Sunday, 9 November 2014

Thunaraz and His Relationship with Fiorgynn

In my article http://celto-germanic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/11/fjorgynn-early-term-for-thunaraz.htm   
I drew attention to the existence of an early Germanic Thunder God who predates *Thunaraz. Linguistically it does appear that Fjorgynn is more closely related to *Perkunos along with the Baltic and Slavic Thunder Gods. Conceptually though *Thunaraz is identical with His equivalent in the Baltic and Slavic pantheons and we would expect this to be the case as they are all localised variations of the same Aryan deity.

Interestingly though Brian Branston in his The Lost Gods of England takes the view that Thunar has His origins in the Rhineland as a result of close connections with the Celts:

"Thunor means 'thunder'. The god was christened (if the verb is permissable) in the lower Rhineland although one could say that he was born there. It was at a time when Saxons and Celts were rubbing shoulders: they traded goods, they traded ideas and they traded gods. The name Thunor I take to come from the second element of Celtic Jupiter Tanarus, the 'Thundering Jupiter' and it must have been adopted into a Saxon dialect during the period before the North West European Sound Shift, that is, before A.D. 1."

However Branston qualifies this observation by stating:

"The early development of Thunor seems to have been as follows. As a weather god he can trace his lineage back to Indo-European times: apart from all the North West European tribes having a weather god, others of the Indo-European complex such as Hindus and Hittites have weather gods with strikingly similar attributes."

Branston's rather cumbersome term North West European is intended to be his replacement for the word Germanic or Teutonic  as he feels that they have "an undesireable emotional colouring." Branston wrote this book in 1957. Thankfully this piece of lilly livered political correctness didn't catch on!  

So Branston admits that the Germanic peoples can trace their Thunder God's lineage "back to Indo-European times" but the genesis of the name may he feels may be attributed to the Celts. On page 111 of his book he introduces the deity Fiorgynn:

"As I have said, the cult of the weather god under the name of Thunor began in the Saxon lands of the lower Rhine coterminus with the country of the Celts. From small beginnings perhaps, it spread among most of the North West European tribes. Of course, there were other manifestations of the Indo-European weather god still alongside Thunor in Europe. The eastern branch of the North West Europeans had such a god called Fiorgynn whose name suggests that he was kith and kin to the Lithuanian Perkunas and ultimately to the Hindu Parjanya. Fiorgynn, like many other similar local deities, must have been ousted by Thunor."

The names Taranis and Thunor are terms for thunder and this is what marks these two deities out as being different from their Baltic and Slavic cousins. The Lithuanian Perkunas, the Latvian Perkons, the Prussian Perkonis, the Russian Pyerun, the Czech Perun are all descended from the PIE *Perkwunos/*Perkunos and the first element in their name Per has the meaning of oak, rock or mountain in Proto-Indo-European. All these concepts are intimately linked to the Germanic, Baltic and Slavic Thunder Gods. Thus we are left with the idea at a certain point in prehistory there were two Thunder Gods residing side by side amongst the Teutonic peoples, Fiorgynn who is perhaps the elder and the younger Thunaraz who usurped the other.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Fjorgynn, an Early Term for *Thunaraz

I have discussed before on this and on my Aryan Myth and Metahistory blogs about the interrelatedness of the Northwest Indo-Eurupean Thunder Gods and a possible connection with the Indo-Aryan Parjanya, a much older deity that appears to have been usurped by Indra by the time that the Rig Veda (originally an oral work) was written down. http://aryan-myth-and-metahistory.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/parjanya-original-indra-and-cognate-to.html

I have already demonstrated that the Germanic *Thunaraz, the Celtic Taranis, the Lithuanian Perkunas, the Latvian Perkons, the Prussian Perkonis, the Russian Pyerun, the Czech Perun are all descended from the PIE *Perkwunos/*Perkunos. The etymological relationship with the PIE form is more obvious from the Baltic and Slavic names for this deity but a relationship with * Thunaraz and indirectly with Taranis may be found through the name of an obscure Germanic deity Fjorgynn who is the father of the Goddess Frigg and is mentioned only twice in the Eddas:

"Be silent, Frigg, you're Fiorgyn's daughter and you've always been mad for men: Ve and Vili, Vidrir's wife, both were taken into your embrace." ( Lokasenna 26, Elder Edda, Larrington translation).

"Be thou silent, Frigg! Thou art Fiorgyn's daughter, and ever hast been fond of men, since Ve and Vili, it is said, thou, Vidrir's wife, didst both to thy bosom take." (Thorpe translation)

Vidrir it should be noted is just a heiti, a by-name for Odin, meaning 'weather god'. The incident of Frigg's unfaithfulness is recounted more fully in Snorri's Ynglinga Saga. Incidentally Frigg's conduct is more reminiscent of Freyja's character and I have argued before that these are just two aspects of a primordial Germanic Goddess.  http://celto-germanic.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/frigg-and-freyja-originally-same-deity.html

The other reference to Fjorgynn as Frigg's father is found in Skaldskaparmal in the Younger Edda:

"How shall Frigg be referred to? By calling her daughter of Fiorgyn, wife of Odin, mother of Baldr, rival of Rind and Gunnlod and Gerd, mother-in-law of Nanna, queen of Aesir and Asyniur, of Fulla and falcon form and Fensalir." (Faulkes translation)

Fjorgynn (the correct spelling of Frigg's father's name) is not to be confused with Fjorgyn which is a by-name for Frigg and means earth. Jacob Grimm connects Fiorgynn with the Thunder God:

"The neut. noun fairguni (Gramm. 2, 175. 4530 means mountain. What if it were once especially the Thunder-mountain, and a lost Fairguns the name of the god (see Suppl.)? Or, starting with fairguni with its simple meaning of mons unaltered, may we not put into that masc. Fairguns or Fairguneis, and consequently into Perkunas, the sense of the abovementioned, he of the mountain top? a fitting surname for the thundergod.

"Now it is true that all of the Anzeis, all the Aesir are enthroned on mountains (p.25), and Firgun might have been used of more than one of them; but that we have a right to claim it specially for Donar and his mother, is shown by Perun, Perkun, and will be confirmed presently by the meaning of the mount and rock which lies in the word hamar."(Teutonic Mythology Volume 1)

At this point it may be useful to remember that the Proto-Germanic *Thunaraz and the PIE *Pekwunos are etymologically related to the name of the Thunder God amongst the non-Indo-European Finno-Ugric peoples, most especially the Estonians (Turris, Peko and Pekolaso). The Sami Thunder God is Horagelles. Whether or not the non-PIE examples point to cultural borrowing or to a common pre-Aryan/pre Finno-Ugric origin is difficult to tell but by studying other Indo-European and indeed non-Indo-European but northern European mythologies we can learn much more about *Thunaraz than is revealed in just the Eddas and saga material. http://celto-germanic.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/finnish-and-estonian-thunder-gods.html

The image at the head of this article is a photograph of reportedly the oldest surviving oak tree in Europe, dating back between 1500-2000 years in Stelmuze in Lithuania. Perkunas was worshipped under this tree.