Asas

Asas in. Norse mythology, was the general name of the Scandinavian gods. A clew to the origin of the name is found in Suetonius, Life of Augustus, where the author says, "Among some of the premonitions of Augustus's death, is the circumstance that on one of his statues the lightning struck off the letter C from his title (name), so that instead of Caesar Augustus only cesar remained, which, in the Etruscan language, signifies the gods; and it was considered as a sign that Augustus within C (one hundred) days would be placed among the gods." Although it cannot be denied that the similarity between the Etruscan AEsar and the Icelandic .Esir is very remarkable, still this example stands so isolated here that we would not be justified in building upon it, especially as further evidences of linguistic and religious connection are missing. Three hundred years later we find the word Asa in Hesychius, who says, ςΑσοι θεοὶ ἀπὸ Τυῤῥνων (the Asas, gods of the Tvrrhenians). Three hundred years later still, A.D. 550, we hear from Jornandes that the Goths, after a brilliant victory over the army of Domitian, held their generals as gods and called them Asas. It is remarkable that in many languages the word As is found as the designation of the. supreme deities.: Still more remarkable is it, if philologists are to be trusted, that Mithras, the supreme god of the Persians, signifies nothing less than " the glorious, the great Asa." One of the oldest historians of Northern Scandinavia, Snorri- Sturleson, maintains that this divine name designated an ancient people of the North. He says:

"The great river Tanaquisl (Tanais, Don) divides the world into three parts; the east is called Asia, the west Europa. The country in the east has been called Asaheim, and the capital city Asaburg. In this latter city the celebrated chief Odin resided. There was a large place arranged for sacrifices in this city, with twelve priests. The latter were called Diar, or Drotnar (gods, or masters), and all the people were obliged to do them high honor. In Turkey Odin possessed great tracts of land and other property. About this time the Romans carried' on war and became the rulers of the world. As Odin was a prophet and knew that his nation was predestined to possess the northern country, he placed We and Will over his kingdom, and with the twelve priests he went to Gardariki (Russia), where many traces of a former kingdom of Northmen remain. Odin left his sons in this country; he himself, however, took his residence on an island, which is now called Odens-ei (Odeusee). Now they sent Gefion (one of the four supreme goddesses of the Asas) out in quest of new land; she came to' Gylfe, who gave her as much land as she might plough over with four steeds in one day. As she was mother of four sons by a giant in Jotunheim, she changed them into steeds; and they drew so powerfully that a large tract of land was cut off from the country of Gylfe and brought into the sea, where from it was called Sealand. Here she lived and married Odin's son, Skiold. Odin, later, hearing of the richness of the country, selected a place of residence, and built there a great temple of Asas, and gave each of the twelve priests a dwelling. Thus sacrifices were brought to Odin as well as to his twelve companions, both in the north and south, and they were worshipped just as so many gods." Thus, according to the oldest Northern historian, the Asas were a foreign people, civilized, educated, spreading arts. and sciences, thus winning the divine respect. of the people. The male Asas were: Odin, the chief; Thor, the most powerful of gods and men; Freyr, the most gracious; Vidar, the silent; Baldur, the best, of shining form; All, or Vali, the archer; Heimdal, the watchman at the door of heaven; Uller, the warrior; Tyr, the courageous; Braga, the poet; Hoder, the blind. The female Asas were: Frigga, Odin's wife; Iduna, goddess of immortality; Freya, goddess of love; Gerda, Laga, Rinda, Gefiona, Fulla, etc. But all these gods and goddesses, notwithstanding their power and greatness, will perish at the destruction of the world. Alfadur only, whose service is not connected with time or space, lives forever; he is no mortal Asa, but an immortal, eternal god. SEE NORSE MYTHOLOGY.

Bible concordance for ASA.

Definition of asa

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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