Oympic Games at summer solstice ?

                    The summit of an originally northern sun religion ?

Problem :  The mythical background of the Games is a little bit ´speculative´.Probably
connected with the summer solstice.The Games and the Edda  may give  a reference
There could be a ´hidden´ mythical link between spiral and kettle.

          Newgrange, Irland
Newgrange, Ireland. Passage grave covered under a hill around 3000 BC. At the end
of the  passage  three  stone chambers with three stone  carved, oval   bowls  (1.10m
long, 90 cm broad and 15-23 cm deep .(Montelius)). In  front of the passage  the  ´door
stone´ covered with spirals.
At the  21. December  the  sunbeams  fall  for  approximately 15 minutes  on  the  rear
Thus the temple was probably connected with a sun cult.
The spirals could be symbols of the annual sun course. The meaning  of  the bowls
are unknown / speculative.

      Austria 600 BC 
Strettweg cult car, burried in a large barrow.  Around  600 BC. One  of the  most  well-
known pre-historical objects of Austria. Groups of figures around a 32 cm high naked
 female (s.below), which holds a bronze boiler. 
The edge formed  by a ring  of  double
spirals with a central *column*.
( Museum Joanneum in Graz).

                                             500 BC                               1000 AD

a )  Ionic capital 500 BC
*Ionic column*  in  the Crypt of Zeitz NorthGermany (10th century AD)
These *Ionic*
double spirals  are numerously proven in the Bronce Age  of Central  and  Northern
    Olympic Games  776 BC - 394 AD

            a  b 
a) Greece, a kettle on a tripod  (Reconstruction (!) of A. Furtwaengler, Olympia Taf.34.c 1879.

b)Three-foot handles with supporting figures. End of  8th.c.,BC. Bronze.
 (Ephem. 1952 zit. Gentleman Mr. zit. Herrmann)

Problem: What  had  been  the  religious  background  to combine spiral and  kettle in
Greece and Strettweg-Hallstatt ?
If  it is correct that the  spiral  symbolizes  the  annual
sun  course  then question
                                     " Why  to put spirals  on a  kettle ?"
                           Sun and kettle  linked in a Northern sun religion ?


Aristophanes in its ' Lysistrate 1129 FF ' (411 BC.)  made a  helpfull  reference to the

"Do you  sprinkle the  altar from a kettle not cognate, in Pylai, Pytho, in Olympia,  and
how much places I otherwise still can call ! Don't you have barbarian enemies enough
that  you  must exterminate 
Hellenic towns and men ?"
Obviously wide spread in  Greece the  rite  to sprinkle  from a  kettle  some  drops on
an altar.

Some  fluid was offered.
A common gesture to make a sacrifice to a  god. The mythic
background probably the belief that human have to nourish the gods

This in mind. For the winner of the Olympic Games the highest  honor was  to  wear a
materially  worthless wreath  and the  honor to offer Jupiter a kettle.
The large  number
 and  the material value of  these kettles let assume that the kettles symbolized  a sub-
stantial  part of the religious background of the Games.

                            The Olympic winner  was allowed to prepare a ´meal´ for Jupiter


   EDDA  (Hymiskvida)
There could be a link between Olympia  and  the Edda.  An Iceland  legend  written in
 the 9th century AD allows to combine kettle and sun-spiral.

The weather god Thor  goes to the ice giant Hymir in search of a kettle large  enough
              to brew ale in for the  gods' feast. After a fight Thor got the kettle.
    A ´fight´ of spring against the fading winter

The  story  in  short.  Aegir (Aegaeis ?) a relatively  peaceful giant, that prevails over the
 inland  waters, is  requested by Thor,  the  weather  god, to brew  the gods  beer The
 giant looks  for an excuse and  says to the  demanding god that he does  not  have a
 kettle in which he could brew for all.
The problem:The needed kettle is in hand of Hymir, an  ice giant  living  on  Heaven´s
 end, in the east of the Elivagar, the primeval ice stream in the East.
Thor, the weather God makes itself on the way towards  the  East  to  attain the  kettle
 from  the  ice giant .

Thor and  the ice  giant Hymir  meet and  want to eat  together. For  the  meal, beside
some bulls,  still  fish  is  needed. The two  row  out  to  the  open sea. Hymir  warns. It
would  be too dangerous. Thor  ignores the  warning. He hooks the Midgard- Serpent
 with a torn off bull head.
Thor  hit it  with  his  hammer  and  the  queue  sinks  on   the bottom of  the   sea. The
stormy, open  sea of  the  winter  becomes calm.
In  the house ot  the ice  giant Hymir
after a fight
Thor attains the boiler
This fight is explained as a fight  of spring  against  the  fading  winter (Uhland),  i.e. the
weather God Thor fights the winter in the East and brings with the  kettle  symbolically
the spring to Midgard, the settlement area of mankind. The  summer comes  and  the
drinking party of the Gods can begin. 

This drinking party begins at midsummer

39. "powerfull  he (Thor) came to the Gods meal
and the kettle he had that Hymir had possessed. 
The Gods from now on should drink ale in the house
 of Ageir at time of every linen harvest"
39" Kraftgeruested kam er zum Goetternahl
Und hatte den Hafen, den Hymir besessen,
Daraus sollten trinken die seeligen Goetter
Ale in Agirs Haus jede Leinenernte"
(Uhland, K.Simrock)
Linen  (flax)  is harvested  after  90-100  days,  briefly  before  the  seed-ripe, i .e. with    
sowing in April the flax can  become ' pulled ' around  the  summer solstice at  the end
of  June.  Thus   the   date  
" linen  harvest"  would  be  not  coincidental.  It  could be a
possible reference to a sun cult, to the summer sun-turns on  21 June.

A further reference to the Olympic Games may be in the  preface to  the Aegisdrecka.
It is noted that the gods do not want to be disturbed during their drinking  feast. While
drinking they want peace. * The place had a very sacred peace.*

                It is said that the
Dorian brought the Games to Greece. (Herrmann))
                                             May  be a link to  the North ?

Olympic Games at summer solstice ?
                    The summ on originally  a northern sun religion ?

                                                Lex Salica
The code of the Salian Franks who conquered Gaul in  the 5th  century and  the  most
important,  although  not the  oldest, of  all Teutonic  laws  (leges barbarorum) . The  code
was issued late (c. 507-511) The Salic Law give valuable clues  about  the conditions
of primitive Germanic life and society.

64 §1 " If one named the other a witch servant i.e. a witch carrier or  anyone  to which
one  says  to  carry  the  kettle  where  the  witches  brew  in  and  can´t   prove it he is
sentenced to pay 2500 penny, which makes 62.5 shilling
( Killing a strange farm hand 1500 penny)
A  naked  woman  with  ear rings  and  a  typical (?) belt carrying a flat ´kettle´.Central
figure on the Hallstatt cult car of Strettweg.(s.above)

Did   Franconian   pagans   still   brew   a  drink  in  a  kettle  in   the  6th century AD ?
Threatened by Christian  missionary defamation ?  Probably  from  view of  Christian
mission a
devil´s drink. The pagan ´kettle ' in  Franconia  would  fit  temporally  to the
Edda. The Saxonian Irminsul was destroyed 772 by Karl the Great.

P.S.  A mythical  link  between  wreath  and  kettle  as shown in  the Games  is also  
known from the Kimbern (Denmark).Strabon (VII, 2.3) reports that  prisoners of war,
who had been crowned with a wreath were led to a bronze  container,  which  seized
about  20 Amphoren ( approx. 525 litres). Here  the  throat  of  the prisioner was cut
and the blood gathered in the kettle.

Herrmann,H-V. Olympia Heiligtum und Wettkampfstaette, 1972

Montelius,O. Die aelteren Kulturperioden im Orient und Europa, 1903-1923
O´Kelly, M. New Grange, 1982
Simrock, K. Die Edda, 1850
Uhlands gesammelte Werke, Bd.2 : Sagenforschung, 1836

1-kettle 15.09.04 up

                         Next  Irish  Cross with ring and spirals