So far, so good.
A book mentioned as a canonical work of Mani in the Coptic Kephalaia, in the Homilies and Psalms, as well as in the Chinese compendium of Mani’s teachings.
The Book of Giants is a book mentioned as a canonical work of Mani in the Coptic Kephalaia (chap. 148), in the Homilies (p. 25.3-4), and Psalms (p. 46.29), as well as in the Chinese compendium of Mani’s teachings, third article (Copt. pčōme nngigas, pčōmennsalašire; Chin. ju huan ). In Mir. Man. III, text b, l. 134-35, the work is called kawān (kʾwʾn, kwʾn) “giants.” If the recipient was Mār Ammō, it may have been a Parthian translation. But it could also have been addressed to a priest called Frih-Mār-Ammō and written in Middle Persian. It is mentioned by the Arabic title Sefr al-jabābera in Ebn al-Nadīm’s al-Fehrest (ed. Tajaddod, p. 399, tr. Dodge, p. 798; cf. also Ḡażanfar in Henning, 1943, p. 72). In Kephalaia (ed. Polotsky and Böhlig, p. 5, l. 25), the Book of Giants is missing in a list of Mani’s works. Instead, there appears a “writing on the subject of the Parthians,” which was assumed to be the Book of Giants. This is hardly compatible with the fact that the Book of Giantshad so far been attested by quotations in Middle Persian, Sogdian, and Old Tukish, but not in Parthian.
Written records. Most of the extant fragments of the Book of Giants were presented by Walter B. Henning in 1934 (pp. 29-32), and especially in 1943 (fragments A to G; fragment F probably came from another cosmogonical text, see Sundermann, 1973, p. 12; fragments H to V contain extracts, quotations, and allusions). Although none of fragments presented by Henning can be fully identified by referring to the title, the subject of the texts concerns the events of primeval gigantomachy. Supplements were provided by Werner Sundermann in 1973 (Text 22, pp. 77-78, page heading[gwyš]nmʾ[zyndrʾn rʾy], and perhaps text 20, pp. 76-77), 1984 ([gwyšn ʿyg] mʾzyndrʾn rʾy “[Discourse] on Demons,” page heading), and the corrected Russian version, 1989. An unpublished piece containing the subject of the Book of Giants is fragment 7447 of the Otani collection. The assumption by Marc Antoine Kugener and Franz Cumont that the quotations in the 123rd homily of Severus of Antioch also came from Mani’s “Book of Giants” was contested on solid grounds by John C. Reeves (pp. 165-74).
The Book of Giants has so far been attested in the following languages: Middle Persian (Henning, 1943, Texts A [partially], D; Sundermann, 1973, text 22; idem, 1984=1989, text L), Parthian version (perhaps Sundermann, 1973, text 20), Sogdian version (Henning, 1943, texts C, E, G; Henning’s double-sheet half in Sundermann, 1994, pp. 45-48; Otani 7447), Old Turkic (Henning, 1943, text B, with reference to the Le Coq and Bang editions). Thus the Book of Giants has so far only been transmitted in the East Manichean tradition by the collection of texts in Berlin, St. Petersburg, and Kyoto. Nor is anything left of the original Aramaic text. But through the use of material from the Book of Giants in Coptic Manichean writings, the work had also become known among the Manicheans of western countries (Henning, 1943, Texts M, P, Q, R, S).
Content. The Book of Giants tells the story of those demons who were chained up by the Living Spirit, assisted by his seven sons, in the seven lower firmaments of the sky, and of whom two hundred had been able to free themselves and return to earth. Here the human race had already spread, and it was the period of the apostle Enoch. The demons, traditionally called “guardians” (Aram. ʿīr, Gk. egrḗgoros, Sogd. pāše), subjugated humanity and established a tyrannical rule of terror, and, with the daughters of mankind, they begot a race of giants (Aram. *gabbārē, Gr.gígantes, Copt. nngigas, Mid. Pers. kawān, Sogd. kawišt ).
The extant fragments mention one of the leaders of the demons, Šahmīzād (Mid. Pers. šhmyzʾd, Sogd. šxmyzʾt), his sons, the giants Sām (Mid. Pers. sʾm, Sogd.Sāhm, sʾhm) and Narīmān (Mid. Pers. nrymʾn, Sogd. Pātsāhm, pʾtsʾxm), another leader, Wirōgdād (Mid. Pers. wrwgdʾd, Old Turk. Wrukdad), his son Māhaway(Mid. Pers. and Sogd. mʾhwy) and other names; they describe the fight among the demons, the killing of 400,000 just men, the struggle of Sām against the sea monster Leviathan (lwyʾtyn), and the terrible nightmares announcing the punishment of the demons. To seek their interpretation, the winged Māhaway is sent to the apostle Enoch (Mid. Pers. hwnwx, Old Turk. Xonug), who was carried to heaven. Finally, the four avenging angels, identified as Raphael, Michael, Gabriel, and Israel (Hebr. Uriel; Mid. Pers. rwpʾyl, myxʾyl, gbrʾyl, srʾyl) put an end to the evil doings of the demons and incarcerated them and their sons, i. e., the giants.
Sources. The main sources, already named by Isaac de Beausobre, are: the apocryphal works ascribed to the prophet Enoch (and a Graphḗ tōn Gigánton). Jozef T. Milik managed to identify fragments of a work from the Enoch literature among the Qumrān texts. This work does not appear in later Christian versions, but shows such affinities with the Manichean pieces that he provisionally referred to it as a Book of Giants (Milik, ed., pp. 57-78). Another question is whether this JewishBook of Giants was later replaced in the Christian Enoch tradition by a Book of Parables (Greenfield and Stone, 1977, pp. 51-65 and 1979, pp. 89-92). It certainly served Mani as the main source of his Book of Giants, as shown by textual comparisons and the similarity or correspondence of many names: Aram.Šemīḥazah = Man. Šahmīzād, Aram. Ohyah = Man. Sām, explained in a Sogd. text as [ʾwx]yʾ (Henning, 1943, p. 70), Aram. Hahyah = Man. Narīmān, explained in the same place as ʾxyʾ, Aram. Baraqʾēl = Man. Wirogdād, Aram. Māhaway(mhwy) = Man. Māhaway, Aram. Ḥobābiš (ḥwbbš) = Man. (Mid. Pers.) hwbʾbyš. The Qumrān fragments of the Enoch book also resemble the Manichean Book of Giants because they consider figures of the Mesopotamian Gilgamesh epic as giants (Milik, ed., pp. 29, 313; see also Reeves’ interpretation of ʾtnbyš in the Mid. Persian text as Utnapištim; see Reeves, 1993, pp. 114-15).
Reeves, who follows Milik’s theory, so far as the dependence of the Manichean on the Aramaic Book of Henoch from Qumrān is postulated, has edited, with detailed commentaries, a summary of eleven Qumrān fragments that presumably belong to the Book of Henoch (Reeves, pp. 51-164). The question still remains to find out what connection exists between the Book of Giants and Graphḗ tōn Gigántōn or Liber de Orgia nomine gigante (Henning, 1943, p. 52).
Despite the names of Sām and Narīmān (but not Rostam!) known from the Iranian epic tradition, the story of the giants is not of Iranian origin. Due to Ḡażanfar’s reference to these figures, Cumont had once assumed the Book of Giants to be of Iranian origin. But the Turfan texts and Dead Sea Scrolls contradicted this theory. The Iranian names in the Book of Giants in the East Manichean tradition are translations, not original. Today an Iranian influence can at most be assumed, as Geo Widengren does, by ascribing an Iranian, Zurvanite background to the Enoch texts (Widengren, 1966, pp. 151-77). But this can hardly be ascertained regarding the myth of the giants (Widengren, 1961, pp. 80-82).
History and effects of the text. Although the Book of Giants belongs to Mani’s canonical writings, details of it were inevitably changed and adapted to Iranian, Turkish, or Buddhist concepts and ideas in Iran and Central Asia (Henning, 1943, pp. 55-56). Enoch, for instance, here became a Buddha in the Manichean sense (Klimkeit, 1980; Peters, 1989). A remarkable exegetic intervention is found in Henning’s Sogdian text G (ll. 10-11; Henning, 1943, pp. 68-69), which says that the avenging angels appointed “guardians” (pʾš[yyṯ]) to watch the “demons,” although the demons themselves, who had come down from heaven, were the “guardians” of heaven according to the Enoch tradition. The commentator, who recognized the significance of the concept but did not understand why it was used for the captured demons, gave it a “plausible” interpretation.
Mani attributed great importance to the Jewish Enoch writings, which were also the source of his astronomical and calendrical ideas (Henning, 1934, p. 34; Tubach, 1987). Reeves (1992, pp. 185-206) even derives Mani’s entire macrocosmic and microcosmic myth from the Book of Giants. I feel that this theory does not do justice to the radically dualistic character of Manichean cosmogony and does not account for the much greater phenomenological similarity between the cosmogony of evolved Zoroastrianism and such Gnostic writings as the Paraphraseof Šem.
Manichean mural paintings with motifs of trees, as discovered in the Turfan oasis, were assumed to refer to the tree with three trunks from Mani’s Book of Giants(Klimkeit, 1980a, pp. 252-57; idem, 1980b, p. 373). This theory of course depends on the interpretation of tree motifs and also on the assumption that the quotations from Severus of Antioch go back to the Book of Giants (see above).
Meaning of the Book of Giants. Mani’s attention may have been drawn to the Enoch literature because of his “interest in myths and legends of the distant past” (Henning, 1934, p. 32). But like any Manichean parable, his Book of Giants must also have had a didactic purpose. Gedaliahu Stroumsa rightly points out that the work contained an “essentially religious message” (p. 165). I believe that any attempt at interpreting the Book of Giants must be based on the thirty-eighth Kephalaeon, “On the light nous and the apostles and saints” (Polotsky and Böhlig, eds., I, pp. 89-102). Here the Book of Giants is presented as a parable for the constant challenge of the New on behalf of the Old Man who is tied up to his body. The Petersburg fragment L of the Book of Giants seems to confirm this interpretation (OLZ 83, 1988, col. 200), and it may be no coincidence that the Turkish fragment of the book belongs to the same manuscript as the Turkish fragment of the Sermons of the Light-Nous, which, among other things, deals with the struggle between the New and the Old Man (Le Coq, III, p. 15; Sundermann, 1983, p. 241).
Original article: The Book of Giants
The Axe of Perun , also called a “hatchet amulet”, is an archaeological artifact worn as a pendant and shaped like a battle axe. It is mostly found in modern day Russia and parts of Scandinavia. Connection with the Slavic pre-Christian god Perun was made by VP Darkevich, although some authors prefer the association with Norse material culture.
The axes range in length from 4 to 5.5 cm, and blade width from 2.8 to 4 cm. Bronze is the most common material of their construction. Most have been dated between the 11th and 12th century, and over 60 specimens have been collected.
Two basic designs of the axe have been found throughout Russia and its boundaries.
Specimens of both designs include a hole in the centre of the blade, and both have been decorated with zigzag lines, representing lightning or more likely imitating inlaid ornamentation patterns of real axes, near the edge of the blade.
The first type is a bearded axe (lower side of the blade is elongated) with a flat upper side. It resembles a battle axe. A knob-like protrusion is usually present on the lower side of the axe. These axes have been decorated with circles, believed to represent celestial bodies.
The second type is distinguished by its symmetrical shape and broad blade. Similar to the knob of the first type, the second has two horn-like protrusions diametrically opposite on the upper and lower side.
Original article: Axe of Perun
In Norse mythology, Mjölnir (Old Norse: Mjǫllnir, IPA: [ˈmjɔlːnir]) In his account of Norse mythology, Snorri Sturluson relates how the hammer was made by the dwarven brothers Sindri and Brokkr, and how its characteristically short handle was due to a mishap during its manufacture.
Old Norse Mjǫllnir /mjɔlːnir/ regularly becomes Mjøllnir /’mjœlːnir/ in Old Icelandic by the 13th century. The modern Icelandic form is Mjölnir, Norwegian and Danish Mjølner, Swedish Mjölner. The name is derived from a Proto-Germanic form meldunjaz, from the Germanic root of “to grind” (melwan, Old Icelandic meldr, mjǫll, mjǫl for “meal, flour”), Old Norse mala, Gothic, Old High German and Old Saxon malan, compared to Lithuanian malŭ, malti, Latvian maíu, Old Church Slavonic, Old Irish melim, Greek μύλλω (μυλjω), Latin molō “to grind”; Sanskrit mr̥ṇā́ti “to crush, smash, slay”. Grimm, Deutsches Wörterbuch; Derksen (2008), Etymological Dictionary of the Slavic Inherited Lexicon, p. 307. yielding an interpretation of “the grinder; crusher”.
In the Old Norse texts, Mjölnir is identified as hamarr “a hammer”, a word that in Old Norse and some modern Norwegian dialects can mean “hammer” as well as “stone, rock, cliff”, ultimately derived from an Indo-European word for “stone, stone tool”, h₂éḱmō; as such it is cognate with Sanskrit aśman, meaning “stone, rock, stone tool; hammer” as well as “thunderbolt”.
An account of the origin of Mjölnir is found in Skáldskaparmál from Snorri’s Edda: In this story, Loki bets his head with Sindri (or Eitri) and his brother Brokkr that they could never succeed in making items more beautiful than those of the Sons of Ivaldi (the dwarves who created other precious items for the gods: Odin’s spear Gungnir, and Freyr’s foldable boat Skíðblaðnir).Sindri and Brokkr accept Loki’s bet and the two brothers begin working. They begin to work in their workshop and Sindri puts a pig’s skin in the forge and tells his brother (Brokkr) never to stop working the bellows until he comes and takes out what he put in. Loki, in disguise as a fly, comes and bites Brokkr on the arm. Nevertheless, he continues to pump the bellows.
Then, Sindri takes out Gullinbursti, Freyr’s boar with shining bristles. Next, Sindri puts some gold in the forge and gives Brokkr the same order. Again, Loki, still in the guise of a fly comes and, again, bites Brokkr’s neck twice as hard as he had bitten his arm. Just as before, Brokkr continues to work the bellows despite the pain. When Sindri returns, he takes out Draupnir, Odin’s ring, which drops eight duplicates of itself every ninth night.
Finally, Sindri puts some iron in the forge and tells Brokkr not to stop pumping the bellows. Loki comes a third time and this time bites Brokkr on the eyelid even harder. The bite is so deep that it draws blood. The blood runs into Brokkr’s eyes and forces him stop working the bellows just long enough to wipe his eyes. This time, when Sindri returns, he takes Mjölnir out of the forge. The handle is shorter than Sindri had planned and so the hammer can only be wielded with one hand.
Despite the flaw in the handle, Sindri and Brokkr win the bet and go to take Loki’s head. However, Loki worms his way out of the bet by pointing out that the dwarves would need to cut his neck to remove his head, but Loki’s neck was not part of the deal. As a consolation prize, Brokkr sews Loki’s mouth shut to teach him a lesson.
The final product is then presented to Thor, and its properties are described, as follows,
Thor possessed a formidable chariot, which is drawn by two goats, Tanngrisnir and Tanngnjóstr. A belt,Megingjörð, and iron gloves, Járngreipr, were used to lift Mjölnir. Mjölnir is the focal point of some of Thor’s adventures. This is clearly illustrated in a poem found in the Poetic Edda titled Þrymskviða. The myth relates that the giant, Þrymr, steals Mjölnir from Thor and then demands the goddess Freyja in exchange. Loki, the god notorious for his duplicity, conspires with the other Æsir to recover Mjölnir by disguising Thor as Freyja and presenting him as the “goddess” to Þrymr.
At a banquet Þrymr holds in honor of the impending union, Þrymr takes the bait. Unable to contain his passion for his new maiden with long, blond locks (and broad shoulders), as Þrymr approaches the bride by placing Mjölnir on “her” lap, Thor rips off his disguise and destroys Þrymr and his giant cohorts.
A precedent of these Viking Age Thor’s hammer amulets are recorded for the migration period Alemanni, who took to wearing Roman “Hercules’ Clubs” as symbols of Donar. A possible remnant of these Donar amulets was recorded in 1897, as a custom of Unterinn (South Tyrolian Alps) of incising a T-shape above front doors for protection against evils of all kinds, especially storms.
Viking Age Pendants
About 50 specimens of Mjölnir amulets have been found widely dispersed throughout Scandinavia, dating from the 9th to 11th centuries, most commonly discovered in areas with a strong Christian influence including southern Norway, south-eastern Sweden, and Denmark. Due to the similarity of equal-armed, square crosses featuring figures of Christ on them at around the same time, the wearing of Thor’s hammers as pendants may have come into fashion in defiance of the square amulets worn by newly converted Christians in the regions.An iron Thor’s hammer pendant excavated in Yorkshire, dating to ca. AD 1000 bears an uncial inscription preceded and followed by a cross, interpreted as indicating a Christian owner synchronizing pagan and Christian symbolism.
A 10th-century soapstone mold found at Trendgården, Jutland, Denmark is notable for allowing the casting of both crucifix and Thor’s hammer pendants. A silver specimen found near Fossi, Iceland (now in the National Museum of Iceland) can be interpreted as either a Christian cross or a Thor’s hammer. Unusually, the elongated limb of the cross ends in a beast’s (perhaps a wolf’s) head.
The Købelev Runic-Thor’s Hammer, found at the Danish island of Lolland in 2014, is so far the only one bearing an inscription, proving that this kind of pendant is meant to be a hammer. The inscription reads “Hmar x is,” which translates to “This is a hammer.” However, the proper spelling is “hamar,” indicating the creator was not a fully literate individual.
Viking Age Depictions
Some image stones and runestones found in Denmark and southern Sweden bear an inscription of a hammer. Other runestones included an inscription calling for Thor to safeguard the stone. For example, the stone of Virring in Denmark had the inscription þur uiki þisi kuml, which translates into English as “May Thor hallow this memorial.” There are several examples of a similar inscription, each one asking for Thor to “hallow” or protect the specific artifact. Such inscriptions may have been in response to the Christians, who would ask for God’s protection over their dead.