Thursday, 14 October 2010

Great Mother Goddess – Frame Drums – Gallis – Shaman - Shiva - Saiva - Feasts – Trinity religious division

Bronze Cybele, Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York: Bronze Cybele, Metropolitan Museum of Art. New York.
This is a Roman Empire Antiquity depiction of the Great Mother Goddess with Crown, she holds a patera and a tympanum or Tympana (frame drum). This bronze is exhibited at the Metropolitan Museum in New York.

Are there Indo- Greek- Western Roman Empire and Nordic Sami connections? The cultural connection might be via the ancient Nordic Goth (Göter) that migrated to these northern areas during "the Nordic Roman Iron Age". The ancient Goths and the indigenous people merged with time and are today the Sami people.
Compare the decor on the Roman Empire religious carriage of Cybele in the first photo with the decor on the religious carriage found in Norway, Oseberg mound grave (tumulus) in the small photo over.

The Great Mother Goddess Cybele or Kybele was a goddess of the ancient Indo-Greeks, of the Greeks and in the Roman Empire a few hundred years before and after the Common Era. Cybele is sometimes depicted with a a cornucopia (horn of plenty) and most often she holds a frame drum that resembles the Sami frame drum. She is called "Magna Mater", like the mother goddess of the Nordic Sami was called Materakka - Mater Akka or in Sami language Maadteraahkas /Máhtáráhkká . "Materakka" means "Great Mother". Cybele had ecstatic followers called "Galli" (an older roman or Latin language). In Sami language "Galles" or “Gallis” means "guy" or "old guy" (in Norwegian: kar). The Sami male thundergod was for instance called “Thora Galles”, "Thora Gallis", “Toragallis” or “Horagallis”or simply "Thor" / "Tor". The word “Horangallis” was reported by Jessen (1767). Horangallis is one of the three Worldly Gods in Sami mythology and is male, the other's are the worldly male fertility God and a female fertility goddess. You can read more and find old references about the old Sami mythologi within Saamiblog. According the Lexicon Lapponicum (1780) "Gálle" means "gold" in Sami language and "Gálletum" means Candelabra. The Sami were Sun Worshippers and have hundreds of words for "light".
Altar Roman Galli men carry a throne of Cybele, with two statues of Gallus on pedestal
Roman Galli were religious beings, here they are carrying an altar with the Great Mother Goddess, Magna Mater Cybele.

Compare the hats of the Roman Empire Galli with the Nordic Sami and Icelandic hats.
1. Old time Nordic Sami horn hat. 2. Horn hat from Iceland. 3. Sami male hat from 1500-1600's. 4 Northern Sami horn hat. Photo by Olve Utne, 2008

Detail of a Roman Mosaic, found at Low Ham in Somerset in UK. Ca. 340 CE. Photo by Udimu, 2007

Great mother Goddess of the Indo-Greek people found in Afghanistan

Roman Empire worldly Gods in the photos:
Dionysiac procession. British Museum. about 100 CE. Rome, Roman Empire. Photo by Yair Haklai, 2009. The female with a frame drum and the two other are males.
The female with a frame drum and the other two are males. Detail from a Roman Empire sarcofaag, Marmeren Romeinse sarcofaag. APM 10.854. Ca 260-280 CE. Photo by 23 dingen voor musea, 2009.

The “Galli” of the Roman Empire were male religious figures that followed goddess Cybele lead ceremonies with wild music, dance and drumming. It is told in the following dictionary (page 417) that the Galli of the pre-Christian Roman Empire were Priests, ref. Smith, William, Sir, ed. 1813-1893, Dictionary of Greek and Roman Biography and Mythology. Read more about the Galli at page 138 and in another book: The Great Mother of gods (1901) by Grant Showermanm.
Early Roman Empire mosaic in Tunisia at El Jem Museum. Dionysos procession mosaics. Photo by Damian Entwisthle, 2010

I searched for the word “Galli” in a Sanskrit dictionary and found this text:
A Sanskrit-English dictionary , etymologically and philologically arranged, with special reference to Greek, Latin, Gothic, German, Anglo-Saxon, and other cognate Indo-European languages” by Monier-Williams, Monier, Sir, 1819-1899
“We now come to the six European lines : I. The Keltic or Celtic (of the KcXrot, Herod. II. 33) is the oldest of the Aryan family in Europe, and as it has had the longest life, so it presents the greatest divergence from Sanskrit : it has been driven into a corner of the continent, viz. Brittany, by Romanic French, and into the extremities of Cornwall, Wales, Ireland, and the Highlands of Scotland by Germanic English : it has two lines, (a) the principal Keltic or Gaelic (of the Galli), comprising the Irish, Highland-Scotch, and Manx, of which the Irish is most interesting in relation to Sanskrit.” (End of Quote from page 9 Preface).

Sanskrit = Aryan according to Monier-Wiliams. Aryan speakers are the indigenous people since Vedic times of Asia (Rig Veda of the Samhitas date roughly to the period between 1500 - 1000 BCE). The Aryans are ancient Indo-Tibetan people of Western India and present Pakistan areas and in the highlands near the Himalayas such as in present Ladakh. They merged with the ancient Greeks that invaded these areas of Asia. You can see great photo of some of these ancient people in the blog Sherabs Photography.

Questions in relation with this text: Were the “Romanic” the same as the people that Christianized Europe after the fall of the Western Roman Empire? Where they migrating from the Eastern parts of Europe or the areas around the Black Sea? Referring to the population genetic research of present day, the "Romanic" people referred to by Monier-Williams are definitively not the same and should not be confused with the minority of the Romani people (i.e. Roma people) in present Europe. The Roma people seems to have a high frequency of a few newer lineages of both male Y-DNA and female mtDNA that must be of rather recent origin in India, while they also share most genetic lines with the majority of present central Europeans. From my point of view it seems likely that these ancient Romanic people could have come from the areas around the Black Sea, from the Eastern Part of the Roman Empire, particularly after the spread of Islam in those areas. These people were a merge between the Steppe peoples, the indigenous of the area, the Middle Eastern people that came with Christianity very early and the Indo-Greeks that had settled those areas very early in history.

In my search for the word “Galli” I found the following texts from two old books that make a distinction between: 1) The "Finn-Gall" Vikings that are described as the Norwegians (white strangers). 2) The “Dubh-Gall” i.e. the “black-strangers” that are described as the Danish Vikings. These “Galls” are mentioned several places in a history book called "The Pictish nation, its people, its church": - "In the eighth century the inrush of the Vikings in force began to be felt all over Pictland. These Vikings were pagans and savages of the most unrestrained and pitiless type. They were composed of Finn-Gall or Norwegians, and of Dubh-Gall or Danes. The latter were a mixed breed, with a Hunnish strain in them" (End of Quote page 448). In Lexicon Lapponicum (1780, page 201) one of the early names of the Nordic Sami people i.e. 'Lapp' was defined as 'Fenn' and according to other sources the Sami people have been (and is still by some people) called 'Finn' in Norway (e.g. Nansen, F., 1911, page 204: In Northern Mists).

A similar text is from a more mythological book “The Book of Arran”: - “In the western isles of Scotland, however, it is mainly their neighbours of Norway, akin in race and speech, who play the same part. Later a distinction appears between Finn-gall, 'white-strangers', or Norse, and Dubh-gall or ' black-strangers', the Danes ; on what grounds of difference we do not know. But so far as western Scotland is concerned it is really the Norse who matter, and finally it is so even in Ireland” (end of quote). A version of The book of Arran that is more elaborated with photos, by Balfour, J.A. (1910), but not searchable for text in the same way as the one that is already linked.

“Arran” has meaning in Scotland (Isle of Arran) and in the Nordic Sami language, and so has the words “Gall”, “Galle” and “Galli”. It seems like “Galle” means the same in Scottish / Pictish as in the Nordic Sami language - namely "Guy". “Aran” is a word in Irish and the name of a group of islands “Aran Islands” and also in the Nordic Sami language where it means “fire place” or “Árran” means “fire in the center” (e.g. Árran Lule Sami center).

Because this blog is about comparisons of cultures and the origin of the ancient Nordic Goths I have checked out the following texts: “Hymns 140-164, ascribed to Dirghatamas Aucathya: [1.141.9 d, aran na nemih paribhur ajayathah : i.32.i5 d , ardn na nemih pari ta babhava.]”. And in Page 141: Rigveda Repetitions 1 (1916) by Bloomfield, M. Another expression in volume 2 of this work: “Arãn na nemih pari tã babhuva (1.141.9, paribhur ajãyathãh) 1.32.15 ; 141.9. Expression for enfolding protection.” (page 583)
Rigveda Repetitions 2. From “Sanskrit- English Dictionary” By Monier-Williams page 80: “aran-kri (Vedic) Aran-karoti, Aran-kartitrn, to prepare, make ready; serve.” And “Aran-krit, (Vedic) acting satisfactorily; preparing, serving as a worshipper. Aran-krita, (Vedic) prepared, ready; gratified. Aran-kriti, (Vedic) service, gratification.” And “aran-gam, (P, Vedic) Aran -gacchati, Aran-gantum, means to be present, come near (in order to help), become visible, appear. See aram”. And “Aran-gama, (Vedic) means, coming near or into the presence, appearing (in order to help), becoming visible.” And “aran-gara, (Vedic) means praising readily”. It might be that the Sanskrit word "aran" have something to do with religious practices.
In this video Tani Avartanam - Umayalpuram K Sivaraman & G Harishankar plays the Kanjira. In the following link you will find interesting blogs also videos with instructions of how to play: Frame

Cybele’s frame drum is called Tympanum or tympan. I will try to find out if resembling frame-drums can be found all over the ancient Empire of Alexander the Great and in the areas of the later pre-Christian Greek- Roman Empire. This is a huge area that stretched from India in Asia to the fringes Western Europe, from Caucasus to Africa. I know about some resembling frame drums in the present areas of these ancient empires.
A large Buddhist Prayer drum - a Dyangro - at Phyang Festival , Ladakh. Photo by hceebee, July 2006. Flickr. You can see how the Dynagro is used by Buddhist in this video that is a presentation of the Taxila Buddhist civilization See also the added site in relation to Dyangro in the following list of frame drums, where you can see a photo of a Bön Buddhist shaman from Nepal using it.
Tibetan Ritual Sounds. Musical Instruments including Dyangro and Chanting

One Frame drum from North Africa is called Bendir and it was originally used to help people to change their level of consciousness. Other resembling drums in Asia, Europe and Africa are listed. As with the ancient Sami frame drum, these drums have different shapes and sizes. Some of these drums are sometimes decorated with e.g. henna or as the Nordic Sami drums with dye made from alder bark.
Adufe (Galicia, Portugal, Spain, Egypt, Morocco) / Bangu or ‘biqi gu’ (China) / Bendir (Morocco, Tunisia)/ Bodhran (Celtic, Irish) / Buben (Ukraine)/ Daf / Daff / Daffali / Dalit or Parai / Dappu/ Dayereh (Iran) / Doira or Ghaval (Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Xinjian, Turkey) / Rebana (Indonesia) / Doyra (Uzbekistan and Russia) / Duff (Duff in Egypt and Syria) / Dyangro (Tibet, Dhyangro: Photo a Bön Buddhist Shaman frame drum from Nepal) / Gome (Ghana) / Gievri, Gievrie, Kobda or Runic drum (Norway, Sweden, Finland, Russia) / Kanjari (Northern India) / Duffli or Duff (Northern India) /Kanjira, Khanjari or Ganjira (Tamil, India and Sri Lanka) / Khanjira (Kannada, India) / Malinga (West Africa)/ Mazhar (Egypt) / Pandero (Spain Portugal) / Pandeireta (Galicia, Spain) / Pandereta (Asturias, Spain)/ Panderoa (Basque) / Pandero cuadrado (Salamanca, Castile and León, Spain) /Patayani Thappu (India) / Patenge (Zaire or Democratic Republic of Congo) / Samba (Nigeria) / Sakara (Sakara: Nigeria and Liberia) / Tar, Tarr or Târa (Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia) / Tamburello and Tammorra (Italy) / Tympan or Tympanum (Early Roman Empire).
Sami frame drum exhibited in Rovaniemi, Finland. Photo by Zouavman Le Zouave, 2007. The Sami frame drums have traditionally been made in different sizes and shapes.

This drum is powerful and with it they probably helped people to enter a condition of ecstasy as the daf drummer in the added video of a Sama dance from western Persia (present Iran). This Persian culture likely has preserved ancient Indo-Greek-Roman traditions. The video under is another example of a frame drum from an old Persian culture of Western Iran. Youtube video: Tak Navazi - Daf Frame Drum

Drums of the Ancient Gods
As mentioned, these ancient drums and goddesses were also part of the Ancient Indo-Greek cultures. I do not know if the mentioned drums were used for religious purposes, however there is an old Bronze that depicts the ancient Greek God Zeus with two winged figures or pre-Christian angles. Each of these angles have two drums that resembles frame drums or tambourines.
Zeus and two angles with drums (see larger photo in the previous blogpost)

This ancient bronze supports that frame or tambourine resembling drums were used in religious practices by the people of Indo-Greek-Roman European antiquity. The drums might be depicted in the ancient art as symbols of changed level of consciousness, and in relation with feasts for the Gods.
Hellenistic banquet scene, Hadda, Gandhara. 1st century CE. Musee Guimet, Paris.

Frame drums were also used to celebrate the God Dionysus / Bacchus (Hellenistic God of the Underworld that was the son of Zeus) in festivals called Bacchanalia. The Gods are depicted in Bacchanalia on reliefs of the Hellenistic world and of the ancient Indo-Greek Buddhist world: Bacchanalia in ancient Gandhara (present Pakistan), or in Greek Antiquity (Bacchanalia in ancient Greece) and in ancient Rome where Dionysus was called Bacchus (Bacchanalia in Roman Antiquity).
Photo Marsyas, 2006. Bacchantes Marble Greece Pirée. Dionysus rython, phiale, Paideia woman, tympanon drum, 400 av. J. – C. Nat. arch. Museum, Athens. Pay attention to the frame drum held up by the figure to the left in this relief.

The ancient Greeks had frame drums with sun-symbols and crosses in the middle of the drumhead. Here are a few examples:

I. Satyr and Maenad with a frame drum with cross. ca. 350 BCE Greek Vase.

II. Ancient Seiren from Red figure vase Paestan, ca. 340 BCE

III. Apulian Red-figured Calyx - Krater. Attributed to the Underworld Painter, circa 335 BCE

IV. The sun symbol is in the middle of the frame drum in his Greek vase found in southern Italy, about 400-375 BCE.

Norwegian Sami artist Mari Boine in Warszawa, September 2007. Photo by Henryk Kotowski, 2007. Wikimedia Commons.

As the ancient people of the Roman Empire, the Nordic & Russian Sami people have religious drums of different types: Sami drum A, Sami drum B and Sami drum C. More commonly used were the Sami frame drums. Only a few of these ancient drums are preserved (Old drums): Sami frame drum 1, Sami frame drum 2 and Sami frame drum 3. All of these different kinds of drums were used by the Sami Noaide-priests both for (what by some is called) "runic magic" and additionally to help the Noaide-priest to enter a trance so that it was possible to travel to a particular level of consciousness or between different levels of consciousness.
Extra large Sami frame drum (Gievrie, Gievri, Goavddis, Goabdis, Gåbdis, Meavregárri, Kyömdes, Kobda or runebomme, rammetromme, trolltromme, trolltrumme and shaman drum, sjamantromme) used by the Sami people in Porsanger, Finnmark, Northern Norway. This is documentation (before the era of photography)done by a Christian priest - Knud Leem - in the early 1700's and published in the mid 1700's. In the following link you can see Remains of a Sami drum frame from Norfold, Nordland in Norway.

Sami priests Noaide - Noida - Shaman - "Sramana" (sanskrit)
Not much is known about the ancient Nordic Goth religious practices or priests. More is known about the ancient Nordic Sami priests that from ancient times are called Noaide. Present Sami dialects have different, but resembling names such as: Noaidi (northern), Noajdde (Lule), Nåejttie (Southern), Nõjjd (Skolt), Niojte (Ter) and Noojd or Nuojd (Kildin) (Source: Other reported names are Noaid (Scheffer, 1674), Noida and Noita is reported by Ganander (1762) and by others they were called "Noidat". There is a place in Uttar Pradesh, India which is called Noida. In Lexicon Lapponicum (Lindahl, Öhrling and Ihre, 1780, page 298- 299) the Sami priests were called "Noita", "Nåita", "Naite", "Nåite" (Náites) or Naide and they can do something called Naitotem (page 299). "Totem" is a very uncommon word in a Nordic context, the only word that I know of is a place in Kalmar, Sweden with the name "Totemala" or "Totemåla". The word Shaman is often used at present time in relation to the Sami priests, I do not know if this description were used by the ancient Sami people themselves, or if the word have been used in old texts about the Sami religious practices. In Buddhism "a samanera" (pali: sãmanera, Sanskrit: srãmanera) is a novice monk or samana. Buddhism does not use the word “Noid” or “Shaman” (the latter word is by some is used for the Sami priest at present time). However in early Buddhism there is a word Shramana i.e. “śramaṇa” that is mentioned in Dhammapada (Pali language) (Sanskrit: Dharmapada) and this word likely has a connection to the present word “shaman” which is said to be of Siberian origin. According to Gethin (1998) the Sanskrit word “śramaṇa” has a meaning in early Buddhism and refers to Dhammapada verse 265: “samitattā pāpānaŋ ʻsamaṇoʼ ti pavuccati” means “someone who has pacified evil is called samaṇa". I have not yet checked the Rig Veda Samhita for words of similar meaning as Noide or shaman (see side panel in this blog for downloadable translated versions). The word "Sramana" has a religious meaning in Sanskrit (Page 1024, Monier-Williams) where the word is described as, ã or i, am, making effort or exertion (probably as in "Sram" which means to make an effort, exert one's self, take pains). Relevant for this context is that the word "Sramana" in sanskrit can mean "a Buddhist ascetic". "Sam-an" means in Vedic Sanskrit "to breathe again, come to life" and "samãna" means one of the five vital airs (page 1068).

Monier-Williams p. viii: “By Pali or Pall is meant one of the oldest forms of the ancient provincial Hindu-i language of which Sanskrit is the learned form, It must have been spoken either in Magadha or in some district not far from Oude, where Buddha flourished, and being carried by the Buddhists into Ceylon became their sacred language, and is preserved in their canonical scriptures called Tri-pitaka. Prakrit is the name given to other and later provincial forms of Sanskrit, which were the precursors and parents of the present Hindu dialects, Hindi, Marathi & c.”

Samana or Sramana (Sanskrit) is a word mentioned several places in Dhammapada, a collection of verses; being one of the canonical books of the Buddhists : Unknown : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive. Two of the verses are:
“264. Not by tonsure does an undisciplined man who speaks falsehood
become a Samana; can a man be a Samana who is still held captive by
desire and greediness?
265. He who always quiets the evil, whether small or large, he is
called a Samana (a quiet man), because he has quieted all evil.” (End of quote).

The Sanskrit word “sãrva" means "as, I, am" {fr. sarva}, belonging to Sarva or Siva (Monier-Williams page 1020). The word Sarva was used with another meaning among the ancient Nordic Sami. The Sami word “sarva” is connected with Noaide/Noide/Noida practices. “Saiva” is a certain level of consciousness or different levels of consciousness. The Nordic Sami Noaide is able to travel to such immaterial “Saiva places”. To help the Noaide reaching a particular Savia place / level of consciousness there are different symbolic animals that will support the Noaide. These helping spirits are: 1) The “Saiva guelie/ guolle" (i.e. fish, snake or reptile) helps the Noiade to reach the cosmologically defined level of the underworld, the god and the place of the dead (ancestors). Crocodiles and snakes had important religious meaning for the Nordic Sami, they were snake-worshippers. You can see crocodiles and snakes on some of the old preserved Runic drums also called Runebomme and Sami drums. 2) Then the “saiva deer” helps the Noaide to reach the cosmologically defined level of this world (the earthly gods). 3) Then again the Saiva leddie/loddle (i.e bird) helps the Nordic Sami Noaide to reach the cosmologically defined level of the Upper world/ Heavenly gods. There are written sources about the Nordic Sami practices see references for instance in Saamiblog.

The particular information mentioned over is supporting of the idea that the mentioned word Sramana/ Shramana/ Samana used in ancient Asian Indian religious practices is connected to the present use of the word "Shaman". Also the word "Sarva" is used in Vedic and in previous and present religious practices that can be called Shamanic. There are three concepts in Sanskrit that might be related to the change of consciousness levels that resembles the three levels in Nordic Sami mythology: Saiva-sarvasva, Saiva-siddhanta-sekhara and Saivagama (ref. page 1020 in Monier-Williams). I need to check this out; at this point the suggested resemblance is a guess.

More related information from Monier-Williams Sanskrit – English dictionary:
Shiva is a God, a creater (reproductive according to Monier-Williams), a destroyer and a regenerator. Siva has 11 rudra servants, and his wife is the goddess Durga (otherwise called Parvati, Uma, Gauri, Bhavani, Sati). The sons of Siva are Ganesa and Karttikeya. Karttikeya is the same as Skanda/Uma-Suta and he is the god of war. Skanda had six faces or six heads because he was fostered by the breasts of six mothers. Siva holds a trident / trisula and has other weapons such as a bow (ajakava / ajagava), a thunderbolt, an axe, a staff with a skull called Khatvãnga and a noose/lasso. Siva is fond of dancing and is sometimes called “Natesvara” (i.e. the lord of dancers).

Six headed figure from Roman Iron Age in Sweden

Statens historiska museer SHM

A six headed silver figure needle from Roman Iron Age found at Öland, Borgholm, Sweden

”Siva means “As I am”, the symbol of Siva or Shiva is the linga and phallus. At a sacrifice there were 16 priests. It is interesting that we have a rich selection of Iron Age stone phalluses in the Nordic areas. Beads (pearls) are used in the worship of Siva and it is believed in this mythology that Sivas "tears of rage" became converted into beads. Glass beads were a part of the religious practices in the ancient Nordic (as seen in the following photos). Chapter 69th in Siva-Purana specifies as many as 1008 names of Siva. The most common are Mãha-deva, Sambhu, Sankara, Isa, Isvara, Mahesvara, Hara, and Rodra. Saiva is a follower of Siva/Shiva.

Glass and stone beads dated to Nordic Iron Age found in Tegneby, Bohuslän, Sweden.

Gold beads from Nordic Iron Age found in Dalstorp, Västergotland, Sweden.

Glass bead with intricate facial and flower patterns from Roman Iron Age found at Lärbo, Gotland, Sweden.

There were many types of beads (pearls) used by the ancient Nordic people in the Iron Age:
Different materials such as Gold (gold 1), (gold 2), Silver, Bronze, Glass, Cobalt, stone (stone 1), crystal, fossils, clay, combinations of materials, different shapes such as Facetted, round, oval, etc. and different colors & some with intricate décor which includes the ones made of glass (glass 1). You can search in the added site Historiska Museet for the word combination- järnålder pärlor .

The residence of Siva is in Kailasa, one of the highest peaks of the Himalayas. Mount Kailash is in western Tibet. The Kalash people are Aryan people that resides in the present area of Pakistan. As already mentioned the Aryan people are indigenous people of Indo-Tibetan origin in these areas close to the Himalayas and they are ancient people mentioned in the Rig Vedas.

To continue with Siva, the followers (sects e.g. Saka, Sakya, Saiva) & worshippers of Siva or Shiva are called “Saiva” and believe that Siva is superior the other gods of the “tri-murti”*. There are several different sects of Saivas, e.g. :
- The Raudras sect has the trisula or trident marked on their foreheads.
- The Ugras who have the Damaru or drum on their arms. [Does Ugra have something to do with Ugric?]
- Bhaktas who have the linga on their foreheads.
- Jangamas who have that symbol on their head.
- Pasupatas who have it marked on other parts of their bodies.

*Tri-murti, is, is, i, having or assuming three forms or shapes, (as Brahma,Vishnu, and Siva) ; page 390
**Tri-muni, ind. produced by the three Munis or sages, (as the grammar of Pãnini, Katyayana, and Patanjali).

Trinity of Heavenly Gods - Three levels of Cosmology of the Sami people
The different levels of consciousness were in Sami mythology represented by three levels of religious cosmology: 1) The Heavenly Upper world and its Gods. 2) The Earth and its Worldly Gods, and 3) The Underworld with the dead and its Gods (Read more in Saamiblog where you can find photos and references). The trinity of Heavenly Gods in the Upperworld: Mater Akka (ref. Friis, 1871), the Almighty Father God (the Sun) called "Radien Acce" and then their Son - The son of the Sun. The Sami people have been called the Sons of the Sun in an old song (a Sami kvad or lay song referred to in texts published as late as in the 1800's). The God that was the "Son of the Sun" sat on a throne, see Saamiblog for a depiction published by John Scheffer and Bernard Picart in the 1600's when this religion still was practiced by the Sami people in the Nordic areas. There were three worldly /earthly Gods: Likely Thoragallis the god of thunder, and the male and the female fertility Gods (Storjunkare or Frey or Frö and Sarakka or Freya). The God of the Underworld was Niord or Bieakagalles. These ancient Nordic Gods have many names, mostly due to christianization and due to later redefinitions done to obscure the ancient history. To the Gods of the Underworld the Sami offered animals and boats in Tumulus, Tumuli mound graves.

In the photos are Nordic Gods from the ancient pre-christian era dating to the "Iron Age" / Järnålder (roughly between 500 BCE to 1030 CE) a period which includes the period called "Viking era" (Vikingatid). From Statens Historiska Museum, Sweden.
Statens Historiska Museum. A gold plate with a sun emblem in the middle found at Gotland, Sweden, Iron Age.
Religious female figure. Found at Öland, Köping in Sweden. Iron Age, Viking Era. Description of the figure is: Valkyria.
Statens Historiska Museum. Oden figure in Bronze. Found in Scania, Sweden.
Statens Historiska Museum. Torshammar. The hammer of the eartly thundergod Thoragalles or Tor. Silver amulet. Hammer of the Thunder God Thor or Tor. Iron Age, Scania, Sweden.
Statens Historiska Museum. A bronze figure found in Kungsängen, Uppland, Sweden. From Iron Age.
Statens Historiska Museum. A bronze statue of a male fertility God, Frö. Found in Lunda, Södermanland, Sweden.
Statens Historiska Museum. Freja the earthly goddess of fertility. Found in Aska, Östergotland, Sweden. Iron Age.
Statens Historiska Museum. Gold leaf for offering to the gods. Found at Bolmsö in Sweden. Iron Age.

The division in the religious or mythological world is similar: - In that of the ancient Indo-Greek world, - in the period of Roman Empire Antiquity and - in that of the ancient Nordic and Russian Sami Mythology. This triad division was typical all over the ancient Hellenistic religious world.

And just as the Sami are reported to have been snake and reptile worshippers until the late 1800’s the ancient people of the Hellenistic world (Indo-Greek, Greek, and in the Western Roman Empire before the 5th Century) had been snake worshippers. Quoted from the book “Five Stages of Greek Religion. Studies based on a Course of Lectures delivered in April 1912 at Colombia University” by Gilbert Murray (1935/1943): “The Diasia was said to be the chief festival of Zeus, the central figure of the Olympians, though our authorities generally add an epithet to him, and call him Zeus Meilichios, Zeus of Placation. A God with an ‘epithet’ is always suspicious, like a human being with an ‘alias’. … Meilichios from the beginning has a fairly secure one. On some of the reliefs Meilichios appears not as a god, but as an enormous bearded snake, a well-known representation of underworld powers of dead ancestors. Sometimes the great snake is alone; sometimes he rises gigantic above the small human worshippers approaching him. …. To Zeus and all the heavenly gods men gave sacrifice in the form of a feast, in which the god had his portion and the worshippers theirs… The two parties cemented their friendship and feasted happily together.” (End of quote page 14). Zeus might have a connection with the Sami god called “Son of the Sun” e.g. they are both Gods of the sky.

The Great Mother of gods (1901) by Grant Showermanm.
Page 259. The frame drum played by the Galli is called Tympana.

Tympanum is also an architectural description of the drum on the arch over the entrance of buildings.

Ancient Greek Religion:

Vol 1 Zeus : a study in ancient religion by Arthur B. Cook (1914)

Vol 2 Zeus : a study in ancient religion by Arthur B. Cook (1925)

Ancient Nordic Sami religion:

Saamiblog: Ancient Gods of the Sami

Pre-Christian Sami religion and gods

Saamiblog: Runes and Serpent Worship among the Sami

Bear and bear-rites

Site about Sami religion

Pay attention to the different Body Ideals between the Early Greek-Roman and the later Christian Greek-Roman cultures

These are three Gods - A trinity of Gods - of the early Roman Empire. Pay attention to the Body ideals of these ancient Gods, they are very different from the ones of a newer date. The body ideals are clearly different between the pre-Christian Roman Empire and the later Christian Roman Empire. When you see art from the Roman Empire, remember this fact. Roma was attacked, robbed and people likely fled from the city. It seems like the Roman Empire Gods under are the three earthly Gods.
Three ancient Gods of the early Roman Empire

As mentioned, as the ancient Greeks and the people of the early Roman Empire the ancient nordic Sami peoples had a trinity of pagan heavenly Gods, and they had additionally Gods on each level i.e. Earthly Gods and Gods of the Underworld.


  1. Dhyangro frame drum from Tibet and Nepal

  2. Este blogue está cada vez melhor: adoro passar por aqui!
    Um grande abraço e até breve!

  3. The sami drum that's explained here is only the Northern Sami drum, because that's the only one type of drum that has 3 levels.

    More informations about some typers of sami drums (called Gievri in my native language, Sami) is found here....

  4. Many thanks for the comments to you all. Kimme, this is about the ancient cosmology of the old Nordic people (i.e. Goths and Laplanders) in general and not the ancient cosmology as it is represented on the drums specifically. The Gievri or runic drums have many different ways of representing the ancient mythology. They are symbolic expressions with individual variations of the same religious saga and as the link you added show there are only a few that in a concrete way represents the cosmological levels.
    This site is wonderful.

  5. It's marvellous post. I liked it.

  6. I think it might be a little easier to assimilate all of this information and have a substantive comment if it were broken down into more than one post, perhaps? Just a suggestion, I don't mean to offend.

    Thank you for taking the time to put all of this together.

  7. Hi thanks for the comments. This is more like my "scratch paper" and it is hypothetical stuff that I find very interesting. I am trying to find out who the ancient Nordic Gøte people were. My hypothesis is that they belonged to the first indo-European settlers of Europe. People related to the pre-Christian or Pagan ancient Greeks and later the pagan Romans that were governed from Rome before about 400 CE. This stuff is not easy to assimilate because their history was oppressed by the Christian Romans that ruled 1000 years longer and that were governed from Byzantium, the same Christians that mass migrated to Western Europe from the areas around the Black Sea in the mediaeval period (when Islam pressured them from east to west). They entered western and southern Europe in violent waves with Christianization, slaughtering and theft of land. I am in the beginning of this study… gathering information.

  8. Would love to share some information for your research that I've done. I don't see a contact email anywhere here. Please send me a message.