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Odin and As People in the Light of Turkic Culture and History
Mircea Eliade, the scholar of history of religions defines legends as “a sacred history”. Scientists who consider myths as an expression of events that had really took place in the distant history try to turn the myths into more reasonable accounts by eliminating the “holiness” of myths and to uncover the hidden truths underlying them. According to them, the gods of legends are human beings who lived in the past. The kings who reigned in the past and heroes are narrated by deifying them in the legends. Our topic is Odin (Woden) which is the supreme god of Scandinavian mythology that portrays gods and superhuman beings and narrates the events in a fantastic and adventurous way, and which is the one who endowed people with the holy scripts (runic script) and taught them the arts. Snorri Sturluson (XIII) who is an Icelandic medieval historian, priest and statesman describes Odin as a real historical character (not a god) that knows magic and sorcery and as a real ruler (the king of As people) thus considered as a god wherever he goes in his saga corpus (Heimskringla); and the migration of Odin with his people from Asia, TurkLand to Scandinavia is narrated at the introduction of Heimskringla (which isYnglinga Saga). Saxo Grammaticus presents Odin as a real character and a real king of ancient times in his work, Gest Danorum (XIII). Nowadays some historians consider the narratives about Odin as total legend, thus fabrication, while some others try to prove that Odin is a real personality, As people existed in history and a real migration event took place, based on the data of Snorri Sturluson and Saxo Grammaticus. These scholars try to find out the places (Asaland, Turkland) and the identities of the folks mentioned in Ynglinga Saga and Prose Edda. Various views co-exist about the ethnic affiliations of As people and the real location of their motherland. A view identifies legendary As people with Turkic people that appeared as Az Budun in Orkhon inscriptions and proposes that this Turkic folk spread from Western Asia to Northern Europe. If this thesis is correct, Odin and his people have to have cultural properties peculiar to As (Turkic) people and the migrated locations have to have elements related to Turkic culture. With a focus on this topic, in this paper, Turkic cultural elements are sought for; the similarities and compliance with Turkic social order and the notion of ruler-arch priest (secular leader, warrior leader as well as a person who functions as a fortune teller) in the image of high-class people (Odin, Jarl, Kon, Rig) in Scandinavian culture and Turkish shamanist elements in Odin are uncovered by considering Scandinavian mythology, Edda and Sagas; runic script culture is reviewed; and the etymology of the names of Scandinavian mythological heroes based on Turkish language is explained.

Turkic culture, Turkic mothology, Scandinavian mythology, Edda, Heimskringla, Odin, As people.

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