Re: [tied] Odin as a Trojan Prince

From: Piotr Gasiorowski
Message: 8283
Date: 2001-08-03

You must be kidding: Snorri makes Odin a wanderer from Troy and you ask how I know what his literary model is ... I hope you don't buy stuff like "Aesir = Asiamen" as based on fact. No-one can blame Snorri for working like other scholars did at his time (only harder and better than most), but one does have to verify his information before accepting it. If one knows something about the historical, intellectual and ideological context of Snorri's work, and the mediaeval world-view in general, the sources of Snorri's inspiration are obvious. Here is an excellent article (by Heinz Klingenberg) about the background of "The World According to Snorri":

For those of you who can't read German, there is an English summary of the main theses at the end. Let me quote the most relevant points:

"(15) Western learned prehistory derives sustenance from a historical consciousness We too!
We too-a royal house, a people, or a wealthy Icelandic farmer ("... en ek heitik Ari"; Ættartala Sturlunga)-participate in a glorious past, have our place in world history and the history of salvation, are links in a genealogical chain deriving from ... Japheth ... Aeneas or Brutus-Britus (great-grandson of Aeneas, British origin-legend) or Frigas (brother of Aeneas, Frankish Troia-legend) or, to be sure, from the Priamus-grandson Trór=Þórr.

"(16) Trojan prehistory of Romans, Britons, French, Germans, Scandinavians is _nonhistory_ (from the point of view of modernity), but an important phenomenon of medieval intellectual history. Frankish tradition ties Trojan origin to the idea of translatio imperii. In Snorri's Learned Prehistory the idea of translatio sapientiae proliferates (supra, item 7). Snorri can thus bring to bear the cultural potential of Old Iceland, the heritage of eddic mythological poetry (booked in Iceland), skaldic poetry (a domain of Icelanders since the 10th/11th century). It is this contribution from Old Iceland which Snorra Edda takes into account: Prologue (Learned Prehistory), Gylfaginning (Asiamen's mythology, including eddic mythological poems), Bragaræður and Skáld-skaparmál (the language of skaldic poetry derived from Asia), Háttatal (skaldic hending, a cultural patrimony of Odin and his people).

"(17) With Snorri's Learned Prehistory and concomitant we-too­-consciousness, Nordic
Middle Ages prevails over brittled origin-traditions of Germanic antiquity. Moreover, Snorri is willing to discard defining features of an indigenous Germanic culture origin, language, traditions, laws) in favor of Asian descent, language, customs, and laws. Historicizing Odin - closely associated from earliest times with the intellectual life and social structures of Old Scandinavia - as an immigrant from Asia exacted a toll."

----- Original Message -----
From: tgpedersen@...
Sent: Friday, August 03, 2001 12:07 PM
Subject: Re: [tied] Geats

--- In cybalist@..., "Piotr Gasiorowski" <gpiotr@...> wrote:
> --- In cybalist@..., Håkan Lindgren <h5@...> wrote:
> > ... Anyway, if this is what Snorre says, given the distance in
> and space (Snorre died in the 13th century), how much can we use
> as a reliable historical source?]
> It's a bit like using the Aeneid (Snorri's literary model, complete
> with a hero coming from Troy)
How do you know that?

>as a reliable historical source.
Yes, and even worse, to read the Iliad as if it referred to an actual
event. And no wild claims from some German amateur archaeologist can
change this basic fact.

> referring not to Snorri's accounts of Scandinavian affairs, which
> of course more reliable, but to the Prose Edda, and especially to
> Prologue, where he rationalises Germanic gods as ancient heroes
> being a Christian writer, justifies his preoccupation with them by
> pretending to write history).
How do you know that? If you had been a Public Attorney, I wouldn't
be much convinced. You have postulated (not proven) a motive for
Snorri to lie, and then you proceed to claim he did just that.

>Unfortunately, lots of people nowadays
> read Snorri uncritically.
Which means, I suppose, that you should reject everything he wrote of
Odinn and Asgard etc. And your reasons are?

> Piotr