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after their conquest in the fourteenth century, contain fictions copied from the Danish Saxo and the Swede Johannes Magnus. The principal resources for estimating the social character and illustrating the history of the people, are the study of their language and a comparison of the Finns with the Esthonians, a people nearly allied to them, of whose early condition we are somewhat better informed. Of these resources M. Rühs has availed himself in his ingenious researches into the history of Finnland and its inhabitants, a work containing many striking observations illustrative of the character of that people.* From this I shall extract some particulars relating to the moral characteristics of the Finnish race.
SECTION IV. Of the Arts and Civilisation and the Social State of the Finnish Race at the era of their conquest by the Swedes.
The Finns appear to have had no princes or rulers at the era of their conquest; for the Swedish historians speak of no victories over kings or military chieftains. Their resistance was by desultory efforts without concert for mutual aid. The Finnish language has borrowed from the Swedish terms for king, ruler, magistrate, judge, kingdom. The only words relating to any kind of public ordinance to be found in their language are wero, custom, tax; and sakko, penance. Perhaps the heads of families exacted a sort of tribute from their slaves and dependents, and subjected them to penal chastisement. The only distinctions of rank that can be expressed in their language are those of wapa, freeman; and slaves or servants, brya, paloelya, whose chief employment was in warfare or robbery, and whose condition, though servile, was but little different from that of freemen. The expressions for town, market, street, are taken with some slight modifications from the Swedish, as well as the denominations of different trades and arts, as that of tailor, turner, painter, tanner; a proof that the things with which these terms are connected were unknown to the ancient Finns. On the other hand, kamgari, a weaver, and
• Finnland und seine Bewohner, Deutsch übersetzt.
seppa, a smith, appear to be old Finnish words, and prove that these arts existed of old among them. For all the works and implements belonging to husbandry, including agriculture and the pasture of cattle, the Finns have a complete stock of indigenous expressions formed from words proper to their own speech. The Finns appear to have been particularly attached to agriculture; and accordingly after the conquest, when certain dues were exacted for the bishop and priesthood, the native Finns were ordered to contribute their part in corn, while the Swedish colonists, who coming from Helsingland, were accustomed to pasturage, paid their portion in butter. The Finns have a particular word for butter, viz. woi. The term for cheese is borrowed from the Swedish. They are not unacquainted with metals and the art of working them. Rauta for iron, tekaes for steel, vaski for copper, hopia for silver, are genuine Finnish terms; for gold, tin, and lead they have no names but such as are borrowed. That the Finns knew of old the art of smelting iron, found probably in their bogs, and which in the native state is called hölmä, appears from a variety of terms of art of genuine Finnish origin, and from old songs which ascribe the discovery to the gods. Finnish swords are renowned in the Islandic sagas, and it is worthy of notice that tradition ascribes to Finns and Ehstians the discovery of various mines in Sweden. They appear to have been acquainted with some kinds of trade, for they had words for selling and buying. There is even an expression in the Finnish language for money, which, however, originally signified a hide, a sense which it yet retains in the Lapponic dialect. Probably the old Finns used hides as a standard of value, as the Slavi on the Baltic used linen, and the Icelanders fish and rough cloth for the same purpose. All these circumstances. indicate that the Finnish nation was no longer in the rudest stage of barbarism, but had made some steps in progressive civilisation. It might be inferred from the existence of such words in the genuine Finnish speech as kylâ, a village; kylâ kenedá, a circle of villages; kenâjâ, a term afterwards used to designate a sort of assize-court, that some kinds of civil association had been established among the Finns. Most of these expressions are common to them and their kindred the Ehsti,
beyond the gulf of Finnland, and the customs to which they relate may have existed before the separation of the tribes. From the Livonian Chronicle, attributed to the Lettish Henry, it appears that the Ehsti, though they lived yet in their native forests, without government, had certain associations for mu tual defence, and meetings at which they determined on expeditions of robbery or warfare by sea or land, and that they occasionally confided a sort of limited authority for a time to the eldest, strongest, and most experienced. The representation drawn of other such barbarous races agrees in every respect to the state of the Finnlanders. The hardships of an agricultural life were enlivened by occasional festivities-birth, marriage, and funeral festivals. Drinking appears to have been the chief entertainment on these occasions, and hence the expressions kailà juoda, pijjaisia juoda, to drink, that is to celebrate marriages and funerals. Wine was unknown even by name, and even now in Finnland wine is called Saxen wiena, Saxen or German wine; Germans being called by the Finns Saxat. For beer of various sorts they have indigenous names, as well as for all the materials and processes employed in producing it, and for the various grains. Bees and honey and mead were also known to them, and have Finnish names. In their festivals, songs and instrumental music were a part of their diversions. On the nature of their songs or poetry I shall add in the following section such information as I can collect. It is very remarkable that these aborigines of northern Europe, unlike in this respect to the natives of Africa, had no notion of dancing; they had not a word in their language descriptive of this amusement, and the peasantry of Savolax and Karelia are still quite ignorant of it. The Tavasters on the coast, who have learnt to dance, have adopted the Swedish word tanzi or tanzan. Neither are they acquainted with any game or contest for gain, though it is observable that where they have been taught the practice by strangers, they are much devoted to it. Their diversions were principally exercises and feats of bodily strength and activity. As among other semibarbarous nations, women were degraded among the Finns. The fathers of families sold their daughters and sisters for a certain price to their lovers. To sell a maiden is the old
Finnish expression for giving a daughter in marriage. In an old song occur the lines: "He sold his daughter; he took a price for the maid." The bridegroom replies to an inquiry who had been the purchaser, "Thou wast sold to me; to me wast thou disposed of." The bride expresses indignation at the smallness of the price at which she was estimated, which was a war-horse to the father, a cow to the mother, a pair of oxen to the brother, and a sheep to her sister. Of gallantry and tenderness not a trace is to be found. The lot of married women was that of superior domestic slaves.
SECTION V.-Of the Religion and Poetry of the Finns and
An inquiry into the religious notions and superstitions of the Finns seems likely to give us a further insight into their intellectual and moral state than the traits that are preserved of their external manners, arts, and customs. We can obtain but a very imperfect account of the religion, if it deserves that name, prevalent among the old pagan Finns, and yet there are perhaps more traces of it extant than those which remain from the mythology of the Celtic nations. This is owing to the comparative lateness of the period when the Finns were converted to Christianity; and to the fact that there were among the clergy who converted them some who took pains to collect the fragments of their ancient songs of Finnland before their memory had been entirely lost, and to preserve information respecting the superstitious customs of antiquity. By an investigation of these relics, northern antiquarians have succeeded in throwing a ray of light on the ancient Finnish superstitions. An inquiry into the degree of mental culture that existed among the ancient Finns is intimately connected with the ethnography of the aboriginal inhabitants of northern Europe, and I shall therefore lay before my readers such information respecting it as I have been able to collect, the sources of which are not to many persons easily accessible.
The Finnish word for song, runo, in the plural runot, whence runoniecka, a poet, bears but an accidental resemblance to
the sound of the Scandinavian runes. The Finnish verse is without rhyme, and consists of similar octosyllabic lines, in which a sound not unharmonious to a practised ear is produced by a regulated alliteration, every line containing two words which commence with the same syllable or letter. The thoughts to be expressed in each couplet are repeated, the second line containing a repetition of the same sentiment delivered in the preceding member, but set forth in different, and if possible, in stronger words. The old poets of the Finns sang the adventures of gods and heroes, the exploits of their ancestors, and all the joyful and sorrowful events of life, but none of their historical songs have come down to our time. The oldest pieces extant are songs of magic, which were believed to have great influence in preventing diseases and other calamities. Their melodies are generally simple and melancholy airs. They had several stringed instruments, as well as fifes and shawms, which, with their genuine Finnish names, have been preserved to modern times.
Lencquist, one of the most intelligent writers on the Finnish mythology, begins his account of it with these general remarks:†
* Rühs, ubi supra.
+ Quod de idolomania atque superstitione Fennorum proferre possum, id ipsum maximam partem ex hujusmodi carminibus conquisitum est-quæ a majoribus accepta vulgi ore in remotioribus angulis adhuc feruntur-consultis reliquiis priscæ superstitionis adhuc extantibus apud plebem; necnon ex poemate quodam brevi, quod Episcopus quondam Aboënsis M. Michael Agricola, de diis Fennorum composuit et versioni suæ Psalterii Davidici præmisit, anno 1552 editæ. Hoc carmen lucubrationibus suis cum brevi commentariolo inseruerunt Episcopus Petrus Bäng, in Hist. Eccles. Sveo-Goth. et M. Gabriel, Arctopolitanus, in dissertatione edita Upsaliæ, An. 1738, "De Origine et Religione Fennorum." (C. E. Lencquist.)
There are two works published at Abo in later times expressly treating on the religion of the ancient Finns; one by Christfrid Ganander, in the form of a dictionary, or alphabetically arranged. It is in Swedish, and contains under the names of particular gods, a collection of Finnish runot illustrative of their attributes, &c. It is in 4to, 1789. The other is an academical essay in Latin by Lencquist in 1782, entitled, "Specimen Academicum de Superstitione veterum Fennorum." It contains a collection of the Runot, with Latin translations, and extracts from the mythological poem of Bishop Michael Agricola.
Of this Agricola there is a brief biographical sketch in M. Paul Jausten's Chronicon Episcop. Finlandensium, pp. 733 et seq. It seems that he was some time a disciple of Luther and Melanchthon at Wittenberg, and a great promoter of the Reformation in Finnland. Before his time scarcely anything had been committed to writing in the Finnish language. (See Jausten's Chronicon, p. 735.)