Rewriting the German War God: Georges Dumézil, Politics and Scholarship in the Late 1930s

by Bruce Lincoln
Rewriting the German War God: Georges Dumézil, Politics and Scholarship in the Late 1930s
Bruce Lincoln
History of Religions
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Throughout its history, the study of Indo-European myth has been inter- twined with the equally complex history of comparative philology on the one hand and that of the extreme right on the other. Prompted by lin- guistic discoveries of the early nineteenth century, the field developed quickly and won sensational acclaim, as Friedrich Max Miiller, Adalbert Kuhn, and others published and lectured at a feverish pace, convincing huge audiences they were recovering the oldest stories ever told, while simultaneously disclosing the origins of religion, poetry, and speculative thought. Their celebrity, however, was as evanescent as it was spectac- ular. Before the century's end, their work was devastated by the criticism of more competent philologists and pioneer anthropologists.' In subse- quent years, the field fell even further into disrepute, as Indo-European studies-linguistic, mythic, and (pseudo-)physiologic-provided the basis

In the past year, I have had the occasion to present different versions of this article at the University of California, Berkeley, the University of California, Riverside, the University of Chicago, the University of Copenhagen, and Lund University. I am grateful to friends and colleagues at all these institutions, whose suggestions, comments, and criticisms helped refine my discussion.

Bernard Sergent, Les indo-europe'ens (Paris: Payot, 1995), pp. 20-64, offers a good historic summary of Indo-European studies. With regard to the vicissitudes of comparative mythology in the nineteenth century, see Richard Dorson, "The Eclipse of Solar Mythol- ogy," in Myth: A Symposium, ed. Thomas Sebeok (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1965), pp. 25-63; and the selections in Burton Feldman and R. Richardson, eds., The Rise of Modern Mythology: 1680-1860 (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1972).

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for the racial theories of Gobineau, Renan, Wagner, and subsequent Nazi hacks.2

Notwithstanding these burdens inherited from the past, some have worked to reconstitute the field in the twentieth century, and at times they have met with significant success. Still, a taint of scandal remains. Not only are articles on Indo-European myth a mainstay of tawdry racist newsletters and the slick publications of the French "Nouvelle droite,"" but even the chief scholarly journals of Indo-European studies have been connected with overtly reactionary and racist causes."~ legitimate them- selves, the less savory aficionados of things Indo-European regularly in-

The standard account of these developments is Leon Poliakov, The Aryan Myth: A His- tory of Racist and Narionulisr Ideas in Europe (New York: Basic, 1974). See also Hans- Jiirgen Lutzhoft, Der nordische Gedunke in Deutschlund, 1920-1940 (Stuttgart: Klett, 1971); Philippe Lacoue-Labarthe and Jean-Luc Nancy, "The Nazi Myth," Critical Inquiry 16 (1990): 291 -312; Klaus von See, Barbar, Germane, Arier: Die Suche nach der Identitar Deutschen (Heidelberg: Winter, 1994); and Martin Thom, Republics, Nations and Tribes (London: Verso, 1995).

' See Pierre-Andre TaguiefT, Sur la Nouvelle droire: jalons d'une analyse critique (Paris: Descartes & Cie, 1994). esp. pp. 173-80; and Alain Schnapp and Jesper Svenbro, "Du Na- zisme a eNouvelle Gcolen: repkres sur la pritendue Nouvelle droite," Quuderni di Sroriu 6 (1980): 107-20. In Alain de Benoist's collected writings, Vu de droire: Anrhologie cri- tique des idies conremporaines (Paris: Copernic, 1977), alongside pieces on sociobiology, genetics, race, and intelligence, one finds articles on "Le monde des Indo-Europeens" (pp. 32-37), "Carthage contre Rome" (pp. 53-55), "La civilisation celtique" (pp. 56-61), and "Structures de la mythologie nordique" (pp. 65-67). Of these, the first two are the most re- vealing, for the first is devoted to showing the connections between blood type and race, while the second is a thinly veiled discussion of the superiority of Aryans over Semites. The German edition, Aus rechrer Sichr (Tiibingen, Buenos Aires, and Montevideo: Grabert, 1983) titles the section in which these articles are grouped "Erbe," an ominous allusion to the ideological section of Himmler's SS. the Ahnenerbe division.

'With regard to ~rudesindo-europtennes (Lyon, 1982-) and its editor, Jean Haudry, see the scathing discussion of Bernard Sergent, "Penser-et ma1 penser-les indo-europiens," Annales: Economies, sociitts, civilisations 37 (1982): 669-81 ; and Anne-Marie Duranton- Crabol, Visages de la Nouvelle droite (Paris; Presses de la fondation nationale des sciences politiques, 1988), pp. 201 -2 and 230-3 1. Among Haudry's writings, note the final chapter of Les indo-europtens (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1981; 2d, rev. ed., 1988). "L'origine des indo-europkens," Nouvelle tcole 42 (July 1985). pp. 123-28, and his "Avant propos" to the volume he coedited with Bernard Demotz, Rtvolution conrre rtvolution: Tra- dition et modernirt (Actes du Colloque, Lyon 1989) (Paris: Les Cditions du Porte-Glaive, 1990), pp. 9-1 1. On the Journal of Indo-European Studies, its editor Roger Pearson, and their connections to the openly racist Mankind Quarterly, the Pioneer Fund, and the World Anti-Communist League, see Charles Lane, "The Tainted Sources of 'The Bell Curve,'" New York re vie^' of Books 41, no. 20 (December 1, 1994): 14-19; Stefan Kiihl, The Nazi Con- nection: Eugenics, American Racism, and German National Socialism (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), pp. 3-9; and Scott Anderson and Jon Lee Anderson, Inside the League: The Shocking Expost of How Terrorists, Nazis, and Latin American Death Squads Have Injiltrated the World Anti-Communist League (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1986), esp. pp. 92-103. Roger Pearson's writings include Blood Groups and Race (London, 1966), Eugenics and Race (London, 1966). Race and Civilization (London, 1966), Early Civilisu- tions of the Nordic Peoples (London, 1966); some were later distributed by The Thunberbolt Inc., an organ of the American Nazi Party. Most recent is his Race, Intelligence and Bias in Academe, with an introduction by Hans Eysenck (Washington, D.C.: Scott-Townsend, 1991).

voke the name and accomplishments of Georges DumCzil(1898-1986), professor of Indo-European civilizations at the Sorbonne. A scholar of extraordinary abilities and erudition, Dumtzil was master of countless languages (the entire Indo-European family, including some of its more obscure members [Armenian, Ossetic], as well as most of the Caucasian languages [one of which, Oubykh, he saved from extinction], and a few outliers like Quechua, that he seems to have acquired simply for fun). His oeuvre spanned six decades and includes more than fifty books. All are marked by extraordinary lucidity, ingenuity, rigor, and intelligence. His accomplishments have won wide acclaim among philologians, histo- rians of religions, and anthropologist^.^ Although he always understood himself as "un homme de la droite," DumCzil presented his work as strictly apolitical, and it powerfully influenced those of all ideological persuasions, including some on the left, like Michel Foucault, who regarded DumCzil as a lifelong friend, patron, and ment~r.~

Even so, DumCzil's work is not without its critics.

From the late 1930s until his death, DumCzil labored to demonstrate that Indo-European peoples imagined-and at times instantiated-an ideal social order, in which "three functions" were integrated within a hier- archic system. The first, concerned with sovereignty and the sacred, en- compassed disquieting magical figures and more reassuring specialists in law. The second, concerned with physical force, included two types of warrior, one noble and chivalric, the other coarse and brutal. The third function, concerned with abundance, prosperity, and fertility, could be parsed in several fashions: production and reproduction, for example, but also production and consumption, agriculture and herding, or even so spe- cific a distinction as that between herding of cattle and herding of horses.'

C. Scott Littleton, The iVew Comparative Mythology: An Anthropological Assessment of the Theories of Georges Dume'zil (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1966; 3d ed., 1982), describes the reception of DumCzil's work in a fashion that borders on the hagio- graphic. Among those outside the field of Indo-European studies who have endorsed Du- mCzil's research, one notes Claude Ltvi-Strauss, Mircea Eliade, Marshall Sahlins, Rodney Needham, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Georges Duby, and Jacques LeGoff.

See Georges DumCzil, Entretiens avec Didier Eribon (Paris: Gallimard, 1987), pp. 214-18; and Didier Eribon, Michel Foucault et son contemporains (Paris: Fayard, 1994), pp. 35-37, 105-83, and passim. Others on the left whose work has been influenced by DumCzil would include Roger Caillois, Georges Bataille, Bernard Sergent, John Scheid, Daniel Dubuisson, and Dominique Briquel.

'The best summary of Georges DumCzil's work is his L'ide'ologie tripartie des indo- europe'ens (Brussels: Collection Latomus, 1958). Best known in English is Littleton, The New Comparative Mythology, the flaws of which were discussed by Robert Goldman in Journal of the American Oriental Society 89 (1969): 205-13. Alternatives include Jaan Puhvel, Comparative Mythology (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1987); Wouter W. Belier, Decayed Gods: Origin and Development of Georges Dume'zil's "ide'ologie tripar- tite" (Leiden: Brill, 1991); and Hans Jorgen Lundager Jensen and Jens Peter SchjGdt, Suverzniteten, Kampen og Frugtbarheden: Georges Dume'zil og den indoeuropziske ideol- ogi (Arhus: Aarhusuniversitetsforlag, 1994).

Earlier critics were inclined to focus on details in DumCzil's handling of ancient sources, the scope of his comparative venture, his schematiz- ing tendency, and his insistence that the tripartite pattern distinguished Indo-European peoples from all others.* Since the early 1980s, however, they have been more inclined to call attention to the ideological positions they perceive in his texts and subtexts, stressing the following points:

(1) DumCzil's idealization of the Indo-Europeans and their tripartite sys- tem; (2) the fact that he introduced his theory of the "three functions" in publications of 1938-42, when fascism in various forms was an urgent concern for any Frenchman; (3) the resemblance of this system to Musso- lini's "corporate society" and the "integral nationalism" of Charles Maur- ras; (4) his involvement in circles close to Maurras's Action Fraqaise."

On a fifth point, opinions differ. This is the way one understands Du- mCzil's attitude toward fascism in its specifically German variety. Whereas Arnaldo Momigliano and Carlo Ginzburg perceived a "sympathy for Nazi culture" in DumCzil's Mythes et dieux des Germains (1939), Cristiano Grottanelli and I have not stressed this line of analysis and argumenta- tion. It is on this last point, however, that DumCzil's defenders have fo- cused discussion, the Parisian journalist Didier Eribon taking the lead."

* The most important of the early critiques include Karl Helm, "Mythologie auf alten und neuen Wegen," Beitrage zur Geschichre der deurschen Sprache und Lireratur 77 (1 955): 333-65; John Brough, "The Tripartite Ideology of the Indo-Europeans: An Experiment in Method," Bulletin of the School of Oriental and Africun Studies 22 (1959): 69-85; Paul Thieme, Mitra und Aryaman (New Haven, Conn.: Yale University Press, 1957), and "The 'Aryan' Gods of the Mitanni Treaties," Journul of the American Orienrul lnsrirure 80 (1960): 301-17: and Jan Gonda, "DumCzil's Tripartite Ideology: Some Critical Observations." Journu1 of Asian Studies 34 (1974): 139-49.

'See Arnaldo Momigliano, "Premesse per una discussione su Georges DumCzil," Opus 2 (1983): 329-42 (trans. into English as "Introduction to a Discussion of Georges DumCzil," in G. W. Bowersock and T. J. Cornell, eds., A. D. Momigliuno: Studies on Mod- ern Scholarship [Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 19941, pp. 286-301), and "Georges DumCzil and the Trifunctional Approach to Roman Civilization.'' History and Theory 23 (1984): 312-30; Carlo Ginzburg, "Mitologia Germanica e Na- zism~:Su un vecchio libro di Georges DumCzil," Quaderni Storici 19 (1984): 857-82 (En- glish trans., Clues, Myths, and the Historical Method, trans. John and Anne C. Tedeschi [Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 19891, pp. 126-45); Bruce Lincoln, Deuth, War, and Sacrij?ce: Studies in Ideology and Practice (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991), pp. 23 1-68; and Cristiano Grottanelli, ldeologie miri mussucri: lndoeuropei di Georges Dumtzil (Palermo: Sellerio, 1993). The brief remarks of Charles Malamoud. "His- toire des religions et comparatisme: La question indo-europCenne." Revue de I'hisroire de.~ religions 208 (1991): 115-21, also deserve attention. Georges DumCzil responded to Mo- migliano in L'oubli de l'homme et l'honneur des dieux {Paris: Gallimard, 1983, pp. 329- 41, and to Ginzburg in "Science et politique," Annales Economies Socitfts Civilisarions 40 (1985): 985-89. DumCzil's connections to Maurras were mediated through Pierre Gaxotte. a lifelong friend to whom he dedicated his first book. Regarding the crucial role Gaxotte played in right-wing letters and politics during the 1920s and 1930s, see Diane Rubenstein, What's Left? The ~cole Nortnule SupPrieure and the Right (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press. 1990). pp. 106-17, 130-36, and passim.

'" Didier Eribon. Four-il brliler DumPzil? Mythologie, science, eipolitiquc (Paris: Flam- marion, 1992). Carlo Ginzburg responded to Eribon in "DumCzil et les mythes naris," Le Moilde der d4htrt.s (September 1993), pp. 22-23. prompting a rejoinder by Eribon in

Lacking the competence to evaluate the materials DumCzil studied, but well versed in the details of French academic life, Eribon centers his case on the scholarly world in which DumCzil participated: "When one re- constructs the intellectual milieu of the 1920s and '30s, it is striking to see that scholars whose opinions were quite heterogeneous, even opposed, could get along, engage in dialogue and debate, without a political di- mension ever intervening in their professional judgment. Undoubtedly this was because they shared an ethic founded on a profound commitment to the values of research and a determination to keep science apart from the fits and starts of the world outside. There was then a liberal tradition of the university and a faith in scientific procedure.""

However appealing it may be, this picture of a science de'gage'e is hardly credible.12 Political interests have often figured powerfully in dis- cussions of Indo-European (aka "Aryan") religion and society. This was particularly true in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s, not only in Germany- so much is obvious-but also beyond, and some of DumCzil's closest colleagues can be numbered among the worst offenders.13 Consider, for

"DumCzil et les mythes nazis: Didier Eribon rCpond h Carlo Ginzburg," Le Monde des de'bats (October 1993), p. 13. Other defenses have been offered by Daniel Dubuisson, Mythologies du XXiBme sie'cle (Lille: Presses Universitaires de Lille, 1993); C. Scott Littleton,

D. A. Miller, Jaan Puhvel, and Udo Strutynski, "Georges DumCzil," Times Literary Sup- plement (December 5, 1986), p. 1375 (with my response, "Georges DumCzil," Times Literary Supplement [December 19, 19861, p. 1425); Marco V. Garcia Quintela, "Nouvelles contri- butions h l'affaire DumCzil," Dialogues d'histoire ancienne 20 (1994): 21-39; and Andrea Zambrini, "Georges Dumtzil. Una polemica," Rivista di Storia della Storiograja 15 (1994): 317-89 (with a response by Grottanelli, "Un lettore <<supplenten e i trabocchetti della polem- ica," pp. 391-404). Georges Charachidze, "Hypothkse indo-europCenne et modes de com- paraison," Revue de l'histoire des religions 208 (1991): 203-28, defends not just DumCzil, but Indo-European studies in general against the sort of criticism advanced by Ulf Drobin, "Indogermanische Religion und Kultur? Eine Analyse des Begriffes 'Indogermanisch,"' Temenos 16 (1980): 26-38; and Jean-Paul DeMoule, "RCalitC des indo-europkens: Les diverses apories du modkle arborescent," Revue de l'histoire des religions 208 (1991): 169-202.

l1 Eribon, Faut-il brliler Dume'zil? p. 298: "Lorsque I'on reconstitue le milieu intellectuel des annCes vingt et trente, il est frappant de constater que des savants dont les opinions sont trks hCtCrogknes, voire opposkes, peuvent cohabiter, dialoguer, discuter, sans jamais qu'in- tervienne dans leur jugement la dimension politique. Sans doute parce qu'ils avaient en partage une Cthique fondCe sur une adhCsion profonde aux valeurs de la recherche et la ferme volontC de maintenir la science h ]'&cart des soubresauts du monde extkrieur. I1 y avait une tradition libCrale de la corporation universitaire et une foi dans l'activitC scientifique." This general line of argument is developed at pp. 13-20 and 297-306. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own.

l2 See also Grottanelli, in his review of Eribon, Quaderni di Storia 37 (1993): 181-89.

l3 See, inter alia, Poliakov (n. 2 above); Lutzhoft (n. 2 above); von See, Barbar, Ger- mane, Arier (n. 2 above); Volker Losemann, Nationalsozialismus und Antike: Studien zur Enhvicklung des Faches alte Geschichte (Hamburg: Hoffman & Campe, 1977); Ruth Romer, Sprachwissenschaft und Rassenideologie in Deutschland (Munich: Fink, 1985); George Mosse, Toward the Final Solution: A History of European Racism (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1985); Jost Hermand, Old Dreams of a New Reich: Volkish Utopias and National Socialism (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1992); Sheldon Pollock, "Deep Orientalism: Sanskrit and Power beyond the Raj," in Orientalism and the Post-Colonial Predicament, ed. Peter van der Veer and Carol Breckenridge (Philadelphia: University of

instance, the Austrian folklorist Otto Hofler, whose work on the religious significance of frenzied martial bands, Kultische Geheimbiinde der Ger- manen (1934), was so extreme that Alfred Rosenberg, Hitler's chief ide- ologist, thought it made Nazism appear ridicul~us.'~

Rosenberg's enmity, however, gained Hofler the support of Himmler, who recruited him into the SS Ahnenerbe division and secured for him a chair as professor of German philosophy at the University of Munich.

No Germanist was more influential on DumCzil than Hofler, nor more closely associated with him throughout his career, except the Dutch historian of religions Jan de Vries, whose Altgermanische Religionsge- schichte (1st ed., 1935-37) remains a model of encyclopedic learning.I5 Other of de Vries's works are less scrupulous. Welt der Germanen (1934) carries a swastika on its cover and celebrates the race of blue-eyed, blond- haired warriors. Onze Voorouders (1942) was made required reading for Dutch school children under the occupation and was designed to teach them reverence for the Teutonic ancestors they shared with their German brethren. De Vries's Germanophilia was both personal and professional.

Pennsylvania Press, 1993), pp. 76-133; Maurice Olender, The Languages of Paradise: Race, Religion, and Philology in the Nineteenth Century (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), and "Europe, or How to Escape Babel," History and Theory 33 (1994): 5-25: and James Dow and Hannjost Lixfeld, eds., The Nazification of an Academic Discipline: Folklore in the Third Reich (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1994). Here, one may also note the influence Dumezil's ideas had on Roger Caillois and others involved in the CollPge de Sociologie, as recently discussed by Denis Hollier, "January 21st," Stanford French Review 12 (1988): 31-48.

'"tto Hofler, Kultische Geheimbiinde der Germanen (Frankfurt: Diesterweg, 1934), and Das germanische Koninuitatsproblem (Hamburg: Hanseatische, 1937). Regarding Hofler, his ideas, and associates, see von See, Barbar, Germane, Arier, pp. 319-42, and Kontinuitatstheorie und Sakralrheorie in der Germanenforschung: Antwort an Otto Hoper (Frankfurt: Athenaeum, 1972); and Olaf Bockhorn, "The Battle for the 'Ostmark': Nazi Folklore in Austria," in Dow and Lixfeld, eds., pp. 135-55. Hofler's SS involvement is discussed in Helmut Heiber, Walter Frank und sein Reichsinstitut fur Geschichte des neuen Deutsch- lands (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt. 1966), pp. 551-53, and passim, and Michael Kater, Das 'Xhnenerbe" der SS 1935-1945: Ein Beitrag zur Kulturpolitik des Dritten Reiches (Stuttgart: Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, 1974), pp. 83, 138, 307, and 343. In postwar writings like his Vetwandlungskulte, Volkssagen, und Mythen (Vienna: H. Bohlau, 1973), Otto Hofler remained unrepentant, yet Dumezil always cited his work whenever the ques- tion of Munnerbiinde arose, and it was Hofler who arranged for the first translation of Dumezil's work into German, appropriately enough choosing Heur et malheur du guerrier (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1969) for the honor.

l5 Jan de Vries, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte, 2 vols. (Berlin: de Gruyter, 1935- 37; rev. ed., 1957), Die Welt der Germanen (Leiden: Quelle & Meyer, 19341, and Onze Voorouders (The Hague: De Schouw, 1942). De Vries's other wartime writings show similar tendencies: De Germanen (Haarlem: Zoon, 1941), Die geistige Welt der Germanen (Halle: Niemeyer, 1943), and De Goden der Germanen (Amsterdam: Hanner, 1944). On de Vries's role in the Kultuurkamer, see L. de Jong, Her Koninkrijk der Nederlanden in de Tweede Wereldoorlog, 14 vols. (The Hague: Staatsuitgeverij, 1969-91), 4:389-91, 5:260-64 and 327, 6:449-50. Regarding Dumtzil's relation to de Vries, see Udo Stutynski, introduction to Georges DumCzil, Gods of the Ancient Northmen, ed. Einar Haugen (Berkeley: Univer- sity of California Press, 1973), pp. xxxiii-xxxv; Georges DumCzil, author's preface in ibid.. pp. xlv-xlvi, and Littleton, New Comparative Mythologj (n. 5 above), pp. 168-71.

Days after the Nazi conquest, he was one of four university professors who met with the new Reichskommissar (the infamous Artur Seyss-Inquart) and offered to establish a Nederlandsche Kultuurkamer that would regu- late Dutch arts and learning under the new regime. Once formed, this in- stitution was run by the German propaganda ministry and had de Vries as its last president.

Also noteworthy is the Swedish Indo-Europeanist Stig Wikander, who remained a close friend and made fundamental contributions to Du- mCzil's thought over a period of five decades. Initially, the two met at Uppsala University, where Hofler and DumCzil both taught for a time (1928-31 and 1931-33, respectively) while Wikander was preparing his dissertation under the direction of H. S. Nyberg. All these men were in- terested in the warrior bands of "Aryan" peoples, and all were given to right-wing politics: Hofler as a Nazi, Nyberg as a "radical conservative," and DumCzil as a fellow traveler of the Action Franqaise. Wikander gratefully acknowledged the influence of all three in his thesis, "Der arische Mannerbund" (1938). Swedish academics were so shocked by his views, however, that when he defended that thesis in 1937 no fewer than twelve members of the Uppsala faculty rose to speak against it. Still, at Nyberg's urging it was approved, after which Wikander left for Munich, where he prepared the final German text while attending Hofler's course on warrior societies, which he playfully called "the Werewolf-Seminar."16

It was not just those on the right or those outside France who mixed scholarship and politics. "Did Henri Hubert want to rehabilitate pagan- ism?" Eribon asks, invoking this prominent member of Durkheim's cir- cle, "Or simply to study it?"17 As Ivan Strenski has made clear, however, Hubert's interest in pagan antiquity was anything but simple.18 Best known as coauthor of the "Essai sur le sacrifice" (where he and Marcel Mauss treated "Aryan" and "Semitic" examples with studied even-handedness),I9

l6 Stig Wikander, Der arische Mannerbund (Lund: C. W. K. Gleerup, 1938). Much in- formation on Wikander may be found in Sigrid Kahle, H. S. Nyberg: En vetenskapsmans biograj (Stockholm: Norstedts, 1991). Discussion of his time in Munich revising his dis- sertation is found at p. 264. Regarding Wikander's relations with DumCzil, who visited him in Uppsala every summer, see Dumtzil, Entretiens avec Didier Eribon, pp. 76 and 157-58; Littleton, New Comparative Mythology, pp. 156-61.

Eribon, Faut-il brfiler Durn4zil? (n. 6 above), p. 290: "Henri Hubert, qui enseignait les areligions primitives de l'Europe, a I'ficole des hautes Ctudes, voulait-il rehabiliter le paganisme? Ou simplement 1'6tudier?"

Ivan Strenski, "Henri Hubert, Racial Science and Political Myth," in his Religion in Relation: Method, Application and Moral Location (Columbia: University of South Caro- lina Press, 1993), pp. 180-20 l.

l9 Henri Hubert and Marcel Mauss, Sacrifice: Its Nature and Function (Chicago: Univer- sity of Chicago Press, 1964). The original French text appeared in L'ann4e sociologique for 1898. That these two scholars-a Jew and a Catholic, who regarded themselves as jumeaux de travaille-set materials from ancient India and Israel parallel to one another is surely no accident, for in this fashion they implicitly refuted a typical construction of the nineteenth century whereby Semites were associated with ritual (and sterile ritualism), Aryans with mythology (and thus poetry, philosophy, and the life of the imagination).

Hubert was charged with reviewing all books on race for Lhnne'e so- ciologique. Using this position to advance his views as a socialist, a republican, and a Dreyfusard, he systematically combated all attempts to provide racism and anti-Semitism with scholarly apparatus, language, and legitimacy.

Regarding European prehistory, his area of special expertise, Hubert advanced a set of provocative theses. First, he saw Celtic civilization as the foundation for Europe north of the Mediterranean, and most of all for France. In contrast, he considered the ancient Germans to have been rel- atively limited in their territorial distribution and cultural influence, sug- gesting that German culture was itself profoundly influenced by that of the Celts. Finally, Hubert argued that the Germans are not Indo-Europeans at all. Rather, he took the sound shifts and morphological simplifications that distinguish Germanic from other Indo-European languages as evi- dence that the Proto-Indo-European Ursprache entered German soil from outside and was powerfully transformed by the indigenous, non-Aryan population who adopted it there. These views he made public in a series of lectures at the ~cole du Louvre at a time when French postwar power and confidence were at their height (1923-25). It is difficult not to read these lectures as a paean to French civilization and a stinging rebuke to German nationalism of the volkisch sort.20

Although DumCzil was familiar with Hubert's work and knew its rel- evance for his own, he studiously avoided him and refused to attend his lectures. Only when his thesis supervisor, Antoine Meillet, insisted he give Hubert a copy of his dissertation, "Le festin d'immortalitk" (l924), did he reluctantly do so. The result was a bitter encounter, in the wake of which DumCzil left France, convinced that Hubert's opposition and Meillet's wavering support meant there would be no employment for him at home (1925)."

I1 If Eribon seems naive on the matter of "scholarly milieu," he has still done us great service in other ways. In his eagerness to refute Carlo Ginz- burg and Arnaldo Momigliano, who first charged DumCzil with having Nazi sympathies, Eribon uncovered a set of evidence that offers a clearer view of DumCzil's political opinions then we ever hoped to possess. This is the group of pseudonymous articles he published in two right-wing

"' Henri Hubert, Les Celres et l'expansion celrique jusqu'a l't?poque de la T2ne and Les Celtes depuis l'ipoque de la Tene (Paris: Corbeil, 1932), and Les Germains (Paris: Albin Michel, 1952). All three books were published posthumously, based on manuscripts and notes taken during his lectures of 1923-25.

?' For brief and guarded accounts of Dumezil's dealings with Hubert, see Dumezil, Enrreriens avec Didier Eribon, pp. 47-52, and the interview that appears in Pour un temps: Georges Dumizil, with a preface by Jacques Bonnet (Paris: Centre Georges Pompidou, Pan- dora Editions, 198 1), pp. 18-1 9.One would very much like to have Hubert's side of the story.

papers, Candide and Le Jour, upon returning to France after teaching in Turkey (1925-3 1) and Sweden (193 1-33; the articles date 1933-35). Writing as "Georges Marcenay," he praised Mussolini's Italy and urged France to align itself with I1 Duce, so that together they might check the growth of German power.22 As Eribon rightly concludes, these articles show DumCzil to have been "profascist and anti-Nazi" in those years.23 The question is whether he advanced these views in publications bearing his own name, or whether-as Eribon would have it-he "neutralized his political judgments regarding contemporary events, because he was writ- ing works of science."24

To pursue this question, I propose to consider a very specific and highly charged datum: the novel interpretation DumCzil offered for the god Tyr in his 1940 volume, Mitra-Var~na.~~

Previously, virtually all specialists agreed that Tyr was a god of war,26 as could be seen in the description

22 Eribon (n. 10 above), Faut-il brliler Dumkzil? pp. 119-44. 23 Ibid., p. 140: "Une chose est sfire: entre 1933 et 1935, DumCzil est rCsolument anti- nazi. I1 est profasciste et antinazi."

24 Ibid., p. 189, with most specific reference to Georges DumCzil, Mythes et dieux des Germains (Paris: E. LeRoux, 1939): "DumCzil neutralise le jugement politique qu'il porte sur les CvCnements contemporains parce qu'il Ccrit un livre de science, oh il s'agit de com- prendre et non de juger, d'expliquer et non de s'indigner. Tous les historiens de 1'Cpoque ne cessent de proclamer cette rkgle professionnelle."

25 Georges DumCzil, Mitra-Varuna: Essai sur dew; reprksentations indo-europkennes de la souverainetk, 1st ed. (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1940), pp. 11 1-28, 2d ed. (Paris: Gallimard, 1948), pp. 133-47. An English translation was brought out by Zone Books in 1988, prompting an insightful review by Ron Inden in the Journal ofAsian Studies (August 1990), pp. 671-74. The differences between these editions are inconsequential for my purposes, and in the discussion that follows I will quote from the second French edition.

26 Most pre-DumCzil interpretations are based on the pioneering work of Jacob Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 4 vols. (Gottingen: Dieterich, 1835), 1:131-34; and Karl Miillen- hoff, Deutsche Altertumskunde, 5 vols. (Berlin: Weidmann, 1887-1900), 4519-28. The long- est sustained discussions are those of Rudolf Much, "Der germanische Himmelsgott," in Abhandlungen zur germanischen Philologie: Festgabe fur Richard Heinzel, ed. E Detter et al. (Halle: Max Niemeyer, 1898), pp. 189-278; and Wolfgang Krause, "Ziu," in Nachrichten der Gottingen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften (1940), pp. 155-72. See also Paul Herr- mann, Nordische Mythologie (Leipzig: Wilhelm Engelmann, 1903), pp. 235-42; Richard M. Meyer, Germanische Mythologie (Leipzig: Quelle & Meyer, 1910), pp. 178-89; J. von Negelein, Germanische Mythologie (Leipzig: B. G. Teubner, 1912), pp. 57-58; Alexander Haggerty Krappe, ~tudes de mythologie et de folklore germaniques (Paris: E. Le Roux, 1928), pp. 11-27; Walter Baetke, Art und Glaube der Germanen (Hamburg: Hanseatische, 1934), p. 34; Carl Clemen, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte (Bonn: Ludwig Rohrscheid, 1934), pp. 48-50; de Vries, Altgermanische Religionsgeschichte (n. 15 above), 1st ed., 2:283-88; Alois Closs, "Neue Problemstellungen in der germanischen Religionsgeschichte," Anthropos 29 (1934): 477-96, esp. 485-89, and "Die Religion des Semnonenstammes," in Wilhelm Koppers, ed., Die Indogermanen- und Germanenfrage (Salzburg: Pustet, 1936), pp. 549-674; J. H. Schleuder, Germanische Mythologie (Leipzig: Stubenrauch, 1937), pp. 80-87; Hermann Giintert, Altgermanischer Glaube nach Wesen und Grundlage (Heidelberg: Winter, 1937), pp. 50-52; Martin Ninck, Gotter und Jenseitsglauben der Germanen (Jena: Eugen Diederichs, 1937), pp. 134-38; and Friedrich van der Leyen, Die Gotter der Germanen (Munich: Beck, 1938), pp. 67, 86, 198. Some authors used the etymological con- nections between Tyr (< Common Germanic *Teiwaz < Proto-Indo-European *Deiwo-s)and Vedic Dyaus, Greek Zeus, etc., to argue that he was originally a "Sky-god," but they agree the surviving sources depict him as a god of war.

of him as "boldest and most courageous" of the Old Norse deities," his epithet "battle-god,"'8 the Romans' assimilation of him to Mars,29 and use of the spear-shaped rune that bears his name (7)as a charm for vic- tory.'O In contrast, DumCzil stressed the sole myth told of Tyr, which Snorri Sturluson preserved in two variants, the shorter of which reads as follows.

There is a god named Tyr. He is the boldest and most courageous, and he gives much counsel regarding victory in battles. It is good for valiant men to call on him. There is the expression that he who is "Tyr-valiant" surpasses other men and does not sit around idly. He was so wise that one who is wise is said to be "Tyr-sage." This is one mark of his boldness: When the gods enticed the Fenris Wolf to let them put the fetter "Gleipnir" on him, the wolf did not trust them to let him free until they laid Tyr's hand in his mouth as a pledge. Then, when the gods would not set him loose, he bit Tyr's hand off at the point which is now called the "wolf-joint" [i.e., the wrist], and Tyr is one-handed, and is not called a man of peace.3'

The longer version adds several significant details. First, "Gleipnir" is a magic fetter, fashioned at bainn's instructions to be delicate in ap- pearance, but enormously strong. This was of interest to DumCzil, who understood dainn as a master of magic, particularly the power to bind. Conversely, he saw Tyr as a master of law, stressing that in this episode Tyr contributed to the gods' success, not by any martial powers, but by making a contract that he fulfilled literally, while still evading its spirit. Citing other myths that connect 08inn's loss of an eye to his knowledge

'' Snorri Sturluson, Gylfaginning, chap. 25: diarfaztr ok bezt hugaar.

Snorri Sturluson, Skaldskapannal, chap. 9: vigagua.

29 For example, Tacitus, Germania, chap. 9. The Roman equation is evident in the names for days of the week: qs-dagr ("Tyr's day," English Tuesday) = dies Martis (Mars's day, French mardi, Italian martedi).

30 Sigrdrifumal (a poem of the Elder Edda), v. 6:

You shall know victory runes, if victory you want to have. Cut them on the hilt of your sword, Also some on the blade's ridge and some on the tip, And call Tyr twice by name.

Sigrdnar pu scalt kunna, ef Pd vilt sigr hafa, oc rista a hialti higrs, sumar a vettrimom, sumar a valbgstom, oc nefna tysvar Ty.

" Gylfaginning, chap. 25: ,,sa er enn ass er Tyr heitir; hann er diarfaztr ok bezt hugaar, ok hann rcar migk sigri i orrostum. A hann er gott at heita hreystimgnnum. pat er oratak at sa er tyhraustr er um fram er aara menn ok ekki setz firir. Hann var vitr svA at pat er mclt at sa er tyspakr er vitr er. pat er eitt mark um diarfleik hans, pa er csir lokkuau Fenrisulf ti1 bess at leggia fi~rturinn a hann, Gleipni, pa truai hann peim eigi at peir myndu leysa hann, fyrr en peir lggau honum at veai hgnd Tys i munn ulfsins. En pa er csir vildu eigi leysa hann, Pa beit hann hgndina af par er nu heitir ulfliar, ok er hann einhendr ok ekki kallaar scttir manna."

of magic, DumCzil took these two deities as a couple-one-eyed magician and one-handed jurist-who defined the two sides of Indo-European sovereignty, as did comparable figures in Roman, Irish, and Indic myths.

Throughout the years, this reconstruction of "le manchot et le borgne" (the one-eyed and the one-handed) remained a centerpiece of Dumezil's theory, although he abandoned first the Indic, then the Irish, side of his ~omparison.~~

One thus might raise questions about his use of compara- tive method, and several scholars have done so.33 At present, however, I prefer to focus on the Germanic evidence and to emphasize some details in Snorri's text. First, Snorri explicitly frames his account as an example of Tyr's courage, not his fidelity or legal acumen.34 Second, in the longer version, he specifies why the gods became frightened by the wolf: "The gods raised the wolf at home, and only Tyr had the courage to go to the wolf and give it food. And when the gods saw how much he grew each day, and all the prophecies said he might be destined to do them harm, then they adopted a plan."35 Finally, the wolf himself loses a bodily mem- ber, complementing the losses suffered by 0ainn and Tyr. "Then the wolf

32 In "Mythes remains," Revue de Paris (December 1951), pp. 105-15, DumCzil mini- mized the importance of the Indic and Irish materials, and he abandoned the Indic com- parisons altogether in "La transposition des dieux souverains mineurs en heros dans le Mahdbhdrata," Indo Iranian Journal 3 (1959): 1-16. In later works he maintained that counterparts to the one-armed figure could be found elsewhere, but nowhere outside Rome and Scandinavia was the one-eyed magical sovereign to be found, still less the couple as an ensemble. For other discussions of these materials, with occasional shifts in emphasis, interpretation, and evidentiary base, see Georges DumCzil, Loki (Paris: Maissoneuve, 1948), pp. 91-97 (2d ed. [Paris; Flammarion, 19861, pp. 69-74), L'he'ritage indo-europden ri Rome (Paris: Gallimard, 1949), pp. 149-59, Les diem des germains (Paris: Presses universitaires de France, 1959), pp. 40-77 (trans. into English as Gods of the Ancient Northmen [n. 15 above], pp. 26-48), Mythe et epopde, 3 vols. (Paris: Gallimard, 1968-73), 1:423-28,3:267- 86, "'Le Borgne' et 'Le Manchot': The State of the Problem," in Myth in Indo-European Antiquity, ed. Gerald Larson (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1974), pp. 17-28, Les dieux souverains des Indo-Europe'ens (Paris: Gallimard, 1977), pp. 198-200, and L'oubli de l'homme et l'honneur des dieux (n. 9 above), pp. 261-65.

33 R. I. Page, ''Dum8zil Revisited," Saga-Book of the Viking Society 20 (1978-81): 49- 69 (to which Dumezil responded, L'oubli de l'homme et l'honneur des dieux, pp. 259- 77); Lincoln, "Kings, Rebels, and the Left Hand," in Death, War, and Sacrijice (n. 9 above), pp. 244-58; Klaus von See, Mythos und Theologie im skandinavischen Hochmittelalter (Heidelberg: Winter, 1988), pp. 56-68; and three articles by Cristiano Grottanelli: "The Enemy King Is a Monster: A Biblical Equation," Studi Storico Religiosi 3 (1979): 5-36, "Temi Dumeziliani fuori dal mondo indoeuropea," Opus 2 (1983): 365-89, esp. pp. 381- 84, and "Evento e modello nella storia antica: Due eroi cesariani," in La Cultura in Cesare, ed. Diego Poli (Rome: I1 Calamo, 1993), pp. 427-44.

34 Note that it is the wolf who proposes the agreement and the gods who accept. Tyr is not involved in the negotiations. Rather, his role is defined by his courage and is limited to doing that which no one else dares: putting his hand in the mouth of the beast. See also Page, pp. 52-58; and von See, Kontinuitatstheorie und Sakraltheorie in der Germanenfor- schung (n. 14 above), pp. 14-18.

35 Gylfaginning 34: Ulfinn faddu asir heima, ok hafdi Tfr einn diarfleik ti1 at ganga at ulfnum ok gefa honum mat. En er guain sB hversu mikit hann 6x hvern dag, ok allar spar s~gduat hann myndi Vera lagdr ti1 skaaa peim, pi fengu asir pat ria . . .

answered: 'It seems to me there's no renown to be had from that ribbon, even if I tear asunder so thin a band. But if it is made with craft, even though it may seem small, that band won't come off my foot."'36

These details lead me to see this myth, pace DumCzil, as the reali- zation of a familiar sociogonic theme, in which each of the "three functions" originates from the loss of a body part that encodes the char- acteristic activity of the people associated with that function, while also assigning them a place in a vertical hierarchy.37 Thus, the loss of an eye gives rise to the top-ranked sovereign function, represented by 0ainn; the loss of a hand, to the intermediate warrior function, represented by Tyr; and the loss of a foot, to the lowly third function, represented by the Fen- ris Wolf. Here, the myth derogatorily emphasizes the lower order's pro- pensity for consumption (rather than production), depicting the wolf's appetite and capacity for growth as the threat the gods check with their defining powers of trickery, magic, and force.

Several other German narratives realize this same theme, while differing in their details.38 In place of an eye, one sometimes finds the head or other parts thereof; in place of a hand, the arm; and in place of a foot, the leg or another part of the lower body. But whenever a character loses an arm or hand, it is a warrior who does so.

Consider, for example, the "Saga of Egil One-hand" (Egilssaga ein- henda), a fabulous tale composed in Iceland in the thirteenth century. The story begins when a giant captures the saga's hero, shackles his feet, and forces him to tend his goats.39 One evening, however, Egil finds a cat, hides it under his clothes, and brings it back to the giant's cave, where he lets the giant glimpse its eyes and persuades him these are "golden eyes" that let him see at night. Then, when the giant desires these precious orbs, Egil offers to install them, if only he is freed from the fetters on his feet. The giant obliges, then submits to brutal surgery: "Egil picked up

36 Gylfaginning 34: pa svarar ulfrinn: ,,Sva litz mCr a penna dregil sem anga frrega mu- nak af hliota p$tt ek slita i sundr sva' mi6tt band. En ef pat er gprt mea list ok vrel p6tt pat sjhiz litit, Pa kemr pat band eigi A mina fcetr" (emphasis added to translation).

37 For a fuller discussion, see Bruce Lincoln, Myth, Cosmos, and Society: Indo-European Themes of Creation and Destruction (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 19861, esp. pp. 141-71.

"In addition to the sources discussed below, the same pattern is evident in Volundarkvida and the story of Jormunrekk's death (Hamdismdl 13, 24, and 28, Skaldskaparmdl 42, and Volsungasaga 44).

39 Egilssaga einhenda 9.9-10: Siaan tok hann I1 steina, ok vigu hhlfvatt b8air; par varu fastar via ja'rnhespur. Hann Iresti pier at fotum Egli, ok sagai, at hann skyldi petta draga. The text is available in Ake Lagerholm, ed., Drei Lygisogur (Halle: Niemeyer, 1927), vol. 17 in the Altnordische Saga-Bibliothek, pp. 43-52. An English translation may be found in Hermann Palsson and Paul Edwards, trans., Gautrek's Saga and Other Medieval Tales (New York: New York University Press, 1968), pp. 103-8.

a double-bladed dart and thrust it into the giant's eyes so that they fell out and lay on his cheekbone^."^^ And after a struggle in which he loses an ear and the giant a hand, Egil makes good his escape. Later, Egil battles a second giant and cuts off his biceps, while losing his own hand in the process. In the final episode, a dwarf heals Egil's wound and fashions for him a sword-cum-prosthesis that lets him fight with unparalleled kill.^' Notwithstanding the multiplication of severed members and possible in- fluence from other traditions (Odysseus, Nuadu), the saga's pattern is clear enough. The injury to his feet makes Egil a servant and herdsman; the loss of his hand makes him a warrior; and the giant's desire for magical power leads him to lose his eyes.42

Again, there is the great Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf, whose three mon- sters succumb to wounds of different sorts. Grendel's arm is ripped from his shoulder, Grendel's mother decapitated, and the dragon is stabbed in the underbelly (nioaor hwene). Each wound, moreover, corresponds to the status of the victor who dealt it, for Beowulf is a warrior champion when he wrenches off Grendel's arm, but the king's adoptive son when he takes the mother's head. Wiglaf, in contrast, is one liegeman among many, an untried youth in his first adventure, when he strikes the dragon's vitals, after Beowulf (by now a king) struck its head with no results.43

These same associations also structure the preliminary attacks that prompt each combat. Thus, Grendel devours a soldier "feet and hands" (fet ond folma), Grendel's mother tears the head off Hrothgar's foremost noble (aldorbegn), and the dragon's assault is provoked by a servant (beow), who violates his mound and steals a precious The same pattern is expressed once more in the gifts that reward each combat. Hrothgar gives Beowulf warrior goods-"horses and weapons" (wicga ond wEpna)--after he has slain Grendel; to these he adds advice about good kings and bad following the victory over Grendel's mother. In con- trast, Wiglaf wins the dragon's gold, rings, jewels, and treasure.45

40 Egils Saga Einhenda 10.6: Egill . . . t6k einn tviangadan flein, ok rekr i bzdi augun a jgtninum, svi kau liggja ht a kinnarbeinunum.

4' Egilssaga einhenda 11.8: Tok dvergrinn Pa at smida honum eitt sveri3; en upp fri hjgltunum gerdi hann fa1 sva [langan], at upp tok yfir glbogann, ok matti par spenna at, ok var Egli sva hcgt at hgggva me0 pvi sverdi, sem heil vcri hgndin.

42 Note that the giant fails by permitting himself to lose both eyes (a crippling catastro- phe), rather than one (a productive sacrifice on the order of Odinn's).

43 For the wounds to Grendel, see BeowuEf; lines 813-21; to Grendel's mother, 1563-68; to the dragon, 2697-2705. Beowulf's assault on the dragon's head-which fails because his hand is "too strong" (wies sio hond to strong)-is described at 2677-87.

44 These provocatory incidents appear at lines 739-45 (Grendel eats the unnamed war- rior), 1417-21 (Grendel's mother beheads Eschere, the royal favorite), and 2214-26 (a ser- vant violates the dragon's barrow and steals its precious cup). Regarding Wschere's status, see lines 1296-99 and 1306-9, noting that no other character is called aldorkegn or des- ignated as "dearest" (deorestan) to the king.

45 The gifts won for defeating Grendel are described at lines 1020-24, 1035-38, and 1045; Grendel's mother, 1709-57, 1866-67, and 2 143-65; the dragon, 2742-71.

Finally, there is Waltharius, a minor epic of the ninth or tenth century, written in Latin, but based on much older Burgundian materials, to which Donald Ward and Udo Strutynski have called attention.46 Here one finds an interesting inversion of the pattern, since it is a king, Guntharius, who loses his leg and the king's liegeman, Hagano, who loses an eye, along with his lip and six teeth. The text explains this reversal, however, telling how Guntharius deserves demotion because greed and weakness made him unworthy, while Hagano's bravery and righteousness made him the king's superior. Of prime interest to us, however, is the detail that re- mains constant. Here, as in all other examples, it is the loss of an arm that marks the warrior: Waltharius, the champion of the story.47

Notwithstanding their other differences, all these texts describe how a hierarchic arrangement of "three functions" is inscribed on the body through a set of three wounds. A wound to the head or eye marks those who are sovereign (by virtue of royalty, sacrality, knowledge, magic, and/ or righteousness); a wound to the hand or arm, marks those of martial power; and wounds to the lower body mark low-ranking persons, whose appetites for food or wealth may be perceived as ignoble or dangerous, and who are reduced to positions of servile captivity (table 1).

At this point, an intriguing question arises. Not only is Tyr's position in the myth of his encounter with the wolf perfectly consistent with the old interpretation of him as a war god, such an interpretation also makes this myth a perfect example of DumCzil's "three functions." Why on earth did he seek to read it otherwise, and what is at stake in his view of Tyr as a "legal sovereign"?

Sorting out the motives of another is never an easy matter, even under the best of circumstances. What follows is admittedly speculative; still, I do think it possible to draw reasonable connections between Georges DumCzil's beliefs and commitments, world politics in the late 1930s, and his construction of Tyr as something other than a god of war.

Let me begin by considering DumCzil's view of ~ainn, a deity whom Alfred Rosenberg, Martin Ninck, Carl Jung, and others writing in the mid-1930s treated as the inspiring force of the German nation and the Nazi m~vement.~'

DumCzil first engaged this topic in Mythes et dieux des

jh Donald Ward, The Divine TWins: An Indo-European Myth in Germanic Tradition (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1968), p. 101n.; Strutynski (n. 15 above), p. xli n.

47 See esp. Walrharius, 1401-15. The text, with commentary may be found in Gernot Wieland, Walrharius (Bryn Mawr, Pa.: Bryn Mawr Latin Commentaries, 1989).

Alfred Rosenberg, Der Myrhus des 20. Jahrhunderts: eine Wertung der seelisch- geisrigen Gestalrenkampfe unserer Zeit (Munich: Hoheneichen, 1935); Martin Ninck, Wodan und germanische Schicksalsglaube (Jena: Eugen Diederich, 1935); C. G. Jung, "Wotan," originally published in 1936, now available in vol. 10 of his Collected Works, ed. Herbert Read et al. (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1964), pp. 179-93.




Loss of Eye

or Head

Sovereign Power

Gylfaginning 25 and 34 . . . . . The one-eyed Oainn directs production of a magical fetter.

Egilssaga einhendr . . . . An oppressive giant seeks to gain magic "golden eyes," but loses his own eyes instead.

Beowulf. .. . . . a) The king's foremost noble is beheaded by Grendel's mother.

b) Beowulf beheads Grendel's mother.

C) Beowulf is rewarded with advice about kingship.

Waltharius. . . . Hagano, the righteous counsellor, loses his eye, lip, and teeth.

Loss of Hand

or Arm =

Martial Force

Tyr, bravest of deities, loses his hand in the wolf's mouth.

Egil loses his hand fighting a giant and obtains aprosthetic hand-sword from a dwarf.

a) A warrior is eaten by Grendel, "feet and hands."

b) Beowulf tears off Grendel's arm.

c) Beowulf is rewarded with horses and weapons.

Waltharius, the foremost warrior, loses his hand.

Loss of Foot, Leg, or Wound to Lower Body = Production, Consumption, and Reproduction

The ravening Fenris wolf is bound by its leg.

Egil has his feet fettered and is forced to herd the giant's goats.

a) A servant enters a dragon's lair and steals a precious cup.

b) Wiglaf and Beowulf wound the dragon in the underbelly.

c) Wiglaf gains the dragon's gold, jewels, and treasure.

Guntharius, the unworthy, greedy king, loses his leg.

Germains, published in 1939, but written in 1936, as France anguished over Hitler's rearmament of the Rhineland. When it appeared, French readers, including Marc Bloch, understood it as a genealogical inquiry into German militari~rn.~~

DumCzil invited this reading, particularly in the book's final chapter, where, after observing that the Romans, Celts, and Indo-Iranians possessed strong and conservative priestly institutions,

49 Bloch's review appeared in the Revue historique, 190 (1940): 274-76, and Dumkzil made much of it when responding to Ginzburg.

he argued that the absence of such institutions among the Germans per- mitted a distinct "slippage" (glissement) in their mythology, which dif- ferentiated it from that of all other Indo-European peoples.50

That mythology and these gods evolved in a military direction. In particular, the sovereign magician 0ainn developed warrior powers that his Indo-European pro- totype possessed only in embryonic form. . . . The "furor" that is legitimately at- tributed to him became ever more oriented toward war. King of the gods and god of the king, master of runes and patron of priests, it seems he was only able to main- tain and expand his prestige by transforming himself from king (rex)and priest (sacerdos)into war-leader (dux),and becoming celestial guarantor of a vague sort of "Teutonic Order," in which a whole people could find themselves mobili~ed.~'

Here, DumCzil tried to relieve Indo-Europeans of responsibility for German militarism and to place the blame on the Germans' misguided deviation from proper Indo-European ideals. To that end, he argues that without strong royal and priestly institutions-which Maurassians con- sidered the indispensable foundation of any well-ordered society-the Germans were unable to hold the violence of their warriors in check. As proof, he points to the head of their pantheon: the terrifyingly militarized bainn, whom he depicts as the mutant spawn of more properly sover- eign forebears.

Going further, he suggested that the "militarization" of German my- thology secured for it a unique fate. In contrast to the Greek, Roman, and Celtic myths, which-having been entrusted to priests-gave way to the Christian conversion, Germanic stories survived in a host of he- roic legends that were ready to be reactivated by Wagner, the Romantics, and others.52 As a result, "the Third Reich did not have to create its

"' Here Dumezil expanded upon a line of analysis that was introduced in the final year of the first World War, and was much more influential on French than on German scholars (for obvious reasons): Joseph Vendryes, "Les correspondences de vocabulaire entre l'indo- iranien et l'italo-celtique," Memoires de la Socikre de linguisrique de Paris 20 (1918): 265-85.

5' Dumezil, Mjrhes er dieux des Germains (n. 24 above), pp. 153-54: "[Clette mythol- ogie, ces dieux, ont evolue dans le sens militaire. En particulier, le souverain magicien dainn a dCveloppe les puissances guerrikres que son prototype indo-europeen ne contenait qu'8 l'etat de germes. Sans &tre proprement un combattant, Oainn s'interesse aux combat- tants, les anime, les soutient, les rCcompense, les preside. La afureurn qui lui est legitime- ment attribuee, de plus en plus, s'est tournee vers la guerre. Dieu roi et dieu du roi, maitre des runes et patron des pr&tres, il semble qu'il n'a pu maintenir et etendre son prestige qu'en se transmuant de <<rexn et de ~~sacerdos>>

en *dux>>, qu'en devenant le garant celeste d'une sorte de vague uOrdre Teutoniquen oh tout un peuple se trouvait mobilise." Use of the Latin terminology rex and dux derives from and alludes to Tacitus, Germania, chap. 7.

52 Dumezil, Myrhes er dieux des Germains, pp. 155: "Peut-&tre est-ce cette umilitarisa- tionu, dejh prehistorique, de la mythologie qui lui a assure une fortune 8 peu prt-s unique: car elle n'est pas morte avec les formes exterieures du paganisme; ou, ce qui revient au m&me, elle a ressuscite au XIXe sikcle, elle a repris une valeur qu'il n'est pas excessif de qualifier de religieuse et nous la voyons, de nos yeux, reprendre possession des Germains continentaux, les disputer aux disciplines et aux habitudes chretiennes, avec toute la fre- nesie d'une revanche."

"reign of Mithothyn" stands for private property, precisely calibrated compensation, graduated distinctions, lineal inheritance, and the rule of law.56 This fantastic construction permitted DumCzil to offer a structural logic, deep prehistory, and obvious moral for the contemporary situation: Whereas all other Indo-European peoples (even Anglo-Saxons and Scan- dinavians) had established socioeconomic systems of the Mithothynic type, only the continental Germans and Slavs-that is, the Nazis, Sovi- ets, and their ancestors-made the mistake of exercising the 0ainnic option.57

Although published in 1940, Mitra-Varuna was based on DumCzil's 1938-39 lectures on the dual nature of the sovereign function,58 a con- cept he apparently used to assess and explain the ills of the world around him. In much of this book, he considered Roman and Indic examples cur- sorily mentioned in Mythes et dieux des Germains, while streamlining the earlier book's argument so that Tyr eclipsed Mithothyn and the other deities he had auditioned for the part of 0ainn's antithesis: the reassuring warrior-turned-sovereign who balances the dangerous sovereign-turned- warrior.59

For that role, Tyr had a clear advantage over his rivals, since he alone figured in a myth-"le manchot et Ie borgneV-that could be compared with Roman and other materials, thereby anchoring the claim that dual sovereignty has an Indo-European pedigree. Tyr also had a significant drawback, however, for he was widely understood as a god of war: the

Dumkzil, Mitra-Varuna (n. 25 above), pp. 152-59. The phrases I have used in the above description come directly from the text: The Oainnic system is thus described as "un aconfusionisme)>,un <ananismen permanente" (p. 157), "<<l'Cconomie mouvante et totali- tairen patronnee par *WBaanaz" (p. 157), "le regime communisant . . . apte B satisfaire et B contenir la plebe" (p. 155), "une morale heroique et anticapitaliste" (157). The Mith- othynic has: "propriete morcelee, sable, hereditaire" (p. 157), "propriete avec compensa- tion precise" (p. 157), "une repartition aussi rigoureuse et aussi claire que possible des biens" (p. 157), "al'economie stable et liberaleo patronnee par *Tiwazn (p. 156), "la pro- prikte hereditaire, le bien familial" (p. 158). In DumCzil, Les dieux souverains des Indo- Europe'ens (n. 32 above), this system of contrasts has been reworked to place the opposition of private property and communism at its center (pp. 200-202).

57 Dumezil, Mitra-Varuna, pp. 157-59. His statement regarding the Slavs is guarded, but suggestively open-ended: "Or chez les Slaves, jusqu'en pleine epoque historique, ont existe des formes de propriete collective avec redistribution periodique; la mythologie de la sou- verainete devait se modeler sur ces pratiques, et il eClt ete d'autant plus interessant de la connaitre que les dkpositaires humains de la souverainete paraissent avoir ete, chez les Slaves, particulierement instables. Mais tout cela est irremediablement perdu" (p. 159).

58 For a discussion of this course and its relation to Mitra-Varuna, see Dumezil, Entreriens avec Didier Eribon (n. 6 above), pp. 67-68.

59 Earlier, not only Mithothyn played this role, but also Ullr, whom Dumezil imagina- tively associated with the emergence of parliamentary institutions among the "good Ger- mans" of England and Scandinavia: "L'opposition de ces deux conceptions du pouvoir souverain semble fondamentale dans la vie des peuples germaniques: siles societes scan- dinaves et anglo-saxonnes ont, trks t&, assure la suprematie d'Ullr, et du thing, et du par- lement, et du droit precis, les Germains continentaux, ont garde la nostalgie du pur Wotan" (Dumezil, Mythes et dieux des Germains, p. 42).

second, and not the first of his "three function^."^^ If DumCzil wanted to assimilate him to stabilizing and pacific deities of other Indo-European peoples, serious touch-up work was required. This he undertook in two crucial passages of Mitra-Varuna. In the first, recalling an isolated in- scription that Frisian troops under Roman command dedicated to Mars Thincsus ("Mars of the Assembly"), DumCzil treated this as evidence that the continental version of Tyr (*Tiwaz) was not so much a warrior god as "the jurist of war, and something of a diplomat."61 This laid the groundwork for his fuller discussion.

Tyr's action [in binding the wolf] is precisely that expected of the jurist god. It is necessary to conclude with the enemy a pact-cum-snare, with a pledge that has been lost from the start: Tyr, alone of all the gods, gives this pledge. The wolf is foolish enough to accept the contractual risk of an exchange in which the god's mutilation will compensate him for his total defeat: Tyr, the heroic master of le- gal maneuver, seizes this opportunity. . . .Previously, we recalled that the *Tiwaz (or Mars Thincsus) of the continental Germans was god of the Law of War, of war considered as a juridical matter. One must calculate how far this domain extends. . . . How far does one commit oneself when one commits? How does one engage the enemy in one of those treaties that is just as good as an ambush? How does one respect the letter and betray the spirit of one's oath?62

This passage was written in the immediate aftermath of Munich, where Chamberlain and Daladier gave up Czechoslovakia for Hitler's promise

60 See the literature cited above, n. 26.

61 DumCzil, Mitra-Varuna, pp. 149-50: "Quel genre de rapports *Tiwaz-Mars soutient- il avec la guerre? D'abord des rapports qui ne sont pas exclusifs, car il a d'autres activitCs: il est qualifiC sur plusieurs inscriptions de Thincsus; il est donc siirement, en dCpit d'inter- rninables discussions, protecteur du thing (allemand Ding), du peuple assemblC en corps pour juger et dtcider. Mais en dehors de cette importante fonction civile, dans la guerre mCme, *Tiwaz-Mars reste juriste. . . . I1 y a bien des manikres d'Ctre dieu de la guerre, et *Tfwaz en dCfinit une qui serait trks ma1 exprimCe par les Ctiquettes adieu guerriern, [[dieu combattant,; le ICgitime patron du combat en tant que coups assCnCs, c'est *Thunraz, le champion (cf. Mythes et dieux des Germains, chap. 7), le modkle de la force physique, celui que les Rornains ont traduit en Hercules. est autre chose: le juriste de la guerre, et en m&me temps une rnanikre de diplomate." Although this passage refers to "plusieurs in- scriptions," there is only one, found at Housesteads, Northumberland, dating from 225-35 c.E.; R. G. Collingwood and R. P.Wright, The Roman Inscriptions of Britain, vol. 1 (Ox- ford: Clarendon, 1965), no. 1593. DumCzil was criticized on this point and corrected himself in later publications.

DumCzil, Mitra-Varuna, pp. 166-67: "I1 est h peine besoin de souligner, et c'est un sCrieux indice de I'authenticitC de la lCgende, que l'acte de Tyr est prCcisement celui qui convient au dieu juriste. I1 faut conclure avec l'ennemi un pacte-pikge, avec une caution perdue d'avance: Tyr, seul de tous les Ases, donne cette caution. L'ennemi a eu la sotisse d'accepter le risque contractuel d'un Cchange oh la simple mutilation d'un dieu compense- rait sa dCfaite totale: Tyr, procCdurier hCrolque, saisit l'occasion. . . . Nous rappelions, au prCcCdent chapitre, que le *Tiwaz (ou Mars Thincsus) des Germains continentaux Ctait le dieu du Droit de la Guerre, de la guerre considCrCe comme matikre juridique. I1 faut me- surer jusqu'ob s'Ctend ce domaine: dks les temps les plus anciens, puisqu'il s'agissait dtjh de droit, la grande affaire a dB Ctre de sauver les formes, d'agir au mieux des inttr&ts de son peuple sans se donner les torts internationaux; dans quelle mesure s'engage-t-on lorsqu'on s'engage? Comment engager l'ennemi dans un de ces traitis qui valent une embuscade?'

of "peace in our time." Its closing questions are hardly idle. Thematiza- tion of Tyr as a master of legal maneuver (proce'durier he'rofque) clearly provided a way to treat concerns beyond the antiquarian and academic.

Tyr remains a deity best understood as a god of war. The danger of overcomplicating him, however, is equaled by that of oversimplifying DumCzil, and I do not mean to claim that my treatment has been exhaus- tive. Here-as elsewhere-the positions adopted by this extraordinarily learned and subtle scholar were surely overdetermined. But if one de- spairs of sorting out all he was up to, one can at least dispense with the jejune assertion that his work was scrupulously apolitical. His treatment of Tyr and other Germanic gods involved not just one political subtext, but no fewer than six, which may be recapitulated as follows.

The Ariophile/Germanophobe, French-nationalist subtext: Germans are different from and more dangerous than all other Indo-European peoples (bainn as a sovereign deity whom the Germans distorted to- ward war).

The paci$st/defeatist subtext: It may be possible to maintain peace with Germany. Indeed, it is presumptuous and provocative to assume the worst of Hitler (Tyr as legal sovereign and a reasonable alterna- tive to ~ainn).~~

The xenophobe subtext: Even peace can be treacherous, and treaties with Germans or others (e.g., the may be a trap (Tyr as master of legal maneuver and deceiver of the wolf ).

The anti-communist subtext: Private property and differentiated sta- tus are the foundations of a stable order. Egalitarian and communal experiments, however exciting or popular they may be, cause confu- sion, disruption, and danger ("Reign of bainn," in contrast to that of Mithothyn).

The royalist/Maurassian subtext: An integrated class hierarchy is ideal. Church and king are essential to the maintenance of such an order (Germanic "slippage" and the system of "three functions").

The pro-fascist/anti-Nazi subtext: By preserving good relations with the Vatican and the monarchy, and by holding his blackshirts account-

63 Also relevant is DumCzil's view of Freyr, about whom he rhapsodized: "il y a une mystique, une mythologie de la <<paixa, d'une paix incomparable, veritable Bge d'or, qui correspond sSrement a l'une des plus sincCres aspirations de 1'Lme germanique" (Mythey er diem des Germains [n. 24 above], p. 128).

64 Note that Hitler used a Franco-Soviet agreement of February 1936 as his pretext for repudiating the Locarno Pact and rearming the Rhineland, claiming that in so doing he sought a new basis for peace in the face of French provocation. A focal audience for this preposterous argument was the French Right, which had bitterly opposed the Soviet treaty.

able to a few legal norms, Mussolini avoided Hitler's worst mistakes. Italy under fascism is a dynamic and well-ordered society, with which France ought align itself and from which the French could learn things. (Although it would take a lengthy discussion to work out the details, this subtext is evident in DumCzil's treatment of Roman data: Romu- lus and Numa, Jupiter and Dius Fidius, Luperci and Flamines, celeritas and gravitas. Just as DumCzil represented Germany in Mythes et dieux des Germains as the society in which Indo-European ideals were most seriously deformed, so conversely, in Mitra-Varuna Rome is one in which the same patterns were most faithfully preserved. Insofar as these patterns remain valid ideals, Germany-ancient and modern- appears as the problem, while Rome and its contemporary heir appear as the sol~tion.)~~

Not all of these subtexts are advanced with equal consciousness, clar- ity, or commitment. Nor are the relations among them worked out in any systematic fashion. Indeed, it is possible to perceive a certain confusion among them, reflecting the contradictory impulses of those on the French Right in the late 1930s, whose nationalism made them antagonistic to Germany, at the same time their ideology made them sympathetic to many of Hitler's po~itions.~~

That DumCzil held such views is hardly sur- prising, given the circles he frequented during those years and what we know from his pseudonymous writings. What differentiates him from oth- ers of like opinion is the intricate scholarly code he developed, through which he made the arcane data of Indo-European mythology serve as the vehicles for his views, and through which his work came to command the attention of scholars everywhere. The body of work he produced is so challenging, so dense, and so influential that it deserves continued atten- tion, but attention of a critical variety. Finally, when those on the New

65 See further Cristiano Grottanelli, "Ancora DumCzil: Addenda e Corrigenda," Quaderni di Storia 39 (1994): 195-207, esp. pp. 198-200; and Hollier (n. 13 above), pp. 33-41. Although some aspects of Hollier's discussion are open to question, he rightly characterizes DumCzil's view of sovereignty as a theory of church-state rapprochement, in the manner of Mussolini's Concordat with the Vatican (p. 33). The same point is made, for very different purposes, by Alain de Benoist, L'e'clipse du sacre' (Paris: La Table Ronde, 1986), p. 107.

Antagonism to Germany during this period was best exemplified by Maurras, and Ger- manophilia by Robert Brasillach. DumCzil's close friend Pierre Gaxotte made the transition from the former position to the latter over the course of the 1930s, as did another of their compatriots from the &ole Normale SupCrieure, Pierre Drieu la Rochelle. It is worth noting that in the year after the fall of France, Drieu published an excerpt from Georges DumCzil's Jupiter Mars Quirinus (Paris: Gallimard, 19411, in which DumCzil extolled the long history of Indo-European conquests and called for the French and Germans to set aside their frat- ricidial quarrels, in "L'Ctude comparCe des religions indo-europiennes: Notes sur la mCth- ode," Nouvelle Revue Fran~aise (1941), pp. 385-99. On Drieu's embrace of Nazism in this period and through this venue, see Lionel Richard, "Drieu la Rochelle et la Nouvelle Revue Fran~aisedes annCes noires," Revue d'histoire de la deuxieme guerre mondiale 25 (1975): 67-84.

Right, like Alain de Benoist, cite DumCzil's writings in support of their positions-their fondness for hierarchy and authority, for example, their antipathy toward egalitarianism, the ideals of the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, or their triumphal view of "Indo-Europeans" as su- perior to all other peoples, due to their "trifunctional ide~lo~y"~~-we may suspect them of appropriating nothing other than positions of the Old Right that have been brilliantly recoded and misrepresented first as ancient wisdom, and second as scholarly disco~rse.~~

University of Chicago

67 Regarding relations between de Benoist (on whom, see also n. 3 above) and DumCzil, see Maurice Olender, "Georges DumCzil et les usages upolitiques,, de la prChistoire indo- europCenne," in Les Grecs, les Romains, et nous: L'Antiquite', est-elle moderne? ed. Roger- Pol Droit (Paris: Le Monde Cditions, 1991), pp. 191-228. Also relevant are Taguieff (n. 3 above), pp. 173-80; Eribon, Faut-il brliler Dume'zil (n. 10 above), pp. 283-88; and Sergent, "Penser-et ma1 penser-les indo-europtens" (n. 4 above), pp. 678-81. Most of these take pains to defend DumCzil himself and to depict him as badly served by those who would appropriate his views for their own purposes. Frequently, they emphasize the fact that although DumCzil permitted Alain de Benoist to include him on the Comite' de patronage of Nouvelle e'cole, flagship publication of the New Right, he immediately withdrew upon publication of the special issue ostensibly, but somewhat abusively, published in his honor ("Georges DumCzil et les ttudes indo-europCennes," Nouvelle e'cole 2 1-22 [Winter 1972- 731). Portions of this volume were republished in the Maitres a penser series, ed. de Benoist, alongside a similar volume devoted to Julins Evola: Jean-Claude Rivikre, ed., Georges Du- me'zil: A la de'couverte des Indo-Europe'ens (Paris: Copernic, 1979). Such a construction is possible, although de Benoist describes the affair in different terms, Nouvelle e'cole 45 (February 1989), pp. 138-39. It is also worth noting that as late as 1978-six years after the sup- posed breach-DumCzil granted a very friendly interview to de Benoist: Jean Varenne and Alain de Benoist, "Georges DumCzil: L'explorateur de nos origines," Le Figaro Dimanche (April 29-30, 1978), p. 19.

Some, at least, are quite open about this, like Jean Boissel, who credits Gobineau- and not Dumtzil-as the first to have described Indo-European trifunctionalism, Gobineau, ['orient et l'lran (Paris: Klincksieck, 1973), 1:166, n. 170, with reference to Dumtzil's Jupiter, Mars, Quirinus and Comte de Artur Gobineau's Histoire des Perses (Paris: Henri Plon, 1869; reprint edition, Tehran, 1976 under the patronage of Her Imperial Highness Princess Ashraf Pahlavi).

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