A one handed summary
- Taken from my post on the Axe and Oak board:
Tyr - one handed God associated with war and binding of chaos; whose
rune is associated with the 'ruler of the temple'; who is the ruler
of the Thing; whose rune is also carved on swords for victory; whose
sword may well be the one driven through the jaws of Fenrir.
Nuada - one handed God associated with Kingship and rulership; who
has an invincible sword; whose name is associated with binding
(Dumezil's Mitra-Varuna pg 99); who is killed by a one eyed god
(Balor) and replaced by a God who has a one eyed aspect (Lugh when
dancing about in battle with one eye closed)
Scythian Mars - as detailed by Herodotus (written 440 BC) ,
associated with an iron sword; to whom they sacrifice the right hand
of their prisoners.
"Such are the victims offered to the other gods, and such is the mode
in which they are sacrificed; but the rites paid to Mars are
different. In every district, at the seat of government, there stands
a temple of this god, whereof the following is a description. It is a
pile of brushwood, made of a vast quantity of fagots, in length and
breadth three furlongs; in height somewhat less, having a square
platform upon the top, three sides of which are precipitous, while
the fourth slopes so that men may walk up it. Each year a hundred and
fifty waggon-loads of brushwood are added to the pile, which sinks
continually by reason of the rains. An antique iron sword is planted
on the top of every such mound, and serves as the image of Mars:
yearly sacrifices of cattle and of horses are made to it, and more
victims are offered thus than to all the rest of their gods. When
prisoners are taken in war, out of every hundred men they sacrifice
one, not however with the same rites as the cattle, but with
different. Libations of wine are first poured upon their heads, after
which they are slaughtered over a vessel; the vessel is then carried
up to the top of the pile, and the blood poured upon the scymitar.
While this takes place at the top of the mound, below, by the side of
the temple, the right hands and arms of the slaughtered prisoners are
cut off, and tossed on high into the air. Then the other victims are
slain, and those who have offered the sacrifice depart, leaving the
hands and arms where they may chance to have fallen, and the bodies
It is further interesting to note that Herodotus states above, that
the temple exists at the seat of Government.... and makes me think of
the ruler of the temple and God of the Thing.
And the Lusitanian Ares. Here is the entire quote, taken from Book 3,
Chapter 3, paragraphs 6&7:
" The Lusitanians are given to offering sacrifices, and they inspect
the vitals, without cutting them out. Besides, they also inspect the
veins on the side of the victim; and they divine by the tokens of
touch, too. They prophesy through means of the vitals of human beings
also, prisoners of war, whom they first cover with coarse cloaks, and
then, when the victim has been struck beneath the vitals by the
diviner, they draw their first auguries from the fall of the victim.
And they cut off the right hands of their captives and set them up as
an offering to the gods."
" All the mountaineers lead a simple life, are water drinkers, sleep
on the ground, and let their hair stream down in thick masses after
the manner of women, though before going into battle they bind their
hair about the forehead. They eat goat's meat mostly, and to Ares
they sacrifice a he-goat and also the prisoners and horses; and they
also offer hecatombs of each kind, after the Greek fashion - as
Pindar himself says, ' to sacrifice a hundred of every kind'."
I see no other deity mentioned anywhere nearby in the text, and so
assume the hand sacrifice, along with everything else about the
prisoners, is made to Ares.
The Roman Dius Fides, the Roman god of oaths.
He is believed to develop from 2 deities:
1) Fides Publica, the Goddess of oaths and respect for commitments
and justice. Her ceremonies were performed with the right hand
covered, as if it were not there!
2) Semo Sancus. Taken from:
"His cult is one of the most ancient of Romans, probably derived from
He was also the god who protected loyalty in commerce and contracts
in particular. Some forms of swearings were used in his name and
honour at the moment of the signing of contracts and other important
civil acts. Some words (like sanction - for the case of disrespect of
pacts) have their etymology in the name of this god, whose name is
connected with sancire "to hallow" (hence sanctus, "hallowed").
There was a temple to him on the Quirinale Hill, under the name Semo
Sancus Dius Fidus."
Lastly, there is Mitra, the Indo-Iranian god who is the premiere
deity of oaths and contracts, and shares with Varuna the associations
with binding, laws, and sovereignty.
Mitra, whose very name conveys the meaning `friend'.
Note, I have been unable to find any significant themes of one
handedness among the Indo-Iranian tribes. There is one Zoroastrian
myth (mentioned by Puhval) concerning the heroes Tahmuras (Takhma
Urupi) and Jamshid (who may well be an evolution of Yima). RC Zaehner
in his NON-Dumezilian `The dawn and twilight of
speaks of various possible connections between Mithra and Yima,
although he does not reach any certain conclusion. I have been unable
to accurately ascertain how it fits into the generalized schema and
the original myth may well have been lost during Zarathustra's
reforms. I leave it to those better versed in the Iranian lore to
decipher the clues.
Over and over, we see a deity associated with a cluster of traits
including one handedness, swords, binding, oaths, laws, government.
Tyr and Nuadha are clearly associated with one handedness, swords,
oaths, binding (Fenrir, the PIE root *nedh), and rulership of some
sort (the Thing, being the old leader of the Tuatha de Danaan).
The Scythian Mars is definitely associated with one handedness and
swords, and may well be associated with oaths/laws when we take into
account the nearness of the temple and seat of government.
Furthermore, his interpretation as Mars increases his likelihood of
having been similar to Tyr.
The Lusitanian Mars is associated with one handedness and the
interpretatio Romana again likens his similarity to Tyr.
Dius Fidius is associated with one handedness and oaths.
The Indo-Iranian Mitra, who lacks the sword and one handedness
aspects, yet otherwise is associated with oaths, binding, laws, and
The next leap is to Saxnot/Seaxneat:
"Sax" meaning either 'of the/related to the Saxons' -or- 'sword'
"Not" meaning: (per Piotr of the cybalist group) The basic meaning of
Gmc. *neutan- was 'to profit from sth, make good use of sth'
(hence 'enjoy', 'consume', etc.).
And is connected with the root *neud- 'use, enjoy, possess', known
from Germanic and Baltic.
Therefore we end up with:
a) He who profits from the sword
b) He who uses the sword
c) He who enjoys the sword (war?)
d) He who profits from the Saxons?
e) He who possesses (rules?) the Saxons?
A further possibility is provided by H.R. Ellis Davidson wrote
in 'Gods and Myths of Northern Europe", pg 60:
"Saxnot could originally have been Sahsginot, `sword
such a friendly term immediately calls Mitra to mind.
Now there is one further set of possibilities.
If we consider the fact that Saxnot is a deity recorded in the
Germanic regions of Gaul, the name may reveal Celtic influences and
may instead stem from: Sax- nedh/nodus. Taken directly from
Dumezil's `Mitra-Varuna' pg 99:
"from the root *nedh-, `to bind', which is also that of
nodus, `knot', Sanskrit naddha-, `fastened', Irish
naidim, `I bind'"
This in turn gives us such potential titles as:
f) Sword-Binder / He who binds the sword
g) He who binds with the sword.
h) He who binds the Saxons (perhaps the Saxon god of oaths)
Now if we consider most of the names above, we can see how they would
be fitting titles for either Nuadha or Tyr (though admittedly, some
would fit Odin as well I find it unlikely that Odin would be
twice in the 9th century baptismal vow).
On the other hand, if we examine HRED's `S
word-Companion'; as well as
possibilities e) and h) we see how well these names might fit
Teutates, the god of the tribe.
To summarize the entire scenario, I think it is safe to say that Tyr
and Nuadha are likely correlates of Dius Fidius and both the Scythian
and Lusitanian Mars.
I think it is likely that all of these deities represent the same
being as the Vedic and Avestan Mitra, although the Indo-Iranian
tribes may have separated from the rest of the PIE peoples before the
one-handed element entered into the myth.
Further, I think it likely that Saxnot and Teutates also represented
this same element.