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Topics - Dedrater

Metal / Metal as Iron Age Germanic music
« on: January 24, 2010, 11:43:25 AM »
Allow me to preface this thread by discouraging petty squabbling over the importance of race. Let's stick to music, here, please.

That having been said, it's interesting that in colleges across the United States and Europe, the culture of "white people," in addition to being taught with a potent mix of guilt to help it go down everyone's throats easier, is essentially the culture of "civilized" Mediterraneans and whatever tribes those people assimilated into the larger society, like the Israelites, et al. Those are the cultures upon which historical Europe was founded, from the early Middle Ages onward. Yet how many of even the "white people" in said colleges are Italian, Greek, or Jewish, relative to the number who are German or French? Very few, I'd imagine.

When I was growing up, channels like the History Channel were loaded with programs about the Roman Empire or the story of "Jesus of Nazareth." I grew up believing that these people were, in essence, my genetic and cultural ancestors. Now that I'm older, it still seems as though everyone accepts this view, if only implicitly, without bothering to think about how isolated, for a long time, their actual ancestors were from those farther south.

But what's especially interesting is not just how easily my ancestors have been forgotten; it's how easily their culture, and the reactions of foreigners, has been forgotten. Taking the time to do some very basic independent research on the Germanic tribes of western and northern Europe over the years, I gradually became more and more interested in their music. I am, admittedly, a bit saddened to know that I may never get to listen to very much of it.

This is because very little is known about it. The Christian world brought with it a system of writing, but prior to its influence in Europe, no one really had the technology. When I discovered a few historical quotes from foreigners attempting to describe the sounds of various Germanic rituals, however, my disappointment in knowing that I'd never get the chance to hear them was further strengthened.

I've read Tacitus' Germania, so I was already aware of one of the following quotes, but the others were unknown to me. I figured I'd share them here due to the potential parallels between what is described and metal. Perhaps they are fabrications fashioned out of cultural bias, but on the other hand, perhaps they are honest descriptions.

Arab merchant Al-Tartushi after visiting Denmark in the 10th century:

Never before I have heard uglier songs than those of the Vikings in Slesvig (in Denmark). The growling sound coming from their throats reminds me of dogs howling, only more untamed.

Tacitus on the music of the Germanic peoples (emphasis added):

They say that Hercules, too, once visited them; and when going into battle, they sing of him first of all heroes. They have also those songs of theirs, by the recital of this "baritus," as they call it, they rouse their courage, while from the note they augur the result of the approaching conflict. For, as their line shouts, they inspire or feel alarm. It is not so much an articulate sound, as a general cry of valor. They aim chiefly at a harsh note and a confused roar, putting their shields to their mouth, so that, by reverberation, it may swell into a fuller and deeper sound.

Ammianus Marcellinus on the music of the Goths in Roman times:


In truth the barbarians shrieked out songs of praise of their forefathers with disorderly shouts.

Adam of Bremen on the music of Medieval Scandinavia:

By the way, it is said that the songs sung during the ceremony are numerous and obscene, so that it is better to say nothing about them.

Link: http://www.vikinganswerlady.com/music.shtml#Literature

Their reactions to the music remind me very much of the typical, modern reaction to metal. "I can't stand all that noise and screaming! How can you like that stuff?"

More evidence that metal is reviving something vital to the spirit of Europeans, or just a coincidence of wording? We might never know for sure one way or the other. If anyone knows of any historically accurate Germanic music, by the way, feel free to post links.