View Full Version : Germanic paganism in Continental Europe?

01-29-2008, 04:58 PM
Soo... the novel I'm not supposed to be writing yet is a proto-steampunk fantasy set in the equivalent of the Netherlands (think windmills, canals, clockwork men). It has a basically germanic-pagan human culture. But it's a world in which there basically weren't humans in Scandinavia, that was the realm of the frost men (trolls) and elves.

So what should I do with the gods? The only sources on germanic paganism that I'm finding are all about the Norse gods. Do we know anything about Germanic paganism in continental Europe? I know the Celts used to take up most of the continent but... not always, right?

Am I on a wild goose chase? Should I just mangle the names of Norse gods? Should I make them all gauls instead? A Gaulish Holland just doesn't work in my head. Are there any resources I can look up? I looked through some of the useful links stickythread and didn't find any that helped in this one.

In other news, I'm waaay creeped out by one of the hits when I googled "germanic gods -norse". It got a thread on the "Pan Aryan National Front" forum, which is a) a horrible white supremacist site and b) a forum, so it looks disturbingly like the watercooler. :Wha:

01-29-2008, 05:10 PM
Great question! You know it's all connected some how. If you're looking to fictionalize, you could dig around in the fertile valley (Iran, Persian, Hittite mythology.) A lot of the later Euro traditions seem to stem from early indo euro lore.

Then again, if you're looking to be historically accurate, there's a wealth of good stuff to work with in the Norse tradition. Have you listened to Mur Lafferty's Hell series of pod casts? I thought it was pretty good.

01-29-2008, 05:21 PM
I'm not being historically accurate, because this is only our world geographically.

Instead of a Roman Empire, I have an empire of elves over most of Europe; the Romans never really got very far North, in my world. No Christianity further North than Italy, and the whole place is colder because frost men are widespread.

My elves are a human subspecies with massive selection for magic and other things that let them survive in the hostile North; my frost men might be another human subspecies. Being magic-users, they are all vulnerable to iron; forced the bronze age to continue for a long long time, but finally got overthrown by humans using smelted iron. Whee.

I'm using a Scandinavian base for my elves and a Germanic base for my humans (linguistically, sort of culturally) mostly for convenience, as a sort of short-cut, because something has to be comprehensible. But I suppose the Indo-Europeans would not have spread in quite the same way they did in the real world. Bah.

So the question I have to answer is, who are the human gods in a holland that's only overthrown the evil elf empire 80 years ago when they figured out iron?

Could I use the Vanir instead of the Aesir? Should look at the Hittites too. I haven't heard the podcasts; I take it I should? Thank you! Fwibble!

01-29-2008, 05:31 PM
Well, let's see what a quick Google search can find...

Okay, history netherlands brings up info that the Netherlands were home to both Celtic and Germanic tribes. You don't want Celtic, so

germanic tribes netherlands gives us "chief among them were the Batavi and Frisians"

so let's try frisian tribe, from which we get this page (http://www.boudicca.de/frisian1.htm), with this to say about their religion:
The West Germanics can be divided, along religious lines, into three tribegroups, the Inguaeones, Istuaeones and Irminones. The Frisians belong to the Inguaeones. The name Inguaevones is derived from the god Inguz; the Frisians believed they descended from him. Inguz is another name for the Germanic god Freyr.

From here, I would do searches on frisian pantheon, frisian gods, inguaeones, inguz, freyr, then maybe track back and check out the Batavi as well.

Best of luck with it!

Mr Flibble
01-29-2008, 05:33 PM
Er Germain paganism used the same gods as the norse ( hey they were all related after all), only with slightly different names, as in Wotan instead of Odin. In fact I thought they were pretty much identical. Odinism and Germanic pagaism are two phrases for the same thing.

Odinism is the name we give to the original, indigenous form of heathen religion practised by our forefathers, the Angles, Saxons and Jutes, and by the related Teutonic peoples of the Continent.

A few links for you




01-29-2008, 05:42 PM
Thank you all much!

I've been looking through the following pages:

Different pages on the Vanir

Didn't think to use the Frisians, and looking them up would be really useful, yesyes. I guess I'm not sure if I should be using the Aesir-equivalents, given the alternative course of history; Vanir-equivalents make the most sense to me, but it looks like we don't know what most of them are? Thus the look at the proto-Indo-European roots :)

01-30-2008, 08:29 AM
Holland was Gaulish :D

But I'd go with Friesan instead; there are some odd bits of Friesan deity invocations and such.

01-30-2008, 03:51 PM
Woke up with characters talking in my head. Darn characters.

I know, Lisa, but, yeah, going with the Germanic folks. Because I don't know enough about Celtic languages to give them credit, and I do know Dutch, and there's only so much faking it I can take :)

Also because the culture I'm approximating is ... well, not Gaulish, not tribal. Not tribal Frisian either; it's Dutch urban.
I think my European Celts got driven West of the Pyrenees. Oh and some might live in the Mythic Island to the North.

Do you have references for where I could find those? I'm finding reference to some life-of-saints texts, but that's about it.

k, sleepytime again :)

01-31-2008, 08:51 AM
Okay, would it make any sense, in a culture in transition, to have mostly Vanir with say... Odin and Wayland Smith (Votlund?) cobbled badly in as patrons of the two ruling guilds? Where in this world they're actually mythologized historical figures?

I can't not have Odin, he's too darn cool, but the culture just doesn't support the Aesir as a pantheon.

Mr Flibble
01-31-2008, 03:36 PM
I think you could possibly get away with that.

There is a school of thought that contends that Odin is a mythological representation of a King Odin from around the Black Sea area, who was accepted into the norse pantheon ( by this same school of thought, Thor was actually a warrior from Troy iirc)