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the Supreme Deity, are either epithets taken from the qualities attributed to him, or the places where he was worshiped, or from the actions he had performed, &c. This diversity of names hath often milled those of the learned, who have applied themselves to the study of the Celtic religion, juft in the fame manner as hath happened to thofe, who applied themfelves to the Greek and Roman

mythology. In the ancient Icelandic poetry, we find the Su preme God denominated in more than a hundred and twenty-fix different phrafes. They are all enumerated in the Scalda, or Poctic Dictionary. It would therefore (as Gangler obferves) require fome application, to give the reafons of all thele different denominations, many of which allude to particular events,



Of the God Thor, the Son of Odin.

EREUPON Gangler demanded, What are the names of the other Gods? What are their functions, and what have they done for the advancement of their glory? Har fays to him, The most illuftrious among them is THOR. He is called Afa Thor, or the Lord Thor; and Ake-Thor, or the Active Thor. He is the ftrongest and braveft of Gods and Men (4). His kingdom is named Thrudwanger. He poffefles there a palace, in which are five hundred and forty Halls. It is the largeft houfe that is known; according as we find mentioned in the poem of Grimnis. There are five hundred and forty Halls in the Winding Palace of the God Thor, and I believe there is no where a greater fabric, than this of the "eldeft


"eldeft of fons." The Chariot of Thor is drawn by two He-Goats. It is in that Chariot that he goes into the country of the Giants; and thence they call him the rapid Thor. He likewife poffeffes three very precious things. The firft is a Mace, or Club, called Miolner, which the Giants of the Froft, and those of the Mountains, know to their coft, when they fee it hurled against them in the air: and no wonder; for with that Mace has this God often bruised the heads of their fathers and kindred. The fecond jewel he poffeffes, is called the Belt of Prowess; when he puts it on, he becomes as ftrong again as he was before. The third, which is also very precious, are his Gauntlets, or Gloves of Iron, which he always wears when he would lay hold of the handle of his Mace. There is no perfon of fo much learning, as to be able to relate all his marvellous exploits; I myself could tell you so many, that day would end much fooner, than the recital of what immediately occur to me. Then fays Gangler to him, I would rather hear fomething about the other Sons of Odin. To this Har answered in these words:

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diftributed the seasons, and raised or allayed tempests. "THOR, " fays Adam of Bremen, is the "God who, according to these "people, governs the thunder, "the winds, the rains, the fair "weather, and harvest." (See Hift. Ecclef.) This Mace or Club, which he hurled against the Giants, and with which he erushed their heads, is doubtless the Thunder, which moft frequently falls upon elevated places. He was in general regarded as a divinity favourable to mankind; as he who guarded them from the attacks of Giants and wicked Genii; whom he never ceased to encounter and pursue. The name of his place fignifies, in Gothic, "the place of refuge from Ter ❝rour." As he was the first born of the Supreme God; or to fpeak in the language of the Ep


"The Eldest of Sons; the first and principal intelligence proceeding from the union of the Deity with Matter; they have made him a middle divinity, a mediator between God and Man. It is probable that a great many people venerated him alfo, as the intelligence who animated the Sun and Fire. The worship of the Perfians had in this refpect, as in a great many others, the moft exact refemblance to that of this people. The Perfians held,


that the most illuftrious of all created intelligences was what they paid homage to under the fymbol of Fire or the Sun, wherein the intelligence refided. They called it Mithr-as, or the Mediator Lord. (The word As still fignifies Lord, in Perfian.) They, as the Scandinavians, kept a perpetual and facred fire, in confe`quence of this perfuafion. The Scythians, according to Herodotus and Hefychius, adored this divinity under the title of GoetoSyrus, which fignifies The Good Star. This word Syr or Seir, which the Perfians employed to denominate the Sun, feems to be the fame with Thor, only in a different dialect. The ancient people of the north pronounced the th in the fame manner as the Englifh do at prefent; not very different from fs. They had a particular character for that letter,which was afterwards loft in the other dialects of the Saxon language. All the Celtic nations have in like manner,' been accustomed to the worship of the Sun; either as diftinguifhed from Thor, or confidered as his fymbol. It was a cuftom that every where prevailed in ancient times, to celebrate a feast at the winter folftice, by which men teftified their joy at fecing this great luminary return again to this part of the heavens. They

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facrificed horfes to him, as an emblem, fays Herodotus, of the rapidity of this planet. This was the greatest folemnity in the year. They called it in many places, Tole, or ruule, from the word Hi-' aul, or Houl, which even at this day fignifies the SUN, in the languages of Bafs Bretagne, and Cornwal. When the ancient Pagan religion gave place to the Chriftian, the rejoicings, feafts and nocturnal affemblies which that festival authorifed, indecent as they were, were not fuppreffed, left, by endeavouring to gain all, all fhould be loft. The church was content to fanctify the end of this feafting, by applying it to the

nativity of our Lord; the anniversary of which happened to be much about the fame time. In the languages of the north, Juul, or Yule, ftill fignifies Christmas ; and the manner in which this feftival is celebrated in many places, as well as the old name itself, reminds us of many circumstances of its firft original. (See Scheffer. Upfal. Antiq. c. 7. Pellout. Hift. des Celt. T. II. c. 12 *.) I. have already obferved, that in all the languages of the North, the day confecrated to the Jupiter tonans of the Romans, was transferred to the God TAOR, and was named Thorsdag, &c. that is THURSDAY.

See alfo Keyil. Antiq. p. 159. &c. p. 349, 367.




Of the God Balder.


HE fecond son of Odin is named BALDER. He is of an excellent natural temper; and hath the universal praise of mankind: fo handsome in his perfon, and of fo dazzling a look, that he feems to dart forth rays of light (A). To make you comprehend the beauty of his hair, you fhould be informed that the whiteft of all vegetables is called, the " Eye"brow of Balder." This God, fo radiant and grace-. ful, is alfo the most eloquent and benign; yet fuch is his nature, that the judgements he has pronounced can never be altered. He dwells in the city of Breidablik, before-mentioned. This place is in heaven, and nothing impure can have admittance there : this is confirmed by the following verfes: " Balder "hath his palaces in Breidablik, and there I know are columns, upon which are engraven verses, ca"pable of recalling the dead to life."


The third God is he, whom we call KIORD. He dwelleth in a place named Noatun. He is ruler of the winds: he checks the fury of the fea, ftorms and fire (B). Whoever would fucceed in navigation, hunting or fishing, ought to pray to this God. He is fo rich, that he can give to his votaries kingdoms and treasures and upon this account alfo he deferves to be invoked. Yet Niord is not of the lineage of the Gods. He was reared at Vanheim, that is, in the


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