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1. Common Values are the Foundation of Society
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2. The Ancient Belief of Common Descent and the Sacred Kings

In the dawn of time, close to two thousand years ago, the Indo European peoples in Europe and Asia were organized in hundreds of small manageable kingdoms.

We don't know very much about them, but the classical authors have handed down to us their names.

The tribes of Gaul at the time of Cesar Celts or people of Gaul
Left: The tribes of Gaul at the time of Cesar.
Right: Celts or people of Gaul. - possibly from a movie.

In "The War in Gaul" Julius Cesar tells us how the area, the Romans called Gaul, were inhabited by many warring peoples, Helvetii, Belgae, Boii, Parisii, Nervii, Arvenians and Allobroges just to mention a few.

Tacitus reported about the area, which the Romans called Germania, that it was inhabited by the Suevi, Batavians, Frisians, Langobards, Angles, Semnoes and many others. In the outermost North lived the Cimbrians and the Gothones ruled by powerful kings, he wrote.

Some hundred years later Jordanes told about the peoples in Scandinavia. Suehans, Granier, Auganzer, Ostrogother, Raumariker and many more inhabited the northern part of the world.

The tribes in Germania after Tacitus The Battle of Teutoburgerwald between the tribes of Germania and Romans
Left: The tribes in Germania according to Tacitus.
Right: The Battle of Teutoburgerwald between the tribes of Germania and the Roman legions led by Varus.

It is well known that the ancient Greeks were organized in numerous small city-states, which hated each other by heart, and led numerous wars among each others forming alternating political coalitions. There was about 150 - 200 Greek city states, nobody knows the exact number. Their names were Athens, Sparta, Corinth, Argos, Thessalia, Megara, Acadia, Messenia just to mention the most well known. From the dawn of their history they have all been kingdoms, but a minority turned to democracy.

The Indo-European Peoples, who lived on the Eurasian Plains from Hungary to Mongolia, labelled Schytians, Alans and Sarmatians, have most likely also been organized in many small rivalizing kingdoms, fighting among each other.

Every one of all these peoples have had their songs and stories about the Gods, their origin, their kings and heroes of the past. But all this are now vanished and forever forgotten. The ancient writers, Herodotus, Strabo, Ptolemy, Tacitus, Cesar and Jordanes, have handed some of their names down to us.

The sacred values, which made the members of each of these small tribes feel that they in life and death belonged to a people, have been two things: The awareness of the people's common descent and the loyalty to their sacred royal family.

The tribes in Scandinavia after Jordanes The indo-european peoples were loyal to their sacred kings
Left: The tribes in Scandinavia according to Jordanes.
Right: The indo-european peoples were loyal to their sacred kings.

They felt themselves belonging to one people, because they saw themselves as descendants of a common remote mythical ancestor. The Visigoths descended from Gaut, the Aesirs descended from Odin, the Romans descended from Romulus and Remus, and many peoples in the area, which the Romans called Germania, descended from Mannus. You could say that a people felt they belonged together, because they basically formed one big family, although their relationship might be a little distant.

They did not mix up their genes with anybody. In general, it was not allowed to marry outside the people, which they belonged to. At that time, when the Osthro-goths had suffered defeat against the Byzantine army in the Battle at the Gallian Tombstones, the survivors migrated to the north, up through Italy. They sought refuge at the Visi-goths in southern France. The king of the Visi-goths allowed men and women of the two people to marry each other. It was an exception from the general rule, which found its way to the history books.

On behalf of the Athenians, Plato expressed as follows: " - because we are genuine Hellenians and not mixed up with barbarians. Because together with us live no Pelops or Kadmos or Aygyptos or Danaos or any other, which by nature are barbarians, and only according to the law are Hellenians. We are true Hellenians and not bastards." (Menex 245 d)

The Greek city-states at the time of the Peleponesian war Plato
Left: The Greek city-states at the time of the Peleponesian war.
Right: Plato.

The Romans could not boast of anything like this, because, as we well know, they very early abducted the women of the Sabinians, and thereby ruined the project from the very beginning.

But this did not prevent them of feeling themselves very superior to the barbarians.

The Roman writers were very interested in, how the different peoples looked like. The Anglians were tall and bright. The Danes were the tallest grown people in the northern world. The Cimbrians were fair-haired and strong. The Goths had light hair and white skin, and their heads were completely round. The Macrophages had long skulls and so on.

It is obvious that in antiquity, it was everywhere recognized that a certain people had a distinctive appearance because they had common ancestors. You could say that they thought that each people belonged to their own unique race.

A royal family of an ancient tribe could often name its ancestors back to a distant mythological forefather, which was back to the Gods.

The sacred royal family of the Visigoths was the Amals. The Franks were led by the Merovings, the Heruls were probably led by the Shield Cub family (Skjold-ungerne), the king of the Sveas were of the Ynglinge family and the Burgund's royal family was the Gjuk Cubs (Gjuk-ungerne).

The king was supreme warlord, and men were expected to die with arms in hand in battle against the enemies of the people.

In many tribes old men were looked down upon, because they had survived a whole life filled with fighting against the neighbouring tribes.

As it is written in Havamal:

"A coward believes, he will live forever, when he is hiding in battle.
But he will not have peace in his old days."

Think of Eigil Skallagrimson's poem "The loss of Son". As an old man he was sitting by the fire: "I feel it difficult to move my tongue.." he song . He regretted that he was such a helpless old man, who sat messing with the ashes.

Solon visits king Kroesus of Lydia - painting of Honhorst
Solon visits king Kroesus of Lydia - painting by Honhorst.

Herodotus reports that Solon, the famous legislator of Athens, visited Kroesus, King of Lydia.

The Lydians were one of the Indo-European peoples who lived in Asia Minor in antiquity. King Kroesus was known for his enormous wealth.

Kroesus asked Solon: "Well, my Athenian friend, I have heard a lot about your wisdom and how you have travelled in your quest for wisdom. I cannot resist my desire to ask you a question: Who is the happiest man, you ever saw? "

Kroesus expected, that the answer would be that he was the happiest man, because he had so much gold.

But Solon refused to flatter the king. He replied: "An Athenian named Tellus"

Kroesus asked sharply: "And what is your reason for this choice?"

"There are good reasons," said Solon, "First, his city was prosperous and he had good sons, and he lived long enough to see grandchildren be born to each of his sons, second, he had wealth enough after our standard, and he had a glorious death. In battle against the neighbouring state of Eleusis, he fought for his people and drove away the enemy and died as a brave man, and the Athenians granted him the honour of a public funeral on the very spot, where he fell . (Herodotus "The Histories" s. 14)

The Danish royal family descends from the Aesirs and the God Odin.

Odin was originally not a name it was a title. That means the first or the top one, number one. In another Indo-European language, Russian, the number "one" is still called "Odin".

One of Odin's names was the "All Father". This means that he was the first, the original ancestor of his people, a tribe, who called themselves something with "Dan" or "As". Thousands of years ago, before the known history took place, they lived somewhere in Asia, separated from other tribes by extensive mountains, swamps and woodland.

The God Odin on his eight legged horse Sleipner - on a stone from Gotland
The God Odin on his eight legged horse Sleipner - on a stone from Gotland.

Many of us know the feeling that a beloved deceased, perhaps our father, mother, wife or grandparents may well be dead, but we feel that they are still around us and keep an eye on us, although we cannot see them.

In the same way, Odin, the original fore father, of course is dead, and he is no longer physically present in this world. But perhaps he is still present and keeps an eye on his descendants and gives them a hand now and then, as it is in his power.

This is the feeling among people, which have made Odin to a god.

And the God must, logically, have the best contact with his own most direct descendants, which is the royal family.

The two sacred values, which formed the basis for the unity in the original kingdoms, the person of the king and a feeling of common origin, were not a result of any philosopher thoughts. It was seen as a matter of course; just as obvious as that a family must stick together.

See a list of the indo-european Celtic Peoples of Gaul on the time of Cesar: List of Peoples in Gaul - Celtopedia

See also a description and a list of the tribes in Germania The Germanic Peoples.

Also a presentation of the classical sources to the names of the Scandinavian tribes: Wikipedia - Hilleviones

Tacitus' Germanania - Duerinck's Page the text of "Germania". On this page are many links.

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