Gothic Spearheads

Part of elementamundi.com. By author Mark David: Twitter @authorMarkDavid


Simle thai Gutans inwitun managa guda, jah thana sunnan jah thana menan in thaim himinam.

At one time the Goths worshipped many gods, and the sun and the moon in the heavens.

Weis sijum thai Gutans!

We are the Goths!

Nitho was weiha jah gudja in thaim Gutam

Nitho was a holy man and priest among the Goths

Attans izwarai wesun fraujans allis this landis

Your (pl.) fathers were lords of all the land.

‘The above are the Gothic inscriptions recovered from the stones in the area of Ancient Gothia, ancient homelands of the Gothic people. While few Gothic inscriptions are in evidence, what is left to us are the remnants of Gothic warfare in the form of the handful of Gothic spearheads.’

Extract from writings by Karl Oskar Eklund.

So Who Were the Goths?

A time of the migration of a tribe vast in number who travelled south from their homelands in present day Sweden and the Baltic coast, a tribe of warriors who had a not so insignificant impact on the Roman and Byzantine empires. A warrior cult that also returned back to their homelands taking with them something of the culture of Rome and Asian peoples back with them.

spearhead_of_mu%cc%88nchebergThe Kovel Spearhead

This is all Wikipedia has to say about the Kovel Spearhead:

The head of a lance, found in 1858 Suszyczno 30 km from Kovel, Ukraine, dated to the early 3rd century. The spearhead measures 15.5 cm with a maximal length of 3.0 cm. Both sides of the leaf were inlaid with silver symbols. The inscription notably runs right to left, reading tilarids, interpreted as “thither rider”, the name either of a warrior, or of the spear itself. It is identified as East Germanic (Gothic) because of the nominative -s (in contrast to Proto-Norse -z). The t and d are closer to the Latin alphabet than to the classical Elder Futhark

 TᛁᛚᚨᚱᛁDᛊ

An 1880 casting of the spearhead is exhibited in Berlin, an 1884 casting in Warsaw. The original was looted by Nazi archaeologists from its Polish owner in 1939 and it was lost altogether at the end of WWII.

Characteristics

The crescent form on one side of the spear head is a magical symbol, picked up by the Goths in their wanderings south. They brought them home to their people. Such a mark is called a tamga, inlaid in silver featuring crescent-shapes and arrow symbols thought to have been picked up by the Goths when coming into contact with people on the Black Sea. The use of such symbols in the Kragehul spearhead, similar, though not identical to the Kovel spearhead uncovered at the Kragehul bog near Flemløse in Denmark. 

The runes on the Kovel spearhead read ‘thither -rider’. The correct translation in Danish — favorssomeone or something that is going somewhere. Til means torid is the Danish root, like English, for ride – rids would be taken for riding, horses being the only source of transport for most in those days. A better translation is travelling towards … placing emphasis on the action to the object: the runic inscription describe’s the spears trajectory.

Of other spearheads, Koebler’s dictionary mentions the Moos spear head in Appendx 4 in the “East Germanic” section: GAOIS = *gaujis? ‘barker’. (The interpretation of Krause according to the Kiel Runenprojekt).  Compare Old Icelandic geyja ‘bark, mock’. The inscriptions on the Kragehul spearhead are of a different nature and read:

‘I am called the Herul Muha, Ansugisal’s (son). I cry a roar resoundingly, I invoke hail in the spear.’ 

(Macleod and Rees: Runic Amulets p 78)

The magical use of the spear in the warrior cult is well known in Germanic tradition. Hurling a spear into or over the enemy before a battle was a way of giving them to Odin, sacrificing them to the God of battle. As the Voluspá says: Odin had shot his spear over the host. (Rune Lore, Edred Thorsson, Weiser).

The Heruli could very well be a tribe of the Ostrogoths who migrated back to their homelands travelling across the Danish Isles back to what in time would be called Gothia. However, it is also the swastika tamgas that draw attention. No doubt this is what attracted interest in the spearhead. As well as the concentric circles  – this could be interpreted as a sun symbol. Or – as the shield pattern of the Heruli seniores, a Late Roman military unit composed of Heruli warriors. 

SS-Untersturmführer Peter Paulsen

The Kovel spearhead had been in the Ukraine, looted from a private Polish collection by SS-Untersturmführer Peter Paulsen, a member of the Nazi SS group called the Ahnenerbe, meaning literally ‘ancestors inheritance’. The official mission of the Ahnenerbe was to unearth “new evidence of the accomplishments and deeds of Germanic ancestors using exact scientific methods.” The Ahnenerbe later conducted experiments and launched voyages in an attempt to prove that prehistoric and mythological Nordic populations had once ruled the world

Paulsen had been assigned to Poland after the German invasion in 1939. Reinhard Heydrich, then head of RSHA, sent Paulsen back to Kraków in order to seize additional museum collections and it could well be that this included the Kovel spearhead. 

What happened to the Kovel Spearhead?

The spearhead was taken to the SS-Ahnenerbe’s headquarters at Dahlem, Berlin. After that nothing is known, so it seems likely that is was appropriated by perhaps even Himmler himelf and taken to Wewelsburg? It has never been seen since.
 
Spearhead of Dahmsdorf-Müncheberg

A similar spearhead is the spearhead of Dahmsdorf-Müncheberg inscribed with ranja 

ᚱᚨᚾᛃᚨ

 (Ulfilan rannja, meaning “router”.) This displays similar methods of silver inlay and tamgas including the crescent moon and others of unknown origin. As with the Kovel spearhead, a swastika is used as a decorative motif, together with the three-armed spiral or trifos inscription. Both represent the forces of nature often associated with the sun.

eu-rune-dahmdorf


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