Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History

  Compton, Todd M. 2006. Victim of the Muses: Poet as Scapegoat, Warrior and Hero in Greco-Roman and Indo-European Myth and History. Hellenic Studies Series 11. Washington, DC: Center for Hellenic Studies.

Chapter 19. The Sacrificed Poet: Germanic Myths

The Ynglingasaga tells us, of Odin:

Mælti hann alt hendingum svá sem nú er þat kveðit, er skáldskapr heitir. Hann ok hofgoðar hans heita ljóðasmiðir, þvíat sú íþrótt hófsk af þeim í Norðrlöndum. Óðinn kunni svá gera, at í orrostu urðu óvinir hans blindir eða daufir eða óttafullir, en vápn þeira bitu eigi heldr en vendir, en hans menn fóru brynjulausir ok váru galnir sem hundar eða vargar, bitu í skjöldu sína, váru sterkir sem birnir eða griðungar. Þeir drápu mannfólkit en hvártki eldr né járn orti á þá. Það er kallaðr berserksgangr.

This collocation of skaldship and war madness is no accident; war madness and poetic madness are closely related, as we have seen in the case of Starkaðr (and Tyrtaeus). Thus Odin was pictured as actually singing damaging song-spells against opposing military forces, and protecting his own troops by runes. In the Hávamál, he uses rune magic for the following ends: stanza 148: he dulls the swords of his foes; stanza 150: he stays their spears; stanzas 156, 158: he protects his friends in battle; stanza 160: he brings victory. [
6] One expects that his songs also caused berserker rage among his troops. [7]

Thus Odin, the war god, the magician, the poet, is “consecrated” with poetic wisdom. There are numerous attestations of this theme in Odinic mythology, all of them involving poetic sacrifice. The simplest of them is the story of Mímir’s well. Mímir had a well under a root of Yggdrasil, the world tree. [12] Mímir is a wisdom figure because he drinks from this well. [13] Odin went there and asked for a drink of the well, but was refused unless he left an eye as a pledge. The Völuspá shows that the springwater is seen as mead:

Thus, poetic knowledge can come only at a price, the sacrifice of an eye, dismemberment. The theme of poetic knowledge as intoxication and madness is also here, for the water is mead. [
15] In addition, we have the story, referred to in the previous chapter, of Odin hanging for nine days, “wounded with a spear,” apparently dead, as a result of which he receives magical and poetic wisdom, learning “nine mighty songs from the famous son of Bölthórn, father of Bestla, [16] and drinking “precious mead.” [17] Verse leads to verse, poem to poem. Thus, according to the interpretation discussed earlier, Odin gains his poetic knowledge by dying, visiting the world of the dead, and then returning to life. [18] Our main theme, the death of the poet, is here again. It is the death, the ultimate marginalization, of the god that brings about his mastery of poetic knowledge. A related consecration theme has Odin receive his knowledge from dead men—thus he is hangaguð ‘god of the hanged men’. [19] Even though Odin gets wisdom from his hanging, this is still linked with his drinking mead—poetry again is intoxication, madness.

Fleck’s theory is strongest in his correlation of the different consecrations, which are obviously but enigmatically related; but it is weakest in his assignment of aspects of Odin’s hanging to a Dumézilian framework. Secular kingship is still more closely connected to the first function than to the second, and the phallic interpretations seem strained. However, the triple-death theme discussed in chapter 18 might fit neatly into Fleck’s theory; the wound from a weapon (spear, perhaps) is a more convincing tie to the second function; the well, which Fleck ties closely to the hanging scene, is unproblematically related to the third function.

The next consecration, Odin between the fires in the Grímnismál, is quite similar to the hanging story; in fact it is parallel, as Fleck notes. [21] After a heavenly quarrel, in which Odin’s wife, Frigg, accuses a favorite of Odin, Geirröð, king of the Goths, of torturing his guests out of stinginess, Odin resolves to travel incognito to Geirröð and vindicate him. He arrives at the king’s court in a dark mantle, calling himself “The Masked One,” Grimnir. Geirröð has been made wary by a messenger from Frigg, who has told him that a magician is coming to bewitch him. When Odin refuses to state his business, the suspicious Geirröð tortures the god, placing him between two fires for eight nights. Agnar, Geirröð’s youngest son, is the only one who takes pity on the guest; offering him drink, he criticizes his father for letting this wanderer be tormented without cause. The torture of the fire heats Odin into knowledge and he sings the metrical contents of the Grímnismál. He describes the mansions of the gods, the world tree, and ends with a list of his names, including this stanza:

The ambiguity of Odin as poet—both truthful and deceitful—reminds one of Hesiod’s Muses. And this is a double consecration scene: Odin has received knowledge as a result of his fiery suspension, and begins to pass it on as soon as Agnar befriends him. As he finishes his song, he unveils his chief name to Geirröð and prophesies the king’s death. The ruler draws his sword to loose the divinity but falls on it accidentally, and Agnar succeeds to the kingship. According to Fleck’s interpretation, Odin’s transferral of “numinous knowledge” to the youngest son has fitted him for his regal calling. [
23] Thus a poetic consecration of a god leads to a royal consecration of his king—a remarkable, and rare, attestation of the theme of king as poet-prophet. Here again Odin is hanged, tortured, and fasts for eight days; at the end of which time he receives poetic knowledge. The heating motif has led commentators to see parallels in the Indian tapas, [24] where we also find the pattern: asceticism, hanging, heat, numinous knowledge, throne. For our purposes, the important theme of Odin’s near death or death, partial sacrifice, followed by reception of poetic knowledge, is here. But equally intriguing is the theme of the stingy host receiving the wandering poet-guest; far from treating the poet hospitably, he tortures him, and pays the price for his misdeed. His youngest son is defined as good by his hospitality to and pity for the guest (and his pity and hospitality show that Geirröð is to be blamed, even though Frigg has compounded the difficulty of his test by making him suspicious). Combined with the hospitality motif is the story of the disguised god testing the mortal, and the theme of regal succession.

Our next consecration story, the myth of Kvasir, is the classic mead-poetry myth in the literature, and a central Germanic and Indo-European myth also, one of the key myths reflecting the ideological assimilation of the third function (here the Vanir, whom Dumézil associates with the third function) into the trifunctional societal totality (here represented by the Aesir, whom Dumézil associates with the sovereignty and warrior functions). [25]

Ok enn mælti Ægir: “Hvaðan af hefir hafizt sú íþrótt, er þér kallið skáldskap?”

Bragi svarar: “Þat váru upphöf til þess, at goðin höfðu ósætt við þat fólk, er Vanir heita. En þeir lögðu með sér friðstefnu ok settu grið á þá lund, at þeir gengu hvárirtveggju til eins kers ok spýttu í hráka sínum. En at skilnaði þá tóku goðin ok vildu eigi láta týnast þat griðamark ok sköpuðu þar ór mann. Sá heitir Kvasir. Hann er svá vitr, at engi spyrr hann þeira hluta, er eigi kann hann órlausn. Hann fór víða um heim at kenna mönnum frœði …

Aegir asked again: “Where did the accomplishment known as poetry come from?”

Bragi answered: The beginning of it was the gods were at war with the people known as the Vanir and they arranged for a peacemeeting between them and made a truce in this way: they both went up to a crock and spat into it. When they were going away, the gods took the truce token and would not allow it to be lost, and made of it a man. He was called Kvasir. He is so wise that nobody asks him any question he is unable to answer. He travelled far and wide over the world to teach men wisdom …

Kvasir, the embodiment of poetry, is accordingly “an onomastic personification of an intoxicating drink, which recalls the kvas of the Slavs,” [
27] a drink made of squashed vegetables, fermented by spittle. As Dumézil notes, “we are here dealing with a ceremonial or communal drink, sanctioning the agreement between two social groups,” thus requiring “the spittle of all concerned.” Apparently there is a communal feast involved. [28] Thus poetry is the sign (“token”) of the assimilation of the third function to the first two. [29] He is a micro-being for the mechanism of unified society: he contains the spit of every god. The poet, perhaps because he is the medium for communication, the medium of intrafunctional exchange and understanding, can be thus the representative of the unified society.

This intoxication-man of reconciliation, the token of all society, is understandably omniscient; he travels throughout the world acting as a culture hero for men and is also something of a riddle master: “nobody asks him any question he is unable to answer.”

Most important for our central theme is the central datum: the poetry man must be killed. Only his death will unleash the power of intoxicating inspiration, possession, and knowledge. The poet is the emblem of unified society; only the poet’s death can infuse inspiration, wisdom, and poetry into the group. Though the death is a temporary setback to the furtherance of poetic knowledge, it will in the end only serve to disseminate it more widely.

The dwarves, as they continue to pursue their murderous inclinations, drown a giant, Gilling, and when they are threatened by the giant’s son, Suttung, they offer the mead as weregild, ransom, which brings about a reconciliation. Even after his death, Kvasir is acting as a mediating, conciliating force. Odin later sleeps with Suttung’s daughter, the guardian of the mead, drinks the three crocks of poetry-mead, and escapes from Suttung’s house in the form of an eagle. Suttung also transforms into an eagle shape and pursues Odin, but the god reaches Asgard and regurgitates the mead into crocks (though letting some spill to the ground before he reaches his destination); hereafter it has been drunk by the Aesir and by poets.

For our purposes, we note that there is no mention of poetry here. In fact, as Dumézil notes, the Indic intoxication is negative—used as a weapon against the main gods, it threatens to destroy the world; its four dismembered parts are negative influences—enticing, but habit-forming, destructive. However, if we can associate the Indic intoxication with poetry through comparative analysis, the myth may point up the destructive possibilities of the art; certainly the two myths together point up the ambiguity of intoxication. The Indic intoxication has a strong martial orientation; we see the third function using drunkenness as a weapon in war. In Scandinavia, though, intoxication is poetry, magic, wisdom, and power (Kvasir is wisest of the Aesir).

There follows a long dialogue in which Loki slanders all of the gods in turn, to their bitter chagrin; his satire is divided between martial and sexual blame. The gods are womanish; the goddesses are promiscuous; most practice perversions and incest; scatological references are frequent. Loki boasts of his adulterous conquests, in particular a rendezvous with Sif, Thor’s wife. At this point, Thor arrives on the scene; Loki proceeds to oppose him with words, but Thor threatens to kill the satirist, and Loki, admitting that Thor’s hammer is the only thing he fears, leaves the banquet with a curse: the gods will never again brew for a banquet, and the banquet hall will burn. Thus Loki is expelled from the banquet of the gods a second time, this time as a poet. The poet’s verbal weapons bow before the brute force of real weapons, just as Cuchulainn’s spears prevailed against malevolent satirists.

Thus the satirist is, as it were, society’s poison, the most evil. He is expelled, once for murder, once for slander. But after he is captured by the gods, he is bound and tortured by drops of poison that cause him monstrous writhings. Just as the exiling poet is exiled, or the murderous poet is executed, so the poisonous poet is poisoned.

Another aspect of these myths deserves comment. We started by looking at putatively historical stories of exiled or executed poets, though obviously mythical or folkloric motifs were combined with the narratives. Then we found, in the stories of Marsyas and other mythical poets, overtly mythical stories that had many of the same themes; Aesop and Socrates were even viewed as Marsyas figures. Then in examining the theme of the poet’s ambiguously protective and inimical gods, we evaluated Indo-European epic, Starkaðr and Suibhne, as possibly related to the theme, applied to heroes who were full-fledged poets as well as warriors. Now, behind Starkaðr, we find the theme of the killed and expelled poets applied to the divine level. Gods are behind mythical heroes; mythical, superhuman heroes are behind revered historical figures. The mythical theme lives on in increasingly secular trappings, ending up as “history.”


[ back ] 1. See Turville-Petre 1964:50; Dumézil 1973a:29; Kershaw 2000 passim; Miller 2000:313 (the death of warriors on the battlefield is a sacrifice to Odin).

[ back ] 2. See Turville-Petre 1964:35–41; Dumézil 1973a:29; Kershaw 2000:77.

[ back ] 3. See Dumézil 1983:87, with bibliography; Puhvel 1987:200.

[ back ] 4. An explicit attestation of the theme of poet as priest; see above, chapter 17, final paragraph; chapter 18, Starkaðr’s death.

[ back ] 5. Translation from Dumézil 1973a:28.

[ back ] 6. Cf. De Vries 1956 2:73; see above, chapter 17, on poetic possession and war fury. In the Iliad, Apollo “bewitched” (ethelxe) the Greeks’ hearts in their breasts as they are routed (XV 321–322); cf. Janko 1992 ad loc.

[ back ] 7. For discussions of Odin’s connections with the berserker phenomenon, see De Vries 1956 2:97; Puhvel 1987:196. Puhvel mentions the term for an outlaw berserker type, vargr í véum ‘temple robber’, but literally ‘wolf in sanctuary’. Clandestine murder was called morðvargr, lit. ‘murder wolf’, Grágás, an old Icelandic law code, 1.23. We are reminded of Aesop as temple robber, Alcaeus and Suibhne in the wolf thickets (ch. 9; ch. 18); cf. Gerstein 1972; Kershaw 2000:42–67. See chapter 17 above, on the furor heroicus of Cuchulainn.

[ back ] 8. Ynglingasaga chapter 7; translation from Dumézil 1973a:28: Af þessum hlutum varð hann stórliga fróðr. Allar þessar íþróttir kendi hann með rúnum ok ljóðum þeim, er galdrar heita. Fyrir því eru Æsir kallaðir galdrasmiðir.

[ back ] 9. Ynglingasaga chapter 7.

[ back ] 10. See Puhvel 1987:193; Dumézil 1973a:36–37; Chadwick 1952; Chadwick and Chadwick 1932 1:620; Haugen 1983:6; Watkins 1995:117–118. On Adam of Bremen, De Vries 1956 2:94n1. Cf. shamanic ecstasy, induced by song or dance, below, this chapter; also chapter 3 (Archilochus); chapter 16 (Greek shamanism and poetry).

[ back ] 11. See Hymn to Apollo 132; Jebb 1912:24; Burkert 1985:148.

[ back ] 12. Mímir = ‘memory’, see Fleck 1971:393; Dumézil 1959a:228n101a; Haugen 1983:13. Cf. the Muses’ connection with Mnemosyne ‘memory’, their mother, Hesiod Theogony 53–54, 915–917; Homeric Hymn to Hermes, 429–430; Detienne 1996:41–42; chapter 2 (Aesop and the statue of Mnemosyne).

[ back ] 13. Gylfaginning 15, in Prose Edda, Young 1973:43. hann er fullr af vísindum, fyrir því at hann drekkr ór brunninum. Text in Lorenz 1984; Jónsson 1954.

[ back ] 14. Translation from Hollander 1962:6. For the equation of eye with spring in Indo-European and Semitic lexicography, see Puhvel 1987:194n1; cf. Fleck 1971:399n199.

[ back ] 15. For one-eyed figures in Indo-European myth, see Dumézil 1974. The Greek Muses are also associated with springs, Hesiod Theogony 1–4. The idea might be prophetic powers given by drinking water from sacred springs. See above, chapter 16, the Muses and the Castalian spring.

[ back ] 16. This seems to be a reference to an Odinic consecration we know little about, in which he receives knowledge from a giant. Cf. the Lay of Vafthrudnir, in which Odin engages in a wisdom contest with the giant, “The Mighty in Riddles.” Haugen discusses the theme of Odin’s receiving knowledge from a Sibyl (1983:13). Clearly, the source of Odin’s poetic, numinous knowledge was an obsessive theme in Germanic myth.

[ back ] 17. See chapter 18, Starkathr’s execution of Vikar compared to Odin’s death/consecration. Also, van Hamel 1932, for Irish parallels; Fleck 1971. For interpretation, see Turville-Petre 1964:323: Pipping sees shamanism here; Ström emphasizes the theme of wisdom from world of death. Fleck (1981) opposes a shamanic interpretation, arguing that one must judge shamanism against a complete shamanic complex, and that the whole complex is not present in Odin mythology, cf. Haugen 1983:20. However, there are important shamanic themes that are recognizable even outside of the totality of the shamanic complex, and one need not find the whole dossier before one can use the word “shamanic.” Cf. Buchholz 1971:19; H. Chadwick 1899.

[ back ] 18. Another main avenue of interpretation is that the hanging was an initiation (cf. Turville-Petre 1964:50n50); but Turville-Petre notes that symbolic death was always an aspect of initiation, so the two interpretations are not exclusive. A major article by Fleck interprets Odin’s hanging as the inverted hanging given to sacrificial victims who are to be drained of their blood (1971:126).

[ back ] 19. See Hávamál st. 157; Hollander 1962:39n89; Turville-Petre 1964:43. Cf. Fleck 1971:130n61.

[ back ] 20. Fleck 1971:400–403. Cf. Talley 1974.

[ back ] 21. Fleck 1981:61.

[ back ] 22. Translation Haugen 1983:12.

[ back ] 23. Fleck 1970; cf. Haugen 1983:9–10.

[ back ] 24. See Fleck 1971:131–136, with further bibliography.

[ back ] 25. See Van Hamel 1934; further bibliography in Turville-Petre 1964:323.

[ back ] 26. See Young 1954:100.

[ back ] 27. Dumézil 1973a:21; De Vries 1956 2:67–72. Cf. also Norwegian kvase, Danish kvase, English quash; Turville-Petre 1964:40n36.

[ back ] 28. Cf. Benveniste for the German guilds, conuiuia, which are “a means of reconciliation (1973:60–61). Once the crime is over and paid for, an alliance becomes established and we return to the notion of the guild.” Benveniste notes that a “sacred banquet” is at the very center of the notion of the guild. Thus Kvasir represents the sacral feast of reconciliation, not just a simple intoxicant.

[ back ] 29. And in a variant text in the Ynglingasaga (4, see Dumézil 1973a:9), Kvasir is explicitly a member of the Vanir, a third-function figure, but he is introduced into the two higher functions as a hostage, thus becoming a member of the Aesir. We find him acting as one of the Aesir in an episode in the Prose Edda, Young 1954:85, where he is even called the wisest of all the Aesir. Thus Kvasir is a member of both the Vanir and Aesir, the mediator between the two.

[ back ] 30. ok þá er hann kom at heimboði til nökkurra, Fjalars ok Galars, þá kölluðu þeir hann með sér á einmæli ok drápu hann …

[ back ] 31. See Turville-Petre 1964:39.

[ back ] 32. Fleck shows the actual ritual realities behind this motif, for Germanic hanged victims were bled, and the blood retained in containers, 1971:127n45.

[ back ] 33. Turville-Petre 1964:40n38, see further bibliography listed there. Also, Eliade 1964:221, for shamanic intoxication through mushrooms. Donald Ward suggests that there may be ancient connotations in the fact that grain alcohol is referred to as spiritus. However, cf. ecstatic techniques in which the supernatural being “whispers in the ear” of the shaman, “in the same way in which ‘birds’ inspire the epic bards.” “Magico-religious music” and dancing induce the trance. Mushroom intoxication, by comparison, appears to be “late and derivative … a mechanical and corrupt method of reproducing ‘ecstasy,’” Eliade 1964:222–223, see also 416, 477, 493. Perhaps drunkenness is only a metaphor for poetic/prophetic possession. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, in the Paris Review interviews, tells of being constantly asked if he wrote A Hundred Years of Solitude on hallucinogens, but responds that such questioners know nothing of the creative process, which requires full, unimpaired concentration and good health (Plimpton 1984:329).

[ back ] 34. Mahābhārata 3(33)123–125; van Buitenen 1973 2:460–462.

[ back ] 35. Dumézil 1973a:22–25.

[ back ] 36. Turville-Petre 1964:41. See O’Flaherty 1981:119–138.

[ back ] 37. Rig Veda 4.26–27, in O’Flaherty 1981:128–131; Kāṭhaka Saṃhitā 37.14a; in O’Flaherty 1975:280–281, further references on p. 337. See discussion of the soma (amṛta) / poetic mead parallels in Fleck 1971:404–405.

[ back ] 38. Ynglingasaga 4; translation in Dumézil 1973a:8–10.

[ back ] 39. Með honum sendu Æsir þann, er Mímir hét, inn vitrasti maðr, en Vanir fengu þar í mót þann, er spakastr var í þeira flokki. Sá hét Kvasir.

[ back ] 40. Þá tóku þeir Mími ok hálshjoggu ok sendu höfuðit Ásum. Óðinn tók höfuðit ok smurði urtum þeim, er eigi mátti fúna, ok kvað þar yfir galdra ok magnaði svá, at þat mælti við hann ok sagði honum marga leynda hluti. The Poetic Edda has two other references to the wisdom of Mímir’s head, Völuspá, st. 45, and Sigrdrífumál, st. 16. For the mantic severed head in Greece and Ireland, see above, chapter 16 (Orpheus).

[ back ] 41. Cf. Dumézil 1959a:224–230, on the relationship of Mímir and Hoenir; Dumézil 1948:111–121.

[ back ] 42. However, some (notably Ström) have interpreted Loki as an Odinic hypostasis, see Turville-Petre 1964:324. For interpretation of the Lokasenna, see Dumézil 1959a:112–113. Ström and others interpret the poem as a late, Christian attack on the heathen gods; Dumézil argues that a consistent element of heathen myth is a tolerant view of the gods’ “human” failings.

[ back ] 43. “More ink has been spilt on Loki than on any other figure in Norse myth. This, in itself, is enough to show how little scholars agree, and how far we are from understanding him,” writes Turville-Petre (1964:324), who summarizes interpretation of the figure. As Loki shows, the trickster figure and the demonic figure are not mutually exclusive.

[ back ] 44. Cf. Haugen 1983:16–18, 23n18 for the feast of the gods as an Indo-European motif. See also Dumézil’s first book, Le festin d’Immortalité, 1924:11–15, 51–60.

[ back ] 45. St. 3, translation in Hollander 1962:91. jöll ok áfu / færi ek ása sonum, / ok blend ek þeim svá meini mjöð. See above, chapter 17. The very power of the satirist is what causes his or her exile.

[ back ] 46. An exact parallel to the Irish motif, see above, chapter 17 (the men of Leinster offer jewelry to Aithirne to stay away and not satirize them; also, king Eochaid gives Aithirne his eye).

[ back ] 47. As Hollander suggests (1962:103n58).

[ back ] 48. Trans. Hollander 1962:103. This same story of Loki’s imprisonment and torture is found in the Prose Edda, see Young 1954:85, but there the gods are taking vengeance for the death of Baldr. For the poison theme, cf. above, chapter 17, “The Poisonous Poet.”

[ back ] 49. See the two articles by Fleck, 1981 and 1970, on the “knowledgecriterion” for sacred kingship. Thus, as it were, one had to be a poet-prophet to become king. For knowledge and poetry in Hesiod’s consecration, see above, chapter 6. For the dependence of the ruler on poetry and poets, see Duban 1980; Roth 1976.

[ back ] 50. See Dumézil 1977 for Dumézil’s nearly final thoughts on Indo-European sovereign gods. For Varuṇa as king, see 74; on his magic, 64–65. Cf. the section on Odin, “Oðinn roi et magicien,” 189–196.

[ back ] 51. We may note that Indra is a key imbiber of Soma, which inspires him to war fury; see Rig Veda 9.113.1, “Let Indra the killer of Vṛta drink Soma in Śaryaṇāvat, gathering his strength within himself, to do a great heroic deed. O drop of Soma, flow for Indra,” translation O’Flaherty, śaryaṇāvati somamindraḥ pibatu vṛtrahā / balaṃ dadhāna ātmani kariṣyan vīryaṃ mahadindrāyendo pari srava.

[ back ] 52. See Dumézil 1959b:408, 412; 1973b:38–42; Lincoln 1975b:131n39, with further bibliography. The king “contains” priests, warriors, and commoners in his body. For sacred kingship in Germany, Fleck 1981 and 1970. Cf. Jean Cocteau’s film, Le Sang d’ un poète; Dubuisson 1978.

[ back ] 53. Eliade’s most central thematic books are The Sacred and the Profane (1959) and The Myth of the Eternal Return, or Cosmos and History (1971).

[ back ] 54. For tree as cosmic symbol, see Eliade 1963b:265–330; 1959:147–151. On Yggdrasil, Eliade 1963b:265, 276–277; De Vries 1956 2:380–383.

[ back ] 55. Puhvel 1987:218; Fleck 1971:386.

[ back ] 56. See Puhvel 1975, summarized in Puhvel 1987:284–290. For different interpretations of the Romulus-Remus myth, see Bremmer and Horsfall 1987:34–38; Bannon 1997:158–173.

[ back ] 57. Puhvel 1987:288; 1975:155; Propertius 4.1.31. Cf. Burkert 1962a:366–367. For exhaustive examination of the theme of the sacrificed brother, see the work of Heino Gehrts, discussed by Ward 1982b. In the pattern studied by Gehrts, the king’s brother, who is killed, often in battle, endows the surviving brother with redoubled powers of kingship and battle prowess. See also Gehrts 1967:262–282. Cf. below, chapter 27, the warrior as double of the king in African ritual.

[ back ] 58. Rig Veda 10.90; cf. bibliography in O’Flaherty 1975:314.

[ back ] 59. Puhvel 1975:308.

[ back ] 60. Just as Remus’s death is “an essential consecrational act for the good of the new urban creation” (Puhvel 1975:149).

[ back ] 61. Cf. De Vries 1956 2:380–381; Dumézil 1973a:143n11; 141.

[ back ] 62. Cf. Dumézil 1973a:144.

[ back ] 63. Gylfaginning 16, Prose Edda, Young 1954:45, Íkorni sá, er heitir Ratatoskr, renn upp ok niðr eftir askinum ok berr öfundarorð milli arnarins ok Níðhöggs.