Georges Dumézil (French: [ʒɔʁʒ dymezil]; 4 March 1898 – 11 October 1986, Paris) was a French comparative philologist best known for his analysis of sovereignty and power in Proto-Indo-European religion and society. He is considered one of the major contributors to mythography, in particular for his formulation of the trifunctional hypothesis of social class in ancient societies.
|Born||4 March 1898|
|Died||11 October 1986 (aged 88)|
|Alma mater||École Normale Supérieure|
|Institutions||École pratique des hautes études, Collège de France|
Dumézil's father was a classicist and Georges became interested in ancient languages at a young age (it has been said that he could read the Aeneid in Latin at the age of nine) and, by the end of his life, he is said to have spoken many languages fluently. During his time in secondary school, he was also influenced by Michel Bréal, a leading French philologist who was the grandfather of one of his classmates. By the time that he entered the École Normale Supérieure in 1916, he was already on the road to studying linguistics and the classics.
Dumézil's studies were delayed by World War I, when he was drafted and served as an artillery officer. After the war, he resumed them and was particularly influenced by Antoine Meillet. He aggregated in 1919 in Classics and received his doctorate in 1924 after writing a thesis comparing the common origins of the Greek ambrosia and a similarly named Indian drink Amrita, which was said to make its imbiber immortal. The dissertation was controversial because some of the examiners, such as Henri Hubert, thought that Dumézil took liberty with the facts to generate a more beautiful interpretation (that was a common criticism of Dumézil's work).
Feeling that he had little place in the French academy, Dumézil moved to Turkey in 1925 to teach at the University of Istanbul, created as part of Kemal Atatürk's attempt to create a modern, secular nation. He learned Turkish and developed an interest in the Ubykh language and travelled widely in Russia, Turkey and the Caucasus. As a result, he became one of the premier experts of Caucasian languages to work in French. He compared the Etruscan language with the Caucasian languages. In 1931, he took another position, in Uppsala, Sweden, which allowed him to improve his skills in the Germanic stock of Indo-European.
In 1929, he published Flamen-Brahman, the first full statement of his trifunctional hypothesis; the idea was repeated in Mitra-Varuna, perhaps his most accessible work.
Dumézil's influence rose in the mid-1930s. In 1935 he left Uppsala to take up a chair of Comparative Religion of Indo-European Peoples at the prestigious École Pratique des Hautes Études. He was named a professor at the Collège de France in 1949, and was finally elected to the Académie française in 1978 thanks to the patronage of his colleague and fellow student of myth, Claude Lévi-Strauss. In 1984 he was awarded the Prix mondial Cino Del Duca.
Dumézil is also well known for mentoring many younger French scholars. Michel Foucault, for instance, benefitted from his patronage when Dumézil arranged for him to teach temporarily in Uppsala early on in his career. Georges Charachidzé, a historian and linguist of Georgian origin under Dumézil's tutelage, became a noted specialist of the Caucasian cultures and aided Dumézil in the reconstruction of the Ubykh language.
Many themes of Dumézil's work have continued influence in ancient religious studies: his impulse to comparative study, and his basic insight that polytheistic gods must be studied not simply by themselves but in the pairs and the ensembles in which their worshippers grouped them.
Dumézil's politics are criticised much more often than is his monolithic scholarly work. Bruce Lincoln has leveled accusations of fascism against Dumézil. The scholars Arnaldo Momigliano, Carlo Ginzburg, and Lincoln argue that Dumézil was in favor of a traditional hierarchical order in Europe (e.g. three estates), that his Indo-European dualism and tripartite ideology may be also related to Italian and French fascist ideas and that he was in favor of French fascism (e.g. integralism); none of them thought that he was a supporter of German Nazism. Lincoln states:
"[T]hose on the New Right, like Alain de Benoist, Jean Haudry, or Roger Pearson, cite Dumézil's writings in support of their positions—their fondness for hierarchy and authority, for example, their antipathy toward egalitarianism and the ideals of the Enlightenment, or their triumphal view of ‘Indo-Europeans’ as superior to all other peoples—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 discourse."
In the 1930s, Dumézil supported the far-right, anti-democratic Action française and held Benito Mussolini in high regard. Dumézil's relations with De Benoist and Haudry were ambiguous, but among his "closest colleagues" were Otto Höfler (who was in the SS-Ahnenerbe), Jan de Vries (a Nazi collaborator) and Stig Wikander (who had an ambiguous relation to Nazism). Dumézil, in response to a text written by Momigliano indicating that Dumézil might have been keen on Nazi ideology, wrote "fascist and Nazi conceptions of a hierarchical society have never been part of my intuition nor of my conduct".
Such criticism of Dumézil has been emphatically disputed by Didier Eribon in his 1992 book Faut-il brûler Dumézil ? Mythologie, science et politique [Should Dumézil Be Burned? Mythology, Science and Politics]. In a survey article on Dumézil's work Dean A. Miller devoted two pages on the case and concluded that "at its worst, the effort tries to remove the importance of whole theoretical constructions on the basis of some adduced or invented political flaw found in the past, often the remote past, of their creator. This derogation is not simple-minded 'political correctness'. It is, [again] in my opinion, the blindest intellectual self-mutilation".
Paul Jules Antoine Meillet (French: [ɑ̃twan mɛjɛ]; 11 November 1866, Moulins, France – 21 September 1936, Châteaumeillant, France) was one of the most important French linguists of the early 20th century. He began his studies at the Sorbonne University, where he was influenced by Michel Bréal, Ferdinand de Saussure and the members of the L'Année Sociologique. In 1890, he was part of a research trip to the Caucasus, where he studied the Armenian language. After his return, de Saussure had gone back to Geneva so he continued the series of lectures on comparative linguistics that the Swiss linguist had given.
Meillet completed his doctorate, Research on the Use of the Genitive-Accusative in Old Slavonic, in 1897. In 1902, he took a chair in Armenian at the Institut national des langues et civilisations orientales and took under his wing Hrachia Adjarian, who would become the founder of modern Armenian dialectology. In 1905, he was elected to the Collège de France, where he taught on the history and structure of Indo-European languages. One of his most-quoted statements is that "anyone wishing to hear how Indo-Europeans spoke should come and listen to a Lithuanian peasant". He worked closely with linguists Paul Pelliot and Robert Gauthiot.
Today Meillet is remembered as the mentor of an entire generation of linguists and philologists, who would become central to French linguistics in the twentieth century, such as Émile Benveniste, Georges Dumézil, and André Martinet.
In 1921, with the help of linguists Paul Boyer and André Mazon, he founded the Revue des études slavesBedi Kartlisa
Bedi Kartlisa. Revue de Kartvélologie was an international academic journal specializing in the language, literature, history and art of Georgia (Kartvelology) published from 1948 to 1984. It derived its name from the poem Bedi kartlisa (ბედი ქართლისა; "The Destiny of Georgia") by the 19th-century Georgian Romanticist poet Nikoloz Baratashvili.
Established by Kalistrate Salia and Nino Salia, Georgian émigrés from the Soviet Union, the journal was published exclusively in Georgian until 1957 when it became multilingual in French, English, and German. Sponsored by the French Academy of Sciences and edited by Salia, the journal played a crucial role in the development of Georgian studies in Europe. It was succeeded by the annual Revue des études géorgiennes et caucasiennes (ISSN 0373-1537) established in 1985 by Georges Dumézil and Georges Charachidzé.The annual journal Georgica (ISSN 0232-4490) covers a similar range of subjects.Egeria (mythology)
Egeria (Latin: Ēgeria) was a nymph attributed a legendary role in the early history of Rome as a divine consort and counselor of Numa Pompilius, the second Sabine king of Rome, to whom she imparted laws and rituals pertaining to ancient Roman religion. Her name is used as an eponym for a female advisor or counselor.Gram of Denmark
Gram was one of the earliest legendary Danish kings according to Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum. His history is given in more detail than those of his predecessors. Georges Dumézil argued that Gram was partially modelled on the god Thor, in particular his defeat of Hrungnir and subsequent encounter with Gróa.
The Old Norse word gramr means "king" and is probably the source of Gram's name, possibly through a misunderstanding of Saxo's. No other ancient source mentions a king named Gram.
The German word Gram has the English meaning of: grief, sorrow, ruefulness.Hadingus
Hadingus was one of the earliest legendary Danish kings according to Saxo Grammaticus' Gesta Danorum, where he has a detailed biography. Georges Dumézil and others have argued that Hadingus was partially modelled on the god Njörðr.Kanaloa
In the traditions of ancient Hawaiʻi, Kanaloa is a god symbolized by the squid or by the octopus, and is typically associated with Kāne. It is also the name of an extinct volcano in Hawaiʻi.
In legends and chants, Kāne and Kanaloa are portrayed as complementary powers (Beckwith 1970:62–65). For example: Kāne was called upon during the building of a canoe, Kanaloa during the sailing of it; Kāne governed the northern edge of the ecliptic, Kanaloa the southern; and Kāne then taps them out. In this way, they represent a divine duality of wild and taming forces like those observed (by Georges Dumézil, et al.) in Indo-European chief god-pairs like Odin–Týr and Mitra–Varuna, and like the popular yin and yang of Chinese Taoism.
Kanaloa is also considered to be the god of the Underworld and a teacher of magic. Legends state that he became the leader of the first group of spirits "spit out" by the gods. In time, he led them in a rebellion in which the spirits were defeated by the gods and as punishment were thrown in the Underworld. In traditional, pre-contact Hawaiʻi, it was Milu who was the god of the Underworld and death, not Kanaloa; the related Miru traditions of other Polynesian cultures support this.
The Eye of Kanaloa is an esoteric symbol associated with the god in New Age Huna teaching, consisting of a seven-pointed star surrounded by concentric circles that are regularly divided by eight lines radiating from the inner-most circle to the outer-most circle. Kanaloa is also associated with the Ocean as a god of the sea, hence his association with boats and squid. Huna, as a New Age religion developed in the 20th Century by a Caucasian-American founder, bears no relation to the Native Hawaiian Religion. Native Hawaiians reject "Huna" as a mishmash of Hawaiian elements with European religious metaphysical ideas.Kvasir
In Norse mythology, Kvasir was a being born of the saliva of the Æsir and the Vanir, two groups of gods. Extremely wise, Kvasir traveled far and wide, teaching and spreading knowledge. This continued until the dwarfs Fjalar and Galar killed Kvasir and drained him of his blood. The two mixed his blood with honey, resulting in the Mead of Poetry, a mead which imbues the drinker with skaldship and wisdom, and the spread of which eventually resulted in the introduction of poetry to mankind.
Kvasir is attested in the Prose Edda and Heimskringla, both written by Snorri Sturluson in the 13th century, and in the poetry of skalds. According to the Prose Edda, Kvasir was instrumental in the capture and binding of Loki, and an euhemerized account of the god appears in Heimskringla, where he is attested as the wisest among the Vanir.
Scholars have connected Kvasir to methods of beverage production and peacemaking practices among ancient peoples, and have pointed to a potential basis in Proto-Indo-European myth by way of Sanskrit narratives involving the holy beverage Soma and its theft by the god Indra.Le Débat
Le Débat is a bi-monthly French periodical founded in 1980 by Pierre Nora and Marcel Gauchet. It has been characterised as the "single most influential intellectual periodical" of late-twentieth-century France.The first issue of Le Débat appeared on the day of the funeral of Jean-Paul Sartre. As editor, Pierre Nora announced that the review would exemplify a new, post-partisan, role for French intellectuals: free from commitment to revolutionary politics, they would concentrate on the exercise of 'reflective judgement'. According to Nora, Le Débat sold between 8,000 and 15,000 copies per issue in the 1980s. Past editors include Raymond Aron, Georges Dumézil, François Jacob, Michel Foucault, Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, François Furet and Jacques Le Goff.Mannus
Mannus, according to the Roman writer Tacitus, was a figure in the creation myths of the Germanic tribes. Tacitus is the only source of these myths.Tacitus wrote that Mannus was the son of Tuisto and the progenitor of the three Germanic tribes Ingaevones, Herminones and Istvaeones. In discussing the German tribes Tacitus wrote:
In ancient lays, their only type of historical tradition, they celebrate Tuisto, a god brought forth from the earth. They attribute to him a son, Mannus, the source and founder of their people, and to Mannus three sons, from whose names those nearest the Ocean are called Ingvaeones, those in the middle Herminones, and the rest Istvaeones. Some people, inasmuch as antiquity gives free rein to speculation, maintain that there were more sons born from the god and hence more tribal designations—Marsi, Gambrivii, Suebi, and Vandilii—and that those names are genuine and ancient. (Germania, chapter 2)
Several authors consider the name Mannus in Tacitus' work to stem from an Indo-European root; see Proto-Indo-European religion, Brothers.
The names Mannus and Tuisto/Tuisco seem to have some relation to Proto-Germanic Mannaz, "man" and Tiwaz, "Tyr, the god".Mannus again became popular in literature in the 16th century, after works published by Annius de Viterbo and Johannes Aventinus purported to list him as a primeval king over Germany and Sarmatia.In the 19th century, F. Nork wrote that the names of the three sons of Mannus can be extrapolated as Ingui, Irmin, and Istaev or Iscio. A few scholars like Ralph T. H. Griffith have expressed a connection between Mannus and the names of other ancient founder-kings, such as Minos of Greek mythology, and Manu of Hindu tradition.Guido von List incorporated the myth of Mannus and his sons into his occult beliefs which were later adopted into Nazi occult beliefs.Maruts
In Hinduism, the Maruts or Marutas (; Sanskrit: मरुत), also known as the Marutagana and sometimes identified with Rudras, are storm deities and sons of Rudra and Prisni. The number of Marutas varies from 27 to sixty (three times sixty in RV 8.96.8). They are very violent and aggressive, described as armed with golden weapons i.e. lightning and thunderbolts, as having iron teeth and roaring like lions, as residing in the north, as riding in golden chariots drawn by ruddy horses.
Hymn 66 of Mandala VI of the Rig Veda is an eloquent account of how a natural phenomenon of a rain-storm metamorphoses into storm deities.In the Vedic mythology, the Marutas, a troop of young warriors, are Indra's companions. According to French comparative mythologist Georges Dumézil, they are cognate to the Einherjar and the Wild hunt.
According to the Rig Veda, the ancient collection of sacred hymns, they wore golden helmets and breastplates, and used their axes to split the clouds so that rain could fall. The clouds were capable of shaking mountains and destroying forests.
According to later tradition, such as Puranas, the Marutas were born from the broken womb of the goddess Diti, after Indra hurled a thunderbolt at her to prevent her from giving birth to too powerful a son. The goddess had intended to remain pregnant for a century before giving birth to a son who would threaten Indra.Mitra–Varuna
Mitra and Varuna (Sanskrit: mitrā́váruṇā) are two deities (devas) frequently referred to in the ancient Indian scripture of the Rigveda. They are both considered Ādityas, or deities connected with the Sun; and they are protectors of the righteous order of rta. Their connection is so close that they are frequently linked in the dvandva compound Mitra–Varuna.
Mitra-Varuna is also the title of a 1940 essay in comparative Indo-European mythology by Georges Dumézil.Revue des Études Arméniennes
Revue des Études Arméniennes is a peer-reviewed academic journal that publishes articles relating to Classical and medieval Armenian history, art history, philology, linguistics, and literature. The Revue was established in 1920 at the initiative of French scholars Frédéric Macler and Antoine Meillet. Meillet himself wrote many of the articles during the formative years of the journal (1920-1933), which typically covered Armenian history, grammar, and folk tales. The Revue was not published from 1934 to 1963.In 1964, thanks to the efforts of the Paris-based Armenian scholar Haïg Berbérian (1887-1978), the journal was revived. Berbérian was able to secure the financial backing of the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation for the journal's publication, and the first volume of the "Nouvelle série" appeared under his editorship in 1964. Unlike during the first series, however, the publication of articles on the modern period of Armenian history was abandoned, and the journal has since limited its scope to the early modern period (that is, until roughly the eighteenth century).Up until 1933, articles were published in French, but when publication resumed articles were also published in English and German. The journal uses the Hübschmann-Meillet-Benveniste system in the transcription of Armenian words into Latin characters. In addition to scholarly articles, it also publishes book reviews.
The journal's former editors were Jacques Benveniste (nominally, 1964-1975, as Berbérian was responsible for much of the editing during this time), Georges Dumézil (1975-1980), and Sirarpie Der-Nersessian (1981-1989). Its current editor is Aram Mardirossian.Stig Wikander
Stig Wikander, born 27 August 1908 in Norrtälje, died 20 December 1983, was a Swedish indologist, iranologist and historian of religions. He was professor of Sanskrit and comparative Indo-European philology at Uppsala University from 1953 until his retirement in 1974. He wrote in German and Swedish. He was visiting professor at Columbia University in 1959-1960 and taught at El Colegio de México in Mexico City in 1967. Early in his career he befriended Georges Dumézil and he had an extensive correspondence with Mircea Eliade.His research on Indo-European religion became influential and was developed further by Dumézil and others. Together with the linguist Bertil Malmberg he founded the journal Studia Linguistica in 1947. His last monograph was a book on Arab accounts of Scandinavians in the Viking Age, Araber, vikingar, väringar ("Arabs, Vikings, Varangians").Summanus
Summanus (Latin: Summānus) was the god of nocturnal thunder in ancient Roman religion, as counterposed to Jupiter, the god of diurnal (daylight) thunder. His precise nature was unclear even to Ovid.Pliny thought that he was of Etruscan origin, and one of the nine gods of thunder. Varro, however, lists Summanus among gods he considers of Sabine origin, to whom king Titus Tatius dedicated altars (arae) in consequence of a votum. Paulus Diaconus considers him a god of lightning.The name Summanus is thought to be from Summus Manium "the greatest of the Manes", or sub-, "under" + manus, "hand".
According to Martianus Capella, Summanus is another name for Pluto as the "highest" (summus) of the Manes. This identification is taken up by later writers such as Camões ("If in Summanus' gloomy realm / Severest punishment you now endure ...") and Milton, in a simile to describe Satan visiting Rome: "Just so Summanus, wrapped in a smoking whirlwind of blue flame, falls upon people and cities".Georges Dumézil has argued that Summanus would represent the uncanny, violent and awe-inspiring element of the gods of the first function, connected to heavenly sovereignty. The double aspect of heavenly sovereign power would be reflected in the dichotomy Varuna-Mitra in Vedic religion and in Rome in the dichotomy Summanus-Dius Fidius. The first gods of these pairs would incarnate the violent, nocturnal, mysterious aspect of sovereignty while the second ones would reflect its reassuring, daylight and legalistic aspect.Trifunctional hypothesis
The trifunctional hypothesis of prehistoric Proto-Indo-European society postulates a tripartite ideology ("idéologie tripartite") reflected in the existence of three classes or castes—priests, warriors, and commoners (farmers or tradesmen)—corresponding to the three functions of the sacral, the martial and the economic, respectively. The trifunctional thesis is primarily associated with the French mythographer Georges Dumézil, who proposed it in 1929 in the book Flamen-Brahman, and later in Mitra-Varuna.Tyr (journal)
Tyr: Myth—Culture—Tradition is the name of an American Radical Traditionalist (anti-modern, neo-tribalist) journal, edited by Joshua Buckley, Michael Moynihan, and (in the first issue) Collin Cleary.
It is an annual publication named after Tyr, the Germanic god. The magazine states that it "celebrates the traditional myths, culture, and social institutions of pre-Christian, pre-modern Europe." The first issue was published in 2002 under the ULTRA imprint in Atlanta, Georgia. The magazine largely focuses on topics relating to Germanic neopaganism and Germanic paganism with an amount of content regarding Celtic polytheism as well.
Four volumes have appeared so far; vol. 1 in 2002 and vol. 2 in 2004 and now vol. 3 2006 is available from the Tyr website or from Norway's Integral Publications. Contributors include Asatru Folk Assembly founder Stephen McNallen, Nouvelle Droite leader Alain de Benoist, an interview with noted French comparative philologist Georges Dumézil, British musicologist and translator Joscelyn Godwin, modern Germanic mysticist Nigel Pennick and scholar Stephen Flowers, besides translations of texts by "Traditionalist" author and occultist Julius Evola and völkisch poet and musician Hermann Löns. Volume 2 also includes a CD of music related to the subject matter or authors contributing.Uranus (mythology)
Uranus (; Ancient Greek Οὐρανός, Ouranos [oːranós] meaning "sky" or "heaven") was the primal Greek god personifying the sky and one of the Greek primordial deities. Uranus is associated with the Roman god Caelus. In Ancient Greek literature, Uranus or Father Sky was the son and husband of Gaia, Mother Earth. According to Hesiod's Theogony, Uranus was conceived by Gaia alone, but other sources cite Aether as his father. Uranus and Gaia were the parents of the first generation of Titans, and the ancestors of most of the Greek gods, but no cult addressed directly to Uranus survived into Classical times, and Uranus does not appear among the usual themes of Greek painted pottery. Elemental Earth, Sky, and Styx might be joined, however, in a solemn invocation in Homeric epic.Ver sacrum
Ver sacrum ("sacred spring") is a religious practice of ancient Italic peoples, especially Sabines and their offshoot Samnites, concerning the deduction of colonies. It was of special interest to Georges Dumézil, according to whom the ver sacrum perpetuated prehistoric migration practices of Indo-Europeans to the end of the Iron Age and into the beginnings of history, when stable sedentary dwelling conditions had already become general.Érimón
Érimón, (modern spelling: Éiremhón) son of Míl Espáine (and great-grandson of Breoghan, king of Celtic Galicia), according to medieval Irish legends and historical traditions, was one of the chieftains who took part in the Milesian invasion of Ireland, which conquered the island from the Tuatha Dé Danann, and one of the first Milesian High Kings.
Before coming to Ireland, he and his older brother Éber Donn were joint rulers of Spain. His great-uncle Íth made a peaceful expedition to Ireland, which he had seen from the top of a tower built by his father Breogan, but was killed by the three kings of the Tuatha Dé Danann, Mac Cuill, Mac Cecht and Mac Gréine, and in revenge the Milesians invaded in force, with Érimón and Éber Donn in command. They defeated the Tuatha Dé Danann in the Battle of Tailtiu. Éber Donn had been killed, and the High Kingship was divided between Érimón in the north and his younger brother Éber Finn in the south.
Érimón had two wives, Odba, mother of Muimne, Luigne and Laigne, whom he left behind in Spain, and Tea, mother of Íriel Fáid, who accompanied him to Ireland, and died there. Tea was a daughter of Lugaid and gave her name to Tara, where she was buried - the Lebor Gabála Érenn explains its Old Irish tame Temair as "Tea mur", "Tea's Wall". Flann Da Congall was a descendant of Érimón, who had the son Cineth, who had the son Raighan leading to the noble O'Regan family.
A year after the Battle of Tailtiu, Éber Finn became unhappy with his half, fought a battle his brother at Airgetros, lost and was killed. Érimón became sole ruler of Ireland. He appointed kings of the four provinces. He gave Leinster to Crimthann Sciathbél of the Fir Domnann; Munster to the four sons of Eber Finn, Ér, Orba, Ferón and Fergna; Connacht to Ún and Étan, sons of Uicce; and Ulster to Eber mac Ír. During this time the Cruithne settled in Ireland. He ruled for fourteen, fifteen or seventeen further years, after which he died at Airgetros, and was succeeded by his sons Muimne, Luigne and Laigne, ruling jointly.Geoffrey Keating dates his reign from 1287-1272 BC, the Annals of the Four Masters from 1700 to 1684 BC.In the tradition of comparative mythologist Georges Dumézil, the name of 'Érimón' is ostensibly related to the name of a Gaulish god 'Ario-manus', who is only known of from 1st-century BC Roman reports in Austria. This assumption derives from now-defunct 18th-century theories related to the etymology of 'Éire'.