Category Archives: Mythology

PALADINS OF CHARLEMAGNE

Carolingian empireTradition and folklore hold that Charlemagne was crowned Emperor by the Pope on Christmas, but in real life it apparently did not happen until the following February. Still, Charlemagne’s anointing as Holy Roman Emperor on top of the kingly titles he already held was recounted as a Christmas tale for quite a while.

Most importantly, so much attention is paid to King Arthur – who may not have existed at all – that the real-life Charlemagne gets overlooked. But then reality has no place in the following look at the legends surrounding Charlemagne’s Paladins (Knights).  

Twelve PeersTHE TWELVE PEERS – This term was the Charlemagne equivalent of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

If you’ll recall the reason that King Arthur’s table was round was so that nobody could be considered above the others in rank or status. The same reasoning applied with Charlemagne’s designation of his Paladins as Twelve PEERS or equals.

MaugrisMAUGRIS THE ENCHANTER aka MALAGIGI – This magician was the Frankish equivalent of Merlin from King Arthur lore. Maugris was raised by a Fairy named Oriande and appears in a supporting role in many tales of Charlemagne’s Paladins, often in a mystical disguise.

Maugris was generally depicted as younger than Merlin is depicted, and often used a sword in combat. This Frankish Wizard had an Enchanted Tome in which information he needed could magically appear. Maugris often conjured up winged demons to use as flying mounts to transport him from one location to another.

THE PALADINS

Bradamante BETTERBRADAMANTE – This female Paladin was the sister of Renaut de Montaubon.

Bradamante, who wielded an enchanted lance that unseated any opponent it touched, rescued her true love, the Saracen warrior Ruggiero from his captivity in a glass dome atop Mount Carena in Northern Africa. Continue reading

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INUIT MYTHS: ILAGANIQ

Balladeer’s Blog has already examined all the major gods and goddesses of the Inuit so here is a look at another one of their mythical heroes. For my initial list of Inuit deities click HERE 

Bering SeaILAGANIQ – The Inuit hero Ilaganiq was born in the village of Imitchaq, which was famous for being right near the edge of a cliff overlooking the Bering Sea. Ever since he was very young Ilaganiq and his brothers were subjected to extensive physical conditioning by their father.

Ilaganiq’s father Aapaang hoped that one of his sons would be the hero to destroy the Amikuk, or “the Skin Octopus” a monster which terrorized the region. The creature was called the Skin Octopus because of its flat body, like a seal-skin stretched and drying in the sun.

Despite its flat body the beast had tentacles like a traditional octopus and it had caused much loss of life as well as many sunken kayaks and umiaks. Aapaang’s youngest son Ilaganiq had been born with webbed hands and feet, making him the fastest swimmer of the family. Continue reading

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BEL-REN DEITIES NGUATUPU’A AND HER HUSBAND TEPOUTU’UINGANGI

bellona-and-rennel-5NGUATUPU’A AND TEPOUTU’UINGANGI – The parents of many of the major gods and goddesses in Bel-Ren myths, like Izanagi and Izanami in Shinto beliefs. Nguatupu’a and Tepoutu’uingangi were revered AND feared by ALL of the clans of the two islands. They were represented by two large black stones in the region of Bellona Island called Ngabenga.  

These two deities were sister and brother respectively as well as being spouses. Incest was forbidden to mortals but the gods engaged in it. In fact it was SO taboo among humans that sisters and brothers maintained a very strict and formal and – most importantly – limited – relationship with each other through adulthood.    

The goddess Nguatupu’a was always mentioned first and was above her brother/husband Tepoutu’uingangi in prestige. The erosion of regard for the male deity began early on, in the Bel-Ren migration myth. Like other Polynesians the Bel-Ren people traveled by sea from other islands to reach their eventual home. The Bel-Renners claimed their island of origin was called Uvea or Ubea, depending on who’s spelling it.  

Approximately 1400 A.D. the Bel-Renners arrived on the pair of islands and proceeded to slaughter the original inhabitants, called the Hiti. Again we see that such atrocities are a HUMAN failing and are not limited to a few particular groups. Continue reading

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TEHU’AINGABENGA: A GOD OF BELLONA AND RENNELL ISLANDS

bellona-and-rennellBalladeer’s Blog’s previous look at the gods of Bellona and Rennell Islands has proven to be as popular as my examination of the gods of their fellow Polynesian island groups like Hawaii and Samoa. For the main list CLICK HERE

TEHU’AINGABENGA – The chief district deity of the Kaitu’u Clan. He was the son (or grandson) of the sky god Tehainga’atua. As Tehainga’atua “owned” the physical islands of Bellona and Rennell, so Tehu’aingabenga “owned” the people of those islands.

Tehu’aingabenga was the most active deity in the Bellona and Rennell (Bel-Ren) pantheon and was featured very heavily in cult (ritual and cultural activities) and myths (tales of the gods).

The Bel-Ren belief system regarded meteors as Apai, or unworshipped deities. The meteor god named Tangangoa was swooping down and flying off with many of the children and worshippers of the sky god Tehainga’atua. When Tehainga’atua proved incapable of defeating Tangangoa he turned to his son (or grandson) for help.

Tehu’aingabenga obliged and did battle with Tangangoa. Though the meteor deity had been nimble enough to elude the lightning bolts of Tehainga’atua, Tehu’aingabenga’s divine spears – or Hakasanisani – NEVER missed whatever the god wanted them to strike when he threw them.

Soon the malevolent Tangangoa was riddled with the barbed spears and surrendered. He returned everyone he had abducted and vowed never to engage in such behavior again. Tehu’aingabenga was unforgiving and for the rest of eternity the Hakasanisani which had impaled Tangangoa’s body remained where they were.   

Tehu’aingabenga’s other mythic activities included:   Continue reading

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MADAGASCAR: GODS OF THE BETSIMISARAKA

MadagascarPreviously Balladeer’s Blog examined the gods and goddesses of the Merina people of Madagascar. This time around I’ll move on to the Betsimisaraka people, the second most populous group in that island nation.

Instead of my usual list of entries on each individual deity in a pantheon this time around I will experiment with taking the myths in order, from creation onward. Let me know if you prefer that I go back to the usual method of individual entries.

I. CREATION – Zanahary, the sky god and supreme deity of the Betsimisaraka, wanted companionship in his heavenly realm, so he created his son Razanajanahary. The two got along famously but after a time the son lost his sense of contentment and wanted to explore lower realms.

The father encouraged Razanajanahary to indulge his wanderlust. When the son tried, he found that there was no place for him to stand in the realm far below. He told Zanahary about this situation, and the father resolved to take action. Continue reading

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IROQUOIS DEITIES: SIX MORE

2 Iroquois confederacyHere’s a look at six more deities of the various tribes in the Iroquois Confederation.

6. SHAGODIAQDANE – The Iroquois goddess of the summer. She was depicted as an old woman sitting cross-legged in the forest and she sang a song that only birds could hear and their own chirping and singing was considered to be their response to the goddess’ song.

As summer started to turn into autumn the entourage of the evil winter god Tawiskaron began to return. First the winter god’s nephews would race through the forests shooting trees with their ethereal arrows with flint heads, causing the leaves to die and fall from the trees. Continue reading

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INUIT MYTHS: INUURAQ

igloos_450x290It’s been awhile since I’ve covered Inuit myths. I’ve already examined all the major gods and goddesses so here is a look at one of their mythical heroes. For my initial list of Inuit deities click HERE 

INUURAQ – Like many of the heroes in Inuit myths Inuuraq overcomes the disadvantage of being orphaned and goes on to achieve greatness. Inuuraq lived so long ago that it was before the wind and weather god Sila had made war on the giants and reduced them all to three feet tall. (After that the giants were the Inuit version of elves and were called Ishigaq.)

Inuit regionThe chief of Inuuraq’s village had sent his son and two other men off together to hunt caribou. Many days had gone by and the trio were presumed to have fallen into the hands of the roving giants. The chief asked for volunteers to search for his son and the other missing hunters, but only Inuuraq was courageous enough.

As an orphan the young man had no kayak or weapons of his own so he had his grandmother Nengzurluung go to the chief and his wife to tell them that her grandson was brave enough to search for the missing trio but would need a kayak and weapons.

The chief was grateful that at last a volunteer had come forward. He allowed Inuuraq to have the pick of his (the chief’s) boats and weapons. Our hero selected a fine kayak, a bow and arrows and an ulu: a bladed weapon longer than a knife but not quite as long as a sword. (It is the kind of weapon used by the Inuit disemboweling goddess Ululijarnaq.) Continue reading

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