Teutonic mythology : gods and goddesses of the Northland volume 1

By Viktor Rydberg

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About this book

Excerpt from Teutonic Mythology, Vol. 1 of 3: Gods and Goddesses of the Northland

Semitic languages are separated therefrom by a chasm so broad and deep that it is hardly possible to bridge it.

This language-group of ours has been named in various ways. It has been called the indo-germanic, the Indo European, and the Aryan family of tongues. I have adopted the last designation. The Armenians, Iranians, and Hindoos I call the Asiatic Aryans; all the rest I call the European Aryans.

Certain it is that these sister-languages have had a com mon mother, the ancient Aryan speech, and that this has had a geographical centre from which it has radiated. (by such an ancient Aryan language cannot, of course, be meant a tongue stereotyped in all its inflections, like the literary languages of later times, but simply the unity of those dialects which were spoken by the clans dwell ing around this centre of radiation.) By comparing the grammatical structure of all the daughters of this ancient mother, and by the aid of the laws hitherto discovered in regard to the transition of sounds from one language to another, attempts have been made to restore this original tongue which many thousand years ago ceased to vibrate. These attempts cannot, of course, in any sense claim to reproduce an image corresponding to the lost original as regards syntax and inflections. Such a task would be as impossible as to reconstruct, on the basis of all the now spoken languages derived from the Latin, the dialect used in Latium. The purpose is simply to present as faithful an idea of the ancient tongue as the existing means permit.

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