Geat. who was he?

Discussion in 'Norse Mythology' started by Caburus, Jul 3, 2012.

  1. Caburus

    Caburus Active Member

    Anglo-Saxon histories trace the Saxon kings back to Wodan, who is today identified as the Aesir god Odin, but never actually called a god. Instead, Asser and Nennius list Wodan as a descendant of Geat/Iat (son of Tatwa), and call Geat either the son of a god, or was worshipped as a god himself.
    Did the Saxons ever identify Wodan with the Norse god? And where is Geat in other mythologies?
  2. Alejandro

    Alejandro Active Member

    Is it possible that Geat/ Iat/ Ját was a giant? Perhaps there's a connection between Ját and Swedish jätte, "giant" or "troll." Some other accounts equate Geat/ Geatwa/ Geata with a son of Woden named Gauti/ Gaut/ Gapt, from whom the Geats were descended, while some popular versions of the ancestry of Tatwa/ Tætwa/ Tecti make him a descendant of Woden as well. There seems to be some debate about whether or not Woden/Wodan was Óðinn, but the Saxons and Angles certainly do seem to have put great stock in Woden as both deity and ancestral figure, considering how many other kingdoms among them (not less than seven) each traced its foundation to a certain son of this god. Quite similarly the Huns, Danes, Swedes and Norwegians traced their kingdoms back to Óðinn's sons. Coincidence?

    Surely Asser and Nennius were euhemerising the old gods in the same way that Snorri Sturluson did by saying that the Æsir were actually Trojans who had escaped the destruction of their home city, likely to grant them the same status as the ancient Romans who supposedly came from the line of Aeneas. Royal genealogists of the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms later tried to link these so-called Trojans to the Bible by identifying the Trojan ancestral king Dardanos with Darda, a grandson of the Hebrew tribal patriarch Judah. In Greco-Roman mythology the Geats were descended from Geatas, a son of the Ligurian giant Alebion, who was a son of Poseidon/Neptune.
  3. Caburus

    Caburus Active Member

    Nennius is interesting for the genealogies he gives, but doesn't take Woden's line back beyond Geat, called him son of a god. He makes no effort to link Wodan with a god or Troy as in Sturluson's stories, although he does trace the Britons back to Brutus of Italy, then via Aeneas on into Biblical material (but gives various lines, one from Japheth and one from Ham).​
    He does however say that the Saxons descend from Saxo, son of Negue, son of Alanus, the first man in Europe. Alanus is son of Fetiber, and then the line is traced back through names also found in Irish national genealogy, back to Javan, son of Japheth. He then says the British descend from Britto, son of Hessitio, another son of Alanus, but calls Alanus the son of Rhea Silvia (and hence the wife of Fetiber?), daughter of Numa Pompilius, son of Ascanius, son of Aeneas of Troy. Nennius makes no mention of where the Angles or Jutes came from.​
    It is certainly interesting to see the different family lines, showing the lack of concensus, and some clues as to how the genealogies developed.​
    Asser takes Wodan's line back to Geat (called a pagan god), then back through a much shorter genealogy than in Sturluson, back to Sturluson's Sescef (missing out completely any link to Troy), whom Asser seems to equate with Seth the son of Noah (the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle says this Sescef/Sceaf was born in the ark). Asser equates the Goths with the Jutes, and makes them related to the Saxons.​
    Sceaf also appears in Beowulf, and in William of Malmesbury, as a mysterious child found in a boat that drifted in from the sea.​
    It looks like the linking of Woden's family with Troy does not exist in English sources, although Sturluson seems to have a later alternative tradition.​
    Perhaps Geat (or Tatwa) was indeed a primordial giant. Or eponymous ancestor to the Geats/Goths/Jutes. The genealogies all seem pretty muddled.​
    Myrddin likes this.
  4. Misa

    Misa Member

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goths#Etymology
    Geat I would think is related to the river Gaut/Götälven/Gautelfr now Göta älv.

    Tatwa/Taetwa/Tecti might be Tyr/Tîwaz, once likely king of the gods, a god of justice and war. There is sketchy evidence of a consort, Zisa/Cisa/Ziu. Odin or Hymir was father to Tyr. Tyr seems to have been overtaken in his roles by Thor and Odin.

    Hymir was husband to Hrodr, it was from him that Tyr and Thor got the pot to Gymir/Aegir/Hlér for him to brew mead/ale.

    Tyr also may have connections to German Tuisto/Tuisco and Vedic Tvastar.

Share This Page