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"Sky God" an inhereted title? 
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Joined: Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:54 am
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This question won't be posed as formally as some of my other ones, mostly just because this was a fleeting thought I had the other day that I'd see if anyone here had any reaction/ input on. We read that Tyr was the original chief of the Aesir and the first to be known as the "sky god". We then see Odin take over that role later, as he does for the majority of Germanic myth and history as we know it. While doing some recent research on the conversion of the Norse, I read that the people being converted who looked to Thor as their champion regarded HIM as the sky god. What do you think? Could it be a sort of title passed from God to God based on importance in time? Could all three be sky gods in their own right? Does being the "sky god" necessarily equate with being the unofficial head of the Gods?


Tue Jul 22, 2014 3:11 am
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Filius Thula wrote:
Could it be a sort of title passed from God to God based on importance in time? Could all three be sky gods in their own right? Does being the "sky god" necessarily equate with being the unofficial head of the Gods?


Great question. I think that one thing to keep in mind is the nature of the individuals bestowing the title. To a farmer, a god associated with rain was most likely to be given title " Sky God" whereas sailors would probably reserve that title to the god associated with the north star (the one constant point of reference in the night sky). But then again, sailors of that time period were heavily dependent on the goodwill of the storm god as well.

Also, different areas did place more of an emphasis on the worship of certain gods. Various archaeological sites reveal different gods occupying the "center stage" of temples and shrines. Again, the needs of the people would most likely be the deciding factor.

I think you are also right about worship/titles changing over time. Even if you only take the "Viking Age" (793 to 1066) into consideration, that is 300 years, which is plenty of time for a god to fall out of favor and another to take his or her place in one specific afrea. When you look at the time frame as starting with the beginning of the Migration Period, a little before 400, to runes referring to the gods carved in the 1300's, you are looking at a 1,000 year time frame - a LOT can change in a thousand years.


Tue Jul 22, 2014 5:30 am
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The idea that Tyr originally led the Norse pantheon is not Eddaic. It was first suggested by 19th century scholars.


Tue Jul 22, 2014 6:13 am
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Thank you both for the input.

Noted OdinBrotherhood, but then again, given the context, it wouldn't make much sense for it to show up in the Eddas. The Eddas do not provide a comprehensive look at the mythology throughout history, hence me placing this is the speculation section as I knew there wouldn't be a lot to back it up with. I would be surprised to learn that no actual evidence exists to support the theory of Tyr's being the former leader of the Aesir, though I must admit I'm not very knowledgeable on contemporary Norse archaeology.

I appreciate the point about the title possibly varying geographically between different cultures and tribes, Tyrsman. I meant to include that with my original post and believe it offers one of the more likely explanations.


Tue Jul 22, 2014 11:50 pm
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The study of Greek/Roman mythology, which Marcus Varro said had 30,000 gods and goddesses, has led people to speak in terms of patron gods. There is a war god, a goddess of beauty, and so forth. Thery even have a goddess of breast feeding, a god of latrines, and a god of ridicule.

The Norse pantheon, which has only a few dozen gods and goddesses, has individual entities, but they are not patrons of anything. We associate Thor with thunder and lightning, but he is not nature god that spends his time sending lightning strikes. Idunna is associated with youth, but she is more than that.

Think in terms of personalties....

Heimdall guards Asgard because that is his strength. He is not the god of mall security guards.


Wed Jul 23, 2014 11:04 pm
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OdinBrotherhood wrote:

Heimdall guards Asgard because that is his strength. He is not the god of mall security guards.



Well said OB, we must not confuse ourselves with other religions or stereotypes that movies place on the gods or the negitive light the Christian Churches placed upon them. Like the Edda's explain, our gods have personalities of there own, and are not limited to one set course. This is what makes us different.


Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:37 am
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The probably thought Tyr was the original chief god because the name Teutonic for Germans came from Tyr, as they believed he was the father of all Germans and they are the oldest of the various Germanic groups which include the Norse who's name come from Nord as vikings and other Scandinavians believed they came from Nord. But we know even before the relatively modern groups came to being Wotan was already the chief of the pantheon.

I actually wonder if that somehow influenced the Romans who believed themselves descendents of Mars as they had a lot of dealings with Germanic people (Teutons or Teutonicus as they were called by Romans which means sons of Tyr), it couldn't have been from the Greeks who believed themselves to be descendants of Hercules as Ares was their god of war and not Hercules

As said, it was probably an error by Christian scholars.


Thu Jul 24, 2014 2:32 pm
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