German mythology refers to:
any myths associated with historical Germanic paganism
Continental Germanic mythology
Continental German Mythology is a subset of Germanic mythology, going back to South Germanic polytheism as practiced in parts of Central Europe before gradual Christianization during the 6th to 8th centuries, and continued in the legends, and Middle High German epics during the Middle Ages, also continued although in a recharacterized and less sacred fashion in European folklore and fairy tales. It includes the mythology of many tribes of German peoples........
Franks and Thuringii
Unlike North Germanic, and to a lesser extent Anglo-Saxon mythology, the attestation of Continental Germanic paganism is extremely fragmentary. Besides a handful of brief Elder Futhark inscription, the sole genuinely pagan Continental Germanic document are the short Old High German Merseburg Incantations. Mythological elements were however preserved in later literature, notably in Middle High German epic poetry, but also in German, Swiss and Dutch folklore.
Gods and Heroes in German Mythology:
The major gods can be identified by their influence on the English weekday names Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday which come from Tiw, Wóden, Žunor, and Frķge respectively, through the Old English names Tķwesdęg, Wédnesdęg, Žunresdęg and Frķgedęg.
The Osses correspond to the Norse Ęsir: Woden, the leader of the Wild Hunt and the one who carries off the dead. He was one of the chief gods of the Angles and Saxons before the Christian era. He was held to be the ancestor of Hengist and Horsa, two legendary figures from early English history and most of the early Anglo-Saxon kings claimed descent from Woden.
He gives us the modern Wednesday ("Woden's day").
Thunor, (AS Žunor). He is the god of thunder, who rules the storms and sky. He also protects mankind from the giants. He was the god of the common people within the heathen community. His name gives rise to the modern Thursday.
Frķge is the goddess of love, and is the wife of Woden. She is one of the most powerful Goddesses, this position being threatened only by Freyja. Her day is Friday, due to her associations with Venus.
Tiw is the god of warfare and battle, and gives us Tuesday. There is some speculation that he is a sky-god figure and formely the chief god, displaced over the years by Woden.
The Wones correspond to the Vanir: Ingui Fréa was one of the most popular Gods, after Thunor and Woden. He is above all the God of fertility, bringing abundance (wone) and fruitfulness to the crops, herds, and the Folk. Though he is a fertility God, he is also connected to warfare to a degree; however, this warfare is defensive, as opposed to offensive, and is not to create strife and havoc.
After all, peace is necessary for a good harvest and a productive community, while needless warfare destroys any prospect of peace and abundance. The Yngling royal line of Sweden claimed descent from him.
Freo is said to be the most beautiful of all the goddesses, and is therefore described as the Goddess of Love. She is not to be mistaken with Frige, however; Freo's dominion is erotic love, whereas Frige's is love expressed within marriage. Being a goddess of unbridled passion, it is not surprising that she also takes half the slain of the battlefield, with the other half taken by Woden.
Like her brother, Fréa, she is connected to abundance and wealth; however, her wealth is primarily in precious metals and gems. She is also a Goddess of Magic, having taught Woden seišr.
Neorš is Frea and Freo's father, and is the God of the seas and commerce. He is called upon by fishermen and sailors who depend upon good seas. Like his son and daughter, his realm is that of wealth; namely, the wealth of the sea. He married the giantess Sceadu, though the marriage was not successful as neither of them could tolerate the other's element; Sceadu her mountains, and Neorš his sea.
Eorše, whose name means "Earth," is the wife of Woden, by whom she gave birth to Žunor. She is also the daughter of the Goddess Niht. Her worship is generally passive, as opposed to active, though she is called on for "might and main." Her latent strength can be seen in her son, Žunor.
Eostre, according to Bede, is a Goddess tied with the "growing light of spring," and embodies purity, youth, and beauty, as well as the traditional rebirth and renewal concepts. Her symbols are hares and eggs, which symbolize the beginning of life and fertility. The current Christian festival of Easter is thought to contain elements of a pre-Christian festival in honour of Eostre; hence the name Easter. Niht is the Goddess of Night, and also the mother of Eorše. The Norse night was the daughter of Narvi. She was married three times; the first to Naglfari by whom she had Aud; the second, to Annar by whom she had Eorše; and the third to Dellinger Daeg.
Sigel is the Goddess of the Sun, called Sunna by modern Heathens. Her day is, of course, Sunday.
By region in German Mythology:
The heart of the "Continental Germanic" areal lies in the Northern European Lowlands in present-day Germany. Its borders are not clearly defined, but formed by contact zones where we find syncretism with other mythological traditions. Indeed, even prehistoric Common Germanic is assumed to have been a product of contact and syncretism with Celtic mythology. Such areas of contact are the Low Countries to the west (with Gallo-Roman culture), the Alps to the south (with Alpine culture), Jutland to the north (with Norse mythology) and the Central European "Visegrįd Group" area to the east (Baltic and Slavic mythology). East Germanic influence stretched even farther south, west and east, to Italy, Iberia, Sarmatia, Dacia and Illyria, but has left only very fragmentary traces.
Germanic folklore in German Mythology:
Germanic folklore is recorded folklore of the Germanic speaking peoples. It is often used as a starting point for the reconstruction of a Common Germanic mythology.
Deities in German Mythology:
Wodanaz, "lord of poetic/mantic inspiration", "Germanic Mercury", Norse Óšinn, Saxon Woden, Old High German Wuotan.
Wodan or Wotan in Old High German and Godan in Lombardic. He is in all likelihood identical with the Germanic god identified as Mercury by Roman writers and possibly with Tacitus' regnator omnium deus. Odin is sometimes thought to have risen to prominence during the Migration period, some authors claim gradually displacing Tyr as the head of the pantheon in West and North Germanic cultures.
Žunraz, "thunder", "Germanic Hercules or Jupiter", Norse Žórr, West Germanic Donar, Saxon Thunor.
Thor (Old Norse: Žórr) is the red-haired and bearded god of thunder in Germanic paganism and its subset Norse paganism. The god is also recorded in Old English as Žunor, Old Saxon as Thunaer, as Old Dutch and Old High German: Donar, all of which are names deriving from the reconstructed Proto-Germanic name *Žunraz.
Teiwaz, god of war, "Germanic Mars", Norse Tyr, West Germanic Tiw, continues Indo-European Dyeus.
Corresponding names in other Germanic languages are Gothic Tyz , Old English Tiw and Old High German Ziu, all from Proto-Germanic *Tīwaz. The Old Norse name became Old Norwegian Ty, Old Swedish Ti, while it remains Tżr in Modern Icelandic and Faroese.
Nerthus, described by Tacitus as Mother Earth, continued in Norse Njord.
Nerthus is a goddess in Germanic paganism associated with fertility. Nerthus was mentioned by Tacitus, a 1st Century AD Roman historian, in his work entitled Germania. An amount of speculation exists regarding the goddess and her potential later traces amongst the Germanic tribes.
Frijo, wife of Wodanaz, Norse Frigg. "wife", c.f. Sanskrit priya "mistress, wife"
Frigg (or Frigga) is a major goddess in Norse paganism, a subset of Germanic paganism. She is said to be the wife of Odin, and is the "foremost among the goddesses". Frigg appears primarily in Norse mythological stories as a wife and a mother. She is also described as having the power of prophecy yet she does not reveal what she knows. And Frigg is the only one other than Odin who is permitted to sit on his high seat Hlidskjalf and look out over the universe.
Fria, daughter of Njord. Norse Freya, Old High German Frouwa, Anglo-Saxon Freo. "lady", c.f. Gothic Frįujo "lady, mistress", German "Frau", Swedish "Fru"
Freyja (sometimes anglicized as Freya) is a major goddess in Norse Paganism, a subset of Germanic Paganism. Because the documented source of this religious tradition, the Norse Mythology, was transmitted and altered by Christian medieval historians, the actual role, heathen practices and worship of the goddess are uncertain.
Fullo goddess, or *Fullaz, god of riches, plenty. Corresponds to Norse Fulla.
The Old High German Merseburg Incantations mentions a Uolla or Volla, and calls her the sister of Friia or Frija (in German paganism, Freyja and Frigg were identical). That Fulla is the sister of Frigg does not appear in the Norse literature.
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Ermunaz, Saxon god (speculative, based on Nennius' Armenon)
Wulžuz, "glorious one", possibly originally an epitheton, mentioned on the Thorsberg chape, continued in Norse Ullr
In Germanic paganism, Ullr appears to have been a major god in prehistoric times, or even an epitheton (*wulžuz, Old English wuldor, meaning "glory") of the head of the Proto-Germanic pantheon. Ullr is mentioned on the 3rd century Thorsberg chape and in late Icelandic sources but not much other information regarding the god has survived.
Sowilo, the Sun
Sól or Sunna is the goddess of the Sun in Germanic mythology. One of the Merseburg Incantations, written in the 9th or 10th century CE, relates that she was the sister of Sinthgunt. In later Norse mythology, Sól appears in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources, and the Prose Edda, written in the 13th century by Snorri Sturluson.
Semi-gods or mythical heroes in German Mythology:
Auzawandilaz, the morning star
Gautaz, mythical ancestor of royal houses
Welanduz, mythical or elfish smith
Agilaz, mythical archer.
nikwuz (water spirits).
Cosmology in German Mythology:
Medjanagardaz inhabited world
eržo anži uppahemenaz Germanic formula for "heaven and earth", notably naming earth first. Mentioned in the Norse Edda, Skarpåker Stone and Old High German Wessobrunner Gebet etc.
Mužspell Disastrous world-ending (c.f. Ragnarok).
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