Grimm's Teutonic Mythology
Now, what is the reason for this exaltation of human nature? Always
in the first instance, as far as I can see, a relation of bodily kinship between
a god and the race of man. The heroes are epigoni of the gods, their line is
descended from the gods: ættir guma er frâ goðom kômo,
Greek mythology affords an abundance of proofs; it is by virtue
of all heroes being directly or indirectly produced by gods and goddesses in
conjuction with man, that the oldest kingly families connect themselves with
heaven. But evidently most of these mixed births proceed from Zeus, who places
himself at the head of gods and men, and to whom all the glories of ancestors
are traced. Thus, by Leda he had Castor and Pollux, who were called after him
Dios-curi, Hercules by Alcmena, Perseus by Danaë, Epaphus by Io, Pelasgus
by Niobe, Minos and Sarpedon by Europa; other heroes touch him only through
their forefathers: Agamemnon was the son of Atreus, he of Pelops, he of Tantalus,
and he of Zeus; Ajax was sprung from Telamon, he from Aeacus, he from Zeus and
Aegina. Next to Zeus, the most heroes seem to proceed from Ares, Hermes and
Poseidon: Meleager, Diomedes and Cycnus were sons of Ares, Autolycus and Cephalus
of Hermes, while Theseus was a son of Aegeus, and Nestor of Neleus, but both
Aegeus and Neleus were Poseidon's children by Aethra and Tyro. Achilles was
the son of Peleus and Thetis, Aeneas of Anchises and Venus. (9) These examples serve as a standard for the conditions of our own heroic legend
Tacitus, following ancient lays, places at the head of our race
as its prime progenitor Tuisco, who is not a hero, but himself a god, as the
author expressly names him 'deum terra editum'. Now, as Gaia of herself gave
birth to Uranos and Pontos, that is to say, sky and sea sprang from the lap
of earth, so Tuisco seems derivable from the word tiv, in which we found (pp.
193-4) the primary meaning to be sky; and Tuisco, i.e., Tvisco, could easily
spring out of the fuller form Tivisco [as Tuesday from Tiwesdæg]. Tvisco
may either mean coelestis, or the actual offspring of another divine being Tiv,
whom we afterwards find appearing among the gods: Tiv and Tivisco to a certain
degree are and signify one thing. Tvisco then is in sense and station Uranos,
but in name Zeus, whom the Greek myth makes proceed from Uranos not directly,
but through Kronos, pretty much as our Tiv or Zio is made a son of Wuotan, while
another son Donar takes upon him the best part of the office that the Greeks
assigned to Zeus. Donar too was son of Earth as well as Wuotan, even as Gaia
brought forth the great mountain-ranges (ourea
makra, Hes. theog. 129 = Goth. faírgunja mikila), and Donar himself
was called mountain and faírguneis (pp. 169. 172), so that ouranoj sky stands connected with ouroj oroj mountain,
the idea of deus with that of ans (pp. 25. 188). Gaia, Tellus, Terra come round
again in our goddesses Fiörgyn, Iörð and Rindr (p. 251); so the
names of gods and goddesses here cross one another, but in a similar direction.
This earth-born Tvisco's son was Mannus, and no name could sound
more Teutonic, though Norse mythology has as little to say of him as of Tvisco
(ON. Týski?). No doubt a deeper meaning once resided in the word; by
the addition of the suffix -isk, as in Tiv Tivisco, there arose out of mann
a mannisko = homo, the thinking self-conscious being (see p. 59); both forms,
the simple and the derived, have (like tiv and tivisko) the same import, and
may be set by the side of the Sanskr. Manus and manushya. Mannus however is
the first hero, son of the god, and father of all men. Traditions of this forefather
of the whole Teutonic race seem to have filtered down even to the latter end
of the Mid. Ages: in a poem of meister Frauenlob (Ettm. p. 112), the same in
which the mythical king Wippo is spoken of (see p. 300), we read:
Mennor der êrste was genant, Mennor the first man was named
dem diutische rede got tet to whom Dutch language God
bekant. made known.
This is not taken from Tacitus direct, as the proper name, though
similar, is not the same (see Suppl.).
As all Teutons come of Tvisco and Mannus, so from the three (or by some accounts five) sons of Mannus are descended the three, five or seven main branches of the race. From the names of nations furnished by the Romans may be inferred those of their patriarchal progenitors.
1. INGUIO. ISCIO. IRMINO.
The threefold division of all the Germani into Ingaevones, Iscaevones
and Herminones (10) is based on
the names of three heroes, Ingo, Isco, Hermino, each of whom admits of being
fixed on yet surer authroity.
Ing, or Ingo, Inguio has kept his place longest in the memory
of the Saxon and Scandinavian tribes. Runic alphabets in OHG. spell Inc, in
AS. Ing, and an echo of his legend seems still to ring in the Lay of Runes:
Ing wæs ærest mid Eástdenum
gesewen secgum, oð he sîððan eást
ofer wæg gewât. wæn æfter ran.
þus Heardingas þone hæle nemdon.
9. In the Roman legend, Romulus and Remus were connected through Silvia with Mars, and through Amulius with Venus; and Romulus was taken up to heaven. The later apotheosis of the emperors differs from the genuine heroic, almost as canonization does from primitive sainthood; yet even Augustus, being deified, passed in legend for a son of Apollo, whom the god in the shape of a dragon had by Atia; Sueton. Octav. 94. Back
10. Proximi oceano Ingaevones, medii Herminones, ceteri Istaevones vocantur, Tac. Germ. 2. Back