What do we know of the religion of the Germans? Well, you have Tacitus but… you also have an earlier account by no less an authority than Julius Caesar in Book VI of his Gallic Wars:
“The Germans differ much from these usages, for they have neither Druids to preside over sacred offices, nor do they pay great regard to sacrifices. They rank in the number of the gods those alone whom they behold, and by whose instrumentality they are obviously benefited, namely, the sun, fire, and the moon; they have not heard of the other deities even by report.”
Germani multum ab hac consuetudine differunt. Nam neque druides habent, qui rebus divinis praesint, neque sacrificiis student. Deorum numero eos solos ducunt, quos cernunt et quorum aperte opibus iuvantur, Solem et Vulcanum et Lunam, reliquos ne fama quidem acceperunt.
Of course, the worship of the sun and fire was not something that we normally think of Nordic religion. Instead, we think of “eastern” religions like in this account of the Persians.
Of course, the same could be said of the Slavs who worship:
- Jasion, Jutrebog, Jarowit/Gerovit or, if you want to go further east, apparently, Svarog as the “Sun” and
- Svarozic as the “fire”
What about the moon? Well, that’s tougher but there is the ksiezyc which is a diminutive of ksiadz. Ksiadz used to mean prince or ruler. Ksiezyc would thus mean “little ruler” so that much like:
- Svarog > Svarozyc (big fire = the Sun > little fire = actual fire)
- Ksiadz > ksiezyc (big prince = the Sun > little prince = the moon)
Now, many folklorists have done all kinds of gymnastics to try to claim that Caesar’s Germanic Gods were somehow just different versions of Wotan, Thor or Tyr.
And yet that is not what the above says.
And those Germanic names! Where are these Germanic Arios- after all?
Well, we have:
- Ariovistus, as well as,
- Ariamir (Suevi) , but to find another Ario- you have to look East,
- Ariobarzanes and that one is, again, in the East (Persia).
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