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Friedrich L.W. Schwartz

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Friedrich L.W. Schwartz

Post  Pemphredo on Fri Aug 08, 2014 3:38 pm

Hello,

Friedrich L. W. Schwartz mentions in his Der heutige Volksglaube und das alte Heidentum 'Contemporary popular belief and ancient paganism' (1862/2014) (about popular belief/paganism in Germany) an appearance of Hermes unknown to me. He speaks of a folkloric 'sooty' Hermes who came out of the fireplace to frighten (ill-mannered?) children (probably like our Santa's Little Helper or Krampus or Knecht Ruprecht or Zwarte Piet). Does anybody know more about this sooty folkloric equivalent of the Olympian Hermes?

Further Schwartz compares the Wodan chasing or huntig a female being to Apollon/Hermes chasing or hunting nymphs or Hekate. I know Apollon chasing Daphne or Kyrene, but Hermes chasing Hekate? Same question: does anybody know these tales?

Friendly regards,

Pemphredo
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Re: Friedrich L.W. Schwartz

Post  Erodius on Fri Aug 08, 2014 5:35 pm

I have heard neither of the author, nor of the book. 

It sounds like, whoever this Friedrich Schwartz was, was making some tenuous links between what was contemporary German folklore at the time of his writing in the 1860's, and the 'standard' of Graeco-Roman mythology. 

It's common to hear of people suggesting links between various folkloric hobgoblins and traditional divinities, when there really is very little evidence to go on. Such mischievous beings are culturally omnipresent, and I am of the standpoint that they probably have very little, if anything, to do with 'repurposed' deities. There are, quite simply, usually few (if any) actual parallels between the 'character' of most hobgoblin-type folklore figures and Antique deities. By way of cultural diffusion and exposure to Classical sources, I would argue that it is probable that, along the way, some such being, entirely indigenous to probably only a certain region of German folklore, picked up the name 'Hermes' along the way, by association with the 'deceptive' aspect of Ἑρμῆς. 


I know Apollon chasing Daphne or Kyrene, but Hermes chasing Hekate? Same question: does anybody know these tales?


There is a linkage between Ἑρμῆς and Ἑκάτη. Both have terrestrial forms, produced by Pluto, who oversee mortal souls at an intermediate level between the soul and the sovereignty of Pluto and Proserpine. One personality of Ἑκάτη represents the mortal soul. Thus, the soul, the terrestrial Ἑκάτη is pursued by the terrestrial Mercury/Ἑρμῆς, the psychopomp.


What this Schwartz fellow seems to be saying is not exactly wrong, per se – but some of it, especially the first part you mentioned, seems a bit speculative and characteristically 'folklorical'.

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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Re: Friedrich L.W. Schwartz

Post  Pemphredo on Fri Aug 08, 2014 7:31 pm

Maybe mr. Schwarz, who's a countryman of mine, just invented this sooty Hermes, maybe not. I wanted to know if somebody know more about it. With instructions please.
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Re: Friedrich L.W. Schwartz

Post  Erodius on Fri Aug 08, 2014 8:46 pm

Maybe mr. Schwarz, who's a countryman of mine, just invented this sooty Hermes. Maybe not.

I rather doubt he would have simply invented the account; that wouldn't have gone over too easily a century and a half ago – a publisher's standards were usually higher. 

Ἑρμῆς certainly was, popularly, a divinity associated with cunning and deception – particularly popular among businessfolk, as well as thieves – but I've never heard of anything like a German Ἑρμῆς leaping from fireplaces to frighten naughty children – however, I have offered a postulation that I do think fairly plausible as to how such a tale might have arisen. 

In Greece today there is, I'm told, a belief in some areas that, during the twelve days of the Christmas season (which still lasts twelve days in Orthodox countries), there is a group of, as I believe I recall it explained, twelve 'fallen angels' or 'spirits' who become angry, and can cause misfortune for the people if one is not careful to avoid inciting them. Some Greeks believe these are the spurned numinal presences of the Twelve Gods. 

_________________
"O Best of Gods, blest daimon crown'd with fire . . . hear, and from punishment my soul absolve, the punishment incurr'd by pristine guilt, thro' Lethe's darkness and terrene desire: and if for long-extended years I'm doom'd in these drear realms Heav'n's exile to remain, O grant me soon the necessary means to gain that good which solitude confers on souls emerging from the bitter waves of fraudful Hyle's black, impetuous flood!"
-Iulianic Hymn to Apollon-Helios, ll. 65-106

"Having come for punishment, one must be punished. One must not pull apart the god within oneself."
-Iamblichus, Vita Pythagorica

"Truth would you teach, or save a sinking land,
All hear, none aid you, and few understand."
-Alexander Pope


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