In Norse mythology, a valkyrie is one of a host of female figures who choose those who may die in battle and those who may live. Selecting among half of those who die in battle, the valkyries bring their chosen to the afterlife hall of the slain, ruled over by the god Odin. There, the deceased warriors become einherjar; when the einherjar are not preparing for the events of Ragnarök, the valkyries bear. Valkyries appear as lovers of heroes and other mortals, where they are sometimes described as the daughters of royalty, sometimes accompanied by ravens and sometimes connected to swans or horses. Valkyries are attested in the Poetic Edda, the Prose Edda, the Heimskringla and the Njáls saga, all written—or compiled—in the 13th century, they appear throughout the poetry of skalds, in a 14th-century charm, in various runic inscriptions. The Old English cognate terms wælcyrge and wælcyrie appear in several Old English manuscripts, scholars have explored whether the terms appear in Old English by way of Norse influence, or reflect a tradition native among the Anglo-Saxon pagans.
Scholarly theories have been proposed about the relation between the valkyries, the Norns, the dísir, all of which are supernatural figures associated with fate. Archaeological excavations throughout Scandinavia have uncovered amulets theorized as depicting valkyries. In modern culture, valkyries have been the subject of works of art, musical works, comic books, video games and poetry; the word valkyrie derives from Old Norse valkyrja, composed of two words: the noun valr and the verb kjósa. Together, they mean'chooser of the slain'; the Old Norse valkyrja is cognate to Old English wælcyrge. From the Old English and Old Norse forms, philologist Vladimir Orel reconstructs the Proto-Germanic form *wala-kuzjōn. However, the term may have been borrowed into Old English from Old Norse: see discussion in the Old English attestations section below. Other terms for valkyries in Old Norse sources include óskmey, appearing in the poem Oddrúnargrátr and Óðins meyjar, appearing in the Nafnaþulur. Óskmey may be related to the Odinic name Óski, referring to the fact that Odin receives slain warriors in Valhalla.
Valkyries are mentioned or appear in the Poetic Edda poems Völuspá, Grímnismál, Völundarkviða, Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar, Helgakviða Hundingsbana I, Helgakviða Hundingsbana II and Sigrdrífumál. In stanza 30 of the poem Völuspá, a völva tells Odin that "she saw" valkyries coming from far away who are ready to ride to "the realm of the gods"; the völva follows this with a list of six valkyries: Skuld who "bore a shield", Skögul, Hildr, Göndul and Geirskögul. Afterwards, the völva tells him she has listed the "ladies of the War Lord, ready to ride, over the earth". In the poem Grímnismál, tortured and thirsty, tells the young Agnar that he wishes that the valkyries Hrist and Mist would "bear him a horn" provides a list of 11 more valkyries who he says "bear ale to the einherjar". A prose introduction in the poem Völundarkviða relates that the brothers Slagfiðr, Egil and Völund dwelt in a house sited in a location called Úlfdalir. There, early one morning, the brothers find three women spinning linen on the shore of the lake Úlfsjár, "near them were their swan's garments.
Two daughters of King Hlödvér are named Hervör alvitr. The brothers take the three women back to their hall with them—Egil takes Ölrún, Slagfiðr takes Hlaðguðr svanhvít and Völund takes Hervör alvitr, they live together for seven winters, until the women do not return. Egil goes off in snow-shoes to look for Ölrún, Slagfiðr goes searching for Hlaðguðr svanhvít and Völund sits in Úlfdalir. In the poem Helgakviða Hjörvarðssonar, a prose narrative says that an unnamed and silent young man, the son of the Norwegian King Hjörvarðr and Sigrlinn of Sváfaland, witnesses nine valkyries riding by while sitting atop a burial mound, he finds one striking. The valkyrie speaks to the unnamed man, gives him the name Helgi; the silent Helgi speaks. The valkyrie tells him she knows of a hoard of swords in Sigarsholm, that one of them is of particular importance, which she describes in detail. Further into the poem, Atli flytes with the female jötunn Hrímgerðr. While flyting with Atli, Hrímgerðr says that she had seen 27 valkyries around Helgi, yet one fair valkyrie led the band: Three
In Old World archaeology, Mesolithic is the period between the Upper Paleolithic and the Neolithic. The term Epipaleolithic is used synonymously for outside northern Europe, for the corresponding period in the Levant and Caucasus; the Mesolithic has different time spans in different parts of Eurasia. It refers to the final period of hunter-gatherer cultures in Europe and Western Asia, between the end of the Last Glacial Maximum and the Neolithic Revolution. In Europe it spans 15,000 to 5,000 BP; the term is less used of areas further east, not at all beyond Eurasia and North Africa. The type of culture associated with the Mesolithic varies between areas, but it is associated with a decline in the group hunting of large animals in favour of a broader hunter-gatherer way of life, the development of more sophisticated and smaller lithic tools and weapons than the heavy chipped equivalents typical of the Paleolithic. Depending on the region, some use of pottery and textiles may be found in sites allocated to the Mesolithic, but indications of agriculture are taken as marking transition into the Neolithic.
The more permanent settlements tend to be close to the sea or inland waters offering a good supply of food. Mesolithic societies are not seen as complex, burials are simple; the terms "Paleolithic" and "Neolithic" were introduced by John Lubbock in his work Pre-historic Times in 1865. The additional "Mesolithic" category was added as an intermediate category by Hodder Westropp in 1866. Westropp's suggestion was controversial. A British school led by John Evans denied any need for an intermediate: the ages blended together like the colors of a rainbow, he said. A European school led by Louis Laurent Gabriel de Mortillet asserted that there was a gap between the earlier and later. Edouard Piette claimed to have filled the gap with his naming of the Azilian Culture. Knut Stjerna offered an alternative in the "Epipaleolithic", suggesting a final phase of the Paleolithic rather than an intermediate age in its own right inserted between the Paleolithic and Neolithic. By the time of Vere Gordon Childe's work, The Dawn of Europe, which affirms the Mesolithic, sufficient data had been collected to determine that a transitional period between the Paleolithic and the Neolithic was indeed a useful concept.
However, the terms "Mesolithic" and "Epipalaeolitic" remain in competition, with varying conventions of usage. In the archaeology of Northern Europe, for example for archaeological sites in Great Britain, Scandinavia and Russia, the term "Mesolithic" is always used. In the archaeology of other areas, the term "Epipaleolithic" may be preferred by most authors, or there may be divergences between authors over which term to use or what meaning to assign to each. In the New World, neither term is used. "Epipaleolithic" is sometimes used alongside "Mesolithic" for the final end of the Upper Paleolithic followed by the Mesolithic. As "Mesolithic" suggests an intermediate period, followed by the Neolithic, some authors prefer the term "Epipaleolithic" for hunter-gatherer cultures who are not succeeded by agricultural traditions, reserving "Mesolithic" for cultures who are succeeded by the Neolithic Revolution, such as the Natufian culture. Other authors use "Mesolithic" as a generic term for post-LGM hunter-gatherer cultures, whether they are transitional towards agriculture or not.
In addition, terminology appears to differ between archaeological sub-disciplines, with "Mesolithic" being used in European archaeology, while "Epipalaeolithic" is more common in Near Eastern archaeology. The Balkan Mesolithic begins around 15,000 years ago. In Western Europe, the Early Mesolithic, or Azilian, begins about 14,000 years ago, in the Franco-Cantabrian region of northern Spain and southern France. In other parts of Europe, the Mesolithic begins by 11,500 years ago, it ends with the introduction of farming, depending on the region between c. 8,500 and 5,500 years ago. Regions that experienced greater environmental effects as the last glacial period ended have a much more apparent Mesolithic era, lasting millennia. In northern Europe, for example, societies were able to live well on rich food supplies from the marshlands created by the warmer climate; such conditions produced distinctive human behaviors that are preserved in the material record, such as the Maglemosian and Azilian cultures.
Such conditions delayed the coming of the Neolithic until some 5,500 BP in northern Europe. The type of stone toolkit remains one of the most diagnostic features: the Mesolithic used a microlithic technology – composite devices manufactured with Mode V chipped stone tools, while the Paleolithic had utilized Modes I–IV. In some areas, such as Ireland, parts of Portugal, the Isle of Man and the Tyrrhenian Islands, a macrolithic technology was used in the Mesolithic. In the Neolithic, the microlithic technology was replaced by a macrolithic technology, with an increased use of polished stone tools such as stone axes. There is some evidence for the beginning of construction at sites with a ritual or astronomical significance, including Stonehenge, with a short row of large post holes aligned east-west, a possible "lunar calendar" at Warren Field in Scotland, with pits of post holes of varying sizes, thought to reflect the lunar phases. Both are dated to before c. 9,000 BP. As the "Neolithic package" (including farming, polished stone axes, timber longhouses and pot
An urn is a vase with a cover, that has a somewhat narrowed neck above a rounded body and a footed pedestal. Describing a vessel as an "urn", as opposed to a vase or other terms reflects its use rather than any particular shape or origin; the term is often used for funerary urns, vessels used in burials, either to hold the cremated ashes or as grave goods, but is used in many other contexts. Large sculpted vases are called urns, whether placed outdoors, in gardens or as architectural ornaments on buildings, or kept inside. Funerary urns have been used by many civilizations. After death, corpses are cremated, the ashes are collected and put in an urn. Pottery urns, dating from about 7000 BC, have been found in an early Jiahu site in China, where a total of 32 burial urns are found, another early finds are in Laoguantai, Shaanxi. There are about 700 burial urns unearthed over the Yangshao areas and consisting more than 50 varieties of form and shape; the burial urns were used for children, but sporadically for adults.
The Urnfield culture, a late Bronze Age culture of central Europe, takes its name from its large cemeteries of urn burials. The discovery of a Bronze Age urn burial in Norfolk, prompted Sir Thomas Browne to describe the antiquities found, he expanded his study to survey burial and funerary customs and current, published it as Hydriotaphia or Urn Burial. In ancient Greece, cremation was usual, the ashes placed in a painted Greek vase. In particular the lekythos, a shape of vase, was used for holding oil in funerary rituals. Romans placed; the interior of a dovecote has niches to house doves. Cremation urns were commonly used in early Anglo Saxon England, in many Pre-Columbian cultures. In some European traditions, a king's heart, sometimes other organs, could be placed in one or more urns upon his death, as happened with King Otto of Bavaria in 1916, buried in a different place from the body, to symbolize a particular affection for the place by the departed. In the modern funeral industry, cremation urns of varying quality and cost are offered, urns are another source of potential profit for an industry concerned that a trend toward cremation might threaten profits from traditional burial ceremonies.
Biodegradable urns are sometimes used for both animal burial. They are made from eco-friendly materials such as recycled or handmade paper, cellulose or other natural products that are capable of decomposing back into natural elements, sometimes include a seed intended to grow into a tree at the site of the burial. Besides the traditional funeral or cremation ashes urns, it may be possible to keep a part of the ashes of the loved one or beloved pet in keepsake urns or ash jewellery, although this might be banned in some localities as the law of certain countries may prohibit keeping any human remains in a private residence, it is in some places, possible to place the ashes of two people in so-called companion urns. Cremation or funeral urns are made from a variety of materials such as wood, nature stone, glass, or steel. Scattering of ashes has become popular over recent decades; as a result, urns designed to scatter the ashes from have been developed. Some are biodegradable, some recyclable after being used.
Some cremation urns have been made out of wood. A Figural urn is a style of vase or larger container where the basic urn shape, of either a classic amphora or a crucible style, is ornamented with figures; these may be attached to the main body, forming handles or extraneous decorations, or may be shown in relief on the body itself. The Ashes, the prize in the biennial Test cricket competition between England and Australia, are contained in a miniature urn. Urns are a common form of architectural garden ornament. Well-known ornamental urns include the Waterloo Vase. In mathematics, an urn problem is a thought experiment in probability theory. A tea urn is a heated metal container traditionally used to brew tea or boil water in large quantities in factories, canteens or churches, they are not found in domestic use. Like a samovar it has a small tap near the base for extracting hot water. Unlike an electric water boiler, tea may be brewed in the vessel itself, although they are likely to be used to fill a large teapot.
In Neoclassical furniture, it was a large wooden vase-like container, set on a pedestal on either side of a side table. This was the characteristic of Adam designs and of Hepplewhite's work. Sometimes they were "knife urns", where the top lifted off, cutlery was stored inside. Urns were used as decorative turnings at the cross points of stretchers in 16th and 17th century furniture designs; the urn and the vase were set on the central pedestal in a "broken" or "swan's" neck pediment. "Knife urns" placed on pedestals flanking a dining-room sideboard were an English innovation for high-style dining rooms of the late 1760s. They went out of fashion in the following decade, in favour of knife boxes that were placed on the sideboard. Bridge spouted vessel Crematory Pithos Urn problem Viewlogy Daily Mail article on a Roman cinerary urn Getty. Art & Architecture Thesaurus. Urns
Beowulf is an Old English epic poem consisting of 3,182 alliterative lines. It is arguably one of the most important works of Old English literature; the date of composition is a matter of contention among scholars. The author was an anonymous Anglo-Saxon poet, referred to by scholars as the "Beowulf poet"; the story is set in Scandinavia. Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, the king of the Danes, whose mead hall in Heorot has been under attack by a monster known as Grendel. After Beowulf slays him, Grendel's mother attacks the hall and is also defeated. Victorious, Beowulf goes home to Geatland and becomes king of the Geats. After a period of fifty years has passed, Beowulf defeats a dragon, but is mortally wounded in the battle. After his death, his attendants erect a tower on a headland in his memory; the full story survives in the manuscript known as the Nowell Codex. It has no title in the original manuscript, but has become known by the name of the story's protagonist.
In 1731, the manuscript was badly damaged by a fire that swept through Ashburnham House in London that had a collection of medieval manuscripts assembled by Sir Robert Bruce Cotton. The Nowell Codex is housed in the British Library; the events in the poem take place over most of the sixth century, after the Anglo-Saxons had started migrating to England and before the beginning of the seventh century, a time when the Anglo-Saxons were either newly arrived or were still in close contact with their Germanic kinsmen in Northern Germany and southern Scandinavia. The poem may have been brought to England by people of Geatish origins. Many suggest that Beowulf was first composed in the 7th century at Rendlesham in East Anglia, that the Sutton Hoo ship-burial shows close connections with Scandinavia, that the East Anglian royal dynasty, the Wuffingas, may have been descendants of the Geatish Wulfings. Others have associated this poem with the court of King Alfred the Great or with the court of King Cnut the Great.
The poem deals with legends, was composed for entertainment, does not separate between fictional elements and historic events, such as the raid by King Hygelac into Frisia. Though Beowulf himself is not mentioned in any other Anglo-Saxon manuscript, scholars agree that many of the other figures referred to in Beowulf appear in Scandinavian sources.. This concerns not only individuals, but clans and certain events. In Denmark, recent archaeological excavations at Lejre, where Scandinavian tradition located the seat of the Scyldings, i.e. Heorot, have revealed that a hall was built in the mid-6th century the time period of Beowulf. Three halls, each about 50 metres long, were found during the excavation; the majority view appears to be that people such as King Hroðgar and the Scyldings in Beowulf are based on historical people from 6th-century Scandinavia. Like the Finnesburg Fragment and several shorter surviving poems, Beowulf has been used as a source of information about Scandinavian figures such as Eadgils and Hygelac, about continental Germanic figures such as Offa, king of the continental Angles.
19th-century archaeological evidence may confirm elements of the Beowulf story. Eadgils was buried at Uppsala according to Snorri Sturluson; when the western mound was excavated in 1874, the finds showed that a powerful man was buried in a large barrow, c. 575, on a bear skin with two dogs and rich grave offerings. The eastern mound was excavated in 1854, contained the remains of a woman, or a woman and a young man; the middle barrow has not been excavated. The protagonist Beowulf, a hero of the Geats, comes to the aid of Hrothgar, king of the Danes, whose great hall, Heorot, is plagued by the monster Grendel. Beowulf kills Grendel with his bare hands and Grendel's mother with a giant's sword that he found in her lair. In his life, Beowulf becomes king of the Geats, finds his realm terrorized by a dragon, some of whose treasure had been stolen from his hoard in a burial mound, he attacks the dragon with the help of his thegns or servants. Beowulf decides to follow the dragon to its lair at Earnanæs, but only his young Swedish relative Wiglaf, whose name means "remnant of valour", dares to join him.
Beowulf slays the dragon, but is mortally wounded in the struggle. He is cremated and a burial mound by the sea is erected in his honour. Beowulf is considered an epic poem in that the main character is a hero who travels great distances to prove his strength at impossible odds against supernatural demons and beasts; the poem begins in medias res or "in the middle of things,", a characteristic of the epics of antiquity. Although the poem begins with Beowulf's arrival, Grendel's attacks have been an ongoing event. An elaborate history of characters and their lineages is spoken of, as well as their interactions with each other, debts owed and repaid, deeds of valour; the warriors form a kind of brotherhood linked by loyalty to their lord. What is unique about "Beowulf" is that the poem begins and ends with a funeral. At the beginning of the poem, the king, Shield Shiefson dies and there is a huge funeral for him. At the end of the poem when Beowulf dies, there is a massive funeral for Beowulf. Beowulf begins with the story of Hrothgar, who constructed the great hall Heorot for himself and his warriors.
In Norse mythology, Gefjon is a goddess associated with ploughing, the Danish island of Zealand, the legendary Swedish king Gylfi, the legendary Danish king Skjöldr and virginity. Gefjon is attested in the Poetic Edda, compiled in the 13th century from earlier traditional sources; the Prose Edda and Heimskringla both report that Gefjon plowed away what is now lake Mälaren and with this land formed the island of Zealand, Denmark. In addition, the Prose Edda describes that not only is Gefjon a virgin herself, but that all who die a virgin become her attendants. Heimskringla records that Gefjon married the legendary Danish king Skjöldr and that the two dwelled in Lejre, Denmark. Scholars have proposed theories about the etymology the name of the goddess, connections to fertility and ploughing practices, the implications of the references made to her as a virgin, five potential mentions of the goddess in the Old English poem Beowulf, potential connections between Gefjon and Grendel's Mother and/or the goddesses Freyja and Frigg.
The etymology of theonym Gefjon has been a matter of dispute. In modern scholarship, the element Gef- is held to be related to the element Gef- in the name Gefn, one of the numerous names for the goddess Freyja, means'she who gives'; the connection between the two names has resulted in etymological interpretation of Gefjun as "the giving one." The names Gefjun and Gefn are both related to the Matron groups the Ollogabiae. Albert Murey Sturtevant notes that "the only other feminine personal name which contains the suffix -un is Njǫr-un, recorded only in the þulur, among the kvenna heiti ókend. Whatever the stem syllable Njǫr- represents, the addition of the n- and un-suffixes seems to furnish an exact parallel to Gef-n: Gefj-un."A Finnish word for "bride's outfit, trousseau" may derive from Gefjon's name. In the Poetic Edda, Gefjon appears in three stanzas of the poem Lokasenna, where an exchange occurs between Gefjun and Loki at a dinner feast, the god Odin comes to Gefjon's defense. After an exchange occurs between Loki and the goddess Iðunn, Gefjon questions why Loki wants to bring negativity into the hall with the assembled gods: The last two lines of the stanza above differ by translation.
Henry Adams Bellows comments that the manuscript text for these two lines is "puzzling" and that as a result they have been "freely amended." In the stanza that follows, Loki responds to Gefjon, commenting that a youthful male once gave her a necklace, that with this youth Gefjon slept: Odin interjects. This woman was "of the race of the Æsir" and her name was Gefjun. Gefjun took four oxen from Jötunheimr in the north; these oxen were her sons from a jötunn. Gefjun's plough "cut so hard and deep that it uprooted the land, the oxen drew the land out into the sea to the west and halted in a certain sound." Gefjun there placed the land, bestowed upon it the name Zealand. Where the land had been taken from a lake stands. According to Snorri, the lake is now known as Lake Mälar, located in Sweden, the inlets in this lake parallel the headlands of Zealand; as a reference, the prose account presents a stanza from a work attributed to the 9th century skald Bragi Boddason: Gefjun dragged from Gylfi, gladly the land beyond value.
Denmark's increase, steam rising from the swift-footed bulls. The oxen bore eight moons of the forehead and four heads, hauling as they went in front of the grassy isle's wide fissure. In chapter 35 of Gylfaginning, the enthroned figure of High presents a list of goddesses. High presents Gefjun fourth, says that Gefjun is a virgin, all who die as virgins attend her. In relation, High notes that, like Gefjun, the goddess Fulla is a virgin. At the beginning of the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, Gefjun is listed among nine goddesses who attend a banquet for Ægir on the island of Hlesey. In chapter 32, Gefjun is listed among six goddesses. In chapter 75, Gefjun is included among a list of 27 ásynjur names. In addition, Gefjun appears in a kenning for the völva Gróa employed in the skald Þjóðólfr of Hvinir's composition Haustlöng as quoted in chapter 17 of Skáldskaparmál. In chapter 5 of Ynglinga saga, a euhemerized prose account relates that Odin sent Gefjun from Odense, Funen "north over the sound to seek for land."
There, Gefjun encountered king Gylfi "and he gave her ploughland." Gefjun went to the land of Jötunheimr, there bore four sons to a jötunn. Gefjun transformed these four sons into oxen, attached them to a plough, drew forth the land westward of the sea, opposite to Odense; the saga adds that this land is now called Zealand, that Gefjun married Skjöldr. The two dwelled in Lejre thereafter. From where Gefjun took the land
In Germanic mythology, Thor is a hammer-wielding god associated with thunder, storms, oak trees, the protection of mankind and hallowing and fertility. Besides Old Norse Þórr, extensions of the god occur in Old English as Þunor and in Old High German as Donar. All forms of the deity stem from a Common Germanic *Þunraz. Thor is a prominently mentioned god throughout the recorded history of the Germanic peoples, from the Roman occupation of regions of Germania, to the tribal expansions of the Migration Period, to his high popularity during the Viking Age, when, in the face of the process of the Christianization of Scandinavia, emblems of his hammer, Mjölnir, were worn and Norse pagan personal names containing the name of the god bear witness to his popularity. Due to the nature of the Germanic corpus, narratives featuring Thor are only attested in Old Norse, where Thor appears throughout Norse mythology. Norse mythology recorded in Iceland from traditional material stemming from Scandinavia, provides numerous tales featuring the god.
In these sources, Thor bears at least fifteen names, is the husband of the golden-haired goddess Sif, is the lover of the jötunn Járnsaxa, is described as fierce eyed, red haired and red bearded. With Sif, Thor fathered the goddess Þrúðr. By way of Odin, Thor has numerous brothers, including Baldr. Thor has two servants, Þjálfi and Röskva, rides in a cart or chariot pulled by two goats and Tanngnjóstr, is ascribed three dwellings. Thor wields the mountain-crushing hammer, Mjölnir, wears the belt Megingjörð and the iron gloves Járngreipr, owns the staff Gríðarvölr. Thor's exploits, including his relentless slaughter of his foes and fierce battles with the monstrous serpent Jörmungandr—and their foretold mutual deaths during the events of Ragnarök—are recorded throughout sources for Norse mythology. Into the modern period, Thor continued to be acknowledged in rural folklore throughout Germanic-speaking Europe. Thor is referred to in place names, the day of the week Thursday bears his name, names stemming from the pagan period containing his own continue to be used today in Scandinavia.
Thor has inspired numerous works of art and references to Thor appear in modern popular culture. Like other Germanic deities, veneration of Thor is revived in the modern period in Heathenry. Old Norse Þórr, Old English ðunor, Old High German Donar, Old Saxon thunar, Old Frisian thuner are cognates within the Germanic language branch, descending from the Proto-Germanic masculine noun *þunraz'thunder'; the name of the god is the origin of the weekday name Thursday. By employing a practice known as interpretatio germanica during the Roman Empire period, the Germanic peoples adopted the Roman weekly calendar, replaced the names of Roman gods with their own. Latin dies Iovis was converted into Proto-Germanic *Þonares dagaz, from which stems modern English "Thursday" and all other Germanic weekday cognates. Beginning in the Viking Age, personal names containing the theonym Thórr are recorded with great frequency. Prior to the Viking Age, no examples are recorded. Thórr-based names may have flourished during the Viking Age as a defiant response to attempts at Christianization, similar to the wide scale Viking Age practice of wearing Thor's hammer pendants.
The earliest records of the Germanic peoples were recorded by the Romans, in these works Thor is referred to—via a process known as interpretatio romana —as either the Roman god Jupiter or the Greco-Roman god Hercules. The first clear example of this occurs in the Roman historian Tacitus's late first-century work Germania, writing about the religion of the Suebi, he comments that "among the gods Mercury is the one they principally worship, they regard it as a religious duty to offer to him, on fixed days, human as well as other sacrificial victims. Hercules and Mars they appease by animal offerings of the permitted kind" and adds that a portion of the Suebi venerate "Isis". In this instance, Tacitus refers to the god Odin as "Mercury", Thor as "Hercules", the god Týr as "Mars", the identity of the Isis of the Suebi has been debated. In Thor's case, the identification with the god Hercules is at least in part due to similarities between Thor's hammer and Hercules' club. In his Annals, Tacitus again refers to the veneration of "Hercules" by the Germanic peoples.
In Germanic areas occupied by the Roman Empire and votive objects dating from the 2nd and 3rd century AD have been found with Latin inscriptions referring to "Hercules", so in reality, with varying levels of likelihood, refer to Thor by way of interpretatio romana. The first recorded instance of the name of the god appears in the Migration Period, where a piece of jewelry, the Nordendorf fibula, dating from the 7th century AD and found in Bavaria, bears an Elder Futhark inscription that contains the name Þonar, i.e. Donar, the southern Germanic form of the god's name. According to a near-contemporary account, the Christian missionary Saint Boniface felled an oak tree dedicated to "Jove" in the 8th century, the Donar's Oak in the region of Hes
In Germanic mythology, an idis is a divine female being. Idis is cognate to Old High German itis and Old English ides, meaning'well-respected and dignified woman.' Connections theorized between the idisi and the North Germanic dísir. One of the two Old High German Merseburg Incantations call upon female beings—idisi—to bind and hamper an army; the incantation reads:'Once the Idisi sat, sat here and there, some bound fetters, some hampered the army, some untied fetters: Escape from the fetters, flee from the enemies.' In line 1259 of the Old English poem Beowulf, Grendel's Mother is introduced as an ides: 1258:... Grendles modor 1259: ides, aglæcwif... The idisi mentioned in the first Merseburg Incantation are considered to be valkyries. Rudolf Simek says that "these Idisi are a kind of valkyrie, as these have the power to hamper enemies in Norse mythology" and points to a connection with the valkyrie name Herfjötur. Hilda Ellis Davidson compares the incantation to the Old English Wið færstice charm, theorizes a similar role for them both.
Simek says that the West Germanic term Idisi refers to a "dignified, well respected woman a term for any woman, therefore glosses Latin matrona" and that a link to the North Germanic term dísir is reasonable to assume, yet that it is not undisputed. In addition, the place name Idisiaviso where forces commanded by Arminius fought those commanded by Germanicus at the Battle of the Weser River in 16 CE. Simek points to a connection between name Idisiaviso, the role of the Idisi in one of the two Merseburg Incantations, valkyries. Regarding the dísir, Simek states that Old Norse dís appears as a term for'woman,' just as Old High German itis, Old Saxon idis, Anglo-Saxon ides, may have been used to denote a type of goddess. According to Simek, "several of the Eddic sources might lead us to conclude that the disir were valkyrie-like guardians of the dead, indeed in Guðrúnarkviða I 19 the valkyries are called Herjans disir'Odin's disir'; the disir are explicitly called dead women in Atlamál 28 and a secondary belief that the disir were the souls of dead women underlies the landdísir of Icelandic folklore."
Simek says that "as the function of the matrons was extremely varied – fertility goddess, personal guardians, but warrior-goddesses – the belief in the dísir, like the belief in the valkyries and matrons, may be considered to be different manifestations of a belief in a number of female goddesses."Jacob Grimm proposes a potential connection to the name of the Norse goddess Iðunn and the idisi. Grimm states that "with the original form idis the goddess Idunn may be connected."