About Beaw / Beowulf
A figure in Anglo-Saxon paganism associated with barley and agriculture. Connections have been made between the figure of Beowa and the more well-known Beowulf.
Beow is the Anglo-Saxon word for barley. Amongst others, Beowa descends from Sceafa, the Anglo-Saxon word for sheaf. It parallels with the Old Norse word for grain, which is Bygg. In relation, comparisons between the figure of Beow and Byggvir have been made.[
A consensus among scholars is that there is a distinct connection between the mythical figure of Beowa and the legendary Beowulf. As both characters possess many of the same attributes, it has been suggested that: "a god Beowa, whose existence in myth is certain, became confused or blended with Beowulf." It is possible that the scribe who wrote the copy of the epic which comes down to us succumbed to this confusion: at the beginning of the poem, there is a figure "Beowulf" (not the Beowulf of the title) who shares many properties with Beowa. Several modern scholars therefore emend "Beowulf" in this part of the poem to "Beowa."
Everything you wanted to know about Beaw (aka Beowa):
VIKINGS! VIKINGS! VIKINGS!
Lost Worlds has lately had a growing list of loose ends to attend to. One project has been with preparing new information on "Vikings" - and here appears the first of new instalments. They'll be added-to as quickly as possible, then other loose ends will be attended to. Enjoy!
Some of the first Vikings to appear for "popular inspection" in historical time were the Icelanders. Today, their descendants offer one of the single purest examples of ethnic integrity left on Planet Earth, a largely-unmixed population stemming from before 1000AD which can offer much to researchers in human genetics interested in the heritability of genetic strengths, defects and ailments. (A possibility not without controversy on Iceland itself in respect of privacy considerations.)
Even so, the earliest genealogies of the Icelanders are partly legendary, as seems to apply to other Viking genealogies. The available set of information compiled so far by Lost Worlds remains ragged and patchy at best.
The Vikings' ruling families seem to have had short-lived careers, to an extent which suggests their society was violent and turbulent.
This article discusses whether the Vikings had a grand expansionist plan which came to little because of their violence at home to each other, and their inability to execute an ambitious plan in the long-run, at home or on the fringes of the territories they influenced. If anything, after the Christianization of the Vikings, their rulers were gentled especially by intermarriages, which induced cultural changes in Viking society.
Throughout, were the Vikings pushed to expand their territories mostly due to growing population pressures at home, or were various other ideas being pursued?
The supposed origins of the Vikings in
the "Asgard" of the North
A theme as introduced by Julius Evola...
By 1931, the Italian writer on esoteric subjects, Julius Evola, had published his book in defence of humanity's long use of the institutions of aristocracy, Revolt Against the Modern World. He published in Italian and the book took a long time to reach the English language. Evola in his own lifetime was often accused of being fascist-minded, and it seems typical of him that he uses a section in Revolt Against the Modern World to complain about "The Decline of Superior Races". He also dealt heavily in notions of superior civilizations and ideas... by way of the notion that over great periods of time, early-appearing notions of great spiritual superiority are degraded in a cyclic way, possibly related to "astrology", to the great detriment of humanity. Evola's revolt, then, was a protest about the "degradations" he saw around him after the First World War.
Clearly an advocate of "cold-climate racialist theories" before anyone called them quite that, and with much of his writing done as the fascisms of Hitler and Mussolini arose for inspection, Evola, who came from warm-climate Sicily, with a Catholic upbringing, believed in the "spiritual superiority" of the absolutely-masculinist, white-skinned, tall, mostly-blonde Nordic and Germanic ethnic types.
Given this, as in his writings, and entirely unnecessarily for an Italian who actually felt himself "Italian", and/or Mediterranean, it is not impossible that Evola had tried to promote the legend of the Asgarders - "the Northern Light" - as a way of out-manouvering the absurdly Aryan-based, vaguely-Persian mythology of Germany's Nazis, without actually saying so. Since in the supposed terms of real-time-history, the Northern Light people would have preceded the rise of "the Aryans" from whom the superior Germans of the 1930s were allegedly descended - as according to A. Hitler et al (?)
Maybe, Evola thought that by appearing to be pushing back the historical time-boundaries, he could keep the rising power of Nazi mythologism at an arm's length, giving him needed room to say other things he wished to say? (He commented lucidly, for example, on some of the possible origins of Buddhism in post-Aryan India.) Evola was a writer working in a disastrously-unfortunate period of European history; he was a writer who greatly mistook symbolism for reality, and vice versa.
Mid-way in Revolt, Evola discusses an ancient legend, a powerful archetype in European mythologies, the "symbolism of the North Pole", of "the hyperborean region". This perhaps can be named as "the ice Kingdom, Asgard". Here can be found a variety of legend(s); as of a great mountain of the North symbolizing spiritual stability. This mountain might also be confused with an island. It is taken to have been a real location in an area which today would be located at the North Pole. A commentator on Evola's book notes that ideas of a "northern magnetic/polar mountain" set on an island can be found in Chinese, medieval Nordic and Islamic legends.
Evola claims that this Asgardian ice-kingdom is mentioned in the legends of many peoples, and, that "the mystery of the North" was supplanted by "the mystery of the East" due to a tilting of earth's axis. However, considering this in the 1920s, Evola does not even begin to suggest when this might have happened!
In the Nordic-Scandinavian tradition, this Asgard was the seat of the people Aesir, who might also be located in the Mitgard, "the Land in the Middle". This might also be associated with Gardarike (a semi-Arctic region), and with a Green Island which in ancient cosmology was the first land to rise from the abyss named Ginnungagap. (And who knows, perhaps long ago, Greenland had a well-organised population of Nordic-type peoples?) Evola conjectured that this Green Land had been "unaffected" by the Ice Age(s) up to the time of the Goths, although major climate problems set in. Climate problems which presumably set the Aesir, here called the Asgarders, to migration to ... somewhere.. ????
Julius Evola, Revolt Against The Modern World. (Translated from the Italian by Guido Stucco), Rochester, Vermont, Inner Traditions, 1995 edition.
Also associated with these legends, Evola writes, is an idea or a basic myth of origin about two cycles or "great waves" of people-movement in so-called real history, the first from north-to-south, (the Hyperboreans from Asgard?) the second from west-to-east (the peoples being unspecified).
Both ideas would seem to conflict with various ideas current today, of human origins as explained by, say, "the out-of-Africa theory", which theory in turn is contradicted of course by Genesis, the ultra-powerful Creation myth of the Christianized world - which across millennia now misnames Adam and Eve as the parents of all humanity. Presumably, Evola was unaware of the "out-of-Africa" theory based on Darwin's admittedly-disputed Theory of Evolution.
Partly due to the distorted ideologies of European fascists while he was writing, Evola gave far too-little attention to modern scientific theories - which he despised as smacking of "the modern" - for he despised the modern to the core of his being. Sans the developing findings of modern science then, Evola tried to explain the origins and distributions of certain peoples and their mythologies in terms of old-but-basic myths of origin which, he thought, supported his views on the superiority of the old European systems of aristocracy which had been killed-off by World War One.
Evola however with his over-fond "spiritual" views declines to consider the impacts of violence as he depicts the movements of people from the time of "the Asgarders", which becomes interesting, as the Vikings' reputation for violence grew during a period when a great deal of violence was being expended right across Europe to the Balkans and into the Middle East - as we shall see...
The Aesir or Hyperborean people(s), Evola thought, had a civilization which contributed much to later civilizations, particularly to what became European civilization; and perhaps with an offshoot lodging in Aryan-conquered India - an offshoot which "spiritually" survives till today with the Indian caste system. Whether any of this is true or not does not concern us here, since even with the aid of modern geological and other sciences, it is extremely difficult to try to estimate the movements of any sort of people at all across the northern half of the Northern Hemisphere as the Ice Ages ended, glaciation melted away, sea levels rose and fell, and people had more freedom of movement. (And if you do read on this timeframe as a subject, you will find writers reconsidering the problem of the extinction of the Neandertals.)
It remains extremely difficult, for example, to find any modern, scientific data on the melting of any great ice sheets which may or may not have lain on the lands immediately north of, say, today's Southern Russia, the Caucasus, Persia/Iran or Hungary or India, though much data exists on the decline of the ice sheets over Canada/North America, Scandinavia and England. In effect, much modern, "scientific" research on the end of the Ice Ages has avoided significant geographic areas for reasons which might be attributed to ethnic sensibilities... or prejudices, lack of funds, or simple lack of interest due to the aforementioned?
Today though, we do know that people who were probably "Asiatic-Mongolians" travelled across a Bering Strait land-bridge and continued moving south, right down to mid-South America or even further south. We also know that in parts of Northern Russia, people hunted Mammoth and used Mammoth tusks as pillars/supports for their odd-design houses. Various evidence indicates that people lived in parts of "Scandinavia" from about 10,000BC or later. (It seems unlikely to Lost Worlds that these Mammoth hunters, or their descendants, produced anything like an admirable philosophy of living.)
Evola also thought that the Aesir/Asgarders carried with them a spiritual illumination called "The Light of the North", perhaps associated with the winter solstice, a masculine sun-god reference to be differentiated from lunar (feminine) references. There was also, Evola says, though he cannot explain it while he also mentions "Atlantis", something important happening by way of a great wash of waters - probably waters of the Atlantic Ocean. His meaning here may depend on where he thought Atlantis had been located, which no one knows anyway for a fact... From modern studies, it does appear that as the great ice sheets disappeared from say north of France, great rivers carried water east of the area today called Scandinavia, deep into Europe, although just where the water was carried to is hard to suggest.
Evola took trouble to distinguish this "Light of the North" from the "Southern Light", which is associated with lunar light and Mother-Goddess, earth-based mythological (more Mediterranean or Middle Eastern?), a light more material than "spiritual". And so, this "Light of the North" is masculine, the southern influences are more female/feminine - which is certainly borne out by the genealogical renderings of the Asgard legend.
Now, whatever the worth of Evola's mythologically-based propositions, something of all this came to bear on facts/legends regarding the origins of "the idea of Europe". These origins in fact can be registered sensibly on a genealogy database. Presumably, however, the genealogical line of the "Asgarders" was constructed long after the actual people-movements had occurred in real-time history. The legendary lineage of the Asgarders suggests they began about 200BC or earlier. Whereas, the Adamic line of Adam and Eve is often said to begin around 4004BC, and this idea of "northern origin" about 200BC may even have been generated retrospectively for basically propaganda reasons, to promote a sense of ethnic reliability and stability.
It also seems likely that the legend of Adam and Eve was edited-into the Hebrew holy books as late as 600-200BC. It is not impossible that the later editors of the information comprising the Asgard legend used this as a model, estimating that the Asgarders began around 200-400BC (or about 4000 years after the Adamic line allegedly began... ?) This in turn might suggest that the editors of the Asgard legend were working after the Christianization of the Nordic peoples, not before (?). This might seem plausible in terms of the history of the spread of literacy following the Christianization of the Scandinavian areas?
Until it was written down, and as with the Adamic lineage, the story of the Asgard lineage had probably been transmitted as oral history. While due to lack of literacy, oral history cannot be backchecked - which means it can easily be falsified, deliberately or inadvertantly.
Once they'd moved from their northern home, wherever it was, the Asgarders by legend went to "Northern Saxony" in Germany, and about this time arose the legend of Odin/Wodin, though it is hard to say whether "Wodin" was a real character with a lifestyle to be emulated, or an invented composite character, and perhaps later periodically reinvented to fit the terms and symbolisms of a mythology.
In time, the Asgarders split into two camps, the Scandinavians or Vikings, and "the Wessexers", or, the Saxons of south-eastern England. (One of today's websites names this genealogical line as "Scealdea", and the Scealdean line can also be found in printed books, which is where Lost Worlds first encountered these legends.)
The Asgard-Scandinavian branch produced the Vikings, while the "Asgard-Wessexers" produced the people ruled by Alfred the Great; who lived side-by-side with the post-Roman British people known as Mercia and Bernicia. Presumably, the Wessexers would have known about the Welsh to their south, the Irish across the sea to the west and the Scots to the north. And of course, semi-factual genealogical lineages exist also for the archaic kings of those areas in the timeframes under consideration here.
Ethnically, it seems no accident that the Vikings produced the Viking occupiers of Normandy in France, the Normans who conquered England in 1066. The partly-legendary Asgard genealogy hints at an old family feud which was solved by the Norman take-over of England, while centuries before 1066, and after the Romans had evacuated Britain from 410AD, Vikings had harrassed and/or occupied parts of Scotland, Dublin in the south of Ireland, the Isle of Man, York in Northumbria, Dublin, East Anglia and parts of southern England.
The Asgard genealogy also hints at an idea that the Vikings retained some kind of a grand plan of near-Imperial ambition, that was slowly executed, though rather raggedly since the Vikings inflicted roughly-equivalent levels of violence on themselves as they did on the peoples they wished to dominate.
Though it is not clear why, apart from consideration of their skills as mariners, the western Vikings became takeover-merchants, much inclined to running protection rackets. Apart from continually taking-over each other in their home territories of Norway, Sweden and Denmark, they were taking over, or trying to take over, the Irish, the western and eastern Scots, the people on the Isle of Man, the inhabitants of northern and southern England, and the parts of France becoming known as Normandy. Oddly enough, the Vikings who settled Iceland and the Pharos Islands actually settled down quietly; while it seems significant in the sense of conquests being made and enjoyed, that slaves taken from Ireland were put to work on Iceland.
If any such Viking grand-plan ever actually worked, it probably worked best with the Kievian-Vikings of Russia, who are little-discussed except in terms of recent arguments between historians about their contribution to what became the earliest-known forms of Russian nationalism, the Russian State.
Genealogically, the partly-legendary Asgard line crosses about 1000 years, from before the time of Jesus to after the time of William the Conqueror of England, 1066. The line rather uncannily herds-in the Nordic settlers of Norway, Denmark and Sweden, then the later Icelanders and the Viking settlers of England, Ireland and France, as well as the Wessexers. Somewhat uneasily, the Asgard line can also help explain the Viking settlers of Russia (at Kiev) who became aristocracy there. As a movement of peoples (numerous tribes of people) not uncommon in their time, the progress of "the Asgarders" was probably south down the large rivers of Europe. This progress presumably brought Vikings increasingly into contact with the Carolingians of Northern France-cum-Western Germany (Charlemagne's people), the Franks, Saxons, the Capetians of France, the Vandals, the East and West Goths; and via Russia/Kiev, a few smatterings of members of the families of various Eastern and Western Emperors as the Western Roman Empire finally fell.
There was indeed, a concerted mixing of peoples, which the "Asgard legend" tries to simplify along ethnic lines. And while all this was happening, and before the Crusades, many of the "Vikings" become Christianized. However, while some of the mythology of Odin/Wodin may help explain why the Vikings could be such violent warriors, there is little in any of this which helps explain how the Western Vikings, those of Norway, Denmark and Sweden, became such superb mariners.
Gradually, after 1066 in England, then the Crusades, a great deal of Viking blood - Asgarder blood? - entered the bloodlines of the aristocracies of France, England, Germany... and so on - in ways which can be traced genealogically. This at least is what the Asgard story tries to indicate.
Masculinity of the Asgard lineage
Genealogically, and in contrast to the descendancies of Adam and Eve, known as the Adamic line, that is, a Middle Eastern line, the Asgard tradition ignored women - so initially, very few women's names appear. The initial Asgard line begins it is said with Sceaf, as follows (for 36 generations), from about 200BC if not earlier - (the following rendition assumes normal human life-spans of the day, which of course the Adamic Line of Genesis does not):
Beaw was an uncommonly warlike king. He heeded Hermann's call for all of Germany to unite and keep the Romans on their side of the Rhine, so he went himself to fight, taking his hundred best warriors. They wiped out three of Rome's best legions, then went back home to bask in their hard-earned glory. Later in Beaw's reign, he killed a dragon that had been troubling the people. Beaw died soon after that great battle.