Why I am Better than you!
Why I am Better than you!
At first glance, this may seem like a weird statement. But in all honesty, we as asatruar deal with this on a daily basis. We have those within our scope of faith and along the path of Asatru that believe they are better and more suitable for the Asatru path than others, that they have more right and more reason to be Asatru and negate any others from being of this faith. We are talking of those folkish people who for no reason other than bloodline and ancestry believe they are the only ones allowed to practice Asatru and that their agenda is the true and right way.
Because of the book Germania by Tacitus
Germania Magna (Greater Germany) from Ptolemaeus’ Geographia, written in the 2nd Century AD
The Germania in Latin called : De Origine et situ Germanorum; German: Ursprung und Lage der Germanen,
Literally Concerning the Origin and State of the Germanics.
It was written by Publius Cornelius Tacitus, whose father was procurator of Gallia Belgica and Germania, a portion owned and controlled by Rome around the year 98 A.D. It is an ethnographic work on the Germanic tribes of Germania, mostly Magna Germania also known as Germania libera (free Germania) the portion of Germania not controlled by Rome.
What is the influence of this book?
Like all books that are ethnographic, this book outlines the beginning of the civilization and all the controlling influences that help form not only the geographic area, but also the culture and makeup of the people themselves, this would include religion, race, and government. These three things are addressed pretty indepthly by Tacitus.
He wrote about the geographic location
“Germany is separated from Gaul, Rhaetia, and Pannonia, by the rivers Rhine and Danube; from Sarmatia and Dacia, by mountains and mutual dread. The rest is surrounded by an ocean, embracing broad promontories and vast insular tracts, in which our (Roman) military expeditions have lately discovered various nations and kingdoms. The Rhine, issuing from the inaccessible and precipitous summit of the Rhaetic Alps, bends gently to the west, and falls into the Northern Ocean. The Danube, poured from the easy and gently raised ridge of Mount Abnoba, visits several nations in its course, till at length it bursts out by six channels into the Pontic sea; a seventh is lost in marshes.”
And wrote of the land itself:
“The land, though varied to a considerable extent in its aspect, is yet universally shagged with forests, or deformed by marshes: moisture on the side of Gaul, more bleak on the side of Norieum and Pannonia. It is productive of grain, but unkindly to fruit-trees. It abounds in flocks and herds, but in general of a small breed. Even the beeve kind are destitute of their usual stateliness and dignity of head: they are, however, numerous, and form the most esteemed, and, indeed, the only species of wealth. Silver and gold the gods ( Roman), I know not whether in their favor or anger, have denied to this country. Not that I would assert that no veins of these metals are generated in Germany; for who has made the search? The possession of them is not coveted by these people as it is by us. Vessels of silver are indeed to be seen among them, which have been presented to their ambassadors and chiefs; but they are held in no higher estimation than earthenware. The borderers, however, set a value on gold and silver for the purpose of commerce, and have learned to distinguish several kinds of our coin, some of which they prefer to others: the remoter inhabitants continue the more simple and ancient usage of bartering commodities. The money preferred by the Germans is the old and well-known species, such as the Serrati and Bigati. They are also better pleased with silver than gold; not on account of any fondness for that metal, but because the smaller money is more convenient in their common and petty merchandise.
This information is based on the maps Rome had and the information they had on the Germanic world, we can see the Area he is speaking of is quite vast.
“Of the gods, Mercury is the principal object of their adoration; whom, on certain days, they think it lawful to propitiate even with human victims. To Hercules and Mars they offer the animals usually allotted for sacrifice. Some of the Suevi also perform sacred rites to Isis. What was the cause and origin of this foreign worship, I have not been able to discover; further than that her being represented with the symbol of a galley, seems to indicate an imported religion. They conceive it unworthy the grandeur of celestial beings to confine their deities within walls, or to represent them under a human similitude: woods and groves are their temples; and they affix names of divinity to that secret power, which they behold with the eye of adoration alone.
No people are more addicted to divination by omens and lots. The latter is performed in the following simple manner. They cut a twig from a fruit-tree, and divide it into small pieces, which, distinguished by certain marks, are thrown promiscuously upon a white garment. Then, the priest of the canton, if the occasion be public; if private, the master of the family; after an invocation of the gods, with his eyes lifted up to heaven, thrice takes out each piece, and, as they come up, interprets their significance according to the marks fixed upon them. If the result prove unfavorable, there is no more consultation on the same affair that day; if propitious, a confirmation by omens is still required. In common with other nations, the Germans are acquainted with the practice of auguring from the notes and flight of birds; but it is peculiar to them to derive admonitions and presages from horses also. Certain of these animals, milk-white, and untouched by earthly labor, are pastured at the public expense in the sacred woods and groves. These, yoked to a consecrated chariot, are accompanied by the priest, and king, or chief person of the community, who attentively observe their manner of neighing and snorting; and no kind of augury is more credited, not only among the populace, but among the nobles and priests. For the latter consider themselves as the ministers of the gods, and the horses, as privy to the divine will. Another kind of divination, by which they explore the event of momentous wars, is to oblige a prisoner, taken by any means whatsoever from the nation with whom they are at variance, to fight with a picked man of their own, each with his own country's arms; and, according as the victory falls, they presage success to the one or to the other party”
What did he say about the people?
“**** The people of Germany appear to me indigenous, and free from intermixture with foreigners, either as settlers or casual visitants.**** For the emigrants of former ages performed their expeditions not by land, but by water; and that immense, and, if I may so call it, hostile ocean, is rarely navigated by ships from our world. Then, besides the danger of a boisterous and unknown sea, who would relinquish Asia, Africa, or Italy, for Germany, a land rude in its surface, rigorous in its climate, cheerless to every beholder and cultivator, except a native?
In their ancient songs, which are their only records or annals, they celebrate the god Tuisto, sprung from the earth, and his son Mannus, as the fathers and founders of their race. To Mannus they ascribe three sons, from whose names the people bordering on the ocean are called Ingaevones; those inhabiting the central parts, Herminones; the rest, Istaevones. Some, however, assuming the licence of antiquity, affirm that there were more descendants of the god, from whom more appellations were derived; as those of the Marsi, Gambrivii, Suevi, and Vandali; and that these are the genuine and original names. That of Germany, on the other hand, they assert to be a modern addition; for that the people who first crossed the Rhine, and expelled the Gauls, and are now called Tungri, were then named Germans; which appellation of a particular tribe, not of a whole people, gradually prevailed; so that the title of Germans, first assumed by the victors in order to excite terror, was afterwards adopted by the nation in general. They have likewise the tradition of a Hercules of their country, whose praises they sing before those of all other heroes as they advance to battle.
And this is where the Ideals of Supremacy comes from :
“I concur in opinion with those who deem the Germans never to have intermarried with other nations; but to be a race, pure, unmixed, and stamped with a distinct character. Hence a family likeness pervades the whole, though their numbers are so great: eyes stern and blue; ruddy hair; large bodies, powerful in sudden exertions, but impatient of toil and labor, least of all capable of sustaining thirst and heat. Cold and hunger they are accustomed by their climate and soil to endure.”
At first glance these are some really strong words and they allude an air of superiority in fact they make the Germans of that day seem almost superhuman and worthy of hero worship. I will not deny that the Norse or germanic people were resilient, but they were not the superhumans described here.
So let’s look at some facts about the book itself.
All copies of Germania were lost during the Middle Ages and the work was forgotten until a single manuscript was found in Hersfeld Abbey, in present-day Germany, in 1455.
The volume was later brought back to Italy, where Enea Silvio Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II, examined and analyzed it. (this leads to the question of authenticity)
Medieval Germany (known as the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation), the name "Germanii" was virtually never used.
The name was only revived in 1471, inspired by the rediscovery of the Germania, to invoke the warlike qualities of the ancient Germans in a crusade against the Turks.
Ever since its discovery, treatment of the text regarding the culture of the early Germanic peoples in ancient Germany remains strong especially in German history, and to a lesser degree in Scandinavian (Northern Germania) countries as well, it has flowed and spilled over to our Asatru religion since the 1970’s.
What about those 1940’ish Germans?
The Germania had inspired readers long before the rise of the Third Reich.
After its rediscovery in the 15th century, they found the German past:
"simple, heroic, moral, pure, heroes to be looked up to, and emulate".
The Germania influenced at least one 20th century leader that we know of. Heinrich Himmler in September 1924 said he read Tacitus during a train ride and was “intrigued.” At the time he was personal assistant to Gregor Strout abasser, leader of the National Socialist Freedom Movement (Nationalsozialistische Freiheitsbewegung). In contemporaneous notes, Himmler would later write that Tacitus captured "the glorious image of the loftiness, purity, and nobleness of our ancestors," adding, "Thus shall we be again, or at least some among us."
Since WWII, we have seen rise and fall of the ideology of the idea of the German people as superior, in any way to other races or people. As asatruar, we are beginning to see the great divide in our people and our religion.
“Because of its influence on the ideologies of Pan-Germanism and Nordicism, Jewish historian Arnaldo Momigliano of Italy in 1954 described Germania as "among the most dangerous books ever written.”
We can see this and why they believe this to be true. While there are some great lessons to be learned by this book, especially since there are no other true accounts of the germanic people.
Prior to Tacitus’ narrative,
A Syrian-born writer from the first century BC, Poseidonius, may have been the first to distinguish clearly between the Germans and the Celts, but only fragments of his writings survive.
Julius Caesar did not penetrate very far east of the Rhine, so his knowledge of the Germans, expressed in De Bello Gallico (On the Gallic War, c. 50 BC), was limited.
The Roman Pliny the Elder’s Bella Germaniae (German Wars, c. 60s–70s AD) probably contained the fullest account of the people up to Tacitus’ time, but it has been lost.
What is the truth?
Christopher Adrian Writes in his Blog
Do You Have Viking Blood?, The answer may surprise you.
“It’s no secret that the Vikings were prolific (and terrific) progenitors. They traveled far in search of riches, and often those they encountered were of interest to them in more ways than one. The historical and archaeological records tell us the Vikings settled many parts of the world, and some of these settlements have been reinforced with modern genetic evidence as well. When it comes to the Vikings, it turns out they did not merely show up, pillage, rape, and leave, but instead colonized favorable areas, in many cases left behind a genetic lineage. This begs the question: do you have Viking blood?”
If you don’t think you have Viking blood in you, think again. The Scandinavians of the Viking Age spread their seed and their people across the known world. Below is a list of modern countries and how likely you are to be a Viking descendant if you are from one of them:
This is viking blood for sure. the beginning of it all.
The Vikings in Iceland
The island’s relative isolation from the rest of Europe for many centuries meant that they did not intermix with too many other populations (there has been genetic evidence recently that showed Vikings took slaves from England to Iceland who interbred with the Scandinavian population)
Vikings in the U.K.,
recent studies have shown that nearly one-quarter of all Brits may be directly descended from the Vikings.
Vikings in Ireland
Vikings in France
Vikings in The Netherlands
If you are Dutch, it is SOMEWHAT likely that you have Viking in you.
Vikings in Spain
they did not colonize Spain heavily, therefore if you are from Spain or Portugal, you only have a SLIM chance of having Viking blood,
Vikings in Italy
If you are from an area in Italy that was once part of the Norman kingdom of Italy, you are VERY likely to have Viking blood in you.
Vikings in Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus
Russia was named after the Swedish Vikings known as the Rus.
Vikings in The Balkans
There is a very slight genetic pool from Scandinavia in the Balkans today,
Viking Blood in Mongolia?
You may at this point be asking, why am I reading all this, the short answer is to know, but the ultimate answer is to understand.
Why would you want to understand?
Let’s look at an old reference by Sun Tzu
“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
Only through knowledge and understanding our enemy can we fight it. In this sense, I mark the enemy as ignorance, and hatred, not a people. But to understand where their ideals and misunderstanding comes from, then we can begin to overcome the barriers that separate us. We have to begin to educate ourselves on the stance of the ones we wish not to be and that we look at as those that are misinformed.
Today we have in our gripe 3 types of Asatru, Folkish, Universalist and Tribalist, we fit into the Universalist, we wish to include all, and to offer our way to any that would wish to follow it. We want to open our doors and our beliefs to others and share our knowledge and ceremonies with those that feel our way is the way for them. We have taken a stance and followed Havamal, 127.
“Heed my words, Loddfafnir, listen to my counsel; you'll be better off if you believe me, follow my advice, and you'll fare well: when evil strikes you, don't keep silent or let your foes find peace.”
In doing this we promise to:
“We hereby declare that we do not condone hatred or discrimination carried out in the name of our religion, and will no longer associate with those who do. We will not grant the tacit approval of silence in the name of frið, to those who would use our traditions to justify prejudice on the basis of race, nationality, orientation, or gender identity.” As found in Declaration 127.
We, only through understanding and knowledge will overcome those that stand to be separate and claim for themselves and no others the religion. “Asatru for all” is not just a catchy phrase but more a call to arms and a call to do rather than watch. One of the great draws of Asatru to me was that I was not just stuck in a pew listening to someone else talk and control the service, but I was part of the whole ceremony and a part of a group that viewed me as a part of and honored me and my ancestors along with me. I was able to honor them and theirs with them. That unifying spirit is what makes us different and what will draw the people in and make us a great and powerful movement for good and inclusiveness.
What can you do?
Share our ideals and yourself with the community, put yourself out there and let all know you are Asatru, but a different one than they know or thought they knew. Become an Ambassador through TAC and host get togethers and meet and greets, or havamal study groups, book clubs about the Eddas. You could take the big step and become ordained or join the Clergy Training Program, or the biggest of all start a kindred and become affiliated, or an official kindred with TAC, grow our numbers and make us bigger and train others to do what you did, and in the end we will be bigger than those that seek to keep it to themselves.