Since the advent of the era of Enlightenment a few centuries ago religion, myth and spirituality have become ever less important in society. For ancient cultures mythology often provided the only answers to questions about human nature and the nature of the universe. Hence it shouldn’t be surprising, that gods and goddesses were of major significance to the early Europeans.
Myths and rituals didn’t only supply answers to philosophical questions, however. Some legends may have served as examples or guides for leading an ethically and morally sound life. Others may have been a source of entertainment. Many probably fulfilled both purposes. Rituals, on the other hand, were most likely not only a means to ask favours from supernatural beings to improve the situation of an individual or a group of people. They were also essential for the social cohesion of a group, be it a family, clan, tribe, or even an empire, as the cult revolving around the Roman Emperors aptly demonstrates. Many of these rituals have survived the transformation of the continent from Paganism to Christianity in popular holidays such as Christmas or Easter, which still bears the name of an Old English Goddess, Eostre. This particular goddess and possibly even the holiday associated with here have their roots in the Proto-Indo-European pantheon as a deity of dawn.
On this page, you will find articles concerning the myths, legends, rituals and spiritual believes of the Proto-Indo-Europeans and some of their descendants. More articles may be added in the future.
.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth has fascinated generations of readers. This article seems to examine some of the influences on his works, such as the Icelandic Sagas and Old English Poetry, such as Beowulf.Keep reading
Originally posted on Tattúínárdǿla saga:
A long time ago, in a North Atlantic far far away… Introduction Earlier this week I was drawn into an enlightening discussion with my colleague Ben Frey about the complicated textual tradition that lies behind George Lucas’s “Star Wars,” which few outside the scholarly community realize is…
Ragnarok describes the end of the world in Norse Mythology. Or does it really? Not only the world itself is reborn after its destruction, but one of the gods as well. Could this be an indication for reincarnation in Germanic myth or perhaps even evidence for a pan-Indo-European phenomenon of rebirth?Keep reading
Report on the ‘Martin Burr Fund’ grant offered for a monograph on the Norse God Loki written by Riccardo Ginevra (Center for Hellenic Studies, Harvard University) The historical and comparative approach to Indo-European poetic language and myth has developed greatly in the second half of the 20th century, particularly thanks to the efforts of, among […]…Keep reading
All societies have their own, unique story of creation, some of which we may be more familiar with than others. The ancient Greeks believed that in the beginning there was Chaos, the Norse that there was Ginnungagap, ‘the big gap’ of nothingness between the forces of fire and ice. But what if these myths, together with a few others across the Eurasian continent, had a common, Proto-Indo-European origin?Keep reading
The Gods of the Proto-Indo-European pantheon encompassed archetypes such as the Sky Father, chieftain of all gods, and his dragon-slaying son, the God of Thunder.Keep reading
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