Caesar on Germanic Religion

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) 

we have:

  • 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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September 7, 2017

5 thoughts on “Caesar on Germanic Religion

  1. Marek

    No! Svarog is not sun. Belebog is.
    Svarog is Saturn/Uranus. Svarozic is ‘fire’ similar to prometheus or loki or lucifer as seen by gnostics (not actual Venus).
    Svarogi or wilczki is polish ornament of house, it doesn’t require that much astrological knowledge to see that Svarog and wolfes have something to do with zodiac sign Aquarius. But some people still think Svarog is sun due to misleading persian xvar. Svarga is sky, so is Ouranos/Caelus.

    1. torino Post author

      Svarga is sky but Svarog clearly has to do with the Sun. Like… oh yeah…. swar as in hot. For that matter, note that the Germanic schwarz = black comes from the same concept as in “burned,” charred, black. Keep the zodiac out of this.

      1. Marek

        Keep astrology out of religion? No, that is what I refuse to do. Astrology is the key to understanding religions.
        Swary aka kłótnie have to do with thoughts. And thoughts have to do with mind and mind has to do with element air and aquarius is air. When everything is Schwarze? At midnight which corresponds to aquarius, (if 24 hours=zodiac then night=winter). Chernobog (compare Kronos), Hlodolet (compare nordic Hlodin), Chworz (compare persian xvar) are other names to capricorn or saturn, and Varg is wolf. Also Varga is important vedic astrological word which means division and also can mean tribe. Saturn is known as black planet.
        Ouranos is god of sky and not any kind of sun god.
        Apollo/Belenos/Belebog/Baldur on the other hand has something to do with sun.
        And Flins/Lwińc god of Sorbians (sign Leo ruled by sun)
        I am quite good about any kind of religious knowledge, that’s why I comment here.
        When I was young and I didn’t knew astrology I too thought Svarog is a sun god.
        If you have difficulty with linking astrology to religion, see some basic facts like “wołosożary are pleiades”. Then which constellation relates to Wołos? It is quite easy.

        1. torino Post author

          The Zodiac is a Babylonian construct. it has nothing to do with IE religion. This site is not about Zodiac, Kaballah or other Mesopotamian stuff. I am all for trying to see connections where they can be seen but if you see too many connections you begin to look like John Nash just without the brilliance. For example, Flins may or may not have been a Sorbian God – Flins’s appearance is quite late and dates to one source only. One might say the evidence for Flins is flimsy.

  2. Marek

    Solem et Vulcanum et Lunam
    it actually means Sun and saturn and moon. Vulcan/Hephaestos is linked with Saturn ruling capricorn and element of refined earth/iron.
    Btw some capricorn related gods like kronos/cernunnos/vulcan actaully depict aquarius more: vulcan – wilk (aquarian grup/tribe identity), kronos -korona (7th chakra related to aquarius).


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