Frijjō

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The Welschingen-B bracteate (IK 389)
The Oberwerschen-B bracteate (IK 311)

*Frijjō ("Frigg-Frija") is the reconstructed name or epithet of a hypothetical Common Germanic love goddess, the most prominent female member of the *Ansiwitz (gods), and often identified as the spouse of the chief god, *Wōdanaz (Woden-Odin).

Name[edit]

The theonyms in West Germanic are Anglo-Saxon *Frīg, Old High German Frīja, Low German (Lower Saxony) Frike, Freke (Fru Freen, Fru Frien, Fru Freke, Fru Frick, Fuik, Frie)[1] and Lombardic Frea. The name of the Anglo-Saxon goddess is attested only in the name of the weekday, although frīg (strong feminine) as a common noun meaning "love" (in the singular) or "affections, embraces" (in the plural) is attested in poetry.[2]

The name * Frijjō (Old Norse Frigg, Old High German Frīja) ultimately derives from PIE *prih-y(a)h, cognate to Sanskrit priya "dear, beloved",[3] which however in Germanic split into two etymons, one covering the semantic field of "love, courtship, friendship" (English friend), the other the field of "freedom" (English free).[4]

The weekday Friday in English is named after for the goddess Frigg (Old English frigedæg). Friday in Old Norse was called both Freyjudagr and Frjádagr,[citation needed] in Faröese fríggjadagur, and in Old High German never *Frouwûntac, but Frîatac, Frîgetac, now Freitag.

There is some evidence that the epithet *frawjō "lady" was applied to this goddess. The two names were confused from early times, especially in Old English, where the stem of *frīj- appears as frēo-, frīo-, frēa- (a contraction of *īj- and a following back vowel) beside a less frequent stem form frīg- (/fri:j-/), by development of a glide between ī and a following front vowel. The two forms would originally have figured in complementary distribution within the same paradigm (e.g. masculine nominative singular frēo, masculine genitive singular frīges), but in attested Old English analogical forms are already present and the distribution is no longer complementary[5] Jacob Grimm stated "We gather from all this, that the forms and even the meanings of the two names border closely on one another. Freyja means the gladsome, gladdening, sweet, gracious goddess, Frigg the free, beautiful, loveable; to the former attaches the general notion of frau (mistress), to the latter that of frî (woman)." The linguistic discussion of these names is complicated by issues of Germanic Verschärfung. Old Norse Frigg, friggjar-dagr is related to frakkr "free, bold", cognate to Old English frēo, Gothic freis "free". See also "Frigg and Freyja origin hypothesis".

Characteristics[edit]

Both Frigg and Freyja are associated with weaving, combining the aspects of a love goddess and a domestic goddess.[6]

In Sweden and some parts of Germany, the asterism of Orion's Belt is known as her distaff or spindle.[7]

Fulla is named as Frija's sister in the Merseburg charms. in Norse mythology Fulla is one of a train of sixteen goddesses each performing a task representing an aspect of Frigg's, among them also Freyja (Gefjun).[citation needed]

Various female figures in medieval folklore have been traced to Frigg-Frija: the Saxon Fru Freke, Gode, Perchta (Bertha), Holda (Holle). According to Rudolf Much, "Jordh, Frigg, Freyja, Nerthus, Fulla, Nanna, and others are essentially the same, personifying life, producing nature."[8]

B7 bracteates[edit]

The "woman" type of bracteates (Frauenbrakteaten, type B7, also called Fürstenberg or Oberwerschen type) has been identified as possibly depicting Frigg-Frija.

There are five known bracteates of this type: IK 259 (Großfahner-B); IK 311 (Oberwerschen-B); IK 350 (site of discovery unknown, reportedly from "south-western Germany"); IK 389 (Welschingen-B); and IK 391 (Gudme II-B).[9] In each of them the female figure depicted is holding a cross-shaped staff, interpreted as a distaff. IK 350 is additionally decorated with a number of crosses, and IK 259 has additional swastikas. Iconographically related are five gold bracteates found in Hüfingen, Bavaria.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The k isn't a reflex of Old Norse ggj (as implied by Paul Hermann 1903), but a diminutive, as it were Frija-ke, Frea-ke (Elard Hugo Meyer, Mythologie der Germanen 1903).
  2. ^ OED s.v. "Friday".
  3. ^ Wodtko et al., Nomina im Indogermanischen Lexikon, Heidelberg (2008) ISBN 978-3-8253-5359-9, s.v. "preyH", pp. 568-573.
  4. ^ Gothic frijôn translates φιλειν, αγαπαν "to love". Anglo-Saxon freogan, freon Old Saxon friehan. Also cognate are the Germanic terms for friend. The Old High German verb frijôn "nubere, uxorem ducere, woo, to take a wife" (Modern German freien) contrasts with frijan "liberare". It is foreign to Upper German, and was probably adopted from Low German (Grimm).
  5. ^ OED s.v. "free"; A. Campbell Old Eng. Gram. (1959) §410.
  6. ^ Mythological Women: Studies in Memory of Lotte Motz, 1922-1997, Fassbaender, 2002, ISBN 978-3-900538-73-6, p. 70; M. J. Enright, The Goddess Who Weaves. Some Iconographic Aspects of Bracteates of the Fürstenberg Type. In: FMSt 24, 1990, 54-70.
  7. ^ Edwardes and Spence (1913); in Swedish both Friggerock "Frigg's distagg" and Frejerock "Freyja's Distaff", see Schön, Ebbe. (2004). Asa-Tors hammare, Gudar och jättar i tro och tradition. Fält & Hässler, Värnamo. p. 228.
  8. ^ cited after Edwardes and Spence (1913).
  9. ^ a b Pesch (2007:125-128)

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]