Trogillus Arnkiel's
 Cimbrische Heyden-Religion
The Cimbrish Heathen Religion
The Cimbri Nation consisting of the Saxons, the Goths, the Vandals and the Frisians
(1702 Edition)

Used here as a general term for Germans, the Cimbri are a Celtic or Germanic tribe, who originated from a region corresponding to Jutland in modern Denmark. Although there is no clear indication of a mass migration from Jutland during the late Iron Age,  the Gundestrup Cauldron, which was deposited in a bog in Himmerland in the 2nd or 1st century BC,  shows that there was contact with this region and southeastern Europe.  In the 2nd century BC Geography of Ptolemy, the Kimbroi are located in the northernmost part of the peninsula of Jutland. Some time in the late 2nd century BC, bands of Cimbri and Teutones left Jutland and began to migrate south. Traveling together in a rough alliance, they soon encountered Roman-allied tribes north of Italy. The Cimbri and Teutones proved themselves to be effective warriors, defeating a number of the tribes in Gaul and Hispania. Cimbri residing in northeastern Europe are also reported as ravaging Italy  circa 90-88 BC and as dwelling in northern Jutland in the 1st century AD.
These are their gods, according to the best scholarship of 1691.


Prior to the discovery and dissemination of the Poetic Edda in 1643, these were the best reports of the Gods of Northern Europe. The first translation and full printing of the Eddic poems would not occur until 1787-1812. Thus Arnkeil's work gives us a glimpse of what the Germanic pantheon looked like in the popular mind, before the Codex Regius had been found.

Besides discussing the Gods of the Germanic tribes, as known at the time, this book contains information and illustrations of divinities and fantastic creatures from other world mythologies. Here I have only included the images of the dieties in the Germanic sphere. Some of the illustrations in this book appear to be based on those in Elias Schedius' De Diis Germanis (1648). Some of these gods are familiar to us and others are not. Where the author cites a source for a deity,  I have provided the reference and any additional information where possible.
The illustrations herein remained influencial into the early decades of the 19th century, reprinted in other works or in derivative form (see below).

Title Page

This image (left) is based on an illustration from manuscript Nks 1867 4to of Snorri's Edda (right). As told in the opening scene of Gylfaginning, Swedish King Gylfi, in disguise as Gangleri, questions Hárr, Jafnhárr, and Þriði— High, Just-as-High, and Third—presumably a threefold representation of Odin himself. The author demonstrates his very limited knowledge of Snorri's Edda beginning on page 86.
 Nks 1867 4to  111v.
[Det Kongelige Bibliotek in Copenhagen]


These images of Odin, Thor and Frigg are based on a woodcut first published in
 Olaus Magnus'
A Description of the Northern Peoples (1555), which  also inspired
Richard Verstegan's Saxon Idols in Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities (1605). 

   The Saxon Gods: The Namesakes of the Weekdays
Sun, Moon, Tuisco, Wodan, Thor
(not pictured), Freyja, Seater

See Richard Verstegan's Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities (1605).  



The illustrated horn clearly shows images of mythic beings and creatures, including the lady with the mead cup, twin gods, a three-headed giant, and animal-headed beings. This is a drawing of the first of two golden horns known today as the Gallehus Horns found in 1639 and 1734. This horn, the longer of the two, had seven segments with ornaments, to which six plain segments and a plain rim were added, possibly in the 17th-century by a restorer. Both of the original horns were stolen in 1805 and melted down.


These images of Freyr (Fro), Mitothin, and Vagnoff are based on a woodcut from Olaus Magnus' A Description of the Northern Peoples (1555). Their names characters ultimately derive from figures found in Books I-IX of Saxo Grammaticus' Danish History. These gods are not clearly identified in the original, however the text appears to indicate that the first figure is Mitothin, chief priest of the gods, and the second is Freyr, a deputy of the gods. The name of the third figure, Vagnoff, is probably a misreading of Vagnhofthi, a giant who assists Hadding in the first Book of Saxo's Danish History.     

See Also Richard Verstegan's
 Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities


An Image of Mercury, also called Wodan

This image of the god Irminsul (left)  is clearly based on Conrad Bote (also called Botho)'s image of the Idol Armesule in his Saxon Chronicle of 1492 (right):

These, in turn, appear to be related to an illustration from Sebastian Münster's Cosmographia c. 1590 (right),  depicting a god of war and commerce:
His inspiration for this is likely a reference in the 12th century
Kaiserchronik, concerning the origin of the designation Wednesday and therefore probably describing the god Woden (Odin), which reads:
ûf ainer irmensiule
stuont ain abgot ungehiure,
daz hiezen si ir choufman.
"On an Irminsul
stands an enormous idol
which they call their merchant."

An Irminsul is properly a kind of pillar attested as an object of worship among the ancient Saxon tribes. From this, a Germanic god Irmin, inferred from the name Irminsul and the tribal name Irminones, was once presumed to have been the national god of the Saxons. The first reference to an Irminsul, as the chief seat of the Saxon religion, appears in the Royal Frankish Annals (772AD). During the Saxon wars, Charlemagne repeatedly orders its destruction. The Irminsul is described as located near Heresburg (now Obermarsberg), Germany. Rudolf of Fulda (AD 865) provides a description of an Irminsul in his De Miraculis Sancti Alexandri ("The Miracles of Saint Alexander"), chapter III, where he  describes the Irminsul as a great wooden pillar erected and worshipped under the open sky.

A surprisingly late source identifies the Irmunsul with an idol of the Roman God Mercury, often identified as Woden or Odin in Medieval European histories. The source links the Germanic god Mercury directly to Frau Herra (a form of the name Herke) as deities worshipped together by the ancient Saxons.  As such it’s worth quoting at length. The author is Gobelin Person (also Gobelinus Persona, 1358-1421), a prominent historian and church reformer from the bishopric of Paderborn, in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. His main work, Cosmidromius, completed in 1418, prior to the re-discovery and dissemination of a single manuscript of Tacitus’ Germania in 1425, is one of the most important historical works of the 15th century. In chapter 38, written some time before 1406, speaking of local history and superstition, he writes: 

"Charles the Great in the year of our Lord 769, took hold of the reign in the kingdom of the Franks and ruled for forty-six years; of course, three years together with his brother Carlomann and the remainder of the years ruled alone. In the second year of his reign, the General Assembly of Worms convened to decide upon the approach to the Saxon War, and they, without delay, advanced altogether with swords and fire to plunder the castle of Eresburgh, which presently is called Mount Mars in the Latin tongue, and seized the idol which the Saxons call Irminsuel, destroyed it and then took it back all the way up to the Weser River, and withdrew with twelve Saxon hostages. Understand that this idol Irminsuel is Mercury or what the Greeks call Hermes ... They consecrate the idol or statue in the aforementioned place to this god, because Irminsuel is a statue of he who is called Hermes. And because in this aforementioned place all men in the district assemble in order to sacrifice to the idol out of reverence and devote themselves to it,  that place is called Eresburgh, the Mountain of Reverence. Actually, Juno, who is called in the writings of the Greeks Hera, was worshipped in the same place before  Hermes or perhaps at the same time, thereupon they call that place Heresbergh, which is clearly the Mountain of Hera or Juno, and afterwards, when they occupied and fortified that place, call it Heresburgh, the Castle of Hera Veneration. Moreover, this Hera was worshipped by the Saxons, which can be seen by the fact that certain of the common people recite what they themselves have heard from the antiquity, just as I myself have heard, that between the festival of the Birth of Christ and the holiday of the Epiphany of the Lord, Mistress Hera flies through the air, because the pagans assign the air to Juno. And because Juno, whenever they call upon her as Ceres and depict her with bells and wings, the common people call her vrowe here (Frau Here), or corrupt the name Vor Here de Vlughet [of Flight], and believe that she herself brings abundance at that time."

The significance of this remarkable passage cannot be overstated. Written prior to the discovery of Tacitius’ Germania in 1425, it clearly identifies a local Saxon god with the Roman Mercury, information which can be gleaned from only a few other sources.  He appears to speak of local belief recording what  “certain of the common people” say they “themselves have heard from antiquity [or the ancient elders], just as I myself have heard.” Although he travelled widely throughout Italy in the company of Pope Urban VI before being ordained in 1386, Gobelin Person was a native of Paderborn, Germany who was born, lived, worked, and ultimately buried in the vicinity. Although deeply learned, he was in a position to both know and understand local legend. Remarkably, he not only identifies the local Saxon goddess known as Frau Herre with the Greek goddess Hera, the Queen of the Classical pantheon, but also with Ceres, the Roman goddess of agriculture, demonstrating that the identification was based on more than just a superficial similarity between the names Herre and Hera. Clearly drawing on local tradition which he himself has heard, he says the common folk believe she flies through the air at Christmas time bringing abundance, adding the unique detail that she is depicted with bells and wings.  These details immediately correspond to what we know of Frau Holle, whose followers are known for ringing bells, and her wings can be confirmed by images in iconography and the mythology of the region, which is well-acquainted with prophetic goddesses in the form of birds.  In addition, Gobelin directly associates her worship with the Classical god Hermes or Mercury, who is widely recognized as Odin from other sources, and this at least two decades before the re-discovery and wide dissemination of Tacitus’ book on the traits and traditions of the Germanic tribes! In addition, he precisely pinpoints the time of her flight as taking place between the Feast of the Nativity and the Feast of the Epiphany, corresponding to the Twelve Days of Christmas, the exact time of the Wild Hunt in Northern European belief.  

All copies of Germania were lost during the Middle Ages and the work was forgotten until a single manuscript was found in Hersfeld Abbey (Codex Hersfeldensis) in 1425. It was then brought to Italy, where Enea Silvio Piccolomini, later Pope Pius II, first examined and analyzed the book. This sparked interest among German humanists, including Conrad Celtes, Johannes Aventinus, and Ulrich von Hutten and beyond. The peoples of medieval Germany (the Kingdom of Germany in the Holy Roman Empire) were heterogenous, separated in distinct tribal kingdoms, such as the Bavarians, Franconians, and Swaibians, distinctions which remain evident in the German language and culture after the unification of Germany in 1871 and the establishment of modern Austria and Germany. During the medieval period a self-designation of "Germani" was virtually never used, the name was only revived in 1471, inspired by the rediscovered text of Germania, to invoke the warlike qualities of the ancient Germans in a crusade against the Turks. Ever since its discovery, treatment of the text regarding the culture of the early Germanic peoples in ancient Germany remains strong especially in German history, philology, and ethnology studies, and to a lesser degree in Scandinavian countries as well.

For additional contemporary information on Irminsul (Mercury) and Hera, see
Petrus Albinus, Saxonum Historiue Progymnasmata, 1585

An illustration of the goddess Herthe known from chapter 40 of Tacitus' Germania (c. 90AD) which reads:
“The Langobardi are distinguished by being few in number. Surrounded by many mighty peoples they have protected themselves not by submissiveness, but by battle and boldness. Next to them come the Reudigni, Aviones, Anglii, Varini, Eudoses, Suarines and Huitones protected by rivers and forests. There is nothing especially noteworthy about these states individually, but they are distinguished by a common worship of Nerthus, that is, Mother Earth, and believe she intervenes in human affairs and rides through their peoples. There is a sacred grove on an island of the Ocean, in which there is a consecrated chariot draped with a cloth, which the priest alone may touch. He perceives the presence of the goddess in the innermost shrine and with great reverence escorts her in her chariot, which is drawn by female cattle. There are days of rejoicing then and the countryside celebrates the festival, wherever she deigns to visit and to accept hospitality. No one goes to war, no one takes up arms. All objects of iron are locked away then and only then do they exercise peace and quiet, only then do they prize them, until the goddess has had her fill of society, and the priest brings her back to the temple. Afterwards the chariot, the cloth, and if one may believe it, the deity herself are washed in a hidden lake. The slaves who perform this office are immediately afterwards swallowed up in the same lake. Hence arises dread of the mysterious, and piety, which keeps them ignorant of what only those who are about to perish may see.” [—A.R. Birley translation, 1999]

Prior to the work of modern scholars who consider the reading Nerthum the most accurate, this goddess was commonly known as Herthus or Herthe based on a variant reading found in some manuscripts. John McKinnell, writing in Meeting the Other in Norse Myth and Legend (2005), explains:
“The usually accepted stemma has three families, and readings shared by the best manuscripts of any two of them are thought likely to be correct. The best X group manuscripts (Vatican, Cod. Vat. 1862, Leiden UL XVIII Periz.Q.21) read Neithum; the best y manuscripts (Cod. Vat. 1518, Codex Neapolitanus) have Nerthum, and the best Z manuscript (Iesi, Æsinas Lat. 8) reads Nertum. The sound /th/ did not exist in classical Latin, though the spelling is found in words derived from Greek or the Germanic languages (such as thesaurus 'treasure', or the name Theodoricus). Tacitus would therefore be unlikely to introduce the spelling th gratuitously. In the fifteenth century, the Italian scribes who produced most of the earliest surviving manuscripts (including the Iesi manuscript) would have a natural tendency to replace th with t, as was consistently done in their native language (see Italian tesoro, Teodorico), but would be very unlikely to do the reverse. Nerthum is therefore more probably correct than Nertum. If both Y and Z should read Nerthum, that reading must be preferred. A different stemma, proposed by Robinson, has only two groups, and the best manuscripts in both read Nerthum. Whichever stemma is correct, Nerthum therefore seems the likeliest reading, although it could represent either a grammatically masculine Nerthus or a grammatically neuter Nerthum.”

             The form Hertha is a false reading of comparatively modern origin. In 1519, Rhenanus, the pious scholar who published Tacitus, wrote Herthum for Nerthum, manifestly the same as the Old High German Herda, earth.  Based on his authority, the text of Tacitus was uniformly given as Herthum up until 1817, when editors such as Franz Passow restored Nerthum to the Latin text. That the name Nerthus is grammatically masculine in form has lead some critics such as Klaus von See to conclude that Tacitus had no genuine information about the cult of Nerthus other than this name, and therefore based his account of the Germanic ‘god’ on the Roman cult of Magna Mater (the Great Mother), a cult in which Tacitus was himself entitled to participate. Therefore, the most frequent objections to the authenticity of the Nerthus cult are based upon superficial comparisons to its Roman reflection, almost always ignoring their sharp contrasts. Besides the superficial similarity of the designations Terra Mater and Magna Mater, or more properly magna deum mater, “great mother of the gods,” scholars prone to compare the two point out the fact that both cults included a public procession which terminated with the ritual washing of the idol in a lake. The differences between these cults, however, are not insignificant, and thus there is little reason to suspect that Tacitus drew on his knowledge of the Roman cult in his description of the Germanic Earth-Mother. Tacitus describes the goddess in question as Terra Mater, not Magna Mater. The Romans knew a Tellus or Terra Mater, who had a different ceremony than the one attributed to Nerthus; cattle were sacrificed to her on the 14th of April. The worship of Cybele, the great mother of the gods, spread from its chief sanctuary, Pessinus in Phrygia, to Greece by the early fourth century and then on to Egypt and Italy. Heeding the counsel of the Sibylline oracle concerning the threat of foreign invaders, the Roman senate brought her worship to Rome in 204 BC as the first officially sanctioned Eastern cult. Lucretius provides one of the best descriptions of her festival, considered decadent even by Roman standards, as it was celebrated around the time of Julius Caesar. In one telling of her story, the goddess was born a hermaphrodite and was castrated at birth, leaving her female. Attis, her consort, was the child of a nymph, impregnated by the goddess’ discarded member. Cybele fell in love with Attis, but grew jealous of him after he was unfaithful to her and so drove him insane. He died from blood-loss after castrating himself. This myth was reenacted during the festival. In her train, men, known as Galli, castrated themselves in devotion to her, following the example of Attis. Since this practice was outlawed among the Romans, the Galli were all recruited from outside of Rome. Once a year, decked out in their exotic feminine garments, long hair and amulets, these self-mutilated eunuchs were allowed to parade a statue of the goddess, seated in a chariot pulled by wild lions, through the streets accompanied by the clatter of cymbals and the sounds of tambourines. Gathered spectators threw flower petals and coins before them. Bulls were ritually slaughtered at her increasingly elaborate feasts. During the rest of the year, the Senate confined the Galli to an enclosed sanctuary and declared that no citizen had the right to enter the annexes occupied by them or take part in their frenzied orgies. In detail, this cult is quite unlike the peaceful public procession of Nerthus, in which all iron objects were locked away. Instead of wild lions, her car was drawn by domestic cattle. A single priest, rather than a motley crew, attended her and only he was allowed to touch her sacred vehicle.

Although some scholars have pointed out possible foreign models for Tacitus’ account of the Nerthus cult, it is more probable that he based his account on native Scandinavian tradition. A divinity in a wagon is well-known in Germanic lore, thus there is little need to speculate that Tacitus borrowed the idea from Roman sources. According to Snorri’s Edda, Thor drives a wagon drawn by goats, Freyr arrives at Baldur’s funeral in a cart led by a boar, and Freyja rides in a car pulled by cats. Njörd too is known as ‘god of the wagon’ in a skaldic strophe cited in the primary manuscript of Snorri’s Edda; where other manuscripts have Vana guð (‘god of the Vanir’), Codex Regius has vagna guð. The Big Dipper (Ursa Major) was commonly known as the Wain or wagon. In skaldic poetry, Odin is known as runni vagna, "mover of wagons"; vinr vagna, "friend of wagons"; vári vagna "protector of wagons"; and valdr vagnbrautar, "ruler of the wagon-road.” The sky itself, home of the gods, is known as “the land of wagons (land vagna),” indicating that the constellations were imagined as the gods circling the heavens in their cars.
Other Germanic literary sources also support the procession of an idol in a wagon among the northern European tribes. In the latter half of the fourth century, the Church historian Sozomen (c. 400–450 AD), writing of the dangers that beset Ulphilas [Wulfias] among the heathen Goths, recounts how Athanaric, chieftain of the Thervingians, appointed Winguric (Wingureiks), a goði, to eradicate the Christian faith from the land. He placed a xoanon (wooden idol) in an armamaxa (covered carriage) and ordered it conveyed to the homes of those suspected of practicing Christianity. If they refused to fall down and sacrifice (evidently to the deity represented by the statue), their tents were set ablaze.
Sozomen says: 
“[Ulphilas] exposed himself to innumerable perils in defense of the faith, during the period that the aforesaid barbarians were abandoned to paganism. He taught them the use of letters, and translated the sacred scriptures into their own language. …Athanaric resented the change in religion that had been effected by Ulphilas; and irritated because his subjects had abandoned the superstition of their fathers, he imposed cruel punishments on many individuals; some he put to death after they had been dragged before tribunals and had nobly confessed the faith, and others were slain without being permitted to utter a single word in their own defense. It is said that the officers appointed by Athanaric to execute his cruel mandates, caused a statue to be constructed, which they placed on a chariot, and had it conveyed to the tents of those who were suspected of having embraced Christianity, and who were therefore commanded to worship the statue and offer sacrifice: if they refused to do so, they were burnt alive in their tents. But I have heard that an outrage of still greater atrocity was perpetrated at this period. Men, women, and children, who were compelled to offer sacrifice, fled from their tents and sought refuge in a church, whither also they carried the infants at the breast; the pagans set fire to the church and consumed it, with all who were therein.”[16]

 In Crimea, Winguric paraded the idol before a tent used by Christians for their church service. Those who honored the idol were spared, and the rest were burned alive in their place of worship around the year 375 AD. A total of 308 people died in the fire, of which twenty-one are known by name, written with multiple variants in manuscript. A woman called Baren or Beride, also recorded as Larisa, led the congregation in a hymn as the fire consumed them. The so-called “26 Gothic Martyrs” linked to this incident are commemorated on March 26 in the Christian Orthodox calendar and on October 29 in the Gothic calendar fragment, "in remembrance of the martyrs who with Werekas the priest and Batwin the bilaif (minister?) were burned in a crowded church among the Goths," gaminþi marwtre þize bi Werekan papan jah Batwin bilaif aikklesjons fullaizos ana Gutþiudai gabrannidai.[17] It is noteworthy that Athanaric did not persecute Christians in general, but primarily members of his own community who had converted. Since the purpose of the procession seems to be to promote prosperity, Carla O'Harris has suggested that Anthanaric's true motivation in persecuting the coverts may have been their unwillingness to participate in the time-honored rituals that would insure the well-being of the land, and therefore the community at large. His chosen means of execution, death by fire, may indicate that Athanaric saw the Christians as practitioners of witchcraft, whose religious rites would offend the gods and thereby blight the land.


[16] Historia Ecclesiastica VI, 37, translated by Edward Walford as The Ecclesiastical History of Sozomen (1855), pp. 306-7.
George W. S. Friedrichsen, 'Notes on the Gothic Calendar (Cod. Ambros. A)’, Modern Language Review 22 (1927); The ‘twenty-six’ martyrs include the twenty-one who are named, Batwin’s four children, and an anonymous man who ran up to confess his faith as the tent began to burn.


This evidence for this idol is a passage in Book XIV of Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum ("Danish History") written before 1220 AD. There he describes a statue of Suanto-Vitus ("Saint Vitus") in the following manner:
"[Waldemar I and Absalon lay siege to Arkon in Rügen, a city on a ness with precipice walls.]
"On a level in the midst of the city was to be seen a wooden temple of most graceful workmanship, held in honour not only for the splendour of its ornament, but for the divinity of an image set up within it. The outside of the building was bright with careful graving [or painting], whereon sundry shape were rudely and uncouthly pictured. There was but one gate for entrance. The shrine itself was shut in a double row of enclosures, the outer whereof was made of walls and covered with a red summit; while the inner one rested on four pillars, and instead of having walls was gorgeous with hangings, not communicating with the outer save for the roof and a few beams.
In the temple stood a huge image, far overtopping all human stature, marvellous for its four heads and four necks, two facing the breast and two the back. Moreover, of those in front as well as of those behind, one looked leftwards and the other rightwards. The beards were figured as shaven and the hair as clipped; the skilled workman might be thought to have copied the fashion of the Rügeners in the dressing of the heads. In the right hand it held a horn wrought of divers metals, which the priest, who was versed in its rites, used to fill every year with new wine, in order to foresee the crops of the next season from the disposition of the liquor. In the left there was a representation of a bow, the arm being drawn back to the side. A tunic was figured reaching to the shanks, which were made of different woods, and so secretly joined to the knees that the place of the join could only be detected by narrow scrutiny. The feet were seen close to the earth, their base being hid underground. Not far off a bridle and saddle and many emblems of godhead were visible. Men's marvel at these things was increased by a sword of notable size, whose scabbard and hilt were not only excellently graven, but also graced outside with [mounts or inlaying of] silver.
This image was regularly worshipped in the following way: Once every year, after harvest, a motley throng from the whole isle would sacrifice beasts for peace-offering before the temple of the image, and keep ceremonial feast. Its priest was conspicuous for his long beard and hair, beyond the common fashion of the country. On the day before that on which he must sacrifice, he used to sweep with brooms the shrine, which he had the sole right of entering. He took heed not to breathe within the building. As often as he needed to draw or give breath, he would run out to the door, lest forsooth the divine presence should be tainted with human breath. On the morrow, the people being at watch before the doors, he took the cup from the image, and looked at it narrowly; if any of the liquor put in had gone away he thought that this pointed to a scanty harvest for next year. When he had noted this he bade them keep, against the future, the corn which they had. If he saw no lessening in its usual fulness, he foretold fertile crops. So, according to this omen, he told them to use the harvest of the present year now thriftily, now generously. Then he poured out the old wine as a libation at the feet of the image, and filled the empty cup with fresh; and, feigning the part of a cupbearer, he adored the statue, and in a regular form of address prayed for good increase of wealth and conquests for himself, his country and its people. This done, he put the cup to his lips, and drank it up over-fast at an unbroken draught; refilling it then with wine, he put it back in the hand of the statue. Mead-cakes were also placed for offering, round in shape and great, almost up to the height of a man's stature. The priest used to put this between himself and the people, and ask, Whether the men of Rügen could see him? By this request he prayed not for the doom of his people or himself, but for increase of the coming crops. Then he greeted the crowd in the name of the image, and bade them prolong their worship of the god with diligent sacrificing, promising them sure rewards of their tillage, and victory by sea and land. ... [The people keep orgy the rest of the day to please the god.] 
... Each male and female hung a coin every year as a gift in worship of the image. It was also allotted a third of the spoil and plunder, as though these had been got and won by its protection. This god also had 300 horses appointed to it, and as many men-at-arms riding them, all of whose gains, either by arms or theft, were put in the care of the priest. Out of these spoils he wrought sundry emblems and temple-ornaments which he consigned to locked coffers containing store of money and piles of time-eaten purple. Here, too, was to be seen a mass of public and private gifts, the contributions of anxious suppplicants for blessings. This statue was worshipped with the tributes of all Sclavonia, and neighbouring kings did not fail to honour its sacrifice with gifts. ...[Even Sweyn gave a wrought cup, and there were smaller shrines. ]
 ...Also it possessed a special white horse, the hairs of whose mane and tail it was thought impious to pluck, and which only the priest had the privilege of feeding and riding, lest the use of the divine beast might become common and therefore cheap. On this horse, in the belief of Rügen, Suanto-Vitus —so the image was called—rode to war against the foes of his religion. The chief proof was that the horse when stabled at night was commonly found in the morning, bespattered with mire and sweat, as though he had come from exercise and travelled leagues. Omens also where taken by this horse, thus: When war was determined against any district, the servants set out three rows of spears, two joined crosswise, each row being planted point downwards in the earth; the rows an equal distance apart. When it was time to make the expedition, after a solemn prayer, the horse was led in harness out of the porch by the priest. If he crossed the rows with the right foot before the left it was taken as a lucky omen of warfare; if he put the left first, so much as once, the plan of attacking that district was dropped; neither was any voyage finally fixed, until three paces in succession of the fortunate manner of walking were observed. Also folk faring out on sundry businesses took an omen concerning their wishes from their first meeting with the beast. Was the omen happy, they blithely went on with their journey; was it baleful, they turned and went home.  Nor were these people ignorant of the use of lots. Three bits of wood black on one side, white on the other, were cast into the lap. Fair, meant good luck; dusky, ill.
Neither were their women free from this sort of knowledge, for they would sit by the hearth and draw random lines in the ashes without counting. If these when counted were even, they were thought to bode success; if odd, ill-fortune. [The king goes to attack the town and efface profane rites. His men make works, but he says these are needless] because the Rügeners had once been taken by Karl Cæsar , and bidden to honour with tribute Saint Vitus of Corvey, famous for his sanctified death. But when the conqueror died they wished to retain freedom, and exchanged slavery for superstition, putting up an image at home to which they gave the name of the holy Vitus, and, scorning the people of Corvey, they proceeded to transfer the tribute to its worship, saying that they were content with their own Vitus, and need not serve a strange one. [Vitus would come and avenge himself, so the king prophesies; the siege is related; the people trust their defences, and guard] the tower over the gate only with emblems and standards. Among these was Stanitia [margin, Stuatira], notable for size and hue, which received as much adoration from the Rügeners as almost all the gods together; for, shielded by her, they took leave to assail the laws of God and man, counting nothing unlawful which they liked. ... [the town is taken and fired].
[The image could not be prized up without iron tools. Esbern and Snio cut it down]. The image fell to the ground with a crash. Much purple hung round the temple; it was gorgeous, but so rotten with decay that it could not bear the touch. There were also the horns of woodland beasts, marvellous in themselves and for their workmanship. A demon in the form of a dusky animal was seen to quit the inner part and suddenly vanish from the sight of the bystanders. [The image of Suanto- Vitus is then chopped into firewood.]"
[Asalon goes against the Karentines; takes the town, and comes upon three temples of a similar kind to that at Arkon.] The greater temple was situated in the midst of its own ante-chamber, but both were enclosed with purple [hangings] instead of walls, the summit of the roof being propped merely on pillars. So the servants, tearing down the rear of the ante- chamber, at last stretched out their hands to the inmost veil of the temple. This was removed, and an oaken image which they called Rugie-Vitus [Rügen's Vitus] was exposed on every side amid mockery at its hideousness. For the swallows had built their nests beneath its features, and had piled a heap [of droppings on its breast. The god was only fit to have his effigy hideously befouled by birds. Also in its head were set seven faces, after human likenesses, all covered under a  single poll, and the workman had also bound by its side in a single belt seven real swords with their scabbards. The eighth it held in its hand drawn; this was fitted in the wrist and fixed very fast with an iron nail, and the hand must be cut off before it could be wrenched away: which led to the image being mutilated. Its thickness was beyond that of a human body, but it was so long that Absalon, standing a-tip-toe, could scarce reach its chin with the little axe he was wont to carry in his hand. The people had believed this god to preside over wars, as if it had the power of Mars. Nothing in this image pleased the eye; its features were hideous with uncouth gravings [or painting]. [It is cut down, and its own people spurn it and are converted. The assailants go on] to the image of Pore-Vitus, which was worshipped in the next town. This was also five-headed, but represented without weapons. On this being cut down they go to the temple of Porenutius. This statue representing four faces had the fifth inserted in its bosom; its left hand touched the brow, and its right the chin [It was destroyed.]
—Oliver Elton Translation (1894)
Conrad Bote of Brunswick in his Saxon Chronicle (1492) says the deity of Death was named Flins; and on the Spree, near Budissin, the place where the idol was fixed still retains the name of Flinstein, and is lithographed in Preusker's Blicke, &c. (below), with the spot more particularly designated where his figure of solid gold is said to have stood, and to have been thrown thence into the Spree below when the Germans attempted to destroy this Wendic deity. Just below the place is a cavern, said to extend to the neighbouring village, with a room full of barrels of gold. Independently of such general reports of immense riches where heathen temples are believed to have existed (and some numerous so-called ring-monies at Carnac and elsewhere, with torques, &c., would seem in some measure to countenance the idea), more sure traces of a religious Pagan station exists here in the tradition that it was a customary penance to traverse from this place to the altar of Zernibog, or Tchernebog, on the knees.

This deity has been alternately called Flins and Flint or Flynt. Richard Verstegan, writing in  Restitution of Decayed Intelligence in Antiquities (1605), describes the god pictured here in this manner:  
"They adored also the Idoll FLYNT, who had that name for his being set upon a great Flint stone. This idoll was made like the Image of death, and naked, save onely a sheete about him. In his right hand he held a torch, or as they termed it, a fire blase. On his head a Lyon rested his two fore-feet, standing with the one of his hinder feet upon his left shoulder, and with the other in his hand; which to support, he lifted up as high as his shoulder."
On page 122, Arnkiel speaks of the god Flins who stands on a flintstone as a Wendish god, citing his source as Vetus Chron. Saxon a Pomario editum p. 245. Also Schedius Syng. 3, De Diis Germanis, ch. 7.  And refers to his worship by a Vandal king Vißlou (?) in the year 90 in Swabia near Pommern and Brandenberg.
   This image is clearly based on the one below from Bote's Saxon Chronicle.

Conrad Bote of Brunswick's Chronicles of the  Saxons, 1492

On page 119, Arnkiel speaks of the Vandal goddess Siva or Siwe of Polaber or Raßberg; and Ridegast, the god of Obotrist or Meckelberg, citing his sources as Helmoldus Book I, ch. 53 and Albert Crantz, Wandalia Book 37.  The picture and the information given by Arnkeil  both appear to be drawn from Bote's Chronicle.

The principal works upon Lower Saxony in the fourteenth century are the Chronicle of Hermann Cornerus of Lübeck; in the fifteenth, Albert Crantz's Saxonia and Vandalia, as well as Conrad Bote of Brunswick's Chronicle of the Saxons.  The  direct Nether-Dutch of Bote's Picture Chronicle, printed at Mentz in 1492 under the title Cronecken der Sassen [Saxon Chronicle], is amply illustrated with woodcuts, including several of heathen gods. 

RADEGAST, “Dear Guest” or “Good Guest”, is mentioned by Adam of Bremen in his 10th century Gesta Hammaburgensis Ecclesiae Pontificum as the deity worshipped by the  West Slavic Lutician tribes in  the  city of Radgosc. In  his Chronica Slavorum, Helmold designated Radegast as a Lutician god. However, in his Chronicon, Thietmar of Merseburg wrote  that the pagan Luticians  worshipped many gods, in their holy city of Radegast, the most important of which was named Zuarasici, identified as Svarog.  Johannes Scotus, Bishop of Mecklenburg, was sacrificed to that god on 10 November 1066, during a Wendish rebellion against Christianity according to Adam of Bremen.

Mistevoi, the valiant prince of the Obotrites, served under the banner of Otto II in Italy. On his return home, he pursued the hand of the sister of the Duke of Saxony. Upon being insulted by a jealous rival, Dietrich of Brandenburg, who called him a dog of a Slav, not worthy to mate with a Christian bride, Mistevoi replied, "If we Slavs be dogs, we shall show you we bite." The pagan Slavs, ever ripe for revolt, obeyed his call. An oath of eternal enmity against the Germans and the priests was sworn before their idol, Radegast, and they rose suddenly in open rebellion (983 AD), assassinating all who fell into their hands, razing churches to the ground, and completely destroying the cities of Hamburg, Oldenburg, Mecklenburg, Brandenburg and Havelburg. The heathen party, headed by Plasso, rose up and extirpated Christianity, sacrificing John, bishop of Mecklenburg, to their gods; stoning to death St. Answar, Abbot of Ratzeburg, and twenty-eight monks; assassinating Gotteschalk in Lenzen at the foot of the altar; butchering Eppo the priest as he was offering the Holy Sacrifice upon the altar itself, and slaughtered  the rest of the Christians who were left in the sanctuary. Altogether, sixty priests were flayed alive. The heathens were, however, decisively beaten back in a pitched battle at Tangermünde.

Prono, an idol of the ancient Slavonians worshipped at Altenburg (Oldenburg) in Germany, was a statue erected on a column, holding a ploughshare in one hand , and in the other a spear and a standard. Its head was crowned, its ears prominent, and from one of its feet was suspended a little bell.  The god Prone, also Prove, is cited as appearing in Albert Crantz's Wandalia ch. 37; Schedius De Diis Germanis; Conf. Bangeretti notas in Helmoldus Book 1, chapter 84.  Helmold, writing of the pagan revival among the Wends in 1134, refers to "Prove deus Aldenburgensis terrae," Prove, God of the Oldenburg territory.  Bangert, in his notes to Helmold, notes the variant spelling Prono, which has led some scholars to associate the name with Perun. [Bangeretti notas in Helmoldus Book 1, chapter 84. ]

Helmold I, 84 “The Slavs have multiple modes of idolatry, as not all of them practice the same superstitions. Some erect strange statues in temples, as for instance the effigy in Plön which is named which is named Podaga, other deities inhabit forests and groves, for example Prove, the god of Oldenburg. Those are not represented in any effigies. But many gods are carved with two, three or even more heads.”

Helmold von Bosau describes the holy grove of the god Prove, which  grew a short distance from the city of Starigard (modern Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, Germany).  Assemblies were held and princely judgements pronounced there. A cult centre, with  another sanctuary containing an idol of Prove, was located in the princely stronghold at Starigard  of the Wagrians. The grove, which consisted of ancient oaks, enclosed an atrium, surrounded by an ornamental fence with two gates.

In the regions of present day northern Germany and Poland, the Slavs clung fiercely to their heathen religion until their final conversion, accompanied by a savage destruction of their idols in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. Presbyter Helmold provides a contemporary account of how he helped destroy one such "profane place" near Oldenburg in 1156. Led by the bishop, he writes, "we entered the atrium,  leapt the fence around the sacred trees, and having set fire to a pile of wood, made a funeral pyre, not without fear, lest we be overwhelmed by a tumult of the populace." Ceroid, Christian bishop of Altenburg, destroyed this idol with his own hand, and cut down the grove in which it was worshipped.

Gods of the Frisians

On page 112, Arnkiel states that the Frisans worshipped the gods Foseta or Fosta and Weda when the Romans came  as described in the 8th chapter of Book I of Walter's "Chron. Fres," (Chapter 8 begins on p. 118). He goes on to say that Mr. Heinrich Walter states that the Frisians (Freschen) had four gods Phoseta or Fosta, Freda, Meda and Weda.  According to p. 113, these gods appear in the "Nord-Freschen Chronick".


Nordfresische Chronik, M. Anton Heimreichs, Chapter 8 (translated by Peter Kröger):

"From the North Frisians idolatry and funerals The North Frisian have been at their first arrival pagan tribes, such as the other tribes at the same time, except Carolum M., lived in great idolatry. Initially they did not build temples for their gods or created depictions, as they considered that they could not lock them into temples or houses or depict them as human figures.

"For this reason they consecrated the green trees with many branches and twigs and worshiped there their gods. Later, as they dealt with the Romans, they learned from them to erect temples and depictions. As the maps show there was at Everschup near Garding a Templum Martis, in Uthholm south of Süderbever Templum Medae and in Eiderstedt near Cating Templum Wodae; in Nordstrand at the Süderog Templum Veneris and north of the Hoge Templum Saturni, but in Norgößharde Templum Martis, namely at the place where the church of Borkum stands (I was told that at this place in former times a pagan church stood) and in Osterharde on (the island) Amrum Templum Saturni and Phostae and on (the island) Sylt near Niblum Templum Veneris such as at the same place Templum Phostae, Wodae, Martis and Saturni stood.

"The Frisians especially honored and worshiped primarily four idols, with the names Phoseta or Fosta, Freda, Meda and Woda. Of these, Meda and Phoseta had in his right hand some arrows, and in the left hand a sheaf of corn; but Freda and Woda had on their breast a shield, a helmet on the head, at arms and legs they were naked, and they had wings on their back; leading to the conclusion that the former have been worshiped in agriculture, but the others were worshipped during wars. And I have seen on the 12 June Anno 1650 depictions of Phostä and Wödä seen next to a large horn, whereby the people have been summoned for idolatry in S. Mary's Church at Utrecht itself. But among the idols Phoseta has been the most noble one, who has been the Vesta of the mother of Saturni who was named so as she decorated the earth with flowers herbs and fruits, and which has been the most honored in all Frisian countries, of which also Heiligland (‘Holy Land’) (which is also called Farrö or Farria Insula) formerly Fosetis, Fostis and Phosteland was called; and Heiligland, because there from time immemorial have been performed many pilgrimages to the forests and the pagan temples of Phostä or Vestae.

"On their feast days they danced and jumped after finishing of idolatry and they worshiped their idol Kom, of which Mr. Richardus Petri sent me messages from the Föhringer country where he raised the idea that the same is Deus Komus comessationum nocturnarumque saltationum praeses, which is a God of eating and night dances. Such pagance as Bonifacius called it or pagan customs have not be abolished by the church easily, because not only the behaviour at these places was kept by the papacy that on Sundays and especially on the high festivals there was dancing, as Mr. Richardus Petri told me, that old people still could tell that at their time many young women on Westerlandföhr, at the Westerkirchhofpforten danced into the new year and on the afternoon after the church service."

The following map showing the temple of "Fostæ and Phoseta c. 768" (upper left) was first printed in Travels in Various Countries of Europe, Asia and Africa. 3. Ed by Daniel Edward Clarke (1819).
Derivative Works
1728 Elias Schedius
De Diis Germanis

1826 Christian August Vulpius
Handwörterbuch der Mythologie

1837 Leopold Ziegelhauser

Allgemeine Populäre Götterlehre