;

Dragons

figure also occasionally in the

German

epics, especially

in the story

of Wolfdietrich.

accounts of the dragons slain Fridleuus II. The two stories are almost identical, but the former (p. 38) contains a description of the dragon and of the means to be used in attacking him, which is given in Latin verse

Here too we must mention Saxo's by the Danish kings Frotho I and

and may very well be derived from an old poem. There are certain resemblances between Saxo's stories and the great dragon fight in Beowulf, and many scholars are
]

The

made
first

identity of the two stories to drink the creature's blood
(cf.

is

shown by

the fact that in both cases Hialti
in

is

a custom

known

Norway
tell

in comparatively

recent times

Olrik, op.

'/.,

p. 118).

The Biarkarimur

of two encounters, the

with a she-wolf, the second between Hialti and a bear.

. In Anglo-Saxon poetry also it is generally ' ' 1 recognised It has been mentioned above that .VI] SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS 123 The inclined to the view that they have a common origin. Gnomic Verses. but he seems always to be represented rather as a reptile than a dragon. flying dragon. far the earliest of the authorities. . since the flying dragon is also known in the North we find it mentioned even in old poems such as Voluspa. : draca sceal on hlaeive frodfraetitrum wlanc. namely that they are represented as guarding hoards of gold. 26 f. The saedracan and niceras mentioned in Beowulf 1425 would seem from the fif. The description of Sigemund's dragon is too brief to enable us to determine its character. FaTnir is called dreki in Volsunga Saga. which is said to fly and breathe fire. only if there was reason for thinking that the story was known the North before the composition of Beowulf. This is perhaps to be noticed. since expressions such as are among the commonest terms for gold in Old (or 'snake') Norse poetry. To me the affinities of the latter seem rather to lie with 1 Cf. On the other hand it is not certain that the word draca always denotes a supernatural being. the Cott. that the stories of is though opinion Sigemund and SigurSr must be connected. at all events by this stands the fact that both Scandinavian and German tradition names SigurSr But this argument could have weight (Siegfried) as the hero. many scholars connect the story of Beowulf's dragon-fight with that related of Frotho I by Saxo. Moreover however in both cases ended successfully. divided as to whether the adventure was first Beowulf Against is ascribed to the father or the son. It is once called draca and thrice wyrm but the latter word is used also of the . all the English and Northern dragons. namely (i) that the hero attacks and kills the dragon alone and (ii) that he carries away On the other hand it is generally agreed the treasure in a boat. One feature however is common to bed of the dragon widespread. former in two points at least they agree rather with the adventure ascribed to Sigemund in Beowulf. It is not in at all clear that he is a being of the same kind as the dragon encountered by Beowulf. In the North this idea must have been very description to be animals of the seal-class.

stories Northern legends make their home by the If there is a connection between the two sea.124 SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS . Fri'Sfro'Si is son of Fri'Sleifr. According to Saxo this latter king was killed in his old age by a sorceress who had taken the form of a sea-cow (marituma bos}. This again may be a hypocoristic form for Beowulf. 855) . Sigemund's dragon but the truth may be that for adventures of was a standard poetic description which could be applied to any number of cases. But in any case there does not seem to be any adequate ground for the commonly accepted view that the adventure with Grendel originally belonged to this person. son of Danr. 2 In Skioldunga Saga. In Skioldunga Saga. while Fro'Si hinn froekni is son of Friftleifr. ' the dragonFrotho I and the death of Frotho III their origin must FrotSi the Peaceful (Frotho III) is surely be sought in myth. fight of The generally held that this person's original name was Beowa or Beaw. 3 As . though on the other hand it is by no means impossible that the name of the son of Scyld has been assimilated to that of the hero of the poem. son of Scioldus. form given in the genealogy in the Chronicle (ad ann. Langfeftgatal etc. Scandinavian genealogical texts Saxo has the series Frotho 3 Haldanus Ro (Hroarr) and Helgo corresponding to the 3 Beowulf Healfdene Hrothgar and Halga of the poem Quite possibly therefore it is not without significance that this person is credited with having killed a dragon. Saxo's Frotho III (the Peaceful). But here we may turn to the story of the other Frotho. More important perhaps this kind there is Beowulf the son of Scyld the fact that genealogically Saxo's Frotho I corresponds to 1 In common with practically all . [CHAP. though the author does not make clear what kind of creature he means . It is at least a question whether this story does not belong to the same class as the others for whatever differences there may be in other respects between a sea-cow' and a dragon. son of Gram. . We have seen that the two stories differ essentially in regard to the outcome of the adventure. Halfdan's father is not FriSfro'Si (Saxo's but FroSi hinn froekni (Saxo's Frotho IV). Frotho I) son of Skioldr . it may be observed that nearly all the dragons of by . Frotho's death is recorded by Saxo in quite a different connection and apparently long afterwards. but in view of the many corruptions which this genealogy has suffered it may very well be due to 1 It is latter is the a scribal error for Beowa. for there can be little doubt that the two characters were originally identical. the Froda of Beowulf.regards Frotho's parentage Saxo makes him son of Hadingus. Langfeftgatal etc. ' ' that term.

the father of Frotho I. need not enter here into a discussion of these mythical though it may be remarked in passing that therio- morphism plays a very prominent part in the religious practices and conceptions of primitive peoples. . on the shore of the Roeskilde Fjord but the two fjords have a common entrance. Moreover. is 10 ff. Swedes But is it ? not also connected somehow with the story of Frotho's death We stories. Roeskilde cathedral is dedicated (cf. 29 f. of theriomorphic religion or perhaps one should say to days a time when certain marine animals were regarded as divine. that re hear not unfrequently of a struggle between a god or national hero and some theriomorphic being whose sanctuary 2 >r attributes he appears to have taken over But it is perhaps in Beowulf also the hero is repeatedly involved rorth noting that This feature is entirely adventures with water-monsters. order to propitiate the gods he instituted a sacrifice to Frey. 1 Tantitm pene uis quippe celica pensat. and. what is more. it is clear that he was evidence the Danish counterpart of the god Frey. though there is no proverbial that he was regarded as a god. Note should also be taken of the dstence of a local tradition going back apparently to the Middle Ages to the effect the Isefjord was formerly haunted by a monster which demanded a human victim >m every ship that passed.). Sarrazin. whom . It was finally expelled by the arrival of the relics of 2 We may Thor (MrtSgar'Ss veurr) St Lucius.VI] SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS 125 the central figure of Danish legend and his fame became even in Germany. to p. which was to be repeated at regular intervals and which the This story seems to take us back to the call Froblod. Hadingus. tory of compare the case of Apollo and the Python at Delphi. The traditional burial-place of Frofti the Peaceful Beowulf-Studien. ibsent from the story of Biarki and can hardly have a historical . and possibly the and MiSgarftsormr. unum e superis alieno corpore tectum sacrilege necuere manus : sic numinis almi interfector ades. while bathing in and killed it the sea off the coast of Helsingland encountered As he was a sea-monster of unknown species. It may not be out of place here to cite one more of Saxo's stories (p. saying that he had killed one of the 1 In deities who was wandering about in a form not his own .). carried to his having camp he met a woman who uttered a prophecy of dire woe.

The discrepancy between the names Beowulf and FroiSi is of minor account. the son of Ecgtheow. in part at least. sometimes with the other. Beow. intermediate stages between the original hero and the person finally credited with the exploit. On the other hand if this person is really a mythical national hero the name Beoiva (perhaps for an earlier Yet there may have been form Eiowi) would seem more natural than Beowulf. since the may very well have originated in a title (cf. totally incompatible with what we real name was Cynethryth from know of this queen whose contemporary sources. But in that case there is have been transferred to the hero from of Scyld. What I would suggest is that it is derived. is represented as a most desperate of Offa character. considerable probability that these stories his namesake. My view is that this 1 is one of the elements which have contributed to the all difficulties. 2928). the wife date. It does not of course remove The chief of these perhaps is the presence of Wiglaf. It can scarcely be doubted that heroic poetry was liable to mistakes of the although the question has scarcely received as as it same character. II (the Mercian king). latter who seems clearly to belong to Beowulf. much attention deserves. In the explanation put forward above I do not mean of course to suggest that the dragon of northern heroic poetry is always a distorted form of some marine animal. persons. the Vitae Duorum Offarum.126 basis. A much better case however occurs in an English work of later In that work Drida. . the son genealogically to the who belongs same group of This explanation will at all events account for the discrepancy between the English and Scandinavian accounts of the hero's death 1 Only the latter properly comes into consideration for Beowulf the son of Ecgtheow. We may compare too the hopeless confusion which prevails in the chronicles with regard to Anlaf the son of Sihtric (Olafr Kvaran) and Anlaf the son of Guthfrith. For the suggested transference we have a certain analogy in the various incidents which are connected sometimes with one Frotho. v. and incidents are related of her which seem to be . SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS [CHAP. On the other hand they agree very well with the brief account given in Beowulf of Thrytho the wife of Offa I (king of Angel). from the same group of legends which in Danish tradition are centred round the names Hadingus and Frotho.

2 or Asia cf. which is clearly regards the origin of this association unnatural and not due in any way to the influence of marine animals it . 123. St Eucherius. like the one in Beowulf spirit of the dead prince. note. was nothing else than the fiery dragon. Beow. 80. and their currency is perhaps assisted by works of We have to remember that the word draca is derived art. 3082). is But there 1 another feature which deserves notice in the certain usages cited p. 1 Thus upon some of these legends a good deal of light seems to be thrown by by Mr Frazer in his Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship. Herodotus (ill 116. the reference to the Gnomic verses quoted on p. and on coming to himself begged St Boniface and others to go and inspect the On opening the tomb they saw a dragon prince's burial place. from Latin. As may be noted that the dragon's lair is often a tomb or barrow 3 as in the case of the one encountered by Beowulf. and it is permissible to suspect that such was the case elsewhere. dart out suddenly and found the grave all blackened as though it had been burnt Here it would seem that the dragon a up. . in a vision connection with their character as guardians of gold for in early times it was customary to bury with the dead a considerable . 27) speaks of a region in the extreme north of Europe which was said to be inhabited by gold-guarding griffins (x/>wo0i/Xa/ces yptires. goldweard. IV 13. 8 antiquity . Yet the conception itself is probably much older at all events the association of such monsters with hoards of gold can be traced back in northern regions to a very remote the folk-tales of are . 3 Cf. which is found in An a number of medieval chronicles. At all events the fact that dragons are represented as inhabiting tombs is clearly to be taken in Orleans. . bishop of saw Charles in hell. explanation of this phenomenon seems to be afforded by a story relating to the tomb of Charles Martel. by Very frequently no doubt they are handed on from one people to another.VI] SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS 1 27 formation of the stories playing a part similar to that of the crocodile in the legends of southern lands 1 Dragons endowed with supernatural or at least unnatural characteristics figure in . stories many nations throughout the world and such no means restricted to maritime populations. amount of treasure.

Franc. as in the case of more than one remarkable story The explanation lies no doubt in the fact that told by Bede. qui huic rei et interfuerunt 3 Texts D. Tom. As an instance we may take the speeches of the birds (nutIn conclusion we have to hatches) which in Fafnismal 32 ff. Epistola Synodi Carisiacensis ad Hludowicum regem Germaniae Legum Sect.128 SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS [CHAP. and the story of Biarki 1 Germ. itself must have been take account of supernatural properties possessed by beings which in themselves are natural. assumed with safety either that the killer of a dragon must be a fictitious person or that the adventure invented long after the hero's time. 3 the Saxon Chronicle sub anno 793. II. that in that year fiery if .).. men a person asserted that he had seen a fiery dragon. 432 f. Absurd as this belief for its may seem we in have good contemporary evidence account of the Warni. which were probably composed not very long afterwards. second-hand. his statement would be received doubtless with wonder but not necesAs a matter of fact we find it stated in sarily with incredulity. the year 806.97f-)Under the same head may be mentioned the faculty ascribed to various persons of being able to change into wolves or bears. about a century after the incident is said to have taken place.e. II. E. p. the of that age did not clearly distinguish between the At such a time supernatural and that which is merely unusual. Reg. 2 directa (Mon. 8. But the closing words of the account 2 state quite definitely that the writer or writers had known persons who were present at the opening of We have thus to deal with evidence which is strictly the tomb. which it is found dates from the year 858.. Similar stories occur elsewhere in Old Norse literature. warn SigurSr of the treachery prepared for him by Reginn. This entry seems to come from the Northumbrian Gesta. nos autem illos uidimus qui usque ad nostram aetatem durauerunt. cap. Capit. is for The last entry which we can trace . As instances we may mention the case of Sigmundr and Sinfiotli given in Volsunga Saga. The earliest document 1 in story of Charles Martel's grave. nobis uiua uoce ueraciter sunt testati quae audierunt atque uiderunt. F. i. which we discussed ( existence in Procopius' the last chapter P . It cannot therefore be dragons were seen flying in the air.

As himself expresses scepticism . mere exaggeration.e. 544 ff. though many of these cases may be set down to 377 1 fif. On the whole however such characteristics are scarcely as prominent as they are in the heroic stories of other nations. among primitive peoples Among other supernatural characteristics may be mentioned that of invulnerability. Hygelac (Beowulf's uncle) was of such immense size that no horse could carry him A after he reached the age of twelve. More probably he is reporting stories actually current among the Teutonic soldiery in the Roman army. For the latter we have already suggested an But though the motif may not have been a common one in heroic poetry as compared with sagas relating there can be no doubt that the belief in to the Viking Age It is of shape-changing goes back to a remote antiquity. Often too heroes are capable superhuman powers of strength or endurance. is more strikingly displayed in account of Britain (Goth. IV 20) than in any of the Procopius' poems which have come down to us.VlJ SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS 1 29 explanation. and that if Wall) any man ventured there he would die at once from the pestilential atmosphere. which doubtless contained adventurers from 1 many distant lands. His bones were shown as a marvel to visitors. the Roman was inhabited only by snakes and wild beasts. occurrence in poems and stories dealing with the gods. while similar ideas are widely prevalent at the present day. . through the use of magic which rendered a feature found in Beowulf (in the case of all weapons harmless of Grendel) as well as in later works.. . to It is scarcely permissible therefore suppose that he had been victimised by a humorist. In short we have here to a curious light on the enormous strength ascribed to Beowulf is thrown by It is there stated that passage in the Liber Monstrorum (cf. Then he goes on to say that Britain was the dwelling place of the spirits of the dead. 24). and describes in detail how certain people who dwelt on the Prankish coast ferried the souls across. as in Beow. p. frequent discussed above. to the truth of this story Procopius yet he states that he had heard it from numerous witnesses. In the first place he says The love of the marvellous that the whole country beyond the great wall (i.

xoff. The characteristics of heroic poetry. is the folk-tale. these must be classed under fiction. is distinction which we have drawn between the two categories that only the former deals with definite though unhistorical 2 It is commonly held that myth is a personalities necessary The . VI do with which had been localised its in Britain and were believed to represent Procopius was writing. But it is scarcely correct to regard these elements as the distinctive Their chief domain in reality more primitive form of composition. and certain Lithuanian folk-songs ('Dainos') cap. as we know from source. but this is a question which we must reserve for discussion in the next chapter.cfi-personifications are of popular origin. there was quite a considerable amount of communication between Britain and the Continent. a far truly distinctive characteristics of heroic poetry are rather those which differentiate it from the folk-tale.). in so far at least as su. etc. cf. 2 Not.g. sonifications of the heavenly bodies . we have seen that the presence of supernatural elements does not necessarily mean that the stories in which they occur were composed or modified long after the events which they relate that. element in heroic stories . of course. which without doubt was in existence during the same period. almost contemporary narratives. 26 52. 1 The folk-tale represented by the second story may of course be derived ulti- mately from some ancient custom. condition truly at the very time when It is exceedingly remarkable that such stories should obtain credence at a time when.) in Gylfaginning. hirriself In the course of this chapter we have seen that many of the heroic stories contain elements derived from myth and folk-tale.I3O SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS folk-tales 1 [CHAP. personalities consciously invented by an individual brain . (from Vafbruftnismal. such elements are to be found in contemporary or . On the other hand myth must be held to include per- and natural phenomena as (e. Beow. on the contrary. Indeed more than one Procopius says that large numbers of English emigrants had recently settled within the Prankish dominions. Further. reflections of the beliefs They must be taken as faithful and ideas of an uncritical age.

It has been noticed that historical persons figure in many stories of the Heroic Age. has been confused with a mythical character of the same name. and all analogies suggest that he came into existence as their eponymus. In the last chapter we put forward the view that Beowulf. p. now to consider the question whether myth is a necessary element in the formation of heroic poetry. One exception relates to the story of the funeral ship. and that their even in stories association with historical characters is a secondary development due to confusion or to poetic imagination.CHAPTER WE have VII. the father of this earlier Beowulf. Olrik's doubts 1 have already dealt in Danmarks Heltedigtning. It can scarcely be doubted that Scyld Scefing. 248 ff. was also a mythical character. the Danish royal family. With The Origin of the English Nation. the hero of the poem. on which the dead king's body 1 is sent out to sea. this subject I 92 . and that the adventure with the dragon originally belonged to the latter. p. MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS. In spite of Prof. The brief account of him given in the poem might. may But of the former type it is held that some of the characters are almost always of mythical origin. though they not show any supernatural features in their final form. The only element in his story common to English and Scandinavian tradition is that he is regarded as the ancestor of the Scyldungas or Skioldungar. be applied to almost any successful king of the Heroic Age. These latter stories are believed to be wholly mythical in origin. 287 f. except in two particulars. while others do not contain a single character whose historical existence can be authenticated.

The by tale. first 2 He is represents Skioldr (Sdoldus) as a reformer of the laws. . question here is between myth and folkstory may fairly be classed under the latter head. The only 1 record apart from Saxo nothing distinctive of Skioldr. 27) but this is held to be a secondary element in the story. . except that he was a son of Othin and the husband of the goddess Gefion 2 which again points to myth. viz. p. but the question to be asked late times. (i) the adventure with the swan-maidens. likewise a story told more fully of Sceaf in certain English chronicles. indeed a historical or semi-historical connection in the fact that Weland is represented as the father of Widia (Wudga). as to the mythical It has origin of which nearly all scholars seem to be agreed. Several places in Germany (Westphalia and Holstein) are reputed to be the scene of his operations.) records several incidents of which we know nothing from other sources. this is a cannot but think that other is reminiscence of ancient custom.132 I MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. ii f.e. original form the story is believed to have dealt only with the incidents related in V6lundarkvi5a. his But there is no evidence that own deeds poem. . while in this 1 Saxo (p. Next we may take the story of Weland. an argument ever formed the subject of an independent heroic It would be somewhat hasty therefore to use this case as for the origin of characters who are brought before us in the main action of heroic poems. the early Gothic hero Vidigoia mentioned by Jordanes (cf. think its origin is ultimately to be sought in a ritual authorities. but not as the stated only in Ynglinga likely that such a king. i. 5) . In Scyld-Skioldr we have the case of an eponymous ancestor appearing in the introduction to a poem which deals largely with the fortunes of his descendants. is whether 3 it is it is combination would be invented in From clear that almost all the Deor's Elegy and the picture on the Y ranks casket in the British Museum main features of the second part of the story were known in England. Reminiscences of the first part occur in the medieval German poem Herzog Friedrich von Schwaben. (ii) Weland's imprisonment by Nithhad and Behind the story itself however there lies a widehis revenge 3 belief in the existence of a supernatural smith of this spread name. This Saga (cap. sea the reference to his arrival as an infant. In its . The though I Scandinavian myth.

treachery and vindictiveness ascribed to the chief characters. I Saga. Hotherus and binds him and then takes away his sword and a magical ring.VII] MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS is 133 country he Smith. myth or folk-tale. We may confine our attention therefore to the second and better known part that which deals with Weland's imprisonment and revenge. Norse i f. or even of a smith.e. while at the same time surprises . for Weland's most famous sword is called 2 For a more remote parallel we may compare the Mimming of Loki and Andvari. is that sympathy is on the side of the smith. A connection between the two stories is shown even in the name. be noted that the name Weland is determined with certainty 1 Now there can be little doubt that the adventure with the . 70 f. It is usually connected with O. It is manifest that this story departs very decidedly from the ordinary standard of heroic poetry firstly in the fact that the hero is here clearly represented as a smith. Mimingus is a satyrus. It is the end of the story into the air 1 and flies away that where Weland (Volundr) rises is supposed to point most vet. no indication of a fire-demon.. swan-maidens story there is In this part of the is derived from a folk-tale. The distinctive feature in the story of Weland. and secondly in the cruelty. apart from the revenge. Indeed the spoiling of a dwarf is story quite a common motif in Northern tales. i. such beings are constantly credited with extraordinary skill in metallurgy. just as much as for the incident of the swan-maidens. 23 etc. cap. In its ultimate origin this Certainly it is to of a very exceptional type apparently participial in form. though this cannot now be traced to the myth of a fire-demon. while analogies for the incident are fairly common both in Teutonic lands and much farther afield. These are features which would be in place either in But we may note further that there are analogies for part of this story.' 'artifice. clearly either an elf or dwarf. As an example we may take Saxo's account of the robbing of Mimingus by Hotherus (p. who dwells in a cave in an almost inaccessible forest. Thiflreks 'contrivance. One can hardly help suspecting that it once had a definite meaning. .).' 2 Waldhere. near belief is Ashdown connected with the cromlech called Wayland in Berkshire.

suspicion of such a myth. were generally regarded with deep aversion. But the view seems to me somewhat far-fetched. There can be no doubt that in in the Heroic Age and princes were especially anxious to obtain slaves. the story above. 8). In Deor's Elegy Weland is said to be a more distinguished man than Nithhad in VolundarkviSa he is called a chief of the elves. For the murder of Nithhad's sons we have a somewhat striking minstrelsy to the blind. cap. had a young son who one day was in entrapped by some goldsmiths in the queen's service. Further. . and none of our authorities credit him with possessing a following of his own. king of the Rugii. a valuable illustration of the process discussed in p. in whose case there is no clearly to a fire-myth. But this feature cannot be traced except Moreover here we have also the adventure with the flying swan-maidens. from feathers collected birds 2 flies away in a garment which he has made him by his brother Egill. just as in it is likely enough that servile would take any opportunity that presented itself of avenging themselves on their masters. smith's work may although. especially Saxo's History. while the intro. 1196*". that smiths made . Setting aside this incident the story is perfectly explicable as a folk-tale founded on actual experience. duction makes him the son of a king of the Finns. in the story is that a person in this position should come to be the subject of heroic or semi-heroic poetry for it is plain enough from many sources. Weland for is It is represented behind the form of Beaduhild.134 MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. except in the late ThiSreks Saga. since a figure catching 1 In Thi'Sreks Saga. They threatened to take his life but the saint intervened and rescued . quite apart be regarded as a vocation natural to the lame man. his father's name is never given. who were skilled in metallurgy. 30. who were settled on the Danube in the time of Odoacer. the boy on condition of the smiths obtaining their freedom 2 What seems to me to be really the most remarkable feature . commonly held that this account has been influenced If so it is somehow by of Weland. whether foreigners or not. Feletheus. historical parallel Eugippus' Life of St Severinus (cap. in the Norse version 1 . And it is by no means incredible that such slaves indeed much earlier times were sometimes lamed order to prevent any attempt at escape from this explanation. It is thought by some that the engraver of the Franks casket had the same story in mind. when cruelly treated. Yet. smiths.

22). If Weland was a character of folk-tale and his name had at one time a definite meaning. In such a case there would be a natural tendency to the accumulation of material that a story from folk-tales about his parentage. In Kudrun it appears as Waldhere is the only English poem which mentions Weland as the father of Widia but I cannot admit that there is any ground for supposing this poem to have had a different origin from the rest (cf. its explanation. At all events there is no conclusive evidence in either case that princess. We need not entertain any doubt as to the adventure with the swan-maidens. whatever occurs also in Deor's Elegy. It is a distinct reference to offspring of Weland and Beaduhild Once grant that the relationship is old for the heroic treatment of the story becomes the reflection of the son's fame upon the merely As Widia is never said to be the son of anyone else father.). these characters did not originally belong to the story of Widia. . The real difficulty seems to me to lie in determining the amount of material from folk-tale contained in the latter. there is at the end of the poem. 57 f. If this view is correct the story must of course come I originally from the Goths or some neighbouring people. may be explained by English sound-laws. The variant forms Widia Wudga . . while Nr&had. and and the reason obvious. Moreover gether forgotten 1 . was soon current as to his being the offspring of a union between a princess and a bondsmith. cannot see that the Westphalian traditions are any more conclusive than the Berkshire cromlech as to its original home.VII] MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS 135 Now is there any real necessity for the assumption that Weland's relationship to Widia is a secondary development ? It is found in two of the three national versions of the story and hence dates back in all probability at least to the sixth century. Another story which is believed to be of wholly mythical origin 1 is that of HeSinn and Hogni. . these local traditions may have been quite independent of the heroic story. the probability is that he was supposed to be illegitimate. but then Widia is altoIt is not found in the VolundarkviSa or unknown in Northern tradition. But what about Nithhad and Beaduhild? The latter name is not obviously framed to suit the character or circumstances of the unfortunate Nithhad might be explained more easily in this way yet a Gothic prince of that name is recorded by Jordanes (cap. p.

connects the story with the reign of Frotho III (Frofti the feature. (Grundriss. des Aufgangs und des Niedergangs. . quite uncertain. where is this interpretation is quoted with approval) regards the tiefsinnig. it to the German poem and the second story seems to be entirely unknown from other sources. passage in Lamprecht's Alexander (v. The original connection with the story can be properly inferred from Wids. seems to me that this theory is open to namely that it is founded too much upon At the same time I doubt whether Wate's features peculiar to one or other version. des Entstehens und Prof. and the time to which it refers version of the story contains a supernatural element in the endless battle which forms its It is generally held that this is the oldest element conclusion. where the origin of the (p. which in in the story ' * takes the place of the tragic ending found in the Northern version. we can hardly do otherwise than treat the story of HeSinn and Hogni as an independent narrative. 3 From a it century. None of the characters however can be traced is in any historical work 1 . story as ' III 711. taken in Panzer's Hilde-Gudrun. The whole story then is to be regarded as a myth But we may of unceasing strife between conflicting powers 2 / ask whether it is truly scientific. allgemeinen.). The Northern and that Hild. when dealing with a naturally story known from three separate national traditions. xxx 229). as Fruote von Tenemarke appears as 2 "Ein Bild des unaufhorlichen. aber nie entschiedenen Kampfes entgegengesetzter Machte. from which point of bears a superficial resemblance to the story of Scyld and But since this feature is peculiar possibly to that of Weland. to regard as the original element a feature found in only one of the three. Kudrun 1 Saxo (p. since it can be traced in England. 21 f. It somewhat the same objection as the other. This must have been one of the most popular stories of the Heroic Age. It may be urged of course that the reconciliation. whose name means war/ was really a valkyrie. ZfdA.136 MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. 1321).) Peaceful). the introduction to a view much longer story. 158 this ff. and one of Hetel's may be an ancient chief men in Kudrun. rendered it necessary to drop the mythical element and again that we have extremely little information 3 . Sijmons Vergehens. story traced to a folk-tale 250 ff. but I think it is secondary. a work of the twelfth appears that Hagen (Hogni) was killed in the earlier German version of the story. influence of folk-tales is clear enough in both versions of the story. des Seins und Nichtseins" (Miillenhoff. as well as in Germany and the North.' I confess the interpretation is too A totally different is view deep for my comprehension.

Now consider certain cases in which elements undoubtedly historical are believed to be blended with myth.g. I 32. (iv) In both cases the combatants have previously been friends in though strictly this feature applies only to the Northern version first of the HeSinn story. Hildeburg\ while in the Continental and Scandinavian authorities also they are extremely common. Panzer. The chief points of resemblance between the two are as follows (i) The heroine is called in the one : case Hiltgund (Hildegyth). in the other Hildr (Hild). 327 (also Pausanias. for half the feminine names which occur in Anglo-Saxon heroic poetry contain the element -hild. however who do adopt this interpretation base their view upon a supposed connection between the story of Waldhere and that of HeSinn and Hogni. But these (the second and 1 For the endless battle there are a number of parallels. Beaduhild. HetSinn) who carries off the girl has both cases to fight with a man called Hagen or Hogni.VII] MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS 137 The latter remark is about the English form of the story. view of the fact that 21 is which we passage together with Widsith. In the former case it should be mentioned that the mythical Those scholars theory is by no means universally accepted. the last consideration obviously has little validity. cf. speaking the passage in Deor's Elegy (cf. (iii) The man (Waldhere. Now the consideration carries no weight at all . as anything more than an extremely doubtful hypothesis 1 Thus far we have been dealing with stories supposed to be of entirely mythical origin.. 56) is not a reference to the story at all. Again. cit. In both cases the historical elements are practically the same. 3.(e. but a matter of fact statement by the poet that he had been in the service of the Heodeningas. ff. (ii) Both stories deal with abduction (so-called) and then with fighting. p. I cannot regard the mythical interpretation this far . p. Hence. Strictly precludes the possibility of a mythical interpretation. but the little that we do know practically true certainly . As examples of this which are we have to type we may take the stories of Waldhere and SigurSr. op. . the earliest reference to the story probably by possess. except when taken in conjunction with the other two. in v. with Mr Frazer's note).

in the other he is a vassal of Gunther (Guthhere). It is true that a different version of the story appears in Here Hogni (Hagen) is represented ThiSreks Saga af Bern 1 as pursuing the fugitives on behalf of Attila. the part played by the person called Hagen (Hogni) is quite different in the two cases. the late North German ballad on Eormenric's death (cf. 1 There is also a Polish version which has several peculiarities of its own but shows no special affinity with the form of the story found in Thiftreks Saga. But the lapse of time in itself a perfectly adequate explanation of such divergencies.138 MYTHICAL ELEMENTS resemblance ' IN are. Now it has been widely assumed that this version is an independent and more original form of the story than that contained in Ekkehard's work. with great reluctance. who made by has already been slain. in common. while Guthhere . what we might expect that two different sets of opponents of For a parallel we may compare the hero should be confused. with an aggrieved father. which describes how Theodric with eleven companions broke It is generally agreed that into the king's castle and slew him. p. Lastly. (ii) within the the latter : individual story to lose sight of all except the outstanding Hence it is only in accordance with characters and incidents. is THE HEROIC POEMS it [CHAP. a third party in the hope of plunder. ' To seems to me. Then the fight which follows is not. who is only drawn into it. . through the obligation of avenging his nephew (Patufrit). In one he is the injured father who is wholly responsible for the fight. as in the case of HeSinn and Hogni. in spite of the fact that it does not make its appearance till nearly three centuries after tion of the and probably nearly six centuries after the composiAnglo-Saxon poem. altogether hardly correct to apply the term abduction . such as the story of Waldhere relates at all events the conditions have nothing misleading. two tendencies are constantly observable (i) to connect stories or incidents which originally were quite distinct. provides especially if we bear in mind the unfavourable conditions under which the heroic stories were preserved in Germany during the As the stones gradually became forgotten early Middle Ages. or indeed with a pursuing force of any kind it is an unprovoked attack . does not appear. 9). third) points of begin with it to an escape of hostages.

37. 490 flf. Yet apart from this supposed connection there is no case for believing it to have a mythical foundation except the assumption that myth is a necessary ingredient in every heroic story. In its earlier form the affinities of the story with that of HeSinn and Hogni are. 139 this ballad is some kind with the story of HamSir and Sorli who were likewise enemies of Eormenric. represented by the Annals of Quedlinburg (cf. Whether it is to be regarded as history or fiction is of course quite a different question and one which later. 2 It is held by many that this name was originally connected with Wascono lant.) in the Vosges (saltus Vosagus) on the confines of Guthhere's dominions. note). But. It is held by the great majority of scholars that the Nibelungenlied and the corresponding Edda poems or rather the earlier poems or legends on which both were based came into existence through the 1 The early North German version of p. The saga itself really contains evidence which points to an earlier form of the story agreeing with that given by Ekkehard. an early German name for Aquitaine (Gascony) and that the introduction of the Vosges ( Wasgunberg] was later and due to the confusion of two similar names.VII] MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS due to confusion of 1 . if there has been any such confusion at all. no doubt that this expression is to be explained by the rocky defile mentioned by Ekkehard (v. and that the hero is represented as a nephew of the last named. chronological considerations render it far more probable that the transference was in the reverse direction. For the hero is called Valtari af Vaskasteini 2 and there can be . as we have seen. made Eormenric perish in the fight. All scholars are agreed that this is due to late combination and no doubt rightly. scarcely worth consideration. though not connected in any way with Theodric. we shall have to consider Of all the stories of the Heroic Age probably none has been more frequently referred to a mythical origin than that which deals with SigurSr (Siegfried). . apparently this story. Further it is to be noted that the story is introduced as an episode in the relations of Theodric and Eormenric. Yet Waldhere is associated with Theodric and Eormenric also in a number of German >oems which are quite independent of the saga. and consequently it is by no means improbable that these combinations both preceded and helped to bring about the disappearance of Guthhere from the story.

Hagen. encounter. amalgamation of an young prince is brought up by a cunning smith away from his father's home. the Nibelungenlied this is obtained by a different with two princes named Schilbung and Nibelung. a name connected with Old Norse /#. he has to yield to the powers of The original name of these powers was or Nibelunge. by fire or water.140 MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. Later. Many scholars also hold that the powers which destroyed the hero and appropriated his wife and treasure were originally identical with those from which he had won them at the beginning and this view seems to be more or less involved by the interpretation given above. like SigurtSr and Brynhildr. 68 80.' Niflheimr. SigurSr himself is a light-hero and a sun-maiden whom he releases at the dawn. It is held that this story was originally a myth of light and : as follows A in a forest. thereby. winter and summer are constantly alternating with one another. who slay him and take for themselves his wife and treasure. since day and night. who. the hero falls into the hands of foes. while in the Seyfridslied it really belonged to certain dwarfs. belongs to the mythical elements of the story. Niflungar 'mist. especially of an interesting paper . I pp. in the evening or autumn. These two adventures are connected by many scholars. while Brynhildr ' ' ' the treasure represents the blossoms of summer which the lighthero likewise wins by destroying the dragon of winter.' Their chief representative is Hogni or darkness or winter. darkness applying however to the course of the year as well ' as to that of the day. On reaching manhood he gains an immense treasure by killing a dragon also he releases a maiden by overcoming difficulties and dangers. in 1 by Prof. Among the exceptions mention may be made Mogk in Neue Jakrb ticker. 'Hades. . essentially mythical story with historical of Attila and the fall of the Burgundian kingdom 1 [traditions The original elements of the former are believed to have been . it is only in the Norse version that the hero gains the treasure . Indeed the only original feature preserved But in both versions is the slaying of the dragon by SigurSr. Then. Now it will be obvious at once that the story as thus reconstructed differs greatly from both the forms in which it has come down to us. which were insurmountable to any other person.

The Seyfridslied does relate that the hero rescued a maiden from a dragon but here the maiden . have taken the place Hence. it is only in the German version that Hagen kills the In the Norse version the actual perpetrator of the deed hero. Hence connected with the Norse version. necessary to examine the various These are in addition to the dragon The evidence Brynhildr. SigurSr and the Niflungar. names can prove anything more than the popularity of the story. whatever their origin may be. We may think of the cave of Frederic Barbarossa at Berchtesgaden or the after numerous places called Robin Hood in England. It appears then that the original form of this story has been The explanation given is greatly obscured in both versions. is Kriemhild. in order to form a (as well as the name) of the Niflungar. Gunnarr (Gunther) and his brothers. In all lands it is customary to adopt such names from remarkable characters. 141 the sons of Nybling 1 Again. neither version of the story makes Brynhildr or the treasure in the German version return to their former owners. only the Norse version records from a perpetual sleep with that SigurSr released Brynhildr which she had been punished the incident is not connected . the dragon has carried off from her home. the Burgundian kings. Brinholdestut) in medieval documents.VII] MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS . with the dragon adventure. On the other hand it is not recognised in Gripisspa. which is supposed to be a late work. . while the other poems leave it uncertain. 2 The only German evidence worth consideration is the fact that certain rocks in the Taunus and the Palatinate are called the bed or chair of Brynhildr (lectulus It is stated ' ' 1 this story is often ' ' But I do not see how these Brunnihilde. p. for believing that Brynhildr was originally a 2 mythical character lies chiefly in the identification of her with the valkyrie Sigrdrifa (cf. The identity of the two characters is clearly recognised in the HelreiS Brynhildar and also in the prose authorities. including Hogni. whom Gutthormr. although is only the first owners of the treasure bear the same name as those into whose possession it comes after the hero's death. 13). however that Seyfrid thought that it belonged to the dragon. Lastly. just estimate of the theory it is mythical characters separately. but the instigator is Brynhildr herself. who is mentioned only in the Norse version. that. Further. The evidence therefore on the whole is not very strong. through confusion with a historical tradition.

Hund. by which the prose (i. together with the treasure. called sons of Nybling. hodd Niflunga (in AtlakvitSa). 48. same poem. Atlamal 88. We seen (p. on the death of the brothers. Hence the balance of probability is in favour of believing that the incident has been transferred to reality misleading. rests it In the case of Sigurftr the evidence. apart from the valkyrie upon his being the slayer of the dragon. In the case of the Niflungar the evidence depends upon the The use of the name is certainly interpretation of the name. SigurSr from Sigemund. had taken from use of the authorities at all events understood the treasure which SigurSr The explanation given for this double Fafnir.e.e. while the people who become subject to him. In the Norse version Niflungar always means Gunnarr and his people the Burgundians). when Hogni became associated with the historical Burgundian kings (Gunnarr etc. Hniflungr the name of . have already 123) that the argument in favour of the latter based on the agreement of the Norse and German authorities is in first was related of the father or the son. i. incident.). 1 whereas alliteration with nI is never found. In the Edda it 1 is twice written Hniflung. somewhat Nibelung curious. the use of the term was extended so as to embrace them also.142 MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. In the former case the In the latter is used quite generally. and on both occasions the H' ' ' ' alliterates. is In the Seyfridslied (Part II) the dwarfs are In the first half of the Nibelungenlied of one of the brothers slain by Siegfried in his youth. like Ylfingar in the Hogni 's son. are the collectively called Nibelunge. But it is to be observed that the interpretation of the name Niflungar as children of mist or darkness is not free from difficulty. Later. except perhaps in the expressions arfi Niflunga. Originally it belonged to the enemies of SigurSr. Hogni and his people whether mythical these were identical with the former owners of the treasure or not. name In the latter half of the poem however the same name is applied to the Burgundians.. name is as follows. name is This Helgakv. But is agreed that this part of the story must be connected with the similar adventure attributed by Beowulf to Sigemund (Sigmundr) so that the question at issue is whether the exploit .

is .(before --) would regularly be lost at a much If so the name cannot originally have had any earlier date. where of course the H. must be remarked that the demonic character of Hogni is quite In the Norse version essential to the mythological theory. His character in the But there a much more serious difficulty. the mythical character must be vindicated in all three theory Hogni's mythical origin as cases alike. whereas in the latter he is an honourable man who is reluctantly drawn by circumstances into a course of action of which he heartily is certainly quite different. Hagano . etc. 1 the story of Waldhere to render it overwhelmingly There was of course another heroic character of the same name . former he disapproves. not uncommon is times. fact suggests that the original In all these three cases then the evidence for the mytho- logical interpretation of the story seems to be at best inconclusive. connection with O.is due to later influence presumably on the part of scribes from German sources. Norse nifl. Now etc. but this does not meet the objection. this type of character is extremely rare The agreement between and the Norse version seem to me probable that the character which they ascribe to Hogni was that which he originally bore. Gutthormr is a mere instrument and the person really respona feature obviously sible for the murder is Brynhildr herself incompatible with the interpretation which we are discussing. . is as necessary for this interpretation In order to maintain the that of SigurSr or Brynhildr.) is it has been remarked that Hagen (Haguno.VII] MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS 143 form of the name was Hniflungar and that the form without H. But this is precisely the character borne by Hogni in the Norse version of the story of SigurSr a fact which is the more remarkable since in heroic poetry. This is as a personal name even in quite early a curious fact if the name had such associations 1 altogether contrary to reason or probability to separate Hagen the vassal of Gunther in the Nibelungenlied from Hagen the vassal of the same Gunther in the story of Waldhere. It is two cases in the He is brave in both but both faithless and cruel. But we have yet to consider the case of Hogni and here it .

. both the Norse and German versions are ultimately derived. I cannot help thinking that the investigation of the whole . the interpretation which we are discussing hopelessly breaks down. story has been greatly prejudiced by the application of wrong methods. This character however is of course totally incompatible with a demonic origin and here. but a brief outline of the scheme not be out of place here. am not arguing now to prove that Hogni was a historical person. There can be no doubt that a story of some kind in which the adventures of SigurSr were already combined with those of the historical Burgundian princes was in existence long before the date of the earliest extant records. It seems to me that. before trying to ascertain the origin of the various elements contained in the story. as The chief German authority we have seen.144 I MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. To carry out such a process systematically would be quite beyond the scope of this book. we will take the part of the story relating to the hero's early adventures. but by bringing together all the various features which the two have in common. it seems to me. whether it was embodied in a single poem or consisted only of a mass of lays or legends. the late Seyfridslied which. or from the story of Waldhere into that of Which of the two he belonged to originally is a SigurSr. the object should be to determine the this main features of this common foundation. The essential point is that an earlier German form of the story of SigurSr must be the link between the Norse version and the story of Waldhere for there is no evidence that the story of Waldhere itself was ever known in the North. and that from this story. which is preserved mainly in a different may First then set of authorities is from the rest. question of minor importance. But if so clearly he must have been taken either from the story of SigurSr into that of Waldhere. The conclusion to which we are naturally brought is that in this earlier German form of the story Hogni bore the same character which is attributed to him in the Norse version. is really made . He may be of fictitious origin or even mythical (though the latter seems to me extremely improbable). The way to achieve end is surely not by arbitrarily selecting one feature from the Norse version and another from the German.

inconsistent with 145 up of two one another. (4) both in the ballad and in Norse prose authorities SigurSr breaks the smith's anvil. As a further common element we may is mention found This story (3) that SigurSr is brought up by a smith. Part I. The Seyfridslied. Fafnismal and Sigrdrifumal. in the Seyfridslied. Worms. father has the same it is related in the ballad to be observed that though the hero's in all authorities. Lastly. and they too are both killed by SigurSr. there name (Sigemund) is great discrepancy as to his childhood. who are friendly to the hero and not killed by him.VII] MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS different ballads. though the circum- stances are quite different. (i) SigurtSr kills a dragon. and in ThiSreks Saga practically also in the Edda. we have seen that the awakening of the valkyrie in Sigrdrifumal has practically nothing in common with the rescue of the maiden (Kriemhild) from the dragon (Part II). In the Norse version the two adventures are combined. Saga though it has one or two features peculiar to itself. with the German story that he became invulnerable by bathing in the dragon's blood. It is doubtful whether we should connect the eating of Fafnir's heart. The Nibelungenlied contains only allusions to this part of the story.. since Reginn is represented as a smith. but Fafnir has become a dragon or It may perhaps a reptile. is the action proper beginning shortly before the hero's arrival at The Norse version is given in the trilogy. but in the Nibelungenlied the treasure belonged to Nibelung and his brother who had quarrelled and who are both killed by the hero. as well as in Volsunga Saga. Again. Really it belonged to the three sons of the dwarf-king Nybling. The account given in ThiSreks is mainly a combination of the German and Norse versions. Further. be noticed that Reginn and Fafnir are also brothers who have quarrelled over a treasure. Part I mentions only the killing of a dragon (serpent. (2) SigurSr gains a great treasure. which enabled the hero to understand the birds. In the Edda he 10 is . Reginsmal. In this part of the story the common elements are very few in number. c. while Part II unites the acquisition of the treasure with the killing of a dragon a fiery dragon but states that the hero erroneously thought that the treasure belonged to the dragon. which derived from these poems.

(2) SigurSr in superto the common natural disguise wins Brynhildr for Gunnarr. but eventually is married to is for a long . is in the latter It will be seen permeated throughout by the supercourt From the time of the hero's arrival at the Burgundian we may take the Nibelungenlied for the German version. the while represented by the poems from the fragmentary SigurSarkviSa I to Atlamal. SigurSr and Gunnarr have exchanged forms in the German Gunther is present in both cases. (10) Gunnarr and Hogni are captured (i i) alive in Atli's land. There is a difference between the two versions in regard to the character of the supernatural In the Norse version. In this part of the two versions are far more story the elements numerous and striking. (7) The hero's widow regard time irreconcilable. (i) SigurSr comes to the Rhineland (Worms in the German version) and marries a sister (GuSrun. in the Nibelungenlied he is brought up at his father's court. (8) Gunnarr with Hogni and many others are invited to Atli's home. who . he leaves his home and goes to the smithy.the only incidents in which it occurs in this part of the story. posthumous but knows his parentage. her a ring 1 (4) 1 the latter shows her the ring (5) Brynhildr bitterly resents the treatment she has received and devises the hero's death.146 MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. that this part of the story natural and marvellous. (3) SigurSr again in supernatural disguise sleeps with Brynhildr . Part I. indeed these are almost. . 1 On both these occasions the Nibelungenlied mentions also a girdle. in the ballad. (12) Gunnarr and Hogni are killed. combined. Atli (Etzel). where the two incidents are disguise. and Brynhildr quarrels but the versions differ in (6) SigurSr is killed by treachery to the perpetrator of the deed. though Siegfried. Kriemhild) of King Gunnarr (Gunther). p. It will be seen that the supernatural is here confined to (2) and (3). . 13). For the earlier portion we have also to use Volsunga Saga and the prose Edda in place Norse one is best of certain poems which are lost (cf. A demand for the gold is and the rest killed made and refused. (9) The gold is sunk in the Rhine. in Part II and ThiSreks Saga he does not know his parentage indeed he is a foundling and suckled by a hind. and takes from with SigurSr's wife.

is the real actor. For our present purpose however the question is immaterial. a phenomenon for which parallels e. p. the fifth is by far most important. f. In the prose piece Drap Niflunga Atli's conduct is attributed to revenge for the death of Brynhildr. folk-tales. from One of these affecting probably only the Norse may be identified with the Scandinavian story of (cf. Hagen in (cf. e. Several other important differences between the two versions have already been noted (p. those of Beowulf and Weland. In addition to these each version has of course the many characters and incidents peculiar Of the discrepancies enumerated on p. Biarki (cf. and the connection between that relating to SigurtSr is scarcely viz. while in Volsunga Saga it is ascribed to his lust for SigurSr's gold. in part at least. the cases of StarkaSr. that GuSrun. tions. In the Norse version no such central motif is to be found. selves But in the poems them- no real explanation is and more than a personal one figure in both.g. Gunnarr and Hogni is are to be found in other heroic stories. such as we see gathering round the childhood or ancestry original of other heroes. We may add also Kudrun and perhaps Witege 135). are misleading the conclusion to which we are driven is that the more story began more or less where the Nibelungenlied and that the hero's youthful adventures are later accrebegins. It is now held and doubtless rightly by the majority of scholars that the unity of interest imparted to the Nibelungenlied by the motif of Kriemhild's revenge is a later improvement on the somewhat disconnected story given in the Edda. 12). In spite of the discrepancies noted above it cannot be denied that the two versions contain a remarkable number of identical features in this part of the story a fact which renders all the striking the very slight amount of agreement in the part Unless all analogies dealing with the hero's early adventures. This however this part of the story given.g. 120).). "Another is a variety perhaps of that that of the forest dwarf 10 2 . since Kriemhild's revenge for Siegfried forms the central motif of the second half of the Nibelungenlied. Svipdagr and MengloS of the Sleeping Beauty. 13 f. p. since it is not contended that this part of the story is of mythical origin. p. version They appear to be derived.VII] MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS 147 has rendered himself invisible. 13 to itself.

cf. though strictly who . 1 It seems likely that Mimir was the dwarf's original name and that Saxo has to his sword . the phrase Hoddmimis given him a name which properly belonged >&<?#( VafSr. From the fact that some of these elements are common to both versions we may probably infer that the process of accretion perhaps it had begun before the story reached the North. as well as in the latter half of the May we Nibelungenlied. In addition to folk-tales we must take into consideration the desire also a tendency which is often associated with them This seems to be the most to account for an obscure name. a name which recalls Saxo's Mimingus (cf. In dealing with questions such as these we cannot hope to since the paucity of common get beyond a reasonable hypothesis. p. 42 also belongs to a maritime region. etc. that in the Norse version. belongs rather to popular belief than to folk-tale. I33) 1 The story of the treasure-guarding dragon may also be included in this category. " Gunnarr and : Hogni are called Niflungar and Giukungar. the Burgundians only in the second half of the German epic. Yet there do seem to be some indications of a reflex influence 2 from the North or some region exposed to Northern influence upon the development of the story in Germany." . not use it But sense is it ? the family treasure of the quite certain that AtlakviSa does it mean in this That is identified with Fafnir's treasure in later authorities be due to subsequent German As for the fact that the name Nibelunge is used for influence. In that case of course hodd Niflunga Uffingas. 2 the references to Norway. 3 not suppose that it was really a dynastic name like Scyldungas. the name Schilbung and and the dragon 3 Cf. ThiSreks Saga the smith is called Mimir. may not this spring from some stylistic peculiarities of the 'common foundation'? It is not necessary to suppose that the latter was all the work of one author or even of one may generation. The story of Sigemund E. reasonable explanation of the names Nibelung and Nibelunge in the first part of the German epic and Nybling in the ballad all We have seen denoting the original owners of the treasure. Skaldsk. We may note that in forges or preserves a magical sword.148 MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. Niflungar means the Burgundians.g. 45). Merewioingasl (Jiort der Nibelunge} ought to Burgundian kings.

But more than this. the period which we have called Stage in in the history of who destroyed Hell. peculiarities of the German version naturally as modifications of an modifications heroic poetry is necessitated be explained quite form similar to the other by the conditions under which may earlier in Germany. The effect produced somewhat similar to that which would be obtained by converting a modern problem play into a popular melodrama.VII] MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS 149 features between the clusions. German poetry. Hagen in agreement. but essentially human. Consequently the story of . while the former was Thus the allowed. while the central motif in both versions alike is by no means of a mythical character. the two versions are really in full true cause of the hero's death Gutthormr does the deed in one version. was preserved The conclusion then to which we are brought is that the supposed traces of myth. though we do not approve of the appeal Here we are in a region actions which they commit or allow. But it is also alien to that period of thought. ible with the current mythological interpretation of the story. but from real life. the other. of thought as alien as possible to that of the folk-tale. so far as they have any foundation at all. In spite of certain discrepancies there is no difficulty in determining the main outEven in the most important point of all the line of the story. which was most open to the influence of folk-tales. two versions admits of few definite conBut from the time when the hero arrives at the Burgundian court the case is quite different. it is plainly not a motif derived from mythology at all. In such a period the person the hero must necessarily be a villain as black as Between the instigator of the deed and the perpetrator. are due to late accretions to the story. owing to the deception which has been We have seen that this motif is incompatpractised upon her. awkwardly enough. this is who by or not time was Hagen whether this was so originally immaterial the choice was made. to our sympathies. not unnaturally in the circumstances. in favour of the latter. to drop out of the story. but in both alike it arises out of the bitter resentment cherished by Brynhildr. It must not be overlooked that the Brynhildr and Hogni of Both the Norse version are in the nature of character-studies.

for in the latter no is is part the hero may have been of considerable antiquity. 35 all the clearest cases of myth in early the origin of nations or dynasties. prominent interpreted as mythical but these elements are always most It must not escape in the latest forms of the story. notice that those scholars that myth is Beowulf Even a growth which requires time to develop. where it is well pointed out that Teutonic records belong to stories dealing with "Den eneste udtrykkelige Myte. real exception to the general rule. pp.150 MYTHICAL ELEMENTS IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. . who most strongly uphold the mythical base their arguments chiefly on such works as the interpretation The explanation is Seyfridslied and ThiSreks Saga af Bern. Oldsagn om Godtjod. specielt religiose 38. Schiitte. probably confused with a namesake whose story the only character origin is the first 1 Cf. VII SigurSr stands quite on a line with the other stories of the Most of them contain elements which may be Heroic Age. while in the poem who is quite clearly of mythical 1 ^ancestor of the Danish royal family ." . der udenfor i G^remal har vseret episk frugtbar Folkevandringstiden er Ophavs- myten.

THE HEROIC POEMS.. ix: \tyeiv. THE question how far the use of fiction was permitted in heroic poetry is of course one to which we cannot possibly hope to give a definite answer. The greater part of this poem consists. is to may happen or may have happened rather than what has happened.. iroi-rjo'is yap fj. If presence far (cf. p. TJ 5' iffTopLa TO. as we 1 Aristotle. Thus in the poem on the battle of Brunanburh it is restricted within comparatively narrow limits. naturally expect that the authors of heroic poems likewise differed in the treatment of their subjects.CHAPTER THE USE OF FICTION IN VIII. instance of a poem which obviously contains a large amount of fiction we can hardly do better than take the AngloSaxon Widsith.a\\ov ra KaB6\ov. Some freedom of play for the imagination is therefore essential.Ty rbv 5td KOU 0i\o<ro0e6re/30J' Kal airovSaibrepov plv ra ola av ytvoiro. we could recover the poems recited in Attila's 84) we should doubtless find that they contained more than a mere statement of facts.. In the works which have come down to us however the degree to which freedom is allowed to the imagination varies very greatly from case to case. These remarks hold good for early Teutonic poetry just as much as for Greek.. while in the almost contemporaneous Hakonarmal the historical fact on which the poem is based is We may As an very largely obscured by a wholly fictitious narrative. All poetry which deserves the name claims to do something more than provide a bare record of 1 According to the ancient definition its proper function the universal rather than the particular what express facts. rbv 5 6 yap i<rropiK6s Kal 6 Tron]TT]s. ttad' . Poet. though not necessarily to the same degree.5ia^pov<nv.

Poets of the seventh century probably possessed no chronological tables. we Here GuSrun. 1 from a much later period. therefore B may come into contact with C and conclude from it that poets of the seventh century thought it right to bring Eormenric and Guthhere together in the same story. Guthhere in others. . of a speech by a minstrel enumerating the various peoples and princes with whom he was acquainted. (//. knowledge the visits of the minstrel may ctearly be placed the 'things which may have happened.152 FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. the wife of lormunrekr (Eormenric).' What these poets certainly did know was that Eormenric was a prominent It did figure in some traditional stories. 112 ff. and consequently they may not have been aware that the foreign princes of whom they were Yet without such speaking belonged to quite different ages. but this expression need not be interpreted literally with reference to the whole list. It is be observed that there 1 certainly find this stage reached. and there can be little doubt that additions have been made to it from time to time. among bring an anonymous with Eormenric and Guthhere.#o?) itself to no violence to the story into character contact both But we must not in such cases apply the principle that. formation. This will account for statements such as those given above and. which date of course . the sister of Gunnarr (Guthhere). since A comes into contact with both B and C. well as of HamSir and Sorli who attacked that king. although doubtless no one would have done this while either of the two was alive or indeed for some time after their death. we find a list of Gothic heroes belonging to various ages introduced by the expression innweorud Earmanrices ('Eormenric's household-troop'). v. as as to is no hint of a connection between this In Wids. is represented the mother of Svanhildr. it may enable us to form some idea as to how fiction was used. the Burgundian king Guthhere (who died about 437) and the Langobardic king Aelfwine (who died about Now it is commonly held that the poem is of composite 572). have seen. if we turn to the Old Norse poems. Amongst others he states that he had visited the Gothic king Eormenric (who died before 3/5). though it does not prevent them from being fictitious. That is a more advanced stage and one for which we have no satisfactory evidence in Anglo-Saxon poetry Now..

but Eadgils with the help of Beowulf succeeds in defeating and killing his uncle and gaining for himself the throne. but the confusion extends also (especially in Skioldunga Saga) to Frotho IV (the Froda of Beowulf). the sons of Ohthere (who is perhaps dead) Eanmund is slain. In Norse tradition Aftils (Eadgils) is the son and is . wholly irreconcilable with one another. whom married to a sister of the Halga 2 Strife breaks out . 2 The MS. In Beowulf the Swedish king persons Ongentheow has two sons Onela and Ohthere. GuSrun is the name given not indeed to the mother of HamSir and Sorli but to a sorceress consulted by them. Eanmund and Eadgils. p. Thus the reand adventures of the Swedish kings mentioned in lationships a good deal from what is recorded of the same Norse literature. the difficulty can be traced to the misinterpretation of an epithet. 124. various kings called FroSi 1 In other cases where we find two stories which seem to be . doubt that the confusion is two different women. but no other interpretation is probable. note). successor of Ottarr (Ohthere). here (v. who apparently knows nothing of the Norse version of the story of SigurSr. In the account of lormunrekr given by Saxo. and there can be little to a mistaken identification of . If the wife of SigurSr had originally the same name the difficulty would be capable of explanation and it is to be remembered that the evidence for believing that she was originally called Grfmhildr (Kriemhilt) is by no means of a conclusive character. who is both the wife and daughter of Helgi (Halga) hardly compatible with the -account given in Beowulf. engages in war with a king Ali (Onela) whom he defeats and kills with the help of Biarki (Beowulf) and other warriors is which He Frotho I and Frotho III were no doubt originally identical. who cannot reasonably be connected with the others (cf. the former of differ in Beowulf Danish kings Hrothgar and between Onela and his two nephews. 1 . 62) is defective. ASils again is married to Yrsa. For the identification of persons bearing the same name we may compare the confusion which pervades Scandinavian tradition in regard to the two due stories.VIII] FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS 153 literastory and that of the Burgundian family except in Norse Even here GuSrun is the sole connecting link between the ture. but the grandfather is called Egill and there is no mention of Eanmund.

is situation cannot be traced in Anglo-Saxon Norse literature (apart from ThiSreks Saga) it is poetry. Since.154 sent to FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. . as we know from Jordanes. which is applied to Ali. In the group of stories which cluster round Dietrich von Bern we find a number of unhistorical situations. bring Dietrich into connection with Ermanrich and the early Gothic hero Wittich and this combination is believed to be of much greater antiquity. him by his stepson Hrolfr Kraki. and hence to further dislocations in the story. was really subject to Attila. Onela was the actual (' king of the Swedes. In this story it seems clear that the Norse tradition has been led astray by a misinterpretation of the expression hinn Upplenzki the man of the Uplands '). and there is no hint of any relationship on his part to either the Swedish or the Danish royal family. as in all German Saga probable that the hero has been confused with his father (Theodemir). Oldn. This it authorities. 1 The and one in the introduction. 2 This tendency is doubtless due largely to the influence of romantic poetry. while in Old limited to GuSru- narkviSa III 1 and the prose introduction to GuSrunarkviSa II. . there can be no doubt that it was the latter to which the title originally referred. Thus when Dietrich appears at Etzel's court. which may largely be due to similar mistakes rather than to deliberate invention. once has ThioSmar. but it was also the name of the Swedish province in which the capital (Upsala) was situated. as the names Theodric and Widia are associated also in the Anglo-Saxon poem Here we are confronted with a question of great Waldhere. which seem to invent combinations quite freely 54 . Jonsson. as against two examples of Thioflrekr in the verses Is it really impossible that the name has been altered I by a scribe familiar with Thiftreks Saga? Cf. The erroneous identification with the Norwegian district natural enough in Norse tradition led to the idea that Ali was an invader. But a much larger number of authorities. But AH is said to be a Norwegian. Litteraturs Historic. The association of Dietrich with Siegfried occurs only in ThiSreks Saga and some of the later German poems. including the Annals of Quedlinburg. 295. including ThiSreks af Bern. MS. There was a district called Upplond in Norway. according to Beowulf. which is believed to be derived from the other poem. who.

395). in i. FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS 155 and Eormenric is unknown to all the early Scandinavian authorities. p. The lapse of time in itself will account for some of these changes. 115. may really have been an early name was extremely common in Gothic prince 3 .e. The name Omulnng which is found more than a century earlier (Birch. the old Hildebrandslied Dietrich's enemy is called Odoacer. . fusion that the identification of Wolfdietrich with the Prankish king Theodberht is anything more than a very doubtful hypothesis . Perhaps this con. 94 ff. is perhaps stronger evidence. since they are both credited with an exile of thirty years. Grundriss. Prof. said to II king Ida have had two sons called Theodric and Theodhere. 953. Fiction of a type however. through which the stories have passed both in Germany and 1 in the North. is especially the tendency towards combination. Certainly the dealing with stories which have been distorted apparently in quite late times either by mistaken identifications or by an erroneous interpretation of some title far So we have been or incident. apart from the passage in or no decisive evidence for a knowledge . is certainly not Brandl. It is worth noting that in Widsith. Otachar. Seafola and Theodric (i. is little Waldhere. be that a considerable portion of Wolfdietrich's explanation may I cannot admit story has been transferred to his namesake. v.e. for we meet with four Gothic kings called Theodric within half a century of one another. calls attention to the fact that the Bernician But is not the date rather early? The occurrence of the name Sigesteb in the council of Ecgberht. 116) scarcely necessitates acquaintance with the story of Dietrich von Bern. 76. king of Wessex (Birch.). of the story of Dietrich von Bern in England 1 for the statement in Deor that Theodric possessed the Maeringa burg for thirty years may just as probably be applied to the exile of Wolfdietrich with Berchtung of Meran 2 Now Dietrich and Wolfdietrich must be confused to some extent in German tradition.VIII] difficulty. and even in Germany it cannot be traced back beyond the end of the tenth The association of Theodric century. 2 The skati 3 case would be different if it could be proved that the person described as Marika (Maringa) in the inscription of Rok was Dietrich von Bern. The true goes deeper than is generally recognised. he that nation. Saben and Wolfdietrich) appear among the Gothic heroes. especially if we bear in mind the influence of Stage III (cf. there Further.

I see no ground for supposing both speak of their children. as we have seen. and German cannot be proved. me to point to an origin in common report rather than in poetic fiction. The Here story of HamSir and Sorli is a somewhat different case. other story is of course much older but the evidence seems to . used and on a scale far more ambitious than what we have take into observed in Widsith. (ii) that the person who was present with him when he died was anyone whom we can identify with GuSrun. Here however we have to account the influence of romantic poetry.156 FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS is [CHAP. widely In the medieval German poems indeed it wanting. If it could be proved that such stories as those of Oddrun and the ordeal of GuSrun originated in the North we should certainly have to grant that it was of a fairly advanced type. Hence we must sure (Ildico) trace the origin of the Norse story to a combination betwec two much earlier traditions: (i) that Attila married a sister of Guthhere (2) that Attila was murdered by his wife. In view of the story of Guthhere's death which is common to both it required but little poetic traditions and undoubtedly ancient to identify the two women and to represent the imagination murder as an act of vengeance. The nature of the use of fiction in the North is not so clear. Guthhere's sister was drawn . though there is nothing intrinsically improbBut both traditions represent Attila able in such a marriage. It is true that Norse tradition agree in stating that This is a statement which Attila married a sister of Guthhere. and Yet there can be little doubt that was murdered by his brid^ on the night of the wedding. the Norse story that Atli was murdered by GuSrun. Now we must consider certain cases which seem to have As an instance we may take originated in much earlier times. but there is nothing to show that this woman was GuSrun. Now this story conflicts with what appear to be the true facts in two distinct points : (i) that Attila was murdered at all . one of great antiquity. again. and his Burgundian wife as married for a number of years. The story that Attila was murdered by a woman is. as we have already seen. according to the original story Attila 1 .1 . The that this combination took place before the Viking Age.

In the Danish (Saxo's) version also Svanhildr appears as the wife of lormunrekr but there is no satisfactory evidence for this except in the North. In an attempt to avenge this outrage who her brothers gave him a serious wound. To punish his disloyalty the king had her tied to wild horses and thus torn to pieces.aduentu dum cogitat. added a third brother. as given by Jordanes. inter haec ffermanaricus tarn uulneris dolorem. 1 This version (represented by the Ann. Svanhildr is said to have been the wife of a man (apparently the prince of a dependent tribe) As deserted Eormenric (perhaps by joining the Huns). aegram uitam corporis imbecillitate contraxit. this feature may be regarded as at least comparatively ancient but it seems not to be known to Jordanes. whose name is not given. whereas ships in later times it shows itself in the invention of relation- and in false combinations. Otherwise the story contains nothing incredible 3 Yet the . is said to have been the father of the brothers.VIII] FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS 157 Norse version and probably quite late. quae tune inter alias Hit famulatum exhibebat. quo uulnere saucius. dum enim quandam mulierem. element of fiction was probably present from the beginning. quarn etiam Hunorum incursiones nonferens.. the encounter. tali eum nanciscitur occasions decipere. like the Norse. Hermanaricus rex Gothorum . . German form of the story 1 agreed with the Northern versions in stating that the king lost both his hands and both his feet in into the story only in the . In its earliest development known form.de Hunorum .. in the last case. 24). Hermanarici latus ferro petierunt . pro mariti fraudulento discessu ^ex furore commotus equis ftrotibus inligatam incitatis. therefore.defunctus est (cap. . . fratres eius Sarus et Ammius germanae obitum uindicantes. not their sister. Rosomonorum gens infida. Sunildam nomine. Consequently . We may also compare the Thuringian atrocities described by Gregory of Tours (ill 7). 2 que cursibus per diuersa diuelli praecepisset. ex gente memorata. note). But even before this time it contained features which cannot be regarded as historical. Quedl. 3 The Frankish queen Brunhild was put to death in a similar way in the year 613. 37. In the earlier stages its influence may be detected at least in the elaboration of the incident and in exaggeration of its effects. cf. been trying to combine the tradition with another account of Eormenric's death which he knew from historical sources. p. and it is Again. which was partly the cause of his death 2 In the last point Jordanes may have . . .. But the person killed. the North clearly contrary to Jordanes' account. we can trace the gradual of the story more or less clearly. . though he bears a different name.

The description which he composed is that of such a funeral as might reasonably be expected for a man of Beowulfs rank and reputation. This story may be regarded in a sense as pure fiction. 2 TUV Trpay/jbdruv (ri/0-Tcwts (Aristotle.15$ SJJL L FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP Next we will take the story of Beowulfs death. can be shown to be the product of deliberate and conscious inWe have still however to consider the most important all. or perhaps we may say in . it had come to be said that he 1 perished in an encounter with a dragon nearly all the rest can be attributed to the same faculty for elaboration which we find required in but it must not be supposed that our author was the this case Far more probably he first to describe an encounter of this kind. The subject itself (the /u. VI 9). two. I know of no story. (ii) the hero's funeral. The element is in part. Poet. question of characters ? 1 Did the use of fiction include the invention of The i) chief exception is the part played by Wiglaf . The account of the hero's funeral is a good illustration of Aristotle's dictum as to the true function of poetry to express the universal rather than the particular. . dealing with historical characters. (iii) incidental references to the past history of the Geatas. More imagination perhaps was was working upon a theme which in his time was already well worn. But the same remark is largely true also of the first element. and probably to a very large extent. founded on fact so we will confine our attention to the other last . \ in the funeral scene. Strictly : speaking however it consists of at least three distinct elements (i) Beowulf's encounter with the dragon. possibly also the incident of the cowardly knights. . We have no reason for supposing that the poet had any information regarding Beowulf's real funeral. We have now seen that especially in the way fiction in early times shows itself of elaboration. which has the great advantage of being preserved in an early form. as in the last instance.0#o9) may the structure of the story 2 be based upon fact or upon common report or rumour which was But clearly false or even totally incredible. Grant that the latter part of Beowulf's career was really unknown and that. through confusion with an earlier hero. which vention.

2 This must be emphasized because one constantly finds theories of fictitious origin introduced with some sentence such as the following: 'It has not yet been proved that this story has any historical foundation. On the other hand not obvious that a single one of the characters This being mentioned in the primary authorities is fictitious 1 it is . But if grant the identity chronological considerations render highly improbable that he is a fictitious character. Consequently he may be regarded with a certain amount of suspicion. cannot fairly be regarded as exceptions. The name Unfrid itself occurs in Germany during the eighth and ninth centuries. such as Grendel. though by no According to the current explanation is means name 1 For the case of Widsith see p. the Danish in spokesman.VIII] It is FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS not safe to assume this. Gen.' i. Hakonarmal) which probably never introduce fictitious contemporary characters. ' Eanmund. the name of a bishop of Leicester the ninth century.e. so it is unreasonable to take the view that characters should be 2 unless they can be proved to be historical until the use of fictitious characters is proved On the contrary. . Weoxtan. the brother of p. Eadgils. to the battle on the frozen lake Vener. 56 f.' English works. Supernatural beings. there is a decided presumption in favour of believing any given regarded as fictitious. such as Scyld. 159 We know that some of the characters are historical in most of the heroic stories. The name does not occur elsewhere it unknown. 3 Cf. 20) we find a Vesteinn mentioned among those who accompanied Ali (Onela) to the ice. in which that king lost his life. Wiglaf is a character known to us only in connection with the story of Beowulf and the dragon. who died about the beginning of Unwine (Un-wenes. Unwona.g. and mythical personages of the past. and 114). had served under the Swedish king Onela and slain Now in the Kalfsvisa (cf.' Such an attitude seems to me not only unreasonable but wrong in principle. presented by another of the namely Unferth. we it A king's somewhat ' different case is characters which figure in Beowulf. This can hardly be a different person. since it is not at all likely that they were invented by the poet himself. . and 3 .). type of an unusual. But in one passage it is stated that his father. the name of Eastgota's son (Wids. On the other hand some of the characters in the Edda poems may have been invented in the North. character to be historical unless of course his name or some other special circumstance gives clear ground for suspicion. They figure largely in skaldic poems of the Viking Age (e.

of the offence committed by her husband. Jiriczek. special significance. sarws. best uncertain. Hemmi}. Now an interpretation of this kind deserves careful consideration . goes Prof.-S. A. searu). while his We (Wulfgar. A.-S. Deutsche Heldensagen. A. (O.. only when compounded with words gift-hama) that it can be used in Again. killed his brothers. Sorli is regarded and this is probably correct as a diminutive of Sams. * ' dress. Hemma. Grundriss. and on Beowulf's arrival he But against this stands the fact that his father is called Ecglaf.) a good deal beyond what the passage actually warrants. held. Norse hamr.' ' It is meaning war ' ' (as in A. Sijmons.) to have soon proceeds to wrangle with him 1 . rendered any more probable for ham. . But in that case of course we shall have to conclude that the name had been familiar for The true form is some time before it came to Jordanes' knowledge. Yrmenlaf) bear names which betray no interpretation. contrary to all analogies. that the is name Hamftir (for extended from an earlier Gothic form Hamjis But even then the etymology is hardly (Jordanes' Ammius). 2 Cf. somewhat similar A have been chosen for Eormenric's victim in order to express ' ' expiation (O. n66ff. etc. alike fictitious. the former being framed to He is said (vv. Aeschere. is applied to the story of HamSir and Sorli 2 The name Sunilda (for Sonahildi or Sonihilds) is supposed to . Olrik (Danmarks Heltedigtning.-S. which is held to represent Goth. 25 ff. ii67f.' Teutonic language) except as a proper name.. High Germ. 587 f. though on a more ambitious scale. 1 What is important suggests further that he was the But I cannot instigator of a quarrel between Hrothwulf and Hrothgar or his sons. an ordinary unsymbolical quarrel with Beowulf is afterwards amicably It seems to me therefore that the hypothesis is at settled. In this case . help thinking that his interpretation of vv. and character are express the man's malevolent disposition.by itself can only mean Hama-tyus*) . 3 ill 2 683. may note that Hrothgar's other retainers name. while HamSir suona) and Sorli themselves have got their names from their armour the fact that her death was an Goth. kama. ingenious as it undoubtedly is. is a shortened (hypocoristic) form from the compound name (cf.-S. though no such word is known (in any the sense of mail-coat.' covering. p. when it is it provides a reasonable and more or less simple explanation of the names involved but not otherwise. sarwa. I 63 f. It is surely far more probable that Ammius probably Hami-.l6o FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP.

safe instance in the name Widsith (cf. to be no satisfactory evidence for regarding Svan. Guthhere. less But these are not characters invented by the Further they are always referred to a more or distant past. on the whole that several of minor importance. and Attila are historical persons but . 44). 2 1 No It is With how much greater plausibility could the for ! Had it not been for the incidental possibly Marcellinus' history. which we are brought is that. argument can be based upon the name Snanailta which is found in a document at St Gall dating from 786 (in conjunction with other names which show a knowledge of the story of Eormenric). p. name Eormenric be accounted to this king in Ammianus have saved him from being regarded reference II . its interpretation must be considered without regard to such etymological speculations as these 2 I . Hagena and it is There is no question Attila. as reasonably far am well as in the case of characters derived from folk-tale or myth. has lost it is far more probable that his form an -a-. is a hypothesis which we need not discuss. poet himself. Next we will take the stories of Waldhere and SigurSr. little more than thirty Italy fighting Lastly. for it may contain either swan.(in appears however is in in 1 Such Svanhildr) as a transformation (' Umformung') of Sonif the name had become a change would be intelligible enough known through a document written in Latin letters but that .or son-. of course that Guthhere. are common to both these stories. we may note that there years after Eormenric's death. especially in connection with the women's names but . As the evidence stands. admitted that the name Swanahilt was in use. whether the story be fictitious or not. and their occurrence in heroic poetry is not very common. than that the Northern therefore to The conclusion name has been changed. i. Now we have seen of the chief characters. nothing could as a purely fictitious personage.e. C. . considering the extremely corrupt state of the proper names given by Jordanes. Here again the etymological interpretation is often brought forward.VIII] FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS l6l to notice that a Gothic prince of this name was the year 405. In particular we have the eponymous ancestors of families and even nations. from denying of course that the etymological We have a interpretation is applicable in its proper sphere.

to the second probably the somewhat of the single combats conclusion of the last fight. In Ekkehard's case the influence of Stage in is supplemented or amended by erudition.). The national names which he gives (Franci. as appears from the names Pagus Attoariorum and Pagtis Amauorum. . But it is by no means clear to which of them we should assign the There is no valid reason for doubting that both of them go back to the Heroic Age. and it further has the advantage of proximity to Chalon-sur-Saone. Die Deutschen und die Nachbarstdmme^ p. obviously enough. 2 Cf. Morepoem. is scarcely open to any such objection. which according to Ekkehard was the home of Hiltgund. If he is fictitious. but probably it was considerably anterior to the time of Clovis 2 Small Teutonic communities ' We . Zeuss. if we were to suppose that the hero belonged to either of these regions we should have to conclude that he was a the Visigoth. of this kind were doubtless too insignificant to be mentioned but there is nothing in the scanty chronicles of that age in the story that children belonging to their princely unlikely . 582 ff. These districts must have been occupied at some time by settlers from the lower Rhine. etc. the occupation took place.162 for FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. 94 ff. the former of which lies directly between have no definite evidence as to when Chalon and Langres. The story of Waldhere contains no feature which can be priority. if allowance be made firstly Stage III To the first we may perhaps assign the account (cf.. p. his father (Alpharius) was of Aquitaine. grotesque and certainly the discrepancy which prevails in regard to the . Burgundia. Now As . Hagena this cannot be proved. regarded as intrinsically improbable for poetic elaboration. a it matter of fact this conclusion is generally accepted but Langres however involves. while the medieval German poems speak king both of Spanie (Spain) and Lengers (Langres) as his home. many difficulties. as given by Ekkehard. over. families were given as hostages to the 1 Huns.) are accommodated to the political divisions of his own time. Ekkehard 1 says that name Aquitani cannot be taken from an old native and the same remark is probably true of Spanie. where a much earlier date is suggested. and secondly for the influence of hero's origin. then one of the two stories necessarily presupposes the other.

may set it down as an instance of poetic Perhaps the objection may be raised that the sequel 1 It is impossible here to enter into a criticism of theories such as those brought forward in Boer's Untersuchungen iiber den Ursprung und die Entwickelung der Nibelungensage. But at the same infer that this feature was not very time the it is really the central feature of the plot . Consequently he is riot the type of person destiny of nations. One of course the disguise the other is the incident of the ring. we do not even know that Guthhere had a sister. mutandis. GuSrun (Kriemhild) again is unknown to history. whom we could reasonably expect to find mentioned in the chronicles of that period. clearly indicated in the The incident of the ring also is original form of the story. are probably to be regarded as later accretions to the story. From the analysis given on p.VIII] FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS 163 The case of SigurSr must be considered independently of the hero's youthful adventures. introduced in quite different circumstances. In the former case the two versions differ from which we may perhaps . It may equally well be regarded as a device for explaining the subsequent course of events. mutatis prince from the Netherlands. Hence it is practically only in connection with the Burgundian royal house that the hero is known 1 and as soon as we lose sight The story of this we drift at once into fruitless speculation. for the ring is instrument chosen to bring about the dva<yvtopicri<s the recognition by Brynhildr of the deception which has been played upon her. This is an incident such as we frequently find in modern works of fiction. in which case we elaboration. II 2 . the king's wife. represents SigurSr as wealthy. 146 it will be seen that the original story appears to have contained two features which we may more is or less safely regard as fictitious. brave and personally attractive but it does not credit him with achievements which changed the . as we have seen. But we are certainly not justified in assuming either that such a person never existed or that she could not have married a The same remarks. which. . apply to the case of Brynhildr. Yet it cannot by itself be held to prove the fictitious origin either of the characters or of the story as a whole.

while the other. a later form. If the story fictitious i. doubtless an ancient device . . On the other hand the Gripisspa treats the two events separately.e. firstly If Brynhildr is really to be 24). contained the incident of the supernatural disguise. character. to expect marriage with SigurSr. 1 Owing to the great lacuna in the MS. two distinct meetings. of the story are really aware of a previous acquaintance between In the Volsunga Saga 1 we hear of SigurSr and Brynhildr. Both versions but the explanation is not far to seek. nothing of a relationship of this kind. like the enchanted sleep (cap.) on his visit to Heimir (cap. if SigurSr. Brynhildr. be accepted. Hogni.164 FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS [CHAP. Then also we It obtain a Brynhildr's resentment. when he awakens her from the and again when he woos her though unlike the saga it does not identify Brynhildr with Both forms of the story however agree that there the valkyrie. identified with the sleeping valkyrie. p. There is some ground therefore for suspecting that a portion of the story has been If so. one of which wooing of Brynhildr by SigurSr. of the Edda (cf. though in real life the dvayvwpio-is would probably is come about a different way. explanation of the supernatural disguise becomes clear enough. in There is nothing incredible in that. though without altogether suppressing the previous relations between SigurSr and Brynhildr. states Now the Nibelungenlied says But at the same time it more than once had known without any explanation that Siegfried Brunhild and her dwelling. 20 f. 2 for saving the hero's It is a device. through which Brynhildr had been led saga. Such a story must be the product of the brain of one gifted poet it . But it is also possible that even the original poem or poems on the subject dealt with this incident. 2 The story may have come to the . stronger motive for not merely of deception was a case much but of faithlessness. related the dealt with this part of the story are lost. these two accounts may be regarded as variants of one original story. necessarily presupposes Brynhildr's resentment against SigurSr the deception practised upon her and that this deception is in true That is doubtless both versions of a supernatural character. had been some meeting. 13) the poems which North in two different forms. GuSrun (Kriemhild) and all their doings are creations of fancyone conclusion at all events must. then the suppressed or lost in the German version. I think.

based on fact. which story possessing different parts of all is common for to both. written within six or seven years of the events. p. Lastly. the original The plot too conforms to the It 1 . The origin of the story however must surely date from a period when Guthhere and the that period of fiction at Burgundian kingdom on the Rhine were still remembered. greatly outlines can still be traced. believing that the story its is argument for For even in that case The presentation would require epic form. much less for fiction of this extremely elaborate On the other hand we have in Procopius' account of type. art. Here we have the character-studies of Brynhildr and Hogni for even authors. decision between the two interpretations rests ultimately on the question whether such a story is more likely to have been invented or drawn from life.VIII] FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS 165 cannot be the result of a fortuitous concourse of lays by different analysis shows that the strength of the story lies chiefly in that element which is common to both versions. defaced as they are. though the two were doubtless connected from quite early times.). For the creation of a these features Europe many a story too which lived in centuries under somewhat a unfavourable conditions talented poet but also a I do not of course regard this as a conclusive we must surely assume not only poem of some considerable length. practically all the materials for the comIndeed position of an epic poem on a very similar subject. 1 the There is no need to assume that the story of Guthhere's death was embodied same poem. Irmingisl and Radiger (cf. But here we have to deal with a period removed by many ages from the times to which the story relates. In we have no positive evidence for the composition all. as well as poetic talent. in . and with a people who had developed the cultivation of imaginative poetry to a very high standard. whatever view may be taken as to the fate of Brynhildr a point in which the versions differ nothing could be more tragic than the grief of GuSrun (Kriemhild). downfall is due not to any villainy (fj. The in the Nibelungenlied. but to a great error (d/jLapria).o^0r)pia) on his own part. highest standard of tragic all has complete unity in itself the characters are more or less sympathetic and the hero's . 97 ff. It seems probable that some of the characters added in the Norse version are products of fiction. .

included among the things that may have happened.' if we take into account the spirit of the times. The is such a statement as that there no question here of such gross improbabilities as those which beset the hypothesis of rationalised myth. I am not prepared of course to state dogmatically that such fiction far too uncertain for was not known. . such as Beowulf. the existence of earlier is poems dealing with the Danish court. On the other hand ' wholly fictitious narratives narratives which the author himself knew to be fictitious and more especially for the deliberate invention of characters there seems to be no conclusive evidence in the stories which we have considered . The evidence of this passage seems to me to tell decidedly in favour of the view that the story of SigurSr is founded on fact 1 . We have seen that in early times its influence was shown chiefly in the imaginative presentation or structure of stories. others on popular report or rumour which frequently introduced elements from folk-tales. 1 It hero's father would be was difficult to doubt its historical origin if it could be proved that the originally identical with for the Sigemund the son of Waelse (Volsungr). they can hardly be called merely crude materials for certain incidents are depicted. Still I know no real proof of original identity. almost entirely independent of each who figures in Beowulf. some of which were founded on fact. for the composition of and I am ^stronger case is case could be made not aware of any others for which a out. which other arid refer to quite different regions. These remarks apply of course only to poems belonging to Stage I and Stage II. in poetic fashion. there nothing incredible in the supposition. shows that they were connected in very early times. are taken from life. All such cases however may be occasionally even from myth.' One is certainly entitled to doubt whether all the characters even in early poems. and even the supernatural element is not wanting. In the course of this chapter we have examined a number of heroic stories with a view to determining how and to what extent fiction has been employed in their composition. [CH. is related both of Sigurftr and Sigemund. ( as I think we must. two stories are The adventure with the dragon. rather than related. The effect of Stage III was to disintegrate the stories and to introduce unhistorical elements of all kinds. . But if we grant.1 66 FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS .

This is a question to which we have to return in a later chapter. Thus SigurSr has been identified with a number of famous princes from Arminius to Sigebert.VIII] FICTION IN THE HEROIC POEMS 167 Hence in poems of Stage IV we meet with numerous situations which are quite incompatible either with history or with the older forms of the traditions. It was scarcely through the greatness of their power. by their personality. their magnificence perhaps above all and generosity. but also probably North. much less through the effects of their achievements on after generations. . not only in the German poems. in principle underlies the whole theory. There is one type of fiction which we have not taken into account in our discussion. Various scholars from time to time have put forward the theory that some of the chief characters of the Heroic Age are really well-known historical persons under fictitious names. It cannot be said that any one of these identifications is of a nature to carry conviction in no case indeed have they gained wide acceptance. that the characters of the Heroic impression Age acquired celebrity it was far more through the made upon their neighbours and contemporaries by . and by the adventures and vicissitudes of fortune shall which fell to their lot. where many they may be in those of the ascribed to romantic influence. In the same period we find also fictitious characters. But I cannot help thinking that an error .

as we shall see those of the northern Heroic later. Both Age literatures alike begin with heroic poems which. and consequently all memory of the Heroic Age was practically . THE literary records of the Heroic in Age of Greece resemble several respects. we characteristics. which at an early date came to be regarded as classics or something more. lost. On the other hand we have no evidence for the Heroic Age way comparable with those more or less contemporary Roman works which enable us to identify many of In the characters and incidents of the northern Heroic Age. Among the northern peoples. same stories. Lastly. contain frequent incidental references to the their popularity. as we have seen. while though existence. of Greece in any Greece the Heroic Age had passed away long before the date of the earliest historical documents which have come down to us . testifying thereby to In Greek literature indeed such references occur more frequently than in that of the Teutonic peoples a fact doubtless due to the preservation of great poems of the former period.CHAPTER IX. in both cases works of all periods. Then. possess many common find in later date. THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE. both poetic and prose. it was only in England that any considerable amount of the early heroic poetry was preserved but here the continuity of literary development was broken through political causes. inscriptions of a remote antiquity are still in none prior to the seventh. or possibly the eighth . at a much both literatures a new series of narrative works dealing again with the old stories.

such as Egypt or Assyria. different authors but it is only within modern times that they have been considered to be of composite formation. In the Alexandrian age there were critics who believed that the Iliad and Odyssey were the work of . a work containing 480 verses and giving an account of the single combat the between Heracles and Cycnos. strictly speaking. indeed Argument cites Stesichoros as authority for this belief. At . It has been attributed to Hesiod by various the writers. early heroic poetry very little has come down to us the two great epics. though it have used and probably incorporated earlier poems. the Iliad and the Odyssey. century. as late as the seventh century. which except between them contain nearly 28. All that it has been possible as yet to verify certain is the existence of ancient centres of civilisation in localities which figure prominently in stories of the Archaeological investigation has shown that some of these places possessed at one time an extraordinary amount Heroic Age. though within the historical period they were inconsiderable or even uninhabited. at least since the Alexandrian period . of the ninth or eighth century. There are however still a number of scholars who both deny the composite authorship of Its is date set by many is believed to poems and also believe them to be of greater antiquity than the dates here given. the monuments century. At present it is probably the most prevalent view that the Iliad was formed gradually in the course of the ninth century and that it attained substantially its present form about the middle of the eighth The Odyssey is generally thought to be a later work. have as yet been deciphered. of the surrounding countries. at least Of the from the seventh century. IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE 169 Further. cannot with certainty pronounce any single person or event of the Heroic Age to be historical. though from very ancient times. anonymous. These poems are. make no reference to Greece beyond the occasional bare mention of a Hence it comes about that we geographical or tribal name.000 verses. Apart from the Iliad and Odyssey the only early heroic poem which has come down to us is the Shield of Heracles. of wealth and splendour.CHAP. the name Homer has been associated with them.

authority however also attributes to Cinaithon of Lacedaemon (ad Olymp.. 320) appears to corre- 2 The KikXoi embraced much more than the story of Troy . 1 spond to the Chiefly because the description of the shield (vv. a sequel to the Odyssey. griech. Herodotus (II 117) expresses his disbut his words imply belief in Homer's authorship of the Cypria that he was contesting a commonly accepted view. of which only a few insignificant fragments now remain. ad Olymp. the Cypria. times however indeed probably down to the fourth centuryit seems to have been the general belief that several. to Euripides. 822. 53. have attributed the Little Iliad (including the Iliu Persis) not to Lesches or Arctinos but to a cerpossibly tain Cinaithon of Lacedaemon. Aithiopis. dealt with the same cycle of story as the Iliad and Odyssey. work of In ancient times there were a considerable number of other early epic poems. possibly all. Lastly we must mention the Telegoneia. Little Iliad ('IXm? fiiKpa). On the other hand Hellanicos 3 who was approximately contemporary with . The relationship of these works to the poems may be compared with that of Volsunga Saga to the heroic poems of the Edda. W. of them were by Homer.1 70 THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE it [CHAP. . v. Troades. for the purpose of presenting a connected account of the whole story 2 . but who are believed to have lived either in In early the eighth century or in the early part of the seventh. The same 4). as the the present time however most scholars regard an unknown poet of the seventh century 1 . Some of these. Christs 5 Geschichte d. . which is said to have been 4 composed by Eugammon of Cyrene probably in the sixth century. in Alexandrian and Roman times. 4 it Eusebius. Lesches of Lesbos and Agias of Troizen of whom nothing definite is known. 3 Schol. Arctinos of Miletos. It is thought by many that the was composed as an introduction to the Iliad and the Cypria others as continuations of it the Nostoi connecting on to the Odyssey. Chron. to The authorship of these poems is attributed in late writings a number of persons Stasinos of Cyprus. At all events they were utilised by the authors of the prose rcv/choi. who is said to have lived before Herodotus. 139 art of that period. . is said to the middle of the eighth century. cf. Iliu Persis and Nostoi. . They seem however to have been of much smaller compass and to have treated their subjects in a far less detailed manner. Litteratur 47 f.

and seldom The last remark is true also. Of the seven extant plays of five 2 deal Aeschylus four or 2 with the Heroic 5. It had a sequel called Epigonoi. The Suppliants is hardly to be reckoned as a heroic play. But in the early part of the sixth century Stesichoros of Himera began to it for presenting stories of the Heroic Age in a new form. The didactic epos began. Age and one It is with Fragm. though on rather doubtful authority. which likewise seems to have been attributed to Homer. while early in the following century there arose new types of poetry. such as Cinaithon (see above). referred to . One ode indeed fifth In the prominently 1 in contains almost an epos. This poem was attributed in to Homer by Callinos of Ephesus 1 who lived early century which probably implies that it was not of recent composition even then. All the poems mentioned above were probably composed in quite early times. In Pindar's odes too. elegiac and iambic. 6 (Bergk). In addition to these mention may be made of the Oidipodeia. though we have practically no trustworthy the seventh number of other epics data as to their age or authorship. Rhodes. the allusions to heroic stories are very frequent and often of considerable utilise length. though to a less extent. IX 9. though Herodotus (IV 32) again apparently felt doubtful. Eumelos of Corinth and Asios of Samos. and of the Oichalias Halosis and Phocais. nearly a century later. which were concerned with adventures of Heracles. A These however seem to have been rather of a genealogical than heroic character. But the other epic poets whose names have survived seem to have belonged to a considerably later time. bore the names of persons who were attributed to the eighth or seventh centuries. to the close of this period. is also referred. under Hesiod. however the Heroic Age figures most century Athenian tragedy. of the early lyric poetry. which gave the story of the legendary kings of Thebes. present topics and the personal interests of the poets. which also dealt with the Theban story. Peisandros of the author of an epic on Heracles. apparently before the end of the eighth century. concerned chiefly with even referring to the Heroic Age.IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE I/ 1 Apart from the series of poems dealing with the siege of Troy the most famous of the early epics was the Thebais. from Pausanias.

may compare however what Jordanes We (cap. though not as a god. avrdp eirel /cat TOVTO yevos Kara yaia Kd\v^/ev. /cat ot /raXe'cwTat Trpor^pif] yevty /car' direipova ycuav. /cat robs pkv 7r6Xe/nos re KO. with contemporary history. Thor. as Choirilos.r.KOS v<f> 0tfXo7rts alvT] TOVS peit eTrTa-mjXii} O^/S??. During the same period we hear of a few epic poets whose works are now lost. Some of these. Herodotus' a time many personifications of nationalities. dealt with stories of the and some. such as Panyasis and Antimachos. i)fj. iri aurts ^T' dXXo reraprov xdovl irov\v(3oTeLpr] /cat Zeus Kpovidijs Troiyve diKai6repov apeiov. An instance of the former (in the case of Hrolfr Kraki) occurs in Yngl. For such worship Teutonic records naturally furnish few parallels. 41.? /c. Of the two later dramatists. and Euripides. but we do hear occasionall) of worship paid to heroes of the Heroic Age. all the surviving plays 1 take their subjects from the Heroic Age. where an age of the heroes who fell at Thebes and Troy is introduced between the bronze age and the iron age. and from them it appears that the surviving pieces are fairly representative. as well as to distinguished persons later times. Suppliants. \aiT/Jt. Age About two centuries later heroic epic poetry was cultivated at Heroic Alexandria. etc. In passage the word rjpias seems to have already begun to acquire meaning. X. 13) says of the Goths: proceres suos. contemporary concerned exclusively Sophocles with supernatural beings. a distinguished man of the past (generally of the Heroic Age) this its later who was honoured with worship. while the last is [CHAP. . we know the names of a large number of lost plays. so far as choice of subjects is concerned. 4s Tpofyi/ ayayuv 'E\vr)S ^e/c' ^u/c6/xoto. since most of the Teutonic peoples became Christian either during the Heroic Age itself or soon after.a TOVS de /cat ev v^effcriv virep ^ya ^aXdcrar. uoca^^erunt. S. especially by Apollonius Rhodius.ldoi.) . id est Ansis. to be obtainable. Further. puros homines (*anstz) sed semideos.apj>a ueVois ^rfKuv eveK OiSnrodao. Among incidental references to the Heroic Age one of the most interesting occurs in Hesiod's Works and Days (vv. both by these and other authors. / Kad/m-rjidi yair). quorum quasi fortuna uincebant. generations before the siege of Troy and all the characters appear to be Regarding the epic Danais little information seems 1 The Ion and Bacchai are perhaps rather to be regarded as pre-heroic the former deals with a story which apparently belongs to the same type as Aeschylus' .1/2 THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE history. 156 2 170). viz. non In Old Norse the name cesir is applied only to the gods (Othin. avdp&v yp&wv detov yevos. uiXecre /u.

It is to be . Pausanias. though in a more Thucydides In later times we have to notice especially critical spirit. three by Sophocles and ten by Euripides.IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE 173 and even history abounds with references to the Heroic Age. Sixteen plays (three by Aeschylus. antiquarian writers such as Strabo and above all The last-named derived his information very largely from local tradition and consequently the stories which he gives be independent of the poems. consider briefly the chronological aspect of the It has already been mentioned that a passage of an age of heroes intermediate between the bronze and iron ages. appears then that the characters who figure most prominently in stories of the Heroic Age were.) which dealt with the Trojan cycle of legend. a tions. it is true. more than three or number of stories four generareferring to much earlier generations in addition to those treated in the . To the latter the Iliad number belong no doubt the various characters of and Odyssey and the other poems (Cypria. if we are justified in regarding them as heroic at all. refers to it not unfrequently. Theseus and lason loosely connected with one another and made roughly contemporary with the Theban heroes. etc. three by Sophocles and two by Euripides) deal with the Theban story and six plays (one by Sophocles and five by Euripides) are concerned with the doings of Heracles. may often We may in Hesiod's now Greek Heroic Age. and that it further Works and Days speaks defines these heroes as those who fought at Thebes and Troy. The remaining three are all plays (Aeschylus' Suppliants and Euripides' Ion and Bacchai). with few exceptions. ascribed to a period covering not There are. . In the surviving Attic dramas which deal with the Heroic Age the distribution of subjects is as follows. while the deeds of the former must have been treated in the Thebais and the Epigonoi. observed that the heroes of the Theban story are always represented as belonging to the generation immediately preceding that of the heroes of Troy. while Heracles. refer to persons It much farther back in the genealogies. Theseus or lason. including the Cyclops and Rhesos) treat of the heroes of the Trojan war or their children six plays (one by Aeschylus.

according to the Catalogue of Ships (II..) he . Certainly it is to be noted that the scheme of tribal or political geography presented to us in the Homeric poems seems to show no trace either of Dorians in the Peloponnesos or of Ionic settlements in the eastern Aegean another series of movements which are said to have been brought about by the Dorian conquest. Elsewhere (II. a short distance south of the Dardanelles. 291 ff. is as follows: Agamem- non's territories.1/4 three THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE [CHAP. including the northwestern part of what was later called Argolis and at least the eastern half of Achaia. less frequently to localities distribution of the principal heroes But the stories introduced on the mainland of in Asia Minor or Thrace. traditionally known as the Return of the Heracleidai. to which the Dorian states in the Peloponnesos were believed to owe their origin. the Return took place in the second generation after the siege of Troy. back to the twelfth or eleventh century (B. were killed or expelled by the Dorians. though it refers to times long anterior to what we should call the historical The ancients themselves dated the events in question period. series of The great majority of scholars apparently regard the story of the conquest as containing at least a nucleus of truth. All that we can say is that the end of that age appears to coincide with the movement or it is With the evidence at our disposal movements.). The scene of the Iliad is laid in the north-west corner of Asia Minor. the Achaean leader at the siege. incidentally refer for the most part to places The Greece. II 569 fT. Before entering upon this question it will be convenient to notice briefly the scenes of the stories and the localities and peoples to which the various characters belong.). lie in the north-east of the Peloponnesos. impossible to fix any absolute dates for the Heroic Age. On the other hand there is scarcely any reference to persons later than the children of the heroes who fought at Troy. IX 149 ff. plays mentioned above but they seem to have been distinctly less popular than the others. But the evidence on which their conclusions were based is not of a very satisfactory character and will require careful consideration.C. and the grandsons of Agamemnon. According to the story.

be overlooked that most of these districts were of little or no Telamon. Nestor's kingdom is on the western side of the Peloponnesos. The wanderings of the hero himself appear to lie chiefly in regions to the west of Greece. Achilles to southern Thessaly his (Phthiotis). further. that the territories of the kingdoms appear not to have coincided as a political rule with the political divisions to which we find in later times. Menelaos. The scene of the Odyssey is laid chiefly in the Ionian Isles. Certain districts however are excepted. More important is the absence of any mention of Greek cities in Asia Minor 1 and the adjacent islands. and to these special attention should be In the first place we have practically no reference to given. lason's home was in eastern Thessaly. The scene of the Shield of Heracles It is laid in Phthiotis. to the south of Elis. a much smaller extent in the Peloponnesos. . but his story is largely taken up with journeys in the Black Sea and other distant regions. His brother. Greek cities in Italy or Sicily or to heroes belonging to them. the son of namesake and southern It must not parts of Argolis and Odysseus to the Ionian Isles. Heracles' adventures are spread over the greater part of Greece and many other lands. Thebes was doubtless the scene of the lost Thebais and Epigonoi. to the eastern to the eastern Locris. rules over Sparta and other places in Laconia.IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE 175 appears to have possessions in Messenia. appears then that the heroic stories are distributed over the greater part of the ancient Greek world. Incidental references occur to Thesprotis (Epeiros) and the Aegean. though there may be reminiscences of the Black Sea. Diomedes importance during the historical period and. Idomeneus belongs to Crete. though Boeotia and Malis are perhaps the districts most prominent in his story. except 1 In the Nostoi after the departure from Troy some of the Achaeans (Calchas. as well as to more distant lands such as Egypt. Some scholars relegate them largely or altogether to the realm of fairyland. The story of Pelops seems to have been connected chiefly with Elis and that of Perseus with Mycenae and Tiryns. though we do hear occasionally of travellers' acquaintance with these countries. Aias. while Minos belonged to Crete and Theseus to Athens. to Salamis.

as a name for the subjects of . only real exceptions are the southern islands. Phthiotis and the north coast of the Peloponnesos.). send contingents to Agamemnon's army. and 'lao^e? once as that of a later people (perhaps the Athenians) associated with the Locrians and Boeotians. but it is said to be in the possession Trojan catalogue (II. n 684). as the name of one of the five peoples of Crete. Cyprus too seems to be fairly well known and its princes. In the Homeric poems it appears to be a collective term In for the inhabitants of Greece and the surrounding islands. the same sense we find also Aavaoi. are taken from this source. Mopsos perhaps comes from the same source. such as Rhodes and Cos. (the latter 1 only once . in the though the former occurs frequently form IlayeXX^^e?) as a synonym The story of Calchas' contest with 1 Leonteus and Polypoites) were made to arrive at Colophon. several of which. subject II 868). while Awpte'e? occurs only once. reckoned among heroic traditions. a name which later is used only in archaistic poetry. are on friendly terms with the Achaeans a fact which renders the absence of reference In Greece itself nearly to the Ionic cities all the more striking.176 THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE The [CHAP. On the other hand the most frequently used of national designations is 'A^aiot. Once also. 'Apyeioi and "EXX^z/e? seem properly all to be geographical terms. but they form the Miletos is mentioned in the of no connected story. For the tribal distinctions which figure so prominently in Greek history there is extremely little evidence in stories of the Heroic Age. Attica however is district has a story connected with it. To Chios there is only a geographical reference (Od. legends which speak of colonies led to Lesbos by Penthilos the son of Orestes or to Miletos and elsewhere by the sons of Codros are hardly to be those off the coast of Caria. its and though Lesbos is mentioned more frequently inhabitants are treated as enemies by the Achaeans. The Ill 170 ff. a name which in later times was borne only by the inhabitants of two comparatively unimportant districts. The name AtoXee? is not mentioned in the Homeric poems. every one of the least prominent and possesses no hero of much note except Theseus. together with 'Axcuoi (II. of the Carians. The names indeed. at least in the first case. though they take no part in the expedition.

e. On the question of Greek nationality there is unfortunately very little evidence either in the Homeric poems or in other We cannot even tell Age. cf. such as "A/3ai/T9. ality. Into the difficult problems connected with this name we need not enter here . p. but they denote AtrcoXot. Hell. He states (i 57) that in his time they inhabited Placia K/srjoTwi'a ir6\tv.). were sprung from them. in the Gulf of Adramyttion (vn 42). for Herodotus speaks of the Pelasgoi of his own time as a barbarous people though at the same time he holds that several Greek peoples. Only in the case of Crete is detailed In a passage cited above we ethnographical information given. on the south coast probably in the Chalcidian peninsula (though some scholars emend this name to Kpbrwva. 1706. and name was preserved at Antandros. 'A^a^H. VI 138 ff. Later writers speak of the Pelasgoi as having formerly inhabited many other regions. whether the population of the Greek mainland was believed to be homogeneous. though not Greek. and Scylace. including the is true also . i. com- Though the term 'A^atot it is used for the inhabitants of Greece collectively. As regards the etymology * If this is analogies indicate that HeXaayol represents an earlier form Pelag-skoi. for the most recent and Prof. paratively small sections of the nation. Glotta I 16 f.). a national name (cf. XIX 176 we find the Achaeans mentioned As an inas merely one of five peoples which inhabit Crete.in national names Indo-European. St. Down to the fifth century they are said to have also occupied Lemnos and Imbros (iv 145. a Greek word the most probable meaning is 'people of the sea' (though another But it may really be explanation has been proposed . Kretschmer. HeXdyoves). are of course frequently used .IX] for THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE ' 177 Names of peoples. perhaps fullest discussion of the subject reference may be made to Myres' paper in \hzjourn. Cortona in Tuscany). C. tribe At all events in Od. v 26. may of course really be the name of a or people which was regarded as dominant at the time. poems remark but this that the Pelasgoi spoke a foreign language of many Asiatic peoples. stories relating to the Heroic Achilles. sometimes apparently 1 in a wider sense. 'EXXcts is used sometimes for a place or district in Peleus' kingdom. and in early times Samothrace (u 51). especially the lonians and Athenians. while their of the Sea of Marmara. is In that case we may note that the use of the suffix -sko. 12 . Trojans. 1907. No indication is given in the Homeric 1 . stance of a people who were apparently never included among the Achaeans we may take the Pelasgoi mentioned in the same Here however we are faced with a question of nationpassage. or rather Peleus.

are commonly It will be sufficient to notice that the Thracian and Phrygian languages to the eastern division of the Indo-European group. Asia Minor supposed to have had a somewhat similar history. Eteocretes. Cydones. affinities p. the Greek alphabet which were current in the sixth and fourth others.1/8 THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE five [CHAP. but the language is not Greek. Indeed the tendency at present is to believe that Greece and the Aegean islands were originally inhabited by existence of which can be traced back peoples of one stock. Meyer.) respectively. believed to have Into the linguistic belonged Certainly this to the case with the language of the Armenians. 1908. the thousands of years. who became 2 throughout the larger part of the peninsula 1 2 . In Greece itself we have not such clear evidence for the . d. Yet the on somewhat doubtful inferences that the language was majority of scholars would not admit indigenous. are told that this island contained peoples. Akad. Dorians and Pelasgoi. but we have no satisfactory evidence as to the nationality of the Herodotus (l 173) says that the Lycians came originally from Crete and adds that the whole of the island was once Interesting light on the latter statepossessed by barbarians. according to the 1 most recent view ttyere took place a great irruption of Thracodominant Phrygian peoples from the north-west. The first and fourth of these are well-known sections of the Greek nation. S. ment has been thrown by the recent discovery of certain inscriptions at Praisos. centuries (B. and that these peoples in Crete for many were ultimately overwhelmed and absorbed perhaps in the course of the second millennium by invaders from the north. who according of the Herodotus (vil 73) were an offshoot (&TTOIKOI) of the Phrygians. 18. The evidence is . Here we are dependent prevalence of a non-Greek language. Besides these numerous inscriptions dating from much earlier times have been found at Cnossos and elsewhere but they have not yet been deciphered. namely the Achaeans. Eventually about 1200 B.C.C. All that can be said at present is that we have no reason for discrediting Herodotus' statement. of these various peoples we need not enter here. in what is said to have been the Eteocretan These inscriptions are written in forms of part of the island.-B. is believed to have been occupied by various Originally kindred peoples. from place-names. of which the most prominent were the Hittites is it of Cappadocia. zu Berlin.

Ann. stock. must now return to the consideration of the chronological In ancient times. The nationalities represented seem to be chiefly of Thraco-Phrygian though a few. 12 2 . fall of Troy. To the same eastern division belonged the ancient Illyrian languages. But it has long been pointed out that the figures given for the reigns of the early kings are so greatly above the average that they cannot be regarded with any confidence. 141 ff. Conway {British School at Athens. if the present dialects of Albania are descended from them. p. although the point of view emphasised throughout is that of an Achaean. hand there is no reason for supposing that any of the peoples represented in Agamemnon's army were of other than Greek The story may therefore be regarded as one of nationality. Yet Prof.Indo-European. No Greek communities and few even of their princes are described otherwise than in terms of respect. especially during the Alexandrian problem. On the other hand the languages of the indigenous peoples throughout Asia Minor and the Aegean area are commonly believed to have been non. In this respect will be seen that Greek heroic poetry agrees with Teutonic. If this should turn out to be the case with the earlier Cretan inscriptions current views as to the early history of the Indo-European languages would require considerable modification. For local or tribal patriotism the Homeric poems furnish us with little or no evidence. Yet it cannot be said that this feature is ever in the poems themselves. extending from the Axios (Vardar) on the west to Paphlagonia on the east and Lycia on the south.) holds that the inscriptions of Praisos belonged to a language of this group. national conflict. such as the Lycians and perhaps the On the other Carians. which was based on the length of the reigns ascribed to the kings of Sparta.IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE 179 In the Iliad the forces ranged in defence of Troy are drawn from a wide area. the foundation of the Dorian Phrygian inscriptions themselves is unfortunately somewhat ambiguous. various attempts were made to calculate the exact date of the siege of Troy. Of these the most generally accepted was that of Eratosthenes. vui. period. point also to the old controversy regarding Homer's birthplace a controversy which owes its very existence to the it We may absence of any local patriotism in the poems. This calculation brought We kingdom at Sparta to the year and eighty years were added to obtain the date of the 1104-3. belong to the indigenous population.

p. or at all events not much later. More reliance is perhaps to be placed on the genealogies of the two royal families given by Herodotus (VII 204. Cleomenes. 488 480) and Leotychidas (r. i7of. z. in the fifth generation from Heracles. Meyer A who points out that several passages in Herodotus' history seem 2 to imply the reckoning of a generation at forty years Among the figures given we find (II 145) Heracles dated about 1330. is very doubtful in view of the fact that they are almost identical with the genealogies it is difficult to avoid suspecting that the total period ascribed to their reigns collectively is more than a century too long. this would give about 1130. who was a contemporary of Cleomenes.I SO first THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE Olympiad (B.C. with whom we are represented as fifteenth in descent from Eurysthenes and Procles respectively. 1 . . Leonidas (r. Thus the 776-5) was made to coincide with the tenth (or eleventh) year of Alcamenes and Theopompos. are on sure two latter flourished not very long before the middle of the tenth ' In other words the date given by Eratosthenes for century. VIII 131). alien Geschichte. The reckoning is not due to Herodotus himself but taken over by him from an earlier writer. 1 For England from is its unification under Alfred the Great to the present time the it average about twenty years. Meyer suggests as its author Hecataeus. [CHAP. for France from 840 to 1793 is between twenty- three and twenty-four years. For Eurysthenes and Procles. which is not very far from the date fixed by Eratosthenes. According to all analogies therefore we should expect that the historical ground. Prof. Alcamenes was the ninth in succession from Eurysthenes and Theopompos the eighth from Procles. was born about 530. and the number of years ascribed to the previous reigns amounts on the average to over thirty-five years for one dynasty and over thirty-nine for the But in kingdoms for which we have reliable information extending over a long period of time the usual average length is apparently between twenty and twenty-five years Hence. would seem to be from a the 'Return of the Heracleidai very reasonable century to a century and a half too early. . 491 469). his descendant in the twentieth generation. 2 Forsch. explanation of the difficulty has been suggested by Prof. if the lists of kings themselves are to be trusted and even this other.

Cleomenes. Meyer's view is not that the chronologists fixed too early a date for the Dorian invasion. Meyer's lations. as we have seen. father. to a much later date than that which we have been discussing 4 If we substitute 32 x 15 for 40 x 15. of these places Pheidon in the sixth generain the ninth according to another. I79f. In many Teutonic genealogies e. the Gothic. cit. we are brought to about the year 1000. That must be regarded as the date really indicated by Spartan tradition Eurysthenes and Procles. Eratosthenes. appears to have had a similar period of 3-20 years from Procles to Theopompos. according to 1 one version. . great-grandfather and great-great-grandfather of the Sosibius. turn for a moment to the genealogies of the other Heraclid families. apart from any such specuwe can hardly doubt. The accession of Theopompos was equated with that of Alcamenes by Possibly these periods were originally sub-divisions of a longer period of 640 years.g. any great exercise of ingenuity to point out traces of a more or less symmetrical distribution of the period covered by the reigns of the early Spartan kings 2 But. that Eratosthenes' scheme is probably only a modification of a previously existing system. in the light of Prof. showing. other varieties of which are quoted by Prof. The genealogies themselves of course may represent tradition. starting from the birth of . although his dates were different from those of Eratosthenes 1091/0 to 771/0 according to Prof. but that the early parts of the genealogies themselves are unhistorical. Meyer 1 Indeed it would not require . grand2 latter make up 159 years. but none of the Agiad names is really of a suspicious character. Frankish (Merovingian). reckoned from the fortieth year of Cleomenes (or Leonidas?). p. that the date for Eurysthenes and Procles is derived . The fact that Agis and Eurypon are not the first names in the genealogies ought not to be used as an argument against the trustworthiness of the tradition. Meyer (op. who reckoned by p. secondly. while the reigns of the father.). Eratosthenes reckons nearly 320 years from the accession (birth) of Eurysthenes to that of Alcamenes in the ninth generation. East Anglian and Mercian the name which performs patronymic function is not that which stands first in the list. namely those of Argos. and. so far as they are not interpolated 3 but they point. . The first tion.IX] It is to THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE be remembered in the first place that the is l8l date fixed for Eurysthenes and Procles apparently that of their birth. Messenia and for the birth of We may now Corinth. the Eurypontid dynasty. dt. Kentish. Op. 4 Prof. 3 Two names (Prytanis and Eunomos) in the Eurypontid list are generally regarded with doubt. i78ff. ultimately from a calculation based on the genealogies rather than from any contemporary written record or tradition.

. the Return of the Heracleidai. logies generation from Pyrrhos will be seen that. places that I. the uncle of Eurysthenes and Procles. king born soon after the middle of the fifth century. form of the genealogy. as we do not know where it ends. genealogy cannot be used for our purpose. the son of Aias. reign about the But even this. according to of the Molossoi. king of Cyrene.e. Further. taking the longer his who is said to have been killed in 747. cit. who was (l 11). They seem to indicate the existence of a belief that persons who flourished in the first half of the fifth century were removed by about fifteen On in generations from the Heroic Age. Battos 1 the sixteenth generation the case of Prof. places middle of the eighth century. does not carry us appreciably farther back than the Agiad list. it believed that the genealogy of the Philaidai at Athens. claimed to be descended in the sixteenth (i. fifteenth) generation from a god. Pausanias descended in the fifteenth or sixteenth It the son of Achilles. when divine parentage is common. claimed to be Hippocleides. . tunately different dates are assigned for Pheidon. The Messenian genealogy is materially shorter. the other hand Pindar (Pyth. Unforearliest. Attische Genealogie. which must not be ignored. if not entirely. IV 9 ff. This would agree with the longer form of the Argive genealogy several of the names . op. whereas later it appears to be almost. from Temenos. to the Heroic Age. p. whom he places after The But the question is a complicated one. Tharypas. Topffer. This probably takes us back . 173 and note) Telamon the son ol Poseidon. 278 f. which is not generally accepted. Meyer (op. p. 2 Cf.) in an ode written in cites 466 and addressed to Arcesilaos IV. Meyer.1 82 THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE The [CHAP. p. ancestor of the priests of Poseidon at Halicarnassos. which actually survives. who was archon in 566. that Hecataeus. in the twelfth generation above is . king's seventh ancestor. though only in a corrupt form 2 placed Philaios. 174. note. however are generally regarded as suspicious. Apart from these Dorian genealogies there are some notices relating to the ancestry of persons belonging to other parts of Herodotus (II 143) states Greece. unknown 1 Again. though these genea- do not agree exactly. the discrepancy is not very great. who was a prominent man at the beginning of the fifth century. in the thirteenth generation from Heracles. The Corinthian genealogy places the last king. cit.

at which time oriental influence ' ' began to make appearance. a contemporary of Heracles. It may be observed between that date and 466 is surprisingly short for the lapse of seven generations. As to the relative value of the two traditions we have nothing to guide ' ' and the same remark applies to the Greek genealogical evidence in general. This exceeds even the Agiad reckoning. whatever be its value. lasted. The dates which they indicate for the floruit of these persons are in no case earlier than the middle of the tenth century. Apart from the evidence discussed above. until about the end of the eighth century. for Pleistarchos. brings the end of the Heroic Age at least towards the us. : . it will be seen that the other non-Heraclid genealogies are shorter than if we equate that of the Agidai by at least three generations Philaios. was only in the From the other nontwenty-first generation from Heracles. Two points however must be insisted upon (i) that the calculations of scholars of the Alexandrian age. Pyrrhos (Neoptolemos) and the grandson of Hecataeus' god with Aristomachos the grandfather of Eurysthenes. chronological data for the Heroic Age itself seem to be entirely wanting. unsatisfactory as it doubtless is. The orientalising period again continued down to the beginning of the classical age. or even earlier times. Whatever may be the explanation of this case. which is commonly known as geometrical from the type of art which prevailed in it.IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE 183 from Euphemos the Argonaut. We know however that a highly advanced civilisation flourished in the Aegean in early times. close of the eleventh century. . and that it was succeeded by a long period in which both art and general culture were at a very low ebb. are not to be interpreted as evidence of tradition (ii) that the evidence of tradition. Heraclid genealogies we should have expected that the number of generations to Arcesilaos would be about what is recorded for Battos I 1 . This latter period. It is a common and natural hypothesis to equate the low-watermark its ' ' of culture early in the geometrical period with the generations 1 Battos I is that the interval believed to have founded Cyrene about 630. so far as one can judge. the representative of that family reigning in 466.

From the stratification of the deposits Mr Dawkins. To this question we shall have to refer again in a later chapter. We find inscriptions dating Aegean from the subsequent period (Late Minoan III) apparently quite civilisation to 1 2 British School at Athens. pp. whose views on Cretan chronology differ greatly from those of English archaeologists. Ann. A much later date is favoured by Dr Ddrpfeld (Ath. . the director. Mitteilungen. has come the earliest temple and altar at the sanctuary of Artemis Orthia date from the ninth or even the tenth century 1 The temple. geometrical When we turn back to the times of the earlier civilisation it it is indicated easier to establish chronological equations for the presence of Egyptian objects among Aegean remains and of Aegean objects or representations of Aegean objects in Egypt is . If the sanctuary was founded at the beginning of the Dorian settlement at Sparta obvious that this result agrees well enough with the date for the conquest by tradition. As to the date of the destruction of the Cretan palaces opinions still differ dynasties. Some geometrical sherds were found beneath the floor. appears to have been a narrow and unpretentious structure of crude brick and timber. Hawes. Crete the Fore-runner of Greece. Thus there is little doubt that certain Cretan remains date from periods contemporaneous with the twelfth and Hyksos Others again clearly belong to the period of the eighteenth dynasty at all events the earlier part of it. since Greece appears to have had little contact with the outside world during the geometrical period. the most recent statement by Dr Evans is in favour of about I35O 2 But this catastrophe did not bring the . earliest known. In recent years some advance has been made through the operations carried out by the British School at Sparta. Cf. p. 18.1 84 THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE [CHAP. 18 f. But unfortunately we cannot thereby obtain any certain date for the latter. immediately following the Dorian conquest of the Peloponnesos. a fact which shows that the sanctuary had been in use somewhat earlier. XIV. which is perhaps the most important site for our purpose. No relics of pretimes appear to have been found. xxxii 602). considerably. an end. 3. much shows that there was frequent communication between the two areas. which must have been one of the to the conclusion that .

yet at the same time show a number of characteristics which are entirely new. the late in Mycenean megaron at Hagia Triada (also Other Crete) and the late palace at Phylakopi in Melos. After this time however traces of Mycenean influ- widespread (e. Ann. The remarks made above. Early Age of Greece. though they have certain with the former group. who died about 1170. Now however in view of the sequence . Mackenzie 1 has come to the conclusion that it belongs to the same period as the famous Aegean before in found ' from Mycenae. 1 British School at Athens. Warrior Vase ' group of graves. (all in Crete). xill. 317.IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE 185 to those discovered in the earlier stratum. though decadent. all of which are unknown in the this time. as to the art of Late Minoan III being a continuation of that of the preceding period. similar in any same type are depicted Egypt in the wall-paintings on the tomb of Rameses III. in Thessaly and Italy) at this time than vases of the earlier period. In ence are rarely found in that country. represented by the tombs found at Mouliana. apply properly only to the first of these groups represented by the cemeteries of Zafer Papoura (Cnossos) and Phaistos. This had already been pointed out by Prof. This again is obviously conwith a painted stele. p. Milatos. From a careful study of the pottery these deposits Dr D. are given in the same work 2 Representations of both the Vase and the Stele f. ff. deposits. 2 Ridgeway but many scholars have attributed both objects to a much later period. Of Kavousi and Erganos features in common these the most important are the practice of cremation and the use of fibulae and iron weapons.g. temporary which was found in one of the latest graves in the lower town Fibulae also were found here in the same at the same place. likewise representing warriors.). Within the last few years it has come to be noticed that the deposits dating from the last Mycenean period fall into two well-marked groups. 423 p. 313 . The importance of these observations lies in the fact that the armature of the warriors depicted on the vase and the stele corresponds in all essentials to what is described in the Homeric poems. and the various artistic types. show no breach of conIndeed 'Mycenean' influence seems to have been more tinuity. (p.

the exist- ence of other nationalities practically ignored. Some scholars hold that they came there from the Peloponnesos. the identification of the second or sub-Mycenean period with that of Achaean settlement is rendered extremely probable by the resemblance which deposits of this period show to objects and customs described in the Homeric poems. new types. while in Greece is itself. which Dr Mackenzie has succeeded in tracing. in In regard to armature and the use of fibulae and cremation. Dr Mackenzie has pointed out that all the above deposits differ radically from those of the strict geometrical period found in cemeteries at Cnossos and Courtes and in the 'beehive' tomb near Kavousi (all in Crete). In regard to the earliest of the three settlements kenzie's theory Dr Mac- be open to more serious question. from the time of the destruction of the palaces onwards. improbable that the two events were separated by a longAgain. it may be presumed that their settlement was the latest of those which took place in Crete. as we have seen. he believes that each of these periods ' ' coincides with a in the island the true geometrical period with the Dorian settlement. the poems the Achaeans are clearly represented as dominant even in Crete. The evidence of the deposits found at Sparta and elsewhere tends distinctly to favour the first of these identifications. The ethnical affinities of the Pelasgoi are still quite obscure. though geo- by no means confined to the Dorians.1 86 THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE [CHAP. As a result of his investigations then Dr Mackenzie has come to the conclusion that three well-marked periods can be distinguished in Cretan history.g. and the last true Mycenean period new settlement (Late Minoan III) with a settlement of Pelasgoi. while others place their settlement in the island prior to the invasion of the peninsula and ancient authority can be obtained for both views. in Cretan pottery and other articles. But in either case it is metrical art was interval. after the destruction of the palaces. Lastly. For. it appears that the latter view can hardly be maintained. do although may occur at this time. the sub-Mycenean with that of the Achaeans. apparently derived from the mainland. But further. e. Again. the break of continuity with the preceding . There are clear indications that all the latter belong to a subsequent time.

were identical with the Pulesatha or Philistines (cf. very good event place probably for Greek is the one with which we are chiefly concerned tradition universally places the Heroic Age in times immediately It is therefore a fact of great preceding the Dorian invasion. The Cretan king Idomeneus is one of the oldest leaders at Troy. that the 1 Dr Mackenzie's theory would certainly gain in probability if it could be shown p. long before or after evidence for two distinct periods of culture between that and the destruction of the Cretan palaces. . As to the two periods (Late Minoan III and subor Achaean) archaeologists apparently have not as Mycenean But it may be observed yet ventured to express an opinion. and his grandfather is said to have reigned at Cnossos before him. of the palaces may large scale. the name is perhaps hardly to be regarded as an insuperable difficulty for we know .in scarcely of such a nature as to carry conviction. fortunately. This brings us back nearly to times when. . historical evidence is available once more. favour of such an identification are obvious enough The nothing of the languages involved or of the sound-changes to which they were subject. events the theory seems to provide a have seen very satisfactory explanation of the phenomena.C. During the thirteenth and twelfth centuries Egypt was threatened on several occasions by formidable armies. The evidence of the poems then favours the idea that even in Crete Achaean dominion lasted at least a century. The later of these periods significance that the deposits of this age agree in so striking a manner with the evidence of the Homeric poems. For is our purpose however this part of Dr Mackenzie's theory of minor importance 1 . namely from the Egyptian monuments.IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE in 187 the age does not seem to be anything like so marked as subsequent periods. . relative duration of the poems themselves give no indication that the Achaean dominion was believed to be of recent growth. probably about 1220. 188). In other respects at all We no justification for dating the Dorian invasion Now we find very 1000 B. which took affords in the fourteenth century. that the Pelasgoi but they are arguments in The appearance of -st. whether traditional or archaeological. During the reign of Merenptah.for -gsk. or even to commotions within the island It is scarcely impossible that the destruction be due to naval warfare or piracy on a itself. that the Spartan evidence.

. i?6f. Hall. School. Kalakisha. p. Dardenui and Masa 4 On this occasion also we find Shardina in the Egyptian . i8of. No land stood before them. Cf. 386 Hall. also Breasted. Ancient Records of Egypt. A few years later Rameses encountered both by land and sea a great host coming the Libyans from the north. Many writers also the Shardina with the Sardinians and the Shakalesha identify with the Siceloi. Ann. p. Cf." The . roSff. Breasted (I. School at Athens. 37f. 4 5 Denyen and cit. Thekel (i. About a century earlier the Hittites a great confederacy against Rameses II. Ann. disturbed among themselves at one and the same time. History of Egypt. a fresh attack was made from the same quarter. They destroyed them. of the Brit. pp. which date from shortly before the middle of the fourteenth century. . In the Tell-el-Amarna tablets.e. during the reign of Rameses III. cit. p. op. army. it was attacked by a host of Libyans and " foreign soldiers of " whom " the miserable Libyan had led hither 1 . Among the brought names given here are Luka. and of attacks made upon the coast by Lukki. Hall. Tchakaray (Zakar) and Danaau (or Other Shardina appear to have been fighting on the side of the Egyptians. VIII 183 cf. iv. 3 Prof. p. Very early in the next century. Petrie. 2 vm. Breasted. Shekelesh (omitted above). History of Egypt. Shakalesha (Shakarusha) and Shardina. but others connect these names with Sardis 1 Cf. Danauna) 3 Vashasha. Hall. beginning from Kheta (Cappadocia and Cilicia). . op. Zakar). Arvad and Alashiya. the Brit. 180. Carchemish. who are believed to be identical with the Luka 5 .e. The Oldest Civilization of Greece. Unfortunately scholars have not yet been able to come to any general agreement as to the identification of most of these names.] gives these names as Peleset." The names given to the confederates are Akaiuasha.1 88 THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE [CHAP. 336. Pidasa. invaders here are called Shardina. p. . i77f. Pulesatha (or Purusatha). we hear of Sirdana (apparently the same people) serving under the Egyptians in Palestine. Weshesh. and assembled 2 in their camp in the midst of Amar (Amurru\ Pales- tine) . Thuirsha (Turusha). It is commonly held that Pulesatha and Luka denote the Philistines and Lycians respectively. Kedi (the 'circling' of the Syrian coast at the Gulf of Iskanderun). " The Isles were restless. of p.

M. 151. op. Now it has been noted that the great Hittite kingdom (in Cappadocia) appears to have been destroyed about the same We have seen that the III Rameses time. pp. S." " Thuirsha of the sea 2 ." Again the king "slaughtered the Danauna in their isles . op. Petrie. 2 3 Cf. Meyer. History of Egypt. cit. W.-B. Tyrrhenians. 150. Petrie. The inscriptions frequently speak of the invaders as coming from the sea or from Thus the Pulesatha are said to be " in the midst of the islands. 363 . M. ill. The appearance any of the peoples of that region can be too and the armature of the Shardina. are quite incompatible with the any of the countries round northern invasion repelled by was preceded by 'disturbances in the isles. 162. 361. p. pp.IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE 189 and Sagalassos in Asia Minor. 1908. i8f. sea. but under the eighteenth and nineteenth dynasties the territories of the Hittite kingdom in Syria and Cappadocia had become so well known to the Egyptians that it 1 is incredible that meant. Asien und Europa. Even those scholars who deny the references to Sicily and Sardinia hold that nearly all parts of the Aegean are represented in the lists. who are mentioned occasionally as mariners in later times. 361. Other identifications which have received more or less assent are those of Akaiuasha. Thuirsha. Tchakaray. . namely that several of the nations mentioned had come from a considerable distance. cit. Cf. derAkad. on the monuments. Danaau. likewise belonged to Crete. . W." We find also the expressions " Vashasha of the sea. Dardenui and Masa with the Achaeans.' while the lands of the Hittites and their neighbours had apparently been overrun by the invaders before the attack upon Egypt. p. as portrayed supposition that they belonged to the south-east of the Mediterranean. In spite of the large element of doubt attaching to most of these identifications one important conclusion may be drawn with safety.zu Berlin. Danaoi." " Shardina of the sea. Muller." Such terms are said to be often used loosely. and of Vashasha and Pidasa with the inhabitants of Oaxos (in Crete) and Pedasos It has been supposed also that the (in Caria) respectively. Dardanoi and Mysians. 371 pp. In explanation of this the theory has recently been put forward 3 that the invasion repelled by Rameses III was closely 1 Cf. Muller.

178). of Cretan origin. Mycenean and that ' ' sub-Mycenean or * Achaean ' type which followed represented as armed Some of them pattern or with spears of no very great length. also in the Histories of Egypt by M. . 27. But the isles it ' is by no means impossible that the disturbances ' in may refer to a quarter which may settlement in Asia Minor. time (the early years of the twelfth century) may therefore mark a stage in the movements which brought about its destruction. p. We that In any case it is from the Egyptian monuments of this period we obtain the clearest evidence for contact between the true civilisation it. On the other hand the Shardina are depicted with very elaborate 1 A considerable number of the . if not actually deposits dating from Middle Minoan III' (cent. is maritime one. Cf.IQO THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE [CHAP. a displacement of population in a different or may not be connected with the Phrygian The movement against Egypt was. Meyer. connected with that irruption of Thraco-Phrygian peoples into Asia Minor to which we have already referred (p. which had long been known to the Egyptians. in part at least. ct. xvii?). S. Akad. 1022 ff. and when Rameses said to have slaughtered the invaders in their islands the reference can hardly be to the old Hittite kingdom. 1910. and no hint is given that their settlement there was believed to be in any sense recent. Meyer and This head-dress figured on a discus recently found at Phaistos (Crete) among * The discus. und Europa 2 (cap. Homeric question for in the Iliad we find the Thraco-Phrygian peoples already fully established in Asia Minor. Muller's Asien Petrie. warriors of the invading forces 1 are with swords of the regular Mycenean The 2 apparently made of feathers which recalls the type used in later times by the Lycians according to Herodotus (VII 92). the Pulesatha and Tchakaray wear a peculiar head-dress.-B. 28) is many figures are reproduced in W. civilisation to have seen that the last period of this civilisation is believed to have begun in the fourteenth century and to have The convulsions of Rameses' lasted some considerable time. Surely it is more natural to connect the 'disturbances' with those national movements in the southern Aegean which eventually brought the Mycenean an end. . It will be seen that this theory has an important bearing on the . is said to come clearly from some district under the influence of Cretan civilisation. zu Berlin.

Studien. some . both Shardina and Pulesatha. IQI helmets which. of the figures. held in one hand. some of the other references point distinctly to bands of mercenary soldiers. p. On the other hand both these in the features correspond to the type of It armature described Homeric would not be correct of course to say that the portraits of the Shardina might be taken as faithful representafind no trace of greaves. 406. except that they have no plumes. though only the lower part j of the helmet 5 is visible. probably Yet there is sufficient resemblance between the two to render it more than likely that the one is descended from the other. c. p. and therefore to a later age than the early part of the twelfth century. Whatever may have been the causes which brought about the movement encountered by Rameses III. Meyer /. but also to the Hittites and all neighbouring peoples 3 while even in the Aegean area it was apparently not used in centres of . p. Miinchener Arch. are almost identical with those borne by the figures on the Warrior Vase The Shardina and many of the Pulesatha also (cf. 185). 1 This it is is especially clear in the case they are not metal They are said to be white .IX] THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE 1 . here also in conjunction with similar armature. Reichel. but difficult to believe that possibly bronze overlaid with tin 2 The shields figured on the (cf. xxx 209). since the round shield seems to have been totally foreign not only to the Egyptians themselves. It occurs probably on the discus from Phaistos (cf. much 4 later times. wear body-armour of Greaves are first found at Enkomi. Mycenean poems. 3 Except the Assyrians (cf. have a section cut out of them Vase (apparently also those on the Stele) seem to but they can hardly be regarded otherwise than as round shields.. but there the evidence comes from . II. Lippold. later stage of development than the Shardina type. while tions of Homeric warriors. 58) both times in conjunction with head-dresses of the Pulesatha or Shardina types as well as on ivory objects from Enkomi in Cyprus (cf. Evans. p.). Anthr. Inst. iiber horn. Waffen. 203. as in the case of the 2 This fact is warriors represented on the Vase and the Stele. especially noteworthy. Many [kind. We the body-armour is of a less elaborate type than that described The Homeric type of armature represented by in the poems 5 the Warrior Vase as well as in the poems belongs clearly to a . rather than to national migrations. xxm 560 ff. carry round shields. civilisation 4 . Journ. Cf.) and on a porcelain fragment from the third shaft-grave at Mycenae (cf. note) .

. this evidence corroborated to a considerable extent by the results of archaeological investigation. In the course of this discussion historical evidence for the we have seen that. to a and these latter do fulfil the conditions required. In much earlier times various parts of the Greek world possessed a high civilisation. in striking contrast with Mycenae and other nation Cretan palaces were almost entirely unfortified early centres of civilisation in Greece. it is of interest to note that from the fourteenth to the twelfth century Egypt and the Levant were frequently visited by bands of soldiers. It has been remarked that. though Greek Heroic Age is entirely wanting. The evidence of these remains does not correspond at all to the state of society revealed in the poems. who seem to have come from the Aegean or neighbouring regions and who outwardly bear a somewhat belonging. Lastly. who are mentioned for the first time as serving under the Egyptians in Palestine. and doubtless is. century as the time to further. many new objects new population make their It striking resemblance to the warriors described in the poems. commonly given of this fact is that their owners ruled the seas. But the earliest reference in the Tell-el-Amarna letters carries us back to the destruction of the Cretan palaces. But at the close of this earlier period appearance it would seem. centuries the Greeks seem to have had but little following familiar to the This contact with foreign nations. if Dr Evans' date for this catastrophe is correct. would appear that at this time the East must have been more to Greek world than Greek records would lead us is the more noteworthy since during the expect. unsatisis later tradition points to the eleventh which the poems and legends factory as it refer. the and the expla. which has left remains of magnificent palaces and many elaborate works of art. IX of the Shardina.THE HEROIC AGE OF GREECE [CHAP. If this is true we must conclude that the earliest maritime expeditions of the Shardina and their confederates did not take place without their consent. . that.

) has survived does clearly suggest Athenian in- fluence. according reciting the to Herodotus (v 67) prohibited rhapsodists from Homeric poems. 115). We review briefly the evidence on which this theory is based. THE HOMERIC POEMS. cap. Solon. The earliest historical references to the poems reach back only to the beginning of the sixth century. and even these are not altogether satisfactory. reaching their final form (in the case of the Odyssey) perhaps must now not before the middle of the seventh century. Solan. (II. IT has been mentioned that. But the reference here is perhaps rather to the Thebais or Epigonoi than the Iliad. 48. from already In some form which we 1 may infer that . II 557 f. I . the Homeric poems were not the work of one author or even of one generation that on the contrary they grew up gradually in the course of several hundred years. said that Again. cap. or other the story was known to Aristotle (Rhet. it is when Athens and Megara were disputing about the possession of Salamis. tyrant of Sicyon. both parties appealed to the authority of Homer in support of their contentions. poems under this name were Plutarch. 10 Diogenes Laertius. according to the theory now most commonly accepted. evidence is late 1 the form in which the passage in question trusted it is .CHAPTER X. etc. References in the works of other poets carry us back to a considerably earlier period. because they were full of the praises of Argos and its people. C. If this story may be of importance as showing that the poems were And though all the generally venerated at such an early date. It has already been mentioned that Callinos is said to have attributed the Thebais to Homer. Cleisthenes.

Fragm. Archilochos. for we have yet to discuss the possibility that all the characters of this age are fictitious. Plutarch. 1902). there is a reference to the sanctuary of Apollo in Delos. Indeed the age of the various Hesiodic poems themselves is very problematical. Cf. nor of the existence of Ionic states in Asia Minor or even in the Cyclades 5 .e. to a period about 400 years before his own to about the middle of the ninth century. This evidence. is said to have invented a musical accompaniment for the Homeric poems 3 . Terpandros. vague and somewhat uncertain as it it is. (in Rzach's edition. 605. vi 162 ff.194 THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. 153 (in Bergk's Poetae Lyrici Graeci). In Od. Turning now to the internal evidence. Hesiod. It is not merely that the persons mentioned are uniformly referred to the Heroic Age. who likewise flourished before the middle of the seventh century. p. time. Further than this we cannot hope for any direct external evidence. known. There is no hint of the presence of Dorians in the Peloponnesos. Rev. renders probable that Homeric poetry was in existence before the seventh century. 4 5 . Homer. III 9. as well as i. In Hesiodic poetry we find a number of references to The Catalogue appears to have dealt with heroic subjects. De Musica. 65 f. des deux Mamies. 5. namely that the subject-matter was determined at a period considerably anterior to those of which we have been speaking. we may at all events regard one fact as established. indeed the scheme of tribal or political geography which they present is far removed from anything we find even in the earliest 1 2 3 Archilochos. Fragm. It is customary now to attribute the Theogony and the Works and Days to the close of the eighth century and the other poems to the seventh. several passages which apparently show Homeric influence 2 . seems to have attributed the Margites to The extant fragments of his works also contain Homer 1 . Croisset. probably an older contemporary of Archilochos. But Herodotus (II 53) referred Hesiod. certain adventures of Odysseus. 1907. But we have also to take into account the ethnographical indications contained in the poems. for the authors cited are the earliest of whom we know anything worth mention. which were probably derived from the Odyssey 4 .

X] THE HOMERIC POEMS IQ5 shall see later that the same records of the historical period. Among such reminiscences we may probably count the descriptions of the palaces of Menelaos and Alcinoos and the use of such terms as icvavos. in the universal prevalence of kingship. we may say that it probably involves a poetic tradition. for we have no evidence for the existence of traditional prose narratives. during which the Homeric poems were in process of formation.g. We and so also with their indications as to social organisation.. refer its introduction to a much earlier date. p. That is a long period for continued composition in one subject. remark holds good with regard to the system of government depicted in the poems. we may take note of certain passages and expressions which seem to contain reminiscences of the prehistoric civilisation of the Aegean we have seen. in references to weapons bronze is far more frequently mentioned than iron yet it is generally agreed that iron must have been in common use by the tenth century. This of course involves the existence of a verbal tradition practically from the Heroic Age itself. Then there is the fact that religion and even ethical standards. e. Of course it is not to be supposed that any part of the poems goes back to the period of the early civilisation. Hence the date accepted by many scholars for the completion of the Odyssey (cf. while some scholars would . as Ionic migrations. Yet the features noted above seem to me to point quite clearly to a time when some were exclusively with characters of the Heroic Age. Lastly. and it 132 . Age or perhaps and the ethnographical associated cannot have lasted 169) involves a period of more than three centuries. Hence it is not We general such as belonged to the same period. Indeed. Now it is generally agreed that the Heroic we should say the type of civilisation conditions with which this age is much beyond the close of the eleventh century. had passed its zenith in and which was probably altogether subthe fourteenth century merged in the convulsions which accompanied the Dorian and a civilisation which. are bound to conclude further that the environment in which these characters are placed is in known and perhaps still merely the case that the poems are concerned still of the ancient palaces inhabited. whereas references to the cultivation of poetry in early times are fairly numerous.

references to the spring 'Aprct/d?. Od. (cf. Meyer.) cannot be regarded as even if conclusive. 445 f.C. . 50. Die horn. such as . probably in the ninth and eighth Note may also be taken here of what is said about the Cimmerioi in centuries. Geschichte des Alterthums. may have been known to the Greeks from early times. penetrated into that region centuries before the foundation of Cyzicos Others have sought to show that the later parts of the poem betray an intimate acquaintance with the western seas. 30 To this conclusion he was led primarily by the 656). that this lost poem must have been composed some considerable time after the The accounts which we have of the colonisation of Cyzicos 2 travels and adventures of the Argonauts can scarcely be said to indicate that the earliest poems on this subject were composed at a time when the Black Sea was already familiar to the Greeks on the other hand travellers from time to time may have . Od. The theory that 328 must be a different place from the Ephyre of I 259 seems to me very problematical if the author of the second book had only a vague knowledge of the geography of western Greece. or at all events not much before Ol.. since such connections are capable of more than one explanation 2 The in mind the name of the adjacent mountain ('A/jrci/o/). 1 Die Composition der Odyssee. if Ilos Mermerides (l 259) is taken from the Ephyre of the story of the Argo. Horn. . 287 ff. 85 f. viz. . It is probable enough that this passage implies acquaintance with a poem but the same can hardly be dealing with lason's adventures (B. X 107 f. II. we bear The mountain itself 3 In view of the evidence pointed out at the close of the last chapter one will do well to hesitate before denying the possibility of such distant expeditions in early But any communication which may have existed must have been interrupted times. pp. p. Again. said of KirchhofFs further suggestion. 3 after the development of Corinthian maritime enterprise about the close of the eighth century. Odyssee^. II Unt. especially Wilamowitz-Mollendorff. cf. p. whereas the knowledge of the same regions shown by the earlier would be possible only Here the evidence is the vaguest description 4 derived chiefly from the references to Sicily (Zifcavirj) and the parts is of . ? . 367 f. p. XI 14 19 . 24 ff. .196 will THE HOMERIC POEMS be well rests. [CHAP. 4 Cf. is it really necessary that the source should be a different one from that referred to in xn 69 ff. now to review briefly the evidence on which this theory Kirchhoff l dated the 'later redaction' of the Odyssey between OL 30 and Ol. by the invasions of the Bithynoi and Treres. reference to the voyage of the Argo in XII 59 72.

Homeric' features. and we have no ground for denying that the former may have been known to Greek traders in prehistoric times the south of Italy or pirates long before the date of the earliest colonies. 2 We shall have occasion later to notice more than one point in which this passage departs from the customary Homeric standards. such as purification for manslaughter . and again that in the Nekyia (Od. XI 235 327 ). etc. All that can be said is that they appear to have contained certain post. Again it is thought that certain passages betray the influence of Hesiodic poetry. With these we shall have to deal later. differed greatly it has been argued that the Odyssey known to Hesiod must have from the poem which has come down to us. But. XI) and elsewhere use has been made of the Little poems to the lost Cyclic Iliad and the Nostoi.X] Siceloi. We have seen however that such is not really the case 4 admitted that the attribution of these poems to Arctinos. granting the correctness of these hypotheses. This theory seems to me to be open to much the same objections as the other. Lesches and others does not occur until very late times. . at all events the Trojan catalogue. no conclusions as to date can be drawn from them unless the dates of the lost poems themselves are established. which is identified with Tempsa in Calabria. It is held for instance that the Catalogues in II. as well as the Cypria.). were taken from the Cypria. and one which has exercised a much wider A influence. third argument. which is compared with the Hesiodic Catalogue of heroines. There is no need however to suppose that the lost poems were any more homogeneous than the Iliad and Odyssey. is based on the relationship of certain portions of the poems (Cypria. THE HOMERIC POEMS Alybas (traditionally placed in the Gulf of Otranto. it is (in the Aithiopis). It is clear now that was intimately connected with the eastern coast of the Adriatic. but perhaps rather a coined name) and Temesa. This evidence would be useful for chronological purposes if we knew (i) when Hesiod lived. (ii) that he was the first to compose catalogues of this kind. while others indicate genealogies or relationships which are at variance with statements contained in the latter 1 . But it is to be remembered that there are quite as noticeable discrepancies between the Odyssey and the 1 From this ' ' Iliad. Among in the the former we may note especially the list of women 2 Nekyia (Od. II.

As for the Catalogue it a class of poetry of which the beginnings may belongs back to a remote antiquity. one poet may have conceived of the Achaean fortifications. what precedes. for no sound argument can be founded live before that time . On internal grounds many arguments have been brought forward for the purpose of showing that the poems in their present form have undergone a long process of development. . In particular there are some striking parallels to the passages in it Moreover it contains a has been ingeniously pointed out by Mr Lang In the same chapter Mr Lang shows that several ff. Again. apart from one or two details which we shall discuss presently. fortified. on the last verses of the Theogony. number of features peculiar to itself and several expressions which are regarded as indications of lateness. With discrepancies in the narrative itself we need not concern are doubtless of importance for determining the question of single or composite authorship. camp as another as without But that does not prove that the two poets were not contemporary. it may be that the original poem on the VII. did not originally contain Books II But. and its contents are practically disregarded in the rest of the Iliad 1 Some critics even in ancient times seem to . They instance. have believed that did not originally belong to the poem. 276 well be due to the peculiar circumstances of the situation. the first we have already referred. there is nothing to suggest that these books are the * Wrath of Achilles ' product of an entirely different period. This book is joined on very loosely to that of the Doloneia.198 THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. To But unfortunately neither of these propositions can be admitted. The presumption is that it go originated in times when descent was still traced through the to mother. We may even take what is perhaps the most extreme case. but they do not For necessarily point to authorship of quite different ages. p. The majority of scholars hold that Hesiod cannot have lived much after the end of the But there is nothing to show that he did not eighth century. features in the Doloneia which have been interpreted as marks of lateness may very 1 Except probably in xiv gff. for it will not be disputed that the people of the Heroic Age were capable of building fortifications. as (Homer and his Age. ourselves..).

15). If it could be shown that the article in question was peculiar to that period. and though this was long thought incredible it has recently been shown that there is some tions as these . especially hatchets Only in seven verses do we hear of iron weapons. 1 IV 73 2 Gemoll. p. Cauer. Das it Iron is mentioned altogether 48 times. and the iron door of Tartarus (ib. 3 ). Helbig. ix 393) which refers to the testing of iron in water. XVI 294. apart from the two references to knives given above. 4 and 80 times in the Odyssey. while the other two (Od. Cf. we are . and THE HOMERIC POEMS it is 199 held that in certain cases they are due to 1 direct influence from the latter But. whereas always iron is usually mentioned either as a substance or in reference to 4 tools. Both bronze and iron are frequently mentioned and there can be no doubt that both were well known. etc. Iron tools or implements are mentioned thirteen times. 143 f. where this view is rejected. granting all this. The obvious inference from the statistics is that iron tools came into use before iron weapons. xv 557 flf. Mr Lang (Homer and his ff.) has called attention to the fact that in represented as wearing a cap of a type which appears to have been in use during the Mycenean age. 329 ff.. . we will now confine our attention to arguments which are founded upon real or supposed differences of culture. The most important class of evidence for our purpose is that which relates to the use of the metals. Class. In nine cases is spoken of merely as fifteen a substance To these we may add more in which the word is used metaphorically as a standard of hardness. (cf. We (II. and one (Od. v hear also of iron chains (Od. Grundfragen der vm Homer-kritiP. p. VII 141. also Shewan. the iron axle-tree of a (divine) chariot-wheel 723). 281 ff. XVIII 34 and xxm 30. even if we include in this category the knives mentioned in II. Hermes. But it has been observed that weapons are nearly said to be of bronze (%aX/co?. ff. a possession or article of trade. IV 123) of an arrowhead. Age. Quarterly '. 265 ff. 3 Bronze is mentioned 279 times in the Iliad a large proportion of these cases the reference homerische Epos.)- Cf.X] the Odyssey.) speak of an iron club and one (ib. 261 Odysseus is to serious question. xvm 308 ff. not in a position to decide whether the chronological difference between the Doloneia and the earlier parts of the Iliad is to still be reckoned at three centuries or two or one 2 As no definite results can be attained from such considera. ^a\Keov ey%o?. p. etc. the lateness of the book would certainly be open v. Two verses (ib. I 204). XIX 13) refer to the arms in Odysseus' house collectively. cf. In is to weapons..

Patroclos. (Od. 4 Prof. Xix 372 f. ill XVI 135 5 Cf. evidence for the prevalence of such conditions in Palestine 1 Moreover a somewhat striking confirmation of the Homeric evidence was furnished by the excavations at Troy. p. I cannot believe in view of the evidence given above that iron weapons 4 were regularly employed in the Heroic Age and that the use of the word %aX/co? is a piece of traditional poetic archaism. The Discoveries in Crete. xvi 338 f. (II. The Early Age of Greece. xxn. Lang. 2 1 4 ff. the tendency of at the hilt is well illustrated by the case of Lycon in II. Ridgeway allows the Cf. vni 403 f. and with the lump mentioned in II. It is probable therefore that the use of the metals not only in the fifth stratum but also in the sixth the great Mycenean fortresswas similar to that which is indicated in the Homeric poems. Lang. like this. Burrows. Dorpfeld. Macalister. Otherwise however there is no alternative but to regard the Odyssey verse as an interpolation 5 But in reality it is no great step from iron knives and arrow-heads to the use of the same metal for If we were to adopt the view that the spears or even swords. Fund. . occasional use of bronze swords. though the latter must have been much larger. 334 bronze swords to snap off short (i0os dpyvp6-n\ov xdXrcoi'). 1 Indeed the presence of iron 199 Cf. 2 3 Cf. XIX 13) present a serious difficulty. 192 f. Ridgeway. Homer and his Age. for all the weapons found at Troy unfortunately up to the seventh stratum few as they were were of bronze. in the case of Euryalos the Phaeacian But the swords of Paris. we should not necessarily require much more than a century for their development. doubtless rightly. Od.. of piercing instruments to its general employment for weapons all kinds. e.. implement . . Palestine Expl. 368. of the Homeric poems coincides with the age of the composition period of transition between the first use of iron for cutting and . .) are described in very similar terms f.. p. Achilles and Odysseus X 261 f. p. 1903. Quart. 294 f.g. XVI 294. p.. it was intended for some tool or agricultural lump of unwrought iron 2 apparently to the fifth stratum . The presumption is that. 47. p.. Rep. Rev. For those who believe that these poems are the work of a " " Iron does of itself attract a man 3 single author the words (Od. XXIII 826 ff. where a small was found among deposits belonging It has been compared. 6). yap ^A/cerai avdpa (ridrjpos. Class. p.200 THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. Troja airros und Ilion. Further. Cf.

Heft 2 3 xi). 79 Cf. pp. Sometimes it is described as being of great terms which length. while the shields represented on the Warrior Vase and the Stele from Mycenae (cf. p. Hence. it is said. Many of the chief men are represented as armed with breastplates. times we find descriptions of armour and tactics which are thought to be copied from those of Ionic hoplites in early historical times and to be irreconcilable with the type of warfare depicted in other passages.. and Evans. 185) can hardly be regarded otherwise than as a variety of the same type. Uber homerische Waffen (Abh. long shields often depicted on objects of the Sometimes on the other hand we hear of shields. 324 f. XXX Ridgeway. Wien. like a tower or reaching to the feet . whatever may be the connection between . p. Again. p. p. d. though it be true that the round shield does not make its appearance may in Attica till the close of the eighth century. Hence. 1 Cf. which suggest the comparatively small circular shield of the historical period. 191 Cf. it is held that many anachronisms or chronological Someinconsistencies appear in the battle scenes of the Iliad. Unfortunately our information regarding the geometrical period is still and we do not know how all parts far its characteristics very defective were the same in still of Greece. The same remarks apply with greater force to the preceding or sub-Mycenean age. 185) would seem to show that the transition had begun within what may be regarded practically as the Heroic Age itself.-epigr. we cannot argue from this that it was unknown in other parts of Greece 3 In the more northern parts of Europe it appears to be the earliest form of shield which has been found. there is no evidence in the Mycenean age 1 though this statement is more In regard to the form of the shield also there is a discrepancy.X] THE HOMERIC POEMS 2OI swords in graves of the sub-Mycenean period in Crete (cf. Institute. . Journal of the Anthropological op. arch. 475. More important however is the fact that the Shardina and their confederates used the round shield as far back as the thirteenth century. Univ. These inconsistencies only concern us in so far as they are supposed to point to widely different ages. ff. Seminares d. than doubtful 2 ' ' ' ' would * suit the Mycenean round ' age. cit. Reichel. for which.

There is a reference no doubt to the hero's great stature. precisely at the same angle. though they have an arm-strap as well as a handle. in the Heroic Age The commonest type of Mycenean shield. xii 219.202 THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. It is probably akin to the Zulu shield. the disappearance of the long shield and the growing use of body armour. It seems fairly clear that Aias the son of Telamon uses one of this type 3 and so also Periphetes the Mycenean Indeed for the second. shield was unknown or even uncourse that the Mycenean common. the oval type con- tracted in the middle. there is not the slightest justification for sup- posing that the round variety was not used itself. But it is to be observed that the method of fighting most commonly employed by Homeric warriors is of quite a different character. . . But the special characteristic variety is the use of a suspending strap l The object of this was to leave (re\afjLc0v ) in place of a handle. belongs to a class of shields which occur in various parts of the world. both hands free for the use of a long spear in fighting at close Mycenean as we see in the representation of a lion-hunt engraved quarters on a dagger-blade found at Mycenae. . For both these movements the Mycenean shield was obviously ill adapted. It is not found apparently in the representations of the Shardina. 3 <f>tpwv ffditos -?)VT Trvpyov (II.. First the spear was hurled apparently with one hand (cf. even when the spear was used for thrusting there is nothing to show that it was usually held in both hands 2 Hence we can hardly avoid concluding that the Homeric tactics were due to the use of a different type of armature. though in this the lateral contraction has lost its meaning and almost disappeared. The primary purpose of the whole class appears to be for defence against missile weapons (epro? dtcovrcov)* whether of the light javelins or arrows.). XXII 320) and then an attack was made with the sword. which required agility above everything. This strap seems to have been used for carrying even comparatively small down to a much later period. But it would be more of an encumbrance than a protection. etc. which included a comWe need not suppose of paratively small and mobile shield. II. But it is not quite clear to me whether a cast or thrust is intended. 2 The Shardina on the temple of Medinet Habu and the warriors represented on 1 shields the Stele hold their spears poised in their right hands.

399 504). 461 ff. 474) seems to have no hesitation in assigning the Warrior Vase and its congeners to the late Mycenean age he does not distinguish and he also recognises (p. banished for a time from the Greek mainland by the Dipylon type. Reichel.) . Secondly. it was re-introduced. I have to . thank 2 3 Mr A. who cannot properly be regarded as Oriental. and the figures on the bowl of . as far back as the thirteenth century. after being banished for shield to be descended. On the other hand the suggestion that the former was of Assyrian origin surely requires evidence Mycenean or rather ' earlier than the ninth century for we find it used by the Shardina. and in the course of the largely discussion it is pointed out that the latter are in many points insufficiently supported Dr G. Dr Lippold (pp. it may is no evidence for the Mycenean be regarded as a general rule that Very recently the history of Greek shields has been treated at length by Archaologische Studien. In late times they were certainly of great length (cf. Long shields were regularly used during the La Tene period by the Celtic But they peoples. and caused him to stumble xv 645 ff. p. He a while from the Greek mainland by the Dipylon shield. and that it was first introduced into Greece towards the end of the Mycenean period . This is an extremely dubious theory for two reasons. The tower shield however ' ' ' ' is identified by him with the Dipylon shield. but no date appears to be given except that it was before the eighth century This explanation seems to me to be open to a serious objection. 53 f. namely that the Homeric shields will then have to reflect a different age from that indicated (p. Lippold (Miinchener by evidence.) that between 'Mycenean' and sub-Mycenean two kinds of shields figure in the Homeric poems. Cf. since it was used by the Assyrians in the ninth century.X] THE HOMERIC POEMS shield reached to his feet 1 2O3 whose (II. towards the end of the Dipylon (Geometrical) period. then. such shields could not be carried on horseback. it is only by Dr Mackenzie's equation of the Homeric poems with the Warrior Vase and certain East Cretan graves (cf. Diodorus. The Homeric poems are held to reflect the time of transition when it was re-intro- duced . op. 468). seem to have been of a totally different type from the Mycenean. from which he believes the ' Boeotian ' holds that the round shield was of Oriental origin. p. while their weight was too great to allow them to be borne for any distance on foot. my attention to Dr Lippold's work. Cook for calling cit. and also by many of the Teutonic peoples probably much later. In the place the Homeric use of the chariot is a problem which concerns not Greece alone but a considerable part of Europe. pp. for the latter clearly belongs to ' So far as I can see. by the Homeric evidence on the use of the metals the close of the . This work is taken up with a criticism of Reichel's theories. 185) that we can obtain a consistent and Of course it may very well be that the round shield was intelligible sequence. 406. v 30. in a somewhat modified form. A was further suggestion is that the Homeric use of the chariot due to the long shield 2 The argument in this case is that . first including countries where there shield 3 1 . B. sub-Mycenean period.

The whole subject however requires further investigation. Ridge way. 290). The Origin and Influence of the Thoroughbred Horse. The scene represents a battle. may really examples (e. most we have But there are at XV 6796^. at the In Cyprus we hear of them beginning of the fifth century. In the action itself driving appears to be universal only one doubtful case of riding (II. and in Italy they were introduced. The Homeric use of the chariot gives rise to another question which probably deserves more careful consideration. instance of the long shield more clear than that there is no the few leading belonging to Aias the son of Telamon. Od. But he is chariots. In the which commemorate the victories 1 wall-sculptures at Karnak of Sety I and date from towards the close of the fourteenth century several Hittites are shown on horseback. Moreover the evidence of the poems them- Thus selves does not really bear out the suggested connection.g. least two incidental references (II. . A similar case occurs in a painting representing the victory of Rameses II over the Hittites. therefore that the knowledge of riding was a comparatively recent accomplishment which the poet or poets knew to have been foreign to the Heroic Age. v 371) which . X 513). 510. and this hero is one of men who are never said to wear breast-plates. or re-introduced. But we do not know when riding began. equitation the use of chariots which here were war-chariots in the true sense continued until quite late times. is Unfortunately the history of In more eastern countries a very obscure subject.204 THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. in particular but the earliest Hallstatt sword-sheath) Cf. also apparently one of the very few who do not possess Indeed a better case could probably be made out for connecting the chariot with the breast-plate. figured in Meyer's Geschichte des alien Aegyptens (plate following p. Gundestrup) 1 . at It is quite possible betray acquaintance with the latter art. those peoples which use the long shield not only fight but also go to battle on foot. still later. p. But even then the possibility remains that in emergencies or under special conditions riding may have been practised by the Greeks long before it was in regular use. the oval shields depicted on the be modifications of the round shield. and it may have been the artist's intention to depict what was not a normal custom but the last resource of fugitives whose chariots had broken down.

Another series of inconsistencies has been pointed out in references to marriage customs.X] THE HOMERIC POEMS 2O$ the question whether there to is reason for supposing the Hittites have been more skilled in horsemanship than other nations. particularly in regard to the use of the word ee&va (e&va). though it cannot be supposed that such statues were of frequent occurrence. most certain examples 2 of the former are those of Apollo and In references to sanctuaries 1 ~ Cauer. Grtmdfragen d. VI 303) is mention made of the figure a seated figure of a deity. 294 ff. We can scarcely doubt that a difference of custom is involved in these usages but it does not it . and consequently it is held that the passage in question must be late. light deposits belonging Geometrical periods. apparently representing deities. are quite common. for a religious observances. we sometimes hear of temples but more frequently only of shrines or sacred groves. often in a The finding of a larger sitting position. necessarily follow that the second group of passages belong to a later period than the first. siderable probability that the inconsistencies of the Odyssey are to be attributed to a change of custom not in the sense that the earlier parts of the poem reflect one form and the later parts another. It is uncertain whether the sanctuaries of Apollo at Pytho (Delphoi) and of . We number of to statuettes. but that the poem as a whole belongs to an age of transition when different forms of matrimonial arrangements were deal in vogue. much it hardly any subject in which early as in this. Account must be taken of local divergencies.krititP. This is a question with which we shall have to more fully in a later chapter. while primitive female figures. for there is Teutonic custom varied so of our oldest records. Recent discoveries however have tended to throw doubt on this view. but in others seems to mean presents given to the bride at marriage by her own relatives. Homer. have yet to consider certain inconsistencies in regard to Once only (II. p. The (vijol). in both to the have come Mycenean and image would now scarcely call forth much surprise. In several passages this word evidently denotes the sum paid by the bridegroom to the bride's guardian . even from the time has been suggested 1 with con- Again.

followers to construct a temple to Helios on their return home Now it is held that all these passages belong to a XII 346). vi 88. VI 10) and a vow made by Odysseus' (ib. Many well-known 2 Adam is templo. V Athens (II. semper uiridis in hieme ibi etiam homo uiuus immergi. there stood a grove which appears to sanctuary have been regarded with still greater veneration. 27re/>xef . Cf. Sanctuaries of the earlier period are described only by such terms as aXcro? or re/ze^o? /3a>//.) suggests an openair shrine. also the (contemporary) schol. when . even down to the very end of heathen times.o<? re There can be little doubt that the grove and the openBvrjei. sclent exerceri et ramos extendens. 440 ff. (II. the chief of the North. I 39^ though the account of the sacrifice (ib. more primitive types of sanctuary than the But the advocates of this theory seem to have overlooked the fact that among many peoples the more primitive and the more developed forms of sanctuary are found existing air shrine represent temple. 798". 1 cit. We may II. op. VII 83. tabo survivals of such usage occur in Greece itself. Close by was a spring in which side 1 by side . Brem. 134: prope et illud templutn est arbor maxima late aestate^ cuius ilia generis sit nemo sett. XXIII an example the proposed sacrifice to Spercheios in 3 In general however the Homeric evidence 145 fT. VI 266 f. qui dum fons ubi sacrificia paganorum non inuenitur ratum erit uotiirn est populi. human victims were sacrificed it is unjustifiable cite as to This case shows how entirely assume the non-existence of a temple..2O6 THE HOMERIC POEMS at [CHAP. Poseidon at Scheria cf. Besides these we have a general reference to temples among the Phaeacians (Od. II 446. 3 dXXws ffoL 76 irar^p tpiXrjv ^s rip^ffaro Hri\etis /cetW <roL yue voarrjaavTa Trarpida yaiav re KhfJ-yv Kfpteiv p^eiv 6' lepjjv irevriiKOvra 6" Zvopxa Trap avrddi / /mijX' i & 71-77701$ 6'0t rot T^uevcs /3w w6s re . vn 81). IV 27 corpora autem suspenduntur in lucum qui proximus est enim lucus tarn sacer est gentilibus ut singulae arbores eitis ex morte uel : immolatorum diuinae credanlur. Od. etc. vm .) are regarded as temples f. p. Thus beside the great temple at Upsala.) and another of The sanctuary of 549.. Od.^. Athene Athene at Troy (II. Cauer. In the former case however it is decidedly probable. 2 only a shrine or sacred grove happens to be mentioned. late stage in the growth of the poems and that in their original form temples were unknown. Apollo at Chryse is also once described as a temple (II. 301 IX 404 f.

thoroughly permeated with archaisms. The Odyssey is said to contain a certain number of apparently late usages. The poems as we have them present a medley of forms belonging to different ages and different dialects. . If the interval had amounted to anything like three centuries discrepancies of a far more striking character must have come to light. It is held also that within the poems themselves earlier and later portions can be distinguished to a certain extent by similar differences of usage. I less populous cannot but think that to any student of comparative religion the argument derived from the references to sanctuaries will appear entirely worthless. The argument against the antiquity Of the rest of the round shield also can hardly be maintained. Indeed the latter explanation must be admitted to some extent forms 1 in any case . have undergone a very considerable amount of modernisation. or that the earlier parts. But the evidence on the whole is slight and generally somewhat 1 and consequently linguistic criteria have as a rule ambiguous . But these inconsistencies appear everywhere. 238 326) suggest many of the instances commonly cited are due to insufficient consideration. played only a subordinate part in the attempts which have been made to determine the stratification of the poems. while the more primitive forms of sanctuary remained in places. which are wanting or only occur rarely in the Iliad.X] THE HOMERIC POEMS 2O/ and the same may possibly be clearly suggests that temples the case with images were chiefly to be found in cities. all except the one based on the use of the metals contain a But even if we grant their validity in certain element of doubt. As yet we have taken no account of linguistic inconsistencies. especially of prepositions and conjunctions. case it cannot be said that either individually or collectively every they necessitate the lapse of a long interval between the earlier and later portions of the poems. for relatively modern occur frequently in what are usually regarded as the very that The Appendices in Miss Stawell's Homer and the Iliad (pp. We must conclude then either that the later parts were composed in an artificial type of language. it is not the case that certain portions of the poems contain only early forms and others only late ones.

ever is that Ionic was the language of epic composition from the beginning and that such forms as iricrvpe^ and a^fjue are derived from early Aeolic lays on which the epics were for the most part based. 189. place we have which in the in strict Ionic to note the regular preservation of /z-. e.g. such as iriavpes. but at the same I cannot help thinking that its importance in the history of Homeric poetry has been greatly underrated. was dependent on time it is oral tradition for the preservation of the poems any considerable length of a limit to the operations of such a process. we find a considerable number of forms which cannot be assigned to any Ionic dialect. . Boeckh.208 earliest parts of the THE HOMERIC POEMS poems. al^^rawv). The more elaborate character of Greek metre doubtless time acted as a check on this tendency to change. of the preservation of h-. In ancient times. But if [CHAP. It no doubt that the language of the poems as we have them as Ionic must be regarded In the first but only with certain reservations. Again. Smyrna's claim to this honour was the one most generally recognised. from Pindar 1 downwards. such as contain -a. if not earlier. it is universally agreed that explanation the Aeolic element poetry. the language of the Asiatic coast was lost seventh century. originally is Some scholars in deeply rooted in the history of Homeric indeed hold that the poems were Aeolic and that their present form is composed The more general view howpractically an Ionic translation.(Xao9. On is true the question of dialect something more must be said. 'ArpeiSao. and the majority of modern scholars are inclined to the view that the birthplace of Homeric poetry is to be sought in or around that city. attention must be paid to forms which are definitely Special Whatever may be the Aeolic. Anglo-Saxon poems even in those which were not modernisation prevailed to entirely dependent on oral tradition very difficult to set In such an extent that archaic forms disappeared practically everywhere. The legends as to Homer's birthplace are perhaps not without significance for this question. while substitutions of one word for another were very frequent. Now Smyrna was originally 1 Fragm. epefiewos. ap^e.

' 3 in later times a clan called 'QpripiScu who claimed there dwelt (VI But here again there is a tradition that descent from the poet. against the change Ion. 2 Acquaintance with the district round Smyrna is shown by the reference to the figure of figure 3 1 ' Niobe' on Mt Sipylos in II. fragm. rds.g. BoXtao-os. s. Classical Qttarterly. as in the case of Smyrna. op. Wilamowitz-Mollendorff. There is no record of an Ionic conquest main features. though probably C. from which time onwards it appears as Ionic. Bergk). of the island. 7) Smyrna had become Ionic before the year 688 cf. der Wiss. Cf. it possesses certain Aeolic characteristics. who lived about the middle of the seventh century. der Akad. Trprj^ovai) \d(3a>cn). Especially important is the fact that in a fragment published among the remains of Simonides of Ceos (fragm.X] THE HOMERIC POEMS state. is still disputed. v.. On ff- the problems connected with this name *35 4 5 6 Stephanus Byzant. Wilamowitz. although unfortunately no early inscriptions are extant 2 The most serious competitor of Smyrna was Chios. Tr/^fotcrt. (cf. \dfiwicn. I 150. but now frequently attributed to Semonides of Samos. cit. But not the corresponding change of an to ai Cf. to the west and north-west of Smyrna. 209 an Aeolic but was captured by the lonians of Colophon 1 . 52. though the language of the earliest extant inscriptions is Ionic in its . The mixture of dialect found in the poems stratum of Ionic an older stratum of Aeolic underlying a later would therefore be perfectly in accord with . I 4 . Mollendorff. what we know of the history of the city. seem to have been founded at a comparatively late period. 85. p. Herodotus. S. especially of on to oi 5 before s (e. but we know that . 9. 7 The Ionic states of Clazomenai and Phocaia. etc. xxiv 614 ff. But now we are confronted with a very . zu Berlin. apparently towards the close of the eighth century. it did not enter the Ionic confederation until a comparatively late 6 period. a verse of the Iliad In this island also 146) is ascribed to the 'man of Chios. note. the claim of which found favour with several of our earliest authorities. the population was at least in part Aeolic 4 Moreover. According to 8. probably the seventh century appears then that the peculiarities of Homeric language can be satisfactorily accounted for by the history of either It Smyrna 1 or Chios 7 . 52 f. although the identification of this see Allen. traaa). p.-B. Pausanias (v Mimnermos. 5 f (Bergk). 1906.

may have come from many But when Mimnermos speaks of the capture of Aeolic Smyrna we are surely not justified in assuming that the city had become lonicised before that time. that who hold Smyrna was the birthplace of Homeric poetry yet insist that the language of the epics themselves was never anything else than Ionic. south-west of Erythrai. which are peculiar to Aeolic proper. i.e. The only explanation offered. This position is quite incomprehensible to me. i. it north of Teos was once occupied by Aeolians. On the other hand the supposition that the two dialects were not yet occupied ' settlers different quarters. number of clearly Aeolic forms (#/*/". attributed to Hesiod.). co. op. so far as I am aware. both of which claim to be of Boeotian Days Whether by chance or not they contain few forms 2 origin. together perhaps with certain Hymns and other Homeric poems. this extraordinary mixed sides of the Aegean. 181 ff. though with certain frequently reservations. cit. p. ' differentiated to any considerable extent appears to me to be irreconcilable with the evidence of the as with all that we know The question which we poems themselves as well of the history of the Greek dialects. although they allow that the Iliad was nearly complete some considerable time before the conquest of Smyrna. are discussing is one which concerns not only the Iliad and Odyssey. but also the various works In particular we may note the Works and and the Theogony. 1 Since the promontory ofApyevvov. 2 The Shield of Heracles contains a etc. is been of a mixed character coast was first that the language of this district may have 1 It is no doubt true that when the . 75 and (for a criticism) Cauer. The only dialect sprang alternative it that Boeotian poets borrowed probable at such a time ? up naturally on both however is to suppose from Asia. THE HOMERIC POEMS The same scholars [CHAP. Homeric type. Wilamowitz-Mollendorff. But is this really Before leaving this subject we must notice briefly the in the eighth century. generally speaking Ionic.e. opposite Chios and to the is possible that the whole of the coast Cf. has an Aeolic name.210 grave difficulty. the dialect of Asiatic But in all other respects their language is of the Aeolis. . notably that f is generally kept and Now it cannot be contended seriously that occurs before o. p. Grund- frageri-.

There is still one vexed question which we have not as yet immediate successors held touched upon. and Die homerische Ilias (1886). i8 4 f. We . A portion of the Old Saxon Genesis is printed. though doubt might have prevailed as to Homer's birthplace. Trala-a). According to the form in which this theory has become most widely known they were translated into Ionic at a 1 comparatively late date towards the close of the sixth century It is rather a serious objection to this hypothesis that the poems contain no trace of late Aeolic characteristics. from a continental to an English dialect. together with the Anglo-Saxon version. the two texts of Riddle xxxvi (both printed in Sweet's Oldest English Texts. Further. 235 851). isof. it would seem that under certain conditions such changes were not merely possible This is a question to which we shall but even inevitable. p.) and the texts of Caedmon's Hymn from the Moore MS. of Bede's Eccles. of n to i before s (e. Fick. Above all it is difficult to see how the need of a translation could have arisen at such a date. where poems are reconstructed in their original Aeolic form. but occasionally. that the art was unknown when these 1 poems came into existence. p. the p. 142 . 149) and the Anglo-Saxon version (iv 24). Reference may also be made to the Dream of the Cross and the extracts given in the inscription on the Ruthwell Cross. in Cook and Tinker's Translations from Old English Poetry. Die homerische Odyssee (1883). have to return in the course of the next few pages. 2 E. as in the case of Genesis (vv. ro/9. History (ib. generally from one English dialect to another. when the poetry of one community ciple to the idea that the dialect.X] THE HOMERIC POEMS 211 alternative theory that the Homeric poems were originally composed in Aeolic. if the poems had been known so long in Aeolic. for the Aeolic dialect was then well known throughout the Greek world through the poems of Alcaeus and Sappho. On the other hand there can be no possible objection in prin- poems have undergone a change of have seen that a large proportion of Anglo-Saxon poetry has passed through a similar process. the fact that he was an Aeolian could never have been called in question. becomes current in another community.g. such as the change .g. namely the relationship of the Homeric poems Wolf and his to the art of writing. In some few cases we still have parallel texts preserved in different dialects 2 Indeed. Cf.

irivaKt. dv/jiO(j)66pa 5etcu 5' iiv&yfiv y irevdepip o<pp' dt7r6XoiTO.. But of late years archaeological investigation has brought to light. inscriptions dating from very remote times..000 verses of the reference to writing. commonly supposed The ancient Cretan inscriptions have not figures are Hittite. . it seems to me that the evidence for the antiis quity of writing given above does not prove exactly what it The inscriptions on the rock-hewn to do. for numerous rock-hewn figures with inscriptions dating from pre. with a view to his own destrucBellerophon to Lycia " many deadly tion 1 ." So long as no further evidence was forthcoming there was a natural inclination either to regard this passage as an interpolation or to interpret it as denoting something which could not properly be called writing. On the whole [juv Avxlyvde irbpev TTTVKT< 5' 6 ye (7^/x.Homeric times including one which has been identified with the figure are to be found quite of 'Niobe' mentioned in II. The poems themselves contain only one reference to writing.ara \vypa. writing things in a folded tablet. TroXXa. especially in Crete. although the minstrels themselves are quite ignorant both of reading and writing.212 THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. Moreover the Homeric poets themselves can hardly have been ignorant of the existence of such an art. Yet in spite of all this whole 28. It is true that in Beowulf we find only one direct reference to writing. which he bade him show to his (Proitos') father-in-law. Some leading authorities even hold that considerable portions of the poems were written down from the time of their composition. and there cannot now be any question as to the antiquity of writing in the southern Aegean. But the Iliad and Odyssey together contain nearly nine times as many verses as Beowulf. VI 168 ff. XXIV 614 ff. which abounds with allusions to letters and written orders. namely in II. ciated by turning to it is Iliad a very remarkable fact that the and Odyssey contain only one The significance of this may be appre- modern Servian poetry. close to the Asiatic coast. where it is stated that Proitos sent Among more and gave him baneful tokens. recent scholars however the general tendency has been to regard this view as mistaken.

correspondence. and in view of the later inscriptions found at Praisos the probability as yet is distinctly against their being But in any case they date from ages in the Greek language. the beginnings of the Greek alphabet may quite probably go back to the ninth century. bound The analysis of the Odyssey given by Prof. A reservation should perhaps be made with regard to the latest elements in the poems. But it should not be assumed that the alphabet was introduced simultaneously throughout the Greek world. and Aeolis (including even Chios generations and Smyrna) was probably not one of the more advanced. etc. Wilamowitz-Mollendorff admittedly But I cannot assent to the postulates a written text (Horn. . regard to the passage in II.X] THE HOMERIC POEMS 213 yet been deciphered. Such apparently was the case with the alphabet of ancient Rome and with the Runic alphabet almost throughout its Unless the conditions in Greece were quite exceptional not expect the alphabet to come into contact with history. Although definite evidence is wanting. and there is nothing to prove With their continuity with the writing of the historical period. it Some districts may have acquired before others. Unters-uch. first it we must admit that From all very limited. v. 293). we should heroic poetry for a considerable time. 1 This theory 1 is. it in all probability its use was at that analogies we should expect was employed for inscriptions. and it may very well be that the poems had not then attained their final form. p. The theory that certain portions of the poems were written down from the beginning presupposes of course a use of writing quite different from that which is brought before us in the story of Bellerophon. Further. long anterior to Homeric times. VI 168 ff. it is to be observed firstly that Proitos is one of the very earliest persons mentioned in the poems some three generations removed from the characters of the Trojan story and secondly that the curious phraseology seems rather to suggest that the poet was speaking of something which he did not clearly understand. and necessarily must be. for a very long time before was made to serve any literary purpose. On the whole then it is much to be doubted whether writing was a current and native practice during the period when the poems were composed.

is supplied by the word facenstafas (O. We have seen that Hesiod's works show almost the same form of language as the Homeric poems. evidence for the latter theory is unsatisfactory. 382.) ' ' writing. the original meaning of this Cf. also vv.214 THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. where he lived. or from Are we to supinto Ionian hands. direct or indirect. lived in the eighth century. though in the Homeric poems were a different language 1 If large portions of of literary origin the authors really . if compound was . Norse feiknstafir} in v. 317. examples of the verb serif which of course is indirect evidence for the use of scribere). apart from this. 'harmful runes' (used magically).) that he had never crossed the sea except (W. that these portions date from a period not earlier than the seventh Our discussion has led us to the conclusion that the century. But. it is inconceivable that the 'literary' portions. Further indirect evidence. 1 Cyme in Aeolis. then that either here or in Boeotia poets were already pose employing as their vehicle a form of language which according to the theory under discussion owed its existence (whether in But proposition that the Catalogue of Ships in itself must come from a written source. of native origin. different Did Hesiod. which are said thousand verses. In addition to this general consideration we have to take account of the linguistic difficulties discussed above. Cyme never came from whence his father had emigrated. Presumably then his knowledge of heroic poetry was derived either from Boeotia. to to several amount In ence. which we have already discussed. should contain no referBeowulf we an inscription in Runic letters such as had long been in use. This list scarcely differs in principle from the catalogues of Widsith. 1018. i694f.who ' ' (once apparently) to Chalcis. find only one direct reference to writing (v. although the Boeotian dialect was quite from anything spoken on the other side of the Aegean. 650 ff. probably before the Ionian conquest of Smyrna. 1753. to the use of writing. But in the Christian additions or we meet with three interpolations an {forserifan. really employ the impure Ionic in He himself says which his poems have come down to us ? and D. 458. gescrifan from Lat. up with another theory. could scarcely have failed to betray themselves by usages of this kind. even though they deliberately avoided all mention of writing.

not know exactly when h. 1 It It is quite may be added that we really know nothing of the uncertain how far it had already developed those exceptional forms such as (r') ov\ov (Od. with (eastern) Ionic texts. for if the Homeric poems had become generally known in Aeolic nothing could have prevented this dialect from becoming the language of the epic also. Its presence raises a distinct difficulty in the way of supposing that the poems were lonicised in their original home. But the same argument really militates against the theory that they were written in Asiatic Ionic dialect is 4 . would be involved (doubtless also of Athens. We may assume then that they were not transmitted in written Aeolic. Alcaeus. Now if the Homeric poems had been written down in Aeolic and preserved in literary form we can hardly doubt that they would have retained their original dialect. late scribes familiar 3 4 We may note also It is true that we do the absence of the literary Ionic forms /c6re. characteristics which we to fairly find in our texts. On the other hand if Hesiod's poems have undergone a change of dialect since their original composition may not the Homeric poems have passed through the same process ? In this naturally ' such a change would come about quite Smyrna or Chios was the original home of the But here we must notice a curious feature in the poems. and Sappho. affecting the representation of iust as in the case . Ionic of Hesiod's time.was lost. consequently a wholesale <?). But before that change took place fjieTaypa^fMaTLfffJi^ H cannot have been used for e . epic Except in case of course if ' Aeolic forms the and this exception deserves to be remarked almost always preserve initial h-'2 This is a charpoems acteristic which the epic dialect shares with western or Euro. dialect to which we have already referred. Doric and Aeolic of the lyric. 2 The few xvn 343) may be due KUJJ. etc. It must not be argued that Ionic was the proper language of the epic. though in this case the difference of less striking.X] THE HOMERIC POEMS 215 ordinary speech or only in poetry) to certain political changes in a third district changes too which had hardly begun much This hypothesis seems to me quite before the time of Hesiod ? incredible 1 . just like the works of Alcman. * ' 3 pean Ionic but not with the language of the Asiatic coast .

comparatively it slight. Hoftmann. Cf. at least a century language was first applied to literary purposes. Neue Jahrbucher. heroic poetry would not by any means be among the first species There is no reason of literature to get committed to writing. in part at least. form of language practically identical with that of the epics appears in the remains of several poets of the seventh and sixth centuries. But it certainly affected the of Attic for some two centuries.' of providing a satisfactory explanation of the linguistic pheno- mena. The evidence for the story is late. i. . and not by in the natives of the country. I cannot see any objection therefore to supposing that it was in Athens that both the Homeric and Hesiodic poems acquired those peculiar linguistic ' which we comprehend under the term This of course brings us back to the story that the poems were collected or written down by order of Peisistratos. belonged to quite we are to trust our evidence. Fick. Germany is being written down only in our own generation. of course difference from Asiatic Ionic 1 . Now since these authors districts we must. Dial. and we may that it show probably attribute its spread. home of this literary language must not be sought Athens. 1 It is p. if we may judge from the analogy of other peoples.2l6 THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. The only noticeable difference is A in the proportion of non-Ionic forms if which they different use. is infer the existence of a Its kind of literary language at this time. in. only natural therefore to expect 549 f. . and the North. and there can be little writing doubt that it was thoroughly domiciled in Athens at quite an early date probably in the seventh century. to the influence of the poems of Archilochos. characteristics epic dialect. such as Archilochos and Solon. but rather in Euboea or the Cyclades. I 504 ff. Griech. whatever for supposing that anything of this kind was written down after England before the eighth century.e. and in the texts which have come down to us Still is not always carefully observed regularity to The true in there is a sufficient amount of was generally recognised. in The same remark seems to be true of Aethelberht's time. while Bosnian heroic poetry Ireland. Certainly. and its truth is hotly But at all events it has the merit contested by many scholars.

e.Ionic poets not to mention the Latin forms. .\Kov hoi (cf.' 3 From the fact that Pindar and other non-Ionic authors use what indeed. 78) found near Caere. ending -oto. Ma-to~i}. note especially the Gen. The same remark /"e/cajSa. So also with the heroic names used by Pindar and other non. 445. This orthography no doubt represents more or less truly the form in which the poems were recited in Athens at the time.g. Review.) : Ex^oida Horn. Acu0o/3os as M?)5ot channels. These seem to count against any place except Athens as the home of the final form of the ' epic dialect.e\o. avedeKe Ai/bs Qopoiv fJ-eyaXoio vixaffe Xo. and above all false imitations of epic forms. But in all these inscriptions Ionic charsuch as TXacr/aafo 1 2 Does this mean that acteristics are conspicuously absent . Delectus Inscr. Iliad lonicised in Chalcis or in Naxos would be We easily intelligible Athens 3 1 . and. Grace. a western Ionic form in Ionic form is apparently an the poet's name . may compare also such epic expressions as evpvxopo. wherever the heroic poems were introduced the rhapsodists tried to accommodate them. Cauer. Apa60oio. Class. 83. 54. Ke0aXavas fj. 202). 91. strictly speaking. Ai^eej (ib. xxxm 9. Yet these poets use the Ionic forms of foreign names. icacriyveToio.os Hymn. We may oBoio. 84. such e. true of heroic names occurring in Doric inscriptions. e. cit. But does it also represent the form in which they were recited That is a question upon which we have at (let us say) Sicyon ? no direct evidence.g. 83. 545). than those preserved in our text. (Cypr. on a vase (Cauer. as far as possible. jro\v/j.X] that the THE HOMERIC POEMS 2\J Homeric poems would be written down according to an orthography which was already well established.eyadvjji. yatas airo irarpidos. to the language But if so. K\efos airdiTov (tb. Kefiptovas. which had come to them presumably through Ionic On the other hand we find in inscriptions on Chalcidian vases more purely Ionic forms. Cook. XIII 77 f. op. is it possible that the Ionic element of the district ? A Chalcidian in our texts is wholly due to the rhapsodists ? or Naxian or Athenian audience would certainly experience at least as much difficulty in following a purely Aeolic Iliad as a southern English audience would have in listening to a purely On the other hand an Northumbrian or Mercian Beowulf. is II. sg. more particularly. II 631).g. 2 fj. But it is worth noting that in Doric and other non-Ionic states we find a number of ancient inscriptions in hexameters or elegiacs which contain epic words and forms. an inscription on a bronze discus from Cephallenia (cf.

For the idea that the reflect the conditions of the last age of splendour probably about the thirteenth century Mycenean while the elements betray acquaintance with conditions of the seventh The century. ' ' We to a considerable extent also the subject-matter. In this chapter we have seen that the Homeric poems con- tain elements of great antiquity. At such a time the repertoire of a Chian minstrel would have an exceptionally favourable opportunity of gaining currency (naturally under his own name) in with the author of this : Hymn Ionic circles in the Cyclades probably as well as in Ionia itself. The dates probably from the period when Chios was in process of becoming lonicised. is events we have seen that there a very serious ' objection on chronological grounds to the view that Hesiod's poems were composed in a form of impure Ionic borrowed ' from the Asiatic coast.VTJP. olKei 5e XLy &u ira. .ira\oaa-g). we in concluding that they had acquired the former from a different literary) source. Mycenean age and the beginning are justified while they give the names of the heroes themselves in non-Ionic form. 172 rv<t>\6s O. Certainly the earliest references to the poet come from Again. poem (v. we have not been able to find any justification. is there any real reason for denying that the Homeric poems may have had a similar experience? This is a question which I do not feel qualified to answer. and period. later period intervening between the ). and I can see no reason for doubting the identity of Semon ides' X?os dvrjp (cf. p. In this case it is surely far more probable that the Ionic element is whether in Chalcis or Athens. we can hardly doubt that they originated at a time before iron had come into general use for weapons. Still more clearly we have seen that there is no ground for supposing that the earlier and later elements are separated from earlier one another by a wide elements interval.218 THE HOMERIC POEMS At all [CHAP. But due to the rhapsodists. According to the prevailing opinion of archaeologists this innovation cannot have taken place after the tenth need not suppose that any considerable portions century.(. Thucydides (in 104) is clearly recording a generally accepted opinion when he quotes the Hymn to the Delian Apollo under Homer's name . 209) (presumably Ionic authors. of the poems in their present form date from such an early But the type must have been fixed by that time. Although we have no means of fixing an exact date for these elements. But it seems to me to deserve more attention from scholars than it has received as yet.

op. epics. 2 Prof. wie in alien Dingen. rather than that they are due to a combination taken from the pre1 ceding and following ages with a more or less blank interval of some I five or six centuries. p. but this view is scarcely Cf. ' ' have spoken advisedly of earlier and later elements Elarather than of earlier and later portions in the poems. where the first appearance of the round shield (of which the knowledge is granted." in accordance with the generally received opinion. cit. and that of breast-plates to about the beginning of the seventh century. 55 if. He must have used earlier pieces. and he may have incorporated them in large mass in his work. "Das Epos schildert. tionable therefore whether stratum as the work are justified in regarding the last of an 'editor* whether we ought not rather we to regard this person as the 'author' of our poem. such as that proposed for the Odyssey by Prof. But we have no guarantee that he did not greatly expand his materials as well as provide con- necting links between them. . paratively has led us to infer that the conditions of life reflected in the poems throughout belong to some part of this period. 102 f. are admittedly hopeless ' ' unless we for the final assent to the hypothesis that the person responsible form of the poem possessed a written text. v. and that this hypothesis is open to grave objections. 59: 1 die altere Prachtzeit.. borate analyses. Reichel. 63. p. Wilamowitz-Mollendorff holds that the editor was a person of inferior ability and that the poem as a whole is not a success. von Wilamowitz-Mollendorff. auch hier and pp. In the Iliad we are confronted to a certain extent with the But the process of unification does not appear have been carried out so thoroughly and the proportion of The point early matter incorporated is probably much greater.X] of the classical age little THE HOMERIC POEMS 219 is certainly one which has as yet yielded comBut our discussion to archaeological research. We may I But even allow that it is built up out of shorter cannot admit that such a poem as the Odyssey can be successfully constructed out of shorter ones by stringing the latter together.) is referred to the middle of the eighth century. of different strata in the work must doubtless be we have seen The existence conceded. however which I would especially emphasise in both cases alike to same problems. even if we do grant that the additions made 2 It is quesby the editor amount to a sixth part of the whole .

ot>Ldao &VO. X for lateness of date. That the true form should be Aeolic rendered more than probable by such names as 'AXiH/wip. seen that though the linguistic evidence agrees very well with the tradition that 'Homer' belonged to Smyrna (or Chios). the point is (-Tra. where uioy Odysseus describes himself as entirely spoilt 'A^eiSajros Ho\wjrr)ij. which they have come down to us belongs properly to the western Ionic of the islands. The form in original home. 1 It is regarded as worth noting that these objections apply even to what are commonly among the latest parts of the poems. which in early times was used as a literary language in Athens.fj.fj. The greater the amount of matter which we attribute to the last strata.ov-) is by the Ionic form. that the unification process cannot be used as an argument If we bear in mind the undoubtedly archaic character of both poems. the paucity of inconsistencies points to an entirely opposite conclusion. Thus in Od. the shorter must be the period during which the poems grew until they reached their final form. Ro\v8ep<reidvj second likewise belongs to the ' of which at least the later ' portions of the poem.22O is THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. xxiv 305.KTOS. there are very serious objections to the Lastly we have view that the poems were originally composed in the Ionic dialect 1 They may have been subsequently lonicised in their . but even that is scarcely certain. .

In the Odyssey we meet with several persons who seem to be professional court minstrels. though the former also produces one song upon a mythical subject. . IV i7ff. we hear also occasionally In Od. More usually however the minstrel's song singing. which celebrates the deeds of heroes of the past. Both Demodocos and Phemios are represented as singing of recent events. Such are Demodocos at the court of Alcinoos and Phemios at that of Odysseus. The third is the popular stage. namely the adventures of the Achaeans on their return from Troy. We must now see whether any such stages can be traced in the history of Greek heroic poetry. much in the same As among 1 the Teutonic peoples. during which the same stories were handled by village minstrels. For the first stage plenty of evidence is supplied by the Homeric poems. and in and music is the only form of entertainment. The last stage is that in which the old subjects again found favour with the nobility in Germany and were treated in a new form which reflected the conditions of the age of chivalry. The second is that of epic or narrative court poetry. though not of a very remote past. while others are mentioned at the courts of Agamemnon and Menelaos. two acrobats give a performance while Menelaos' minstrel is vin 261 ff. first is that of strictly contemporary court poetry. dealing with IN Chapter V we saw the praises or the adventures of living men. Demodocos' song on the love of Ares and Aphrodite is both accompanied and followed by dancing. The song or recitation is invariably accompanied upon a lyre.CHAPTER XL EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY. probably 1 way as the Teutonic minstrel used his harp . that four well-marked stages may be The distinguished in the history of Teutonic heroic poetry.

of Bernlef s type we have no clear evidence in the Homeric as r)po)$. XVII 382 ff. These were what sometimes they were trainers of state-poets But there is nothing to show that they were the state choruses. Another type of professional poet may be seen in such persons as Alcman. but they are clearly persons of Bernlef s type. poems. IX Teutonic stories relating both to the Heroic Age and the Viking Age. Moreover they were viewed with disfavour by the ruler. . n 595 ff. i. sometimes men of noble Eumelos. it is true. birth. is said to have entrusted his queen to the care of a certain minstrel (Od. like the Frisian Bernlef.) a case which may be compared with several dvpv) when and Odysseus (ib. Even We in the earliest times of which we have record no trace of such an at institution is to be found in Greece. or indeed any state which employed them. Ill 267 f. its striking resemblance to that of the Teutonic cannot. may be called * ' . Paris (II. minstrels Od. class. evidence for ments. obtain any corroborative existence from contemporary historical docuBut the negative evidence is almost as decisive. Thamyris mentioned in II. on his departure to Troy. who composed hymns for festal occasions. we hear of invitations given to but the reference may be to persons of Widsith's The same seems to be true of the Thracian minstrel In . unlike the latter.222 EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. stones of ancient times. Ill 54). for it is stated that he was coming from Eurytos of Oichalia when disaster befell him. Agamemnon. of royal minstrels. But these too worked for that of for the glorification of the state. he seems to have a recognised position at Alcinoos' court He is evidently regarded in VIII 483 we find him described as a person of distinction . but.e. The Phaeacian minstrel Demodocos is blind. like We hear also of poets. and their position . On the whole then the court minstrelsy of the Homeric poems bears a Heroic Age. For minstrels a term frequently applied to princes. one of considerable importance. reciting Homeric poems. court poets. fessional minstrel was. We hear of rhapsodists * ' Sicyon as early as the beginning of the sixth century. while Achilles 'glories of heroes' (/c\ea is appears to be a skilful musician amusing himself by singing the he is visited by Aias But the status of even the pro189). sometimes at least.

XI] EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 223 essentially different from that of the court minstrel who composes for his lord's gratification. both being said to derive endowment from divine sources 1 minstrels. that Hesiod himself was not show that these were court a man men minstrels of this type. Moreover. and it is incredible that such a type could have been invented after that is institution had ceased to it is exist. as well as from the Works and Days. The reference then II to heroic poetry. analogy to probably to be found Indeed the nearest Greek in such poets as Anacreon who however dealt with an entirely It is true that flourished at the courts of the later tyrants. the subjects with which the famous deeds (glories) are said to deal are the ' ' of is of old (/eAeea Trporepwv avOpwircov). Curiously enough no such question as this appears to have been discussed in any of the numerous Homeric researches which the last half Nearly all writers have completely century has produced. Minstrelsy of the Homeric was type conceivable only in an age of real kingship. 22 ff. Their different class of subjects. undoubtedly interesting as showing a stage intermediate between Homeric minstrels and the From the word KiOapidrai we may perhaps later rhapsodists. such as the Nibelungenlied.L Kidaptcrrai' At6s ^SacrtX^es' y\vKep~q ol 6 5' oX^Stos ftvTtva MoOcrat airb oro/uaros ptei . was still in use. but in a stage not earlier than Stage of our scheme.). have been freely used in ' illustration of Homeric K yap ^/Lovffduv KOI eKTj/36\ou avdpes aotSoi Zaviv K 6 tiri ^dova KO. 94 ff. On the other hand medieval German poems. is The passage however suggest that the Homeric poems themselves are products of the type of minstrelsy (Stage I) which we have been considering. Now therefore we must try to ascertain Probably no one will which of the other three stages they correspond to. infer that the musical accompaniment. ignored the existence of the Anglo-Saxon heroic poems. which the latter seem to have discarded.). But there is nothing to At all events it is clear enough from another passage in the same poem (v. . in Hesiod's poems passage their minstrels are mentioned beside kings in a Theogony (v.

Then. bare outlines of the story can have been inherited from the original poems. those of their own period. and even these appear to have undergone considerable modification. must have been preserved only by village minstrels. Now this. this description will not fit the According to the opinion held . problems. after a lapse of several centuries. no account whatever has been taken of what we may stratification of call the Teutonic heroic poetry. and there can be no question that in many respects the supposed analogy has had far-reaching influence on their In the application of these illustrations as a rule interpretation. and when this story. if we shall the history of Homeric poetry is really parallel to have to suppose that the stories were first treated . to be sought in certain events and that the subject appears to have been worked up centuries. which will preclude the . is Let us now consider We have seen that the origin of the story it poems composed probably within memory of with which deals. like the rest. briefly the history of the Nibelungenlied. into a It somewhat elaborate form within the next two can scarcely be doubted that these early poems were products of court-minstrelsy and that their form was that old of the Teutonic all alliterative verse. in court after flourishing for a while they poetry about the close of the pre-migration period that fell out of favour in royal circles and were preserved only by village minstrels. or almost wholly. ideas too which they reflect must be wholly. Later however there came a time when heroic poetry passed out of fashion among the higher classes. of foreign derivation. it appears again in an entirely different metrical form. But it is manifest that Homeric poems in any way. and not those of the The customs and Heroic Age. possibility of their containing a single verse of the original poems. and permeated through and through with the Little beyond the ideas and customs of the age of chivalry. at whose hands and that they underwent a long process of disintegration formed the basis of new aristocratic poems some finally they In order to six or seven centuries after they first saw the light present a complete parallel the later poems must use a new metrical form.224 EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP.

If this question is incapable of being answered we must. But these after all are merely accidental coincidences. e. in any case it must be granted that in some respects. whether or not the Iliad and Odyssey likewise resemble poems in being themselves products of courtminstrelsy in direct continuation of that which they depict as existing in the Heroic Age. it The compatriots of the poets who clearly speak from the Achaean side are uniformly represented as dwelling on the west of the Aegean. unless or less in their present form. the conditions of the Heroic Age are truly reflected almost everywhere. which we have already noted.XI] EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 225 by the majority of scholars the customs and ideas reflected by the Homeric poems are inconsistent sometimes they are those of the Heroic Age. face the Anglo-Saxon 15 .g. But this represented as being in possession of an alien people. is crossed the sea. Far more important for us is the fact. Indeed many scholars hold that the former type predominates. Personally I am not ready to admit that the difference between the two ages was anything like so great as is commonly assumed. Now us take the Anglo-Saxon heroic poems. but We must conclude therefore history that. not at all events a long itself. although the Greek poems are on a much larger scale. conclude that the historical study of early Greek poetry is c. in regard to political geography and the use of the metals. that both sets of poems carry the history of heroic poetry back to court minstrels who are represented as The question which we have to living in the Heroic Age itself. Further it is commonly held that considerable portions But of the poems go back. It is obvious enough that here there is at all events a superficial resemblance between the two cases. and both equally suppress It is true laid in that the scene of the Iliad that in a district not far from which district is appears to have been composed. more perhaps to the Heroic Age distance in that direction. I think. sometimes those of the poets' own age. Both sets of poems are the work of colonists all who had reference to the existence of such settlements. the Nibel- ungenlied presents let no true analogy to the of the Homeric poems. modern criticism has gone hopelessly astray.

earlier.' causes perhaps that the criticism has been of too subjective a ? character Now it is almost universally agreed that the Homeric poems are considerably older than any other form of Greek literature which has come down to us. Experienced archaeologists can now very soon determine whether the remains which they find are those of a village or a palace. A good analogy for his case is to be experiences found in the Icelandic adventurer Egill Skallagrimsson. and whether they belong to (let us say) the classical or the geometrical or the Mycenean period. Callinos and Tyrtaios are inspired by national patriotism. in the case of sites long occupied they can easily detect the existence of different strata especially if a palace has been built on the site of an earlier "village. though even this is nearer to the heroic spirit. Some scholars indeed hold that the latest portions of the Odyssey belong to the seventh century. EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. Yet traces of an intermediate or transitional stage are not . or if a village settlement has intervened Is it really impossible to dissuch strata in the history of poetry.226 is futile. but we have seen that the evidence for this view is by no means satisfactory. Certainly by the middle of the seventh century. or is the absence tinguish of progress which we have noted to be attributed to other between two 'palace-periods. we meet with totally different In the first place we find a number of new metrical forms. In all respects then the poetry of this age is as far removed as possible Archilochos again is from the heroic type of poetry. as compared with the very small amount of proat least if progress is to be gress made from the literary side judged by the attainment of any general consensus of opinion. almost entirely taken up with his own and passions. elegiac. No the immense strides impartial observer can fail to have been struck by made within the last generation by Greek archaeology. not to speak of the numerous varieties of lyric metre. and probably somewhat types of poetry. Again. Their fragments may be compared with the poem on the battle of Brunanburh. iambic and trochaic. In matter and in spirit too the difference is just as marked as it is in form. The new poets are primarily concerned with the affairs of their own day.

but. It is at least a natural hypothesis that the great development of original poetry in the age of Callinos and Archilochos was connected in some way with those political and social movements which so greatly affected the Greek world during the eighth and seventh centuries changing almost every kingdom into a republic. state. We must not assume forthwith however that appears that heroic poetry properly the it was the only . king of is said to have married a daughter of Cyme. the change was in all probability somewhat later for the Phrygian king Midas (Mita of Muski). as well as in form. Survivals and imitations may occur in later times. genealogical in character. But few will deny that the great bulk of Homeric poetry was in existence by this time. the seventh century.XI] EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 22/ From the fragments of the Hesiodic Cataaltogether wanting. as it in the case of art is . In Aeolis however. had certain elements in common with Homeric poetry. who perished in the Cimmerian invasion about the beginning of . broadly speaking. Agamemnon. These observations lead us to conclude that a sequence can be traced in the history of poetry. with which kingship was at we are primarily concerned. logue and other works which are attributed to the close of the eighth and the early part of the seventh centuries it is clear that apart from hymns the old hexameter metre was retained for a time in a class of poetry which appears to have been largely In matter also. But have we any ground for believing that heroic poetry was the How far is such an equation in poetry of the age of kingship? accord with the chronological data at our disposal ? In Greece itself kingship generally seems to have come to an end about the middle of the eighth century. The equation therefore seems to be fully justified. poetry of the age of kingship. Moreover the existence of the transitional (genealogical) type of poetry which we have noted is altogether favourable to this for the form of government which took the place of idea . But in spirit its affinities were rather with the poetry of the following age for its object seems clearly to have been the glorification of the this class . as in that of art. since both were concerned with the far past. first that of a strictly limited aristocracy.

). almost invariably either princes or persons attached to the retinues of princes. The heroes who figure in the Homeric poems are Most scarcely the most famous representatives of their states. form also is clearly inconceivable that popular poetry could be capable of Again they are by no means creating anything so elaborate. p. 38 f. could of them are little known elsewhere. Further. to trace its origin to conwe cannot well be brought under either of these Homeric I categories ? cannot seriously be contended. in ciple is not so strictly observed in the latter part of the Odyssey. Peirithoos. Breal. in spite of in the nature of biographical sketches (cf. W. 101). their great length the action in both cases extends over quite a brief period of time.) render it clear that kingship in some form or other still existed when they were composed . 82 f. ascertain the true provenance of poetry or popular poetry. Minos. quelle folie une composition knightly rank. there is little or no definite for certainly none which can be called conclusive that confusion of different stories which characterises popular evidence poetry. . The a way which only proves the : ! I may remark here the length sometimes attained by Bosnian poems (cf. 1 Their metrical scarcely compatible with such a hypothesis the product of a long artistic development . Pour mieux connaitre Homer. that the Homeric first place their length is . 95) it is . 24 " But one must bear in mind en vingt-quatre chants. poems are of popular origin. type of poetry which existed during this age. The characters brought before us in the Iliad are p. In the It think.228 EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. Popular poetry hardly have failed to introduce into the action such persons as Heracles. p. lason or Adrastos. or are Homeric Our next object therefore very greatly from the must be to try to ditions which Was it court poetry. Certain passages in Hesiod's poems (Theog. p. 80 ff. like many others dealing with the Homeric poems that this work frequently uses arguments which would not have been put forward if attention had been paid to the heroic poetry of other European peoples. Theseus. *' 1 Attribuer a la poesie populaire Cf. and D. and themselves apparently of what we may call chief exception (Thersites) is described It is true that this prinrule. Then again we may note the presence of nearly all those features which distinguish the heroic poetry of the Teutonic peoples (cf. yet they differ type.

XI] EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 22Q Several persons of humble rank are introduced here. bishop of Winchester. Before we proceed further it will be convenient to turn for a Hesiod's poems. run on somewhat similar lines. There is evidence too that subjects of the same kind were once popular in England 1 Lastly.). but earlier poetical works. strict avoidance of coarseness and of things not mentioned in the Iliad. Thus it is fond of describing movements of kings and queens in their palaces and the conventions observed in the reception of strangers. the verses (22 ff. though it is to be noted that the most prominent of them (Eumaios. the swine-herd) is however the Odyssey conforms to the poetry just as in detail the In other respects said to be of princely birth. rules of Teutonic court much as the Iliad. especially a letter (Jaffe. . we must observe the analogies in Old Norse poetry. We may note also the surprisingly lenient treatment of Paris in most unwhich we have phenomenon Lastly. persons Dialogues must of course be exdisrespect in either poem. written Rerum Germanicarum. In particular the proverbial part of the Works and Days has many to moment analogies in gnomic poetry. 1 Cf. a passage which may be compared with the story of Offa's wife in Beowulf. Indeed the characters represented a in the favourable light are gods for polite society. about the year 720 Bibliotheca from Daniel. of princely rank are seldom spoken of with Again. both English and Scandinavian. For these also early Teutonic literature presents a number of fairly close parallels. such as Voluspa and HyndlulioS. Ill 263 272).) which relate how the . Perhaps the most striking instance is the semi-apologetic account of Clytaimnestra's conduct given by Nestor (Od. cepted. there is a noteworthy absence of any display of feeling general of the against the opponents of the poet's heroes as much in the case of Penelope's suitors as in that of the Trojans. For the Theogony the closest Teutonic parallel and it is very close is the prose Gylfaginning . ill 71 ff. several Again the precepts on husbandry and the calendar resemble Anglo-Saxon works both in prose and verse. and also references (especially in the Nekyia) to persons But in far past precisely as in Teutonic poetry. to St Boniface. As an example we may cite the first and last portions of Havamal.

show no acquaintance with court life. as judges or mediators. of heroic poetry as such. his poems contain detailed description.) the title is coupled with an opprobrious epithet (Stopo^dyovs). 38 f. except where the Thirdly. but Kings all Lastly. in the way of Again. even apart from the absence of a common theme. We may infer then that what Hesiod did was to turn to popular use the form of poetry 1 . 1 art in his day.. public appearances. they occupations of a farmer's life are discussed. in the Works and Days (v. that though in the Theogony (v. poet received his inspiration may be compared with the story of Caedmon. There can be indeed Hesiod little doubt that priority lies with the latter with Homeric poetry. In the first place Hesiod takes no pains to conceal little his personality. though not by name. which represented the highest standard of The suppression of the poet's personality but of epic or narrative heroic poetry. is not a mark . 80 ff. Now if we compare the characteristics of Hesiodic and Homeric poetry we cannot fail to notice that they present a very striking contrast in several respects. no tendency to avoid indelicate subjects. tioned. No one can fail to observe that in nearly all these respects ^Hesiod shows the characteristics which commonly distinguish popular poetry. The heroic hexameter is the only form of metre which can be traced back beyond the seventh century. If Hesiod was the founder of a new era in poetry we must conclude that his innovation consisted in the application of the forms of heroic poetry to purposes for which they had not previously been used. But we have to remember that in spite of all these differences Hesiod uses the same metrical form and to a large extent the same style of language as the Homeric poems. But it frequently betrays acquaintance must not be assumed that his themes were new they are far more primitive than anything of the heroic type.) they are We may notice too .230 EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. they betray are occasionally men- the references are to their spoken of with respect. and we can hardly doubt that it is the oldest form of cultivated Greek poetry. But less elaborate forms of verse perhaps rude precursors of the metres must also have been in popular use for iambic and lyric ages in ballads. songs and hymns.

Aeolis in the eighth century must have differed very greatly from the city states of the sixth and fifth centuries. in a land which consisted essentially of agricultural communities. I here at the time of which think. we should perhaps say minstrels would frequently try to get a hearing from a wider circle. Apart from the courts it is difficult to see where conditions favourable to the growth of Homeric poetry could have existed. We himself belonged shall hardly go astray. Hesiod to a family which was possessed of some His father was a merchant. though he knew nothing of court life. It may when is that institution in was losing its power and popularity. in believing that the conditions we are speaking bore far more resem- blance to those which prevailed in Teutonic kingdoms some twelve or thirteen centuries later than to those of cities like Miletos or Athens at their prime. p. But Hesiod probably belonged to the last days of the kingly period. l . while at the same time he discarded its conventions and turned to subjects which were more in accordance with the tastes and interests of his own class. suppose that this class was either numerous or wealthy. It accordance with what we might expect that in such only an age court poets in view of Theog. 94 f. On the other hand the of influence even in the latter part of the eighth name of this king may certainly in heroic be taken as evidence that the courts were interested poetry 1 Unfortunately there seems to be hardly any material which might enable us to .XI] EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY But what were the conditions which produced 231 this elaborate type of poetry? The characteristics of Homeric poetry enumerated above are conclusive evidence that Some of them are extremely it was not of popular origin. Hesiod's own activity falls in with this explanation His popularity was due to the fact that he preperfectly well. Indeed from the story of Midas' relations with Agamemnon of Cyme certain (cf. be objected that Hesiod was familiar with Homeric poetry. and highly artificial difficult to account for unless its true home was in the king's courts. 227) we may perhaps infer that the kings retained a amount century. served the artistic form of court poetry. but we can hardly property. There as here the wealth was probably to a large extent in the possession of the kings.

42 ff. speak stratifi- of the as a 'palace-structure' it ought surely to be possible to determine whether traces of a 'village settlement' lie Homeric poems immediately beneath it. is that of the Edda poems. pp. it will be seen. for the history of the We shall see shortly that a better is Edda poems analogy perhaps to be found in quite a different quarter. cation. This theory does not exactly answer to our definition of Stage IV but we may treat it under the same heading.) that the Nibelungenlied cannot furnish any true analogy to the history of Homeric The other type of Stage IV which we have considered poetry. The problem. It has been pointed out above (p. perhaps shortly after the time of Agamemnon of Cyme. is essentially one of If we may. Note however may be taken of the existence of a prince named Hector in Chios. in archaeological language. 99 f. In that case originally we should have to suppose that heroic poetry was unknown to the Aeolians. explanation of this kind we must of course assume that the is court-minstrelsy depicted in the poems a reflection of court estimate the popularity of heroic names in Greece in early times (cf.. We have now seen that Homeric poetry goes back to the age of kingship and that it is not of popular origin (Stage III). but in all probability a product of court life. 64 ff. The theory which obtains most currency at the present time is that Homeric poetry grew up in the Greek settlements on the Asiatic coast on the basis of ballads derived from Thessaly perhaps also from other parts of Greece. represented by Demodocos and Phemios in which case of course it will correspond to Stage II of our scheme or whether it is rather a secondary outgrowth from popular poetry (Stage IV).232 EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP.). including as it does such striking is as the location of the gods on Mount Olympos conceptions too deeply engrained in this class of poetry to render such a But the Thessalian element hypothesis probable. as it likewise involves the development of heroic poetry out of popular poetry. whether in Asia or Thessaly. .) anyone will seriously expect to find a strict parallel here. But I do not think that (p. 224 f. According to any . Our next object must be to consider whether this poetry was a direct continuation of the court-minstrelsy of the Heroic Age (Stage l).

I superior to that of the Greek kingdoms in general towards the close of the Achaean period. one suppose. teristics have seen that Homeric poetry possesses certain characwhich are incompatible with the idea that it is itself of popular origin. provided that the requisite conditions are carried back at But is the theory probable? No least to the ninth century. will except perhaps not supply us with examples. shall see shortly We that this is true of Greek poetry just as much as of German. if we are justified in believing that the Homeric type of verse presupposes a long artistic development. characterises which popular Again. we must bear in mind those But the Homeric poems in the Nekyia reminiscences of Mycenean poems contain and or rather ' ' sub-Mycenean splendour which the their almost invariable use of bronze as the material for weapons not to mention the fact that the political and national boundaries which they record are totally different seriously from those which existed in the ninth century. while the poorer and ruder period produced a most elaborate and magnificent court poetry.XI] life in EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY the Asiatic settlements. Briefly stated then the current comes to this the wealthier and more cultured period theory : produced nothing but popular ballads. Finally. But a closer inspection will show that some of these characteristics are almost as difficult to account for on the hypothesis that We it was a recent outgrowth from popular poetry. In the remains as cruel and Kriemhild as Nibelungenlied Hagen passionately vindictive as popular fancy had painted them. 233 This is conceivable enough in itself. The poets of a later age will not trouble themselves to save the characters of persons who lived long ago. that the wealth or culture of the Aeolic settlements during the tenth and ninth centuries was will suggest. of character which popular poetry is apt to produce. Will anyone maintain that such traditions could be preserved . the confusion of different stories poetry (Stage in) will not be . removed in its more cultivated successor (Stage IV) Dietrich von Bern (Theodric) remains by the side of Etzel (Attila) in the The same remark too applies to those changes Nibelungenlied. In particular this is true of their metrical form.

234 EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY I [CHAP. namely that Alexandros arrived at Troy with Helen on the it third day ff. And to be remembered in the first place that our information Herodotus (ll 117) is very defective.) after leaving Sparta. confess that us take the alternative explanation. but since even the former are ignored hardly probable that they close of the Achaean When the storms broke upon Greece crowds of refugees. were many court minstrels. suggested by the Anglo-Saxon poems. who brought with them not only a poetic technique matured by long experience but also a number of poems. whereas it is stated in the Iliad (VI 290 he brought down to Hence we can only conclude Taking the evidence as it wandered out of his course (to Sidon) when But the epitome of the Cypria which has come us states expressly that Alexandros -did go to Sidon. doubted Homer's authorship of the Cypria on the ground that it is We contained a statement in direct contradiction with the Iliad. according to the suggested analogy. typed and precisely as in but the subject-matter became stereoEngland everything relating to the new to which settlements was completely ignored. if not actually misleading. that its is trustworthiness as an authority for the contents of the stands poem open we can detect to serious doubt. that he her. In the two former poems the action seems to have been spread over a considerable number of years. at once an important difference between the Cypria and the Nostoi on the one hand and the Iliad and the Odyssey on the other. of Among which the newest would probably be the most in favour. of the type represented by Demodocos and Phemios. This is the conclusion all the evidence at our disposal seems to me to point. not only from Thessaly but also from many other parts of the country. This poetry was developed and expanded by the court minstrels of subsequent generations . period. here must now turn for a moment to the Cyclic poems. through the medium of popular ballads alone ? such a hypothesis is altogether incredible to me. It is generally agreed that the Aeolic let Now settlements are older than the Ionic in Asia . fled to the new Aeolic settlements across the Aegean. in the poems it is came into existence until towards the them. while in the latter it was limited .

according to the version in which she was rescued by Artemis. 13). it narrated the adventures which befell various heroes on their return. a number of quite distinct stones. not to say mischievous. Both the Cyclic poem and the trilogy Both stones were served as introductions to famous stories. the two former treated a much larger number of events.) same list which we find in the Iliad (II 816 fT. the nature of chronicles. ultimately to irresponsible. and that the poems themselves were composed as an introduction to this story. in proportion to events too which were not so closely connected their length with one another. and passions of human beings but in both cases the introduction begins with the gods. Again. These formed. If we may judge from the number of books . On the other hand it is worth bearing in mind that the poem is said to have ended with a catalogue of the Trojan allies. contained some extraordinary The story of Odysseus' pretended madness and how he was eventually compelled to join the expedition is difficult to reconcile with the general tone of Homeric poetry. as we know it.XI] EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 235 to a few days or weeks. presumably the fT. are to trust the epitome. the as assembling twice at Aulis and twice army is represented The account of the first of these incidents starting for Troy. Indeed they seem to have been almost in These however are characteristics of popular rather than court poetry. unconnected with one another except at the beginning. p. as far as we can tell. The story of the Cypria. Beginning with the departure of the Achaeans from Troy. Again. of the Northern poems is a late addition to the whole theme story of SigurSr. and the origin of the tragic events which follow is traced essentially concerned with the adventures . The chief characteristic of the Nostoi seems to have been absence of unity.). conduct on There can be no doubt that the the part of certain deities.. bears a curious resemblance to the Edda trilogy Reginsmal Fafnismal Sigrdrifumal (cf. agrees with what is stated in the Iliad (II 303 ff. if we features. or perhaps 840 and this can hardly be regarded as a late composition. while the second contains the story of the sacrifice of Iphigeneia. Is it not possible that the Cypria was of somewhat similar origin ? The latter part of the poem. as far as we can judge.

The to rite chief poems seem notably the 1 have to the contrary is that these contained certain post-Homeric features. contained in the poem five as against eleven in the Cypria these stories must have been very short. except in the same sense in which that term is applied to Hesiodic poetry. were apparently represented as following one If we had only a fragmentary another in regular sequence. The Iliad other poems of the Trojan and Iliu Persis the Aithiopis. All these features suggest that the poem came into existence at a fairly late period. 395 d) mentions a poem called Kd0o5os 'ArpeiSwv. xxm 4. Several incidents which for these episodes . but we have not sufficient information to enable us to determine whether the references are taken from the poems themselves. If the Cypria was designed as an introduction to the story of the siege of Troy there can be little doubt that the Nostoi was composed as an epilogue to the same. 1 . unlike the Cypria and the Nostoi. On the other hand many scholars hold that it has been used by the But it is at least questionable whether the references in question do not come from the sources of the poem rather than the work itself Odyssey. in the Aithiopis. where it is stated that the Iliad and Odyssey provide material for only one or two tragedies each. As it contained at least three books it can hardly have formed part of the Nostoi. Indeed it seems to have had an affinity with the latter in more than one respect for the stories of the various heroes were probably not uninfluenced by . Athenaeus (281 b. and consequently it is perhaps questionable whether we are justified in regarding the Nostoi as an epic at all. of the Iliad we might gather from it much the same epitome All these poems were on a small scale. Poet. many and the .236 EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. 2 Cf. argument * ' of purification from bloodshed. they related are referred to or even told at length in the Odyssey. the Cypria for Little Iliad for eight. books in all but. . Little resembled the Cypria and the Nostoi in series the fact that they dealt with a considerable number of separate 2 But the resemblance was perhaps only superficial episodes . the action covered only a short interval of time. Aristotle. of which nothing seems to be known elsewhere. regard the fact that one scene is laid in an Ionic city (Colophon). In the same light we may perhaps genealogical interests. eleven impression.

p. the persecution of the The 'purification' of the house of : Odysseus (Od. preserved in its purity. renders it probable that their presence in the Cyclic poems is due to Are we then justified in assigning these popular influence. 24 f.' But the fact that such practices are ignored in the Iliad and Odyssey.XI] EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY sacrifice of a virgin (Polyxene). because in striking contrast spirit of later Greek and purification 1 . Harrison. while later poets had a special affection for them. to Stage IV of our scheme? poems characteristics of a ' considering the evidence at our disposal. good example is furnished by Aeschylus' Oresteia. misleading. seem poetry the ideas of pollution to be entirely ignored in the Iliad and Odyssey These so-called post. Prolegomena xxn 437 ff. I feel a good deal of Certainly they cannot have differed in from the anything like the same degree that the medieval German poems or even the heroic poems of the Edda differ from Beowulf. and it would be them as non-Homeric or non-heroic.Homeric features are of course really * ' better to describe more primitive religion. That is a question which. they jection than lost poems on which our information may be . balance of probability seems to me to incline towards the view that the Cyclic poems are derived ultimately from the same body of early heroic court poetry upon which the Iliad and Odyssey themselves are based but that their composition took place in later times. in the Iliu Persis. They may actually have incorIliad and Odyssey On the whole the porated a good deal of ancient matter. when the 'Homeric' standard was no longer . a series of plays which deals with a subject treated at some length in the Odyssey. is 237 and the The former case with the especially significant.) is of an essentially Study of Greek Religion. illustration from the drama for. Whatever may be the case with the Cyclic poems there are other poetic works which may be assigned to Stage IV without For our purpose it will perhaps be best to take an hesitation. . the vengeance taken upon her by her son Orestes. though such works are only are on the whole less open to obsecondary authorities. to the different character cf. The chief incidents are the A murder of 1 Agamemnon by his wife Clytaimnestra. hesitation in answering.

and his by Athene and the citizens of Athens. The social conditions and the ethical standard of Aeschylus' time differed no doubt very greatly from those of the Homeric age. Few modern readers can fail to appreciate the Oresteia as an almost unrivalled masterpiece of poetic art. the murder. Yet in the latter Iliad and the Odyssey are completely silent. his purification by Apollo. matricide by the Erinyes. that the recitation would not have been To such an audience the poet's religious conceptions tolerated. In the Odyssey the first of these incidents. is ascribed to Aigisthos. should be observed however that nearly all the special features which characterise Aeschylus' treatment of this story can be . to tragic ' events which had occurred previously in the history of Agamemnon's family especially the banquet of Thyestes and On these matters too both the the sacrifice of Iphigeneia. It This is a subject with which we shall have to deal later. to an his invocation of him vengeance by children. I think. nothing but a passing reference to Clytaimnestra's funeral. indeed they are directly opposed to all that Then again we find frequent we know of Homeric and detailed allusions ' religion. Again. and to the These instigation of the Erinyes by Clytaimnestra's ghost. But what would have been the effect if such a work had been recited at one of those courts in which Homeric poetry was patronised in early times ? There can scarcely be any doubt. The other incidents are not mentioned at all.238 EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. in Aeschylus' work prominence taimnestra's part to for is placate given to an attempt on Clythe dead Agamemnon. or they deliberately suppressed it. but only as products of a degraded and baneful superstition. features too are unknown in the Odyssey. trial As regards the second we have Clytaimnestra's paramour. in spite of the fact that the ideas with which it is permeated are largely strange and unreal to us. case this silence cannot be due to accident. would have been intelligible enough. while his skilful presentation of various painful incidents in the history of a royal house the most distinguished in Greece would have appeared not merely an offence against good manners but rather a wanton insult to the kingly class in general. Either the poets were ignorant of the story.

) than any other part of the Homeric poems. be compared with Saxo's story persecution of Orestes by the Erinyes may (p. Lao- Chrysothemis and Iphianassa. The 1 . Aeschylus gives him two. and there is some reason for believing that the version given in this work differed from the Homeric account Beyond Stesichoros we quite as much as that of Aeschylus. 7). it is some of the non. Stesichoros himself is said to have treated his authorities with great freedom. also v. On the other hand it is extremely doubtful whether any of those features would have been permissible in early heroic poetry. the latter of whom seems to have figured There is also a good deal of discrepancy also in the Cypria 2 . which was also brought dead about by the prevalence of contrary winds. The lost Oresteia of Stesichoros was doubtless one of his chief as to his sources our information is authorities.' of Vikarr in Gautreks Saga (cap. 235) is probably to be . Invocation of the is not uncommon in such works.XI] EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 239 paralleled from Scandinavian works which we may assign to very close analogy for the banquet of Thyestes Stage IV. Electra and Iphigeneia. though not very satisfactory. In the Stesichoros and others call him son of Pleisthenes. historical character. 568 ff. the Iliad he personal relations is the son of Atreus notice especially the differences of Agamemnon's family. 1 This incident may also be compared with a passage in the Iliad (ix 453 ff. perhaps think of the Cyclic poems. Atli and their children it is to be remembered that. p. Phoinix' speech (perhaps designedly) shows a nearer approximation to this type of religion (cf. especially the Nostoi but very doubtful if they would have furnished such a very markedly divergent form of the story. 2 The version of the sacrifice given in the Cypria (cf. They do not occur in the extant poems of Stage II. dice. In the Iliad he has three daughters. this story cannot possibly have any found- ation in fact. A ' ' is and furnished by the story of GuSrun. But may .). though Atli at least was a .Homeric deliberate alteration. in features can hardly be due to We may . 246) of the curse inflicted ' upon Haldanus likewise as a result of the shedding of kindred With the sacrifice of Iphigeneia we may compare that blood. There is sufficient evidence that most of the characteristic features of Aeschylus' story were not invented by him.

It has been suggested that a similar version of the story is implied in Od. one of their own kings as far back as the time of Xerxes. . while regard to the scene of the events. . Pindar. in Aeschylus' account this place is forgotten and the story transferred to Argos. 1 Pindar. vn 159. apparently also Stesichoros and Simonides placed it Now these are just the kind at Amj'clai (close to Sparta). In the Iliad and Odyssey Agamemnon belongs to Mycenae. although we have noticed that the evidence commonly adduced in favour of a long interval between the earliest and latest portions of the poems is highly unsatisfactory. 39. although earlier 1 it occurred in what was doubtless a much poem. We have seen that there is good reason for believing that the history of heroic poetry in Aeolis and in England proceeded on similar lines in several respects. of corruptions and discrepancies which characterise popular poetry everywhere.240 in EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. Pausanias. As yet however we have expressed no definite opinion as to the length of time involved in their development. Cf. . xi 32 2 The Spartans possessed a Stesichoros (Bergk). Pyth. III 19. and also that the chief monu- not ment of English heroic poetry was probably composed within much more than a century after certain events which it regarded as later than the other. it would seem that they claimed him as . Aigisthos rules Mycenae (after Agamemnon's death in in 305. The the course of our discussion has led us to conclude that Homeric poems are products of court poetry or minstrelsy in direct continuation of that type of minstrelsy which we considered at the beginning of the chapter. then would be similar in more than one respect to that of those Norse poets who rehabilitated the old story of SigurSr and Guftrun after the (strophic) type of their own national poetry. It must be admitted that beyond a certain point the evidence at our disposal does not admit of anything more than an estimation of probability. Taken together with the other non-Homeric features discussed above they seem to me to afford ground for suspecting that Stesichoros and his followers drew upon a popular and perhaps Doric or Peloponnesian version of the 2 Their work story which was independent of Homeric poetry. 6). Indeed. but the inference is doubtful. from Herodotus. fragm. iv Ri4f. tomb of Agamemnon at Amyclai (cf.

emphasizing the superior strength of the latter. but they do occur. with the heroes of the siege of Troy.). paved with stone (Beow.g. perhaps the occasional use of iron for weapons. Against such a conclusion it may of course be urged that there is a constantly recurring phrase (oloi vvv fipoToi elcri) which contrasts the men of the present day/ i. EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 241 any comparison between English and Greek heroic poetry we must of course leave out of account the frequent Christian allusions which occur in the former (cf. 16 . 47 ff.. vvv elcnv CTTL %6ovl) with the men of old (dvSpdai. It This absence of striking anachronisms decidedly favours the view that the period involved in the development of Homeric poetry was not very long. * But time it is is quite unnecessary to suppose that a long interval of intended here. can hardly be maintained. 768) are termed inhabitants of a Chester (ceasterbuendum). The same usage ' occurs elsewhere. Again. in Od. the men of the poet's own time. Such cases may be compared with the Homeric inconsistencies discussed in the last chapter e. IX 524 Phoinix speaks of the glories of those heroes that were of old (TMV TTpoaQev 7r6v06fA60a K\ea dvSpcov rjpaowv)'. p. for there is no reason whatever for supposing that any change in Now comparable with the introduction of Christianity came over the Greek world during the times which saw the development of Homeric poetry. ' c.e. but by the latter phrase he means persons belonging f ' men ' to the generation next above his own (Heracles and Eurytos). The old Nestor uses almost the same in II. but the story which he proceeds to relate is of Meleagros. Apart from this element anachronisms are not very numerous or marked. the uncle of Diomedes. I think. that the latter are of greater significance than the anachronisms in English heroic poetry. Thus in II. Thus the road which leads to the Danish king's dwelling is described as a Roman road (straef).XI] records. I expression 272 (rcov dl vvv ftporoi eiaiv fttt0owof) living I22f. while the ' members of the same ' court (ib. Indeed persons of more than two generations back are seldom mentioned in the Homeric poems. VIII Odysseus contrasts the * of the present day (ocrorot. king's 320). Trporeftporoi poicriv)'. when he compares the men among whom he was then with those he had known in his youth.

where Telemachos pleads " men always prize that song the in excuse for Phemios that most which rings newest in their ears. el them was the K\eea That means very much the same thing to known ydp r TIS Kol irtvdos Afyrai KpadlTjv d/cax^/*^o$. beyond the first generation. himself in contemporary history our knowledge of the eighth century would not be the blank which unfortunately it is. Clearly the only heroic poetry Trporepcov dv0pa)7ra)v.242 EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY [CHAP. It is not to be overlooked that antiquarian interest forms a prominent feature in all Hesiodic Even in the Works and Days it is obvious enough. /c. but what is more important to their descendants. although such topics have little in common with the main we meet with such as Hellen and Doros. theme of the poem. poetry. 1746. heroes' (icXea dvSpwv) when he received the embassy (II. the Heroic Age is ing the glories of ..X. but it is not stated that these were heroes of former times. . In the Catalogue period seems to have been essentially of a genealogical character. but to the heroes of Homeric poetry. vv. 1566. who owe their existence to characters The poetry of the following speculations in tribal origins. Not only are the genealogies of the heroes seldom carried back more than two there is scarcely generations. except perhaps in the Nekyia." 1 " distinguished with all possible clearness from the period in which the poet himself lived. IX any reference 189). expression very similar to the one last quoted is used by Hesiod (Theog. 99 ff. avrap Movo dwj' Oepdirwv K\^ea irpoTtpwi' " re Qeoirs ot "OXvpirov xov(nv. I 351 1. deal with the adventures The songs of Demodocos and Phemios of the Achaeans at Troy and on their return home.r.. Achilles is said to have been singing the 'glories of Again. the Works and Days.) when he speaks of the minstrel as sing- An men of old and the blessed gods who hold Here of course the reference is not to persons of Olympos In the last generation. That this is no accident is shown by Od." No sentiment could well be more foreign to the tone of Hesiodic or post-Hesiodic If any poet of that school had interested poetry than this. For such antiquarian interest the Homeric poems furnish no evidence.

C. 97 ff. although this story may not have attained the form of an epic poem.XI] EARLY GREEK POETRY AND MINSTRELSY 243 as Einhard's neterum regum actus et bella or the antiquorum actus regumque certamina sung by Bernlef (cf. records of the eighth century A. 80. The growth of the Homeric poems may or may not have taken Records of longer than that of their Teutonic counterparts. pp. Procopius' account of Hermegisklos and Radiger (p. 87). On the other hand Telemachos' remark would be perfectly appropriate in the earlier We have seen (p. 85) that in stages of Teutonic poetry.D. Beowulf one of the Danish king's knights begins to compose It a poem on the hero's adventure within a few hours of the event. The conclusion then to which the Teutonic evidence leads us is that at all events the type of narrative was fixed very early. speak of K\eea Trporepwv av6pG>Tra>v'. speak of antiquorum actus." or : " was in early times that. the eighth century B." etc. 16 2 .) must also be borne in mind. At such a time if anyone was composing a heroic poem it would probably have seemed natural enough to use the formulae with which several of the Edda poems begin " It was long ago. But in neither case do the poems themselves give expression to a consciousness of the antiquity of the events which they relate.

a different version of the river fight described in the 1 Iliad. 840. late addition to the text deserves to be noticed. 2 Cf. this view can scarcely be regarded as beyond question. See the Addenda. 816 839 are a later ' ' Considering the nature of the evidence. The first Thus all the personal names which occur in it are to be found in other parts of the 3 poem. At the same time I am contain some inclined to think that the Trojan Catalogue indications which may permit the date of fair (II. THE TROJAN CATALOGUE. Again. part is much more dependent on the Iliad than is the second. regard to the relationship between the extant poems and the lost Cyclic poems because I did not wish to load the discussion with matter which. 1 Chrestomathy the Cypria contained (apparently at the end) a naraXoyos and it is commonly believed 2 that this is the list which has been incorporated in our text of the Iliad.244 THE TROJAN CATALOGUE [CHAP. Kinkel. 20. Ignorance of the contents of the poem such as we find here is very rare its occurrence therefore in what is probably a very . apart from the fact that the addition. The allies proper begin perhaps at v. though several verses show acquaintance with other passages no single verse which has been borrowed however is that in two cases we have references to heroes who are said to have been slain by Achilles in the Neither of these persons is mentioned in the account of the river river. Epicorum Graec. The borrowing of vv. v. 3 822 f. would seem to indicate that the list to Proclus' ra>v rols Tpoxrt o-v/i/ia^o-aj/rcoi/. The most striking fact . . former contains no national names except Tpaes and AapSaVioi. while four of the others are not elsewhere associated with the nations (Mysians. another scene of this kind occurred in the Aithiopis but we have no evidence to this effect. f.. Phrygians and Meiones) to which they belong here. 831 4 from xi 329 332. there is apparently entire. and consequently it has been held that vv. v. p. taken literally. On the other hand. But there certainly are noticeable differences between the first and second portions of the list. must largely be of a hypothetical character. owing to the fragmentary nature of the evidence. Proclus' words. f. out of the twentyfive persons mentioned in the second part of the list eleven are not met with elsewhere in the Iliad. and it is surely at least as probable that they are derived from in the Iliad. 838 from xn 96 f. II 8i6ft~) does its composition to be determined with a According amount of probability. Fragmenta. In the last chapter we have endeavoured to estimate in general terms the position of the Homeric poems relatively to the poetry of the Heroic Age itself on the one hand and to Hesiod and genealogical poetry on the I have avoided entering into details in other. while several passages (eight verses out of the twenty-four) have been borrowed practically verbatim. from xii 99 vv. 831 4 can hardly be ascribed to the same man who took Amphios (the son of Selagos) from v 612. NOTE VI. did not include the Trojans themselves. In explanation of this it has been suggested that fight given in the Iliad.

the Troad and The Caria respectively. mentioned in the down to us. Niese. At the same time we may infer from his silence that he did not claim to know what peoples had occupied these regions previously. probably in the seventh century. at all events from the Gulf of Adramyttion southwards 4 was covered with Aeolic and Ionic settlements.. But even in the first part the 853 ff. It But we are not is justified in highly probable that the whole of this found at Troy district (cf. The argument that Abydos and Sestos cannot have been connected except Cf. This hypothesis might certainly account for the mention of the Paphlagonian names in v. in a TreplirXovs (cf. The true explanation is not far to seek. 54) is one which will appeal probably to no student of early Teutonic history. 852 ff. We must conclude then that this hypothesis in no way accounts for the peculiarities of the Catalogue. op. p. held that the Aeolic settlements in the south of the Troad were established at quite a late period. 3 Cf. if we are to trust the hypothesis in any form. Rhod. Apollon. . are connected in any way with the story of the Argo can hardly be taken seriously. and of cities.. mention a considerable number of Bithynian localities 3 both on the coast of the Sea of Marmara and on that of the Black Sea. It was well known to the ancients that the Bithynians were an intrusive Thracian people who had crossed over from Europe. and it is a fact worth noting that these almost all fall into three distinct groups in Paphlagonia. Greek tradition unanimously held that these settlements were . rivers and mountains many of which (five twelve in the second) do not occur elsewhere in the majority of the names mentioned belong to the immediate neighbourhood of the coast.XI] In THE TROJAN CATALOGUE both parts of the list 245 we meet with a considerable number of geographical names in the first part Iliad. n 649 ff. it is more probable . 1 On the other hand he did 2 Der homerische Schiffskatalog. note). cit. 53 ff. and we have no reason for supposing that the author of the Catalogue thought differently. as well as several peoples who do not appear in the Catalogue. assuming that no such settlements existed previously. Hence. 901 ff. the Aegean coast. etc. p. Niese. planted subsequently to the Trojan War. 868 f.. that v. In explanation of this fact it has been sug1 gested that the names in the coast-districts are derived from an early poem or poems on the voyage of the Argo.. 4 It is I 1 164 ff. 720 ff. Again. evidence in its favour is of the most slender 2 Of the thirteen place-names which occur in this section eight description are found elsewhere in the Iliad of the rest only two apparently are . are a subsequent addition to the list. accounts of the voyage of the Argo which have come What is more important however is that these accounts do . But they are the only names in the second part of the list for which it gives any for the suggestion that the references to the Carian localities explanation in v. was devastated by the barbarians whose remains have been p. 295. There is a great gap covering apparently the whole of the Bithynian coast and another embracing the coast of the Aegean from Troy itself to Mycale. .

But at the same time the memory of their former possessors not likely to have been perpetuated in an incidental reference like this than a century after they became Greek settlements. 70) in tracing a reminiscence of them in the name of a stream called Ceteios. in the south of the Troad. xx 329 we hear of the Caucones.246 THE TROJAN CATALOGUE [CHAP. XI Little Iliad we hear further to the east. It is an easy and popular method of interpretation to discredit evidence and following this method for which no obvious explanation is forthcoming . II 691. of a certain Eurypylos the son of Telephos. In later presumably times we hear no more of the Ceteioi. The Leleges indeed are mentioned frequently and on both sides of the Aegean. took place at the time of the Bithynian invasion. but only as a people of the past. whether the two movements were connected in any way or not. The evidence on the whole seems to indicate that the barbarian occupation occurred not very long before the foundation of the Ionic colonies on the Hellespont. etc. . later than the end of the tenth century. . while Cilices are found only in Cilicia. The more northern part of the list contains at all events nothing incompatible with is much more the view that it was drawn up in the first half of the eighth century. 5. the beginning. the positions of which are quite definitely stated. (cf. for such places would naturally be the most familiar seafaring people to to the Asiatic Greeks. about the Gulf of Adramyttion. the latter somewhat 5196*". Thus in X 429.) we meet with peoples called Leleges and The former Cilices. who seem to have belonged to Bithynia 1 . The name but without K^reioi has been connected with that of the Hittites (Kheta) . a tributary of the Caicos. In xxi 86 f. 1 Cf. because their names were not familiar to the author. It is generally agreed that the Ionic settlements were later than the Aeolic but probably no one will contend that the Greek occupation of Miletos and Mycale began appreciably Catalogue with a . chief of the Ceteioi. who must have been a some extent from Now in other parts of the Iliad we find mention of several peoples which apparently occupied the districts left blank in the Catalogue. There is nothing very remarkable in the fact that the places mentioned in the Catalogue lie chiefly on the coast . It is not necessary of course to suppose that these places were still in Carian hands when the Catalogue was composed. in Od. claim such knowledge of the previous occupants not only of the Troad but also of the Carian coast. The Catalogue contains no reference to any of these peoples. vi 396 f. This fact surely furnishes the means of dating the composition of the fair amount of probability. going into this question we may probably follow Strabo (xill i. Telephos and his son figured in the Cypria and the and Greek tradition placed their home (Teuthrania) in the region between the Gulf of Adramyttion and the Hermos. Again. are said to have dwelt in the valley of the Satnioeis.. The excavations in the Troad have certainly brought to light the fact that that But there is nothing to show that this district was overrun by barbarians. especially Strabo xii 3.

once possessed a considerable Reproduced There is in W. Egypt. p. between Rameses II and the Hittites. Kalakisha (Kelekesh in Breasted's orthography) bears to the cuneiform Hilakku (beside Hilak). so far as I am earlier. 4 5 6 who. hired by the Hittite king." . In earlier times we hear of them. 2 One of these names has been variously read and *I\ioj> as Maunna or and identified with the M^oi/es of the Iliad. seems to bear the same relationship to the cuneiform the Eg. Poem of Pentaur. he says. of whom some clearly belong to the west of Asia Minor.) bring them with him to battle. It is there stated that the "chief of Kheta had come. in order to (Cf. different varieties of that feather headdress which is known in Crete from much earlier times 5 .' a work which celebrates the battle fought at Kadesh early in the thirteenth century. When we find that this earliest reference to the Cilices them with a group of peoples 6. In the eighth century this people apparently dwelt to the north of the Taurus. ill p. 1 Cf. In addition to a which came entire 1 . The point against which adverse criticism has chiefly been directed is the location of the Cilices in the Gulf of Adramyttion. note. and some quite probably to the north-west corner of the peninsula. . while many scholars accept the identi- second and third with the Dardanoi and Mysians respectively. only in the ' gathered together all countries from the ends of the sea to the land of Kheta. The Kasku which other.XI] THE TROJAN CATALOGUE 247 many scholars have regarded the names under discussion as phantoms. Breasted. having aware. where we find both Pedasos on the Satnioeis and Pedasa in Caria. Europa. If the names Pidasa and TlTj8aaros are connected we are brought to the 3 Aegean. 361. note a. consisting of Pidasa. it must be admitted that we have no valid ground for associates discrediting the evidence of the Iliad as to their presence around the Gulf of Adramyttion. as well as with Ariunna (Arwena) Oroanda and other places. who " left not silver nor gold in his he plundered it of all his possessions and gave to every country. pp. 138. and the first is usually connected . Herod. V 121). Breasted. Kalakisha and Luka^ with two others 2 The last two of these names are almost universally identified with the Cilices and Lycians. Masa.. Dardenui. 138. 190. Cf. 129. 59) this place also belonged to the Leleges part of Caria and Pisidia. with the name nrjdao-os or n^dao-a. Keshkesh. p. op. They were mercenaries land (but) no question here of a national migration on the part of these peoples. It is to be remembered however that we have no evidence than the seventh century for the presence of a people called Cilices in the land which ultimately bore their name. at. According to Strabo (xm i. Max Miiller's Asien u." number of Syrian names which occur in the accounts of earlier wars the poem contains a group of new names of peoples. Ancient Records. 3 Perhaps also called Pedasos (cf. fication of the Evidence to the same effect is furnished by the procession of ten warriors 4 Of these five are of the Hittite type depicted on one of the monuments and two Semitic but the other three are of Aegean physiognomy and wear . If -ku is a suffix Kasku may possibly be connected with Rapes (which seems to represent an earlier JKa(s)-ar~).

at least a century earlier. The presumption then is that the other peoples had already been destroyed by Greek raids as is stated remembered Aeolians in the Iliad or else that they had been expelled or absorbed by the surrounding nations before the Greek colonies were fully established. . though its form may not preceding period have been came into existence. It is in the presumably between the eleventh and eighth centuries that we must place the composition of the Iliad. I am not aware of any valid reason for denying that the Cypria as a whole may have been composed about this time or for supposing that the Catalogue ever existed independently. xvn 301) seems to be at least as likely 1 as any of the others which have been proposed. know nothing of Cilices in this region neither do they mention Leleges in the south of the Troad or Ceteioi anywhere. Cf.248 THE TROJAN CATALOGUE the other [CHAP. . have seen that it is difficult to date the composition of the Trojan Catalogue at all events the latter part of it after about the middle of the We eighth century. The Pelasgoi of Larissa in the valley of the Hermos 1 appear to have been the Aeolic invasion in tradition. and that as a whole it possessed to a finally settled is when the Cypria difficult definite conclusion rendered If this imconsiderable degree the characteristics of popular poetry. I see no reason for doubting the existence of traditions The identification of Larissa relating to the presence of Pelasgoi in this region. although their territories were occupied by the probably at quite an early date. 3 f. If these peoples had survived it is difficult to believe that they could have perished subsequently without leaving some trace of their existence in Greek tradition. Phriconis with the Larissa of the Iliad (n 841. In either case we shall have to carry back the poetic traditions relating to them practically to the beginning of the first millennium. Strabo xin 3. which produced the great epics. XI later authorities On hand it must not be overlooked that . Any more by the unsatisfactory nature of our information regarding the Cypria. is correct we must conclude that heroic court-poetry was in its pression decadence when the Cypria was composed and consequently we shall do well to place the flourishing period. But the general impression conveyed by the epitome is that an appreciable portion of the poem was derived from incidental references in the Iliad.

and more illogical. may " be regarded as a typical expression of the attitude of more cautious scholars towards the problem of the story of Troy 1 : the siege of Troy as merely a solar myth to explain the abduction of Helen by Paris as the extinction of the sunlight in the West. means confined to the later stages of heroic poetry that on the contrary some of them were prominent even in the Anglo-Saxon poems. to follow the rationalising method to deduct the supernatural element.CHAPTER SUPERNATURAL ELEMENTS IN XII. Mythical beings and features obviously derived from folk-tales Their figure quite as frequently as in the Teutonic poems. while the others appeared to be of equal antiquity. It is equally fantastic. and Troy as the region of the dawn It is fantastic to treat beset and possessed by the sunrise. . IN Chapter VI we saw that the heroic poetry of the Teutonic peoples was very largely affected by folk-tales that supernatural beings were frequently introduced. . while ordinary human beings in short or animals were credited with supernatural properties that the distinction between natural and supernatural was not We saw further that these features were by no clearly drawn. and claim the whole residuum as historical 1 Jebb. Introduction to Homer. THE HOMERIC POEMS. This is a question with which we shall have to deal in the following For the present it will be sufficient to quote what chapters. 147. p. The same phenomena appear in Greek heroic poetry. presence is often regarded as a proof that the stories into which they enter and the persons with whom they are brought into contact are themselves products of myth or fiction.

XXII 226 ff. where Athene intervenes in order to stay Achilles from drawing his sword upon Agamemnon. says that Achilles slew Hector with the aid of are not entitled to omit Athene. and still Athene. has been held that all such passages as these belong to a their later period than those of the less imaginative types described above. if we are prepared to grant the existence of a belief that the gods were capable of Sometimes again deities disguising themselves in human form. and one which requires comparatively little imagination.250 fact. I 194 ff. The incident just cited where Athene takes the form of Deiphobos (II. A still greater amount of imagination perhaps is required for the scenes which refer to II. It We to affirm that Achilles slew Hector. and many other passages. We may Ill depict the quarrels and and It amusements of the gods in Olympos. Or again to several passages in the Diomedeia where deities show themselves almost or quite without disguise and even take an active part in the fighting. Another is the disguise of gods as birds. before the combat of Hector and Aias (ib. as when we find Athene and Apollo sitting upon an oak in the form of vultures. render themselves visible only to certain individuals out of a crowd. Heroic Age. XXIV 315 ff.) belongs to one of the commonest types. snatches Paris 380 ff. akin to in II. But there number of other cases where the action is affected by gods for ways which could not be accounted on any rationalistic hypothesis." may be observed that the gods are introduced in the Homeric poems in many different ways. VII 5 8 ff). very few notices relating to the gods have been preserved 'In Teutonic stories of the . Somewhat this type is the dream sent by Zeus to Agamemnon 5 ff. by a god as a sign of his favour or protection. THE SUPERNATURAL Homer IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. where Aphrodite from Menelaos and conveys him to his own away house in Troy. as in II. schemes for helping or destroying the combatants. II It has been remarked that in person might have accounted reference to for everything that passed such cases as these a sceptical without are a in any intervention on the part of a deity. as we have already seen. On other occasions type birds are sent as in II.

It is true that we do not know whether these incidents in Volsunga Saga are based on old tradition or not But a good parallel for the last of the Homeric types is furnished by the Langobardic story of Wodan and Fria and the victory (cf. though he does not take the form of a person known to his favourites. pp. though in know no exact Homeric parallel Sigmundr's last battle.. 1 251 The appearances . The story of Haraldr Hilditonn refers. In the latter part of the tenth century a number of Scandinavian adventurers had established . 255.. it is true. VI 128 ff. the of Athene and XXII 226 is to be found in the story of as told in Saxo's History. It was not until the battle at Bravalla had begun that Haraldr had any suspicion of the treachery which had been played upon him. 263. his place and form. the case stands however we incident shall have to take our illustrations from stories of the Viking Age. when the hero's sword I to the incident is shattered at the touch of Othin's javelin. 438 ff. The similarity between this story and the incident related of Zeus and Hera in II. 306 f. to A somewhat Hector in parallel ff. Haraldr had a con- employed to drive his and to carry messages to his nephew Ringo (SigurSr This man eventually was drowned but Othin took Hringr). XIV 153 353 gives us some ground for suspecting that the heathen poetry of the Teutonic Heroic Age may have possessed decided of the gods.). Again. of Othin in Volsunga Saga 14) may be compared with those of Apollo in the Iliad or Athene in the Odyssey for his divinity is not recognised at once. fidential servant named Bruno. p. the idea is in complete harmony with several passages in the Diomedeia (e. granted by them to the Winniles p. But a still more graphic story of intervention on the part of divine beings occurs in connection with a well-known event the expedition made against identity of his charioteer he Norway by the Jomsvikingar. But Othin threw him out of the chariot and slew him. and exerted himself to sow discord between the two kings. 115). ' Homeric ' characteristics in its treatment As curious II.g. Then suddenly recognising the .XII] THE SUPERNATURAL IN THE HOMERIC POEMS (cf.. to times for which we have no historical records. whom he chariot Haraldr Hilditonn. V 129 ff. begged him to grant him victory.

" Still he continues the fight. both those who had second sight and those who had not. f. He was not able to obtain her assistance until he had sacrificed to her his youngest son. each arrow brought about a man's death." Then they tell who says " It seems to me that we have got to fight Sigvaldi. who the Sigvaldi and Bui. . so that they were numbed with the cold and A But worse was to come. and at the mouth of a settlement at Jomsborg on the island of Wollin the Oder. Tryggv. near battle at first Romsdal Fjord. and soon sacrificing his son. which had been hot. for they had made no vow also to fight against devils 1 . Eric the Victorious. a story connected with another historical event. HavarSr saw two female figures on Haakon's ship. hostile fleet vow The to attack earl Haakon. 44 (Fornmanna Sogur. one of Bui's companions. Snorri gives a different account of the battle in the Heimskringla (Olafs ff. the weather. When he resumed the fight. " It is said that HavarSr. . both acting as the one had done previously. cite Here we may expelled his nephew Styrbiorn from the kingdom 1 . made a then ruled Norway. underwent a complete snow-storm came from the north and beat in the change. and the . latter i 191 Jomsvikinga Saga. Then Sigvaldi said that he would now take to flight and that all his men were to do likewise. he took advantage of a respite in the fighting to retire to one of the islands and pray to ThorgerSr HolgabruSr. 43 but he was acquainted with at least part of the story given above. from every one of the demon's fingers. and could neither move nor see. xi p. was the first to see ThorgerSr in Haakon's fleet but soon she was seen by many. 136 ff.) Flateyiarbok. was taken by surprise and had not been able to muster all his forces at Hidrungavagr. earl of Lade. About the year 994 their leaders. king of Sweden. which took place about ten years before the battle of Hiorungavagr. . S. as it seemed. faces of the pirates. but against the worst of devils.252 THE SUPERNATURAL fortified IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. The when he encountered the mouth of the went against him and. When the snow abated a little they saw also that arrows were flying.) . cap. to-day not against men. When Haakon saw that the snow was : all his might to ThorgerSr and her sister reminding them how much he had given up to them in Then the storm began again. abating he cried with Irpa. according to the story.

Thereupon there came two Styrbiarnar Thattr.). 2 1 A 3 Viga-Glums Saga. who was seated on a chair. In his dream he asked who they were. certain Thorkell possessed an estate which he was to sell to Glumr. Olafr Tryggvason. Sog. . is said to have been visited both by Othin and Thor 2 Of dreams perhaps the most interesting case is a story told to Othin. This actually came to pass. v p. cap. Olafs S. 213 (Fornm. 250). Tryggv. who put a cane into his hand and told " it over Styrbiorn's army You all belong saying : seemed to turn into a and brought blindness upon Styrbiorn and all his host. Tryggv." When he threw the cane it . Glumr dreamed that he saw a great crowd on the river banks coming to see Frey. 71. When omen Jutland was invaded by the Emperor Otto II in 974 Harold Blue-tooth summoned Haakon to his assistance. They replied that they were his departed relatives and that they were praying Frey that he (Glumr) should not be driven from his estate. Before leaving he went to Frey's compelled A temple. . But the latter set off with his fleet as soon as possible and. But before he left. 26. (Heimskr.. cap.XII] THE SUPERNATURAL IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 253 invaded the country with the help of the Danish king Harold Blue-tooth. B.. On the eve of the battle Eric went into Othin's temple and in order to obtain victory promised to give himself up dead at the end of ten years. a contemporary of Earl Haakon of Lade. cap. . After the campaign the Danish king adopted Christianity and compelled Haakon to do likewise. 182 f. cap. who reigned over Norway from 995 to 1000. 2 (Fornm. proceeded to offer a great sacrifice. remembering the ox which Thorkell hacV given him 3 . Soon afterwards he saw a big man him to throw with a long hood. sacrificed an ox and prayed that Glumr likewise might be forced to give up the estate. Olafs S. ii p. But it was of no use Frey answered curtly and angrily.). 9. Sog. of an Icelander named Glumr. landing on the coast of Ostergotland. For the action of Homeric of favour or deities in sending birds as a mark of success a good parallel is to be found in another incident in the life of Earl -Haakon of Lade. javelin On the same occasion Thor was seen in Styrbiorn's camp 1 Such cases are by no means isolated.

' 'We have * Why Olafs S. the Vellekla (cf. The importance it is of the last case is enhanced by the fact that derived from a contemporary poem. But there is no reason for doubting that the stories had long been in existence. and our texts themselves are separated by a period of from two to three centuries from the events which they relate. Thoughtful was their mien. 15). who should go and dwell with him in Valholl.). In the other cases given above no such early authority is extant. Now. we must ride to the green homes of the gods. to tell Othin that a monarch is coming ' hast thou thus decided the battle. after a short account of the battle. . (Heimskr.254 THE SUPERNATURAL IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. as they sat on their steeds. with helmets upon their heads and holding their shields before them. . Surely we brought it about that thou hast won the day and that thy foes have fled. to Valholl. The author. However regard to the that no doubt can be entertained with poem Hakonarmal. ravens flying by and screaming loud. Tryggv. how Gondul and Skogul were sent by Othin to select a prince of Yngvi's line. was himself present at the battle. we are relates The poem told that shields " and mail-coats pierced host which had to make its way as she leaned l : the princes sat with their swords drawn. in which the ravens are mentioned. Eyvindr Skaldaspillir.' The prince heard what the noble Valkyries were saying. p. The earl's devotion to the worship of ThorgerSr HolgabruSr is known from other sources but she seems not to have been a generally recognised member of the Northern Pantheon. Now will the forces of the gods upon her spear be increased.' said the mighty Skogul. Then said Gondul. King Haakon I at the battle of Fitje in 961 (cf. The earl interpreted this as a sign that Othin had accepted the sacrifice and that he would have a favourable time for battle 1 . 16). cap. which deals with the death of may be. p. with scarred in no cheerful mood was the . Then. Skogul ? have deserved success from the gods. since they have summoned Haakon to their abodes with a great host. 27 f. It is questionable indeed whether the account of the battle of Hiorungavagr could have been invented after all recollection of Haakon and his religious observances had died away.

When St Ansgar visited Sweden for the second time. but it would seem from the Saxon Chronicle that Eirikr was 1 We still alive about the year 954. "They founded a temple in honour of the above-mentioned king. where the king. who had This latter part of the poem is copied from Eiriksmal (cf.XII] THE SUPERNATURAL IN THE HOMERIC POEMS " 255 . was residing. such as the story of Glumr given above. not long after 850. and the new god must be refused admittance. 15). and (Biorko. though the latter in its present form dates from a period at least two centuries later than Hakonarmal both referring to persons will who lived more or less about the same time is it probably be agreed that the conception there far more primitive. I suppose that ultimately this type of composition is derived from visions or dreams. This was to the effect that the gods had long been gracious to the Swedes and had preserved their land in peace and prosperity. Now we of visits to the have good evidence that visions which took the form home of the gods did really obtain credence in the Viking Age. so that he shall be counted A among the gods. Yet now the Swedes were abandoning their accustomed sacrifices and introducing a strange god. They are clearly in the nature of conscious fiction. Olaf. and we are not sufficient for you. he found that the success of his man had come to Birca mission was seriously endangered. If they wished to retain their favour the sacrifices must be resumed on a larger scale. . in which Othin sends out Sigmundr and Sinfiotli to meet Eirikr. " But if you desire to have more gods. as products of vivid poetic imagination." This story created a profound impression among the inhabitants. stated that he had been present at an assembly of the gods. p. For. Then the scene changes to Valholl and Othin sends Herm6Sr and Bragi out to meet the king and to enter his presence. on the Malar).' bid 1 him welcome Such poems as Hakonarmal and Eiriksmal must be regarded . though it should not be assumed that the pictures of the gods and their abode which they present were conceptions altogether unreal to the poets' audiences. we unanimously enrol in our body Eric who was formerly your king. who had sent him to deliver a message to the king and nation. do not know either the date or the author of Eiriksmal.

Anscharii^ cap. long been dead. nos unanimes in collegium nostrum asciscimus. Vita S. Whatever doubt may be entertained as to the truth of the story it is significant enough that Herodotus should record it. apparently without any hesitation. is practically It was written by contemporary authority. Ericum. Indeed it seems scarcely impossible that the doings of ThorgerSr HolgabruSr at Hiorungavagr may have been believed by persons who were Yet credulity was no special characteristic of alive at the time. et ipsi tanquam deo uota et sacrificia offerre coeperunt. one of Ansgar's disciples. ready to hear that the gods took an active part in the battles of their fathers or grandfathers. In face of such evidence we have no reason for doubting that stories such as that of Glumr would readily obtain credence. learn from inscriptions that Asclepios the Northern peoples. and began to offer prayers and sacrifices to him god a . It is clear at all events that the Scandinavian evidence fails to provide any justification for the view that poems which introduce the gods must date from times far removed from the events which they claim to commemorate. si etiam plures decs habere desideratis. We Herodotus' story at (I 60) that Peisistratos recovered the tyranny Athens by dressing up a woman to personate Athene and accompanying her in a chariot to the city. Herodotus himself remarks that this took place at a time when the Greek race had long been distinguished from the rest of mankind by its superior sagacity and freedom from silly credulity and in a state too which was held to be intellectually supreme among the Greeks. bertus. in less than a century after Peisistratos' Some four centuries earlier men may well have been death. 1 In the contemporary uobis Porro. quondam regent uestrum. 23.256 THE SUPERNATURAL as a 1 IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. was in the habit of showing himself to pilgrims in his temple Still more striking evidence is furnished by at Epidauros." The Life of St Ansgar. from which this story is taken. while the latter themselves may have been quite as ready to attribute their success or failure to the disguised agency of the same powers. who succeeded him as Archbishop of Hamburg in 865 and died in 888. . St Rembert. ut sit unus Nam et templum in honore supradicti regis dudum de numero deorum Remdefuncti statuerunt. et non sufficimus.

and that the backward position which they ultimately came to occupy. C. there is no good reason for authorities. 1 . The explanation lies doubtless in the fact that the theological apparatus of Norse poetry was fully developed before the time of our earliest So far as I can see. which is commonly regarded as one of the latest portions of the Odyssey.). since Othin is episodes a god of the dead. On the whole perhaps the nearest affinities of the two Norwegian poems are with the second Nekyia (Od. IX 538 ff. The nearest Homeric analogies to dealing Beowulf's adventures are perhaps to be found in the stories of It may Bellerophon and Meleagros (II. The development which it may ultimately attain can be seen from the story of Kilhwch arid Olwen. be that these stories and others. I 7 . that the same remark holds good for the Homeric denying poems. is due to the growth of poetic 1 art and humanistic tendencies. though in the poems which us they figure prominently only in episodes with past events.XII] THE SUPERNATURAL find IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 257 Hakonarmal we First. VI 178 ff. Monsters unknown in Greek have come down to and theriomorphic demons are by no means heroic stories. we have deities participating without disguise in battle then a change of scene carries us to the actual home of the gods. his abode corresponds in a sense both to Olympos and the home of Hades. such as that of Perseus. But if so it is futile to use evidence of this kind as in earlier a criterion for determining the date of the various portions. themselves once formed the main themes of heroic poems. Lastly. But on the The first stage in the growth of such a story as this may be illustrated from the message of the Mysians given by Herodotus. But of course it may be admitted that they are less primitive. The second scene in Hakonarmal which is likewise the scene may be compared both with the various 'Olympic' and also with the two Nekyiai. the Scandinavian evidence gives no support to the belief that the more imaginative types of divine intervention of Eiriksmal In principle necessarily belong to a later date than the others. XXIV i 204). two of the most advanced Homeric types. as compared with stories of anthropomorphic deities. I 36. Old Norse literature it so happens that they occur in both and more nearly contemporary works. For. .

(iii) the adventure with Polyphemos. in is always which adventures with nonsters form one of the favourite themes. The is chief store-house of folk-tales in the Homeric poems the narrative of his adventures given by Odysseus to the Phaeacians (Od. (x) the slaughter The first of these incidents bears no obvious traces of deinfluence from a folk-tale . (viii) the singing of the Sirens. certain Danish king named Gormo 2 was an (p. (iv) the two visits to Aiolos. IX xil). (vii) the journey to the home of Hades. This narrative contains a consider- number of incidents. p. 1 his (the north of Norway). Macculloch. Taking with him as guide an experienced traveller. which lay beyond the ocean in a land of perpetual darkness. (ii) the able : visit to the land of the Lotus-eaters. . It appears to be found with slight variants in many different parts of the world 1 . But this is 2 The historical connections of this story are immaterial for our purpose. having lost its way in a storm. of which ten may be regarded as more or less distinct (i) the encounter with the Cicones. named Thorkillus. (v) the disaster in the land of the Laistrygones. 286 f). (ix) the adventure with Scylla of the cattle of Helios. The Childhood of Fiction. he set sail with three ships and made way beyond Halogaland There. The adventures with the Lotus-eaters and the Laistrygones rivation or should perhaps be regarded rather as travellers' stories founded possibly on actual experience of foreign peoples yet the latter at least contains it certain distorted features which may fairly within our category. remember iable to the intrusion of folk-tales. as the part with which we are dealing is clearly derived from folk-tales. Above all he desired to visit the abode of The last incident of the series A Geruthus (GeirroSr).258 )ther THE SUPERNATURAL hand we have to IN THE HOMERIC POEMS that heroic poetry [CHAP. but it is the only one of the series of which this can be stated with any confidence. ardent explorer. (vi) the two visits to Circe. 279^ somewhat obscure. and Charybdis. the expedition came to be Cf. As to the origin of the adventure bring with Polyphemos there can be little doubt. is perhaps the one least widely but a parallel may be cited from one of Saxo's stories known.

There is no Thorkillus strictly all food and drink actual transformation as in the story of Circe. When 1 the travellers at length reach the abode of Geruthus Glaesisvellir is Guftmvmdr of a well-known figure in the unhistorical parts of sagas. and to avoid contact with members of the household. one of declared that they would not be allowed to sail away until they made compensation for the losses they had inflicted on the herd of the gods. would have to spend the rest of their lives among monsters. enjoined his companions to abstain from offered them. So great was the sanctity with which it was regarded that no one ventured to touch any of the animals which grazed upon the island. Eventually they arrived at an island which contained herds of extremely tame cattle. Hence there is no need to doubt that a basis of fact underlies the stories of islands in which animal life was held sacred just as in holy woods throughout the north of Europe.XII] THE SUPERNATURAL IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 259 in want of food. 10. in this and other respects. Those who yielded to temptation. 172 . It is scarcely impossible that similar island sanctuaries may once have been known in the Mediterranean. and we need scarcely to hesitate to regard both stories as variant forms of a folk-tale. In Alcuin's Vita Willebrordi. The whom following night they were attacked by monsters. In order to save themselves they had to give up one man from each ship. even from the fruits which grew in the garden. but this in itself is a widely known incident in folk-tales. the brother of who invited them to his house. it is stated that a certain island (now Heligoland) was entirely sacred to a god named Fosite. . As to its origin we are not altogether without evidence in the Northern case. The violation of the sanctuary. After leaving the island Gormo and his men sailed in safety to the farther part of Permland. I cap. It will be seen that this incident bears a general resemblance the slaughtering of the cattle of Helios. The subsequent course of the story has a certain affinity with that of Circe. as a few eventually did. where they were met by a giant named Guthmundus 1 Geruthus. Against the advice of Thorkillus the mariners slaughtered a large number of these. cost one of St Willebrord's companions his life.

II p. where they saw a woman who was many men richly attired. The woman told Hadingus that these were men who had been slain by the sword and continually rehearsed the manner of their death. Tylor. 346. of the spirits of fallen warriors. But here we have to deal with of court poetry which are further removed elaborate conceptions from the in the spirit 2 Odyssey of the true folk-tale than either of the passages better parallel to the first Nekyia is perhaps . him with her underground in order to show mantle and took him where the hemlocks grew. though horrible in every way. At the same time of course I do not mean to imply that it is wholly to extent the first be regarded as a folk-tale. We . they crossed a rapid river and then saw two armies engaged in desperate conflict. seems to be a variety of the Enchanted Castle rather than a parallel to the home of Hades for Eiriksmal have seen above that the poems Hakonarmal and may in a sense be compared with the two Nekyiai Valholl is the abode not only of the chief god but also 1 . Primitive Culture*. the Zulus and the Maoris 3 There can be little doubt that to a large . To this also 3 we have a visit (by the god HermoiSr) in Gylf.26O THE SUPERNATURAL IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. 49. Nekyia belongs to the same category. 52. 292 ff.). The description of this place recalls that of Nastrond in Voluspa 39. In the interview with Agamemnon much and the 1 his companions (vv. . 31). 2 The home of Hades resembles the abode of Hel rather than Valholl. there appeared to him She wrapped him in her carrying hemlocks. the scene. They are obviously to be connected with the einheriar of Old Norse poetry the slain warriors who dwell in Valholl and spend their days in combat though possibly this passage represents a more It is to be observed that Saxo himself primitive form of the idea explicitly interprets the story as a visit to the region of the dead. On the way they passed through a dark cloud and then along a well-worn path. when King Hadingus was feasting. 385 is 564) we find ourselves in same world of ideas as presented to us in Eiriksmal and A better parallel is perhaps furnished by Thorkillus' subsequent visit to the abode of Ugarthilocus (p. cap. I Cf. Once upon a time. A to be found in another of Saxo's stories (p. 50 ff. After viewing the sunny regions where the hemlocks grew. Stories of this kind are to be found in many parts of the world among peoples as widely apart as the Algonquins. Gylfaginning. p.

folk-tale and religious (necromantic) observances. for communication with distant lands. fancy. the Black Sea. doubtless due to the influence . and it is likely enough that at that time Thesprotis was as unfamiliar as Egypt to the inhabitants of Aeolis. the absence of any precise geographical indications is easily accounted for. geographical indications scholars will dispute that the throughout the story of Odysseus' Few f\/i . sent an embassy to the oracle of the dead (ve/cvo/jLavrrjlov) on the river Acheron in Thesprotis. Hakonarmal. in order to consult the spirit of his wife Melissa.g. tyrant of Corinth. Periandros. Aeolis was the true home of If all we Homeric are right in supposing that poetry.XII] THE SUPERNATURAL Again. During the centuries which intervened between the end of the Heroic Age and the beginning of the historical period there is extremely little evidence. That is after all the kind of confusion which might reasonably be expected . After making it all allowance for 1 antiquarian and etymological speculation seems probable that this oracle did influence the conceptions of the dead current in Greek poetry.) of poetry or tradition. etc. Sometimes he < appears to be in the west sometimes again he is following the track of the Argo presumably in the Black Sea. M from poets who were dealing with traditions of voyages made long before in regions now altogether forgotten. about the close of the sixth century. whether traditional or archaeological.j wanderings are both vague and contradictory. and Odysseus' journey Such an idea this is perhaps the original kernel of the story. home of the It would appear then that in the composition of the first Nekyia we have to take account of the influence of at least three different elements court poetry. The diffusion of the names Acheron and is Acherusia in other regions (Italy.) in the application of the name KW/CUTOJ to a tributary of the The presumption is that this name was originally a creation of poetic as much as TLvpufrXeytduv. is ascription of supernatural properties to men or animals not a very striking feature in Homeric poetry unless we 1 The As seen Acheron. just (e. from ancient religious observances however may be derived Herodotus (V 92) records that rather than from a folk-tale. IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 26l it is to be remembered that the object of was to consult the spirit of Teiresias.

the whole it appears that those elements in the Homeric which may quite safely be derived from myth or folk-tale poems resemble the corresponding elements in Teutonic heroic poetry On very closely. Incidents such as the flame on the same hero's head in II.) are attributed to the direct action of deities. XIX 404 ff. and also presumably the numbers of the forces stated in the catalogues.. We may . XII include under this head stories of exaggerated prowess. is In the use very slight. . Among such cases we must include the feats of valour performed by some of the combatants. XVIII 205 ff. where one of Achilles' example horses speaks and prophesies his master's death. etc. As an we may cite II. It remains for us made of folk-tales the difference now to consider whether the remaining elements in the poems their main groundwork in fact should be regarded as of similar origin in both cases. XIII 429 ff. On the other hand exaggeration is common and often carried out systematically.262 THE SUPERNATURAL IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. if we admit that the story of the siege of Troy has any historical foundation. and the changes in Odysseus' appearance (Od. perhaps doubt whether the gods ever figured so conspicuously in Teutonic poetry as they do in the Iliad and Odyssey but the difference between the two cases is one of degree only.

all contributed to the formation of the Greek heroic stories but opinions differ widely as to the relative importance to be attributed to the three elements. commonly held myth and fiction have . darkness and so forth. But the fact that deities participate in their destruction does not in itself prove that they are themselves products of myth or fiction. not so very long ago.CHAPTER MYTH IT is XIII. of flesh and blood because they are brought into contact No one will be so hardy as to suggest that King Haakon or his namesake. The two characters have of is . By many indeed the heroes of the Trojan War are believed to be as mythical in origin as the gods themselves. much responsible for the death of King Haakon as Athene is for that of Hector. At the present time however it is only in some few cases that this view hold is Its chief stronggenerally maintained. that history. There was a time. that we have no historical evidence for the existence of the Homeric heroes. when most of the characters of the Greek Heroic Age were believed to owe their origin to nature-myth personifications of light. IN THE HOMERIC POEMS. One conclusion may safely be drawn from the Northern : evidence discussed in the last chapter we must definitely dismiss the argument that the Homeric heroes cannot have been men with the gods. the case of Achilles and here we are invariably referred for proof to the story of SigurSr.. were Yet Gondul is as products of myth or poetic imagination. the famous earl of Lade. There is certainly this difference between the two cases. Among modern scholars the general tendency has been to assign the chief weight to myth. .

and necessary to show that such features formed an original element in the stories.) with regard to SigurSr open to that the current explanation the most serious in my opinion fatal objections. 2 According to Volsunga Saga. cap. But it would be pure folly to regard these features as in themselves proofs of mythical origin. We may refer to the story of St Ansgar. types of youthful strength and valour. 15. 2.). less idealised course a good deal in common. / with the latter class of beings. divine mother 3 (cf. . quoted above 255 f. cap. the father of Such incidents are not uncommon in folk-tales. however. which. which is peculiar to the German version of the story. Sigmundr. Some resemblance to the case of Peleus elf- and Thetis is shown by a story in Hrolfs JS. With such cases as that of 'Zeus Agamemnon' we shall have to deal later. p. had a Achilles himself . This is a subject to which we shall have to return in a later chapter. Indeed the only essentially mythical feature which the poems themselves record in the case of AcRiTles and it is by no means peculiar to his case is that he is the son of a deity 1 But divine descent was claimed also by many Teutonic princes. a feature hero. 114). In order to prove this it is to point to features which can only be mythical. as we have seen from was worshipped as a deity in certain localities and the same is some other heroes. phenomenon it is doubtless to be connected with the stories of conjugal relations between human and divine beings which we find both in Greece and in northern Europe. . : Hrolfr Kraki. Above all. may note where an woman We especially those cases' in which the supernatural bride is a mermaid. Achilles but not in the Iliad or Odyssey.264 MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS Both are more or [CHAP. and both die prematurely. possesses the same characteristic It is as much unknown in the Homeric account of Achilles as in the Norse account of SigurSr. bears a daughter to Helgi. perhaps reThetis has a good deal in common presenting the Swan-maiden of earlier times. 1 true of (p. Kraka. On the other hand there certainly was a tendency for myth to grow up in later times round this As an instance we may take his invulnerability. we have to take account of the influence of folk-tales 3 and popular beliefs. Now we have seen (p. is 140 ff. though the heroes of our stories are usually separated from their divine ancestors by two or three 2 Whatever may be the explanation of this generations . the father of Sigurftr.

The most important difference is that the Dawn-goddess. The personification of light.. probable example is to be found in Gylfaginning. which are commonly regarded as among the best examples of their class. Sprache. doubt that the prevalence of such numerable occurrences of abduction folk-tales is in real life. 3 The personification of the sun and the dawn in the Homeric poems is very similar to what we find in the north of Europe. 12 (cf. e. like other deities. It is perfectly true that stories of (e. In other words we are asked to 1 3 assume a most complex and precarious hypothesis Cf. cap. p. due to the inBut the theory we are discussing involves not merely the personification of heavenly bodies and natural phenomena but their complete a very doubtful process in the best anthropomorphisation of cases whereas the story which it seeks to explain bears no trace even of derivation from a folk-tale. cap. Hist. even story of the abduction of Helen is another case for which many scholars still claim a mythical origin. But what is apt to be overlooked is that these have assumed 2 stories arise from a personification of the sun or moon. Aeneas Sylvius.. may tion of very recent events. etc. it is in of the natural order of things to suppose that the numerous class of folk-tales which deal with the abduction of a girl or wife in which originated in the type a comparatively rare type There can be no reasonable this motif is applied to the sun.). cap. and the first Daina in Schleicher's Night and day or dawn are also frequently personified But none especially where.) the abduction of the sun or the incon- The tinence of the are moon do occur. as in Greece. has sexual relations with mortals Addenda). But her true character is not for a moment forgotten. Handb. in Gylfaginning. A Eclipse-myths (usually of a simple character) are widespread and fairly common. Primitive i Culture 4 . interpretation of stories and sunset. 26. (see the . and the first But a good deal of scepticism is justifiable in regard to the which are supposed to have originated in myths of sunrise This remark applies even to those Polynesian and Red Indian stories 328 ff. also Tylor. the last d.g. though examples of this type no means so common or widespread as many writers by 1 . darkness. four Dainos in Schleicher's Handbuch.XIII] MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS make itself felt 265 in the descrip- the Teutonic evidence.g. of these lend themselves so readily as the sun and moon to the development of mythical stories. de Eur. in the abstract seems to belong to a 2 much more advanced stage of thought. and that consequence of this personification that the heavenly are believed to be exposed to perils and passions such as bodies It is surely nothing less than an inversion affect human beings. litau. the sun is regarded as a male. 10 f.

2 There seems to be little reason for doubting in other respects this version of the story deliberate invention of Stesichoros. a story which figuring in quite a different story of abduction seems to have been treated by Alcman and Stesichoros. scholars. though may well have been version. by no means exhaustive. 10) is obviously related by Herodotus (vi 61). Paus. p. and rescued by her brothers. whether this "E\vq Aepfytrts was originally identical with the other Helen.266 in MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. related in the Odyssey (IV 125 ff. it is entirely devoid of mythical elements. as 831 2 ff. rather than myth. This version of the in story then should perhaps be regarded as a product of fiction The other story however that of Theseus. note). Peirithoos and the Dioscoroi It is important to notice that both these pairs of heroes are is is 1 There explanation probably an allusion to this story in II. But the verse in . In the Iliad Helen possesses characteristics. 244. 'inorganic' (cf. no mythical except that she is the offspring of In the Cypria she had apparently also acquired a divine mother (Nemesis). . The Rhodian story (cf. Ill 19. 351 ff). as well as on the * Chest of Cypselos. (cf. II 331) and due in all probability to the same process II It is II. By the seventh century we find her a divine father. although a different quoted by Plutarch (Theseus cap. 34) from Istros. n) and that of Ariston's wife. order to account for a story for which parallels are to be found very frequently in almost all stages of human society. in 144. Od. due in part to the influence of the Homeric poems but it is at least questionable This list is . settlers in The latter again comes in all probability from Greek Egypt. and as such it furnishes stories in the north of an interesting parallel to the history of similar Europe. with a cult which they found existing in that country.).' . a most instructive example of the growth of myth. with the help of Peirithoos. the Dioscoroi 1 Somewhat later we find a new version of the Now it is said to be only her story of her abduction by Paris. We may mention also the story of Helen and Achilles in the 'White Isle' (cf. Hermes to that the etScoXoy Egypt was a . as well as modern. influenced (II by the Egyptian recorded by Herodotus 112 ff. iSco\ov which is carried off by Paris Helen herself is taken by . This time she is carried off by Theseus. who connected the narrative of Helen's sojourn Egypt. Of course I do not mean to say that the story of Helen is On the contrary. is doubtless of popular origin. question was condemned by some ancient. Pausanias III 19.

eponymous They are cestor of the Cadmeioi. where the names AdpSavos. or xvi 694) we have apparently the case of an already existing character being turned to account as an eponymous hero. Now we have seen (p. 3 ) found in post-heroic. The introduction of Helen into the story may be due partly to her kinship with the Dioscoroi and partly to the influence of the story of her abduction by Paris. as the eponymous anin though he is not mentioned in connection Od. though such persons are referred to the past and not introduced into the main action of the stories. perhaps creatures of the poet's own imagination. but in tribal divinities At or personified conceptions of peoples (' hypostasierte Volksindividualitaten '). to be regarded. the true home of eponymous ancestors (Hellen. Doros. etc. Other examples of both types . Achaios. Tpw? and ^IXo? are included Similar characters are to be found in in the hero's genealogy. may be found elsewhere in the poems 2 . II ill 16. heroes of places. with Thebes. The * keeper of . or at least non-heroic. 3). name "ASp^crros is taken from vi 37 ff. 267 connected with other stones of abduction 1 Moreover in both cases these stories have certain elements in common with that of Persephone.) that in Teutonic heroic poetry we occasionally meet with the mythical eponymous ancestors of families. Yet it cannot be said that they are common. literature. Perhaps the best example occurs in a speech of Aineias (II.e. In Greece. fictitious rather than mythical beings but it is probable that they were modelled upon existing types. Ithacos and Neritos.lo\id-r)s the winds ' occurs occasionally as a patronymic for individuals. the present time it appears to be the more general opinion that the Homeric heroes originated mainly not in personifications of natural phenomena. 131 f. (if the 3 A. In recent years however several scholars have put forward the theory that the characters who figure in the main action of is 1 to be Attention should be paid not only to the case of the Leucippides but also to the story of 2 Phormion (Paus.XIII] MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS .). in The Cadmos of Od. the Homeric poems. XVII 207 we have a reference to Again. seems to have no connection with these characters. V 333 is probably some sense or other. There can be little doubt therefore that we have to deal with a folk-tale. as in northern Europe. XX 200 ff. In 828 ff. II. i.

In England during the centuries Trachis and the Dryopes. .) he is the son of Boros the Maeonian and had come from a place called Tarne. where the Cretan leader Idomeneus is represented as slaying a in man named Phaistos (<J>a<rTo?). . at least in historical times. But the origin of the man is stated explicitly enough in the poem (/. to suppose that these persons are the eponymous heroes of the Welsh or Cymry. may the case of minor characters among the Trojans type are most common. V 43 ff. and that the warriors. According to Prof. slain In not the only case of the kind which has been brought II. v 706 we hear of an Aetolian named Trechos ' ' slain by Hector and in II. the Iliad are tribal heroes in disguise. VII 669) it cannot be disputed that the man Phaistos is the eponym of the city and * ' that we have here the remains of an ancient Cretan heroic lay. Ion of Chios and Dorieus the brother of Leonidas.268 MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. Trojans as well as Greeks. In this case the use of be accounted for with considerable probability under the head of it is in names of this p. Danes and Franks? But national names of this type seem to have been just as frequently used by the Greeks. Seaxa. Now there was Crete a well-known city called Phaistos (<f><zto-ro?). are in reality mythical heroes in 1 whom the various In the Homeric poems their allies that and such names fiction (cf. For a simple example of this theory we may refer to the interpretation put upon II. XX 455 of a Trojan named Dryops Here we are said to have eponyms of by Achilles. We may mention Achaios of Eretria. Is it inconceivable : ' that a name is identical with that of a city should be borne city ? by anyone except the eponymous hero of the This forward. 300. Cumbra. note). the Saxons. ecclesiastics called Walh. Dene.. immediately following the Heroic historical Age we Are we find mention in documents of princes or etc. Before we can assume that he was the eponym' of a Cretan city we must surely ask how he came to be represented as a Maeonian (Lydian). E. Fronca. Bethe (Neue Jahrbucher. Is there any reason for denying their use in earlier times 1 ? The evidence of these names has been brought forward in support of a far-reaching theory that the conflicts which we find described in the Iliad are echoes of tribal struggles which once took place in Greece.

" it is manifest that the argument derived from Istros' can have validity only if it can be shown that there is story reason for believing it to be based on genuine native tradition. that Andromache was brought to Pharsalos after the fall of Troy. moved in a south-easterly direction. with the Phthiotic Thebes. migrated by this road. either as friends or foes.. 197 (from Bethe. her home in the Iliad. through "In other words Hector. For everyone who has independent of the Homeric poems. to the effect that Alexandros (Paris) was overcome by Achilles and Patroclos on the banks of the In confirmation of this story it is pointed out Spercheios. 34) from Istros. It will be well then to examine somewhat carefully the evidence on which the theory is based. be changed to vn 672). Rise of the Greek Epic. N. to the east of Pharsalos. to the Cadmean Thebes. . in Boeotia. Bethe's words Phocis and Boeotia.XIII] MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 269 If this theory is contending tribes have become personified. The inference that she belonged originally to this region is supported by the proposed identification of Thebe Hypoplacie. in how many centuries none can tell. and that most of worshipped as a hero at Thebes the persons associated with him. Yet It is noted that he was a further argument relates to Hector. are connected with Boeotia. driven by a pressure which was no doubt exerted by the Aeolic tribe represented in the Epos by Achilles 1 . or rather the tribe which honoured Hector as their hero. Thessaly and the intervening districts." Thessaly. More accurately. that the warriors with whom Paris fights in the Iliad mostly belong to Thessaly. " Hector's tracks lead from southern In Prof. studied the history of Teutonic heroic poetry knows that in the Now later 1 forms of the stories the scene is liable to Murray. a writer of the third century. while his sister Alexandra (Cassandra) Another argument rests was worshipped by the Locrians. sound it will be obvious that the resemblance between Greek and Teutonic heroic poetry must be merely superficial that the two groups of poems spring from essentially different sources. The first argument in its favour is derived from a story quoted by Plutarch (Theseus. the tribe gradually.Jahrb. on a story derived from the Little Iliad. p. cap.

Bethe's said to come from Thessaly. The argument relating to the Locrian cult of . namely that the persons brought into contact with Hector come chiefly from the north-eastern parts of Greece and those encountered by Now it is to be observed that Paris chiefly from Thessaly. story. Yet in the case of Istros' story the in the Vitae Duorum OfTarum requisite evidence really seems to be altogether wanting. bayer. the poets themselves were thinking of Orestes the That they were derived from itself. S.-B. and located in the Orkneys in the Norse version of their Hogni while in Kudrun Hagen is made a king in Ireland. which mentions Hector as well as Paris. Bruckner. it was always connected with the 2 The cult of Hector at sanctuary of Athene at Troy Thebes likewise seems to have been derived from the same . Cf. p. Cf. XV. 1905. Again.. the in Phthiotis is Thebes admittedly nothing more than a conjecture. Alexandra (Cassandra) need scarcely be considered at length for. op. It cannot for a moment be suspected that in V. are not whose names Boeotia. 761 ff. comparatively quarter. of HeSinn countries. . perhaps identification of Andromache's home with in late times 3 . the home of the hero's descendants. Crusius.270 entirely is MYTH different IN THE HOMERIC POEMS Thus the fight [CHAP. for which ably so many parallels can be found in late Teutonic authorities like ThiSreks Saga af Bern.. p. 547 ff. several lists of the persons cit. p. names. the whole story of Offa and his single combat is transplanted to the English Mercia. etc. One argument still remains for consideration. however ancient this cult may have been. hero.) figure in Prof. Akad. 557 ff. d. merely an inference from the fact that other son of Agamemnon 1 or of Melanippos the famous Theban f. p. Crusius. k. Again. 670 ff. bear the same persons belonging to Thessaly. 705. Troja 2 3 und Ilion. suggests rather that Istros was referring not to the story of the Iliad 1 at all but to an early adventure of the two brothers presumone of those accretions to the old heroic cycles. 774 Cf. in the Iliad this is quarter etc. tit.. But the context. (op. local tradition it comes from may If the story well be due to very an imperfect acquaintance with the Homeric poems. Boeotia.

among others. op. Nothing is stated regarding the home of the Achaean. Lycophron from Cythera and Amphimachos from Elis. but also with Menelaos from Sparta.XIII] MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 2/1 But surely nothing can be more absurd than the proposition persons who bear the same name must necessarily be In the Teutonic Heroic Age we know from identical in origin. Bethe . that historical sources of five kings named Theodric... the lists given by Prof. open to serious objection at 2 But. by him on p. where it pointed out that the chief argument rests apparently on a mistranslation. Considering the evidence as a whole therefore I fail to see that this argument is worth any more than the others. of the same hero's supporters. cif. Aias from Salamis. Hector's antagonists include. p. ' The first of these i. all of whom were living within half a century of one another. have dealt with only one of the groups of names treated by Prof. It will be seen that this proposition 1 As a matter of fact the name Melanippos is borne by three Trojans and one Achaean in the Iliad. Eurypylos and Menesthios. . fights in The former heroes the Iliad not only with the Thessalian Machaon. proposition is that these conflicts must have taken place between neighbouring tribes. Diomedes from Argos and Euchenor from Corinth. In other words the contests described in the poem were The second originally conflicts of tribes and not of individuals. Periphetes from Mycenae. 2 it is I the one which he has discussed most fully. Have we any reason for supposing that the ancient Greeks were more careful to avoid the use of names which had already been appropriated selection P 1 Again. The name Orestes is borne by one Trojan and one Achaean.e. On is this it will be sufficient here to refer to Crusius. 771 ff. besides the son of Agamemnon. leaving questions of detail. Stichios from Athens. On the other hand Melanippos is merely one. we have yet to every point notice that the theory as a whole consists of two main proposiare discussing is we tions. but A second (Laconian) group is treated 672 f. and by no means the most conspicuous. Bethe contain merely a of the warriors encountered by Paris and Hector. is that the warriors of the Iliad are personifications really tribal heroes/ in some sense or other of tribes. It appears then that the evidence adduced in favour of the theory which .

evidence for such school. Cf. which have become embedded in the story of Troy. there is no occasion for supposing that the combatants were necessarily neighbours. 1 comparatively small portion of the story comes from this source the bulk is derived from reminiscences of earlier tribal and that struggles in Greece. Again Greek literature itself also yields plenty of obvious examples.2/2 MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS first. conflicts poem between individual warriors or bands of soldiers. the contrary. Testament this principle of interpretation has been recognised from ancient times.. The two theories differ very greatly in the explanations which they give of the origin of various incidents and characters. As far back as the twelfth and thirteenth centuries Egyptian monuments testify. several of which can be traced back to quite early poems. But is it is the same not to be overlooked that the principle of interpretation in both cases. we have But. in genealogical references belongs to our very such as before us in the us say Beowulf or SigurSr or Witege are themselves personifications of tribes is one which probably poems let no scholar would 1 entertain. Now the first proposition is of course nothing new in itself. as we have seen. xin i ff. such as the stories of Hellen and his sons and Danaos. will is No one of deny that the personification of tribes and nationalities literature many to be found in both the poetry and the prose In certain passages of the Old peoples. except dealt with above (p. His purpose has been to show that only a . of the depends very largely upon the Iliad really took place. examples are not to be found The idea that the characters who are brought in heroic poetry. to enterprises far more distant than the expedition against Troy. . Neiiejahrb. as the If the states. 267). and some of it earliest records. But the authorities in which these passages occur cannot be described as heroic poems. and not of the Homeric If we turn to the Teutonic peoples. But these poems appear to have been of the Hesiodic. Prof Bethe's theory is an outgrowth from a view which has been long and widely current that the conflicts On recorded in the Iliad are a reflection of the Aeolic settlement of the Asiatic coast. [CHAP. personification is abundant. vil 6629.

' should be essentially Aeolic. unless decisive evidence is forthcoming in its favour. just as Achilles typifies its earlier or Aeolic interests. On the other hand the current hypothesis with regard to the origin of the Greek heroic stories postulates what can only be described as a complete revolution in the interests of the poets and their This however is a postulate which ought not to be audiences. that it must be inspired by patriotic motives. mainly at least. For Aeolic we may practically say Thessalian (using the term of course in a geographical sense). Odysseus is c. 18 . a tradition current in Colophon that the inhabitants of that city had from Thessaly. we have them. . Further. tribal interest then. we may assume. indeed. much as in Teutonic heroic poetry. I think. the interest of the poets lies in the fortunes of individual heroes. Now it is generally agreed that the Homeric poems contain both Aeolic and Ionic elements. So much for the Iliad now let us turn to the Odyssey. Nestor therefore may be regarded originally come from Pylos. at least in the earlier ' elements in the poems. apparently. If so. had proceeded But Achilles.XIII] MYTH in the IN THE HOMERIC POEMS as 273 just as Now Homeric poems. relative Further. himself belongs to Thessaly and so all is well. for the Aeolic settlements. the foremost place will naturally be taken by that tribe or community with which the story originated. It will probably be admitted by everyone that this interest can hardly have been of an academic character. many scholars hold that the later or Ionic elements in the poem are marked by the introduction of Nestor. Here we are confronted with a serious difficulty. accepted. as typifying the later or Ionic interests of the Iliad. not in those of the communities to which they belong. though opinions differ widely as to the importance of the two. the chief hero of the Iliad. This opinion however is by no means so widely entertained as the other. Even in those Teutonic stories which have the least claim to be regarded as historical there is no reason for doubting that such was the case from the very beginning. . there is a practical unanimity The in believing that the Aeolic element is the earlier one. In the first place it must be observed that the existence of a poem or story which deals with reminiscences of tribal conflicts necessarily presupposes an absorbing interest in tribal history. There was.

country. His nearest neighbour is the Locrian Aias but the Locrians. cannot be regarded as an spite . termed All the other Achaean leaders who may be Aeolic people. originally belonged to the northern parts of the It is to this that we must now turn our attention. Their positions geographically cannot be reconciled with the theory of Aeolic tribal wars. We must confine our attention therefore to the Iliad. Agamemnon in particular. according to which some of the southern leaders. Occasionally it denotes the well-known city in Argolis but more often it is clearly used in a much wider sense. In the Iliad Mycenae is represented as being the home But it has been observed that this place of Agamemnon. heroes of the first rank belong to the southern and ' ' western parts of Greece. On the other hand there is an older and still very popular hypothesis. MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP.' a considerable amount of ambiguity in the use of the latter name. while others understood it as a designation for the plain of Thessaly. The tendency is to regard it as a later work originating perhaps at islands. by not surprising then that the Odyssey is put aside the advocates of the theory which we are discussing. to the north-eastern parts of Greece. is comparatively seldom mentioned. In order to obviate this difficulty various suggestions have been put forward. Some authorities believed it to be the name of a city. i home . for the Agamemnon is is said to rule over ' . Peloponnesos or the whole of Greece. in of their connection with Troy. Bethe's hypothesis which brings the Trojan leaders. Upon this enough has been said above. Many modern scholars have adopted the of Achilles. much the hero of the Odyssey as Achilles is of the But Odysseus belongs to the Ionian Isles and there is no trace of either an Aeolic or an Ionic population in these . Hector and Paris. It is a time when tribal interests had become forgotten. Once however (II 68 1) we find the expression TO HeXaayi/cov "Apyo? as a name for In ancient times the meaning of this expression was not known. and that sometimes Unfortunately there Argos. Achilles is the only one of the chief Achaean leaders who can be referred to Thessaly. On the one hand we have Prof.2 74 at least as Iliad. As applied to the Iliad the theory was long ago seen to be open to one serious objection.

and either of them can be employed which fought at Troy. expression KCL& (av) 'EXXaSa ical f^ecrov "Apyos.. it is urged by Prof. But further. If we admit. though we grant that the phrases in question may possibly have been used ff. as I think we must.He was associated with Achilles in the from the beginning.. they hold that this was the original Argos. Conseand the Achaeans must have been Argeioi Further. as inscriptions show. Peloponnesian Argos is This state possessed no cavalry in the fifth hand On the other century. Grundfragen der Homerkritik?. as well as Achilles. which occurs four times in the Odyssey. p. it is only natural The last that the poems should preserve traces of traditional Thessalian phraseology. His Argeioi are the companions of story the Achaeans led by Achilles. just as must have originated 1 they preserve poetic conceptions which in the same country. Cauer that the indifferently. The two tribal names are used his fleet for one another the as a designation for the forces quently neighbours. to the oldest elements in the story. though in the passages in question used in a very wide sense perhaps for all Greece. must originally have denoted two neighbouring districts. Lastly." Again "Agamemnon started with from Aulis. it is argued that the . it is a very suitable epithet for the plain of the Peneios Thessalian cavalry were famous. " Cauer 1 brings forward the If Agamemnon. it is argument does not seem to me to have any decisive bearing upon the question under discussion.. But. the language of the original inhabitants of Thessaly. and none of consequence at any time. that Homeric poetry is essentially Aeolic and that Aeolis was settled mainly from Thessaly.XIII] MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 2/5 the latter interpretation. it due to a misunderstanding on whose time the northern Argos by is had been forgotten. 223 18 2 . following arguments. and that the application of that name to the Peloponnesos or any part of the part of later (Ionic) poets." epithet ITTTTO^OTOV as applied to the inappropriate. . This was. he also must come belongs from a land in which Aeolic was spoken and indeed not Aeolic where in the extended sense which the ancients gave the term the name includes Elean and Arcadian but Lesbian-Aeolic. In favour of this view Prof.

if he belongs to the oldest elements in the story. another princes of the Danes. English poem. Out of 132 personal names which occur in the Anglo-Saxon heroic poems only three or four. must be clearly understood that I am using the term I ' Aeolic ' in the modern in the (linguistic) sense.-B. In the Odyssey . as we have ? it. Cauer uses the term 1 . the characters are Burgundians and (perhaps) Franks Goths. contain any Aeolic characters at all In the Iliad. it is not only a small proportion 2 of the characters at most can be regarded as Aeolic' 1 2 It Cf. the story describes the choice of a convenient central position in sheltered waters would be suggested by the most elementary notions of strategy. concerned almost exclusively with the doings of In Waldhere. so far as we know.). layer. am under the impression that Prof. like Achilles. though on the other hand there seems to be good reason for doubting whether the application of this term to the Peloponnesian Argos is as much out of place as has been alleged Still less cogent is the argument relating to Aulis. there for supposing that Agamemnon must have belonged to the same branch of the Greek race as Achilles ? And what need is there for supposing that an Aeolic poem must What need then is the case. we are not bound thereby to conclude that this was the only Argos known to the earliest poems on the siege of Troy. 755 ff. Akad.. fleet as I doubt All these however are comparatively minor considerations. der k. Again. S. if they would have been seriously brought forward except as reinforcements to the main contention viz. in the German Hildebrandslied they are apparently The Norse poems of the Older Edda are occupied chiefly with the adventures of Huns. Gotar and Swedes. Burgundians and Goths. To anyone who has made a less study of Teutonic heroic poetry such an argument seems nothing than absurd. that Agamemnon.276 MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS Argos mentioned in II [CHAP. must have come from an Aeolic It is district. t surprising to see how this principle appears to have commanded the assent of Homeric scholars. it is scarcely inconceivable that the traditional epithet LTTTTO^OTOI' may have been transferred from one Argos to the other. . p. 32 ff. Beowulf belong to is persons of English nationality (cf. Crusius. p. 1905. originally of the Thessalian 68 1. For the assembling of such a 1 .

e. is by no means the only one which is dependent hypothesis upon the second. with general usage I would include Boeotian as well as Thessalian and Lesbian. Since Achilles belongs to from nearly all parts of Greece). Agamemnon and the Argos over which he But the third rules must be located in the same quarter. Alo\is. Aiolos but confusion of thought can arise from introducing into this discussion the terminology of writers of the Roman age (cf. but into this question we need not enter. probability from the Thessalian Aeolis (cf. the fatherland of the Asiatic Aeolians. Some hold that Nestor. who apply the name 4 Aeolic to every dialect which is not Attic. is . Od. as it stands. vi 154.io\idr)s in II. in the latter through Sisyphos or whether the genealogies themselves are due to a current use of the names AioXe?s. Some ancient writers of course use the terms AtoXets and AfoXis in a totally different sense. originally to Thessaly (the district of others that he is a late and Ionic addition The in that accordance. Pylos Here we have a choice lies far away from any Aeolic district. Thus Thucydides (in 102) applies the name AioXls to the district about Pleuron and Calydon. It may be added that nothing sense) was ever spoken at either Calydon or Corinth. especially Strabo Vin i. from Thessaly. so far as I can see. These belonged to adjacent districts individuals). Ionic or Doric. There may possibly have been some connection between the reigning families of the Thessalian The term Aeolic and this name itself is (in its linguistic sense) belongs properly to derived in all Aeolis and those at Calydon. belonged the river Enipeus) same mine sense. i. Herod. series of fact the Iliad. XI 237 rather suggests that these names may have belonged to a family (or possibly a clan) before they came * to be applied to a people ' .Aeolic in this category. between two hypotheses. tribes an Aeolic district. is concerned only with the fortunes of ii. (though in fact the heroes of the Iliad are represented as coming iii.XIII] MYTH reason IN THE HOMERIC POEMS to 277 The why Agamemnon must belong an Aeolic district is clearly to be found in the assumption that both he and Achilles were originally not individuals but personifications of Starting from this assumption we become involved in a hypotheses each of which is dependent upon the preThe sources of the Iliad were concerned only. like Agamemnon. i. 2). Menelaos must have been transferred from the north. the Asiatic Aeolis. ' . etc. between his terminology and I think. with the fortunes of tribes (though in point of tribes. ceding or at least chiefly. only difference. Corinth and elsewhere which claimed descent from but there is not the slightest evidence that an Aeolic dialect (in the modern . The form A. one. be some difference of opinion as to whether the use of these names in such cases is due to the influence of genealogies in the former case through Aethlios and Endymion. and There may again (iv 42) he speaks of the ancient inhabitants of Corinth as AioX^s. vn 176). Again. with his brother.

as we have seen. as an Aeolic people. more especially the Aeolic districts. and that their number has grown by gradual accretions. is clearly a doublet of the Locrian Aias and so forth. are represented as coming from But the Locrians cannot be the northern parts of Greece. chiefly owing to their association with this. when the latter were transferred to the southern parts of Greece ? But we have yet to consider a more important question than In the Iliad itself only two of the leading heroes. before belonged to Agamemnon. from Aetolia. With Diomedes the somewhat He cannot have ruled over Argos even in the second stage of .' Ionic ' Are we to suppose that these substitutions for the original heroes. though unfortunately neither ancient nor modern scholars have been able to determine with . Argos Either then he has been transferred . Again. him same nationality is claimed by hypothesis for and the rest. the son of Telamon. number of all Thessaly and Boeotia are ' but they are leaders both from what we may term heroes of the second rank. Mycenae was introduced. due to Ionic poets. the story for then. MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS case is [CHAP. Achilles then is the only leading regarded hero whose Aeolic nationality rests on any solid evidence. Tlepolemos. namely Achilles and the Locrian Aias. and it is.278 to the story. by the no means unrepresented contrary ' the Iliad as we have On we a considerable . But before we bring our discussion Agamemnon to a close it will be well to ask whether Achilles' nationality that the It really beyond question by the evidence. enabled to dispose satisfactorily of heroes. has been mentioned above that the Pelasgian Argos is established ' ' is said to be the home of Achilles. similar. With reference to this latter view it may find be observed that the Aeolic in districts are it. According to others the majority were there from the beginning. It will all the southern Greek be seen that according to some scholars only a few of the leading heroes belonged to the original form of the story. Aias. By this process we are ' * . the home of his ancestors or he is a late addition. but they belonged originally to the northern parts of Greece. like . Idomeneus' case is due to 'attraction' originally he belonged to quite a different cycle of story.

the mountainous country to the north-west 2 it will be seen. on the Pagasean Gulf and the Malian Gulf respectively. It must not be overlooked that. II the other places recorded in the same context Trechis. if not actually identical with Phthia some placed it on The names the north side of Othrys. . In 2 v.X. Alos. Diomedes and others. in historical times by places in and also by other places in Phthiotis. Now in other parts of the poem Achilles and his followers are associated with the Spercheios or Ellada . 1 2/9 certainty meant by that name. Trechis (Trachis) lay on the south of the Spercheios. from XVI 173 ff. a short distance away. Phthia and Hellas in all a district somewhat similar obscurity. same scholars who as the home Yet the Thessalian Menelaos. all these places. (II. including the Pelasgian Argos. Opinion was divided as to which of these were the places mentioned in the Iliad. yd' o'i r dxov : QQ'i-yv 'EXXdSa /caXX^tfvatKa.r.' are mentioned only in the Catalogue of Ships. T 'A\6TTi)v o'i re Tpyxiv' ^V^/JLOVTO. Alope. This passage seems to indicate that the poet included the basin of the Spercheios in Phthia.. . the third are involved except Phthia whether it be a city or ) 68 1 "AXo9 and 'A\o7nj were borne Locris. It is scarcely credible that the poet responsible for it can have been personally acquainted with the places he was enumerating. Nestor. section of the Catalogue is admittedly far more difficult to understand than any other. XXIII 144 ff. a section of the poem which is commonly regarded with very little respect. According to IX 484 his vassal Phoinix rules over the Dolopes. it is quite clear that his home was supposed immediate neighbourhood of that river. K. Hellas was believed to be in the same neighbourhood. Indeed * the lay so much stress upon the Pelasgian of Achilles have no hesitation about rejecting Argos the evidence of the Catalogue as to the homes of Agamemnon. at least in historical times. 68 1 Zenodotos read ol 5' "Apyos r elxov TO HeXaffyiKov. vvv av o'i roi)s. oZdap dpotipys. was generally located between Mt Othrys and the Malian Gulf. inhabited These indications. a people who. 6<r <T 01 o'i T' "A\ov TO HeXaffyiKOv "A/ryos tvcuov. agree perfectly well with the only place in to be in the . except the indefinite Hellas and Phthia. viz.XIII] MYTH what is IN THE HOMERIC POEMS Of ff.

No. i) does suggest a connection between this name and "Apyos.. #. of the truth of which even Strabo himself It may very well have been suggested by the name (IX 5. 390. together probably with the coast lands on the Malian Gulf between the mountains of Oite and Othrys. This and in spite of place is much nearer to the Spercheios than the northern Larissa. that the name was (Forsch. No. Strabo (ix 2 3 5. The only inscription of definitely Aeolic (Thes- but Pteleon lies in salian) character as yet found in Phthiotis comes from near This place is not mentioned Eretria. but the inscription in other respects is definitely non. in the Catalogue. Meyer (Pelasgiotis) borne by this district in later times. in the ' Alope territory of the Dolopes but neither the evidence of the Catalogue itself nor references in other parts of the Iliad give us any warrant for supposing that it extended into the plain of . and there is no evidence used in historical times. 13. just inside the boundary. 30.. is too short for us to determine its character the extreme east of Phthiotis. A . note i) proves nothing. 388. although Melitaia lies to the north of similar form (Ev/3iorei. namely Trechis. 5) was not confident. If we are conjectured that it belonged to Achilles' territories. the identification of ' the Pelasgian Argos with the plain of Larissa rests merely on a conjecture. Pausanias II 24. Delectus*. Larissa 1 . A form (Ma^aio<. it is more natural to think of Larissa Cremaste. It may have included the northern slopes of the latter. But if so. On the whole also they favour the view that ' is the Phthiotic Alope. . Achilles' country then is the basin of the Spercheios. The oracle quoted by Prof. 14) may quite possibly have been included within the same territory.a) occurs in an inscription Othrys.280 MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. p. or elsewhere in the Iliad but Strabo (IX 5. On the other hand the fact that the citadel of the Peloponnesian Argos was called Adpura (cf. 19) was also called Pelasgia. 10) . Now districts there is was ever spoken not a particle of evidence that an Aeolic dialect either in the basin of the Spercheios or in the bordering on the coasts of the Malian Gulf. and according to the Catalogue belonged to Protesilaos. the Catalogue which can be identified with certainty. outside the Malian Gulf. to follow the indications given by the Catalogue the question would seem to lie between the territories of Protesilaos ' and 1 So far as I can see.) which may be an Aeolic patronymic occurs in an 2 inscription from Melitaia . which according to Strabo (ix 5. Cauer.Aeolic. found near Pteleon 3 which .

we are means without inscription. have been found as yet. which combines northwestern Greek and Thessalian (Aeolic) characteristics in the proportion of about 7 3 : of this inscription seems to me to dispose definitely of the hypothesis that the introduction of north-western Greek into this region was due to the influence of the Aetolian League. ending -ots to consonant-stems etc. to the north of the Malian Gulf to which may be added an For the language of Achilles' country evidence. representing the Achaean dialect in its purity." district and Achilles as a hero itself by no have been Fairly long inscriptions found at Hypate in the valley of the Spercheios and at Lamia. The dialect is almost there is .. But in reality it is common to all the dialects of western Greece. Cauer. were slow to change their language. we have an inscription of the fifth From ' century (C. has often been quoted as a mark of Aetolian influence. All these show the form of language usually known as northwest Greek/ and the same is true of other inscriptions found Oitaioi. . but also with those of the Locrians and Phocians. among the Aetolian inscriptions. . xn ii 257) in a curious mixed dialect. no valid reason for doubting that this language is 2 3 indigenous Only two inscriptions so far as I know. Even the dialect of Pharsalos is not quite (or 4 ). apparently of the Drymaia in Phocis. Although they are all late. about twenty miles north of the border. no The extension of the Dat. Gmndfragen der Homerkritik"* p. in the fourth century onwards phonetic spelling' appears to have been superseded most parts of Greece. It is most surprising country therefore to find Prof. The earliest examples apparently occur in Elean and Locrian inscriptions. and the influence of the Aetolian League was scarcely of such a rule its known from much character as to favour the permanent extension of 1 . . 3 doubt 4 z Nos. any more than do those of the Aetolians. at ' in the north and east of Phthiotis. pi. -214. the former of which well is a general Greek communities as earlier times.XIII] MYTH . G. IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 28 1 those of Eurypylos there is nothing to show that Achilles' was believed to extend so far. 386. dialect 4 . identical not only with that of the Aetolian inscriptions. The evidence pure Thessalian. The former Cauer. near Cierion in Thessaliotis. I. 2 By this of course I do not mean that the inscriptions give an absolutely faithful reproduction of the local pronunciation. is included by Prof. Delecttts rightly. From Thetonion however. Cauer 1 concluding from such evidence as " this that we are justified in claiming the valley of the Spercheios also as an Aeolic of Aeolic nationality. 239. contain references to Aetolian magistrates. No earlier inscriptions.

was the southern limit of the Aeolic (Thessalian) dialect. Indeed Herodotus (vil 173. . How far these genealogies were constructed upon linguistic affinities is a question which needs some discussion. but their evidence as to the general character of the dialect confirmed by some short but early inscriptions from the Achaean settlements It is assumed by many scholars that Arcadian was the original language of but I am not aware that any evidence worth conthe Peloponnesian Achaeans is in Italy. The supposed connection therefore goes back at least to the fifth century. 1 . We may remark in passing however that the dialect of the Peloponnesian Achaia. nor do the Arcadians themselves appear to have claimed such a connection. who had come from Phthiotis 2 Herodotus was evidently familiar with some form of this story. It is commonly included in the list of 'north-west Greek' dialects. properly speaking. Corinth. In this passage (as in many others) it is greatly to be questioned whether Strabo (or the whether he was not authority whom he followed) was recording genuine tradition rather endeavouring to provide an explanation of the traditions.e. Pausanias (vil i. Phthiotis). which there seems ' no reason for doubting. 6) traces the Peloponnesian Achaeans to Archandros and Architeles. No ancient authorities. (II 98) though he calls Archandros son of Phthios and grandson of Achaios. . connect the Arcadians with the Achaeans. 3 The inscriptions are late . ( ' ' ' .282 If MYTH we are to trust IN all THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. 196 ff. the language of the Thessalian (Aeolic or North-Thessalian ') inThe name Thessalian * scriptions belonged originally to the indigenous population. . so far as know. the evidence which we possess Othrys. In the 1 meantime we may notice an argument which has to be According to the generally accepted view. but they seem never to have been subjugated in the same way as the Aeolic population north of the mountains They had their own troops and sent a separate contingent to Xerxes' army. the sons of Achaios. regarding whose language we ' have no information. distinguishes Moreover it appears to have been the general opinion among the Greeks themselves that this district was the original home of the Achaeans of the Peloponnesos.) clearly between Thessaly and Achaia (i. but he attributes their settlement in the Peloponnesos to an invasion by Pelops. 2 Strabo (vin 5. sideration has been I adduced in support of this view. 5) likewise connects the Peloponnesian Achaeans with Phthiotis. The communities of Phthiotis were politically dependent upon Thessaly. however. so far as it is known to us 3 shows but little difference from the dialects north of the Gulf of and not Oite. belonged to the invaders.

Moreover this hypothesis has to it the evidence of what may be called linguistic opposed geography. new 2 territories. pi. /zefz/o?) and the open pronunciation of o (e. The ancients themselves believed that the Boeotians ' ' were not indigenous.g. But the language of their inscriptions (at Hypate) is indisIt is to be remembered also that.g. which we find exemplified at both extremities of the Boeotian area (BeX^ot. the Dorians themselves had come from a district .Aeolic characteristics of the Boeotian dialect in short itself were due to an extension of the same movement that Aeolic was the earliest form of Greek spoken throughout the whole region from Thessaly down to the borders of Attica. r&>?) both of which are probably to be regarded as Aeolic characteristics the use of Aeolic patronymics in -ios (e. I do not mean that the north-west Greek dialects belonged originally to these districts reason for supposing that the previous language was Aeolic. For such a displacement of population 2 no evidence is to be found either in history or tradition. I. but this was not the only form of the story. and that the non. The latter ' ' indeed stands quite isolated in many respects among the dialects of this part of Greece. sg. The two are is This theory scarcely reconcilable if it be held that the Locrians and Phocians came from the case their route must have lain through the valley north-west . presence of an Aeolic or semi-Aeolic form of language in Boeotia. "lirirwv 'AOavo&wpios) and more especially the Aeolic tendency to change labiovelar explosives into labials before e. common tradition. in Gen. Thucydides (I 12) states that they had been expelled by the Thessalians from Arne after the Trojan War. The Ionic dialects of Euboea and Attica have much more in common with the north-western dialects of Locris and Phocis than they have with Boeotian. a district which would not readily be neglected by peoples seeking of course to suggest but I see no .e. in Ace. in times subsequent to the Heroic Age. On the other hand many modern scholars have adopted the view that the 'north-western' dialects of Locris and Phocis were intrusive 1 . tinguishable from that of the surrounding peoples. 1 The last of course quite distinct from the theory which traces the language of the Phthiotic inscriptions to the influence of the Aetolian League. It will be sufficient here to notice the close pronunciation of e (e. ITeuyLtarro?). for in that of the Spercheios. according to the within this area.XIII] MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 283 sometimes been brought forward in support of the hypothesis This is the that Aeolic was once spoken much further south. The Ainianes may have moved southwards later.g.

3. a fact which rather suggests that they may be indigenous to the south-east of the Peloponnesos. . It is this West Greek group which that dialects. Dorian belong in reality also to to the latter. to confirm the tradition that Boeotia was at some time invaded by settlers is from an Aeolic-speaking district 1 . so far as Boeotian can be It regarded as Aeolic. Indeed it can hardly be maintained that the Doric group. even apart from the fact that an Achaean stratum however insignificant numerically underlies the Dorian practically everywhere. 2 1 Cf. Thessalian the dialects of the mainland of Greece except Arcadian. d.e.' dialects in two main groups * East Greek ' and ' West Arcadian. . Nr. together with the Aeolic element in Boeotian. i. the ' West Greek ' specially requires our attention. Wiss. it Ges. latter are referred the remaining dialects. Thessalian and LesbianTo the Aeolic. summarised p. do really form a homogeneous Greek.284 MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. Ionic (with Attic) and the Aeolic dialects. Meister. AbhandL 1906.e. for according to all the evidence we possess it included the dialects of both the Phthiotic Achaeans and the Peloponnesian Achaeans. But there can be no doubt Doric and north-western i.. the Doric dialects In the former are included and all Attic. Achaean and that in general they are rather to be ascribed At the same time it is to be noted that some of the characteristics here claimed as specifically Dorian are shared also by Cypriot. * ' perhaps might be said for a division into North Greek' (Aeolic) and South Greek (non-Aeolic). except perhaps Elean. Sachs. fication is may be doubted whether this classi- with Ionic and ' altogether satisfactory. If the Dorians came from the same quarter as the Achaeans and not very many generations later it is intelligible enough that the two groups of dialects should be difficult to distinguish. peculiarity is doubtless one of the earliest cases of dialectal variation which can be traced in the Greek language. where is pointed out that the characteristics commonly described as 96 fT. dialects as a whole show any divergence from the other members of the group 2 though there are marked differences between one Doric dialect and another. i. Cypriot. Aeolic was the intrusive element in other words. It may be added that the fertile plains of Boeotia are more likely to have attracted invaders than the mountainous lands to the north-west.e. since the affinities of Aeolic Arcadian are by no means close as much . but it All this evidence tends to show that impossible to date. In recent years there has been a tendency to classify the Greek Greek. and Boeotian.

z . would have included the earlier population of Thessaly in the same category. Among among the latter the . Forsch. 2 It is a serious objection simply to the influence of genealogies to this latter view that the well-known genealogy in which the descent of Ion. : temporaries 1 as barbarians. etc. was connected with the Pelasgoi . . of the names Avuduv and Awccuos but I have no inclination to propound a theory on the subject. d. vm 44). the lonians (vil 94). I 17 Ridgeway. Geschichte des Alterthums. Some modern writers think that he was mistaken in this view. Some of his con(e. is traced from Hellen.. 6596".. p. Athenians (I 56. as well as Aiolos.) is scarcely adequate. 687). goes . I (passim}. others agreed was that the term II Cf. Now a barbarous nation. The genealogical explanation seems to me to be pressed too far here. zur alten Geschichte. VII 176) it can scarcely be doubted that he passages (i 57. * 2 Cf. One might rather suspect a confusion or identification 53 ff.XIII] MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 285 have Now let us return to the genealogical problem.. . The case of the Arcadians is the one in which it is most probable. Glotta. 112 ff. Kretschmer. Alt. o>9 R\\ijv(ov Xo^yo?) that the distinction between He\ao-yoi and "EXX^z/e? was one which was generally recognised in his time. Meyer. back at least two or three centuries before the time of Herodotus.a\e6^evoi HeXao-yoi. Herodotus himself believed the Pelasgoi to have been The peoples of whom he is speaking here ' ' were regarded by him as Hellenized Pelasgoi. especially I Meyer. 55 f. since apart from genealogies there is no real evidence that this people in any way.g. By AtoXee? he means here But in view of other the inhabitants of the Asiatic Aeolis. But we are not primarily concerned here with Herodotus' for it is clear from the expressions which he uses opinions . Pelasgoi as Greeks. p.) draws a between Hellenic' and the former he includes the Dorians Pelasgian' peoples. Yet even here the cause assigned (to. the Arcadians (l 146) and the Aeolians (VII 95). Meyer has subsequently abandoned this view (Gesch. etc.. p. e VII 95 TO iraXat. and that the Some Pelasgoi were a Greek people from the beginning hold also that the term HeXaayoi in most of these cases is due 1 . p. I p. K. Prof. seen that Herodotus was familiar with a story which traced the descent of the Peloponhesian Achaeans from Phthios the son of Achaios. Forsch. may have regarded the What was generally ff. distinction We The same ' writer elsewhere ' (I 56. Early Age of Greece.

But we are surely not justified in concluding from this that he regarded the Dorians as the only true Hellenes 2 He is interested in pointing out that certain Greek (Hellenic) peoples were believed ' Herodotus does Hellenic. although he lived long after the Trojan War. Thucydides. in. who were the original Hellenes. or that the Homeric usage 1 is is Quoted from Jowett's Cf. . 115. yet in another passage (ib. The term Hellenic belongs Achaean Phthiotis * ' ' ' essentially to the followers of Achilles (oiVep KOI It can hardly be contended either that the story of Hellen derived from the Homeric usage. where Hellenic ' and a with each other.' in the . and those who were associated with them gradually began to be called Hellenes. Forsch. non-Hellenic. for it was in the more properly perhaps in Phthia that traditional belief located the eponymous Hellen. observes that this belief was confirmed by the evidence of the Homeric poems. except the Dorians.. gave Hellen and his sons became powerful in Phthiotis. of originally applied only to a portion of the in" may refer to Thucydides (i 3 l ) The We : which the Pelasgian was the most widely their own names to different districts. ' i. p. In particular however it is incredible that the Achaeans were regarded as Pelasgian. though a long time elapsed before the name prevailed over the whole country. nowhere uses this name collectively. as we have seen.286 MYTH was IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. that a people was Pelasgian people are specially contrasted In general then the presumption is rather believed to be truly Hellenic. different tribes. habitants of Greece. translation. . except a ' in ' such a passage as I 56. Of this Homer affords the best evidence for he.' not expressly describe any people as narrower sense. unless we have ' a statement to the contrary. p. but confines it to the followers of Achilles from In a certain sense Phthiotis.. Doubtless he considered it unnecesto say that those for whom no such origin was claimed sary were really Hellenes. But when spread.e. I 2 Meyer." therefore we may regard TleXacryoi as a term of negative value. to be of Pelasgian origin. note) con- siderations are pointed out which can hardly have been unfamiliar to Herodotus. their aid was invoked by other cities.

obscure and remote as it was.XIII] MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS r 287 derived from the story of Hellen. Dorians. such as the Boeotians and Eleans. of the districts occupied by the West Greeks in the eastern and southern parts of the peninsula. or to speak more accurately with the northern. with the West Greek linguistic division. But if we are to trust all the evidence at our disposal it was with the later movements that the names 'EXXa? 1 and EXX?7z/e5 2 were originally connected. Ke0aXXaves.' while others were of Pelasgian origin. common knowledge < or belief that Both alike are based on the the names 'EXX7?i/e<? and E\Xa9 belonged originally to Phthia. definitely West Greek. the latter with the East Greek division. Certain peoples. as in historical times we may refer to the Persians and the Gauls great invasions usually made their way through the pass of Thermopylai. f/ but also The follows : results of our discussion may now be summarised as (i) According to current hypotheses the language of the Achaeans of Phthiotis was Aeolic. That is true probably not only of the later invasions of the ' ' West Greek peoples (the Achaeans.) of those much earlier movements by which the first Greek populations the ancestors of the lonians and Arcadians were introduced into the peninsula. The former category coincided. should come to be applied to the whole nation. while that of the Pelo- but in point of porinesian Achaeans was perhaps Arcadian fact all the linguistic evidence which we have from both districts (including the colonies of the Peloponnesian Achaeans) is .eyd\-r] 'EXXds appears to have come from the Achaean colonies 2 It is worth noting that stems in -an-. A/waves. It is not difficult to see why names from such a district. (ii) According to a belief current in the fifth century certain Greek peoples were truly Hellenic. at least to a large extent. may have come into But there possession of their territories by maritime invasions.g. as names of peoples. In all probability the valley of the Spercheios was one of the first. etc. seem to have been specially characteristic of north-western ' Greek . if not actually the very first. The valley of the Spercheios was regarded as the gate of Greece. 'Afla^caves. can be little doubt that in pre-historic. i) fj. Locrians. eastern and ' ' ' ' ' ' ' 1 It is to be remembered that the name in Italy. e. .

scenes the aged Nestor naturally does not play an active part.). Diomedes. together with Idomeneus. In the debates. owing to the silence of our authorities. Odysseus and Menelaos. Aias Telamon and (to a somewhat less extent) the Locrian In are by far the most conspicuous figures in the army. the leading speakers are almost always Agamemnon. the In another council (x 194 ff. doubt applies to the followers of Achilles. 267 ff.' It was in Phthia that much earlier tradition located and from the same district came the eponymous Hellen Archandros and Architeles. the legendary progenitors of the . several generations before the Trojan War. The suggestion that Peleus himself is the eponymus of Pelion belongs to a class which has been sufficiently discussed above (p. The poem leaves us in no doubt as to who are regarded as the principal persons in the Achaean In II 404 ff. response to Hector's challenge. 1 There can be no doubt then It is adduced in favour of the hypothesis scarcely necessary to notice the subsidiary arguments which have been the e. We may Now let us drop hypotheses and consider briefly the evidence actually furnished by the Iliad. together with Meriones. In certain cases. it may be permissible to doubt whether a people was regarded as Hellenic or Pelasgian' but no such * ' * . Diomedes. Eurypylos and Thoas. Aias. (yepovras dpio-rfjas Havana MV).) we find same party together with three additional persons. It is clear then that the West Greek language of the ' ' extant inscriptions is in perfect agreement with the belief of the fifth century Greeks that this community was essentially dismiss therefore as totally without foundation the hypothesis that Achilles was an Aeolic (or Pelasgian) hero 1 Hellenic. from which Menelaos has been forced to retire. . Aias the son of Telamon and his Locrian namesake.g. . Thrasymedes. which occur so frequently. 'who were the original Hellenes. Agamemnon is represented as calling army. They are sufficiently accounted for by the fact that the poems are of Aeolic origin. that Achilles had been instructed by Centaur Cheiron and that his spear had come from Pelion. Idomeneus. the chiefs of the whole Achaean host " They are Nestor. " together the elders.288 MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. southern groups of dialects. all the other six come forward. Odysseus and Menelaos. Peloponnesian Achaeans. Meriones and Meges. In the battle Nestor. The the son of other four heroes however.

.

Aias son of Telamon Aias son of Oileus Achilles 3 Menelaos . .22 Long. etc. 2 Nestor 6 ... 5 possessions of Diomedes. Agamemnon 8 ... 4 .of Greenwich 2^ MAP OF GREECE illustrating the ' Catalogue of Ships ' The numerals denote cities or territories belonging to the chief leaders of the Achaeans.. E. 1 possessions of Odysseus .

E.of Green \vic-h 2H MAP OF GREECE showing the distribution of the dialects in historical times Aeolic (Thessalian and Boeotian) Ionic (with Attic) |||jj|j|| Arcadian West Greek dialects not shaded. .22 Lonjj.

.

Ionic leaders are distinctly less prominent. From the evidence at our disposal it seems to in me that. the Catalogue of Ships (II. if the poets of the Iliad. In the case of the Peloponnesian Achaia it is conceivable that a genuine tradition of a conquest of earlier (loflfc) inhabitants may be preserved in Herod. who is in retirement throughout the greater part of the poem. To these we must certainly add Achilles. Idomeneus. Nestor. I 145. peninsula. Thoas the Aetolian and Nestor's sons. The other Aeolic and in historical times. . the Cretan second-in-command. 2 It may have been under Achaean rule in early times.claim an Aeolic or Ionic origin for most of these heroes. or rather their predecessors. . ' ' . the two Aiantes. Catalogue of Ships evidently knew nothing of the story. in a passage which commonly believed to preserve a true ethnographical record. is Lastly. south and west of the . 1 The exceptional case is that of Aias the son of Telamon.XIII] MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 289 that the eight leading men are Agamemnon and his brother.' Of the two chief leaders one belongs to Achaia Phthiotis. But we have no information relating to Salamis before its conquest by the Athenians in the sixth century. that nationality must have been West Greek or Hellenic. We have scarcely any evidence worth consideration that either Achaia Phthiotis or the Peloponnesian Achaia was ever held by a different nationality within the 2 The territories of period embraced by history and tradition the other chief Peloponnesian leaders were occupied in historical times by the Dorians. Hypothesis after hypothesis has been tried in order to. the other to the Peloponnesian Achaeans ' . the Odyssey (XIX 175). But the story that this conquest was connected with the Dorian invasion can hardly be due to anything but combination and traces of such a process can be distinguished The important fact is that the author of the plainly enough in Herodotus' account.) assigns to him territories which in the main coincide with the later Achaia. II 569 ff. Diomedes and Odysseus. were interested any nationality at all. But it was the unanimous belief of the ancient world that the Dorian period had been preceded by an age of Achaean domination in the east. C. The plain fact is that all except one 1 belong to communities which in the or at all events Hellenic fifth century were regarded as truly to districts where dialects of the West Greek type prevailed * ' The leading Aeolic hero is Eurypylos but he ranks only with Meriones. though they cover a somewhat larger area.

as poets we have seen. II 684).290 MYTH IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. especially Strabo. Grundfragen? 3 . Moreover we should not thereby save the theory that the Iliad is a reflection of the Greek settlement of the north-western coast of Asia Minor for that settlement was not Achaean but Aeolic. of the Greeks generally is by far the 2 ? during the Heroic Age. Cauer. it is to the northern Achaeans that we first find the name "EXX^e? applied (II. we may say. In the Odyssey the hero's described as 'AxcuoL They are not called 'Apyeioi or Acwctoi. a hypothesis. commonest term applied in the poems to the Greeks This then must be the nationality in which the collectively were interested. Indeed Aias the son of Oileus is the only one of the nine heroes in whose case Achaean nationality is distinctly improbable. It is this fact supported by speculations of writers of the Roman period. and nothing more. 2 The figures for the Iliad are 1 : 'Axoaoi 605. p. ' We subjects are although the army before Isles in later ' we have little information but the language was clearly of the north-west Greek type. 'A/ryeiot 176.' to two entirely different sections of the Greek nation. vm i. that the original poems were the poems which concerned with tribal or national interests have come down to us deal with the fortunes of individuals. Cf. Thus at least six of the nine principal leaders come from regions with an Achaean In view of this fact is it any wonder that 'A^atot population. Moreover. But the Achaeans of historical times. . a position in which they were eventually succeeded by the Dorians. Aavaoi 146 . Ionic or Attic In reality the heroes and the poems Achaean' = Aeolic. who included under the term 'Aeolic every dialect not obviously 3 which has led to the unfortunate equation Doric. The We 1 that the initial hypothesis is entirely unjustified. 1 speaks of the presence of Achaeans in Crete. The facts noted seem to indicate that the Achaeans were the dominant people of the West Greeks indeed. belong ' ( ( we then set up another hypothesis that the original poems were Achaean ? But then we should only be repeating Shall For it is the old error of building hypothesis upon hypothesis. everywhere used a form of language which is West Greek. have no more reason for supposing that the heroes must be truth is may probably add Odysseus. . 2. . But the poems themselves are of Aeolic origin. cf. times . 220. regularly three names are used interchangeably as collective terms for the Greek Regarding the national affinities of the inhabitants of the Ionian Troy.

such as lason. 192 . once existed dealing with Aeolic heroes. but in the fact that during the Heroic Age the Achaeans were the dominant people in Greece. But the reason for the prominence assigned to Achaean heroes. at all events in the poems which have survived.XIII] MYTH if IN THE HOMERIC POEMS or that the 2QI Aeolic the if poems are Aeolic poems must be than we have for assuming that the Anglo-Saxon poems were of Danish or Gothic origin because Danes and Goths figure in them more prominently than Achaean the heroes are Achaean It is likely enough that poems persons of English nationality. is to be found not in the national sympathies or interests of the poets. perhaps also Peirithoos and others.

147): "The tale of Troy. This question gave us considerable difficulty when we were discussing the Teutonic poems. It is artistic level assuredly not less difficult here. sentation of of a more advanced This expectation not have taken part in the events described. is essentially a poetic creation and the poet The same scholar was prepared to grant is the sole witness. The way lies open therefore for regarding the whole story of the siege of Troy as and this is a view which many modern a product of fiction . . FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS." that " some memorable capture of a town in the Troad had probably been made by Greek warriors". now to consider briefly how far the use of fiction. he adds. whether the actors be human is invention The that here we evidence which are entirely without that contemporary historical enables us to recognise some characters or events in nearly all the Teutonic poems. Jebb (Introduction to Homer. . XIV. of conscious. p.e. as we have it in Homer. C. deliberate invention. For an example we can scarcely do better than quote the words of the late Sir R. chief difference between our present problem and the one which we had to consider in Chapter VIII lies in the fact many who may or may fully realised in the elaborate preof the scenes. The higher of the Greek poems cannot but pre-dispose us in is favour of the view that their use of fiction type. was permitted in the composition of Greek heroic poetry. but. beings is developed to a high degree of perfection. or divine beings whose mythical origin no one will In the o-vo-rao-is TWV Trpaj/jbdrcov the art of poetic dispute. "beyond scholars have adopted.CHAPTER WE have i.

CHAP. Byzantium or Britain. Jebb's work (p. and Cumbrian heroic poetry. let us say. It is the Here again we may opinion of the ancient Greeks themselves. The other consideration is trustworthy true of Slavonic probably still more serious. But in poetry which is entirely free from of conscious scholastic influence. The first is the evidence of the Teutonic poems. But if it is wholly. at least in the earlier forms of setting In medieval poetry we meet with many fictitious the stones. That is a conclusion which we shall do well to adopt only after careful consideration. real. we shall look in vain is The same remark examples.Thucydides differs from Herodotus in bringing down the Homeric heroes more But the basis of fact in nearly to the level of common men." The current hypothesis assumes that both were deceived. But we have no proof that any one of the stories is a product fiction. Wherever we can put it to the test. as we have seen. C. Our duty includes the question how far we are justi- we cannot The Iliad would still be fied in admitting the use of fiction. Here. myth and folk-tale both play their parts.. the latter often a very important part. Homer is fully as real to Thucydides as to Herodotus. correct from the the problem from the ethnologist's side we cannot rest satisfied with an attitude of scepticism owing to the absence of historical evidence. stories of wars waged by imaginary kings of. as the old heroic poems for or the poems of the Viking Age. Scepticism is required in this direction therefore just as as in the other. in the main." But if we approach historian's point of view. XIV] this FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 293 This attitude is doubtless perfectly safely go. such. or almost wholly. and with . " Sir R. a great monument of human genius even if all the characters and events in it could be proved to be historical. seeing that we are dealing with the earliest monument of European literature. a work of fiction we shall have to conclude that the Homeric poets had developed the inventive faculty to a degree which has scarcely been equalled even in our own days. the is found to be historical. much At the outset we are confronted by two considerations which amply justify this attitude. 84) quote They held that his events : and his persons were...

The they were prepared also to point out the site of the city. And yet no one will suggest that the poets of several generations were accomplices in such a deception. a native antiquary of the second century. The only alternative then.294 FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. But not this a strange assumption ? Those who hold that the Homeric poems are wholly the work of one author may cherish the belief that this person was so gifted as to be able to perpetrate a hoax upon his countrymen which in their most enlightened days they never succeeded in detecting. approximately It was made at least. which remains. who This upon another site. why in the passage quoted above Sir R. The story was invented. we must presume. by the first poet and elaborated by his successors. which they did not intend to be taken seriously." But about five or six years after the publication of his book the traditional site was fully vindicated by the excavations of Dr Dorpfeld. presumably by . some four miles away . Until such proof is forthcoming it seems to me that the only reasonable course is to follow the opinion of the ancients. The ancients not only accepted the siege of Troy as a historical fact . except in so far as we have good reason for believing that they were mistaken. clear also that this fortress had been destroyed. correctness of this identification was indeed disputed by fixed Demetrios of Scepsis. In view of these considerations the burden of proof must be held to lie with those who hold that the story is fictitious. How greatly then has the history of Greek thought been misunderstood It appears now that ! the period between the ninth and the fifth centuries was characterised not by intellectual emancipation but by the growth of credulity. them the is universal consensus of educated Greek opinion. the theory of single authorship. Jebb used the expression "a city in the Troad. while modern is scholars until recently believed that both were wrong. Were these latter persons cognisant If not. But I do not see how any such idea can be reconciled with the theory of evolution. is that the poets invented and elaborated a romance. we must regard their contributions as of the deception? and consequently we are brought back virtually to negligible . C. which brought to light the remains of a fortress dating. from the period indicated by the story.

that on the contrary they ravaged the greater part of England. But the excavations at Troy brought to light the fact that the district had been occupied. But the evidence of the poems in this respect is confirmed by the fact that the district was inhabited by Greeks in later times 1 It is held by many scholars that the story of the siege of Troy is a reflection of the Aeolic colonisation of the Asiatic . familiar with the district. which gives the names of two of the princes (Inwaer and Healfdene). sons were by no means contented with the overthrow of Aella We . and there is some evidence that movements of this kind were in operation about that time. have already discussed the principle underlying this theory and found no evidence in its favour. Meyer. to have ravaged Lesbos and several places in the country round the Gulf of Adramyttion. well have secured enough to serve as a refuge for those of may 1 It has been held that the Aeolic settlements in the Troad itself date only from the seventh century (cf. 1909). FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 295 That the destroyers were Greeks could not of course be proved by the excavations. But it does not One of follow from this that the two events were unconnected. Jan.). Ragnar Lothbrok (published in the Saga-Book of the Viking Club. Now we have an account of this invasion from a contemporary historical work (the Saxon Chronicle). Bruckner. For a full account of this story see Mawer. At all events it is clear that the Homeric poets were Ilion. 463 f. coast. Long after they were all dead or departed the eastern half of the country remained Scandinavian territory. According to the Iliad Achilles did not confine his energies to Troy he is said . Troja 2 und but that they were temporarily overthrown by the barbarians (cf. We the most famous stories 2 recorded by Scandinavian tradition is that of the expedition to England which was undertaken by the sons of Lothbrok for the purpose of exacting vengeance for their father's death. by a semi-barbarous people. apparently from the region of the Danube. p. The evidence at our disposal seems to indicate that there were Greek settlements in existence before this time. 203. 567 ff. in times long subsequent to the destruction of the fortress. and his sons . Geschichte des Alterthums^ II pp. as well as that of the Northumbrian king Aella against whom know also that Lothbrok's the expedition was directed. Is there any valid reason for denying that the Greek occupation of these lands may have originated in such events ? need not suppose of course that the con- We But the first settlers quered lands were fully occupied at once.XIV] enemies.).

due But Achilles was an Achaean.296 their FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. We ing that such an undertaking was possible also in the eleventh century. which served as a retreat for many Norwegians who refused to bow to the encroachments of Harold the Fair-haired. On the other hand in the thirteenth and twelfth centuries the monuments of Rameses II. even in a work of fiction. if the expedition itself shall what is assigned by the escapade was brought about by Paris' one of those features which have been put aside by it we say with poem that nothing incredible in such a regard to its motive? The reason is This attitude is scholars as unworthy of consideration. p. we shall have to deal in the following chapter. and the same true of most of the attacked merely does not represent Troy as being by Greeks/ but by an army gathered together from nearly all parts of Greece. due partly to the application of modern political theories to a modern With this state of society in which they are quite out of place. But period. This is one of the features in the story to which objection has been taken most generally. But it question more to the absurd hallucination that a story of abduction must have originated in the hypostasis of natural is due still ' ' phenomena. We may grant freely that no parallel for such an undertaking Iliad ' The is to be found in historical times. probably no long time afterwards. Merenptah and Rameses III give us information of expeditions which were on at least as large a scale and have no reason for doubtcovered much greater distances. as we have said. Indeed. countrymen who fled from the Thessalian invasion. the objection all itself contains a weak point here it . other chief heroes. 97 f.) the story of the great expedition of the . A good parallel is furnished by the Scandinavian settlements in the British Isles. this region were Aeolic. a is fact to the Thessalian invasion. The Greek settlements in probably. the Heroic Age itself we have from a strictly contemporary authority (cf. According to Scandinavian tradition the expedition of Lothbrok's sons was inspired by a purely personal motive But in the desire to exact vengeance for their father's death. for from that we know of the earliest historical period is scarcely credible that such an idea could have suggested itself.

XIV] FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 297 Angli against the Warni.r. The motif of the lonely wanderer in distant lands is from what is it said of not prominent in the remains of our poetry. Then again the conditions are similar to those in which we find the most pronounced use of fiction in early Teutonic poetry. In place we have to note that the ancients themselves took a different view with regard to this poem at all events that part of it which relates to the hero's wanderings. while the other main features gain in probability the more one takes into account the conditions of the age and the analogies furnished These considerations tend to by similar stories elsewhere. rests upon fact. It appears then on examination that the central feature of the story. this notice we gather that at the beginning of the fifth From (Steph. Sigemund is expressly said to have been alone when he attacked the dragon. /c. Byz. 7r6\i5 TT/S Xaovlas. must be interpreted in a very liberal sense. 876 ff. and most of Beowulf's marvellous exploits are performed when he is either alone or with a single companion. ff. first the With the Odyssey the case is quite otherwise. we can scarcely utilised for the exercise of the doubt that would have been 258 inventive faculty.. which was caused by a breach of promise of marriage. Baudicr]. Now we IX XII is have seen (p. many of them were defended only by an allegorical inter- pretation. s. The credibility of the various incidents was frequently and warmly debated but . It is frequently 1 own assumed that the Phaeacians are wholly a creation of the poet's Without going so far as this we may seriously doubt fancy. 1 Cf. but Sigemund in Beow.X. But the term presentation here. namely the destruction of Troy. Here the art of fiction is shown chiefly in the poet's adaptation of this material to his of the But there are other parts purpose.v.) that the hero's narrative in Od. the preceding three books (vi VIll) poem notably which obviously require a different explanation. just as in Chapter VIII. What has been said above applies of course properly only to * ' the Iliad. support the view that the employment of fiction is to be seen rather in the presentation than in the conception of the story.) century (or earlier) the Greeks . evidently derived from an accumulation of folk-tales. 'EKCITCUOS.

It has been remarked by several scholars that the BCUCIK?. was derived from a non-Greek source and (ii) that if Bcua/c. it will be more profitable. But the false stories told by Odysseus in the latter showing part of the poem at all events go far towards that such fiction was not beyond the power of poets. It is not impossible that in the Heroic Age the Greeks may have been familiar with more than the name of this people but there is no name it We may infer also (i) that .298 FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. But since we can seldom or never get beyond a hypothesis with such cases. Until such evidence I am forthcoming probability is in favour of the view that the picture drawn of the Phaeacian community in the Odyssey is derived from a different region most likely from the Aegean. whereas elsewhere.e. Homeric According to our explanation the extensive use of fiction in the story of Odysseus is due to the fact that in this case the poet or poets had a free hand. vi vm. is obviously independent of Homeric poetry. . namely whether the use of fiction also included the invention of characters and if so to what extent. i. more particuIt is not larly in the Iliad. which was usually identified with Scheria in ancient times.are identical the latter name must have become known to the Greeks in very early times. to be overlooked however that the Iliad itself contains many incidents which may similarly be regarded as products of invention additions to the story which did not conflict with that had been 'handed down/ As a likely instance of anything this kind we may cite the Doloneia. evidence. they were bound down by tradition. whether they were a Greek people and whether there was any foundation in history or tradition for the account given here with a quite exceptional amount of detail of their princes. so far as Albanian coast is aware. their institutions. good example will first We A knew of a city or state called Baiace in Chaonia. opposite the island of Corfu. In the Homeric poems the evidence is much stronger. In our consideration of the Teutonic stories we came to the conclusion that there was no really satisfactory evidence for such invention. If this part of the story is to be regarded city as fiction it is certainly a more elaborate type of fiction than and anything which we meet with in the early heroic poetry of the Teutonic peoples. for the existence of a prehistoric civilisation on the such as we find depicted in Od. I think. now to turn our attention to another question. take the case of names which appear to have been coined with an obvious meaning.and 3>cu77/c.

). probably for in Achilles the same reason ff. where the Phaeacian athletes are enumerated : KOL 'EXarpets Naureur re Hpvpvfvs re *at 'Ay^t'aXoy KCU Hovrfvs re Hpa>pevs re.. xix 7 f. <J>p(Wfc9 'OvrjTopiSris. was worshipped elsewhere in connection with athletic practices (cf. This no claim to be exhaustive. Akad. But on the whole that the type It is far is list it of course makes can hardly be said really common in either poem. Peripl. AXfo^. or the name of a Trojan herald (XVII 323 f. QIJ/JLIOS TepTTia'S???. more difficult to form an opinion with regard to the origin of characters whose names bear no such obvious mark. Pindar.TeKTovos vlov 'Ap/j. case as this the poet can scarcely have intended to deceive his Indeed the principle is clearly admitted in another audience.) were coined by the poet..g. not doubt then that other names are constructed on the same We plan. 3. y the spy AoXo>i> Ey/A^Seo? u/o? (x 314).. r/ passage (XXIV 305).oviSea) 09 xepalv eTTiararo &ai$a\a irdvra review. vi 23. that worship was paid to famous athletes of the past (cf. xvin 6 been well connected with Q-rjpiras. NO^/AQJI^ son of <&p6vios. 0oa>i/ ' ' 'A/i^iaXds $' vlos Ho\vvi']ov av 8e KCU EvpvaXos /3/joroXotya) lo-os Other Phaeacians have names of the same type. HOVTOVOOS. probably also . p. 1 Possibly 0ep<ri'r?7s is another example of this type. S.g. any way with the story of the killing of Thersites by Achilles in the Aithiopis. or for connecting them (cf.. e.). cxxxvn. But I cannot see any justification for the hypothesis (#. Pausanias. IV 123 ff. Few probably would be inclined to doubt that the names of Helen's handmaidens (Od. 57) that the practices described by Pausanias (in 14.XIV] FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 299 occurs in Od. perhaps also those of the shipowner. It seems to me more It probable however that it is a nickname.g. i). 59 . p. e. d. where Odysseus in a false story describes need himself as f/o? 'AfaiSavros HoXvTrrj^ovLSao aW/cros. (V 59 ff. and Menelaos' Similar cases may be found also in pilot. zu Wien. In such a Navvi/cda. xx 2. has Usener. VIII in ff. 21. vii 37. also the A/ao/m 'AxtXX^ws mentioned by Arrian. except the section dealing with the Phaeacians. 8) represent a contest between Enyalios and Achilles. similar to *Ipos (Od..) TiepLfyavn 'HTrvriSy.-13. KXvrovrjo^.) <$>ep6K\ov. the Iliad 1 e. 53). 8 f. that of the minstrel. 'E^ez^o?. Isth.. a Laconian name for Ares or Enyalios f.

not with a (nameless) tioned (cf. ~M. but it is apparently holds. but it possessed obvious facilities for the formation of names for fictitious characters of foreign nationality. what about the numerous names which figure in the dvSpoKTacricu ? Even though many of the names do recur again and again. Tpws (son of Alastor). It has been remarked above (p. The type doubtless was ancient. that there (Geschichte des Alterthums. but we for believing that the conditions favourable to such changes Neither the name 'Aya/x^ui/wj' ever prevailed in the histoiy of Greek heroic poetry. . but it conditions historical names that the poets gave free rein to their inventive faculties in such scenes. not always recognised. Tetftfpcts. Bias). rivers. Efyfytaxos son of II6Xi. Prof. 2 Under the head of fiction I think we may probably include many national names and names derived from cities. reasonably doubt that the list of Phaeacian athletes is the 1 Curiously enough the most suspicious names are those of the two chief characters. etc. p. 274) conditions one name king of Mycenae which is comparatively seldom menbut with King Agamemnon. is Meyer rightly as I think. suitors But is what 1 shall Penelope not easy to see under what could have been preserved in such a connection.. A6\oi/'. 6i/Aij3/>cuos. no valid reason for doubting that n p. It is true that under certain occasionally does displace another in heroic stories . AdpSavos (son of Il^Satos.g. And again. 186 f. 3 This point seems to me to be of fundamental importance . their number is surprising 2 It is difficult to doubt .os. was from the beginning essentially bound up with individual characters. and 'Avrivoos son of ~EiVTrei6rjs. will be increased for it is scarcely conceivable that a heroic 3 No one can story should come into existence without heroes .f3pt. Greek as well as Teutonic. ^Ka/^avSpcos.\jy5uv.g. Aptfoi/'. I do not mean of course to suggest that all such names are necessarily fictitious. 'A<ri<dvios. nor the later references to Zetfs 'Ayojuljuw seem to me to afford any valid ground for have seen no reason doubting that Agamemnon was the king of Mycenae originally concerned in the story. 207) Troy actually was destroyed by a king of Mycenae.' According to my view the interest in heroic poetry. e. ? we say with regard The argument may not be to the of a sound one. note) that these names occur chiefly among the Trojans and their allies. Yet elsewhere (ib. e. Welsh or Servian.. "Ifj. 6?7/3cuos.os. 'ISatos. .300 FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. p. But what limits are we to set to this process ? If we regard the chief heroes themselves as products of fiction we shall be involved in much the same difficulties as if we interpreted the In a sense indeed the difficulties story as a whole in this way.) he regards Agamemnon himself as a Spartan deity and most of the other chief Achaean heroes as mythical or fictitious or at least unconnected originally with the story of Troy. etc. 268.

There . and distinguished they were without external connections. not so clear. however much ' ' ' ' . If they are Achilles and their companions are not eponymous creations of one man's imagination we this person. and even when it Agamemnon. fication is a gradual process. to the influence of Homeric poetry what is involved by the hypothesis under discussion. in its present form. of one. 299) is not confined to the list of athletes but spread over the whole of this section of the poem. But these are may come to be regarded products of many minds rather than Their personiis accomplished without any The hypothesis which we characterisation. On the other hand if they were gradually evolved by a succession of poets we must ask at what stage and by what process so great a misunderstanding of their real character originated. directly or inand yet that is directly. and of reflection rather than imagination.XIV] FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 3OI invention of one man 1 . heroes. ' ' succeeded in passing off his romance as history. must ask how however gifted he may have been. be called may well have invented the names of most of the suitors they are not essential to the story. may be derived from tradition or from an earlier poet. such as 'A\Klvoos. p. definite individual for are now testing has no relation to such figures as these they figure only in the background of heroic stories. such explanation be applied to the heroes of the siege of Troy ? These were not obscure chieftains in a distant group of islands Many of them are represented what were once certainly the chief states in Greece. largely the it may have utilised brain. It is quite possible of course that the few exceptional names. But how can any not. as rulers of families claimed to be acters. It is a great assumption that every local record relating to the heroes of the Trojan War owes its origin. 1 Note should be taken find which we among the Phaeacians also of the fact that the peculiar type of nomenclature (cf. if it is Yet personally In the case of Penelope's suitors this is I cannot understand the Odyssey work of an individual and even incorporated This redactor or author or whatever he may older matter. and they were universally recognised as historical persons from In some cases the earliest times of which we have any record. . even honoured with worship. Mythical char- such as Scyld or Dardanos. as historical. descended from them.

Robert. two passages.. tombs of Agamemnon and his household were Mycenae. the that Salamis Ilias. 1 only mentioned that. Particularly we should notice that according to Pausanias (HI 19.Jahrb. We will now above. did not bring to light many traces of stories relating to the Heroic Age. a Locrian. These authorities also give us a good deal of instates that the to be seen at formation regarding other members of the family. if such investigations. 5) the Spartans also possessed a tomb of Agamemnon (at Amyclai). Cf. 240). Grundfragen*.. and that in early times they appear to have claimed him as one of their own To this kings. Cauer. But in Pindar. derived from the other. apart from his brother Teucros. p.302 FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. The case of is . which we have mentioned one of the most promising. The theory now most usually held is that one of the two preferably the is latter is a fictitious character. is no doubt that heroic poetry can influence local tradition in an age given to antiquarian speculation but where shall we find any parallel for such a result as this ? Pausanias (II 16. 197 . Aeschylus and other early poets we find forms of the story which differ much more widely from the Homeric account. 5) . i ff. of whom one that of Aias 1 source. Pelops. Studien ff. XIII p. scarcely take what is generally regarded as the most certain case. It is likely enough that in this case the local belief was derived ultimately from the poems. This theory in rests on the following arguments (ii) (iii) : (i) that the two heroes is are often found together. problem as a whole we have is already referred (p. while the other belongs to Salamis. zur 406 ff. The more much surely one which requires considerably But I should be investigation than it has yet received. Bethe. although it seems to have contained some unorthodox features.. which were independent of anything that we may fairly call ' Homeric poetry. Atreus and Orestes persons who seem not to have figured prominently in any Homeric poems that we know of. ' Perhaps it may be said that we can safely claim a fictitious origin for some of the leading characters without committing ourselves to the view that all of them were sprung from this Agamemnon. N. namely There are two heroes of this name. p. carried out in an surprised impartial spirit.

. "LirapTfi tioned in connection with Menelaos only in the Catalogue. gave birth both to the name of his father TeXa/xwi/ (' Strap and to that of his son. Achaean Even if the genuineness of II. evident enough The evidence seems to indicate that this person is a genea- Broad-shield The . Several heroes. for 'sword-strap. if not generally. VII 199 be doubted. we may infer that ' . characteristic enormous and (* this '). Diomedes and others. as a proper name 1 Again. Evpuo-d/ctj^ '). FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS of 303 obviously Aias is his Aias of Salami's are themselves of this The shield distinctive . or Ke^aXX^i/es in connection with Odysseus. Except in three cases due largely . As a nickname too should 2 we not rather have expected TeXa/uwj'etfj ? Two passages mention Aoicpot in connection with the other Aias . There remains then only the fact that two friends and colleagues have the same name. are said to have shield-straps indeed from II. That is 1 the obtained general currency in Greece (or non-Homeric) genealogy of the . we find it used also. they were commonly. there can scarcely be any question that Aias was localised at Salamis by the time when the Homeric for poems first post-Homeric Aiacidai and their connection with Aegina go back probably beyond the seventh century.' Its original meaning appears to have been 'supporter' and we have no reason for supposing that such a word was inadmissible . On the other hand the force of the name Te\a/jua)v does not strike me as particularly obvious.KT) and Aa/ceSat/uwj' are men- . in several passages. The rareness of forms of this type renders it highly improbable that a nickname thus formed should have been misinterpreted as a patronymic. The only leading Achaean heroes whose home or nationality is frequently mentioned are Achilles. three mention References to Eurybates and Helen are of course not included here. Nestor and Idomeneus. appropriateness of the latter name is but it does not occur in the Homeric poems.but the shield itself. used. to certain stereotyped formulae the home or nationality of the it is not customary to refer to leaders 2 . the argument that Salamis is only mentioned twice loses its force when the general usage of the Iliad is taken into account. II 388 f. logical creation of much later times possibly due to the misunderstanding of an epithet. Agamemnon. It is to be remembered that as a patronymic TeXa/wwvtos is an Aeolic formation. Moreover the word reka^v does not necessarily mean shieldstrap'.XIV] connections fictitious. Aias' distinguishing characteristic was not his shield-strap. \da.

but they may conveniently different hypotheses Both are credible enough under certain . In conclusion we must take account of another hypothesis. of the contention that This parallel has frequently been urged in support Agamemnon or Nestor or Idomeneus may once have belonged to separate stories before they were associated with Achilles or Aias the Locrian or whoever it was who was first connected with the siege of Troy. the poets' audience must not have such know- ledge either of the original or the subsidiary stories as would check their readiness to allow the amalgamation. In Chapter XI we discussed the supposed analogy between Homeric and medieval German poetry and came to the conThe roots of the latter clusion that it had no foundation. On the whole I many cannot help thinking that the readiness with which this theory has been received is due to the prevalent enthusiasm for such hypotheses. Secondly. underwent not only a process of disintegration subject-matter. Strictly speaking we have here to do with two be taken together. doubtless a curious coincidence but not more curious than life. [CHAP. Our for discussion led us to conclude that there was no ground supposing the Homeric poems to have such a stage as this that on the contrary passed through . ' In the first place we must assume the existence of conditions. But medieval German poems do bring Dietrich von Bern into asand Eormenric. although we know that the three heroes belonged originally to quite distinct sociation both with Attila stories. When soberly considered the evidence in its favour such cases which occur in real of the slightest. and some from local tradition. Thus no audience of the fifth century would have consented to see Heracles introduced into a drama dealing with Orestes. some from other cycles of heroic poetry. which seems to be particularly popular at present namely that is many characters have been attracted into the Trojan cycle from different quarters. and during this period preserved only by popular minstrels . but also a complete change both it in regard to in spirit and metrical form.304 FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS . * a nucleus of original matter sufficient to provide the attractive force. But for centuries it was doubtless go back to court-poetry.

since his audience likewise consists or less trained in the same kind of he will find considerable difficulty in transferring a well-known hero from one story to another more difficulty He would indeed than in inventing the hero outright. probably also minor characters. bound by convention. Usener. The poet must be a master of traditional lore as well as of form but he must not be a revolutionary. serious play dealing with Napoleon Bonaparte. p. 2O . But no such evidence appears to be forthcoming 2 One of the cases most commonly cited is the fight of Tlepolemos and . The same conditions are probably favourable both to The latter faculty is perhaps first displayed in lists of supernatural beings.). 258 ff. borrow descriptions. of dwarfs given in II.XIV] FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 305 they appear to have been preserved by court poets until they But heroic court-poetry is everywhere attained their final form. Sarpedon. it seems to have exercised on subsequent writers. zu Wien. (which differ a good deal). may compare the xvm list We 39 ff. I 1 For folk-tales cf. and partly on the groundless assumption that opponents must be near neighbours. and Theog. He may in of unknown lands But. from other stories and even from folk-tales especially when he is dealing with the adventures of a solitary wanderer . This case rests partly on the fact that the two combatants are represented as coming from districts. 1898. incidents. 2 We need not discuss the identification of the Adrestos and Amphios of u 830 with the famous Adrastos and Amphiaraos of the Theban story (cf. We must have good evidence before we can believe that the court poets of ancient Greece were able to indulge in such flights of imagination. Voluspa. 37 ff. have just about as much chance of success as a probably modern dramatist who wished to introduce Cromwell into a lore. 242 ff. in spite of its obvious untenability. My view is that until it find a further hypothesis. a hero from Phthiotis. The strangest feature in this 'discovery' is the fascination which.-B. transference and invention. both remote from Troy but not very distant from one another. such as those of the Nereids in II. Unfortunately Sarpedon himself is killed by To meet this difficulty we Patroclos. p. der Akad. which need not be discussed here. persons who are more 1 . C. S. do not say that it is impossible that Tlepolemos and Sarpedon have been taken from a different story.

. If so we shall have to suppose that the Bistonian Diomedes was originally an Illyrian . can hardly be taken seriously. these are all persons of little importance. in the framing of which poets had a free command of their material ? On the contrary the only conclusion. who fed his mares with human flesh and was killed by Heracles. a feature which perhaps gave rise to the adventure with Rhesos . Iliad are persons who are known practically only in connection with the The force of this objection may be appreciated siege of Troy. note). are of Diomedes displays a propensity for capturing chariots little consequence. 191. that is to say. It has been suggested that this hero was also originally identical with the Bistonian Diomedes. rather than a Thracian hero. relating to the east of Italy. But it is clear that the feud with these deities really belongs to Athene. Minos and Adrastos have not been drawn into the net ? Some of them certainly have sons or grandsons who figure in the Iliad but it deserves to be remarked that. cited by Prof. ' Aphrodite. to The evidence of the grave-mound in Lycia. The value of this identification depends largely upon the question whether the Doloneia formed an original part of the story of the Iliad. with one exception 2 the heroes of the . In later stories. On . the other hand the fathers of the principal heroes are themselves in no case unless we count Tydeus heroes of the first rank/ ' Can any one seriously argue that such a result as this would be produced by an artificial scheme a scheme. Peirithoos. as well as to persons of whom we know little or nothing at all. Diomedes' hereditary guardian. lason. Theseus. Indeed Prof. I think. Murray (Rise of the Greek Epic. as well as with is true of Antilochos. Murray himself seems to consider Sarpedon's Lycian connections at least as illusory as his connection with Troy. Indeed it is surely a fatal objection to this hypothesis as a supported by evidence 1 The same remark whole that. there may have been a confusion between the two heroes and it is scarcely impossible that here and there Diomedes of Argos took over a cult belonging to his namesake. p. with the exception of Idomeneus. If the of the Iliad has really grown up through a process of personnel attraction how is it that Heracles.FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS is [CHAP. serious consideration. That is a view which would probably gain the assent of few scholars even of those who believe that the Doloneia The other arguments is not much later than the rest of the Iliad in its final form. by the fact that both poems contain many incidental allusions to heroes who are well known to us from other sources. such a conjecture does not deserve applies to the case of Idomeneus which has likewise been cited in this connection. but the same remark He fights also with the ' Thracian god Ares. 2 1 Diomedes no doubt figured in the story of the second attack upon Thebes.

The extent to which used is a problem which requires further investigation. first (iii) fiction. The most highly developed dealing with unknown regions or But I am not aware that there is use of fiction occurs probably when the poets are peoples. summarily under four headings (i) nature-myths.XIV] FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 307 which an unbiassed study of the evidence can lead. The remark applies also to the fourth group. In the course of this and the preceding chapters we have reviewed briefly a number of hypotheses which have been brought forward from time to time with the object of explaining the origin of the characters and events treated in the These hypotheses may be grouped Homeric poems. In dealing with the group we have restricted ourselves to the consideration same of two cases which appear as yet not to have fallen into the discredit as the rest. if our view of the history of Homeric poetry is correct. we have noted that. But the instances which have been suggested are tainted with the tribal hero hypothesis and the evidence on which they rest is altogether inconclusive. and this we have examined at length. as in the story of Odysseus (cf. and these again by something which bears a suspicious resemblance to facts of . real life. Our conclusion however is that they rest on equally unsubstantial foundations. while others are demonincorrect. (ii) tribal : heroes. We find that apart from some genealogical names this group of hypotheses rests upon a number of assumptions. p. (iv) transference. strably find that the use of fiction appears to be shown not only some of which We in also in the invention of it is the presentation of the stories (as in Teutonic poetry) but minor characters. is that that the later poets the poets never enjoyed such freedom were bound by the work of their predecessors. Lastly. the use of both fiction (invention) and transference must have been confined last ' ' ' ' within certain limits 1 1 . 297 f. The third group has a much better case. In principle it is only reasonable to expect that both characters and incidents may have been transferred from one story to another. are incapable of proof. The second group is more popular just now.). 20 2 . any evidence for the existence of poems on wholly fictitious subjects.

Yet Thucydides was a man no whit inferior Moreover he had intellectually to the best of modern scholars. for scepticism (OVKOVV aTria-reiv et/co?). Firstly. whereas we are separated . So far as I can see we have the advantage in only. investigations it is rather their starting point. or anything like the unanimous approval. . There can be it by nearly thirty. What he 'had reflected on was the question whether the expedition was really on so large a scale as is stated in the Iliad and the result to which his reflections brought him was that there was not a sufficient case . of presentday scholars. If we put aside the of more conservative scholars we may indeed find a opinions common But element namely the belief that the attitude of the ancients themselves to stories of the Heroic this belief ." Now the work undertaken by Thucydides was not a history of the Trojan War but he had evidently considered that story. poems and which are entirely lost to us. which command the unanimous approval. By 'the ancients' I do not mean merely the Apparently it did not occur to him to doubt that the war had taken place. or even that the expedition had been commanded by Agamemnon. seems to me therefore that before we shall do well to we disregard the opinions of such persons consider carefully in what respects we are two respects better qualified for forming a judgment.308 It FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. at least in this country. there is the evidence of the Egyptian monuments . and he was separated from the advantage of being a native the Heroic Age by some six centuries. cannot be regarded as a result established by the poets and " of antiquity. that the general effect has been rather to obscure than to solve may fairly ask how many definite results results. may perhaps be said that these conclusions show an in- inadequate recognition of the results attained by modern But vestigations in the history of Greek heroic tradition. sources of information were open to him from even monuments little doubt that It many traditions. king of Mycenae. It is a common opinion. It is admitted that the basis of mythographers fact in Homer is fully as real to Thucydides as to Herodotus. We are at liberty to form a different opinion. we in this field have been attained mean. I the real problems presented by the poems. Age was mistaken.

Evans. be said that this advantage the latter of which.' a significant fact therefore that in little cussing The evidence on which they rely is evidence which was at least as accessible to Thucydides as it is to us. Halbherr and many others. Dorpfeld. while the discoveries in Crete have shown once as ' for all that It is ' ' early does not mean the same thing primitive. cavations at Troy he might perhaps have modified his opinion about the numbers of the Achaean army. in that of it is in our power. probably far more than his contemporaries. Slavonic and even non-European. without reference to its history or its connections in the poetry of other Teutonic peoples. The earlier strata of Teutonic heroic poetry have been ignored as much as the heroic poetry of other European peoples. many investigations of the type we are disor no use has been made of this new evidence. owing to its dependence upon Greek.XIV] FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS pre-hist6ric 309 re- and of that Aegean civilisation which has been vealed to us by the discoveries of Schliemann. Many others. have used the evidence of Teutonic heroic poetry. But only by taking a single poem belonging to the latest stratum. Can it be said that the general effect of the new evidence has been to discredit the tradition his ? The records of Rameses II successors have definitely disposed of the idea that and Agamemnon's expedition was anything impossible. although he had noted the dimensions of Mycenae. For the story of the Iliad in . and by using precarious hypotheses as to the origin of the story as a foundation for similar hypotheses in relation to the Homeric stories. to it was Thucydides and compare the Homeric stories with others of the same our great advantage lies. have no doubt that much which is obscure in Homeric poetry and tradition may be illuminated by a historical study I of heroic poetry elsewhere not merely Teutonic but also Celtic. Secondly. It is at least improbable that Thucydides was as well acquainted with either of these sources If he had seen Dr Dorpfeld's exof information as we are. But that after all is a trifle. is of little value for our purpose. But can it has been turned to account by modern writers ? Many works contain no reference to any poetry other than Greek and Latin It is here that type. it is true.

Apart that the from the poems however. but I have ventured to suggest (p. particular I suspect that a fairly close parallel closest of all is to be found in those Servian perhaps the poems which deal with the battle of Kossovo 1 object however in this to bring to light the relations of Greek and Teutonic heroic poetry or rather to make a start in that direction. frequently. 239 common f. 8) and the former adds that no such attempt to command the sea was made again until the time of Polycrates of Samos. This thalassocracy is mentioned both by Herodotus (I 171. there is no evidence that this hero figured prominently in any early poems of which we have record.310 FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. which enabled him to subdue the islands. My book is the object is single attempt. With the affinities between Homeric poetry and the old Teutonic court-poetry we shall have to deal in the next chapter. though incidental allusions to him occur both in the Iliad and the Odyssey.) or from poems which were popular from the beginning or from stories which never were clothed in poetic form. to put down piracy and thus to secure safety for navigation. So far as I know. with regard to the origin of the Teutonic heroic stories corresponds to the views held by Thucydides and his contemporaries. apart from hypotheses. Yet there is no doubt that the Greeks regarded him as one of the very greatest figures of the far past. I do not think that any true analogy to the medieval German poems in is to be found in Greek literature . by no means one which can be accomplished in a So much however may be said with confidence that even now : all we know.) poems of the Edda have something with those of Stesichoros and his followers. number which appear to be come from poems of Stage ' ' III of popular origin. The most striking tradition recorded of him is that he possessed a powerful fleet. for . in the form of local traditions. though not always. Greek literature preserves numerous records of the Heroic Age. There are a * ' . . III 122) and Thucydides (l 4. whether they (cf. p. in the latter . 1 On this subject see Note VII. influence of right to Some of these are doubtless due to the Homeric or Stesichoric poetry but we have no assume that this is universally true. 94 ff. As an example we will take the story of Minos.

Cf. Meyer (Gesch. Alt. In medieval occupied by German homilies and other religious works he is credited with having been the founder of several famous Roman buildings. cit.). Grimm. But Herodotus. the great prehistoric cities. clearly derived his information from the people of Praisos a community which cannot have been wholly Greek even in his time. such as the Amphitheatre at Verona and the Castle of St Angelo ' 1 at Rome 2 . due to folk-tales or need not enter here into the story of the popular belief? Minotaur.. including In what palaces lately excavated. We may compare the Egyptian story In the Homeric poems themselves Idomeneus is descended from Minos. Grimm. It is (XI 568 fT. Cf. is commonly regarded as one of the latest additions to the part of the sixth century. Sometimes we find this hero represented as the leader may of the a position elsewhere Wild Hunt. 936 Deutsche Heldensage. of p. 680 ff.XIV] FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS 311 Later writers relate the famous story they represent Minos also as the founder of Cnossos and Phaistos. In both cases doubtless it seemed natural to attribute the foundation of venerable buildings to a prominent hero of their 1 own race 3 .) has pointed out that. 40 (and passim) .) we find him giving judgments among obvious enough that the story of Minos contains many mythical features. 1183. d. Homeric influence being shown by the sentence rpirrj Se yever) /ierd MI'VOJCI TeXevT^ffavTa yevtvdai (cf. 266). upon which Dr Evans' discoveries have thrown such We a curious But there are other features in the story which light. . while Thucydides seems to have regarded Minos as a Greek. J. Transl. and no hint is given that either of them was regarded as non-Greek. Helen .' the army of ghosts Wodan or other mythical beings. Grimm. f. of the Minotaur Odyssey the dead. Teutonic Mythology* (Engl. p.A.\ I p. and as a legislator or judge. at all events in vn 171. In such beliefs the traditions of Minos. 2 W. p. Herodotus apparently held a different view. But do these features constitute the original kernel of the story. Such is certainly the natural inference to be drawn from the language of the two historians. Their account seems to have been due to an attempt to reconcile Greek and native traditions. ret Tpwi'/cd. be illustrated from medieval beliefs regarding Dietrich von Bern. op. though the evidence is perhaps not quite conclusive in either case. we have a close enough parallel to There is no reason for supposing that the Greeks were better acquainted with the prehistoric Cretans than the Germans were with the ancient Romans. J. or are they accretions. p. K.r. The same remark appears to be true of Greek tradition elsewhere. 3 Prof.

power formerly held by the Roman . Ancient Records (Egypt].' but neither their own behaviour nor seems to me to be reconcilable with such a view. for according to II. just as Theodric was inspired by the idea of restoring under Gothic rule the f. timber 1 trolled (or Wenamon).312 FICTION IN THE HOMERIC POEMS [CHAP. 1 Cf. Petrie speaks of them as Cretan * 2 pirates. History of Egypt. Prof. But Dietrich von Bern (Theodric. king of the Ostrogoths) was not originally a mythical being. namely the story of a certain Unuamen of Amen . who had been sent to the Lebanon to buy From this story we may infer with some probability that the eastern end of the Mediterranean was policed or conthe fleets of some Aegean nation 2 The time to by which the story refers is either the reign of Herhor or that of 3 about the beginning of the his predecessor Rameses XII . From the following centuries we have apparently only one detailed piece of information relating to the Mediterranean. XIX 178 It is ff. Idomeneus. We Merenptah and Rameses III Egypt and the neighbouring lands were invaded by large forces from the Aegean or even more remote regions. a people mentioned among the Aegean confederates who fought against Rameses III (cf. but not as king. These Zakar brought him before the prince of Byblos and demanded that he should be arrested. Breasted. and Od. That seems to be approximately the time eleventh century. 188 ff. 3 Herhor is mentioned in the story. indicated for Minos by Greek tradition . in 197 ff. though it is clear that they had formed settlements on the coast of Palestine. p. of his expedition. Nor need the tradition of Minos' thalassocracy be regarded have seen that in the reigns of as altogether incredible. Incidentally it appears from the story that a considerable amount of traffic was being carried on at this time both in reconstruction of the story Egyptian and Syrian ships. Breasted believes that this document is Wenamon's authentic report iv 274 ff. According to that of the prince Prof. XIII 451 he was the grandfather of scarcely impossible that an ambitious Greek of this age may have been animated by the desire of prince regaining the supremacy of the ancient Cretans. . In the course of an adventurous journey the envoy was intercepted by some ships of the Zakar (Tchakaray). Prof. After the time of Rameses III we hear little of these peoples.). Petrie. an official belonging to the temple at Thebes. Breasted's where the papyrus is defective the envoy had himself been guilty of lawless conduct previously. emperors.

Finn. together with a historical introduction. It is to poetry. It is clear We enough that Servian heroic poetry bears little resemblance to the Homeric poems as we have them. IN fairly close parallel is to . to Narodne Pjesme 2 o boju na Kosovu godine 1389 (Agram. some of which are practically contemporary. Servian writers. while scholars of other nations have denied that the Servians possess anything which deserves to be called epic poetry. the king's daughter but in this . although the art of heroic poetry in Greece had doubtless been elaborated for centuries to a far higher degree than was ever attained by Servian poets. but unfortunately it has given rise to an unnecessary controversy. but we do not know early Teutonic poetry treated a story of actual war. Waldhere and the all deal with fighting of various kinds. case there 1 may be some confusion.XIV] THE BATTLE OF KOSSOVO 313 NOTE VII. THE BATTLE OF KOSSOVO SERVIAN POETRY. need not concern ourselves here with a discussion about terms. Engel. are to the pages in Niebuhr's edition. p. are of course well-known historical persons. in Mme Mijatovich's KOSSOVO (London. King Lazar himself and his opponent. for an independent investigation of the subject. The Servian poems resemble the Iliad chiefly in the comparatively large number of prominent characters which they introduce and in the fact that they deal Hildebrandslied how time to time play the leading part. interesting parallel to that of with a series of more or less distinct episodes. Geschichte von Serwien. Sultan Murad I. . Beowulf. and not to the qualities of the I wish to call attention. is According to Ducas (p. English translations of many of the poems are to be found. in which various heroes from Lazar's council or court furnishes an Agamemnon the more instructive because we can here check the evidence of the poems by historical records. which I am much indebted. There is no doubt also with regard to Vuk Brankovic. the chief of Lazar's followers or allies. inspired by patriotic zeal. It may be that Ducas was mistaken with regard to the name of Bajazet's wife . I cannot claim to possess the requisite qualifications. cf. while many date from within a century of the battle. I7 2 ) Lazar had to have been strangely neglected by English Homeric students. 332. linguistic and historical. as well as to the translation of the latter. (p. IT has been mentioned above 310) that for the story of the Iliad a be found in those Servian poems which deal with the battle of KOSSOVO l This parallelism has long been noticed. The references to Laonicos' and Ducas' histories. My object in this note to call attention to a subject which appears a more critical study the reader may be referred to the introduction to Pasic's 1877). For 1881). In the poems he is represented as the husband of Mara (Maria). have sought to make an 'Iliad' by stringing their national poems together. that the treatment of the story however. But we may strongly suspect that at an earlier stage in the history of Homeric poetry the resemblance would be much closer.

of historical Milica. was granted by Dusan the territories between Pherrai and the Axios (Vardar). add the vojvoda Vladeta for there can be little doubt that this person . though these may not have been exactly identical with any which are now extant. On the other hand some doubt has been expressed with regard to Milos Obilic (or Kobilovic) the chief Servian hero of the story. meeting with his own death immediately afterwards. vi v. The latter (p. cit. op. 352). This passage taken from a Croatian published by Miklosich. 73 ff. was sent by his uncle luathco (Tvrtko). (p.314 a daughter of this THE BATTLE OF KOSSOVO [CHAP. Ducas' version of the story (p. Closer affinity with the poems is shown by the anonymous translation of Ducas' history (p. Wissenschaften (Vienna). op. Indeed it is scarcely possible to doubt that the additions are partly derived from poems. to support Lazar with 20. turned and transfixed him with a javelin. collection at Ragusa dating from about 1728. Mijatovich's poem on the same subject (p. Jug Bogdan. according to Laonicos (p. 352 ff. representing himself to be a orders that he was to be allowed to come near and say what he wished. king of Bosnia. Pasic. Yet the traditional account of Murad's death is known to the two Greek historians Ducas and Laonicos. 92).) Mme a good deal from this and bears a closer resemblance to the Italian in one or two points. cf. 53). who. When Milos ('Milos Cobilichio. may is to be identified with that Vlathico Vlagenichio who. Denkschriften d. Vuk Brankovic was however a son-in-law of Lazar according to Laonicos Chalcocondylas (p. 120 ff. He is not mentioned apparently by any strictly contemporary authority. have been a young and distinguished Servian and to have asked to see Murad as a deserter with important information.000 men. the son and successor of Murad.. 28). 6. But when he reached the door of the Sultan's tent he threw his spear and slew Murad. both of whom are believed to have written within about three quarters of a century after the battle. v. 1 I do not know whether references to f- this is historically correct. according to the anonymous translation of Ducas' history (p. which contains much additional matter. Akademie d. . and who about 1372 submitted to Murad to To these we together with the other Servian princes in this region. capetanio de Lazaro') reaches the Sultan's tent we are told. is to be a cit. from a MS. Again. 54) states that according to the Greek version of the story a Servian nobleman named M^Xois- rode fully deserter. k. There seem Engel. is said to His name is not given. Xix p. 33 1. who was on foot. 346 2 Cf.) differs poem (Nr 166 ff. be identical with a certain prince named MTroydavos (ndy8ai/os). number 311.). represented in the poems as Lazar's father-in-law 1 is believed . 13 ff. Lazar's queen. as in the poems 2 that he is bidden to . Laonicos however also says that the Turks gave quite a different account of the affair namely that as Murad was pursuing the enemy a Servian (av8pa Tpt/SaXXdv). armed into Murad gave the Turkish camp.. after the conclusion of the war. name who was married to Bajazet.. pp. 15) resembles that given by the poems but he in the fact that the assassin uses a dagger.

VII p. 3 f. (cf. : Zdrav Milosu. potonja nevjero me izdat' na Kosovu.XIV] kiss THE BATTLE OF KOSSOVO Murad's foot 'according to the usage of his kingdom 1 . v.. n 50 iii. Miklosich. with a The Banquet before Battle (p. Vala tebe. 4 la qual Milos. piece 3 Mijatovich's different account of the Mme occurs in Miklosich. 13 : Car uzima zlatan pehar vina. 31 ff. 116 ff. Ibid. u zemlji mojoj. Ma mi doglio dela mia dubitata fede 6 alto pensier mio. etc. n (Vienna. Ma molto mi doglio che : ' ho inteso una mala novella. v. prendi questa sdraviza.. Doman de matina. 26. la usanza del suo imperio etc. porzendoli disse a Milos che con la taza te dono. according to Bury 8 . is cognoscera se io son fidele o ribello dela tua Signoria. itself dates from the fifteenth century. ..' 315 Far more striking however is the account of the banquet on the preceding day. na zdravici i na daru tvome . 4 (scil. ' 167 : Ovaki su zakoni. cit.). : Svu gospodu za sofru sjedao svu gospodu i gospodiice. "El zorno precedente a quello Lazaro convocati tutti i signori et : suo imperio 3 comando che se aparechiasse una sdraviza in laquale. 39 ff. ! al' 7 8 ne vala na takoj besjedi p. a passage which is not used by Pasic or Mijatovich. 327. in 50 iii (p.. Milosu. disse molto molto te ringratio della sdraviza et taza d' oro che m' ai donata. few slight changes. 5 etc. This translated. 6. Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. secondo la . op. Milos Secondo Stef. Srpske is ' Narodne Pjesme.. 116 ff.. a na cast Ibid. Excellentissimo cavalier. Karadzic. vjero Sjutra ces i i nevjero ! ! prva vjero. Vol. which in places appears to be little more than a free translation of a fragmentary poem published che segui principal! in Karadzic's collection 2 la iniqua et infelice bataglia.: pehar. Lazare). se . se dio dark effecto al j This translation Prof. Cf. reverentemente presa la taza con chiara faza. che al tuo dispoto sei facto ribello' 5 ' : . v.' 2 Vuk 310 ' Karadzic".sdravize per amor mio. . Pasic. : odbjeci Turskom car-Muratu ! zdrav mi budi 6 i zdravicu popij ti vino popij. . 1875).e. Al qual Signer dispoto. Cf.). slavni knez-Lazare Vala tebe na tvojoj zdravici.. ff. come gratioso et benigno usanza dela sua corte Quando la volta tocco a signore.). v. a tutti porse la sdraviza con sua mano. Milos. Ibid. The 1 earliest direct reference to ' poems dealing with Khobilouitz ' (i. A somewhat same incident and showing less resemblance to the Italian 6. . We are bound to con- clude therefore that Milos' exploit was treated in poems from which some of the extant pieces are ultimately descended within a century of the battle." believed to be of Dalmatian origin 7 and. se fe dar una grande taza d' oro piena de pretioso vino del .

Kobilovic) goes back to the first half of the sixteenth century. known to me. p. which deals with the same story the squire Oliver. p. e. no absolutely But probably few would be inclined to regard such a decisive evidence. v. for it is clear that a great effort was made in 1389 to On the whole the evidence. He must certainly have been an old man in 1389.: /cdXXtcrroi' od vojske Lazara kneza. Greeks in more than one form and 3.) we find it stated that King Vukasin entered into the battle and met with battle of the (v. 71 ff. The fact also that he had been a vassal of Murad from 1372 onwards is hardly conclusive. \yov<nv dvdpa yevvcuoTarov dde\rj<rcu 6/o^V di) rCov iruiroTe yevoptvuv. In such cases as this it is much . 5 person as Vaistina. and more TO A/movparew ffTparoiredov. at which time 1 It may be however that the accounts they are said to have been numerous given by Ducas himself and by Laonicos are also derived ultimately from . 6. In reality he was killed at (or shortly after) the The same poem also. 47 to be regretted that to Mijatovich. "EXX^es. in 1356.g. p. 205. who died But he is regularly described as 'the old' (start) in the poems. In Miklosich. immediately afterwards Erceg Stepan.. does not seem to indicate that attraction or transference has played an important part in the story. so far as I know. rovrovt TOV /ecu \6yovs rti/as {fjro\f/i. so far as it is unite the various Servian princes.6vpi(rat woX^ttov ^e/ca yap TOIJTOV cnrr6/xoXos eX^Xutfa. uirXurfj. especially by the speech which Ducas us (p. us av . of a very peculiar type distinctly non-heroic and it is poem It not legitimate to draw conclusions from it as to the poems in general.e. 126 44) corresponds to Mijatovich.' In one poem (Karadzic. Marica 4 in 1371. who lived nearly a century later. 15) attributes to Milos yicpaTT]S yevtffdai. 307) called 'transference. since he had his territories granted to him by Dusan. ' 2 This perhaps rather suggested by one or two of Laonicos' sentences. while his master's name appears as Busic Stjepane. below se odvrg'o : 4 The first part of this ff.) poem (vv." With "BotfXo/ucu TOVTOV IdeTv the last sentence 3 we may compare Ja sam ti Miklosich. II 46. and not due to is derived from a different source this should have been made clear. For the invention of characters there is.. 1 Cf. 59 ff. is called . Laonicos. that it had even attained great celebrity among them The Kossovo poems certainly give us some evidence for the phenomenon which we have above (p.316 THE BATTLE OF KOSSOVO [CHAP. ayuva. 6. the servant or squire (sluga) of Music Stefan (Karadzic. 104 ff. for it is clear from the evidence of these authors that by the middle of the fifteenth century the story had come to the poems . 164 : Cf. 2 But if so the poetic treatment of the subject must have begun within living memory of the battle . Geschichte der is <f>acriv) dlteren siidslaw.fr ov eXai^eiv crvv (p. Murko. : r< I'TTTT^ tiri ovvTa euro r&v ivavrluv 54). Mme explanation be that her version arbitrary transposition 5 If the Mijatovich did not adhere to Karadzic's text. 158. his death. and again.). I. ff. introduces is But this would be of far more importance for our purpose if we knew that Jug Bogdan was attracted into the story. Litteraturen. i the second part (v.

There seems to be no evidence for the introduction of what can properly But sometimes be called mythical beings in poems of the Kossovo cycle 2 we certainly find supernatural incidents. considering the limited amount of information which early records furnish. together by the with the translation of the latter. Yet in 2 Quoted by Pasic. Not included in the collections A . to the squire Milutin (ib. in Krauss' Slavische Volkforschungen. it would probably be wise to hesitate before adopting the view that any of the more important characters are invented at all events those which can be traced back to within two centuries of the battle.). In Karadzic. seem to imply distinctly that Milos carried out his exploit alone. That however does not prove that the characters themselves are fictitious. On the whole. n 45. 3 nymphs or elf. as well as Milos. Several of them appear to be unknown from contemporary historical works. Milan Toplica and Ivan Kosancic. 289 f. A more extravagant case occurs in the opening verses of (ibid. Among these we may mention Music Stefan himself and more especially Banovic Strahinja. according to the poems Milos was accompanied on his errand to Murad by two of his friends. reference to the latter in the Chronicle of . but there is practically no doubt that it has drawn largely from poetic sources. i. which mentions inci- 1 dentally the destruction of his palace Again. which adds that at the banquet on the preceding night they. any of the more important characters are fictitious. But it is from the point of view of their presentation of the story that the Kossovo poems chiefly merit our attention. Her prayer is answered. and she flies to the field of Kossovo and sees the dead bodies of her sons and husband. two crows from the field of Kossovo bring to the queen the first news of the . p. op. 30.XI V] II THE BATTLE OF KOSSOVO 317 47). Other poems. Our earliest authorities. slightly variant form (apparently of Montenegrin origin) is published. 119 ff. This poem is largely taken up with the marvellous throughout and has little in common with heroic poetry.women. and the same remark applies who brings the news of Lazar's death to the queen It is a more difficult matter to form an opinion as to whether 45. together with a translation. II 48 3 ) the mother of the Jugovici prays that she may receive the eyes of a falcon and the wings of a swan.) II 46 a poem to which we have already referred. This presentation contains many 1 features which may be included under the head of fiction. both Christian and Mohammedan. 146 ff.. had been charged with disloyalty This chronicle is believed to be derived from a MS.e. Both these persons are mentioned in the same connection by the Chronicle of Tronosa. In another (Croatian) poem (Karadzic. battle and of Lazar's death. cit. the earliest Tronosa. frequently introduce Vile. So far as I know. sixteenth century. the hero of the longest poem is in the cycle (ib. p. of Pasic and Mijatovich. Lazar is here made to receive a letter dropped by a swallow (which is carried by a falcon) offering him the choice between the heavenly and earthly kingdoms. of the king. otherwise than as a product of fiction . 44). Laonicos and Ducas.

The poems his companions perform prodigies of valour before they are overcome. Indeed we know that the Turks gave quite a different account of Murad's death. 346) the (right) wing of the Servian army which was commanded by Vuk was successful. a fair amount of information is available . The first occurs in the translation of Ducas' history reference to treachery in Lazar's army but here the traitor is (p." I do not know the authority for the first part of this statement . Murko (op.' been suggested that Vuk's unenviable celebrity in the poems is due unpopularity of his son. Again. But there is no evidence earlier than the sixteenth century to We make Milos and . whether its origin is to be traced to genuine information derived from the Turkish camp or merely to idle rumour. This is especially the case with the poem on the banquet (Karadzic. 2 Cf. 2 1427 to 1457 . George Brankovic. p. op. But our earliest authorities state that Milos was killed almost immediately and they imply that he was alone. comparatively speaking. Geschichte von Serwien. the treachery of Vuk Brankovic is proclaimed again and again in the poems. at as conscious inventions of an individual. teristics As a matter of fact some of the poems show these charac. only to a comparatively slight degree. but according to the Turkish account (cf. It is to be remembered of course that after the middle of the fifteenth century nothing like court poetry can have existed in Servia. can be traced back to the fifteenth century. The period is one for which. cit. possibly more might be obtained by a careful investigation of the documents of that age. Engel. 202) states that Vuk "in der Schlacht in hervorragender Weise seine Pflicht erfiillt und sich dann mit den Tiirken gar nicht ausgesohnt hat wie Lazar's Sohn Stefan. 'Dragossavo Probiscio. They have originated in rumour and popular misconceptions.318 certain cases THE BATTLE OF KOSSOVO [CHAP. We should expect then that from this time onwards the poems would become more and more permeated by those characteristics which we have assigned to Stage in of our scheme. it is a question whether we have not rather what may be called a growth of myth. p. as we have seen.. Pasic. substantiate the charge l called . By this I mean the introduction and development of motives which. II 50 iii) but part of this poem. can hardly be regarded. cit. capitaneo del campo del dispoto. It has to the who ruled over Servia from The above brief sketch will probably be sufficient to show that these poems are capable of throwing a good deal of light upon the origin and development of a heroic story. have already dealt with the first of these incidents. As examples we may take what are perhaps the two most salient features in the story the exploit of Milos -and his confederates and the treachery of least in their entirety. would seem rather to Vuk Brankovic. p.. though incorrect historically. On the other 1 Prof. . But it may very well have been believed among the Servians from the very beginning. 354) . 42. and quite. It is not at all clear that between the two the Servian account possesses the greater probability.

compositions.XIV] THE BATTLE OF KOSSOVO 319 hand the characteristics of Stage in are very strongly marked in Karadzic I should expect that these poems are late II 46 and 48. but that their exploits and their relations with one another may in reality have been very different from what we find depicted in the poem. On the other hand the surprising. in view of the history of -Servian poetry. What the Kossovo poems do seem to suggest is not that the characters of the Iliad were invented or attracted from other quarters. . So far as I have been able to deal with the subject the result of the discussion has been that there is little or no definite evidence for the invenThat is a result which can scarcely be regarded as tion of characters. force of this principle has been considerably overestimated by recent writers. Yet there is but little satisI am inclined therefore to think that the factory evidence in this direction. conditions were such as we should expect to be exceptionally favourable to the development of transference or attraction.

fictitious. This will enable us to determine whether the term ' Heroic Age. although we cannot. as in the case of the English poems. that gous to that of the English heroic poems there is no valid reason for regarding the stories with which .g.' as applied to the two cases in common. Trpoae^rj /cpeiwv 'Arya/ue/jivcov iTTTrora Neo-ro>/>. THE COMMON CHARACTERISTICS OF TEUTONIC AND GREEK HEROIC POETRY. they deal as mythical or historical basis. . Thus in Ihe first part of Beowulf eight speeches out of thirteen by the hero himself are introduced by the formula Beowulf mafrelode beam Ecgpeowes. while three of Hrothgar's seven speeches follow : the words : may compare 7retTa Hrcfogar mafrelode helm Scyldinga. held to The most cursory glance sufficient to at the two groups of poems will be show that they contain many common features in regard to style. can be mean anything more than an age of 'heroes/ whose deeds were celebrated in poetry.CHAPTER XV.^ in _the in trQductionjof_ speeches. actually prove that they rest upon a must now endeavour to see what common We elements the two series of poems contain in regard to style and srjirit. In both we find the constant j^petidpn_of the -' jame formulaea _e. In as the Aeneid they seem to be avoided.i/36fjievo<. OUR review of the Homeric poems has led us to conclude that their origin and early history was in many respects analoand further. or : TOV S' rj/ueifieT Teptjvtos is The explanation of such formulae of literary poems poems such probably to be found in the fact that both sets were designed for preservation by oral tradition. In thejliad we the constant repetition of such formulae as TOV 8' : 9 a7ra/j.

The company pushed off their timbered craft and started on the adventure of their choice. but not alone. First of all they pushed out the ship into deep water and they placed the mast and the .XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY 321 Indeed the words introducing a speech are here seldom allowed to occupy a whole verse. and spread out the white . the of the ring-hoards. where the waves of the sea were playing upon the sand." With this . "The hero had with him picked champions of the men the of the Geatas. . Penelope. for . . man who and the warriors all prepared ascended the prow." With this passage we may compare Beow. each in sails.Beow. made ready the oars in the leathern proper place. The ship but they themselves disafloat in the roadstead embarked. Now when the noble lady drew near the suitors she stood beside the pillar of the well built house. 21 . 205 ff. we are scious of the glorious song in descended the lofty staircase of her dwelling. and they went on their way to the swift ship and the sea-shore. so with fourteen skilful pilot A was pointed out the features of the coast. IV 778 ff. When due time had elapsed the ship was afloat beneath the lee of the cliff. Into the bosom of the craft men bore their bright treasures. holding her shining veil before her face and one of her trusty attendants stood by her on either side. 921 ff. Icarios' daughter. And they moored high-hearted squires carried their arms. the bravest he could find companions he made his way to the vessel. became conher upper chamber and she two attendant maidens accompanied her. "As for the king himself." Again the movements of told that " royja are sometimes rather carefully noted. Another feature common to the two groups of poems is the J love of describing somewjiajLmmutely the detajls jpXa transaction whichjn itself is nothingjinusuaL Often in such cases they use very similar language. thoughtful In Od I 328 ff. Antinoos' preparations are described as follows: "With these words he picked out twenty men who were the best. famed for his sterling qualities he guardian likewise strode majestically from his bedchamber with a great we may compare : c. even their resplendent armour. There they took : their supper and waited for the approach of evening. sails in the black ship and its rowlocks. Thus in Od.

then the reply and finally Wulfgar's answer to Beowulf before the visitors enter. l 169 ff. and on Grendel's arm. or do ye wander over the sea at random.. tell me this and declare Who of men art thou. when he lands (v." Both poems_alsp elaborate^the various stagesjin the arrival As an example we may~tateThe aruj_rprgpj-ion of visitors. accompanied by arrived at the hall he stood roof. renowned Menelaos' active squire. IV. among his retinue of nobles." Menelaos replies that the strangers are to be brought The arrival jpJLJB." After this we have three latter's more speeches first by Wulfgar to the king. And he went on his way through the building to give the news to the shepherd of the people. where Nestor is greeting Telemachos: "Sirs. guised Athene as : : : " What warriors are ye that thus have come clad in coats of . 237 ff.amiIf . is described at much greater length. the king's herald and henchman. Another case occurs in III 71 ff. Exulting in his prowess he passed on until he took his stand at the side of the prince of the Danes still . When Hrothgar by the pillar (?). account of Telemachos' arnyai_at__Mejielaos' palace in Od. came forward and saw them.322 following THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY . Telemachos addresses the dis" follows Now come. and Wulfgar promises to take his message.) We may Thus strangers. who are ye. for he knew the usage of chivalry. risking their lives and bringing evil to " Beowulf receiyes_a_ jomewh at similar men of other lands ? greeting from the Danish coastguard. 20 ff. a queen traversed the ascent to the band of maidens. [CHAP. and whence ? Where are thy it plainly And (tell me) upon what sort of a ship city and thy parents ? thou hast come" with several other questions.. " Quickly then he sped to where Hrothgar was sitting. Now the lord Eteoneus. like pirates who rove. and whence do ye sail the watery paths ? Is it upon some enterprise. and with him his mead-hall. and standing beside him addressed him with winged words.at the Danish^kjjlgJLpalace in at once. compare also the ^formulae used in greetings^ jto in Od.: "At this time the hero Tetemachos and Nestor's distinguished son had drawn up with their horses in the vestibule of the palace. First. aged and grey-haired. he is greeted by Wulfgar. gazing on the lofty adorned with gold. Then he replies.

of the country chase a horned stag saved by a precipitous rock or dense : wood." With this we may compare (v." Again. bringing hither lofty ship over the waters along the high road of the sea?" " And again. one_j^the_^hieJLjeal!irs^^ is J3oetry jjffers_jrqm Teutonic. he uncertain. kiss that best of squires and clasp him round the neck. that they would ever meet again in spirited converse." etc. a secret longing for the man is burnt in his blood. the prince of the Scyldingas. the stag of mighty horns. greeting or bidding farewell to friends.) "Though : the heath-ranger. felt Aged and venerable as he was. " it is stated that Eumaios came up to his lord and kissed his head and both his fair eyes and both his hands. for whose sake he has endured many hardships even so then did the noble swineherd kiss godtears fell when he like Telemachos all death. 1369 ff. both poerns like to dwell upon the emotions felt in Thus in Od. as in the last passage from the Odyssey. he will 21 2 . and they cannot succeed in finding it. XV 271 ff. shortly afterwards (v. 251 ff. XVI 14 ff. and is example occurs in II. With this may be compared a passage in^ Beowulf describing the pool in (which the demons had made their lair (v. " A typical As when hounds and men it or a wild goat.XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY your 323 mail. Thus among the commonest HomericLgimiles are those derived from kind of picture hunting scenes. and the hot I Now must know your origin. So dear was this man to him that he could not restrain breast. is it with speed to make known whence ye are come. As an affectionate father greets his son returns from a distant land after nine years absence an only son and well loved (?). indeed he thought it unlikely. over and embrace him as one escaped from the account of Hrothgar's farewell to Beowulf iS/off): "Then did the king of noble lineage. ye who traverse the sea. as he stood there with his grey hair. before ye start from him." The frequent use of similes. fast bound within his beloved his heart's emotion . Sometimes however the same brought before us in a different way.): hence and proceed further as spies into the land of the Danes. Tears fell from him. Ye dwellers Best afar. hear now my fixed resolve. but in his heart. may make his way 'to the forest when beset by hounds after a long chase.

TTOL^V \awv which may be compared with folces hyrde.g." we meet with similes of a more ambitious. cap. which may be seen more clearly in Od. IV 708). we? 'A^at&>z/. 70. Exon. 1359).).g." In the use of epithets remarkajndjroej^ical expressions many able parallels are to be found. Geata beam. as though Finn's fortress were all on willing to shelter his : fire. e. In other cases however a distinct metap_hor is involved. "There he shall experience afterwards what: ever Fate and the stern KXwtfes ('spinning women') spun for him when he was born 1 . For this also we find parallels in Teutonic poetry. aicpias r)V/jboeo-(ra<. 1 as me \aet wyrd gewaef in the Anglo-Saxon . e. e. e. 157. Some of these are merely of a descriptive character. But it is Common (' features to be observed that they possess also certain which appear to be of deeper__significance. Finn 35 f. II 455 ff. and some more than circumlocutions. The characteristics which we have been discussing up till now affect only the language and style of the two groups of poems. "A gleam arose from the swords.! 3 f.324 yield THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY up his spirit [CHAP." For the prevalence of similar ideas to Helgakvi'Sa Nials Saga. Geatas.. which among the Teutonic peoples we may refer We may compare such expressions Rhyming Poem (Cod. Hundingsbana. character. and above all to the Saga af Nornagesti (cap. for 'A^au. and his life on the brink before he will be head therein. as in II. 11). where the gleam arising from the bronze armour of the Achaean army is compared to the blaze produced by a forest fire. v. corresponding to the Anglo-Saxon brimhengest. In particular note should be taken of the metaphorical terms applied to kings.. (Od.g.g. Gylfaginning. eptco^ 'A^at^v with eodur Scyldinga. and perhaps also ot>po9 'A^atcof with the very common expression eorla hleo. which is probably an epic word. cap. (Od. as when ships are called d\o$ LTTTTOI. 15. Thus such expressions the webs as o\fiov eVe/cXwaay or wigspeda gewiofu of success in war ') are probably to be traced to a primitive^ relig^jas_coriceptiQn. not Occasionally to say extravagant. though it does not occur in the extant fragments. VII 196 ff. are XVI 365) little beside windige naessas (Beow.

As a typical example we may take a passage from Hector's speech before " his combat with Aias (II. both Greek and Teutonic. the memorial of an unfortunate man. XXIII 76. XXIV 80 ff. common religjous^conception a passage which we have already ff. upon a projecting headland above the broad Hellespont so that it who are now might be conspicuous to men upon the sea. who once upon a time was slain in his prowess by glorious Hector. cf. So shall it be said by some one who lives in after days. and construct for me a barrow upon the shore of the grey sea. memory may not be forgotten. apart from its religious bearing. lest I bring down wrath from the gods upon thee.g. XXIV 37 f. XI 71 ff.." In Od. so that I may be known even to those who shall be hereafter. and my fame shall never perish. all that I possess. when he in time to come sails his many- oared ship over the dark sea: 'This is the memorial of a man who died long ago. The rite of 'paying the due of fire' (XeXa^wcrt VII Try/ao?) to a dead man is often mentioned in theTIiad (e. 54). VII 85 ff. so that they may take him to the welldecked ships for burial and construct for him a memorial barrow by the broad Hellespont.' So shall it be said in time to come . Agamemnon's spirit describes how such honours had been paid " to the remains of Achilles Then over them our sacred host : of warriors from Argos constructed a great and splendid gravemound. Somewhat clearer evidence of a is furnished by Beow. my lord. Here we are brought to one of It will the most striking characteristics of heroic poetry..XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY 325 presents such a remarkable parallel to the story of Althaia and Meleagros. namely the constantly expressed thirst for fame. abandoning me when thou goest away. XXII 342 f.. quoted (p. to be mindful of me and not to leave me behind unlamented and unburied. both _durin Acme's. But burn me up with my arms.: "There I exhort thee then. both those alive and those who shall be hereafter. This may be seen especially from the speech of Elpenor in Od." With both . own life and in after times.) and undoubtedly had a religious significance. expresses a desire on the part of the speaker that his.) I will give up his body to : the longhaired Achaeans." be observed that this passage. 2124 79 f.

" This love of glory is held up as an incitement to bravery in __ ctira1 situations. between the two seas. the dying words of Beowulf After the pyre is consumed command my famous warriors to construct a splendid grave-chamber where the head- 2802 ff. We may compare also v.) : land juts into the sea. Far and wide was that brave man's glory spread.. .. today thou shalt either be able 430 ff. on earth's broad expanse and beneath the canopy of heaven. is taking banqueting hall. we may compare Socos' speech in II. these passages (v. It shall tower aloft on rones Naes as a memorial for my people so that in after days the name of shall be familiar to manners who ply their from afar over the dark waters. though used from a different point of view. as in XX represented as 83 ff. thou counseller . XI " O far-famed Odysseus. 1221 ff._. to boast over two sons of Hippasos that thou hast slain such men as we are and robbed us of our arms or smitten beneath : spear thou shalt lose thy life.whf:rf: and JQt_all. Frequently and by many was it declared that whether to the south or north. throughout Hellas and mid Argos. there existed no nobler warrior nor one more worthy to govern.have his glory eel er ' H Beowulf's Barrow ' brated_jvery. Odysseus himself says His wife bewails (Od. where Hildegyth encourages the hero as follows " O son of Aelfhere. where the disguised Apollo thus taunts Aineias:' Aineias. One passage (v.." tall ships The summit of a hero's ambition ~is~ta. or firp gning tp rjgrfnrm place in the Sometimes 1 this II. IX 20) that his glory reaches to heaven." The extent of Beowulf's fame is proclaimed in more extravagant terms. her troubles in the following words (ib.. 856 ff. 88).. I 8 ff.: "There was Beowulf's fame celebrated. as in Wald. a day is come which without doubt has in store for thee one or other of two issues : either to lose thy life or to possess lasting glory among mortals. IV 724) " Before this I lost my brave lion-hearted husband who was preeminent among : the Danaoi for every kind of excellence.time. namely the boasting oJLwarriQrs^over _ my The their own personal prowess and the deedsjthey_hayei_ger formed." For the alternative form of expression.) has already been quoted (p.326 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY we may compare " [CHAP." last passage introduces us to another prominent charac-_ teristic_gfjberoic poetry.

. fight steadfast 1 me in is it to is My courage still. where Idomeneus makes himself known to Deiphobos " Now stand forth thyself to face me. that I that Not me shall knights bring am willing to leave this my prince lies slain in battle. for I am sure thou wilt not persuade me. V 252 ff. "Sigeferth is A : my name. which v." Practically the a passage from the 3." It will as much on his ancestry passage Idomeneus prides himself as on his own prowess. poetry (cf. But now have ships brought me hither with consequences evil to thee and to thy father and the be seen that in this 1 rest of the Trojans. Ealhhelm by name. was a wise earl and blessed with worldly prosperity." Beowulf himself indulges in a " I am resolved to perform a deed of similar boast (v. when quaffing thy wine. that thou wouldst try thy strength in open battle against Achilles " Often compare Beow. now Ealhhelm held office in the reign of Edmund I.e." : . We may compare the battle of Maldon." army and make my way home. public reproach. same idea appears poem on 97). may compare II. enough have scions of combat vowed over the ale-cup. 636 ff. neither to cower in fear. typical example occurs in Finn 24 ff. Nowise inbred in a runaway battle. that they would abide Grendel's onset in the hall with their terrible swords.battle. (i. where now is thy boasting." Again. Byrhtnoth's knights. XIII 448 ff. one of "I will make my against lineage known to all. of Crete.) knightly prowess or to meet with my life's end in this mead- son of Peleus " ! We may : : hall. that thou mayest see what sort of a First Zeus begat Minos to be ruler scion of Zeus is come here. pp. and Minos again begat the blameless Deucalion and and wide. boasts as follows: that I come of a great Mercian house. I for certain from) whichever course We take with me. I shall not draw back war or peace) thou dost prefer to (i. The idea of : inherited valour finds expression again in II. Here too thou shalt have am a prince of the Secgan and a rover known far Many hardships and stern encounters have I endured.XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY 327 of the Trojans. when drunken with beer. Deucalion begat me to be lord over many men in broad Crete. it is by boasting of much the same kind that warriors make themselves^ known to one another when they meetjn_ . Aelfwine. Beow. My grandfather. 480 ff. in which thou didst vow to the princes of the Trojans. largely follows heroic In 216 ff.e. where Diomedes says to Sthenelos "Exhort me not to flight.

. Beow. that : terrible flames shall last. near to help our war-chief. All my kinsmen in their knightly prowess has Fate swept off to their doom. As an instance we may quote a verse which occurs several times. XIV 1 80 f. when in the f.el in the .) " Now is the day come that our shortly Let us draw liege-lord needs the strength of brave warriors." afterwards (v.g. and set your minds upon impetuous exhortation." So in Finn 40 we are told that " never was a nobler recompense paid for sweet mead than was (then) rendered to Hnaef by his bachelors." We may comOd. though in a more elaborate " But awake now. But we must take the context into account. is only pare Thou art the last a dependent of the house " On his return home the illustrious suitors are lying in wait for him. my friends. e. hands ready (or 'take your mail-coats'). : ourselves to our lord who gave us these need like this befell him we would repay the And again. in order that the seed of : godlike Arceisios may vanish nameless from Ithaca. be mindful of your your valour. as I have been told. even of Waegmund's line. " Beowulf s farewell_words_tq_ Wiglaf are (v. have form.): remnant of our house. need the knight stood upright and showed forth his prowess strength and valour such as was inbred in him. be stout of heart. occurs in Finn 10 ff. who is by far the best of the men of Argos.. my warriors. I myself must follow them. 2634 ff." The feeling of pride ina noble family becomes clearlyinoticeable also on occasions when the family is threatened with extinction. " Then. Patroclos immediately (XVI 271 f." It is true that these last two passages would in themselves be appropriate in any martial poetry. in the national king's dire 2694 ff." ." : The same prowess." h e h Pimc_gpirit-^hQws_its.) adds the words "in order that we may do honour to the son of Peleus.exhortations of princes to their followers. in speeches of Hector and Patroclos: " Be men. in " I where Wiglaf is exhorting his comrades remember the time when we were receiving mead.328 : THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY [CHAP." The same thought occurs elsewhere in the English poems. the helmets and sharp swords. 2646 ff. though here the speaker. leap forth in the forefront (?). so long as the heat of the fierce and beer-hall we pledged if bracelets. Eumaios. 2814 ff. battle-harness.

The same characteristic appears throughout the passages which we have quoted and countless others. recessisse. princeps\ seem to correspond to one another ava% almost exactly.nr. practically equivalent to the have dealt above (p. 14) in his account of the comitatus of the ancient Germans " The principes fight for victory. comes Homej^c Greeks . . 270 ff. king of the Geatas. In both cases alike the leading idea of the Heroic Age may This is be fittingly summed up in the phrase K\ea It is di>8pa)v. p. p.) in order that they may win glory not for the Achaean nation but for their own personal lord and he adds further that hear also of pricje of .e.XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY The underlying : 329 clearly that which is described by Tacitu's \Gcrm. as are of preeminent position. but the comites fight_ idea is for the*'** pri. 325) the glory which would result from the combat to the hero or his opponent is the only No consideration is taken of any effect subject touched upon. by so doing they will bring shame upon the national leader.national feeling. Anglo-Saxon dom. For kings too.). though it is not easy to find a satisfactory rendersuch ing for them in modern English. That Wiglaf whose bravery is said to be inbred (cf. sua quoque fortia facta gloriae eius assignare praecipuum sacramentum est. 87 f. \&. 1 iam uero infame in omnem uitam ac probrosum superstitem principi suo ex acie ilium defendere. which properly denotes the relationship of liege-lord. terms used in the two sets of poems (OepaTrav pegn.^" And this description is probably true of the v The just as much as of the Teutqnicjieroes. whose great achievement was the slaying of Yet Eanmund was at this time the Swedish prince Eanmund. principes pro uictoria pugnant. with which we essential to notice that the In Hector's speech object so much prized is personal glory. ' apparently under the protection of Heardred. which might be produced thereby upon the fortunes of the war. i. 328) was the son of a certain Weohstan. tueri. comites pro principe. ' The same phenomena appear in the English poems. before his combat with Aias (cf. we find in each case a very similar expression (ava% avbp&v eorla dryhteri). Occasionally we familj^but^scarcely ever of any truly Patroclos exhorts his men to bravery (II.pp. Achilles himself retires from the conflict owing to a personal wrong. especially dryhten. and only returns to it in order to avenge his friend. XVI .

Whosoever of you through shot or blow meets with death arid fate. his own nation. was in the service of Onela. lit. Weohstan however. Not unseemly is it for him to die fighting in defence of this country." These feelings may be regarded as forms of patriotism but it is patriotism of a distinctly practical kind.). In II. He will leave his wife and children in safety. XV 494 ff.: "I have visited Wulfhere and Wyrmhere. these features appear in connection expect. Lnv ofhorne^and zeal jn itsjiefence are of course frequently mentioned in both groups of poems. as phrase (f)i\rjv we might with the Trojans. 6. XXIV 499 f. . For it was customary. Alfred. 7.. Such cases appear to have been by no means uncommon in the Teutonic Heroic Age. let him die. fatherland. though he belonged to the Geatas.330 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY also lost his life [CHAP.) when he comes to plead with t Achilles for his son's body " : He preserved my city and its inhabitants. who same war. at that time for young noblemen to take service under foreign in the and the obligations which personal service imposed princes were held to be superior to all others." Much the same feelings are example we may his subjects expressed in take Beow." refer also to Widsith. city and treasures belonged to him. as may be seen from II. We common ever. to which we find frequent allusions in the laws (Ine. XII 243. even Hector whom thou hast now slain as he fought in defence of his country. It would seem then that he was fighting against their enemy. may refer to the . Hector replies: "The best of omens is to fight in defence of our country.' sacred peace attaching to the king's dwelling. when Pulydamas has urged 9 consequence of an omen. etc. the return of Breca after his swimming contest was he when he made his way to his Welcome to own dear 1 home. if the Achaeans depart with their ships to their own dear the fT. Often enough did they wage war unceasing. the land of the Brondingas and his beautiful sacred city We may where people. As an where Unferth is describing " ." Priam uses the same expression (ib. where Hector is " Now fight in close formation at the addressing his followers . his house also and his estate unharmed. 119 ff. : ships. when 1 The expression probably springs from the freef&oburh. 520 English poems. v. 'city of peace. retreat in all Most frequently howTrarptSa yalav..

. hold your left hand and cast the spear with good not your life. Wiss. d. it is authority impression is If this expression is to be interpreted in a local sense ('seat of possible to read the idea of patriotism as a sentiment into it . when Wudga and Hama guarded their golden treasures and (the y lives of) their men and women." Other good examples may be found in the forth the shield in works of the early elegiac poets.-B. by whose help we captured spacious Messene ." And again (ib.): from that troop into a hostile army. Another case may be found in the poem on the Messenian war (fragm. perhaps deserves notice above all in poetry of this use." forsook breezy Erineos and made our way to Pelops' broad Here the reference is to the first arrival of the Dorians in the Peloponnesos. 127 ft. What is type the An example occurs in Tyrtaios' Eunomia (fragm. Together with them we island.. An excellent example of national pride is furnished by the well-known epitaph on Leonidas and the Spartans who perished at Thermopylae may also quote the Laconian Embaterion commonly included ' ' We the fragments of Tyrtaios have been citizens of Sparta. d. p. ^oF. ancestral custom. the among " : O home ye youths. Heusler (S. v. given by Prof." as these afford Such passages pride^ istics abundant evidence for patriotism of the practical kind." is . different A interpretation of the passage .. the first person plural with r^fppnr fi fa a exjDlpits performed by the poet's nation in bygone times form of speech which seems to be quitejbreign to heroic poetry. Akad. come.XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY 1 331 around the forest of the Vistula the Gothic army with their sharp swords had to defend their ancient domain from Attila's " Often enough did the spear subjects.Round about it (or for its sake') war was waged for nineteen * 1 ealdne ') e\elstol.. for so to do is not Sparta's Regard courage. whose fathers of heroes. zu Berlin 1909. the son of Cronos and husband of fair-crowned Hera. 5): ". dating from later times. but my that the poet means no more than defence of home. We shall But this is not the same thing as national best be able to appreciate the special character- of heroic poetry in this respect by comparing it with other martial poems. des alten Erbthrones (nicht Stammsitzes). according to whom it means " Verteidigung des eald e\elstol. 926). fly whistling and shrieking.our king Theopompos dear to the gods. 2): "This city has been given to the Heracleidai by Zeus himself.

. by the 1 fugitives Nor from behind with swords sharpened on the grindstone." need not hesitate to interpret the last part of this quotation as an expression of national consciousness.332 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY by the " : [CHAP. did the Mercians refuse stern hand-to-hand combat to any of the warriors who in the ship's bosom had followed Anlaf over the rolling waters to our land. B. beginning the arduous assault. just as much as /in the We the of Mimnermos given above. host both of the seamen and the Scots." Both the foundation of Colophon and the capture of Smyrna took place long before the poet's time. forgers of war. Thus in the poem on the battle of Brunanburh (v. Cook. Thence in turn. But the poem as a whole differs essentially from the poem first ^ heroic type v owing to the mentioned incidentally it 1 fact is though the princes are permeated throughout by the sense that of national rather than individual glory. has greater slaughter been made since the time when the the edge of the sword army by Angles and Saxons made their way hither from the east over the wide seas. On the field of action lay five young kings stretched lifeless by the sword " . and with them seven of Anlaf s in this island before earls. The same patriotic sentiment is to be found in the martial poetry of later times in England. although it does not use person with reference to the achievements of the Saxon invaders." And 65 ff. to meet their doom in battle. so far as the books of our ancient historians can of an tell us. from the river Aleis. 20 ff. fragm. the Mimnermos.) we are told that "throughout the whole day the West Saxons with troops of horse pressed on in pursuit of the enemy's forces. when warriors eager for glory. Fiercely they cut down the On quitting steep Pylos. For . years. invading Britain. proud overcame the Welsh and won for themselves a country. 9 Neleus. ever without ceasing. warriors who possessed the spirit of endurance.) : Never now. fathers of our fathers. starting will of the gods we took Aeolian Smyrna ." A similar usage ap- pears in town of and at fair Colophon with overmastering strength we took up our abode. we came in ships to the pleasant land of Asia. and a countless again (v.the translation of this fragment I am indebted to the kindness of Mr A.

The story of Offa is an instance Sorli is A sister. The characters of Beowulf and Hrothgar may appeal to us more than those of Achilles and Nestor. the chief motif is almngfr invariably 1nv<* nr revpngp or pprg(7jTaj_ bravery. The theme of Waldhere's story is the elopement. of lovers and the bravery shown by the hero in defence of his bride. Greek attach more importance to personal^beauty a feature which only becomes prominent in the later forms of the Teutonic stories. whatever was the original form of its ending. any difference worth noting in this respect between the two sets of poems it is that the. generosity. The characteristics too for the which the heroes are distinguished are on the whole very much same in both cases strength. lason and the rest.^ in episodes as well as in the main stories. brought about story by disappointed love. with Dietrich von of heroism in single combat. hospitality. which ended tragically in the death of the lovers. or rather escape./ The story of Finn. counterpart to this is furnished by the story of HagbarSr and The Signy. The same remark applies obviously enough to Greek to the TliaH and Odyssey^s well as to the stories jieroic poetry of Heracles. if we may form an opinion from the fragmentary evidence at our disposal. Now let us turn for a moment to the heroes of ' ' post-heroic . The term elopement may more properly be applied to the story of HeSinn and Hogni. The story of Beowulf consists of a series of adventures in which i the hero seeks to display his prowess in encounters with monsters. It will be seen that throughout the heroic poetry of the Teutonic people. dealt with a fatal quarrel between two brothers-in-law. of SigurSr deals with a woman's revenge. In the various stories connected Bern attention is centred chiefly on the bravery. loyalty and resourcefulness of the hero and his knights./ XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY 333 Thus far we have been dealing with individual passages in the poems. but If there is the main outlines are very similar. The theme of the story of HamSir and the revenge undertaken by them for the death of their Revenge is likewise the theme of Ingeld's story in this case for the death of a father. courage^ resourcefulness. followed by revenge. Now we must consider briefly the motives of the stones and the characteristics for which the heroes are celebrated.

We may instance Bruteno and Widowuto the legendary founders and legislators of the The same is true of the early state of the ancient Prussians.334 times. More frequently they are known to us as legislators. founders of institutions. This analogy applies perhaps also to the objects aimed at in the two sets of Within certain limitations it may be said that the object of the heroic stories . THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY [CHAP. and. not for what they performed or founders of the experienced during their lives. but for the effects of their doings is upon later generations. Sometimes but it is as this fame was acquired through successful warfare Heroic . A similar character is borne by the traditional heroes of nations which have no Heroic Age. for those of Offa or in the biography of a statesman Lycurgos analogy would But it must 1 . The essential feature which disthese characters from those of the Heroic Age is the tinguishes fact that they are known chiefly. generals rather than as warriors that such persons are celebrated. the Spartan legislator Lycurgos. The explanation of this difference no doubt to be sought For a modern analogy to largely in the nature of the records. During the centuries which immediately followed the Age we hear of many princes and other persons who rose to fame both in England and on the Continent. Yet the most prominent names I | \ x which we meet with at the dawn of the historical period are those of legislators and public benefactors. whether he was really a historical may perhaps person or a character of mythical origin. such as Zaleucos and In earlier times by far the best known name is that of Solon. the Northumbrian kings Edwin and Oswald. above all. the stories of SigurSr or Achilles we should turn naturally to a romance or novel be sought rather 1 . records. the Mercian king Offa.' whose authority is referred to in King Byrger's preamble to the Law of the Uppland Swedes. Romulus. Numa. of Alfred the Great not to mention numerous prominent ecclesiastics. kings of Rome. In i Greece the number of names known to us during the corresponding period is extremely small. We compare him with that Wiger Spa. promoters of religion and protectors of the public In this country we may think of such persons as the peace. Kentish king Aethelberht. 'a heathen in the heathen age. Servius Tullius and the Republic.

Lycurgos and difference lies rather Romulus are scarcely conceivable without Sparta or Rome. and similar to that which characterises the poems. p. The shall we say with regard to such a character as Romulus ? between political and non-political. But it is certainly to be noted that the interest of the stories given by Gregory of Tours and other writers of the sixth century in so far as they relate to persons of Teutonic blood is essentially personal. den Zemyna. Offa's fame is inseparably bound up with the aggrandisement and reorganisation of the Mercian kingdom. . we have no is in general limited to the evidence that such stories were and that of unheroic records to instruct.). p. The interest to which stories of this latter group appeal hero's is own state . den Perkuns und andere mehr genennet. in the records and traditions of individual states. since these stories are related from a totally different point of view (cf. or to speak more accurately between national and non-national. no less certainly than Offa. Pierson. Sermon gehalten von ihrem Herkommen und alten Gebrauchen. their achievements was preserved only. But SigurSr and Achilles might belong to any Teutonic or Greek community in the former case indeed the hero's nationality is We have seen that the heroic poetry of not known for certain. Glauben p. We may quote a passage from Praetorius' Deliciae Prussicae (ed. . 24) relating to entertain to a festal gathering of young people yet been entirely converted. while law is the will of the ruler." There is abundant evidence einen for the existence of similar traditions among the Teutonic peoples from the earliest which the reader may be referred to Dr Schiitte's interesting book Oldsagn om Godtjod (especially pp. der at a time when the Prussian Lithuanians had not "Darauf haben sie sich um die Eiche und Stein Weydulut aber uf den Stein das Fell gelegt. works we have to remember that all records dating from Age are of foreign origin. The latter remark holds good not only for historical works but also for tribal traditions and tribal law. Attila was a man of flesh and blood. references to the early traditions of a nation are extremely rare and practically limited to the ancestors of the royal family. niedergesetzt. while the historical existence And what of Lycurgos is as much debated as that of Achilles. sich darauf gesetzet. or almost only. For ' ' Greek parallels we must With regard the Heroic to historical turn to works of the Hesiodic school and the elegiac poets. . p. This is the more noteworthy 338 f.. the Teutonic peoplgsjiad what may be called an international and we have no reason for circulation from the beginning doubting that in the Heroic Age itself the same was the case in On the other hand the memory of the later heroes and Greece. It is likely that opportunity was taken to impart instruction of this type at festal gatherings. But in heroic poetry.XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY 335 be clearly recognised that the difference here does not lie between historical and unhistorical. 118 197). whether Teutonic or times for Greek.

non-heroic society 2 Among these we may which animated heroic and note especially an essential difference in the conception of the state. have already discussed these phenomena of the stories (Stage IV of our scheme).). What interests us here however is the second piece of evidence brought forward by Prof. pre-history.e. Yet apparently he regards this phenomenon ('die personliche Fabel') as a characteristic personlichen Ideen" of the poetry only. 933 between Teutonic and Greek heroic poetry. I know of no evidence to justify so startling a conclusion .' with which we have dealt above 267 ff. With this question have to deal more fully in a later chapter. ). objection must be taken to the contrast drawn to require some reservation. note. to chronological as well as geographical relations.). and not of the society which produced it. Most of the examples are taken from the later forms chronological dislocations. (p.). .-H. that it lay in individuals not essentially bound up with a given community which fitted them for international But this difference of interest is for explanation. Heusler (S." etc.336 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY . Heusler (p. may be applied. mutatis mutandis. 1909. Certainly it knows nothing of modern on is So far as the Homeric evidence p. p. Now in order to prove that this is an unhistorical element evidence must be brought to show that the attitude of the poems the early poems (Stage II) does not faithfully reflect the ' ' spirit of the age. 936. and here I would only add that the observation quoted from Prof. He fully recognises and admirably expresses the individualistic. Wiss. d. [CHAP. etc. in which he seeks to historical element in Teutonic heroic poetry has been exaggerated. zu Berlin. on the contemporary historical works frequently testify to the prevalence of the same ideas which we find expressed in the poems. Murko's We paper on p. It is the fact that the interest of the international property 1 heroic stories was both individual and universal i. Teutonic stories) they are connected with the 2 I would d. it circulation. But have we any ground for disputing that it represents the politics current in the courts in which it grew up? Lastly. Even the statement that Teutonic heroic poetry is unpolitical seems to me contrary shall see in the following chapters that ' we ' ideas of politics. Akad. 920 ff. concerned the observations made here apply not to the poems as we have them but ' to certain hypotheses regarding their (p. non-national spirit of Teutonic heroic poetry as con" Es herrschen in unsrer trasted with that of the Old French epics Sage die : "Die germanische Sage kennt keinen Nationalfeind. itself a matter which calls If we are to trust the evidence of the records in the ideas is due to differences . 152 ff. call attention here to an interesting paper by Prof. 924 f. which itself was connected with a number of other families in similar intimately far as (in the case of 1 Except in so Church. It may be indicated here however that in the Heroic Age the state appears to have been regarded as little more than the property shall we of an individual or rather perhaps of a family. show that the The evidence adduced in favour of this view consists in the first place of unhistorical situations.

however it is well to bear in mind the story of the 22 . worn en in place owed its celebrity. but because it is founded on a motif which is extremely common in folktales. p.XV] positions. were doubtless not normally so unsettled that the! abduction of a queen or princess could fail to attract attention. all Swedish queen with consequences disastrous to himself. that the story in the first But the_ paxt-^layejd. Among the Franks kingship had long been a mere shadow when the non-royal Pippin took the throne in 752. 2930 ff. Jby:. where Haethcyn is said to have carried . In England we do not meet with non-royal kings until more than a century later but even by Bede's time it is clear that the kingdom had come to be looked upon as something more than . main theme (cf. Heroic Age . story of the abduction of Helen is of mythical origin. which usually preserved the instiof kingship. THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY The 337 decline and disappearance of kingship in Greece during the eighth century presupposes of course that such a conception had long ceased to retain its vitality. But it has been pointed out above (p. social conditions such occurrences were common conditions of the Heroic Age. or out of wrongs perpetrated by one prince upon Thus it has been assumed by many scholars that the another. we may presume. The off the Above c. the property of the royal family. And even among tution the Teutonic peoples. 333) we may allude to such tures form the cases as Beow.must not In addition to the stories of which love advenbe_pverlooked. not on account of any intrinsic improbability contained in it. international^uarrelsjduring the Teutonic. once thejcharacteristics of the spirit of the Heroic Age fully recognised they will be found to explain several features in the stories which have often been regarded as incredible./ In the case of the wife of a distinguished king it can scarcely be doubted that such an event would produce a profound sensation and it is to this. 265) that the reason why the abduction motif is common in folktales lies in the fact that under unsettled in real life. whether Greek or Teutonic. we find abundant evidence for a similar change of view.. One of these is the fact that wars arf When have been represented as arising out of the personal quarrels or jealousies of princes.

the Visigothic king Amalaric (ib. p. 97 f. There has undoubtedly been a tendency among modern historians to neglect the personal element in early Teutonic history and to concentrate attention upon the movements of peoples and upon 'constitutional' changes. The dissensions which eventually brought about the downfall of the t Hildeberht's invasion of Spain was undertaken in Thuririgian kingdom had their origin in the proud and jealous character of Amalaberga.). t 1 Unless we are prepared to shut our eyes to the plain evidence of history we are bound to recognise that the personal feelings of queens and princesses were among the very strongest of the factors by which the politics of the Heroic Age were governed. Yet it is only necessary to place the two sets of records side by side in order to see that the one is complementary to the other that the difference lies not in the subjects treated but in the point of view from which they are regarded. but from the work of a strictly contemporary We Roman it historian. comes not from a poem. III 10). Certainly the picture of Teutonic . who implored her sons to exact vengeance for the murder of her parents a case not unlike the Norse version of the story of HamSir and Sorli.Qoujt Jife which they give produces a differenfimpression from that which we gain from the poms. Gregory (li 28) records without comment or that the Burgundian king Gundobad slew his brother explanation . According to of Tours (III 6) the overthrow of the Burgundian kingGregory dom was due to the instigation of Hrothhild. The feature with which we have just been dealing is only one of several which owing to this neglect have been regarded as essentially poetic motives. be said that this case stands alone. who had been illtreated by messages her husband. war between the Angli and the Warni (cf. the wife of Irminfrith (ib. ' ' sixth Decisive evidence to the contrary is furnished by writers of the century. The atmosphere suggested by the latter is one of adventure and romance. Nor can answer to from his sister Hlothhild. III 4). a war which owed its origin to Radiger's repudiation of his marriage contract have seen that this story with the English king's sister. whereas the former convey an idea of reckless brutality. the origin of which must be sought in myth or fiction.338 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY [CHAP.

Different too would be the impression conveyed by But the story of SigurSr. if we had it from a Roman historian. was rewarded by Hygelac with the hand of his only daughter and an enormous grant In Beow. and it is equally futile to seek for grounds of policy in actions which very frequently were dictated solely by passion. which it seems to have taken as a rule Ambition was But the form was purely personal and . constitutes an overwhelming advantage.. treated in heroic poetry we should doubtless gain a very different impression. ff. under Guthhere is obtained by crediting the youthful kings of unlearned communities with a knowledge of political principles which we have acquired from long study of the history of many nations.XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY 339 Hilperic (Hrothhild's father) with the sword and drowned his If this incident had been wife with a stone tied to her neck. directed towards the acquisition of wealth or glory rather than with 1 any view of establishing the kingdom upon a permanent basis Another feature to which exception has been taken fact that in battle scenes the fighting is is the generally represented as a series of single_c_Qriibats between the various leading men. 1 As a II typical case we may cite the story of the Frankish prince Hlothric (Greg. must have prompted the man to pick out the most distinguished opponents. 40). helmet and mail-coat. 22 2 . we are told that Eofor. some gives No true impression of the Heroic Age can be fifty years later. In hand to hand fighting the possession of defensive armour. no doubt a factor. the passion for personal glory. who at Clovis' suggestion caused his own father to be murdered. Secondly. who slew the Swedish king Ongentheo. are compared it cannot be said that the when the two stories picture which the poems present of the Burgundian kingdom incompatible with the picture which history us of the Burgundian kingdom under Gundobad. have no reason for doubting that in both the periods with which we are dealing the leaders were far better armed than the rank and file of the forces. Here again the objection seems to be based on a misunderstand- In the first place we ing of the conditions of heroic warfare. which ambitious so prominent in the poems. killed He offered Clovis a share of the treasures. Tur. but latter 2 was himself by the envoys of the while he was bending over his father's treasure-chest. If he was a 'squire' success would bring rich rewards 2 But is . 2991 of land and treasure. as in all stages of society.

and this is at in a battle the most important point. together with his helmet. rather than by skilful generalship. warriors.). Ammianus Marcellinus. ). even the leaders themselves.340 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY [CHAP. Deutsche Heldensagen. somewhat strange to modern ideas. \ passage that ' when the king was slain the heart of the resistance was broken. when the Romans captured the Alamannic king Chonodomarius. 427 ff. 60. save only with the king. his sharp He took from Ongentheo his iron mail-coat and and hilted sword. have to take account moreover of another element. There is satisfactory historical evidence for two cases in which distinguished Romans proved victorious in such encounters (cf. period to which these notices refer La may be described as a Gaulish Heroic Cf. 140 f. It is not to be doubted that princes of the Heroic Age did seek to display their prowess in single combats. The (cf. Civilisation des Celtes. Under such conditions we may well believe that fight neither with small nor great. Age p. 266 in Hartel's edition. Very often this meant the destruction of the it appears that the death enemy's organisation. Germ. namely the intense eagerness * the direction to We In the battle scenes tojret possession of a fallen enemy's arms. gave themselves up voluntarily to share 2 And in Beowulf we see from more than one his captivity . XVI 12. D'Arbois de Jubainville. forthwith to the end of hostilities. The story of Theodric's combat with an Avar champion named Xerxer (Fredegar. as among the Germans of Tacitus' time 1 were doubtless expected to distinguish themselves by preeminence in bravery. " Thereupon the warrior (Eofor) despoiled quote conflicts usually We : his opponent. to the number of two hundred." And again v. Jiriczek. Thus or capture of a king led At times indeed in the battle of Strassburg in 357. 2613 ff. 14: cum uentum in aciem turpe principi uirtute uinci. It is well known also that the princes of the ancient Gauls were in the habit of engaging their enemies in single combat. may Beow. where (p. . the defeated warrior is called Bulgarum ductor. Chron. turpe comitatui uirtutem principis non adaequare.). the general object aimed was not to gain a strategic advantage but to kill the leaders. his personal retinue. 2985 ff. p. I p. Thirdly.: " To him (Eanmund) Weohstan brought death in combat by the 1 Cf.' was a piece of perfectly sound policy. . 17 2 ff. most severe take place over the bodies of In the English poems it is much the same. II 57) appears to be based on an exploit for which we have contemporary evidence in Ennodius' Panegyric cf. and brought the old man's accoutrements to Hygelac. this feature is constantly to the fore indeed the of the Iliad .

they were handed on from costly. and it has been calculated that such an article would take a single workman nearly a whole year to- make 1 . a and. said to have to battle in golden . If..). be remembered further that wealthy princes. when he was slain.' render up the spoils to their will . account is taken of the chances of booty and ransoms. who in both these cases are 'squires. VI 235 f. The article chiefly coveted seems to have been the coat of In Wald. 1 195 ff. were in the habit of carrying about It is to their persons a considerable amount of gojd. Nordische Altertumskunde. kinsmen he presented the burnished mail-coat and the ancient sword of ring-formed workmanship though the latter was returned to him and to his It be seen that the Teutonic warriors. II 1 6 ff. prompted no doubt by Iovej2f_display. good superb garment for a prince to possess. when his hand is defending life's treasure from his foes. Glaucos indeed is armour worth a hundred gone oxen (II. coat of mail which was found intact at Vi in Fyn A contains about twenty thousand rings. was wearing the magnificent necklet which Wealhtheo had given to Beowulf 2 (v. Beowulf's coat of mail had belonged generation to generation. IV 31) TT]v re yap r&v &ir\uv crKvr]v KaraKopus T<$ xP Vfrt? /careiX^/t/t^j'Tjj/ fj/j. Hygelac." Such articles were doubtless very and often. and was believed to be the workmanship of ) Weland. whereas the Greek princes keep them for themselves we need not doubt that they expected an equivalent reward.XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY . worn out with an adorned with gold.Tria'Xf'o Kal TWV oi KO<T/J. 128. S. Before his encounter with Grendel he charges the of the Danes to send it back to Hygelac in the event of his king death. II p. Historical records give evidence to the same effect and there can be little doubt that the spoils of such kings often amounted to a considerable fortune. in addition to spoils of this kind.). especially Procopius' description of Totila at his last battle (Goth. the giant by Onela. /ecu TOV doparos a\ovpy6s re /ecu dXXws /SacriXe? irptirwv . MUller.. as in this case. battle." lords. the hero says to Guthhere " Take from jriaiL me the grey mail-coat. 341 sword's edge helmet. if thou dare for thou seest how I am but : . : Cf. to his grandfather. Upon my it is shoulders here stands heirloom from Aelfhere .OS 2 $K re TOU irL\ov ocros.. 1 Cf.

. or not only after a general victory but also in incidental and more less private forays 1 it will be seen that warfare of the . 1 Even in time of peace merchants might turn into freebooters (cf. deal with . who appear to have employed a very against similar method of warfare. . combined with the fact that they had command of But. 322). Yet the early heroic poems give less evidence even than the Homeric poems for cruelty of this kind. at all events if commanded by generals who Achaeans would have had no chance This followed a definite plan of campaign. Even in the Iliad itself (VI 67 ff. given by Gregory. but his advice seems to be unheeded.) a warning is (ib. like those of the Spartans or the Romans. Piracy indeed was scarcely regarded as disreputable (ib. even an inferior army had not to fear.342 THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY [CHAP. u 25). recorded by Procopius (Goth. if at all. p. by a pitched battle. and to the behaviour of Theodberht's army in Italy. they seldom or never had to any considerable Roman army. ill 72 ff. the Homeric after the first encounter. of Troy would have caused little comment. 2 As illustrations of the barbarities associated with warfare of this type we may king of the Franks. . Between two armies of the heroic type the issue had to be decided. II { | against it by the old Nestor. On later the other hand against organised forces.). so far as we know. The Saxons and other northern may peoples owed their successes largely to the rapidity of their movements. xiv 262 ff. who is represented 555) as an exceptionally skilful general. raised much Sheltered behind fortifications. At such a time the atrocities which Greek tradition relates in connection with the fall refer to the speech of Theodric. It is inducements. The same conditions prevailed during the Viking Age and doubtless also during the Teutonic Heroic Age. In Britain their procedure was probably similar to that followed by the Scandinavian invaders in the Viking Age but the latter were unable to cope the sea. apart from not to be supposed that such warfare was really of an effective character. be seen especially from the history of the campaigns the Italian Gauls. Od. In that case the people most exposed to danger were what we should call non-combatants not only the women and children and unwarlike dependents of the combatants themselves 2 but also any neighbouring communities who might be caught unawares by bands of hungry warriors. III 7. heroic type offered very substantial the acquisition of glory. cf.

who of all the Teutonic peoples seem to have been least affected by the spirit of the Heroic Age. . It is not to be forgotten however that their . both as foes and allies. power were doubtless more formidable but they had probably learnt much from long experience of the Romans. supremacy came ultimately to the Franks.XV] THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HEROIC POETRY 343 with prolonged and organised resistance. such as was offered by The armies of the Goths at the height of Alfred the Great.

These reflect the conditions of the Viking Age rather than those of the Heroic Age. in addi- Anglo-Saxon poems and the works of contemporary Roman historians. but this some cases goes back to the century or even J^ further. was also the power by which the security of the property and The person of each man him member of the community was guaranteed. Jordanes and Procopius. his kindred were bound to assist to obtain redress. course contain certain influence in in particular we to the following may note the earliest English laws Roman or Christian elements fifth . to rights of succesIt sion and duties of guardianship over children and women.CHAPTER AK^ XVI. though. such as Ammianus Marcellinus. such as the Lex Salica and the Lex Burgundionum. as with us. Some of these. THE evidence of the German poems for the social and political conditions of the Heroic Age cannot be regarded as trustworthy owing to the lateness of the period in which they were composed. we have valuable evidence from the early Teutonic codas of law. In principle the same is true also of the Norse poems. The influence of age the former extended not merely.e. If he were slain they had to exact . i. If a received injury or insult. as we have already noted. SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE. while a number of others two centuries and show probably little belong All the codes of deviation from the custom of the Heroic Age. chief forces which governed the social system of that were the bonds of kinship and allegiance. On the other hand. from the Heroic Age itself. the difference here tion to the is less marked. date from the first half of the sixth century or earlier.

i. in spite of the fact that the Prankish kings claimed the throne by direct descent in the male receipt of wergelds with those . and the Agilolfinga and other noble families among the . JLt is. we hear sometimes of royal or noble families which bore a common name derived from some ancestor. East Anglia and Mercia respectively so also the Scyldungas (Skioldungar) among the Danes.e. and that originally they held land. though not always in the same proportion. maternal relatives shared was recognised the payment and on the father's side. the royal families of Kent.CHAP. Some laws speak of claims to succession as remote as the seventh degree. and as a rule amounted to considerably less. But this view goes a good deal beyond what the facts warrant. sides everywhere . the descendants of great-great-grandparents. Thus. while the rights and duties connected with the payment and receipt of wergelds seem generally to have extended as far as third cousins. the Merovingi among the Franks. just as it was divided among the kindred of the slain the proportion varying in both In case of bloodcases according to the degree of relationship. Again. cases certainly and the throne or special wergelds principality seems to have been regarded as in some sense some family property. exceeded half the wergeld. Some writers believe that kindreds in general were permanent organisations of this kind. and each had to pay his quota towards the compensation (wergeld). at all events for the period with which clear that at this time kinship on both we in are dealing. and possibly other property also. shed a certain sum had also to be paid to the king. in common. in Persons belonging to these families had probably . The character and size of the kindred appear to have varied in different nations.. from whom their power or prerogatives were believed to be inherited. Moreover the idea that the inclusion of the maternal relatives was due to an innovation cannot be maintained. XVI] SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 345 vengeance or compensation from the slayenx'On the other hand not only the slayer himself but every member of his kindred became liable to vengeance. real or mythical. the Wuffingas and Bavarians. the Icelingas. Such were the Oescingas. even in the but this sum seldom earliest times of which we have record .

where Clovis nefas est. But the aspect of not one which would That was a slaughter 2441 ff. but sufficient traces of the opposite system remain to render 1 probable that a change had taken place not so very far back it rather perhaps a weakening in the force of the bonds of kinship and implies of this we have very clear evidence in the Heroic Age. "the prince had to " unavenged. it is clear enough that the shedding of kindred blood was regarded with abhorrence in the Heroic Age. . Again. describing the euthanasia practised by the Heruli. .). the slayer was outlawed. in spite of seem 1 to have been by no means uncommon instances of the slaying of kinsmen in the Heroic Age. quod fieri n 41. II 40. Tur. to take another point of view. (v." all this. with those against kindred. meorum effundere. when it did occur. Further. No doubt on the whole the agnatic system of relationship had law in its earliest become predominant almost everywhere in the Heroic Age . In whom It is it would be directed and so also with the compensation. cf. Now it Any such change of course involves or . . generally held that homicide of this kind was extremely rare and that. says: nee -enini possum sanguinem parentum But this is represented as mere hypocrisy. 3 Cf. li^epj) yap ai/ry TOV (ftovta. Thus Procopius (Goth..346 line SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. II 14). states that when the dying man has been laid upon the top of the pyre. Yet. That would no doubt be in in accordance with primitive custom. The Origin of the English Nation. one of his countrymen goes up with a dagger and stabs him but he adds explicitly that this man must not be related to his victim 2 . Indeed a state of society based on blood-relationship the life of a kinsman must be sacred above all else. 327 ff. in part at least. there are clear indications that Prankish form gave priority to the mother's side. Greg. eft/at ofl flouts. Cf. has often been pointed out that early Teutonic custom seems to have made no provision for the case of homicide within the such a case the persons on whom vengeance devolved would be identical. perhaps the saddest passage in Beowulf is that which relates how Herebald was accidentally killed by his brother Haethcyn. p." he says lose his life strikes the poet of modern times. from Merovechus. is the case which first appeal to a man without compensation. adfin.

put to death this family . Sigiric. the change of feeling which was taking place one passage in . Tur. 2618 f. bloodguiltiness * ' . The Thuringian king . Clovis is said to have put to death a number of his relatives. Yet there can be no doubt that according . and though the fact was a reproach to to him. Irminfrith slew his brother Berht- hari (ill 4) the Prankish king Sigiberht was murdered by the orders of his son Hlothric (n 40). Among the Goths we have the case of quarrels who put his nephews Embrica and Fritla to death. son of the latter. And it is by no means only in poetry or tradition that we meet historians also furnish numerous examples.XVI] In SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 347 Beowulf the spokesman of the Danish kings. Such \>eah &e he his brt&or beam abredwade. He stripped the dead man of his arms and brought them to Onela who presented them to him and "said nothing about that deed of guilt although it was his brother's son whom he (Weohstan) had laid low 2 . kinsman but I think the idea is rather that of incurred by Weohstan. while his sons and grandsons were repeatedly involved in deadly strife 1 In view of such evidence we must conclude that the primitive For sanctity of the family was giving way in the Heroic Age.. who was trying to deprive him of the kingdom. 2 Beow. Eormenric. is said have killed his brothers. Onela and Eanmund. Onela's brother. In the same poem we hear of dissensions within the Swedish royal family. but the hostility (vendetta) which devolved upon Onela as Eanmund's Many scholars . with such cases Thus according to Gregory of Tours (ll 28) the Burgundian king Hilperic was killed by his brother Gundobad.: no ymb "&z faehfte spraec. was the case with Lothair and the sons of Chlodomer (Greg. in 18). Beowulf is particularly instructive. (ill 5). here understand Kafaeft&e to mean not the encounter between Eanmund and Weohstan. Eanmund was (towards Onela) the son of Ohthere. Unferth. had his own son. which ended in death for both According to the legends preserved in) had had a very bad record for such Ynglingatal in the past. it apparently did not prevent him from holding an important office at court." To the modern reader the poet's reflection seems strange for Onela had been relieved of a dangerous foe. while Sigismund. ' \ 1 In some cases the deed was certainly done by the relative's own hand. In the struggle between Onela and Eanmund the latter was slain by one of the king's knights named Weohstan.

We cannot tell indeed how far the change was general. at all events a man of the higher classes. commendation than that of generosity to return the knight was expected to give up In to his lord whatever 1 It may be observed that in Beow. at least in the higher ranks. This mail-coat (described as Weland's handiwork) is said to have belonged formerly to Hrethel. It is clear even in countries far then that primitive custom was breaking down removed from contact with Christianity and Roman civilisation. if he should be killed by Grendel. They dwelt and served him at his court and joined him in hunting and other amusements. characteristic not even personal bravery which receives more their followers. the arms of the dead man. had a lord. in the poems. But princes. wejiear most frequently of the courts and retinues of kings jmd of the services rendered by such persons is tcTtheir lord. This principle was of course by no means new. i. Even in Tacitus' works we hear of the comites who lived and fought in their lord's service and thought it a disgrace to survive his death. 13) still holds good : their presence gave him dignity in time of peace and protection in war. the hero requests the Danish king to send his mail-coat to Hygelac. he is entitled to the heriot. received from him 1 . as the knights who formed a As summary natural. Hygelac's father ( Beowulf s grandfather). since our knowledge is practically limited to the princely families. Tacitus' brief description (Germ. In the Heroic Age however it is probable that among the more northern peoples every man. was that of personal allegiance. when any of his men die. In the Anglo-Saxon laws the lord shares with the kindred the duty of protecting his men.34-8 SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. and when one of them is slain he receives a special payment (the manbof) when the wergeld was paid to the Also.e. . It is by no means unlikely that the lower strata of society were more conservative in many respects. In the descriptions of kings which we meet with in the poems there is no. while he rewarded their services with gifts of treasure and arms. The principle which had now become dominant. 452 if. which in theory at least the latter had originally relatives. except the king himself. to primitive tribal custom he ought to have taken vengeance upon \/ his knight.

Thus Beowulf. Wh en they reached manhood the king was expected to provide them with estates or_jurisdiction over land. i. as we see from the story of Cynewulf's death. signifying that the bond of personal allegiance was still preserved. It was customary for the sons of noble men to enter the. 1 grant is accompanied by the gift of a sword.. same spirit survived in England in later times. Beowulf went to Hrethel's court when he was only seven years old but this case may have been exceptional. is presented by Hygelac on his return with seven thousand hides a considerable province together with a residence and a prince's authority. It was also thoroughly in the spirit of the Heroic Age that Edwin's knight. adEcgb. Beowulf in turn presents his young relative Wiglaf with the dwelling-place of their family and the public rights appertaining thereto. we are told that the estate had previously been in the possession of the recipient's father. Abb. Bede. As an instance of personal devotion in time of war we may cite the surrender of Chonodomarius' retinue at the battle of Strassburg an incident to which we have already referred of the fall (p. So also in the various accounts of Hrolfr Kraki given by Scandinavian authorities The the king's knights are said to have perished to a man. after7 proving his prowess at the Danish court. king's service at an early age. u. I In the seventh century it appears to have been customary to make these grants the recipient was about twenty-four or twenty-five years old cf. Hist. The . as he was the king's grandson. 8. Lilla. which would enable them 'to marry and support a household of their own. acted when he threw himself between the king and the assassin and received a mortal wound in so doing. when in each of the two encounters only one member of the defeated party was left alive. when .. . and we may probably assume that such Yet it is plain that such practices cases were not uncommon.XVI] SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 349 he gained by his Hygelac and his exploits just as Beowulf renders up to queen the valuable gifts which he had received own from the king of the Danes. Ep. 340). The court minstrels Widsith and Deor receive grants of land from In two of these cases (those of Wiglaf and Widsith) their lords. must very largely have destroyed the tribal custom of su^c^- * sion 1 at least in the higher ranks of spcietv.

poems 1 We may its 2 had had to leave their homes through Such cases occur frequently in the Anglo-Saxon we may refer especially to the Wanderer and the compare the use of the word sluga is is ' in Servian heroic poetry (cf. who seem in general to have been tions. Hrothgar's "confidant and counsellor. popular king of Deira. Perhaps the most striking case in the poems is that of Weohstan. Among them we may men- tion Arbogastes. Gefolgschaft . Romans during the Heroic Age. of the seventh century Bede distinguishes between the comites. while gesift is In Beowulf however we meet with and dugiffi. 316) . 205. who took service under the Swedish king Onela and consequently became involved in hostilities It is probably due to the same custom against his own nation. almost an exact equivalent of comes*. Bede (H.' and so also gasindium. which deserves the fact that they were not always composed of born notice. p. the subjects of the king. may be assigned such persons as Aeschere. probably as a rule in the majority. und Forschungen. that we find so many Teutonic chieftains serving under the . youths and men of tried valour respectively. Most frequently perhaps the men who sought service abroad were those who had either lost their lords or vendetta. cf. and the ministri or milites. the same classes under the i.350 SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. It should be 'servant 1 observed that the word pegn means properly no more than though (like knight in later times) it came to be ' specialised.e. The same word ' used in a similar sense in the Langobardic laws ' ' gasindius). LXXV . In poetry both these words are of frequent occurrence. ordinary meaning servant.' . Ill 14) says that Osvvine. Quellen Gefolgsmann. who already held office." who had stood by his side on the battlefield but the former class were collective terms geogo^ To the latter . Another characteristic of these is retinues. p. Ricimer and Odoacer. . attracted young noblemen to his service from all sides and in the Heroic Age such cases appear to have been frequent. gasindus (or Bruckner. though they appear to be used more or less indiscriminately. Stilicho. young knights without such official posiThe Anglo-Saxon version of the Ecclesiastical History by gesfa translates comes and minister or miles by pegn. jurisdiction did Those who had received grants of land or In the English courts not thereupon cease to attend the court. E.

The but their customs seem from the beginning to have differed a good deal from those which we have been considering. These differences are doubless connected with certain features which distinline guished the social organisation of the Franks from that of the other Teutonic peoples. But there are a number of other stories which seem to indicate that it was at one time a regular custom for young princes to set out from their homes. who do not come Apart from slaves. selves in the relative value attached to oaths. Every one of the early Teutonic nations possessed a more or system. possession of land also seems to have been governed at first by tribal principles and later by that of succession in the male without reference to the will of a superior.XVI] SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 351 Husband's Message. They too had retinues of warriors (antrustiones or homines in truste regis) attached to the kings by personal service but the prevalence of lordship in the lower ranks of society is by no means so clear. that all northern authorities represent the position of SigurSr at the home of GuSrun. These be seen most clearly in the sums of money fixed gradations may less elaborate social for wergelds. it appears from the story of Waldhere and Hagena that even hostages were expected to In later fight for the prince to whom they had been given. Gaul. which It is in this light too claim to be based on genuine tradition. especially Franks were no doubt less affected at their settlement . The Goths were early exposed to Christian and Roman influence. with various class gradations. Such incidents are of the commonest occurrence in folktales and we find them also in works. into consideration in these matters. Further. What has been said above applies primarily of course to the more northern peoples. on reaching manhood. for and insults and for fines the compensations fixed for various injuries in some cases also they show them. the classes . . times we may compare the case of the British hostage who was wounded in the fight following Cynewulf's murder. The . such as Hervarar Saga and Ynglinga Saga. and to seek the court of some foreign king with a view to marrying his daughter and thereby acquiring a share in the sovereignty. after and the same first is true also of the in Burgundians.

and the other payments usually follow more or The actual sums fixed in the various less the same proportion. and the same applied to the ordinary freeman when engaged in military In England the existence of special official wergelds is uncertain. been very large. while that of the noble is twice or thrice as great as the former. Sometimes we find the terms litus. But it is scarcely probable that this class everywhere consisted only of manumitted slaves or their offspring. Sometimes however a class is subdivided sometimes again one Thus in the Anglo-Saxon kingclass is wanting altogether. at least before the great Danish invasion. Indeed . p.e. As to the numbers of the nobility there was apparently great difference between one nation and another. owing to the employment of But it may be regarded as different systems of currency. apparently doms. except landowning and landless. In general the freeman's wergeld is about double that of class. which indithat of the duke. Among the Bavarians it consisted only of six families.352 usually SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. though such persons were entitled to higher compensations in other service. 350). there were two grades of nobility. had wergelds for certain high officials. In some nations indeed the descendants of freedmen did become freemen. further. All the above classes (excluding officials of course) seem to have been as a rule hereditary. latus. the freedman. while freedmen did not form a distinct class. The term applied to it here was gesfocund^ i. Among the Franks on the other hand we find no noble . freemen and freedmen. whereas in cates clearly a hereditary official or rather military class. of gesfo origin (cf. Among the Franks special originally a persons in truste regis had threefold wergelds. extremely probable that the normal wergeld of the freeman was hundred head of cattle. had wergelds six times as great as those of the higher class of nobles. met with are those of nobles. But in this country members of the royal families respects. and there is good reason for believing that this class was largely Its numbers seem to have derived from subject populations. laws differ greatly in each case. including England it appears to have formed a considerable element in the population. lazzus (laet in the Kentish laws) in place of libertus . Some nations. Kent.

as I will tell thee. Hence there are now innumerable enemies in our house. Now take me on thy ship. c. and Odysseus again was the only son . 115 ff. that a : man " trusts to do battle. whose armies in the sixth century appear to have been of a more truly national or even tribal character. the pastureland of horses." The duty of vengeance is clearly recognised by Nestor in Od. lest they kill me tribe (or ' .XVI] SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 353 the evidence seems to show that the population consisted of two clearly defined classes. which we may describe as military and agricultural. in 196 ff. 23 . And in Argos." : people'). XV 272 ff. having killed a man of my own father's slayer.) " I also have left my country. in whom man trusts to battle. This is another feature in which Anglo-Saxon custom differed from that of the Franks. XVI 97 f. for it is in them frequently mentioned. and that all serious fighting was left to the former. more nearly to the English In Homeric society we find the that of the Teutonic Heroic Age. the disguised Odysseus says to Telemachos " Hast thou fault to find with thy brethren.) Nor have do I fault to find with my brethren. son of Cronos. he had many brethren and kinsmen who hold great authority among the Achaeans. since I have come to thee as a fugitive and suppliant. who killed his famous was in order to escape such a fate that Theoclymenos besought Telemachos to take him on his ship (ib. even For our family has been reduced a great quarrel takes place. begotten by his father but Odysseus begat me only and left me in his palace without profit to himself. " How good a thing it is for even a dead man's child to survive For he (Orestes) also took vengeance on his : ! the crafty Aigisthos. even a if : a great quarrel takes " place if ? Telemachos replies (v. I have taken to flight and so evaded death and black fate at their hands for it is still my lot to wander among men. relatives is same forces operative as in The duty of protecting or Thus in avenging one's Od. it is probable that the military organisation of the Danes and other Baltic peoples approximated type. It father. Arceisios to one man by the begat one only son Laertes. With regard to the other nations we have less information but .

Leaf and Myers. while the other. the Cytherian squire of Aias. when he has paid a large compensation. the kinsman of his stepmother Eriopis." Among the Homeric Greeks.) representing a dispute over the payment of a wergeld. XV 430 ff. But it is not at all clear how many degrees of relationship were either involved in this duty or . and D. (XV 334 ff. restrains his feelings and his proud spirit. as in northern Europe. for slain a man. XVIII 497 ff. of a man slain . the one claimed to pay full atonement. 459 II. . ff.). expounding to the people. the passage relating to Theoclymenos quoted above TTO\\OI /cacriyvrjTOi re erai re) we may probably infer that the duty of vengeance extended beyond the brothers of the From : 273 slain man and evidence to the same effect is given by the story of Tlepolemos (II.) his own fatherland He (Medon) he had dwelt in Phylace. the father of Beowulf. " The folk were gathered in the assembly place for there a strife was arisen. compensation for manslaughter could be made to the dead man's Thus in II. after he has accepted the comAgain. also II.354 . where Hector slays Lycophron. remains in the one. whom Oileus had to wife. in the description of Achilles' shield we find a scene (ib. 38 f. one of whom is to receive a payment of two talents. W. 1 Indeed the poems give us very little Quoted from the translation 3 The interpretation of Hesiod.. apparently as a reward for bringing about an 2 agreement." outright here of the story of Ecgtheo. pensation. Aias says to Achilles: "And one accepts compensation from a man who has slain one's yet Hence it comes to pass that brother or for the death of a son. need not be discussed here. away . are reminded for I am sure they are in pursuit. SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. who dwelt with him for he had slain a man in divine Cythera." relatives. entitled to compensation. (v. his own land. IX 632 ff. II 66 1 ff )." " We may compare . who fled for to a similar protection to the Danish king Hrothgar owing We cause (Beow. There is no mention of any payment to the king . two men striving about the blood-price . Another case of such exile occurs " : in from XIII 695 ff. and both were fain to receive arbitrament at the hand of a daysman 1 ." In this case the transaction takes place before certain elders. but the other denied him and would take naught. the son of Master. by Lang.

232 . Ka5/xe?ot.. Wonreding.e/j. KaSywetapej are at best very dubious examples. seem not to occur in families. But the difference between Homeric and later usage in this At respect does not seem to be one of nomenclature only. <f>v\a. c brothers Indeed the patronymic is nearly always poems Cases where they are derived from the name of the father. us Cf. it is worth noting that the word The other types (e.XVI] SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 355 information regarding the character of the kindred. Kara <f>pr]Tpa. This Ata/a'S??? for Achilles. though be due to the fact that attention is entirely concenleaders. 00\a d 0tfXots. are almost always used of individuals or of a pair of they Collective names for l7T7rao-/Sat). trated 1 2 upon the But . 7 quodque praecipuum fortitudinis incitamentum est." the battle scenes this may of any such organisation. Athens we find later c ' an elaborate system of ' ' ' ' tribes ((f>v\al). of which the last at all events were supposed to rest on a basis of blood- Divisions of a relationship. involving common religious rites.g. .voi>. hero. Soiol such as 'HpafcXeiSat. the Homeric 2 taken from the grandfather's name. Tacitus. In tribe to tribe 3 . like Dardanos. As examples we may mention the Aigeidai at Sparta and the Philaidai at Athens.TO. for Cadmos ' is probably to be regarded as an jr/wr eponymous national avdpas KO. is a feature in which not only from Teutonic but also. Ayd/j. e. where we frequently more. HrjXelwv TeXa/i^j/tos) are less frequent. ('ArpetSa. Germ. <pp~qrpii : (pprjTpTjfav ap^yrj. In the Homeric poems however we find extremely : II evidence for anything of this kind. The clearest case is in 362 f. still from that of later times in Greece.. IleXo-Tr/Sat. phratries or clans (<f>parpai) and kindreds (76^77). find families or kindreds bearing patronymic names derived differs Homeric usage from a remote ancestor. But the context shows that the conditions here are of a totally different character from those in the Iliad.g. states. appear to be quite exceptional. Patronymic forms such as 'Ar/oe^??? 1 are very common and correspond in But use to Anglo-Saxon forms such as HreSling. where Nestor instructs Agamemnon as follows " Divide thy that clan men according to tribes and may render succour to clan and we hear little clans. non casus nee fortuita conglobatio turniam aut cuneum facit sedfamiliae et propinquitates. Agamemnon.s. more or less similar type seem to have existed in the other Greek little II.

apparently with reference to same institution. find that scarcely any heroes claim an ancestry of more than three generations. post. of Peleus and Eurytion bears rather a close resemblance to that of Bellerophon. history are those of territories after the The Achaean families with the longest Agamemnon and are to believe post-Homeric tradition. Frazer. (f>v\ov passage Again. Similar stories are told of Tydeus. is is i. where the word dQp-rjTup occurs.). 2 The meaning of the word t(j. though these and many others 3 .Homeric stories do not occur in conflict with any evidence the Iliad and Odyssey. according to the story told by Glaucos (II. VI I92f. etc. succeeded his father Neleus. though there it is really no king after the retirement of Laertes. Lastly.<j)v\ov in Od. 1 The story Cf. Many of them the But cf. is a word of very vague significance. [CHAP. is If we examine individual cases we treated in the poems. Telamon. The same for true also of yevos. of the poems But there must be some reason for the neglect with which it .. Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship. II. IX 63. to <f>v\a dvOpMTTcov the descendants is man whose son there still alive 2 . I 386 f. p. generally expected that the young Telemachos will evenSimilarly Nestor has tually take his place (Od. Minos.e. XV -273 seems to be quite ambiguous. <f>v\r} does not except possibly in the form Karafyv^aSbv (II. they do not to be found there. any religious rites peculiar to certain families or clans. Teucros It is to be observed that. 3 . It would be rash of course to conclude from this that the no evidence clan and family system of later times was unknown in the age for in itself it bears every mark of antiquity. Bellerophon. the throne seems to pass in the regular paternal line. 238 flf. a stranger. Odysseus. ranging from the $v\ov 'Apiceurtov. received half the kingly rights in Lycia with the hand of the king's daughter. while Idomeneus apparently occuOn pies the throne formerly held by his father's father. II 668).356 SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE occurs only in this 1 . is the other hand. Peleus. from his father-in-law Tyndareos. and. Moreover all authorities agree that Menelaos received the throne of Sparta by marriage. but. if we the former changed its In Ithaca This brings us to the question of succession. II 14). occur at while of a all. time of Pelops.

XVI] SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 357 can be traced back to the seventh century. Except perhaps in Cos but the evidence here is ambiguous.Homeric authorities it would seem that the wife remained in her parents' home quite as often as she went to that of her husband. . 190 ff. 3 hardly be without significance that the Lycian prince Sarpedon (daughter's son of Bellerophon) is the only son of Zeus. . and that even then (i. We may note that a number of heroes are said to be sons of gods. . may perhaps account for the survival of primitive institutions among them. we find . This state of things however points to the prevalence of a cognatic organisation of society. whereas in the earlier It is to be borne in mind that the Epizephyrian Locrians were one of the first. the Hypocnemidian Locrians) as the families from which they were to choose the virgins who were to be sent to I lion. who belongs to the story of the Trojan war. of all Greek communities to obtain a codification of their laws This fact probably indeed within half a century of the establishment of the colony. indeed probably to the eighth. 2 3 1 Cf. But it can . XII 5. p. only traces of the former existence of such an institution. if not the very first. This story seems to imply that cognatic organisation survived in Locris down to the beginning of the seventh century 1 In other states 2 so far as I am aware. In the case of Bellerophon indeed there can scarcely be any doubt. If we are to trust post. the Epizephyrian Locrians stated that with them all ancestral honours were derived from women and not from men.e. which points in the same direction. 'The hundred families' were those which before this time had been selected by the Locrians (i. for the Lycians reckoned descent through the mother down to the time of Herodotus.e. Some of these however suggest that the change may not have been of any very great antiquity The Homeric poems themselves contain some further evidence. According community to Polybius. The historian himself (l 173) remarks on the custom as strange and without parallel elsewhere from which we may probably infer that it had disappeared Yet in one Greek altogether from Greece before his time. The Origin of Tragedy. in the second century) their nobility traced their descent from certain women of 'the hundred families. Ridgeway. we have evidence almost as explicit.' who had taken part in the foundation of the colony.

) is not take her to which in future are to be subject to Achilles. In others however it at least equally well denote presents made to the bride is herself. VII 311 ff. but in the end she takes the matter into her for herself own It from all the suitors.. It is made fairly clear (Od. father (II. occasionally indeed it appears to mean presents (i. In postHomeric genealogies the succession of son to father seems to become less frequent the farther one goes back. 149 is to be understood as introducing a new (alternative) proposal. XI 225 f. Then we have to take into account the use of the word eeSva. Some- case of course is . times the decision seems to rest with her son. now being superseded. Grundfragen d.) that at least some of the suitors have ulterior objects in view. Cauer. . ff. after exacting presents has been well suggested 2 that the ambiguity in the situation is due to a real change of custom.' paid by the bridegroom to the relatives of the bride and there is no doubt that . Telemachos. the word may so used in several passages. etc. a dowry) given by the bride's parents. Agamemnon's daughters and is (286 ff. to give seven cities.e. . no means convinced that the ancient custom. The nature of ix 144 Achilles is to choose one of quite clear. The story of Bellerophon is by no means the only case in which the wife remains at home. 292 ft.. hands. XV 518 ff. situated apparently Possibly v. generations examples are comparatively common. upon which the poems themselves are silent. was one of real purchase. By far the most prominent that of Penelope and here the question is complicated apparently by a doubt as to the proper person entitled to bestow the bride who is presumed to be a widow.). But with her Agamemnon in Messenia.) 1 and the wife of Iphidamas the son of Antenor appears to remain with her . Alcinoos proposes a union of this kind to Odysseus (Od. sometimes with her father never with Laertes. it by his marriage.358 SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. In regard to marriage customs the poems show a remarkable absence of uniformity. Peleus' home. 2 a Cf. for Odysseus himself had not acquired Agamemnon's proposal to Achilles in II. That the throne should be conveyed through Penelope seems to us no doubt il- But I am by logical 1 . On the whole however the other type seems to be decidedly more common. even if we leave out of account such marriages as those of Menelaos and Tydeus. It is commonly held that this originally denoted the 'bride-price. Homerkritik' p. XXII 49 ff. I 396 ff.

and we have no reason. help suspecting that these names belonged originally to genealogies of the Lycian type. which appear to be extended from the feminine suffix -id. 575 D) the Cretans used n^rpls for organisation in early times is irarpts. But we saw also that there the change was apparently accompanied by a relaxation in the bonds of kinship. and a relic of the feeling that this form of relationship was closer seems to be preserved in II. that of the Beow. distrusting the ability of her young son to hold his own. . Ex^oiSa. One can hardly (e. Add to this the practical consideration that Penelope is apparently the person actually in command of the treasury. We may also take into account the formation of patronymics in -t5a. v. which perhaps originally denoted 'land of one's father (the faeder eKel of Widsith. indeed in such a situation traditional feeling might very well incline towards regarding the queen. if SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 359 are right in believing that the type of marriage represented in the story of Bellerophon is earlier than the other. 96).. sg.XVI] But. XXI 95. so far as I am aware. for doubting that treasury and kingdom were as closely bound up together in Heroic Greece as they were in the Heroic Age of It has often been remarked that the the northern peoples of women in the Homeric poems appears to be one position of greater influence and responsibility than anything we find in later times. as in the absence of all evidence for the constitution of a regency when the king that a change is away from home. But nowhere is this responsibility made so clear 1 . as the proper channel for conveying the succession. 2369 ff. The same phenomenon If the view put forward . II/>oK\eiSas).g. above is correct we must conclude had been taking place in the organisation of 2 society. N. where in a situation somewhat analogous to Hygelac's widowed queen offers both treasury and kingdom to the chief surviving prince. which shows itself especially in fatal strife between relatives.by another suffix (-d-) also properly feminine. and indeed that it was as yet by no means complete We have noticed that the conditions seem to have been somewhat similar in the Heroic Age of the Teutonic peoples. especially d5e\06s (originally 'uterine brother'). But according to Plato (Republic. Evidence for the prevalence of cognatic by certain words denoting relationship. sg. 2 That the type of organisation which prevailed during the growth of Homeric Odyssey poetry was agnatic ' 1 We may compare may be inferred from the regular use of the word Trdrprj and the (probably older) expression irarpls youa. In the furnished north-western dialects these names were declined as feminines G. the situation depicted in the Odyssey is one for which ancient we custom could not have made provision. even though a stranger.

) with the story found later).360 appears in SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. . Phoinix confesses that he had been on the point of killing his had followers own slew father. refuge with Peleus because he had killed a cousin or kinsman Again in II. slew his father's mother's brother. his father's brother's son. similar positions. and that Orestes. the son of Agamemnon. The former case offends against the principle of agnatic organisation. IX 566 f. and Iphidamas to his mother's sister. Diomedes) seem to be in somewhat against the cognatic. implied that Meleagros slew his mother's brothers (in accordance In the same speech (V 458 ff. the Homeric poems. such as banquet of Thyestes/ bear a close resemblance to Teutonic which we know to be unhistorical. and Tlepolemos to leave his country in consequence.) was a certain Epeigeus who had taken (ib. 1 It is possibly due to the same cause that we meet with some curious marriages. The stated in the the tragic history of the house of Odyssey are that Aigisthos Agamemnon. the latter Some other heroes (e. Thus according to II. murder of . Among Achilles' XVI 570 ff. But it is to be rememhave lost their force to a great extent bered that among the Teutonic peoples we have in general no evidence except for the families of kings and royal officials in other ranks of society the kindred may have retained much 1 . eventually slew Aigisthos. Thus Alcinoos is married to his brother's daughter. II 662 f. 238). Licymnios. Later authorities add many more in- stances of homicide within the kindred. stories motive is so frequently employed relatives we may conclude that the was nothing very rare. It is not stated that Orestes slew his mother. Ill actually 310 we may infer at least that she perished at the same time as Aigisthos. but from Od. it is at least (avetyios) in his own city. Then facts there is Pelops. This is one of the cases in which I suspect that disagreeable incidents connected with royal families have been suppressed the ' (cf.g. Some of these. The most important feature in this story is that here we have not only homicide but also vengeance within the kindred. p. Others again may have been invented to account for the presence of heroes in Yet from the fact that this districts far from their native place. In this respect then the Greek evidence agrees entirely with In both cases alike the bonds of kinship seem to the Teutonic.

In the Iliad. The Odyssey presents us with the picture of a king's house this to Achilles in time of peace. in addition to Patroclos and Automedon. the herald Medon and the minstrel Phemios. 357) suggests that the kindreds may. We at all events Patroclos. Phoinix. seem to imply. though Penelope has not less than fifty only men apparently. 1 The Locrian case quoted above (p. Automedon and The on one side as something exceptional. namely that of_personal allegiance^ seems at first sight to play by no means so important a part The second in the life of heroic Greece. which deals with campaign left for is so crowded with kings that there is little room persons of humbler station. seem to share passionate friendship of Achilles and Patroclos appears to be a stronger bond than any other relationship that we meet with in the Homeric poems. may note that several of the chief men. This was life. The only force indeed of which we have any account at all is that of Achilles. saw in the last chapter that the speech in which Patroclos exhorts his men to battle is We The appeal entirely in the spirit of the Teutonic comitatus. each under a leader of its own. women in the house. have been organised on a cognatic basis. . but entirely to the effect that they should show their devotion to their own lord. the But. besides the suitors and their followers. of the two principles which we find dominant in early Teutonic society. the devotion shown by Phoinix is quite in accordance with the best traditions of Teutonic thegnship. are Telemachos himself. which he makes to them is not to any feeling of patriotism.XVI] SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE vitality 361 more as indeed the laws . the stage divided into five troops. But even if we set Achilles' hut. also have been the case in Greece for the Such may Homeric poems are concerned almost exclusively with persons of princely rank. But for the lack of prominence assigned to it there are special reasons a different reason in the case of each poem. sometimes at least. together with the swineherd. neatherd and goatherd who come with provisions each day from a distance. Certainly the strength and sanctity possessed by the kindred most easily to be explained on the supposition that the tendency which we have been discussing in early historical times is affected only a limited element in society 1 .

while on the other hand like dryhten. just as we In both cases the general meaning is find Beowulf described as Hygelaces is pegn. All that is said of them seems to indicate that their position was much the as that of the thegns in early Teutonic courts. 1 Thus gesift latter. the king himself has been away from hofne for many years. though their number is not stated. Oepdircav appears to correspond almost exactly to that of fregn 'servant'. There is a certain amount of parallelism also between eratpoj and But the former has scarcely the same technical significance as the . Aias' stances which rendered a change of abode advisable. The of the Phaeacian court also bears a general resemblance picture to that of the Danish court as described in Beowulf. as he is called /fpeiwv. 350). XXIII 85 and Lycophron.g. (cf. another OepdTTWV. Like the latter it is used for the master of a slave it (e. There is little or no evidence to show whether was cusup at the tomary for the sons of leading men to be brought Patroclos was declared to be the Oepdirwv of king's court. dvp>v seems to correspond it very closely to the English phrase eorla dryhten. In v. same The use of the word 1 . 37 f. In IV 22 f. But the conditions here are abnormal. The converse term ava% also seems to correspond almost as closely to the English dryhten. leave their homes owing to homicides which they had committed. XXIII 89 f). again in relation noticed (p. while v.). We have already 329) that the phrase aval. and even deities to all who recognise their authority. we hear of a OepaTrwv named Eteoneus. and his son is only just It is scarcely credible that a Teutonic reaching manhood. but the circumstances were exceptional. 2i6f. Od. who seems to be a person of some rank. and no doubt many such cases were due to circum- Opus (ib. to the most important kings is applied. is mentioned. XV 430 f. from Cythera It is true that both these persons had had to (ib. Achilles at an early age (II. Certainly the Oepd-rrovre^ often came from beyond the king's dominions. fF.362 SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. so in the Iliad the term OepaTrcov applied to such distin- guished persons as Meriones and Patroclos. Asphalion. but. speak of several of such persons. p. comitatus could have existed under such conditions. Menelaos appears to have something of a retinue at his court.) Thus Patroclos had come from squire. xv 557).

like Phoinix. II. probably protection and powerful king refer to We may a somewhat remarkable passage in the Odyssey (IV 174 ff. that of Medon. seems to furnish almost an exact parallel to the treatment of similar case perhaps was Beowulf by Hygelac (cf. where Menelaos says that it had been his wish to bring Odysseus to his own country. mention the case of Phyleus. IX 483 f. the son of Oileus. case of Phoinix indeed such an assumption is improbable. and who. Menelaos' intention seems to have been to put Odysseus We have seen that in the position of a dependent prince.XVI] SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 363 Phoinix had sought the protection of Peleus owing to a deadly Yet apart from such emergencies the quarrel with his father. II 727 commanded the forces from Methone and the adjacent districts. and that he had made his dwelling This passage in a frontier district as lord over the Dolopes. and hence. In many such cases of course there may have been a A marriage with a princess of the native royal family. XI II 695 ff. and the same appears to have Thus in been the case with the kings of Homeric times. p. who had left his own country may and gone to Dulichion owing to a quarrel with his father (ib. 349). Phoinix says that Peleus had made him rich and granted him many followers. Teutonic kings were in the habit of rewarding their knights with grants of jurisdiction.). adding that in order to make a home for him he would have ejected the inhabitants from one of the neighbouring cities which were under his lordship. This is in full conformity with the fact that kingly families Among were apparently much more numerous the suitors of Penelope twelve princes belong to Ithaca . but it is In the hardly necessary to assume that this was universal. and whose son Meges commanded the forces from that island. II 629). I think. left his There seems to be no actual record of a Homeric hero who home except under stress of circumstances. we are bound. in the absence of Philoctetes. after making all deductions. with his son and his followers and possessions.). who according to II. and friendship of a wealthy offered considerable attractions. was Here too we a fugitive from his native land (cf. to conclude that the system of the comitatus was not so highly developed as in the north of Europe.

the squire to such a class but it is quite possible belong . where a distinction is the /ScunXT/es being only a portion of the but the evidence seems to me inconclusive. 2 Der Staat in der Ilias und drawn between higher and lower dpiffrrjes 3 . nobility Odyssee. in grinding corn. . 4 In both cases the household slaves seem to have been almost entirely women. For a class of nobility distinct we have no clear evidence 2 of Menelaos. . while there is no reference to the existence of freedmen or to the practice of manumission 3 Slaves are apparently able to buy other slaves on their own account In other respects however their position (cf. 'Same' is the later Ithaca.). iv 644 and vi 489 f. XIV 449 ff. geburas. Were it not for the early laws and foreign authorities . But Odysseus does not here make clear what rank he claims to have possessed in Crete. seems to be very similar to that of slaves in early Teutonic 4 Still less do we hear of differences of rank or status society within the free population 5 But it should be observed that the Anglo-Saxon poems give us no more information on such matters. Even the slave's status is not made particularly clear. may that they are princes. Persons like Eteoneus. alone. XIII 256 from which appears that chiefs with small followings might be expected to place themselves in the position of Oepairovres to more powerful chiefs. the number of suitors furnished by this island is Cf. twenty-four. frvyt-nqs) or whether it . XXI 213 ff. The same want of definiteness occurs in regard to the humbler ranks of society. where a number of petty kings submit to Harold and take the rank of earls.364 SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE no great size [CHAP. 1 If Assuming the Homeric Ithaca to be identical with the Ithaca of later times. Fanta. an island of and probably never thickly from the princely families populated 1 . Quite possibly the practice referred to might be somewhat analogous to what we find in the Saga of Harold the Fair-haired. Yet the promise made by Odysseus to the herdsmen in Od.. it who were occupied for the most part 5 From Od. We may refer ff. -Sax.. also to the false story told it by Odysseus in Od. may perhaps be analogous to the change of status involved when a Teutonic slave was made a freedman. p. Od. seems probable on the whole that there existed a class of landless freemen corresponding to the Ang. 26 f. . But no information apparently is given with regard to the K\f)pos whether it corresponded at all to the hide of the gafolgelda (roughly comparable with the Athenian represented normally a much larger estate.

both in Greece and northern Europe. sums is of course In the light of Teutonic custom it is possible that both represent standard wergelds. The comitatus to the same extent as it was probably not developed in Greece was in northern Europe. Lycaon says that Achilles had sold him into Lemnos for a hundred oxen and that he had been ransomed Even the smaller of these from thence for three hundred. The true explanation seems to be that freeman. force . in persons of No light is thrown on the social system by the passages which mention the payment of wergelds. and which in both cases is probably connected with a change in the agnatic relationship having come organisation of the kindred How far this process take the place of cognatic. formerly possessed by kinship was now largely transferred to the relationship between 'lord' and 'man' (dryhten fregn. Yet in individual cases the bond between lord and man was apparently the strongest of which we know. regarded as man-values in general one can hardly say that it is more than a possibility. but The poems upon this subject is nothing surprising. nor even of the great classes of noble. In II. indeed in regard to social development generally the conditions in Greece seem to have been more primitive. much too great for an ordinary slave's price. in now briefly summarise the results of this disThe salient characteristic of the Heroic Age. aval. Oepdirtov). between whom no bond of blood-relationship was is . r necessary. etc. slave. . gradually to affected society as a whole we cannot tell. since our evidence The binding force generally limited to the royal families. XXI 79 f. a process which shows itself chiefly in the prevalence of strife between relatives.XVI] SOCIETY IN THE HEROIC AGE 365 we should know nothing of the distinction between land-holding and landless peasants. both sets of poems alike are interested only royal rank. We may cussion. for we are not informed whether these were fixed by custom or whether they formed the subject of bargaining in each individual case. appears to be the disinte* gration of the bonds of kinship. Teutonic poems yield us no more information. silence of the for the .

Marcellinus' history (XXVIII before their conversion 14) referring to the according to which suggest that this deposition was carried out by the decision or through the agency of a high-priest whose authority was per- manent. but it is still by no means clear what they could not do. The Old Saxons have formed a solitary exception to the general rule but . Much by the has been written about the various powers possessed kings. 1709 ff. seems to famine. cf. our knowledge of this people really begins only towards the close of the seventh century. Again.CHAPTER GOVERNMENT DURING appears to XVII. so long as they had a powerful and contented body of If they forfeited the allegiance of their personal followers. 5. AGE. retinues at once. the numbers of the retinue might decrease through want of generosity or excessive love of peace on the king's part. In the course of the eighth century several English kings were killed or expelled by their retinues and in Beowulf (v. But in early times such cases do not seem to have been common. v. IN THE HEROIC may the Heroic Age of the Teutonic peoples kingship have been practically universal. by violence or outrage their power of course was gone . The only definite statement however which we possess regarding a limitation of the king's authority is a passage in Ammianus Burgundians kings were as a consequence of unsuccessful war or regularly deposed The context. 902 ff.) we hear that a former king of the Danes named Heremod had met with a similar fate. and he would then be exposed to the attack of any aggressive neigh- bour or of some member of his own family whom he had offended. . though not plainly expressed..

which credited the ruler with superhuman The statement of the Swedes also. We may note further that in the North there is no evidence for a specifically priestly class temporal and spiritual power were apparently united in the same person. though. Frequently used in poetry. Note may be taken however of the peculiar position representatives. 112 ff. in contrast with the Burgundians. and it is like the god Frey from whom they claimed descent In said that two of them were sacrificed in times of famine. The only duties which were retained by the kings were certain ceremonial functions. pp. p. For analogies to this belief cf. not safe to assume that the conditions described there are necessarily more primitive than those which we find in much later times in the North. 3 occupied by the later Merovingian kings . The priesthood figures very prominently in Tacitus' Germania. Voyages and Travels. . XVI. Ibn Foszlarts und anderer Araber His duties also were discharged Berichte iiber die Russen But it is dlterer Zeit. cap. . The kings 1 . according to Ynglinga were believed to have control over the seasons Saga. Fra'hn. The god's full name seems to have been Yngvifreyr or Ingunarfreyr. 23. pp. so far as was possible in a Christian community. XVII] GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE 367 that the kings of the Burgundians were on account of famine points to the survival of a primideposed tive idea of kingship. 3 2 We Russians. The Origin of the English Nation. Pinkerton. 577. the high-priest seems to have been subordinate to the king 4 1 . Vol. by a 4 viceroy. powers. Especially interesting parallels are to be found in the region of the Congo cf. which point to a more or less sacral character. 231). Lectures on the Early History of the Kingship. the same saga. cap.CH. it is stated that the members of this dynasty individually were called Yngvi. may compare Ibn who never put his Cf. During the last century of their existence as a dynasty their power was entirely taken from them and transferred to a viceroy (commonly known as maior domus) whose office became practically hereditary in one family. Frazer. . 20. 47. Among the Angli on . the other hand there was such a class. a name of the ancestral 2 which seems to indicate that they were regarded as his god How far such ideas were general during the Heroic Age it is impossible to say. owing to the fact that we have few records dating in their present form from heathen times. 21. both of which occur occasionally (cf. 330. p. Fadhlan's account of the king of the (Scandinavian) foot to the ground.

368

GOVERNMENT

IN

THE HEROIC AGE

[CHAP.

In Sweden there was a form of election for kings, which may have had a religious significance. The electors (the lawman and twelve others from each province) stood on huge stones (Morastenar), fixed in the earth, which may still be seen at Hammarby near Upsala. Saxo (p. 10 f.) records the former On the other hand existence of a similar custom in Denmark. the Prankish custom of hoisting a new king on a shield probably meant no more than a proclamation of lordship, as may be seen from the first recorded instance Whatever the formalities
1
.

appears that in practice the reigning king was employed, but failing usually able to secure the succession for his son
it
;

such the nearest male relative acceptable to the court would 2 It was not an unknown thing even for normally be chosen
.

Frequently we find the kingdom shared two or more brothers, just like any other property and on by the death of one of them his son was sometimes allowed to take his place, as in the well-known case of Hrothgar and Hrothwulf. On the other hand the survivor might, and apparently often did, refuse any such concession and consequently struggles between relatives for the possession of the throne were of not infrequent

minors to succeed 3

.

;

;

occurrence.

National or tribal assemblies figure prominently in Tacitus' account of the ancient Germans, and among several of the Continental Teutonic peoples they survived down to the seventh or
eighth century.

At

this

time they were generally held

in

the

early spring assembly of the Franks.

whence the name Campus Martins applied

to the

After the adoption of Christianity

however they had come to be little more than military reviews for the most part, though at the same time a meeting of dignitaries, lay and ecclesiastical, was held for the transaction of In much later times we meet with national assemblies business.
1

2

we

Tacitus, Hist., iv 15. the Ostrogoths during their war with the Romans (from 535 onwards) meet with several kings of non-royal birth but the conditions were altogether

Among

;

abnormal.
followers.

One king

(Eraric)

was a Rugian and appointed apparently by

his

own

3 of Waccho, king E.g. Athalaric the grandson of Theodric and Walthari the son of the Langobardi. Aethelberht, king of Kent, must have succeeded as a child. Heardred, the son of Hygelac, is represented as very young.

XVII]
in the

GOVERNMENT

IN

THE HEROIC AGE

369

North also, especially in Sweden, and there can be little doubt that these had long been in existence. They were used by the kings for the purpose of publishing proclamations, and at the same time they presented an opportunity for coercing or overthrowing a king who had aroused popular resentment in any way. But they appear to have been primarily religious
gatherings, for the great annual sacrifices at the chief national It is more than probable however that such was the sanctuary.

case also with the assemblies of the ancient

Germans

1
.

At

all

nothing to show that, apart from special emermet more than once, or possibly twice, in the year. gencies, they In England evidence seems to be altogether wanting for any
events there
is

find

assemblies which could properly be called national nor do any reference to such an institution in the poems.
;

we

It is true that

we hear not unfrequently

of discussions and

in works dating from the Heroic Age. But although precise information as to the size and constitution of these meetings is seldom given, they appear to be those of

deliberations

comparatively small bodies, similar to the royal councils of the

Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The

latter however were nothing more than meetings of the court from the earliest times to which our When important questions were discussed records go back.

may have been taken to summon all the leading men and no doubt age and high rank ensured priority of hearing, as in the assemblies of Tacitus' day. But still they remained essentially
care
;

meetings of the king's personal dependents. So far as I am aware, there is no reason for supposing that gatherings like that
( Vand. I 22), when Genseric received the from his compatriots in Europe, differed in any way embassy from the meeting called by Edwin in 625 to discuss the adoption of Christianity. Often indeed the persons present are described

described by Procopius

Xoyi/Jiot, or \oyi^raroL. Again, in Beowulf we hear more than once of Danish councillors (witan Scyldinga\ but there is nothing to show that these were a different body from the

as ol

members
building.

of the court
ft,
ff.

who

entertained Beowulf; and

it

is

clear

from vv. 778

The
1

that their meetings were held in the same 936 old and distinguished councillor who persuaded
Cf. especially Tacitus,

Germ. 39; Ann.

I

51.

C.

24

3/0

GOVERNMENT

IN

THE HEROIC AGE

[CHAP.

Genseric to reject the petition of the envoys would seem to have been just such another person as Aeschere, Hrothgar's trusted In the story of Hermegisklos and Radiger adviser (cf. p. 350). also (cf. p. 97 f.) it is clear that the same distinguished men of the nation (ol \6<yi/jLoi,, Xoyi/jLcorarot,) act both as companions of the old king and advisers of his young successor. In spite of what has been said above there is some evidence
' '

number of men, somewhat namely The Old from that of the ordinary members of the court 1 had a council of twelve which met annually at a place Saxons but this case stands by itself, as called Marklo, on the Weser the Old Saxons had no king. In Sweden however we meet with such councils both in tradition and in historical times, and what we know of them indicates that they were composed of the chief
for the existence of councils consisting of a fixed

twelve,

whose position may have

differed
.

;

men.
both

various parts of the as well as in the Scandinavian settleScandinavian peninsula, ments in the British Isles. The gods too were credited with posin in

Moreover councils of twelve for provinces and small districts

judicial purposes occur

sessing a council of twelve which had both judicial and sacrificial duties 2 a fact which is interesting as it points to a connection

between the councils of which we have been speaking and bodies of twelve with sacrificial duties, of which we hear in stories If we take into account the legend relating to heathen times. of the twelve Frisian judges (asegen) and the fact that councils of twelve are known to have existed among the Celts and other European peoples, we can scarcely doubt that this type is of
great antiquity.

Yet there

is

nothing to show that such councils
;

general during the Heroic Age in England they seem to be entirely unknown before the period of Scandinavian It is probable therefore that in this, as in other influence.

were at

all

respects, the

Swedes had preserved an institution which other had discarded. kingdoms From the stories quoted above we see that it was customary
;

king to consult his council or court when any question involving difficulty or danger arose and there can be little doubt
for the
1

For references see Folk-Lore,

xi, pp. 280, 282

f.,

300.

2

Cf. especially Gylf. 14, Yngl. S. 2, Gautreks S. 7.

XVII]

GOVERNMENT.

IN

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371

But that he would feel his position strengthened by so doing. we have no reason for supposing that the opinion of the council
possessed anything more than moral force and consequently it would depend upon the king's strength of character or the
;

security of his position whether he felt himself bound to follow their advice or not. Procopius (Goth. I 2) states that Amalato her son's education

swintha was coerced by the leading men of the Goths with regard but she was only a regent at this time.
;

Again, in another passage (ib. IV 27) he relates how Hildigisl, a claimant to the Langobardic throne, fled for refuge to Thorisin

Audoin, king of the Lango(Turisindus), king of the Gepidae. and his request bardi, demanded that he should be given up
;

Thorisin consulted his distinguished men (pi XO^L^OL), but they replied that it would be better for the whole nation of the Gepidae to perish than to commit such an
Justinian.

was supported by

The king now, says Procopius, felt himself to act of sacrilege. be in a great difficulty. For he could not carry out what was
demanded
against the will of his subjects, and at the same time he was afraid to go to war against the Romans and Langobardi.

So he contrived to get the fugitive murdered secretly, obtaining a quid pro quo in the murder of one of his own rivals. It must be observed that Thorisin himself had obtained the throne by
So the young Radiger, when he was captured and before the English princess, pleaded that he had been brought forced to renounce his promise to her by his father's commands
violence.

and the insistence of the leading men (rrjv rwv dpxovrcov (nrovSijv). Genseric on the other hand dismissed the envoys in accordance
with the old councillor's advice
;

but

we

are told that both of
for so doing.

them were

by the rest of the Vandals then there was no question of having Plainly
ridiculed

to follow the

opinion of the majority. It might naturally be expected that the authority of the council would make itself felt most on the occasion of the king's

death
it

is

and the story of Radiger seems to bear this out. Yet worth noticing what is recorded in Beowulf on an occasion
;

of great emergency. Hygelac, king of the Geatas, lost his life in the disastrous expedition against the Frisians and left an only
son,

Heardred,

who seems

to

have been scarcely more than a

242

372
child.

GOVERNMENT

IN

THE HEROIC AGE

[CHAP.

Beowulf escaped from the slaughter, and on his return " Hygd offered him the treasury and the government, (v. 2369 ff.) She trusted not that her child would the rings and the throne.
be able to hold his patrimony against foreign nations, now that Hygelac was dead." There is no reference to any action on the part of the council or court but the queen offers the throne
;

to the late king's nephew.

The whole passage seems
its

to indicate
like

that the throne with

all

rights

was regarded very much
is

Its disposition arranged by any ordinary family property. the family itself, without any notion of responsibility to others and the members of the court are not taken into account any more than the servants in a private household. It may perhaps be argued that court poets would be apt to exaggerate the power of the royal family and consequently that the picture of its authority given here is misleading. Yet Amalaswintha, who was a contemporary of Hygelac, appears to have acted on her own authority when she associated Theodahath,
;

the

nephew of Theodric,
There
is

son's death.

in the sovereignty with herself after her other evidence also which goes to show

In the that this passage truly reflects the spirit of the times. we see how a young princess was able to gather story of Radiger
together a huge army and bring about a sanguinary struggle between two nations on account of an insult offered to her by
a neighbouring king. Again, Paulus Diaconus (Hist. Lang. I 20) states that the war between the Heruli and the Langobardi was

due

to the

murder of the Herulian

king's brother
is
it

by a Langois

Even if this story bardic princess. enough that it should obtain credit.
played by women have already alluded

untrue, significant the prominent part in determining the destinies of nations we

To

In particular we may call (p. 337 f.). attention to the position of Fredegond and Brunhild, who after the deaths of their husbands practically ruled the kingdom of In the seventh century Hygd's action in disposing of the kingdom is easily outdone by Sexburg, the widow of the the Franks.

West Saxon king Coenwalh, who
for herself.

is

said to have kept the throne

There is no doubt of course that the ease with which kings and princes were able to draw their nations into war was due

XVII]
largely

GOVERNMENT

"iN

THE HEROIC AGE

373
retinues.

to the restless spirit which animated their Sometimes indeed they appear to have been drawn

into

war

against their

own

inclination.
in the

Procopius (Goth.

from Paulus Diaconus

cause which

14) differs he assigns for the outII

break of the war between the Heruli and Langobardi. According to him it was due entirely to the fact that the Heruli could not endure a peace of more than three years duration, and consequently forced their king into hostilities. The Prankish king Lothair I is said by Gregory (IV 14) to have been driven into

a disastrous campaign against the Saxons from the same cause.
of the court

we may certainly recognise the influence but the pressure probably came not from the old councillors, but from the younger men who hoped to gain riches
In this direction then
;

and glory thereby.
This brings us to the question of international relations.

What

is

said in the opening verses of

Beowulf regarding Scyld
royal family,

Scefing, the

eponymous ancestor of the Danish
:

may probably be taken as a standard description of a typical " successful king of the Heroic Age He deprived many dynasties of their banqueting halls... and gained glory after glory, until
every one of his neighbours across the whale's road had to obey him and pay him tribute." With increasing wealth however the
love of peace frequently reasserted itself, especially perhaps towards the end of the period, by which time the kingdoms had materially decreased in number and consequently increased

We now see alliances more and more taking the place of conquest. Theodric organised an alliance not only with the Visigoths but also with the kings of the Thuringians, Heruli and Warni, which extended his influence from the Mediterranean to
in size.

the North Sea; and his name seems to have carried weight as far as the eastern part of the Baltic. In Beowulf too we see
the nations of the Baltic dealing with one another for the most part on friendly terms.

That such alliances were primarily of a personal rather than a national character is shown in two ways. In the first place they were often cemented by marriage. Thus two of Theodric's
daughters were married to Alaric, king of the Visigoths, and Sigismund, king of the Burgundians, respectively, his sister to

374

GOVERNMENT

IN

THE HEROIC AGE

[CHAP.

Thrasamund, king of the Vandals, and
of Clovis.

his niece to Irminfrith,

king of the Thuringians, while Theodric himself married a sister We have seen (p. 98) that similar marriages were contracted by the kings of the Warni, while the Prankish royal

family was intermarried with those of practically all the surrounding nations. In the North the same custom seems to have
prevailed, for in Beowulf one of the Swedish kings, probably Onela, is married to a sister of the Danish king Hrothgar. The term

frfouwebbe (usually interpreted as weaver of peace '), which we find applied to ladies of royal rank in Anglo-Saxon poetry, probably
'

owes its origin to this bond of union between kingly families. Such marriages seem to have sometimes taken place after a war, as in the case of Ingeld and Freawaru in Beowulf.
Secondly, we hear of kings entering into a relationship called fatherhood and sonship with other kings. For an example we may cite one of Cassiodorus' letters ( Var. IV 2), addressed
'
'

'

'

to a king of the Heruli

him

his 'son in
letter is

The

and informing him that Theodric creates which is a great honour 1 accompanied by a valuable present of arms and arms
'

(filius per arma),

.

horses.

Parallels are to be found in

much

later times.

We may

Chronicle, ann. 924, where the Scottish king (Constantine II) and several other princes in northern Britain It is scarcely accept Edward the Elder as father and lord.'
refer to the
'

Saxon

to be doubted that in such cases the

'

son

'

is

assistance to the

'

father

'

when

required.

The king
,

expected to render of the Heruli

2 appears to have been in alliance with Theodric while Malcolm I, the successor of Constantine II, was under an engagement with Edmund to be his "cooperator both by sea and by land 3 ." The

imperium which Bede
kings in
all

(//.

E.\\

5) ascribes to several

English
;

probability involved

somewhat

and

it

rested without doubt

upon

similar obligations an acceptance of lordship, if

not of fatherhood.
ff. (cf. 1175 f.) Hrothgar pays a similar compliment to the hero, not a king at this time. Probably the intention is to do Beowulf a quite exceptional honour.
1

In Beow. 946

who

is

2
3

Cf. Cassiodorus, Var. Ill 3. Cf.

occasions reference

Chron., ann. 945. may be

For the form of agreement entered

into

upon such

made

to ann. 874, 921 (ad fin.) etc.

The terms probably

varied from case to case.

XVII]

GOVERNMENT

IN

THE HEROIC AGE

375

After the establishment of overlordship the next stage is that in which the smaller kingdoms are annexed and incor-

porated by the larger ones generally in consequence of a revolt. The place of the native king or kings is often taken at first by a member of the victorious dynasty; but such arrangements

were seldom lasting, and before long the national organisation was abolished. The completion of this process on the Continent
belongs of course to times subsequent to the Heroic Age, while But we can see such in this country it took place still later.

changes going on within the Heroic Age itself. At the end of the period the number of Teutonic kingdoms on the Continent

was quite small. Several however, such as those of the Alamanni, the Burgundians and the Thuringians, had disappeared within the last half century in the fourth century they were probably
;

Many of them may have been quite inthe petty kingdoms which are said to have significant, existed in Norway eight apparently in the district of Trondhjem
far

more numerous.
like

alone
the

down

to the time of

Harold the Fair-haired.

Several of

nations which figure prominently in Tacitus' works had perhaps disappeared still earlier. At all events they are never

mentioned either

in historical

works or traditions referring to

the Heroic Age. The reverse process cannot be traced so clearly. The division of a kingdom between brothers or other relatives does
often indeed

not seem as a rule to have led to a permanent partition. Very it was apparently no more than a temporary dis-

tribution of estates
in solid blocks 1
.

and spheres of jurisdiction, not necessarily In such cases the kingdom was still regarded

as one property, of which the kings were joint possessors. But there can be no question that many kingdoms established on

were offshoots from other kingdoms. This consideration brings us to the much debated question of the relationship between kingdom and nation. It has been
alien soil, e.g. in Britain,

assumed by many scholars that among the Teutonic peoples kingdom was a comparatively late outgrowth from the nation or tribe. It reality this problem seems to me to have
the
1

For the case
145
ff.
;

II,

p.

of the Prankish kingdom see Waitz, Deutsche Verfassungsgeschichte*, Brunner, Deutsche Rechtsgeschichte, II, p. 25 f.

376

GOVERNMENT
in

IN

THE HEROIC AGE

[CHAP.

with that of the hen and the egg. With the kingdoms of all we are not concerned here it will be enough to mention that our earliest historical notices testify to the prevalence- of kingship, though not always to monarchy in
earliest
;

much

common

the strict sense of the term.
certainly find

In the Heroic

Age however we

kingdoms springing up where no nation or tribe, properly speaking, can be said to have existed previously. We may cite the case of Odoacer, who in 476 made himself king in

him

In principle we may regard Italy with the help of his troops. as the princeps of a comitatus. Then we have to consider

the various Anglo-Saxon kingdoms. The Mercian royal family traced their descent from Offa, the ancient king of Angel, while
the

West Saxon dynasty claimed

to

be sprung from that Wig,

the son of Freawine, who was earl of Slesvig under Offa's father, according to the story preserved by Saxo. But to the origin of the rest the genealogies give us no clue. If they were and apparently they did claim divine descent origin
;

must have possessed a numerous royal class and we 1 On the justified in denying that this may have been the case other hand it is by no means impossible that some of them were sprung from foreign peoples, such as the Danes, Swedes or Warni. But what we may regard as practically certain is that
.

of royal the Angli are scarcely
all

the individual
foundation.

kingdoms did not rest upon a national or tribal There is not the slightest ground for supposing

that (e.g.) the East Anglians as a people belonged to a different nation or tribe from the Northumbrians. It is scarcely credible that the first kings were anything else than principes in command

of comitatus, whether they set out from the homeland in this position or established themselves at a later date by severing their allegiance from other kings in Britain itself.

Nor

is

there

any reason

for

supposing that this phenomenon
story of

was peculiar
1

to Britain.

The

Waldhere

tells

of the

presence of small Teutonic communities in eastern Gaul, each
Orosius In the account of Wulfstan's voyage given in King Alfred's translation of (p. 20 in Sweet's edition) it is stated that the land of the Este (in East

Prussia) contains very many fortified places (btirh, i.e. probably stockaded villages) that in each of these there is a king. But it is scarcely probable that such primitive conditions survived among the Angli even four or five centuries before Alfred's time

and

(cf.

p. 380, note).

XVII]

GOVERNMENT

IN

THE HEROIC AGE

3/7

under a royal family of its own. And not only heroic stories but also historical works relating to the earlier part of the Heroic Age frequently refer to comparatively small bands of warriors such as that led by the Goth Sarus in Stilicho's time in various Such parts of the Roman empire, and even beyond its borders bands may very well have produced communities like the one ruled by Waldhere's father 2 but it would be absurd to speak of them as nations or tribes. They have clearly far more in
1
.

;

common

with the military kingship established by Odoacer. The peculiarity of his position indeed lies only in the magnitude of

the power to which he attained. In brief we have to distinguish between two classes of In the new kingdoms, settled kingdoms in the Heroic Age.
soil, we find an essentially military kingship, an vested in a particular family. These kings either imperium established themselves in Roman cities, such as Ravenna,

on

foreign

,

Langres or York, or moved about from one royal estate to another. Of national assemblies we have frequently no trace at all, while the council is identical with the comitatus and consists of relatives and nominees of the king. Such kingdoms often rest on no national or tribal foundations the king and his comitatus form the nucleus of the organism. On the other hand
;

the older kingdoms, especially in the North, retained many features of a more primitive constitution. The king's position

had a

religious significance,

and

his

capital,

e.g.

at

Leire or

Gamla Upsala, was
assemblies,

the chief
religious

national

primarily

but

sanctuary, at which possessing considerable

took place from time to time. It is likely too that the councils here were originally permanent bodies with more or less fixed prerogatives essentially religious, but
political influence,
It is only in this way that we can account for the more or less simultaneous appearance of Heruli in Gaul and on the Black Sea in the latter part of the third In the fifth century this nation had a powerful kingdom in Central century. Europe. We may refer also to the traces of various peoples (Angli, Warni, etc.) which we find in the basin of the Saale, as well as to the kingdom of the Suabi in Spain, the Goths
1

in the Crimea, etc.

Abundant

parallels are to be found in the history of the

Viking

Age.
2

It is quite possible that

many
e.g.

of the leading characters in the heroic stories

may

belong to such communities,

Hnaef, Sigmundr and SigurSr, HeSinn, Harnflir

and

Sorli,

Haki and Hagbarftr.

rulers may be ascribed partly to the much smaller size of the kingdoms and partly to a social feature noted in the last chapter (p. though on a much larger scale. namely that in many Greek communities kingly or princely rank seems to have been claimed by a number of different families. N. The last The throne 1 consideration is especially prominent in the Odyssey 1 . Alfred's will. Any differences which we can detect between the authority of Homeric kings and that wielded by early Teutonic also without . ^ truly characteristic of the Heroic Age. . summarised 410 ff. these by no means without political power. especially in nations which had migrated en masse and there can be little doubt that during the Heroic Age even the most conservative of the older kingdoms were influenced by the newer It is the newer type of course which we must regard as type.GOVERNMENT yet IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. In post-heroic times again we find a reversion to the national idea of a kingdom. where it is clearly recognised that the kingdom should not be divided up as a family property. But it is not onwards. 363 f). By the ninth and tenth centuries however this We may cite King feeling is much more clearly perceptible.. of Ithaca has been in the possession of one family this In explanation of ff. whereas the evidence of the Iliad is owing to traditional reminiscences of a time of real kingship. Here too kingship is universal apparently any recognised constitutional limitations to the The murder or expulsion of a prince is not royal authority. unknown but such cases are due to strife within the royal family. In English history this tendency can be traced from the seventh century In Bede's works it is clear that such an expression Merciorum gens (Myrcna maeg]y) had come to mean something more than the royal family of the Mercians with their property and dependents. phenomenon ff. as full sense of the king's to the nation finds expression in definite terms. Finsler.) that the form of government an aristocracy. xin 319 inconsistent 396 is depicted in the Odyssey really the view has been put forward (cf. Thus in . responsibility until the time of Aethelred II that the The form of government which we find depicted in the Homeric poems seems to be not unlike that which we have discussed above. Between types of kingdoms we find others of an intermediate \ two character. Jahrb.

who had kings practically dependent on him. without counting those from Orchomenos and Aspledon.g. XVIII 556 ff.). "for where we are told that Olaf had was customary that herkonungar Viking chiefs) who were engaged in piracy should take the title of king at once. . owing presumably to the smallness of the kingdoms. it royal birth. da Peleus noch lebt" (p. Diomedes and Sthenelos. We are reminded here of the story of the Norwegian king SigurSr Syr who was the harvest-field to greet his step-son. although they governed no territories. The only qualifications for the title were (i) of some kind of authority or 'lordship' title (rt/x??). they were of royal birth. nicht zukommt. Agamemnon. 331. from one of the scenes depicted on Achilles' shield (II.e. as well as to dependent princes. and whose state-robes had to be sent to him there in order to summoned from enable him to make a suitable appearance 1 it is .). cap. Thus the Epeioi have four leaders and the Boeotians five. Titel.). of king given to him by his followers . dem der I do not streng genommen. The title was not taken even by so great a man as Earl Haakon of Lade. In this connection perhaps worth noting that according to the Catalogue of Ships the contingents supplied by several communities were under a number of different princes. both young and old. in the island. all of whom according to later authorities were related two of them. Telemachos says that there are many kings of the Achaeans. in England down to the end of the seventh century and in the North much later the title of king was applied to sons and other relatives of kings. now that Odysseus is dead. although. the (i. all the important characters birth.). 30 ff. appear to be persons of different royal 1 St Olafs Saga (Heimskr. St Olaf. That a king was not a person of great magnificence may be inferred also necessarily . think that this explanation is likely to carry conviction to anyone who has studied It is clear that in early times throughout the Teutonic area early Teutonic history. In Scheria also we sovreignty. The troops from Argolis (exclusive of Agamemnon's dominions) are led by three princes. being sons of the latter poem fiacriXefa (in the singular) I is generally used only of though there are exceptions. and he expects that one of them will take the for three generations. cap. where it is applied to " Achilleus. where we find a king in the harvest-field watching the work of the reapers and feasting on the spot. e. hear of twelve sceptre-bearing kings under Alcinoos but to this case we shall have to return shortly. I see no if reason for regarding the conditions depicted in either of the Homeric poems as from what we find in the North.XVII] GOVERNMENT Yet IN in THE HEROIC AGE I 379 394 ff. 404 f. How 4. (ii) the possession small this authority might be can be seen from St Olafs Saga (Heimskr." The qualification of royal birth however was essential.

North We such as Chryseus at the opening of the Iliad . least far as I am aware. p. but no mention is made 1 of state-priests or tribal priests. so election for kings. may refer to such a passage as II. Sthenelos is his charioteer the relations between them are It is not stated whether evidently of an intimate character. of kingship is not very prominent in religious aspect When the armies are gathered together the Homeric poems. ix 395 f.g. similarly in other cases the kingly power seems to have been obtained from some relative by blood or marriage. It is that in such cases the kingdom scarcely necessary to suppose was always divided into geo- As to the relationship between graphical halves and quarters. or small district may have retained a royal family of its own. 376. all these princes were actually reigning kings. to perform a sacrifice Agamemnon acts as priest (II. offers at least In historical times the This passage have been discussing. Greece each ' ' city We .. and Nestor seems to take the There is no chief part in sacrifices at Pylos (Od. but as .). note). whether the phrase o-vfjuTravrcw rjyelro applied to Diomedes in II. seems likewise to have (cf. If royal rank a partial explanation of the phenomenon which we is traced both on the male and female sides the Such may have been the case among the kingly class will inevitably be numerous. while the third. 367)'the king or chief person do occasionally hear of priests of sanctuaries. But it is not unlikely that at least in the remoter parts of Angli also at one time. was his brother's Diomedes is said to be the commander-in-chief. or merely leaders but Diomedes and Sthenelos at selected for the expedition . like the communities visited by Wulfstan {cf. II 567 means a formal recognition of lordship on the part of his colleagues precise information. reason for supposing that such cases are exceptional as in the . There is no evidence. for any form of In the case of Bellerophon we are told that "the Lycians apportioned him a demesne" (re^ei'o? ra/juov)'. if dpHTrfuv here means dependent princes. may be due ultimately to family arrangements. the various kings under such an arrangement e. Euryalos. Ill 444 ff. acted as priest.) we have apparently no The with the cooperation of Priam. This renders all it more easily intelligible that the plural kingship if such it was of which we have spoken above. son 1 Adrastos' daughters.380 GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. but it was the king who granted him half the royal rights. p. And have no fathers living. in 271 ff.

priestly functions were among the chief first to an official called o ap%&>i>.XVII] GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE 381 case was otherwise. it The poems themselves do not make clear that the religious aspect of kingship amounts to more than priestly position. Cf. and Folk-Lore. for example. Frey on the other hand was an ancestral god but not the chief of the gods. We may note also that at Sparta. where kings are said to derive their authority parallel 3 The from Zeus. Chil. Class. In the first one of the early Attic kings also seem to have been regarded as But above all we have to take into at least partly divine account the statement of Clement of Alexandria (Protr. Political power here was transferred at whose origin may have been maior domus. must not be pressed too far of course. On this subject see Cook. xv 303 f. 367). much more information we may notice certain legends. Rev. where the institution of kingship was preserved in a modified form. More than But later authorities give us in this respect. i 474 (TOUS jScuriXets 8' av^Kade Ates eicaXovv ir&vras) and elsewhere. who aspired to the functions of Zeus a story which is now thought by many scholars to have arisen from a misunderstanding. especially Cook. We may refer however to Hesiod. II 38) that the Spartans worshipped a certain Zev? Aya^fjLi>(ov which has led some writers to assume that Agamemnon was originally 1 . xvn 409. In all probability the true explanation is furnished by Tzetzes 2 who says that in early times kings regularly bore the . was sprung from Poseidon according to Od. According to Tzetzes all But apparently not all kings were descended from Zeus. ' y a god. . name Zeu?. (cf. which Saxo translates by satrapa deorum. place such as that of the impious king Salmoneus. similar to that of the Prankish duties preserved by the kings.<p are scarcely free from ambiguity. Folk-Lore. In both cases we may probably infer that the king was regarded in 1 some sense as the god's representative . though he is sometimes in poetry called folkvaldi gcfta. p. We have an interesting parallel here to the usage . relic Thus Athens possessed a state-priest known The name of the office itself shows that it was a of the kingship which had been gradually stripped of all except its religious duties. 2 kings were called Zeus. Theog. as y8ao-fcXev9. of the ancient Swedes 3 whose kings are said to have been called Yngvi (cf. Nestor. 301). for such phrases as tfeo? <w9 rtero Srffj. xi 254 ff. xv 385 f. and to the Homeric epithet Storpe^s (possibly also dioyev^s) which is commonly applied to kings. 96. where full references are given.

Again.382 GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. Alcinoos addresses the Phaeacians in assembly (dyoptf) and declares to them his resolve to assist Odysseus. while the latter at first sight suggests that it was open to them. 367) may perhaps be found in Od. . where an important constitutional change (cf.. not Agamemnon confederate army in the field 2 and with a prince who shortly . . in II 6 ff. when the king was on the spot. xix 109 ff. fT. Aigyptios. The former statement seems to indicate that such meetings were not held regularly. be remembered that this aspect of kingship is not brought If our sketch of the history of Homeric forward in the poems 1 . The king Aigyptios has disappeared and no one has is perhaps scarcely prepared to expect that the young Telemachos would summon the assembly. some twenty years before. we must conclude that the divinity of kings was not a doctrine to which supreme importance In their was attached Od. I 54 ff. But the conditions anyone to call quite informal character here are abnormal. vin 26 in the courts themselves. cit. Telemachos calls an assembly But on this occasion the first speaker. p. afterwards sets is Agamemnon's ground would have been possible at home. Od. poetry is correct in its main outlines. Fanta. Yet it must possibly he personated him on certain occasions. yet taken his place . says that the assembly has not met since the departure of who Odysseus. it is to be noted that on all the above occasions the notice served is so short that only those in the immediate neighbourhood could attend. p. and consequently that they were of a in spite of certain rules of procedure which seem to have been usually followed. On the whole then we are probably justified in doubting whether any definite rules existed as to 1 scarcely sufficient for authority at open defiance. 91) The same remark applies the constitutional rights possessed by the dyoprj at home. Further. and further that he wonders it is who has called them together now. XII 297. the Achaeans are called together by but here we have to deal with a Achilles. National or tribal assemblies are not often mentioned. It is true that in II. in Ithaca. 2 I cannot help thinking that evidence derived from the Achaean gatherings in the Iliad is somewhat precarious ground on which to build up a theory regarding to such a passage as op. has been inferred from the mutinous behaviour of a ship's crew. There supposing that a similar course A trace of the belief that kings had power over the seasons (cf.

IV 27 solet quoque post nouem accipitribus oblatis immolant. p.. from the dyop^ (cf. 146 ff. n 192 f. Idomeneus.. mense Ianuario. 32.omnes conuenerunt et ibi diis suismet XCIX homines et totidem eqtios cum canibus et gallis pro And Adam of Bremen.. ad quam uidelicet sollempnitatem nulli praestatur immunitas.. . which is clearly and that was something different Cf.. annos communis omnium Sueoniae prouintiarum sollempnitas in Ubsola celebrari. 77) but We may refer to the evidence for such a distinction is very far from convincing. and indeed whether this body had much in common with the constitutionally regulated It seems rather to be a more or assemblies of historical times 1 when .Jahrb. as in the North but we have no information on this subject. the public 2 In Od. v. more especially. such passages as Od.). in other parts of Greece. ' Eurymachos appears 2 It to have designs upon the throne (cf.. 19: est unus in his partibus locus. the two Diomedes and Odysseus. namely Nestor. has been suggested that the true name for such a gathering was QOWKOS this (0w/cos) . Diodoros. p. XX 4 (ayo(yf]v8e). Similar gatherings may have been in existence quite as early.. In the Hymn to For the festival at religious gatherings Pylos however much better parallels are to be found in the great which took place every nine years at Leire and Upsala. ubi post nouem annos. This number of course forms only a small proportion of the leading men in the army. N. XII 318 and. in indeed 5 ff. . Danish and Swedish Cf.. parallel to 3 II. mention is made of a festal gathering of lonians at Delos. On several occasions Agamemnon calls together a small number of princes. Fanta. apparently on a considerable scale. 358 f.. Chron. In they are probably to be compared rather with the great quadrennial sacrifices of the Gauls . or even earlier. the old capitals. Finsler. Lederun nomine. Thietmar of Merseburg. The Achaean Iliad ' council of elders ' (/3ov\r) yepovrcov) in the seems to be a body of quite as informal character as the assembly. v. less fortuitous when gathering called together on the spot by criers the king wishes to bring something before the notice of . It does not appear however that on these : with the festival at Pylos any of the victims were eaten. 1 It cannot fairly be argued from Od. XIII 327. for the suitors here are relying not upon any * It is to be remembered too that constitutional rights but on force majeure. Occasionally however we find Aiantes.XVII] GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE 383 the assembly should be called. that the assembly (apart from the king) has a right to impose fines. occasions in contrast this respect . the Delian Apollo. But 3 Such it is clear that this was essentially a religious festival gatherings may of course have been used for political purposes. cit. cf. to v 3 (dwndvde). together with his brother Menelaos. op. reges et populi omnes et singuli sua dona transmittunt ad Ubsolam. we certainly do hear of a great public gathering we may probably say a national gathering of a kind which can only have taken place at definitely fixed times.

Meriones. and note) . ye leaders and rulers of the speech then is directed primarily to the In this connection " a fact which seems to indicate that council and asthat in the assemblies of the Iliad. though on Odysseus' arrival they were apparently not all present (VII 189). It may be observed that in the account of the Phaeacian assembly Alcinoos uses the same formula as when he princes Phaeacians. it seems more probable that this with definitely fixed numbers and in is a permanent 'sceptre-bearing' under-kings are twelve councils of so many European peoples in ancient times. In Scheria however Alcinoos has twelve kings under him (vni 390 f. such as Meges and even Thrasymedes and who are not the chiefs of contingents. the speaking the princes. noted here are such as we might expect to find in a Greek community if we take into account the evidence of later times. summoned. The council of an expeditionary army however is an exceptional case. but I believe I am The features following the generally accepted view in assuming this to be the case. : .). but ' the Phaeacians his hall (VII ' (Qai^Ktov 777^x0/369 rj&e yueSo^re?) who feasted in 98 f. No mention is made of such a body in Ithaca. 41. while others are fathers of the most distinguished Trojan warriors.384 others GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. who clearly form his council and are to be identified with the leaders and rulers of orators. On the Trojan side we hear of a number of Sri/jboyepovTes with Priam Three of them are (II. The privileges. The a agora where they meet. the whole institution. ill 146 ff. as in those of is sembly were not very clearly distinguished. we may note the ancient Germans. seven of whom are named. . like the number. is clearly place constructed for such functions and similar apparently specially 1 It is scarcely capable of proof that the picture of the Phaeacian community in the Odyssey is derived from a Greek model (cf. 1 86. with its polished stones. 297 f. almost invariably left to So far as the councils of the Iliad are concerned little can be said against the view that Agamemnon calls together from time to time those of the leaders in whom he has most conThe same may be true of Alcinoos' council 1 But on fidence. In the Odyssey references to councils are very rare. VIII 26." princes in is addressing the his hall : His Hearken. They are described as eloquent no account is given of their deliberations.). 46 f). brothers of the king. p.

no Nor is any mention made of a council the story of This fact deserves to be remarked 1 Agamemnon's death and Orestes' vengeance. 260 (in the catalogue of Ringo's warriors at Bravalla) quidem Fr$ dei necessarii erant et fidissimi deum generis sui principium referebant* 3 : At Sueonum numinum arbitri. centres of jurisdiction) in Iceland. 3 ). Agamemnon's conduct in II. sitting in judgement with him and giving him advice in matters of difficulty. fortissimi hi fuere.' ' We council of the gods especially as described in Gautreks Saga. sir.. For a true analogy we must of course turn to councils which were attached to the king's court. p. ' ' Possibly too we should refer to the stones used in the election If we take the evidence as of Scandinavian kings (cf. 9. be compared with the story of Genseric (cf. If the meaning of Od. Such appears to have been the case with the twelve chiefs of the Uppland Swedes who. where the elders are seated on polished shield (II. p. 368). Alcinoos acts on Both these cases may the suggestion of the old Echeneos. Cf. a whole it can hardly be denied that the Phaeacian council does seem to 2 . 25). Saxo. we have a further analogy with the same community.qui iidem quoque ad Frj .). all the more because we find on which the gods sit We may refer also to the rokstolar (judgement-seats) when 2 they gather in session (Voluspa. sation show the characteristics of a primitive communal organiBut it would be unwise to assume that councils of this actual type were universal in the Heroic Age. according to St Olaf's Saga (Heimskr. 7 we find at chief-places (i. and in Od. whatever its constitution. The of home councils I mean councils of the kingdoms we never hear of organised action. i 22 ff. But it is clearly as individuals that the councillors have influence. For Genseric's disregard of the general opinion of those present a parallel is presented by C. VII 167 ff.XVII] to the GOVERNMENT one described IN THE HEROIC AGE 385 in the trial scene depicted on Achilles' XVIII 497 ff. 23. in In Ithaca. cap. constantly attended the Swedish king. p. . which cap. 96. 1 and of the 'circle of judgement' (domkringr). xm 130 is that the Phaeacians in general are descended from Poseidon.). 369 f. does not seem to amount to much. council seems to exist. power possessed by the council. who appear to have claimed descent from the god Frey. In the Iliad Achilles acts on his own initiative and withdraws from But even in the case the war in open defiance of Agamemnon. 25 . Agamemnon is often ready to take advice from some of his colleagues.e. especially Nestor.. are reminded here of the Northern stones in a sacred circle. where the king is away.

II 226 f). But here again caution is necessary. but nothing is his wife in charge of a minstrel (ib.g.) Are we to suppose that said of the kingdom in either case. namely that the king does not seem to 1 Odysseus has entrusted his appoint a regent in his absence curious . With regard to international relations warfare between different kingdoms does not seem to be particularly common. while references to But on the whole the buccaneering exploits are frequent. such as the two expeditions against Thebes. The cases of emergency arising out of the misfortunes of Odysseus and Agamemnon bring to our attention another feature. the war of the Aetolians against the Curetes. she has command over the treasury for (as also perhaps in the North) the treasury seems to be connected with the queen's . be objected that the absence of any national control apart from the king's (or queen's) personal authority must have been productive of strife. 81. were by no means of rare occurrence. the queen is the person in authority ? Presumably. is The natural inference to be drawn from the evidence that the councillors were essentially advisers to the king and that after his death or disappearance their standing was gone. especially between members of the same family. p. and those of the Arcadians and the Epeioi against Pylos. Ill 267 f. .386 GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. we hear frequently of between different royal families. It is difficult to believe that such a description can be true of a council like that of the Phaeacians. Agamemnon's offer marriages of one of his daughters to Achilles is part of his attempt at As in 1 Cf. the Teutonic Heroic Age. we have only to refer to chamber. again possibly analogous to the conditions described in Beowulf. Seymour. however ready they may seem to follow the king in ordinary circumstances. the proceedings after Hygelac's death are e. Life in the Homeric Age. apparently just the same phenomenon in Anglo-Saxon poetry. household to Mentor (Od. state of relations between the various kingdoms is one normal of peace. Apart from the siege of Troy we hear incidentally of a number of struggles. in Beowulf where related. like Hygd. and Agamemnon has put . If it the stories to see that dissensions.

as in Od.XVII] GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE 387 reconciliation and may be compared with the marriage of Ingeld and Freawaru. Again. disguised as Mentor. 569 ff. So also Penelope the daughter of Icarios (whose home is not stated in the poems) has married the king of Ithaca. together with at least the eastern half of Achaia. According to this section of however refers to a native of who was much the poem Agamemnon's own territories consist of the north- western part of Argolis. he has considerable difficulty in persuading Odysseus to take part in the On the other hand in II. says she is going to the land of the Caucones to collect a debt. Both these cases show that such marriages were not limited to neighbouring families. another adjacent city and likewise in the Catalogue of Ships. XXIV 115 ff.). Menelaos marries his daughter to Achilles' son. a fine (Oayrj) for those who refused to serve 2 . Such marriages would doubtless do much towards promoting royal families. seem to be nothing very unusual Autolycos visits his son-inand Odysseus later goes to stay with law Laertes in Ithaca.) it is clear that It may be observed here that we often hear also of journeys for trade and other purposes. the expedition. Indeed the Catalogue of Ships (II. II nearer neighbour. 2 Cf. But in IX 149 ff.) represents the Corinthian contingent as under Agamemnon's immediate command. Agamemnon's poems. xxin 296 ff. included in Agamemnon's domain 252 . IV 795 ff. where Athene. Ill 232 f. XIII 669 we hear of expedition. while her sister is the wife of Eumelos at Pherai in Thessaly (Od. Autolycos in the neighbourhood of Parnassos. where a certain Echepolos (presumably a fictitious character) said to have given Agamemnon a mare in order that he might be excused from This person belongs to Sicyon. Voyages even to countries as distant 1 as is Egypt and Phoenicia are not unknown.. while the rest of Argolis belongs to Diomedes and his colleagues.) that Idomeneus had frequently been entertained by Menelaos in her old home. it can scarcely be doubted that the expedition against Troy involves the existence of relations of some kind between Agamemnon and the other kings.. Indeed visits friendly relations between the various paid by one prince to another 1 . Helen recognises several of the Achaean princes from the walls of Troy and remarks (II. This passage doubtless a Corinth. ill 366 ff. But the character of in the position in Greece itself is never clearly defined According to Od. (291 ff.

Further. I am not aware that there is any evidence apart from the Catalogue for supposing that the territories of the two brothers were regarded as definitely marked off from one another. But it is at least equally possible that he was influenced by the desire of providing each king with dominions comprised in a compact geographical area. Messenia.. which according to Bede (H. e. taken together with the references infer the contrary. though certain cities and districts remained of native princes.).388 GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. Among these were the king of East Anglia and several Welsh kings. of the Catalogue as to the dimensions of Diomedes' dominions is The author may of course have derived his information from other sources. neither poem gives Agamemnon possesses part of evidence for the existence of anything which can fairly be called a kingdom in the Peloponnesos. as so frequently among the Teutonic In that case peoples. Ill 24) consisted of thirty legiones under regii duces.g. Sparta and Mycenae. rather than with two separate kingdoms. E. apart from the Catalogue. Again. perhaps in a dependent position. to From II. p. we may On the whole it seems more probable that we have here to do with a case of divided kingship. a satisfactory explanation of the later tradition 240) which claimed Agamemnon for Sparta or Amyclai. Elis and the territories of the two brothers 1 Taking the positive and . A good parallel is to be found in the army led by the Mercian king Penda against Oswio. except Pylos. too we shall (cf. we have to take into Pylos (the territory account that. from poems dealing with the story of Adrastos and the expedition against Thebes. bordering apparently on of Nestor). IX 149 ff. Beyond his own territories Agamemnon's authority does not seem to be represented as anything more than a somewhat indefinite hegemony comparable probably with the relationship of Theodric the Ostrogoth to his northern allies (cf. negative evidence together it seems probable that Agamemnon and his brother were regarded as ruling over the greater part in possession of the peninsula. obtain p. 1 The evidence not corroborated elsewhere in the Iliad. 373 f. . The army which he leads against Troy is furnished partly by his own subjects and partly by a number of princes whose positions may have varied from complete dependence to something which may best be described as alliance.

XVII] GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE 389 How Agamemnon told . 'AptcdSes and Kavtcwves for HV\LOL and 'Ap7e?o are not primary national names but derivatives of II^Xo? and "Ap709. though unfortunately the locality is not stated. "A/3az/re? probably also Ota/oje? and Mup/uSoz/e? ("EXXf^e?). is The same kingdoms outside Greece. . the inhabitants of the various kingdoms bear what are apparently national or tribal names. plain of Thessaly. of this type are 'E7reH. AoXofre?. true of . seems to throw some In the north of Greece. later tradition in a different part of the is it Nor again made clear whether the hegemony remained with the family after Agamemnon's death. Botwrot. while 'A^atot is a name. e.' certain is that no individual Greek prince attained to such a any hint of the rise of a the ' supremacy again. we may perhaps infer that his 1 although family had held a preeminent position before him . T/aaJe? and the But in the Peloponnesos the only names various Trojan allies. Aigisthos is said to have dwelt where Thyestes had formerly dwelt. ^a^/ce?. would deprive his relative of the estate lived. 375 ff. his account seems to be largely in the nature of a conjecture. Pelops was located by peninsula 2 . All that can be said is that the Odyssey represents Menelaos as a very wealthy king and that neither the poems nor later tradition give new power in the Peloponnesos before What may be regarded as Return of the Heracleidai. From II. except the light. For the method of succession which produce strife many Teutonic parallels might be cited.g. Thyestes here appears between Atreus and Agamemnon. like Engle> applied to the inhabitants of many kingdoms. e. Ao/cpoi. The two for it does not follow that Agamemnon. 'Ewrjz/e?. In Od.). IV 517 f. Mayz/^re?. We may refer to the events which took place on the death of Alfred the Great. Heroic Age.g. acquired his imperial position we are not for scarcely anything is recorded of his doings before the Trojan war. This evidence. tends to indicate that the southern kingdoms rested on a political or military rather than a tribal basis 1 which is natural enough The passage suggests that the a-Krj-n-Tpov is regarded as a symbol of authority. 2 Thucydides (i 9) relates how Atreus acquired the sovereignty at Mycenae but was of course extremely liable to . for many centuries after the close of the In conclusion we must consider briefly the question how far the Homeric kingdoms rested upon a national or tribal basis (cf. the imferium. when he took on which he passages however are not necessarily inconsistent. Upon this question the nomenclature of the poems p. so far as it goes. AiTOffXol. n 104 ff.

What I mean is that we have no reason supposing that Agamemnon's subjects believed themselves for to be of a different nationality from Nestor's subjects or the rest of the Achaeans and that each of these kingdoms had a separate tribal organisation and tradition of is its is own. the council of twelve and the The form national gathering for religious (sacrificial) purposes 1 . on a non-national . It would seem then that these kingdoms are to be compared with the newer kingdoms of the Teutonic Heroic Age. like the Anglo- . if we are right in believing that the Peloponnesian Achaeans were an offshoot from the Achaeans of northern Greece. we have noticed many remark- Homeric and the early Teutonic systems of government. cf. scarcely mean anything else than inhabitants of The followers of Diomedes and of Aias. the nucleus of which consisted of the kings with their military followings and I am not aware of the existence of any evidence inconsistent with this view. There is evidence also for similar festivals among the Lithuanians and Prussians cf. note). but also for the name Kpfjres in the Homeric probably Idomeneus several of the chief Achaean leaders belong to basis. important to notice that If our observation rest correct it kingdoms which apparently Among them we have to include not only Agamemnon.39O GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. since his subjects are described both as 'A%cuol and Ke(/>aXX?. I do not mean of course that these kingdoms were necessarily areas carved out by the sword. . Not all of these however can be regarded as characteristic of the Heroic Age some have been inherited Such in all probability from an earlier stage of development. the son of The Telamon. p. p. are the religious type of kingship. . poems can Crete. The is only 'heroes of the first rank' who kingdoms are Achilles and Aias the son of In the course of this chapter able resemblances between the clearly represent national Oileus. with a temporary lordship over the rest of the nation.i>e9. likewise appear to bear no national names. The question is whether he king of the Cephallenes in general or only king of Ithaca. Matthias 1 . 369. case of Odysseus is doubtful. Menelaos and Nestor. Among the Teutonic peoples we have records of such gatherings from the first century (cf. Saxon kingdoms. 383. note) to the eleventh (at Upsala.

XVII] GOVERNMENT IN THE HEROIC AGE 391 of government truly characteristic of the Heroic Age in both areas alike is an irresponsible type of kingship. in from time to time. it is true. insiiper Basel 1537. which generally take the form of a recognition of overlordship. id est tonitru.. we find a revival of national feeling. etc. Among the Teutonic peoples however the kingdoms constantly tend to number and increase in size partly by the process sketched above (p. whose advice he may wish to have it both cases a very strong tendency to develop intercourse between one kingdom and another partly by royal marriages and partly by the Lastly. we may observe cultivation of personal relations between the kings. . and without roots in any national organisation. resting not upon tribal or national law which is of little account but upon Such kingdoms are often of recent origin military prestige. The assembly here. IX 483 f. how far the various dependent cities and districts remained in the hands of native royal families We and how far they were governed by officials. De Sarm. it is true. and to break down tribal and local prejudices. II (in Grynaeus' Novus Orbis Terrarum. But it is clear that the royal families form a much larger proportion of the population than was the case among the Teutonic peoples of the fifth century. p. by which. \ The general effect of this intercourse must have been to produce something in the nature of an international royal caste. 519) praefatis celebritas agebatur. ad focos quisque suos offerebat libamina. 375) and partly by pressure from without. Teutonic and Greek With the end of the Heroic Age the lines followed by In both political history part company. : Europ. at least in the highest ranks of society. Lib.. decrease in In Greece on the other hand this tendency was brought to an 1 abrupt end by the Thessalian and Dorian conquests. though in varying degree.. prima Octobris die maxima per Samagittas in syluis et ex omni regione uniuersus utriusque sextis conueniens illuc populus cibos et potus quilibet iuxta suae conditionis qualificationem deferebat . is a gathering summoned at the while the council consists of an indefinite number king's pleasure. 1 It is important to notice that the tendency appears to have been by no means so far developed as in the Teutonic Heroic Age. so far as exists at all. praecipue deo lingua eorum appellate Perkuno. In the latter category we may include such a person as Phoinix (II. the richest parts of the country were brought into the power of populations in a lower stage of civilisation and governed largely a Michov. quibus aliquot diebus epulati diis stiis falsis. cannot tell. cases.). of his trusted followers.

392

GOVERNMENT

IN

THE HEROIC AGE

[CHAP. XVII

by tribal principles and prejudices. The general effect of these movements was to isolate the various communities not only
conquered provinces but also in those districts, such as Attica, which remained entirely or comparatively untouched. This isolation in turn was probably favourable to the growth In the end at all events no king sucof internal dissensions.
in the

ceeded
class 1
,

in maintaining a personal lordship over the even within the smallest communities. The

rest of his
title

came

to denote an official with constantly diminishing powers, often indeed of an exclusively religious character, while the allegiance formerly owed to an individual was now transferred to the state

and its constitution 2 At a later date, it is true, most of the Greek states again came for a time into the power of individual rulers. But it is not until the days of Philip II, king of the
.

Macedonians, that we find any single man holding an authority over the Greek world such as the poems attribute to Agamemnon.
1 Teutonic analogies occur, though they are not common. We may instance Bede's account (H. E. iv 12) of what took place after the death of Coenwalh, king of Wessex (about 673) acceperunt subreguli regnum gentis et diuisum inter se tenuerunt
:

annis cirdter X, after which deuictis atque amotis subregulis Caedualla suscepit imperium. The Saxon Chronicle certainly gives a different impression and from Eddius, Vita
;

Wilfridi) cap. 40,

some
that
77

extent.

appears that Centwine's authority was recognised at least to Reference may also be made to Procopius' statement (Goth. II 14)
it

early in Justinian's reign

#ri dj3affi\evToi TO \onrov fiotiXovrai elvai

the Heruli slew their king, ctXXo ovdev eTreveyKores the interregnum was of short duration. ; but

during the

the Cherusci and other peoples of western Germany century where it is to be noted that Tacitus' prindpes and regnum I cannot help thinking correspond to Bede's subreguli and imperium respectively. that much confusion has been introduced into early Greek history through failure to
Earlier cases

may be found among

first

distinguish
2

between kingship and lordship. true even of Sparta. We may quote Herodotus' account (vn 104) of Demaratos' speech to Xerxes \eij6epoi yap e6t>res (sc. ol Aa/ce daifjt,6vioi) ou iravra
This
is
:

17

5eo-7r6r?7S v6/J.os, rbv virodei/j.aivov<ri TroXXy tn /ActXXoi/ the recognition of this impersonal force not of course any sense ' law of the community which perhaps most clearly of universal right, but the The distinguishes post-heroic and pre-heroic society from that of the Heroic Age.

\e66epoi dffi"
ol
ffol

ZtreffTi

yap

<r<pi

at.

It is

'

existence of such a force

operating, under religious sanction
is

(cf.

p. 366), as
7,

a restraint

upon the king's freedom of action

implied by Tacitus, Germ.

n.

But

it

is

a strange misunderstanding which has led several scholars to compare the former of these passages with Beow. 73, where the limitations stated are those of Hrothgar's
generosity, not of his power.

CHAPTER

XVIII.

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE.
IN the course of the Heroic Age many of the Teutonic peoples were converted to Christianity. The change of faith began among the Goths soon after the middle of the fourth century and must have spread very quickly to the Vandals. The Gepidae and Langobardi seem to have followed the example
of these peoples in the course of the following century. At the time of Justinian's accession the Heruli were probably the only
,

Teutonic people in eastern central Europe who remained heathen. In the west the Burgundians accepted Christianity apparently about the beginning of the fifth century, and the Franks before
its close.

The conversion

of

century
affected

;

that of the Frisians

England took place in the seventh and Old Saxons for the most part
in general

in the eighth.

The Northern Kingdoms

were

little

by the change until towards the close of the tenth century, though the first missionary efforts in Denmark and Sweden began before the middle of the ninth. In parts of Sweden the heathen religion lingered on until late in the
eleventh century. In the Nibelungenlied
it is clearly recognised, perhaps through scholastic influence, that the multitude assembled at Attila's court

included both Christians and heathens
is

;

but no such distinction
In the former
all
I

drawn

in the

English and Norse poems.

the characters are

made
;

observe heathen

rites

to speak as Christians, in the latter no indication

though they
is

given that

any of the characters were Christians. In point of fact there can be little doubt that most of the persons who figure in the heroic stories were heathens. In all probability such was the

394

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE

[CHAP.

case with the earlier Goths, Eormenric and his contemporaries, as well as with all the characters of the Danish cycles. On the other hand the later Goths, Theodric and his contemporaries,

were certainly Christians, and so also were the Burgundians, Guthhere and his brothers, as well as Alboin, king of the Langobardi. With the Christian religion we are not concerned here for, greatly as it influenced the Teutonic peoples, it was in no sense native. It is to the religion which Christianity displaced that we must give our attention. Unfortunately however the records which have come down to us from the Heroic Age itself are
;

entirely of foreign authorship,

extremely

little

and on the whole they give us information on this subject. We are bound

therefore to base our account of Teutonic religion

upon the

comparatively abundant evidence preserved in Scandinavian literature, though we must not assume that the religion of the Heroic Age possessed the characteristics which we find in the

North some

five centuries

later.

When we

have given a brief

summary

have to discuss
all

of the chief features of this later religion we shall in somewhat more detail the small amount of

information available for the earlier period. This is rendered the more necessary by the fact that in works dealing with
the subject the religion of the Heroic Age has not generally been distinguished from that of the Germans of Tacitus' time.

Now

forcibly from a careful study of Northern religion

the feature which will probably strike any one most is an extra-

ordinary discrepancy between the mythical stories contained in the Edda and elsewhere on the one hand and references to
actual religious observances on the other. In the former we find the gods grouped together in an organised community,

of which Othin

and many

stories deal

Most of the mythical with Othin's exploits and adventures, and serve to illustrate his power and wisdom. On the other hand the

the recognised head. of the other gods his sons.
is

Frigg

is

his wife,

Thor

references to religious rites point in quite a different direction. In Iceland, for which our records are most full, there is practically

no evidence for the worship of Othin. Thor is by far the most prominent figure, and after him Frey occasionally also
;

XVIII]

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE
of Niorftr
1
.

395

we hear

natural beings, In notices referring to Norway the evidence is unfrequent. do indeed sometimes hear of worship not very different.

elves

References to the worship of other superand landvaettir (genii locorum), are not

We

paid to Othin, especially in legendary stories, relating to early times but in references to what may be called the historical
;

period

the tenth and eleventh centuries

Thor and Frey

are

distinctly

more prominent.
explanations have been given of this curious phenoOne is that the cult of Othin was introduced into the

Two

late period and that it had not yet obtained a real hold at the time when Iceland was settled.

menon. North at a comparatively

This explanation has no foundation in tradition. Indeed the evidence of the stories points to an entirely opposite conclusion.

Moreover
II
'
'

it is worth noting that according to Procopius (Goth. the inhabitants of 'Thule' (i.e. Scandinavia) worshipped 15) Ares more than any other god. Since Othin is essentially

a god of war it rather than the

is

natural to suppose that he

is

the deity meant,

somewhat obscure Tyr.

The other explanation is that the cults of Othin and Thor belonged to two different classes of the community, the former
to princely families and their retinues, the latter to the country This people, more especially the (non-official) landowners.

explanation seems to be in complete accordance with the facts. There is no evidence for the worship of Othin either in early or late times except by princes or persons attached to their courts, while there are very few instances of the worship of Thor by

such persons. Further we may note that while names compounded with Thor- (e.g. Thorkell, ThSrolfr) are about the commonest type of all among the ordinary free population, both
Iceland and such names are significant since denote that the persons who bore them were dedicated they to the god they are practically unknown in royal families.
in

Norway and

These are the three gods mentioned in the solemn oath which, according to iv 7 (Hauksbok), had to be sworn on the sacred bracelet at all legal proceedings hialpi mtr svd Freyr ok Niorftr ok hinn almdttki Ass, etc. In the later Melabok (a compilation of the seventeenth century) it is suggested that Ass here means Othin ; but I do not think this explanation is generally accepted. It is scarcely

1

Landnamabok,
:

credible that

Thor should be ignored on such an

occasion.

396
It will

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE
be convenient

[CHAP. XVIII

now

to give a short sketch of the

two

deities

and their cults. Thor is represented

as a middle-aged

man

of

strength.

He
is

is

well disposed
their

towards the

human

immense bodily race and

against harmful demons, to In the poems ThrymskviSa and HymiskviSa and in a number of prose stories we have descriptions of Thor's adventures with giants, in which he is

looked

upon as

protector
foe.

whom

he

an implacable

generally represented as breaking their skulls with his hammer. He uses no weapon except the hammer, and when he travels he either walks or drives in a car drawn by goats. When he

comes

to the

assembly of the gods he

is

said to

wade through

His escort never consists of more certain rivers on the way. often he goes alone. The picture than three persons very
;

which the

stories give us

is

clearly that of

an idealised Norwegian

countryman of primitive times. There are scarcely any traces of his original connection with the thunder, though in Sweden
it

was

clearly

The

remembered. portraiture of Othin

offers the greatest possible contrast

represented as an old man, generally with one eye, and he gains his ends not by bravery or physical Sometimes we find him strength but by wisdom and cunning. in disguise, to giants or witches, in order to coming, usually
to that of Thor.
is

He

gain from them some magical power or knowledge of the future

;

sometimes he imparts He presents to men.

his

his favourites with

knowledge, again generally magical, weapons and instructs

/mem
slain

in

the art of war.

Above
is

all

he

is

the god

who

gives

victory in battle. ,_. Othin's chief dwelling

called Valholl
in battle

(the 'hall of the
*

were believed to go to persons '), him there. Hence we find such expressions as to go to lodge with Othin or to go to Valhalla used as euphemisms for to be killed.' Before joining battle it is said to have been customary to throw a javelin over the enemy with the words 'Othin has you

and

all

who

fall

'

*

'

'

all.'

After a battle prisoners were commonly sacrificed to Othin, and on such occasions, and indeed at all human sacrifices, the The usual I give thee to Othin.' formula regularly used was method of sacrifice was by hanging or stabbing or a combination
* :

XVIII]

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE

397

of both.

With this practice we may probably connect a somewhat obscure myth recorded in Havamal, str. 138, according to which Othin was sacrificed to himself, by hanging and stabbing, on the world-tree. Certainly it is to be noted that the sacrifices to Othin seem to have been invariably human. They were rites of quite a different character from the sacrificial clearly feasts frequently mentioned in the sagas, where the victims consisted of horses, oxen and other edible animals, part of which was offered to the gods, while the rest was consumed by the We do sometimes hear of horses being sacrificed worshippers. with men, but on such occasions dogs and hawks are also mentioned, and there is no evidence that any of the victims were eaten. There are very few records of human sacrifices
to

any god except Othin.

glorified

picture of Valhalla presented to us in the poems is a 1 The vast number of copy of a military king's court slain warriors assembled there in Othin's service spend their
.

The

days

in single

them we
adopted

combats and their evenings in feasting. Beside find the Valkyriur (' choosers of the slain '), Othin's These daughters, who distribute ale to the feasters.

also are sent out

by Othin

to decide the issue of battles
It is

to select warriors for Valhalla.

and noteworthy that the term

Valkyriur seems to be applied both to supernatural beings what may perhaps be called minor divinities and also to living

women endowed
flying.

with supernatural

Thus both Brynhildr and
contrary
to

powers, such as that of Sigrun, the wife of Helgi
it

Hundingsbani, are called Valkyries; and
a
fight

was

Othin's

command

that

for deciding the former was

punished with perpetual sleep.
"
8, Othin is said to have ordained dead men should be burnt and brought on to the pyre" with their property. He said that every dead man should come to Valhftll with such property as he had on the pyre.... But the ashes were to be cast out into the sea or buried down in the

In Ynglinga Saga, cap.
all

that

1 The description in Grfmnismal, str. 23, curiously recalls what is said of Egyptian The nearest approach to Valhalla to be found among Thebes in II. IX 383 f. Northern kingdoms is Ibn Fadhlan's account of the Russian court cf. Frahn, I.e.
;

(p.

367, note).

398
earth."

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE

[CHAP.

somewhat
place.

Valhalla seems to be represented as a spirit world, far away and not connected at all with the burial-

This observation brings us to another remarkablejdiscrepancy between the traditions and the customs which we find We know both from descripactually prevailing in the^North. tions in the sagas and from discoveries made in modern times
that in the last few centuries before the adoption of Christianity it was customary to bury the dead in their ships or in elaborately

!

wooden chambers the whole being covered with barrow of considerable size. In the Prologue to Snorri's Heimskringla this custom is said to be of later date than the one attributed to Othin first was the age of burning, then the age of barrows^ Now there is evidence both from the discoveries and from the sagas themselves that the barrows were regarded as sacred and that the spirits of the dead were believed to dwell either within them or in the immediate neighbourhood. Not unfrequently we hear of persons coming to a barrow to
constructed
a
;

consult the

spirit.

Sometimes the ghost, embodied
;

in the corpse,

even defends his property against grave-robbers. The activities of the dead are often represented as injurious but this is by no

means always the

case.

On

one occasion we hear of a dispute

between several different districts for the possession of the body of a king whose reign had been distinguished by great prosperity. On the whole then it is clear that the cult of the dead was
practised in the North very much as in most other parts of the Yet modern discoveries have brought to light abundant world.

evidence for cremation in the early iron age^sometimes in spots~~which are marked by no external monument so that the gtajgrflents of Vngljriga Saga may be regarded as based on
are driven to conclude therefore that_in_ their conception of immortality, as in their theology, the inhabitants of the North held two wholly inconsistent views or,

good

tradition.

We

perhaps
In

it

would be more correct to say, two entirely opposite to die desirability of retaining the souls of the~
tKe__2ractice_ot
it

cremation seems^to^have been was resorte5j:o trie "object is said exlremelyrare. butjwhen troublesome ghost. The one view to have beentCige^ rid of a of immortality was by no means so closely bound up with the
Iceland

XVIII]
cult of

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE

399

Thor

as the other

was with that of Qthtn.

But

it

certainly prevailed

among Thods-worshippers. The next most important deity after Othin and Thor was Frey. His cult was widely spread in Norway and Iceland yet accordThe Swedish royal ing to tradition its true home was Sweden
;

1

.

family and nobility traced their descent from Frey, and Upsala, their capital and the chief sanctuary of the North, was believed In Ynglinga Saga, cap. 12 f, to have been founded by him.

we have an account

of

him which

is

worth quoting as an
is

illustra-

tion of Northern manes-worship.

Frey

here represented as a

prince whose reign was characterised by unparalleled prosperity. His death was concealed for three years. But when it became

known, the Swedes would not burn him for they believed that prosperity and peace would last as long as Frey was in Sweden. They made a great barrow for him therefore and poured into it the tribute which they had been wont to pay him and they worshipped him for prosperity and peace ever afterwards. A very similar account is given of the Danish king FroSi the Peaceful from which we may infer that in Frey we have to
;
;

deal

not with a deified
*

man

but with a mythical

character

king of the golden age.' His name originally seems to have meant 'prince' or 'lord' (Ang.-Sax. frea, cf. very 2 probably it was at one time a title of the Swedish kings
a

W);
.

The Frey appears to be regarded as a youthful god. for which he was worshipped were peace and fertility, blessings both of the crops and livestock, as well as of the human race. His power of controlling the weather may be accounted for by
his association with the

Swedish kings
is

(cf.

p.

367)

;

but

it

is

clear that his character contains elements

one source.
to

His father NiorSr, who

drawn from more than sometimes associated with

him, possesses

though he appears be more particularly connected with the sea. There can be little doubt however that both he and his son have inherited the attributes of an ancient earth-goddess. Although there has
the
characteristics,
1

much

same

in sagas,
2

Frey's connection with Sweden appears in Saxo's History (frequently) as well as but not in the Edda.
full fornij

The

Yngvifreyr or Ingunarfreyr,
in

is

clearly connected with
cf.

Ingwina

frea, a title borne

by the king of the Danes

Beowulf;

p.

367 and note.

40O

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE

[CHAP.

been a change of sex, NiorSr's name is identical with that of Nerthus (id est Terra Mater), a deity who according to Tacitus, Germ. 40, was worshipped on an island in the ocean in all NiorSr also has a daughter called Freyia probability Sjaelland.
* '

who is represented as a female counterof Frey. It is worth noting that she is sometimes associated part with the next world. According to Grimnismal, str. 14, she
(i.e.

avatrua, Ae<77rowa),

shares the slain equally with Othin.

which we have just been dealing They were held to be of a collectively known as Vanir. different stock from the Aesir, to whom Othin and belonged, and according to the mythology had been

The

deities with

were
quite

Thor
given
figure

to the latter as hostages.

Of

the other deities those

who
;

most prominently

mythical stories are Frigg (Othin's wife), but we Ullr, Hoenir, Tyr, Heimdallr, ISun, Gefion and Balder of these. seldom hear of worship paid to any In the Edda all the gods together form a regularly organised
in

Their home is called AsgarSr, and they hold their It is to be beside the world-tree,' Yggdrasill's Ash. meetings observed that AsgarSr is a totally different conception from

community.

'

Indeed in this be represented as connection Othin himself does not appear to But apart from AsgarSr each god ^has a a god of the dead.
Valhalla 1
;

it

is

not an

abode of the

slain.

abode of his own Thor at ThruSheimr, Ullr at Ydalir, NiorSr at Noatun, Balder at BreiSablik, etc. All these localities It is or at all events incapable of identification. are mythical characteristic of Northern mythology that the gods a striking
special

are not associated with

any known localities. Practically the only tradition exceptions are Frey and Gefion, who are connected by and neither of these with Upsala and Sjaelland respectively;
connections
is

preserved in the poems of the Edda.

In order to

understand this feature we must of course bear in mind the fact that our mythological records are almost entirely derived from
Iceland, which lies far

away from

the old national sanctuaries.

1 The two conceptions are sometimes confused, e.g. in Voluspa, str. 34. But the of Balder is that of the 'house of Hel '; eschatological conception involved by the story and there can be no doubt that this conception itself is ancient, although the descrip-

tion of

Hel

in Gylf. 34 is

probably quite

late.

XVIII]
It is

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE

4OI

probably due to the same cause that we hear but little In Iceland the only noteworthy exception is of special cults. that, beside the more usually prevailing cult of Thor, we find a number of persons who are devoted to the service of Frey.
Certain chiefs bear the
title Freysgcfoi
('

priest of

Frey ')

;

in

one

case a whole family bore the surname FreysgySlingar. Temples apparently sometimes contained the figures of a number of gods,

though Thor's or Frey's is usually the only one mentioned by name. In Norway however the case is somewhat different. We hear frequently of temples and statues of Thor, occasionally But in addition to these there are notices also of those of Frey.
of sanctuaries belonging to other deities though not to Othin. In FriS]?i6fs Saga, cap. I (and passim), mention is made of a

temple and image of Balder

in

the district of Sogn.

It is

the

fashion to treat this incident as a product of antiquarian speculation but there is little in the story itself to justify such a view,
;

and the

fact that the worship of Balder is not found elsewhere proves nothing. More important however is the fact that in a number of records we hear of statues and temples of ThorgerSr

HolgabruSr, with whom her sister Irpa is sometimes associated. There can be no doubt that under the rule of Earl Haakon of Lade the cult of ThorgerSr was more prominent than that of any other deity, at least in the district of Trondhjem. This fact is the more remarkable because ThorgerSr and Irpa are never
associated in any way with the rest of the gods in the poems of the Edda and even in Gylfaginning their existence is ignored. very interesting illustration of the practice of special cults
;

A

occurs in Nials Saga, cap. 88, which describes a temple owned in common by Earl Haakon and GuSbrandr, a powerful hersir

This temple contained (hereditary local chief) in the highlands. 1 figures of ThorgerSr and Irpa and also of Thor in his car know from other sources that the cult of Thor was hereditary in
.

We

1

The

text does not say (as

is

stated in several

works on Northern mythology) that

Thor occupied the central position, but merely that he was robbed after ThorgerSr and before Irpa. This is the only mention, so far as I am aware, of a cult figure of Thor in his car a feature which occurs in HymiskviSa and Gylfaginning and may It is somewhat remarkable that in the possibly have some ethnological significance.
tract
is

Fra Fornioti (in Hrafn's Fornaldar Sogur, n p. 6f.) the ancestry of Guftbrandr traced to the giant Thrymr, Thor's antagonist.
C.

26

counsellor and protector. 280) quae peculiares colunt deos. between the worshipper and his deity were of a personal and intimate character he regarded the latter Where the two are of as friend.. I p. Micheloviciana Sidzium-. . the family of GuSbrandr. p. lose her husband who was exceedingly dear to her. 107 f. as her husband.. the god common among the 1 Cults peculiar to certain families appear to have been cf. he says.402 RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE Indeed it [CHAP. relations ." One of the bystanders then addresses the image " How is it.. Olafr Tryggvason. Samogitarum (Respublica. that thou art now so humiliated and stripped in unseemly wise of the splendid app'arel wherewith Earl Haakon had thee clothed when he " So in the poem HyndlulioS Freyia speaks of loved thee ? : her devoted worshipper. was not a god. 337 f. ut Mikutiana Simonaitem. therefore for supposing that Snorri was giving rein to his imagination when he stated (Yngl. and carrying off the " Who wants to buy a wfe ? image. sunt etiam quaedam ueteres nobilium familiae. Saga. 131 f. Ottarr the son of Innsteinn. 5) that Gefion was the wife of Skioldr who. . apt to take a conjugal form. cap. 1642. If once he can catch sight of him.. p. after robbing one of Earl Haakon's temples. Leyden. though a mythical character (cf. Poloniae. may compare with this the fact that in the We I Flateyiarbok. appears to be generally true that families adhered to the to generation 1 though in bearing the title FreysgoSi. In Saxo's translation of the lost Biarkamal the hero suspects that Othin is among the enemy and expresses his eagerness to attack him.). calls out in derision : I think Thorkell and I are now since she has had the misfortune to responsible for this woman. Sometimes again we meet with a definitely hostile attitude towards a deity generally Othin and it must not be supposed that such ideas first arose after the introduction of Christianity. : Lithuanians and kindred peoples. etc. De diis Schemietiana et Kiesgaliana Venlis Rekicziovum> aliae altos. The different sexes the relationship is Thus in the Flateyiarbok. Lasicius. ThorgerSr. same cult from generation one case we do hear of an Icelander who belonged to a family dis- tinguished for its service to Thor. in Sweden is the priestess in charge of Frey's temple I see no reason said to have been called his wife.

Loki serves as a connecting link between the gods and the iotnar ('giants'). Yet there are exceptions to this and some of the gods. The same attitude appears elsewhere. cap. ever spoken of as individuals. connected with the cult of the dead. Ruta. quantumcunque albo clypeo sit tectus et altum flectat equum. the latter hostile. Most probably their scarcely rule . On this last subject enough has been said 1 p.g. is the married unseemly conduct or with being involved in humiliating positions.XVIII] will not RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE 1 escape from Leire unharmed . a story which contains many archaic features we find the destiny of a man being determined by Othin and Thor. from the origin is to be sought in animistic conceptions. armipotens. Next to them we must mention the dwarfs. 7 the introduction to Grimnismal as the result of a disagreement with Othin Frigg plays a trick upon him which leads him into serious trouble. a class of beings who are represented as generally hostile to both gods and men. among the gods is he charges most of the chief goddesses with unfaithfulness or unchastity. The picture of the divine community which the poem presents No doubt Loki is representing to us is anything but pleasant. e. precor. have wives iotnar. 403 Such ideas can only be explained by a vivid anthropomorphic conception of the deities. his charges. but only objects of worship. In Gautreks Saga. while at the same time he reproaches the gods with life of NiortSr and SkaSi But the chief cause of discord In the poem Lokasenna the malicious Loki. NiorSr and Frey. uno se??iper die mihi. Neither of these classes however can properly be regarded as Elves were certainly worshipped. every circumstance in the most unfavourable light possible but there appears to be a definite mythical foundation for most of . usquam si conspicis ilium. as far as we know. In early records they are collectively. Lethra nequaquam sospes abibit. fas est belligerum bello prosternere diuum. In the former of whom is friendly to him. who are distinguished for their cunning and skill in metallurgy. si potero horrendum Frigge spectare maritum. 26 2 . Nor as happy as might be wished. 66 : Et nunc ille ubi sit qui unlgo didtur Othin contentus ocello.

RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE [CHAP. we have been dealing with the religion of the Viking Age. There is no question that worshipped Thor was known not only in Sweden and Denmark but also in Germany and England. Now let us consider the various deities individually. Cf.g. but the worship paid to him Some scholars hold that Bragi. NiorSr. there are a few direct references to worship of him e. iv 26 ence to the passage from the Vita Anscharii quoted on p. . 255 f. at all events as it existed in the Viking Age. is no other than the poet Bragi Boddason. The cult of Frey was believed we have seen. we do not know but . too we find the evidence at after all. was deified. Landnamabok. Freyia and Balder the evidence is slight and For that of the rest of the gods there is no generally doubtful. in the inscription and in a Low German on a brooch found at Nordendorf in Bavaria renunciation formula for the use of converts. cohmt et deos ex hominibus factos. On the other hand we find that the deity who one Thor is figures most prominently of it all in these records is who entirely unknown conclusion which facts is that the seems to to the theology of the me legitimate to is Edda. though he is apparently not mentioned by as Tacitus. the god of poetry. It will be convenient to begin with those in whom we know to have been Norway or Iceland. I 14). above we need only add that the formal deification of dead men was not unknown 1 Sacred trees and groves also figure . How old it was 1 : to have there come from Sweden. the great-great-grandfather of Thorstetnn Solmundarson who settled in Iceland (cf.404 . Adam of Bremen.). Here worship of Thor and Frey. But we have seen that the actual records of religion in Iceland agree Nor can it truly be in no way with the theology of the Edda. etc. Apart from local nomenclature and the use of his name (as a translation of dies lonis) in the fifth day of the week. The only draw from these mythology of the Edda not a true reflection of Norwegian religion. His cult goes back without doubt to the Heroic Age and probably much earlier. under the forms Donar and T/iunor respectively. But for the worship of Othin. as prominently as in other parts of Europe. Thus far said that the evidence for Norway shows a better case. is evidently regarded as something exceptional. (with refer- It is not clear whether Grimr Kambann. primarily as we know of it in Iceland and Norway.

Even in Tacitus' time he appears name Mercurius) as the chief god. There is shall have to deal presently. chapters IX-XI. Helmoldus. In the two latter countries he bore the names Woden 'and With Othin we '* Wodan respectively. 70. as the wife of 1 Wodan. Balder's history is not so clear. who was worshipped in the first century by the Angli and other peoples in the south-western part of the Baltic. 84. though doubtless mythical. Slavorum. I . abundanTevidence that he was known not only in Sweden and Denmark but also in England and at least the greater part of Germany. the mythology. us take the deities who are known to us only from Both Frigg and Tyr were certainly known in England and Germany. of Ing in the Anglo-Saxon Runic Poem it is clear that he was a perfectly definite. Frigg (Fred) also figures. But the name Yngvi has a much longer history and can be traced in sumption is From what is said various records back to the time of Tacitus. who under the name Skialf seems to have her roots in early Swedish tradition. personality 2 . Their names are preserved in the sixth and third days of the week. have discussed this subject (also Niorftr and Freyia) in detail in The Origin of the English Nation. cally upon to which we let Now shall have to refer again shortly.XVIII] RELIGION IN THE HEROIC AGE 405 there is some reason for believing that it was not originally confined to that country. We The feminine form of the deity is probably preserved in Freyia.) there can be little doubt that he was known in Denmark. that they found the cult in existence when they occupied that district not later than the seventh century. The Slavonic inhabitants of eastern Holstetn worshipped a deity of the same name 1 and the pre. baldor. From Saxo's account (p. When the change of sex took place we do not know. 53.' arose out of the god's name is open to still . The (under the 3 question whether he was recognised in Germany depends practithe interpretation of the (second) Merseburg charm. 3 I do not think that Aethelweard's substitution of Balder for Baeldaeg (the first part of which is certainly bsel-) in the genealogy of King Aethelwulf (in 3) can be held Proue(n] I 2 to prove the existence of the cult of Balder in England. Chron. in the Langobardic story quoted above cf. 70 ff. have already noticed that NiorSr can be traced back to a goddess Nerthus. 'prince. The more theory that the word serious question.

is There of the Edda was a further reason for doubting whether the theology a product of late Norwegian poetry. p. T^r (Mars) is mentioned more than once by Tacitus. 19. the son of a settler from Orkadal (to the south of Trondhjem). no reason for supposing that the cult of Thorgerftr was p. 1910). the handmaid of Frigg. In the Flateyiarbok. Perhaps is the most striking conception in this theology 'world-tree/ Yggdrasill's Ash.406 (p. Olrik. had a temple dedicated to her. . or still earl