Monday, 27 October 2014

The Neolithic Battle Ax and its Associations with the Indo-European Thunder God

Many times on this and my Aryan Myth and Metahistory blog I have discussed the metamorphosis of the Thunder God's axe into the hammer in the Germanic mythology and how the original axe was a stone rather than an iron weapon. Amongst the Balts and Slavs the axe maintained its original form. It is significant that even with the transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age the Indo-Europeans, known as the Battle Ax people preferred to carry their original stone axes rather than the new bronze ones even when bronze became more readily available. Even with the replacement eventually of the stone axe by the bronze as a weapon of war the chieftains still carried a polished stone axe as a symbol of their regal and divinely santioned authority. This is exemplified in the Stonehenge Bush Barrow and Clandon Barrow maces.

The Clandon Barrow mace is very similar to the one found in Bush Barrow. Describing the Bush Barrow mace Patrick Crampton states:

"His sceptre, mounting a rare type of fossilferous limestone from Devon, with wood and ornamental bone shaft, was laid with him." (Stonehenge of the Kings)

Leon Stover elaborates in much more detail about the mace:

"Its mace head of polished shale (fossil Stromaporoid, common enough in the tin mining area of South Devon) is perforated to accommodate the now perished wooden handle. Around its hole are traces of a bronze ring with which it was attached to its shaft with a bronze pin, the work of a skilled craftsman, as are the three perfectly cut bone cylindrical mounts of zig-zag form." (Stonehenge City. A Reconstruction)

Professor Stover goes on to compare the mace with the description that Homer gave of the lightning sceptre of King Agamemnon of Mycenae.  Similar zig-zag mounts have been discovered in a dolmen at Kerlagat in western France.

"Some authorities suspect Mycenaean influence, but this is not possible because Mycenae did not arise until 500 years after the construction of Stonehenge III. A true explanation has to lie in the foundations of Indo-European cosmology, which everywhere posited a thunder-and-lightning god not unlike the well-atested Thor of Norse mythology." 

Describing the Clandon Barrow mace Stover states:

"Its mace head is of polished jet or shale, with five gold studs inset, two in front, two in back, one on top: the Five Directions indicated, with Center at Stonehenge."

Both Stover and Cramption taking their cue from Professor R.J.C. Atkinson in 1953 (Stonehenge) believed that the Mycenaeans were in some way responsible for the construction of Phase III of Stonehenge but by 1982 when Stover republished his 1972 novel Stonehenge under the new title of Stonehenge: Where Atlantis Died he admitted in his Afterword that this theory was no longer accepted generally by academics. Many of Stover's theories and arguments were already posited in Crampton's book in 1967 and indeed Crampton even suggests that one day someone may care to address his theories in a work of fiction which Stover subsequently did just 5 years later!

I believe that the reason why the Battle Ax people still clung tenaciously to their stone battle aes is because of their religious significance. The cult of the axe and the Thunder God can be traced back to Neolithic times:

"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." (Teutonic Mythology Volume 1, Viktor Rydberg)

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, )

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."

Even before the emergence of the Thunder God's axe the original projectile that He hurled from the skies was the stone:

"In Germany, Stone Age celts known as Donnerkeil ('Donar's wedges') were supposedly thrown to earth by the thunder god. Similar ceraunia were also treasured in Viking-period Scandinavia, as well as elsewhere in Europe into the nineteenth century." (The Divine Thunderblot. Missile of the Gods, J.T. Sibley-which I highly recommend.) 

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