The story of our family...for my sons

Monday, January 9, 2012

We once were Gods...

OK, it's time to clear up a few things...

(1) As I do our genealogy I strive to be as acurate as possible (dates must match mother, father and child). There are hundreds of "hints" and "family tree" entries that I won't touch.

(2) As I'm doing our Viking lines I'm finding alot of material and references that are coming from Nordic Sagas. I am using this info for our family tree because it's hard to determine fact from fiction. Sagas are oral histories that have been handed down through the art of storytelling since not many people had the ability to read or write (runes in this case). So the bottomline is that we are a family that goes so far back in history...we become mythical and that's kinda cool (see below: 818 BC mostly saga characters after about 700 AD).

Here's an example:

Brynhildr (sometimes spelled Brünnhilde, Brynhild) is married to Alfgeir, King of Vingulmork Vatnarsson in our family tree. She is also a shieldmaiden and a valkyrie in Norse mythology, where she appears as a main character in the Völsunga saga and some Eddic poems treating the same events. She may be inspired by the Visigothic princess Brunhilda of Austrasia (one of our relatives). The history of Brynhildr includes fratricide, a long battle between brothers, and dealings with the Huns.

She is also a big part of the cycle of four operas from Richard Wagner titled "Der Ring des Nibelungen",in fact he took Brünnhilde's role from the Norse sagas rather than from the Nibelungenlied. Brünnhilde appears in the latter three operas (Die Walküre, Siegfried, and Götterdämmerung), playing a central role in the overall story of Wotan's downfall.

In Wagner's tale, Brünnhilde is one of the valkyries, who are born out of a union between Wotan and Erda, the personification of the earth. In Die Walküre Wotan initially commissions her to protect Siegmund, his son by a mortal mother. When Fricka protests and forces Wotan to have Siegmund die, Brünnhilde disobeys her father's change of orders and takes away Siegmund's wife (and sister) Sieglinde and the shards of Siegmund's sword, Nothung. She manages to hide them, but must then face the wrath of her father who is determined to make her mortal and put her into an enchanted sleep to be claimed by any man who happens across her. Brünnhilde argues that what she did was in obeyance of the god's true will and does not deserve such a fate. He is eventually persuaded to protect her sleep with magical fire, sentencing her to await awakening by a hero who does not know fear.

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