Dojo Darelir, the School of Xenograg the Sorcerer

Tag: Indo-Europeans

Poetry and War are Fame Businesses

March 11, 2017

Poetry and war are joined in this; both are fame businesses. The same epithets are attached to these fame-seeking heroes across the whole enormous continent: he was "man-slaying" in Ireland and Iran, and "of the famous spear" in Greece and India. He stood as firm and immovable in battle as a mighty tree in Homer, Russian and Welsh. Like the Greeks, Irish heroes raged like a fire. In Anglo-Saxon, Greek, Vedic and Irish, that rage could emerge as a flame flaring from the hero’s head. Proto-Indo-Europeans saw the great man as a torch. Across the whole of Eurasia his weapons longed for blood, even while this blood-seeking vengeance wreaker was to his own family and clan, wherever they might be, the "herdsman of his people" and their protective enclosure. There were no city walls in this world; the hero himself was their protection and their strength.

From one end of Eurasia to another, men stand like trees, but enemies are also felled like trees, in the way a carpenter or woodsmen would fell them. When death arrives, a darkness comes on the hero. Life itself for the Proto-Indo-European consciousness is inseparable from light, especially the light of the sun, and that is the energy the heroes share with the universe. For all of them, courage is not something that appears casually in everyday life. Only when battle summons them, and when the noise of battle reaches up to heaven, as it does in all these daughter traditions, does courage appear and the hero find himself "clothed in valor."

Adam Nicolson, Why Homer Matters, pp. 169-70

From Hunters to Warriors

May 2, 2008

War has been intertwined with hunting for millennia. The word venison, originally “hunted meat,” comes from the same Indo-European root as the Russian votna, meaning war. Certain French armored units still dignify themselves as chasseurs, huntsmen, while several elite German and Austrian formations are styled jaeger, or hunters, a reminder that they were first recruited from the gamekeepers of central European forests. A guest of the more established officers’ messes in Italy or Spain is likely to dine beneath stag or boar heads glaring from the walls, the high-toned British regiments preferring paintings…celebrating the fox hunt. In the United States, which finds its romance on the frontier, the comparable designation for light, fast-moving outfits is Rangers, harking back to the days when woodsmen passed almost overnight from hunters into warriors who contested mastery of the forests with Mohawks and Hurons on the edge of an unknown world.

Derek Leebaert, To Dare and to Conquer, p. 4