Wednesday, May 11, 2011

From The Circle of the World

Image is from a rock carving depicting the Sigurd legend (Ramsund, Sweden 11th century)


Having read through most of Samuel Laing's translation of Vol. 1 in The Heimskringla (World Circle); Chronicle of the Kings of Norway, by Snorri Sturluson, I realize how excited I had become to discover more about the interconnectedness of my ancestry between the Germanic Saxons and the Celts. According to Mr. Laing in his preliminary dissertation, the nature of western culture has much more to do with the Anglo-Saxon, Danes, Swedes, Northman of the viking sagas than it has to do with cultural influences resulting from the Roman invasion of Europe or even from the Celts. I share with you an excerpt from page 7(ish) in Vol. 1:

The moral power of this people --- the Anglo-Saxons and Northmen being essentially the same people --- has left deeper impressions on society, and of a nobler character, than the despotic material power of the Romans. It is in activity at the present hour in European society, introducing into every country more just ideas than those which grew up amidst the ruins of the Roman empire, of the social relations of the governing and the governed. The history of modern civilization resolves itself, in reality, into the history of the moral influences of these two nations. All would have been Roman in Europe at this day in principle and social arrangement, --- Europe would have been, like Russia or Turkey, one vast den of slaves, with a few rows in its amphitheatre of kings, nobles, and churchmen, raised above the dark mass of humanity beneath them, if three boats from the north of the Elbe had not landed at Ebbsfleet in the Isle of Thanet fourteen hundred years ago, and been followed by a succession of similar boat expeditions of the same people, marauding, conquering, and settling, during six hundred years, viz. from 449 to 1066. All that men hope for of good government and future improvement in the physical and moral condition --- all that civilized men enjoy at this day of civil, religious, and political liberty --- the British constitution, representative legislature, the trial by jury, security of property, freedom of mind and person, the influence of public opinion over the conduct of public affairs, the Reformation, the liberty of the press, the spirit of the age --- all that is or has been of value to man in modern times as a member of society, either in Europe or in the New World, may be traced to the spark left burning upon our shores by these northern barbarians.

This does fascinate me because I'm torn between my English (Anglo-Saxon) heritage on my grandmother's side and my German ancestors on my grandfather's side. I don't know why but I feel a strange affiliation with Thor as the Norse version of the God even though my ancestry is much more heavily influenced by the Anglo-Saxon version of Heathenism, which depicts Thor as Thunor, and Odin as Woden. I just don't feel anything for this terminology, although I'm not sure how many other differences there might be to yet explore. Hence, my decision is not yet made as to which branch of Heathenism I will subscribe wholeheartedly to, but I have a feeling this chronicle will shed some serious light on the grey areas for me.

The entire chronicle can be read online at The Heimskringla.

Thanks to Norse Mythology on Facebook for the info.

4 comments:

Ténèbres à la lumière... said...

Hi! Camille...
A very interesting read...No wonder that you were interested in the film "Thor"... Perhaps?!?

[By the way,
I took a "peek" at your post 4 days ago...However, I like to comment after I read at a "leisurely" pace which is today.]

Thanks, for sharing the link too!
DeeDee ;-/

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

No problem... anytime that is right for you is ok by me.
Yes I'm a Heathen and Thor is my God (one of my Gods)! :)

FreeFox said...

Doesn't matter if you call him Thor, Donar or Thunor... THIS is really all that needs to be said, eh? ^_^

Ms Corpse Cafe said...

LOL.... indeed!