Sunday, 22 December 2013

Taranis and Thunaraz-a Comparison.

The Celts named their thunder deity after their term for thunder:

"Taranis is cognate with the u-stem *taranu- seen in Old Irish torann, Welsh taran `thunder`. The Celtic taran- is metathetic for tanar-(= Germanic *thunar- `thunder`)" [Comparative Mythology, Jaan Puhvel, 1987]

The Teutonic peoples did likewise: 
"Thor (ON Thorr, in southern areas >Donar.)"
"Donar. The southern Germanic equivalent of the Germanic god of thunder who is called> Thor in the north, and Thunor in Old English."
"Thunor (OE). The OE of the Germanic name of the god of thunder > Thor/Donar."
 "Thunaer. Old Saxon form of the name of the god Thor/Donar."

All these terms are related to the Germanic *thunar-`thunder`. The original name for the Proto-Germanic Thunder God would therefore have been *Thunaraz. The Slavs and Balts on the other hand did not name their thunder deity directly after the word for thunder. As I have previously established [*Perkunos- the Original Name of the Northern PIE Thunder God [published here on 12/8/12] the Balts and Slavs had very similar names for this deity: Perkonis amongst the Prussians[Prussian is an extinct Baltic language], Perkons from the Latvian and Perkunas from the Lithuanian. Amongst the Slavic peoples He is named Perun[Czech]and Pyerun[Russian]and Perunu[Old Russian]. All of these form derive from *Perkunos and the first element of the name, Per is derived from PIE *peru, meaning `stone`. So this derivation is very different than the Proto-Germanic *Thunaraz and Proto-Celtic *Tonaros. Unlike the Balts and Slavs who are satem Indo-European speaking peoples the Celts and Teutons[in common with the original Nordic Latins] were centum speaking Indo-Europeans and thus we may assume that they shared a common living space after their dispersal from the original Aryan Urheimat. The Teutons remained closer to the Balts and Slavs than the Celts did which is demonstrated in the name of Thor`s mother. We should recollect that an alternative name for Jord[Thor`s mother] is Fjorgyn which Jaan Puhvel [Comparative Mythology] states is a cognate with *Perkunos. Interestingly there is a male version of this name, Fjorgynn who is said to be the father of the Godess Frigg. This would make Him the grandfather of Thor and thus possibly an older term for Thor/Thunaer/Thunor/Donar, bringing the Teutonic Thunder God`s name closer to the northern PIE original.

Although `thunder` and `stone` are obviously different terms we know that Thunaer`s  original weapon was an axe, not a hammer[in common with the Balts and Slavs] and that this was made of stone, not Iron. The antiquity of the stone axe, the symbol of the ancient Indo-Europeans is reflected in the etymology of the word `hammer` which originally meant `stone.` Thus the hammer developed from the axe and changed from being a stone weapon to one of metal. However even in the Bronze Age Indo-European chieftains still retained the stone battle axe as a mace of authority as can be seen in the grave artifacts at the Bush Barrow near Stonehenge. [See my The Bush Barrow Stone Mace- Indo-European Thunder Axe?, published on 1/6/13 on my Aryan Myth and Metahistory blog].  In Chapter 31 of Teutonic Mythology volume 1 by Viktor Rydberg it is stated:

"The hammer is Thor`s most sacred weapon. Before Sindre forged one for him of iron[Gylfaginning], he wielded a hammer of stone. This is evident from the very name hamarr, a rock, a stone. The club is, as we have seen, the weapon of  the Teutonic patriarch, and is wielded side by side with Thor`s hammer in the conflict with the powers of frost."

And in Chapter 111:

 "In the Teutonic mythology, Thor`s hammer was not originally of metal, but of stone."

Ryberg in his Teutonic Mythology volume 2[Investigations into Germanic Mythology Volume II Part 1], Chapter 29 repeats this argument:

" "And in the poem, verse 51, it is said that Thor`s sons shall possess Vingnir`s hammer after the battle of Ragnarok-doubtlessly referred to as such, because Thor received his first hammer either from Vingnir or in a battle with him."[Section 97] 

"Thor`s oldest weapon is made of stone. The name itself says so, hamarr, and this is confirmed by the folk-idea of the lightning bolt as a stone wedge. Likewise, Indra`s oldest weapon was made of stone; it is called the `celestial stone`(Rigv. II 30,5) and is said to be `four-edged`{Rigv. IV, 22,1,2. This `four-edged` weapon has its symbol in the swastika, a figure that is rediscovered in the realm of Germanic memory and therefore must have derived from the Proto-Indo-European era." [Section 110]

 "It is certain that Thor took a stone hammer from Vingnir`s home as a spoil of victory, which he always used against the giants afterwards, except during the short time he possessed an iron hammer that Mimir`s son Sindri had forged for him."[Our Fathers` Godsaga, Viktor Rydberg]

And from the Asatru Edda:
"Thorr was brought up in Jotunheimr by a jarl named Vingnir, and when he was ten years old, he received the stone hammer, Vingnir`s Mjollnir."

Thus `thunder` and `stone` are two related concepts connected to the axe or hammer wielding Sky God. Certain fossils and stones were made into amulets and carried by our ancestors to provide protection against lightning. In particular bemnites, ammonites and sea urchins were considered to be thunderstones, discharged by the Thunder God and their possession helped guard against destructive lightning strikes.