Golden horns from Gallehus

Golden horns from Gallehus

Maybe the golden horns from Gallehus were made for a treaty when the Angles and Jutes immigrated to England in fifth century. Unfortunately the finds were made occasionally by local people and at the time were no professionals to investigate the place.

Gallehus, golden horn, drinking-horn, hospitalitas, foedorati, Jutes' horn, the Stag, Horn Dance, Otherworld, Bear Maiden, Angles' horn, tula, thegn, binding the Fenriswolf,

Golden Age of Erils |Golden Age | Neck-ring | The Trinity | Gallehus horns | Angel-Saxons | Anglo-Saxon ideas | Links | Literature | home | sitemap |

Romans and Erils |Gold medallions, medals and bracts | Feudal ideas |

Was it a treaty?

The horns are restored and paid by Simon Spies. The longest horn is 73 centmetres.

Bigger picture

Thanks to Gladsaxe Gymnasium for the picture and I found othe useful things on their site as for instance something about Danish early coins. Gladsaxe Gymnasium

One of the golden drinking-horns found in Gallehus Taunder south Jutland. That is for sure the finest masterpiece made by an Eril. We know it because he has signed it "Hlewagastir from Holte made the horn". His name can also be read "bread-guest" and he was probably a ceorl /huskarl from Holte a village near Copenhagen. The two horns are dated to the fifth century AD.

The term "guest" maybe the Erils learnt from Rome using hospitalitas = guest worker (the term is still going strong in Germany). Another name concerning tribes that were foedorati = allied and they were allowed to own land. That was necessary since in the on nature based economy everyone needed a peace of land to live on as soon as they lived outside the cities. It was naturally cheaper since food is always expensive in cities. However the foedorati were not automatically citizens. A million bugs granted citizenship at once … as it is in America today.

Then we may presume that the horns were made solely to seal a treaty. For instance a ritual sealed brotherhood where the parts cut up a strip of grassland. Then they crawled under it so that Mother Earth had sealed the treaty.

It is natural that we then try to bind them to a known event, which may have been at the border between Jutland and Anglia before they made the decision to emigrate together. To that they may have decided how to co-operate in the new country and so on.

The late story about the horns is that they were stolen and what we have today are copies latest sponsored by Simon Spies. Our interest in this book is to see what we may learn from the gallery of figures. The horns tell about two slightly different folks but with much in common.

The signed horn is slightly more noble than the other is and some of the figures and the composition may us think about Celts and Hittites.

The contents of ornaments in pieces like the horns are always a secret between the craftsman and the buyer. We will never know why these figures were chosen. The left horn I call the Jutes' Horn and the other the Angles' horn. Let us begin with the Jutes' Horn

Jutes' Horn

Bigger picture

Ek Hlewagastir Holtijar horna tavido

On the upper ring are many stars and perhaps the sun above the man with a sword at right. Some of the stars may be Eostre or planet Venus mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon chronicle as important goddess. The Sun Stag or Cernunnos is in the centre flanked by two VIRAESIR = goat-heads. The one with a rope maybe the cowboy and Aesir and the other with the sickle called the cultivator and Vanir.

Maybe they were named Alces and we have a bunch of place names on Al-, Als or Ale. However these or some of them can be a sign of the word "ealh" = sacred place. Generally in Scandinavian place names begins with the proper noun and the suffix is attribute of category. We must even be open for an early Celtic syllable order that is opposite the Nordic of today.

The Stag of dreams mainly hunted by nobility in known time and the dogs are their truest followers. That means the nobility took the monopoly in hunting "crown animals" Earlier it was surely for everyone to participate. In Abbots Bromley Staffordshire they still celebrate the Horn Dance Monday after first Sunday after 4th September. Six men carry antlers accompanied by Maid Marian (a man dressed as woman), the Fool in jester's costume, a hobby horse and a boy with a bow and arrow.

The dance is of course very old and they think it is connected to hunting rights in the Needwood Forest. The scene may be like a rebus when we compare to the rules of bear hunting but that is another story ... Here on Dal they preserved for long hunting of the crown animals as a right for the people of Dal.

Naturally we must look at the coin from Hedeby in former Angeln 800 - 900 AD.

The Stag surely is an asterism like the elk or reindeer some tribes in Lapland used as fix-star. Its back was Orion and the antlers were Cassiopeja … "biggest on Earth". Some star in that was suitable as fix-star for spring equinox. Later we see they used the Stallion and that is of course Pegasus.

The upper ring of the horn is meant to be telling the main order of society of course. The two defenders were called Scealdwa and are parts of the Ionian myths. Statues of these are also found in Portugal. The two with goat horns are the shepherd and the cultivator.

For more coins see Coins from Lund

Scealdwa (Two-shields) from Portugal.

The shaded and dotted figures are of course the Otherworld or our fantasies and imagination. It is much alike the real world as it is hard to imagine strange things. We see that in Otherworld are also stars and planets. This way of thinking is like the Dream World of Aborigines and writers of fiction I know.

The second ring looks like spring and deciding the trisected moon year. The Archer is strange as I believed that hunting sucking deer was forbidden. But perhaps they did not have the same law everywhere … It is much like the Norse killing baby-seals nowadays. Normal economy and fair play wait until he knows how much could be taken without disturbing the balance in nature. It is the question if there are animals to hunt next year and the year after that. I have been fishing for sport, but once I started thinking, "Am I a big man if I get a fish in size of my hand or even bigger than my arm?" Sometimes it is better thinking nothing.

Snakes are not sucking and the old one has a pearl in its mouth. This pearl was what the heroes sought at least around the table in long nights drinking beer. The Tri-head has marked individuals and that in the middle should surely wear a neck-ring. To left Thor's axe and to the right Frey's Buck ... an early Christmas Buck perhaps. The V-shaped signs may show the Vi where they decided the beginning and end of half years. A Vi is found in Jelling at the first kings graves. The Buck surely was in August at Lugnasad and when the gods came together to feast on the harvest.

On the third ring men were almost in Otherworld, dreaming about the Trigarnos Stag with three horns. They had their Fashing spiel where the rider is the Warner. The Centaur is when man become one with his horse and his bravery gets him out hunting the two-headed Helhound. The snake is in its den and has the sign of fertility in its mouth.

In Aabenraa they still have festival with "ring riding" like we did in my childhood. On a string between two poles hang a ring in the middle. The quest is to cats a spear through the ring when riding in gallop. However I am not so sure that ordinary people owned horses those days, since they were rare in medieval times. Maybe it was a joy only for the weahltiest.

The odd twins were named Tuisto and we do not know much about them. They were sons of the Earth and father to the Moon. In the Edda sphere it has two different phases. Maybe it was more like a principle that two different fellows were complements to each other. There are some of these pairs in myths and double-headed beings are also seen in Egypt and Middle East.

On the fourth ring the noble rider has got off his horse with his dogs as company and not more than lazy dreaming.

On the fifth ring it is already spring and the Longleg is waiting for the summer to come. Saxe with two daggers is training his skill ... and then that special Archer and perhaps with help of Amor the Roman hunting the "dream girl" Bera in the bear-guise. For some it was real bear-hunting for others it was that pretty lass in mind.

My Mummo told that she had been the Bear Maiden and that her wedding was like the song in Kalevala. That was like the feast after the bear was shot. In Vermland the bridegroom had to wait in the woods for the young men to catch. Then he was taken to the Maiden's home for the wedding and feast.

On Gotland are many finds of bear claws. They were surely bought for craftsmen to make amulets of. The Bear was the real ritual animal in the entire Europe. According to the tradition it always got foreign names. It was long before we got those citizens in towns afraid of mouses, mosquitos and what else could hide in the dark bushes.

The last rings and the mouth are missing on the horn. As a whole the symbols belong to the nobility. The Triglav associates to the find in Glejbjerg and Braminge and thus it may be horn of the Jutes. Glav means sword and those of wood were dull, while the others were sharp brains.

Angles' Horn

Bigger picture

The other horn has also a significant detail we may connect to a place. Both horns reconstructed by Borghild Kamph-Weiss

It is the longhaired man with a moon horn. That is one of the oldest symbols we know from the French caves. The old man with a horn is found as relief on a stone in the cellar of a church at Rügen Germany then neighbours of the Angles. They were called Warners and they were friends of the Erils.

On this horn the upper ring may also tell about their main customs and outlooks. We see some symbols we may understand as the myth of binding the Fenriswolf. Then Tyr became wiser when he put his arm in the jaws. Since he then knew what pain is they thought he would be a good judge and at the same time they got rid of brave fighter with nothing to do among peaceful settlers.

…For his bend worm legs see also Yahve in Scandinavia.

Maybe we should mention the Roman historian Tacitus telling in his Germania,

"What comes after them is the stuff of fables - Hellusii and Oxiones with the faces and features of men, the bodies and limbs of animals. On such unverifiable stories I shall express no opinion."

Tacitus did not know much about people north of Mare Balticum. Much of the details about the people of Germania are made for a political pamphlet that should place non-Romans at the slaves' place. Tacitus is a just a little more cautious with his words than Pytheas and other writers. Maybe they used the odd creatures as code for the Nordic people they believed were easily fooled in bartering.

Another more rational explanation is that the creatures Tacitus mentions are from the world of more or less rational myths or allegoric tales about their world order as for instance the Fenriswolf. The Greek term "one-footed" maybe meant "tenants" used even in medieval time by Gustav Vasa. The term "head-in-stomach" are those big-eaters we always find in a crowd with big pot-belly. The "dog-heads" we see on the horns and they were the "ulvhedins" in "wolfguise" as opposite to the "bearguise" for the heroes. The "one-eyed" is old symbolism and maybe Philip of Macedonia inspired some heroes. The giants were in heaven when the headless Orion is marching on every night.

The reality behind the Fenriswolf theme is about Ramadan and beginning of August when they synchronise moon and sun year. But it can also be the spring ritual according to the old rituals.

The early historian Sauborg suggested that they "draw hank" like the play on Gotland.

The second ring is spring dated by the man with the moon horn. In reality the alderman was in this case called tula or maybe thegn Here we se Saxe and the Archer hunting an eatable animal.

The third ring is the fight between the Mights in nature. There is Tuisto as the moon phases and up to their philosophy they showed the balance between different forces. We note that they are bald and then it is easy to keep the brain cold and in balance. The two fighters have animal guises and Centaur was in the end of growing season.

The fourth ring is maybe a bull, a dog and a filly, but does not give direct associations. Maybe it is autumn.

The fifth ring is perhaps winter with six stars counting the months. We can also count the moon snakes two for half years and the little for the eleven days of the 13th moon. Maybe we also see the number 18, which is the moon cycle. Under the square "is the little one" that may be the New Year.

We see them playing something like backgammon in the long winter. All kind of game has been everywhere at every time ... Last time I noticed it was natives on Borneo playing cards when waiting for the morning. They were helping scientists finding rock paintings in caves.

The square figure could also symbolise the four seasons. The little animal under it may be the New Year like the Egyptian symbolism. In that the running year was a crocodile and the new began with a small one. As we in this case see a little snake, they may symbolise the two half of the moon year plus the little one 11 days to get a full sun year. The fish may symbolise a turning point or that if weather allowed one could try to get a fish during winter.

The last rings do not tell too much. The star may be Eostre or the Morning star told to be the lead for some of the tribes around Mare Balticum. The face was Ansur or the leading as principle. The dogs were in the sky and they were connecting the half-year seasons. And then they had of course joy in watching animals doing it. We may note that here we see the fleur-de-lis before the Merovingians took it as their kingly symbol.

This is an early picture stone from Gotland 600 - 800 AD

Here they are three snakes with different heads and it is hard to know the meaning. However one of them seem s to have the wolf-head and I associate to Anubis and even the dog-animal we see in our rock-carvings symbolising Sagittarius under the Dragon's head. The asterism Hercules is naturally the early St Michael or the dragon killer in general.

On the ancient night sky there were three of them Water-snake or the womb … the on Opiuchos carry symbolising harvest … and third the Dragon symbolising the rains. We see these three at Haugsbyn on Farmers' Almanac from ca 1000 BC.

On Ireland there are three place names that helped my imagination and they are Bunnan Addan, Gulfaddan and Aveaddan. The first is our Nordic tied Fenriswolf, Gulfaddan is naturally Midgaardsormen limiting our world at the horizon

In life there are bad and good forces in balance. The Sitting Lady is the birth-giving and maybe in this connection it means a wish for resurrection. They also used the snake as limit for the worlds and they picture the seasons and the moon year with them.

In Greece and Rome the snakes were guarding the larder. In rock carvings it seems a symbol of the larder as well as for a long time like a season. On five of the rings we see Otherworld mostly as pairs of snakes sometimes entwined, sometimes fighting, sometimes in love, sometimes tired.

Drinking horns was mostly made of cow horns and they were more like status. Not too practical as many foreign guests might have experienced. The custom was to give the guest a filled horn as a welcome. Custom was also "bottom up". However, some skill is needed when drinking from a horn ... otherwise it may be a welcome shower.

"A bear growling at the rivet hole"

The line is from Kalevala and this spearhead is from Finland but another is from Vendel Uppland and 7th century AD. Behind those brave lines is naturally the romantic symbolism of the warriors in bear-guise = bearsserk. Some bards tell that a bearserk need to rise the furry within, however maybe he become a headless bear.

Nevertheless, when making drinking horn of this size there must have been something special about it. Of course the horns might have been ritual horns for the tribes and given to earth when not needed. However it is more fun to connect it to a known event that has been and with decisions and rituals too.

… continue with Anglo-Saxons