Thursday, April 29, 2004

Hamlet's Mill, Orion, Cursa and Horvandillus

Hamlet's Mill, Orion, Cursa, and Horvandillus

One of the major books in the field of archaeoastronomy, broadly viewed, is the ca. 500-page book by Giorgio de Santillana and Hertha von Dechend entitled

An Essay on Myth and the Frame of Time,
published by David R. Godine, Boston, 5th printing, 1999,
ISBN 0-87923-215-3, LOC Catalog Card Number 69-13267.

Hamlet's Mill is a book everyone interested in the history of civilization and the history of astronomy should have in his or her library - and they should be familiar with its contents to be able to discuss these matters knowledgeably.

At Appendix 2, page 354 of that book, Santillana and Hertha von Dechend write:

[start of quote from Hamlet's Mill, p. 354]
"The father of Saxo's Amlethus was Horvandillus, written also Oren-del, Erentel, Earendel, Oervandill, Aurvandil, whom the appendix to the Heldenbuch pronounces the first of all heroes that were ever born. The few data known about him are summarized by Jacob Grimm:(1)
[LexiLine note: this is the linguist Grimm who with his brother published Grimm's Fairy Tales and discovered Grimm's Law, a widely accepted proto-Indo-European sound shift, which in my view is erroneous in presupposing aspirated forms to be primordial]

'He [Hor-Vandillus] suffers shipwreck on a voyage, takes shelter with a master fisherman Eisen,(2) earns the seamless coat of his master, and afterwards wins frau Breide, the fairest of women: king Eigel of Trier was his father's name. The whole tissue of the fable puts one in mind of the Odyssey: the shipwrecked man clings to a plank, digs himself a hole, holds a bough before him; even the seamless coat may be compared to Ino's veil, and the fisher to the swineheard, dame Breide's templars would be Penelope's suitors, and angels are sent often, like Zeus's messengers. Yet many things take a different turn, more in German fashion, and incidents are added, such as the laying of a naked sword between the newly married couple, which the Greek story knows nothing of. The hero's name is found even in OHG. [LexiLine note: OHG = Old High German] documents: Orendil . . , Orentil ... a village Orendelsal, now Orendensall, in Hohenlohe . . . But the Edda has another myth, which was alluded to in speaking of the stone in Thor's head. Groa is busy conning her magic spell, when Thorr, to requite her for the approaching cure, imparts the welcome news, that in coming from Jötunheim in the North [LexiLine note: Jotenheim is in today's Norway] he has carried her husband the bold Örvandill in a basket on his back, and he is sure to be home soon; he adds by way of token, that as Örvandil's toe had stuck out of the basket and got frozen, he broke it off and flung it at the sky, and made a star of it, which is called Örvandils-tâ. But Groa in her joy at the tidings forgot her spell, so the stone in the god's head never got loose (Snorri's Skaldskap. 17).'

Powell,(3) in his turn, compares the hero to Orion in his keen interpretation:

'The story of Orwandel (the analogue of Orion the Hunter) must be gathered chiefly from the prose Edda. He was a huntsman, big enough and brave enough to cope with giants. He was the friend of Thor, the husband of Groa, the father of Swipdag, the enemy of the giant Coller and the monster Sela. The story of his birth, and of his being blinded, are lost apparently in the Teutonic stories, unless we may suppose that the bleeding of Robin Hood till he could not see, by the traitorous prioress, is the last remains of the story of the great archer's death. Dr. Rydberg regards him and his kinsfolk as doublets of those three men of feats, Egil the archer, Weyland the smith, and Finn the harper, and these again doublets of the three primeval artists, the sons of Iwaldi, whose story is told in the prose Edda.'

It is not known which star, or constellation, Örvandils-tâ [LexiLine note: this means Horvandillus's Toe] was supposed to be. Apart from such wild notions as that the whole of Orion represented his toe (4) — to identify it with Rigel, i.e., beta Orionis, would be worth discussing ... [LexiLine note - as Andis Kaulins has discovered, the toe of Hor-Vandillus is the star Cursa, next to Rigel, as proven by the predynastic Pharaonic wall painting at Naqada (Hierakonpolis) where the leg and foot of the Giant can still be seen, with Cursa marking the Toe.]

It is not his toe alone, however, which grants to Hamlet's father his cosmic background: some lines of Cynewulf's Christ dedicate to the hero the following words:

Hail, Earendel, brightest of angels thou, [Lexiline note: this refers to the bright stars of Orion]
sent unto men upon this middle-earth!
Thou art the true refulgence of the sun,
radiant above the stars, and from thyself
illuminest for ever all the tides of time. (6)

The experts disagree ... since ancient glosses render Earendel with "Jubar," (7) and Jubar is generally accepted for Venus..."
[end of quote from Hamlet's Mill]

That last sentence is an error in sources cited to by Hamlet's Mill in assigning "Jubar" to Venus, since as Richard Hinckley Allen in his Star Names writes at page 306,
Arabic Jabbar, viz. Syrian Gabbara meant
the giant "Orion".

1 TM, pp. 374f. See also K. Simrock, Der ungenähte Rock oder Konig Orendel (1845), p. ix.
2 Also written Ise or Eise, and derived from Isis, by Simrock; considering that the fisherman's modest home has seven towers, with 800 fishermen as his servants, Ise/ Eisen looks more like the Fisher King of Arthurian Romances. [LexiLine note: see the seven layers of heaven in the ancient Hebrew astronomy]
3 In his introduction to Elton's translation of Saxo, p. cxxiii.
4 R. H. Allen, Star Names (1963), p. 310.
6 See TM, p. 375; I. Gollancz, Hamlet in Iceland (1898), p. xxxvii; Reuter, p. 256.
7 O jubar, angelorum splendidissime ... See R. Heinzel, Über das Gedicht von König Orendel (1892), p. 15.

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