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and Vestmanland; and in general were better equipped to battle with the greater natural obstacles they had to face in the distant rugged North. As early as the time of Christ's birth, the Sviones, according to Tacitus,10 were a strong naval power. But if these were the same people as the powerful Sveas, who afterwards ruled in Svealand and appeared in such force against the Götas to the south in Götaland, they cannot possibly in the time of Tacitus have been settled entirely in Svealand, the population of which according to the unequivocal testimony of the contemporary memorials was extremely poor and scattered. The Sveas of that time must have lived further south on the Baltic, namely on Gotland Öeland and in the modern Baltic Provinces ("the great and cold Svithiod?" 11). From here at a later date they sallied forth fully armed and well equipped, and occupied Svealand, which takes its name from them. Secluded by their position here and in northern Norway, the memorials of which from this time forth point clearly to a similar sudden rise and surprisingly high development of culture and power, the new settlers had a fairer chance of retaining their old faith customs and fashions, than among the peoples further south and more exposed to steady foreign influences.
The memorials therefore confirm the statement of Snorre that the custom of cremation prevailed longer in Sweden and Norway than in Denmark. The conditions of culture and settlement in the various lands of
10 Germ. 44.
11 But vide Montelius, pp. 138-9, who understands the term of a part of Sweden.
the North again varied. In the old Danish lands, which had been more thickly populated from a remote antiquity, the memorials on the whole are somewhat different in style from those in the north of Sweden and Norway, which had been first fully settled at so late a date. What is called the Middle Iron-Age of the southern Scandinavian countries should be regarded as the real commencement of the Iron-Age in those northern regions.
As to the question how far the new people which came into the North at the time of the national migrations was really of Germanic race and consequently of the same main stock as the Gothic peoples dwelling there in earlier times, important evidence is contained in the large bog-finds from north and especially south Jutland (Slesvig) and Fÿen. The number of foreign articles in these prove satisfactorily that these new immigrants must in part have been conquered by the natives. On the other hand the graves of about that time and subsequently throughout the south of the North contain homogeneous objects, commonly in connection with a new style of burial, and show that the strangers eventually obtained the mastery.
Not to mention the inscriptions found in the bogs, which are written in the "older runes," as they are called, and composed in a Gotho-Germanic speech, we frequently meet with weapons mountings ornaments sacred signs and representations of gods exactly corresponding with the religious marks and pictures of gods previously observed in the North. But they speak of a far finer symbolism and a higher development in general. This can have been attained only by tribes which in more southern regions on the frontiers of the Roman
empire had been strongly affected by the Roman and also, we may rest assured, by the steadily growing new Christian culture. Round gold-plated objects, used to decorate a shirt of mail, have been found in the Thorsbjerg bog.12 They show a barbarised figure of Jupiter with horned helmet (Thor ?), also heads of Thor and Thor's he-goat, with Frey's horse goose and fish. The last are riveted on the original ornament. Another large ornament with similar heads of Thor has pictures of his he-goat Frey's horse and hog and Freya's falcon hog and cat surrounded by Thjodvitner's fish, which played in the streams that surround Valhalla. The weapons throughout are mostly marked with the signs of Thor Odin or Frey. Mountings more frequently have the signs of Frey and Freya. A piece of mounting adorned with several hooked-crosses shows how the sacred marks naturally became religious ornaments. Exactly the same thing may be observed in the case of contemporary antiquities of the AngloSaxons in England Franks in France and Germans in Germany right down into the Danube-lands. Everywhere they are the expression of a common Germanic mythology and belief in Valhalla, which certainly came with the people from Asia. They speak also of a common Romano-barbaric culture, first developed in the districts of the Rhine and Danube, and then about the time of the national migrations scattered from central and north Germany in various directions, westwards across France to the British Isles, and northwards over the Scandinavian lands. With these vast convulsions an entirely new period begins in Europe.
12 Vide "Arts," fig. 179.
THE MIDDLE IRON-AGE IN THE NORTH.
[a. First Period of the Later Iron-Age, from the fall of the Western Empire in 450 till about 700 A.D.]
TILL now extensive regions in the north of Sweden and Norway still remained thinly peopled by a race in every respect homogeneous with the population in the rest of the North. The inhabitants of southern Scandinavia in the Stone Bronze and early Iron-Ages had all been united on the closest terms with the neighbouring races south of the Baltic, which evidently stood on much the same level, and were nearly akin in origin. So far therefore we cannot speak of a Scandinavian population peculiar to Norway Denmark and Sweden alone. But at last at the time of the national wanderings a large part of the Gotho-Germanic peoples which previously dwelt east and south of the Baltic were driven north and west to Sweden and across Jutland and the islands to the rest of Denmark and Norway, movements which may possibly have given rise to the ancient Northern myth of the immigration of Odin and the Anses.1 The earlier settlements of the Northern colonists along the
1 The editors of the Corpus Poeticum Boreale treat these traditions with unmerited contempt (vol. ii. p. 457).
Baltic were now occupied by Finnish and more especially by Slavic peoples. Not till then could a real Scandinavian people distinguished by special characteristics begin to form in the three kingdoms of the North. Henceforward the inhabitants of the North from the Gulf of Finland right across to the Elbe and east coast of Holstein became the neighbours of alien and even radically different races, chiefly Finns and Slavs. The connexion with kindred Germanic races. could in future be maintained only by sea through the countries of the West or by land from the peninsula of Jutland along the old western route through the districts between the Rhine and the western plain of the Elbe. The southern portion therefore of Jutland near the Eider now gradually became the narrow pass in which the population cooped up in the North, so sharply severed from the rest of Europe and closely related to one another, had often by a life of warfare, the art of which was steadily developing, to defend their independence against the attacks of their enemies the neighbouring Slavic and Saxon races.2 Christianity, which soon after began to make progress in the countries of the South and West, was destined at a somewhat later time to contribute yet more to isolate the heathen North and give its whole development a stamp peculiarly its own. The violent disturbances among the Germanic peoples, followed by the downfall of the Western Roman Empire (about 450), amidst those extensive fusions of peoples which succeeded the bloody struggles, laid the first foundation for the formation of
2 Kings in the Sagas are called Eistra- Vinda- Frisa- Tota-dolgr myrthr &c., i.e., Bale of the Esthonians Wends Frisians Germans &c. Cf. Corp. Poet. Bor., vol. ii. p. 480.