Bronze Age Thor
The archetype Thor had surely many alias. Scandinavian place-names show little evidence but he lives in the Edda of today. Here he is an example of the peasant smith working in the beginning with copper, then bronze and soon in iron
archetype, Ionian bridge, Vedic Age, Maste of Wheel; Jesus, Kullervo, Riding Thor, Marrying Thor, Master of Ceremony, Gille at Bro, noble riders, religious mysticism, Val Camonica, Lokasenna, battle chariot, swine-phalanxIonian bridge | Ideas of Vedic Age | Master of Wheels | Kullervo | Jesus a late-comer |Marrying Thor | Riding Thor | Master of Ceremony | Gille at Bro | Noble riders | Rigveda | Thor | Odin | Goddesses | indexBR | home |
Ionian bridge to Europe
The northern local patriot maybe says, "Why bother, we had our own culture". That is not the case and we have many influences from south. We may understand our own by comparing it with known and better-described cultures.
On the bridge between India and Europe we find this neo-Hittitian composition from Syria about 700 BC.
We see even horsemen in pair with spears in their temples. But this is clearly Asvins holding the sun-eagle and the driver Pushan between them. In India they are told be brothers of the sun, however that kind of statement and connection have no real meaning. Reality comes when the brothers forma cavalry in the city-state.
Shaman drums have often three sections and we can often see that the trisection is about the year. In the neo-Hittitian temples we have many signs of trisection we can refer to the ritual calendar and it became common during the last millennium BC.
In the manifold of hymns we find subjects like the navel of Universe and the World Pillar. The shaft of the chariot sat in the hub of the year-wheel directed perhaps at a certain star. The entire Universe turned around the axis. This symbolism belonged surely early to Varuna, the world order RTA. The pole of the site has surely been the custom in many places in Europe. I have a picture from north Russia in the beginning of this century where the pole is there ... then we have all those obelisks in Egypt.
In the Old Testament we can read about asheras, that was two poles or trees at the altar. In Hittitian symbolism they have usually two satelles = pillars. That symbolises surely continuity in the federation meaning that city-states were connected in pair by the poles like a network. The dualism we can notice from the third millennium to the more individual symbolism from about 1200 BC onwards. Gods like Indra-Agni and Mitra-Varuna were both two aspects on a theme. We have also some double name from Syria for instance Kothar-Hassis.
This dualism affected the language and in Arabian they have still the dual. We maybe see it in some of our place-names as a sign of "a site for brotherhood", however it is often difficult to separate it from a former dative. The dative fragment is simply telling that the site worked and lived in the name of a deity. I remember the difficulties in learning language when we had to know about masculine, feminine and neutral. They are all fragments from the time when they divided in male, female and eunuchs.
Ideas of the Vedic Age
The Veda-texts are written for the upper class and the choice of gods are much like the Roman habit to personify manner and morals at least among noble people. Many of the gods are just qualities and then of course the necessary processes to get the necessities. Cultural developments usually arrange the gods in categories and families easier to remember and see the connections.
When mankind left the stage with ritual gods and priests in lead they began to analyse the cause-effect-syndrome and the language developed with it. Simultaneously the upper class became free and individual. Often different cultures were in different pace and stage of evolution so to speak.
The sun and moon were still important in measuring time and symbolising the yearly circulation. Specialised Brahmins carried out the practical time counting and calendar. It had to be understood behind the story in the hymns. The Soma was just eau de vie and could be water, milk, juice or even vegetables and other food. The concept became an abstraction in the more or less formalised hymns. Agni was the fire or power of organic life within:
Agni is in earth, in plants,
The waters have Agni inside
Agni is in the stones
Agni is in people
Agni is in the cattle and horses
The technocracy of our days does not really understand that kind of poetry since 90 % of the population have had few contacts we living things. To know anything demands for contact with it several years to see all different conditions. In nature it is more obvious than it is anywhere.
At least in my youth the language at solemn occasions was higher than normal. I remember one headmaster say when I took good-bye, "You have a fire within, let it never die" ... I think I understood, but would the nuclear or theoretic physicists understand?
Later in Hinduism Visnu took over the role of taking three steps. Either they mean the three steps between worlds or between seasons, however in abstract analysis it is much the same in a way. This outlook seems to have been the same in the entire Old World during the last millennium BC.
To me Rigveda is worldly without mysticism. Maybe it depends an my attitude that I want to see poetry and that I translate all the keywords to my language, whatever it is at the time. They had not invented the sin yet ... we have to remember that sin is man made in order to control people. We find only verses like this, "Against bad dreams and sin"
If we have done some bad by intention or not,
With wrong intention, awake or asleep,
Let Agni carry these unpleasant deeds
Long away from us.
This is the third verse of five. In the first verse they invoke the Master of Thinking to lead them right. In the last they invoke Agni to transfer the disagreeable matters to those who hate us ... why not, once invented they could be used to something. It is the same philosophy as among peasants in my youth. Nothing should be wasted.
We do not find any fear or obedient invoking on knees. I see the same "pay for cash"-attitude as in our province laws. Of course they followed the RTA and rituals, but they were practical and invented since thousands of years. If they invoked gods it was just old custom in order to get what they needed ... and sometimes to get out of trouble.
... I need a faster modem for Internet. So, I invoke Mr Modem and Dustin AB, which is my normal distributor. It is as simple as that. In early time when learning to make abstractions they had a virtual world of ideas to form their wishes. Still we sometimes go back to Platon and his ideas about just eternal ideas. We have only left out a stage of specialised idols behind the ideas.
The priests invented the mysticism and some specialised sects more than the normal. Often they dig deep in suffering and sin, which demands for offer and search deep in the soul. It fits some of us, but normally people with a simple open mind do not want to dig deep. They just want to solve the occasional problems. The rituals are always connected to happy meals, feast and dancing. They are ready to make extra effort just make it a feast.
The offer was indoctrinating people to give tribute and offer to the temples = gods = the priests. In Egypt the temples developed to states in the state with plenty of land and richness. We can make parallel to the development of the church in early Middle Age and still the Vatican is rich.
We can not state that the people in West Europe had the same attitude to life as the Indians in spite of much likeness. Still, it makes us examine our rock-carvings and discover that they are pragmatic and worldly. For sure we see the same world order with the world pole and at our latitude pointing at the pole star. Then it was showing that our world is quite stable in its yearly rotation.
There is no magic and mystic on the rocks. It takes time and many brains to figure out such things. When I lay on the rocks feeling in how it is to lie on a cold rock I got the impression that they did them in a hurry. The pictures are seldom made in detail. The best of them have surely been sketched with chalk ... but still that cold rock. However we have to be cautious with details.
Mysticism as attitude in life was surely developed in cities and temples where the staff had no connection with real life. For me, the nature boys, living in the bushes urban people are always lost in nature and it is only natural. It takes many years to be friend with elks and bears. Life itself and the wonders in nature could be made mysterious if someone have time to do it. To write my books and make them readable it took twenty years of research and still I am not sure I got it all right.
Master of the Wheel
Indra, king of gods was also the thundering one. That is natural since powers always try to frighten people. Threat is a ruling instrument and ordinary people follow the rule as long as they benefit from it ... or in worst case do not have the power to get rid of tyrants. Indra's attribute was the thunderbolt, but Rudra had one too.
Natural Indra had a battle-chariot and a driver Matali. The shaft of Indra's chariot pointed at heaven. In Agni's chariot the helper and driver was Matarisvan. Many hymns are about the fire-offer and then using a competition-chariot.
Poets and philosophers used the parts of the chariot shaft, axle, wheel, wheel pin as symbols when they wrote songs or thought about universal matters. The Sanskrit word RTA could also be written "rita" and the same as the root in ritual, but also meaning order and general agreement.
This picture is quite natural and picture when nobility were a speeder on the road in Greece. It was part of the ruling impression. Observe the doubled legs giving speed in the picture.
We see some similar pictures on our rocks and can not say if they are memory of a trip to Greece or picture some event at home. Either we know if it is reality or belong to the virtual world. Most of the carriages seem to be of the ordinary kind drawn by two cows or oxen.
Some of them may be real while others are picturing time symbolism. Wheel without spokes or in negative are perhaps disc wheels, which was the first model. They were used until Middle Age at least. In India we may still today see work chariots of the same type as they made models of more than 4000 years ago.
They used metaphors for the marriage that the couple was the two wheels. The world axis sat in the hub of heaven. A wheel with twelve spokes was the celestial round. Earlier they counted the months in pair and that is why we see six spokes in the Indus culture.
Those are symbols we easily see some logic in. But when they write about the double journey of the sun, five wheels, three wheels, two wheel and one hidden, three hubs and so on we get problems. There are other poetic metaphors we can not understand without a key. What about a club and a bull before a chariot or a dolphin and a bull? Then we have to know more.
In any case the hymns help us understand that the wheel, chariot or four-wheel wagon were useful tools in picturing running time. India had a big population and all means for temples and feudal nobility to create many cultural features.
On our rocks we see many of them in late Bronze Age. Before that the ships ore smaller boats pictured the journey on Time River.
It was no accidental occurrence that in the middle of the last millennium BC new wise men occur on the agenda. In China it was Confucius, in India Buddha and in Greece several philosopher with the stoic school as the first. Surely the Celts had similar thinkers. In France they have found some statues of a sitting idol. Some says that it was normal to sit on the floor. But they did not picture normal people. We can ask if there were a mission from east to west at the time. From the same time we have the three-headed idols found also in southern Denmark.
Not to forget that from 550 to 100 BC there was a natural open line when first the Persians and then the Greeks ruled from India to the Aegean sphere. The Time was mature for a new way of thinking and setting the human in the centre.
Jesus, the late-comer
Spiritual movements are slow processes and depending on many thing such as enough population to carry out rites. Jesus is almost the latecomer in above-mentioned assembly. Some scientist has shown that there are about 40 similarities in main principles belonging to Buddha and Jesus if we want to see them.
Prof.emer. Alvar Ellegaard wrote in Tvaersnitt 4/98 about his studies in the Gospels. His conclusion is that Jesus is a fiction. It is then more like Confucius and Homer that the disciples gather suitable stories about an idol. This evolution can have begun in Middle East at the same time as Buddha.
Alvar conclude that possibly Bishop Ignatius wrote the framework about 100 AD when he was imprisoned on a ship destined to Rome.
"You must be totally sure about the birth, the suffering, resurrection that happened during the rule of Pontius Pilatus", he wrote to the parish in Magnesia. He wrote in Greek and not the normal bible language Aramenian.
It must have been natural for him to feel like a martyr. He experienced his own Golgatha. It was a suitable message in the fighting Christianity. We find many patterns in it from the Egyptian Isis-Osiris myth and as a whole there is much material from the Sumerian heritage.
Suffering and the obedient attitude and seeing trials everywhere is not new. We find some writing on the theme already in the Sumerian material. Even the Hittitians had their Job. In Egypt and Middle East the lament is part of the culture and the Jews have their Wailing Wall. In our part of the world only a fraction of the people are of that kind. Not to forget that Sumer and Babylon had their Dumuzi that was the token who was scarified to get the new harvest. In Egypt they made a mummy of straw and sand as the token of Osiris.
Kullervo bid defiance to the Mights
My kind never let the Mights control my life. The attitude is like Kullervo in Kalevala who show the fist against them. I discovered that I did the same already when four and five and not knowing about Kullervo in that age of course. When aeroplanes and fighters flew over our house I showed them my fist and told them to go home.
My anger depended on the memory of that once they took me by surprise and I ran and ran and got something in my pants. Then I discovered that they did not do any harm. With the logic of a child my anger rose, "Why should they frighten me so?" After that day no one got me into shelter when the alarm came.
About ten years later a mistress in a school told me, "You have a Thor-stone in your eyes" ... sure, she was right had many fights with peasant's Thor in the early days.
However I am not the only one with that attitude. It is not a question about sisu either. Many of my Danish friends would act in the same way. If they are forced they will rise the same force against the threat.
That attitude we get by education and perhaps training from childhood. That is why the slave moral of Christianity is odd and could only fit enslaved people. Free equal people do not offer a human and make it a cult. To be free we have to pay respect to others and give them the same freedom we want for ourselves. I will be less equal if I enslave someone.
... some Christian say I am heathen. Maybe, but I would be stupid if I did not take advice from for instance Christianity. My Danish grandma was a good Christian and was my backup and read her Bible to find advice for me. When he became nearly blind I read the daily text for her. I think she in the end understood that in my hard world the real primordial power was needed to survive with self-respect. Soon it became a habit to learn from all sources all around the world ...some of my best advices I have got from small children with clear eyes and mind.
The side step shows my attitude to fundamentalism of any kind. I have had to solve my own problems from I was five. We can never use old solutions on new problems and have to think and adapt our knowledge to e new situation. It is a question of feeling in and living fully in the present.
For me it is not important at all to know who formulated some wisdom. Usually it would not help the maker at all if I knew. We spare them as long as they are current and much of it would do better in a trashcan I think. That is because even obsolete wisdom forms our attitudes.
Many of our questions would do to fill our time space, but not to solve problems. Problems are man made ... it is rhetoric to say that if we do not formulate a problem we have none.
I am a straight thinker and do not bother my brain too much with anything. Partly it is because I have few problems in my everyday life. The other part is my great experiences and training since five. Most of the happenings I have seen before and have a sense for what is important. I try to keep myself alert to all new happenings and be like a child when experiencing how it says SPLASH when you hit the water puddle. Then what I find useable will fit in my kont = rucksack.
In the end of this section about the influence from India and Rigveda a few word more. We can tell that there has been many possibilities for the wandering culture after the period described. We have got much from the Celts. Scandinavia was a branch of their culture. Under that period we got impressions from the Black Sea and further to Luristan and Persia. We may call it the period of the Scythes.
During Roman time the Celtic Eriles became foederati in the Roman Empire. At the same time they had trade with the Black Sea and some robbery too of course. We do not know enough about the Viking Age to sort out the kind of influences from that age.
But now back to Thor.
In a way science kill the old gods and myths. In an oral tradition the myth changes a little from generation to generation. When it is written down the myth die to a formal shape and is kept dead by fundamentalist in the field. Myths and religions are in scientific sense keeping the ancestors alive without a skull as medium.
The myths we know today are a result of specialist that has made up the sagas and heroes in families and areas. That is since the urban society was interested in families and struggle for power. We are made believe that our ancestors invoked these whenever something had to be done.
It would not work in practise and in the early ritual society the myths were instructions how to get food on table. Much of it had to be understood as an oral tradition manifested in tools and other remains. In the Edda is very few signs of myths that could have been used to get food on table.
The "Riding Thor" is just an attribute with no story behind. They tell us only that Thor had two he-goats Tandgnjost and Tandgrisner and when he rides we hear the thunder. That is not much to lit the fantasy ...
Once as a child a rode with a goat in a little wagon and then wondered how a giant like Thor could have used that chariot. Maybe goats are bigger in heaven ... and Texas
Now I will show the true story about the riding one, in spite of what fundamentalist in the Asa-faith may say.
In France they called him "He with the wheel", CuRoy and other names.
We have to think the wagon and he has a thunderbolt in right hand and under the arm a double spiral as sign of the peasants' work and ritual ... we see it on rock 4 in Haugsbyn as sign of fertility ritual. The Romans named him Taranis since he was the thundering one. They made colons with the wheel as one theme.
This detail from the Gundestrup cauldron shows that the charioteer was also an icon in east Middle Europe since it seems to be an import from there.
Thor made a journey to Val Camonica and after he had been in Scandinavia as we see it.
... Symbols like these have a Scandinavian touche in the same way as the lower agglutinated symbols. They are Thors' hammers connected with a circle and a sign fro season or half year.
Surely it has been a two-way exchange of culture. Near Enkauping, Austergautland we find seven "bucrania" in the same style as in Mont Bego, the Alps. They could also be seven Hathor-symbols? The carving at Slaebro-Oppeby, Nykauping has a touché of the Alps. At Jaerestad we see a man standing on the back of a mule or donkey in the same style as in Val Camonica and we may find more. Style is an amazing thing and almost like a fingerprint we can recognise.
Thor stands with a thunderbolt in the wagon from Val Camonica.
The wagons is taken apart in an axle, the wheels and the shaft. From the Indian epos Rigveda we can refer to the hymn to Agni, the fire where the shaft has ritual meaning. In Greek vase paintings we see that the king has a staff in the shape of a shaft.
Even at our rocks we have several wagons taken apart and showing ritual use more than practical reality. On the carving at Fraenarp, Skaane seven wagons are cut deeper than the others are as if they meant them to be wagons of the summer moons.
On this carving from Kallebyn, Bohuslaen we can connect the wagon to the yearly round.
The big circle is the yearly round and the wagon is connected at spring since we see the little empty spring-boat connected to a wheel. The Charioteer stands at one of the animals. Observe that at least later in time the Horse stood as spring symbol and the he-goat was at autumn. The wagon is then the summer season and the wheels the quarters.
The battle chariot was high above the mind of ordinary people and few could afford to buy it. Thus time symbolism of this kind is a sign of a nobility of traders. They needed only to know when it was time for trading, which even meant that people had no time for markets during the cultivating labours. It was of course good to know when the new harvest was ready.
This is surely an original Thors' wagon from Bjaurnedraud, Bohuslaen with the helper Tjalve on the chariot.
Here we see clearly that it is an odd pair of a he-goat and a horse at the shaft. Late documentation shows a negative cut big man back to back with the horse. Since it is negative it might be the Osiris-type of symbol. The fore-head of the ships are of the same shape as on some Greek vase paintings.
In myths of the Celts the heroes CuChulainn and Cornal Cearnach have as charioteers the brothers Laeg and Id. On the battle chariot the hero was using his spears and they were of course only for the nobility. It was good to be two on the wagon. It could be taken apart and carried in bad terrain and it was work for two. We have not much of the true heroic stories in Celtic and Scandinavian myths. In the latter they are usually fighting giants or big monsters.
Pictures like this lit my imagination when I was a child. The picture is from the national romantic period
We see that Thor was the hero on the time wagon. Some may call it the sun wagon, however time is the cardinal concept. Thor was the stars of Gemini and a heir of the Sumerian Utu being in the joint between two ages last year and coming year. His name means in German door. Like many other so called gods he has over time got other attributes. Some of them practical and some like the thunderbolt in an Otherworld outside the human power.
In the use of religion they say that man invoke the god. In practise it means that man do or use the methods pictured by the god and the myths. To lie on the bare knees invoking a god do not bring food on tables. Over time a few gods in the Edda carried the entire Asa-concept
Thor and the double-axe is heir of the ritual double-axe of the fourth millennium BC. During most of the Bronze Age it was split in two baltas worn by a pair. It may have symbolised many things like the treaty between growers and herds. In many places in the world there has always been a struggle between mobile herds and growers needing respect for the growing fields. In Sumer that problem was solved by the marriage between Inanna and Dumuzi and on Dal at least it was solved by the brotherhood known lastly in the 17th century AD.
They were also heirs of the goddess with two following men. Then when the treaty worked some became farmers with both cattle and growing fields in one icon. The Metal Age brought the need to know that too and as we know in Iron Age many farmers were making iron from bog ore or iron oxide. This tradition lived on to the 17th century AD too.
The balta was a symbol for cutting out a time space for a site. We see them sometimes aimed at the sky and know the ritual act to "cut" by shooting over the field. The lures were used as a warning for wolves of different kind to stay outside the "sacred" fields. The so-called "Celtic fields" came with Iron age and we find them in different place also in West Sweden and for instance just outside my hometown. With Iron age came also the spears.
Master of Ceremony
The Metal Age brought also a demand for the hammer as a sledge in mines and as a hammer for the smith. Every work demand for special tools.
The smiths made rings as symbols for different treaties in society since the ring is symbol for junction or uniting. Probably the carving at Vitlycke with a male marrying a couple is the first oldest picture of marriage by an official. The scene means that it was an act for a society and not the act we see in Haugsbyn more like an agreement sealed by handtake with some witnesses present. It was only natural that a smith became the official and icon in these matters in society.
This cut is from a picture stone Gotland 700 to 900 AD. Thor is the Master of Duel.
We know from the Roman historians that some tribe in Scandinavia locked in the weapon during peace. They knew that uncontrolled use of liquors and jealousy in connection with weapons could be deadly. An organised society cannot tolerate that and one mean was to ritualise single combat. We know from other sources that duels should be on "islands" outside the ordinary law room. Thor became symbol for the official to overlook that the rules were respected. Here we see Thor in another space besides the combat.
Gille at Bro
At Bro Bohuslaen are only eleven humanlike in the suite, but some of the other figures may fill up. The warlike figures are not as serious as they look. One is pointing a spear at the biggest figure, but it may as well be the big cupmark he is pointing at. It is probably the twelfth sign the Mother Earth connected with the Snake below.
I was surprised when the figures fit into the world of Edda known about two thousand years later than this carving. Not all of them and that are natural because oral myth always live and change a little in time.
However let us see how far we come.
This is as taken from Lokasenna and the feast of Aegir when all the gods were together. In the upper right corner is Tyr, the hero who put his arm in the mouth of the Fenriswolf. Then he was chosen as judge because he had learned what pain is. The big one is Thor with his hammer and below him the Snake and below that the fallen Balder and the Cock of Hell.
The flying one left to that is Loke searching for the apples of Idun or fertility under the Crow moon. Two steps up is the one-legged Haener "the three sun-stepsī Meile". There is a headless figure too. It is seen on some carvings in the late millennium BC. It is also found in the star room at Dendera Egypt and is surely Orion.
There is no order and only a few symbols can for sure be connected to calendar. Thor was Gemini and Balder dead was in July or August. The Crow is March and the Snake is February. Loke was also the symbol of the store and Capricorn in August or September. Nevertheless, even if we do not have a string we may say what it is about.
A drawing reflects naturally the society and time. The Greek democracy was only for the nobility and it has to be equal in all aspects ... on paper. But in everyday life everyone will be free, so disorder is around the corner. The legs, ordinary people are in "the ban" that is the yearly ritual which is an order and direct man to all doings. The rich nobility does, as they want. The nobility everywhere were mainly traders like the Phoenicians. The Romans tell us that the Scandinavians were traders and their main god was Mercurius Rex. If we may talk about some traders association it was founded in contact with the Phoenicians and feed by the demand for import of raw materials to bronze mainly.
We can compare some facts with known finds elsewhere. Apollon Keraiates Cyprus was horned. Some of the swords have a winged chape produced in Haltstatt and date the carving to the Halstatt period. That was a parallel to the Phoenicians that influenced the nobility of Southern Scandinavia as seen in the section about the Hand period.
We see that the nobility of Scandinavia was up to date. They maybe lived in the heroic age like the Greeks. The myths we may imagine are not about agriculture or keeping animals. These are symbols of an upper class. At the same time the Greeks listened to tales of Homer and heard about the hero Herakles and his twelve feats of valour. They are not too warlike all of them, but the cleaning of the Aigean stable was ingenious.
However they are in fact a journey thorough the twelve signs of the zodiac told with other images. In old days many used the main thread of the zodiac as a rational model for long tales. In the adventures of Odysseus the same technique was used and Ariadne used another smart thread. Our Age calls him the Peasants' Thor. However, it is almost a rhetoric name. In the age of Thor nearly 100% were peasants. Even those working with craftsmanship and trade.
The archetype is maybe from about 1000 BC and was an idol at least in some tribes. The true place-names in Scandinavia tell where. Nevertheless, to generalise and say he was all-over common is to say too much. We can use him as an example of a common idol and leave open for unknown idols.
Many of the myths are more like tales for children to learn the essential in life. The tale about the fishing of the great beast we can compare with, The old man and the Sea by Hemingway. They say it pictures the struggle in a heroic life. Later symbolism became a struggle between two serpents like the building Mights and the destroying Mights.
In my childhood I saw many giants around me and most of them where kind. With some I fought and that is why some said that I had a Thor-stone in my eye. Nowadays I look out of my window and see the giant Orion pass by every night at this time of year. He is headless and no threat to me being a shaman that might use my witchcraft to blind him?
I use sometimes humour in my writing and mystery too and do not know if I learned that from my ancestors. I noted on TV that they are going on hot coal in a Greece village so the tradition is still going strong.
The battle chariots at Fraennarp
Cult of battle chariot
This carving has to be seen in night-light. Then we can see that seven chariots are made deeper than the others. Since some of the wheels are taken apart and there are not draft animals before all chariots we can decide that they were discussing and using the idea of the wagon. The nearest solution is that they symbolised the summer moons with a chariot each. The carving is the finest in Scandinavia from that period.
Some see cruel Celtic rituals in this picture from the Gundestrup cauldron. In Egypt the symbolism with the pharaoh fighting the enemies was normal on year plackets for thousands of years.
Here we have a plant associating to fertility and so do the snake in upper right corner. They used often the same symbolism for many things. The main theme here is of course what later became known as the fenika with cavalry. The name for the foot soldiers was "swine phalanx". Here we see a swine as headgear for the leader. Maybe this picture gave the idea to the Nordic military organisation.
The cavalry was until our days a voluntary recruit among wealthy farmers and the upper class. Here their headgears associates to the division of the heavenly round's four quarters and the syrinx blowers are three according to the moon division of year.
Note the mountings on the horses. The Danish Nationalmuseum has about 17 finds of buckles like these and other mountings in bronze too. We can not say if they were used by chieftains or were in ritual use for processions with a "Sun Horse". They have been laid down as offer and then maybe they were in ritual use.
The number is relatively big, but still we cannot generalise and say it was custom everywhere. The horses were luxury until seventeenth century, but locally they can have bred them for food. In other places it was seemingly the ritual horse for the leaders. As always there is not one only possibility and explanation.
Note! ... the picture shall surely be understood so that to every syrinx-blower belongs a group. Possibly every rider have a marshal and the leader a cupbearer and then we have a troop of 35 trained men. That was a enough to keep power in the sparsely populated Scandinavia.
In the beginning of 16th century Ture Jaunsson Three Roses won Vaermland and Dal from king Hans of Denmark with 40 men. We have to understand the proportions. Year 1568 there were 75 foot-soldiers on Dal and some dozens in the cavalry. The war beginning in 1628 brought a new order with regiments consisting of 1000 men. Still Karelia and Dal- Vaestgautland furnished a regiment each and they were twenty percent of the Swedish army. The cavalry began with 300 riders and rose to 1000 volunteers among the nobility, the priests and wealthy farmers.
This picture from Tegneby make me think about the games among men. In my childhood during the war the young men had their "ring ride" at the shore in evenings. The game was to throw a spear through a ring riding in gallop.
After the war tractors took over the landscape and the horses went to ancestors' grass-fields. I suppose it would not have been fun to stand on a tractor throwing spears?
In the Danish town Aabenraa they have still their tournaments in that old game.